Last Minute Updates re University of California applications
NEWSFLASH FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Here are some last minute reminders about the UC application:
1. November 30: The filing period for applications for fall 2010 ends tonight at 11:59 pm. Applicants who have started an application by the time will have until 11:59 pm to submit.
+ Right after you submit your application, you will receive an email confirming that it has been successfully filed.
2. If applicants need assistance with the application process itself, they can contact the help desk: (800) 523-2048 in California and (925) 808 2181 outside California. The help desk will be open from 1 pm through midnight today and tomorrow.
+ If you have technical difficulties with the UC application can call the help des at(800) 914-8820 or (925) 808-2150.
Both Help Desks will be open until midnight on November 30.
3. Test scores submitted on the UC application are considered unofficial. UC requires students to send official scores from the ACT with Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test andtwo Subject Tests.
4. All admissions tests should be completed no later than the December 2010 test administration.
+ December 4 is the last date for SAT or Subject Tests
+ December 11 is the late test date for the ACT with Writing
5. UC advises that testing agencies report all scores. The will use the highest scores from a single test administration.
6. UC uses the two highest Subject Test scores.
7. When an applicant sends his or her official test score to any one UC campus, the test record is sent to the University's central application processing center and all other UC campuses to which the student has applied for admission also will receive the scores as official.
8. You do not need to send your official transcript to the UC's until you are admitted.
9. January 1 is the first day applicants for fall 2011 can submit FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification forms. The filing period is open until March 2.
10. March 1 notification of fall 2010 admissions decisions begins and continues through March 31.
News for the UC's: Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)
Just so you know and to help you think ahead, I just received news from the UCs that the following UC campuses are guaranteeing acceptance to ELC students for 2010. (Each year this list changes.)
Irvine (but does not apply to Dance, Music, Nursing, Business Administration, Business Economics, all majors in Engineering and Computer Sciences)
The UC campuses not guaranteeing ELC acceptance are:
In case you don't know, ELC stands for Eligibility in the Local Context, a program by which the top 4% of each California high school (that participates in the program is guaranteed a spot at of the of UC campuses). Students are notified at the beginning of their senior year.
Beginning fall 2012, the ELC program will expand to include the top 9 percent of high schools. There are new admissions requirements in that students must complete a minimum of 15 college prep (a-g courses) with at least 11 completed before your senior year.
The new a-g requirements can be found here.
You must have a GPA of 3.0 or better and no courses with a grade lower than a C. Either the SAT or ACT are required, but no Subject Tests are required beginning fall 2012.
Here is a link that provides this and other information.
Tips on How To Write a Good Application Essay
This week, the home page of www.admissionpossible.com is about How to Write a Good College Application Essay. I also offer the "Top 5 Tips for a Successful 2010 College Admissions Experience".
This morning I was on Fox 5 News talking about those 5 tips. If you are interested, you can see it here. (Click on Tips for College Admission)
Ironically enough, before I did the interview I began talking to a young man who had just been interviewed about his surfing dog. Turns out Michael is a Harvard BA and law graduate who does local interviews for the university. Among the things he said was that this year Harvard is particularly interested in students who write essays about athletics and community service. He was also vehement that an essay should not be a brag sheet or an attempt to show how smart you are, but simply something that shows who you are. Write about the everyday and mundane he said. Sound familiar?
Early Action, Restricted Early Action & Early Decision Financial Aid
If you are applying EA, REA or ED to a college, not only do you need to meet the 11/1 or 11/15 deadline for getting your application in; but if you are applying for financial aid, you must also get the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE form in by the same date. Colleges also often ask for parents' 2009 federal tax returns.
Be aware that in addition to the PROFILE form, some colleges have their own separate financial aid forms that they want you to complete,.
Check the website of the school/s to which you are applying early to see what financial forms they want from you.
Just so you know, the US Department of Education FAFSA form is not available until after January 1.
Early Decision (ED) Applicants Do Have an Edge
Colleges with Early Decision (ED) policies reported a higher acceptance rate–70% for their ED applicants–as compared to all (regular) applicants–55 percent. This reflects a growing trend among colleges in the past couple of years.
There is no information about the specific characteristics of the students who were accepted, but the word is that recruited athletes, highly qualified legacies and academic superstars often make up a good portion of those Early Decision acceptances.
Just in case you need a reminder, Early Decision (ED) is a binding contract application program where students apply by the first of November (for some schools by November 15) and receive their admission decision by the middle of December. If accepted, students are obligated to say yes or no by a certain date.
On the other hand, colleges with Early Action (EA) policies reported only a slightly higher acceptance rate–71% for their EA applicants–as compared all (regular) applicants–67%.
Early Action (EA) is a non-binding application program where students apply by the 1st of November (sometimes by November 15) and receive their admission decision by the middle of December. If accepted, students can commit to the college, but are not obligated to do so until the usual Mary May 1 deadline.
Go here if you want more information about all early programs.
A Letter to Readers in Three Parts: How I Approach Admissions
For over 20 years, I've counseled thousands of students as they've entered the realm of the college admission process. I have learned a lot and this website is my way of sharing with you all I know.
It can seem overwhelming: the deadlines, tests, essays, letters of recommendation, so I've designed this website to make all that easier for you. But at the heart of this experience is something much more profound – an opportunity for self discovery and growth.
So often, students focus on trying to please that elusive college admission czar. They make choices about extracurricular activities and classes based on "winning" their way into the best college. I sincerely believe it is time to turn the tables. Let's show all students the path to a deeper understanding of their individuality so they win by finding the perfect college for who they are.
I invite you to read on:
FIRST: A STORY
A few years ago, I began seeing a student who was a surfer and also had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His parents, both physicians, worried that his preoccupation with surfing was preventing their son from becoming a serious student. They saw surfing as a distraction that would harm his chances of getting into a good college.
I saw things quite differently!
During the time I spent with him, I learned that this student loved the water and everything about it. Surfing was his juice, nectar, tonic! Not only did it sustain him, it calmed him. He surfed in the morning before school and in the afternoon before doing his homework, using the rush of the waves as an effective calming strategy for his challenges.
I knew he could use surfing to make the next step in his life – finding the right college – the doorway to an exciting future.
I encouraged him to embrace his love of the ocean. He took a college level marine science course (and received an "A" and a letter of recommendation from the professor), volunteered at the local aquarium and taught underprivileged children how to surf.
Armed with this impressive list of achievements, he applied to colleges where he could continue to surf and study his love of the ocean, through a major in oceanography. The strategy worked. Not only was he accepted into a fine college where he excelled in his studies, today this student is pursuing a PhD in marine science.
The reason I love this story? This student, with only a bit of guidance, learned to honor his passion and turn it into a remarkable academic achievement and certain success as an adult. This is my dream for all students who enter the college application process.
SECOND: WHY COLLEGE RANKINGS DON'T MATTER
In a perfect world, there would by no college rankings.
1. The overly publicized college rankings by U.S. News & World Report use as measures of quality such characteristics are undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources of the college and alumni giving.
2. They do not generally take into consideration students' welfare, good teaching, close relationships between students and professors, a sense of community, collaborative learning, an emphasis on student growth, student involvement in their own education, a sense of social responsibility, a green orientation, a commitment to diversity (including students from all socioeconomic classes, geographic and ethnic/religious backgrounds.) Most prominently, they don't measure dedication to the life of the mind.
In my experience, it is these latter characteristics that form the hallmarks of a good education. Some of the colleges I deem among the best in the country don't even make the rankings.
THIRD: SO WHAT'S IMPORTANT? COLLEGES THAT EMPOWER STUDENTS
Here is just a sampling of what students can learn if college selection becomes a growth oriented experience:
• How to translate their academic background, interests, talents and experiences into application currency
• How to develop an impressive resume
• How to communicate verbally and in writing with an authentic self
• How to locate, research and select colleges that are great fits
• How to gain the information they need to demonstrate how they are "just a little bit better and a little different" from the competition
The happy ending is getting into and attending a college they love.
Personal Stories: The Secret Weapon for Successful Admissions Essays
The job of a college admissions officer is not easy. Case in point: Their stacks of applications are much larger than the number of students they can invite to attend their school—and somehow, they must determine who those select few students will be.
Once they get past academic qualifications, such as GPA and test scores, there is still more winnowing to do. As an applicant, the job at hand is to ensure that your application stands out from the crowd. There are different ways of doing this, but probably the most important one is what you write about in your application essays.
If you are like a lot of people, writing a coherent, convincing essay is perceived as a daunting task. But it needn't be if you think of your essay as a way of showing admissions readers a special written "home movie," starring you in an interesting story.
Relax, Have Fun Coming Up with Ideas
If you take just a little time, chances are you can think of many stories about you that have been told around the family dinner table, to friends, written in a journal or even turned in for a writing assignment at school.
Humorous anecdotes are family favorites and often contain kernels of truth about you as a person or lessons you have learned that can be shared in an essay. Did a funny encounter with a stranger in line at the concert become a lasting, close friendship that led to a fantastic summer job? Did klutziness in one sport move you to another one in which you excelled beyond your wildest dreams? Some really fine essays describe dramatic situations, but just as many capture important insights that come from small, everyday occurrences.
Good essays are not a laundry list of awards or prizes or a travelogue of what you did and saw on a trip. Often the more impressive story is the one in which you demonstrate an "a-ha" moment—something happened that caused your life to turn around, rethink long-held assumptions or undertake a task that you had never done before.
A Step-by-Step Approach To Writing an Essay
If your college essays are looming, the best way to get started is to gather stories in a good brainstorming session with your family and/or friends. Once you have a bunch of ideas, select the best and write them down as possibilities. Next, go over them one by one to see which have messages you want admissions officer to "get" about you. Select one to begin jotting down further ideas, relevant quotes or dialogue, interesting facts and observations. Once you have a page or two of thoughts and ideas, organize them into an outline or jump into writing a first draft. Once you have a draft, then take a break and let it sit for a day or two. You need a little distance to be able to evaluate what you have done. Go back and edit the draft and give it to someone you trust to do another edit for you. The last stage is evaluating those edits to see if they make sense to you. Take some, leave others and then come up with your final essay. See! It's not as hard as you think.
So the next time you sit down to answer an essay question, instead of popping a sweat and squeezing out words, start the process by brainstorming personal stories. Remember, the more memorable the story is, the more memorable you will be when it comes time for admissions people to make your admission decision.
New College Freshmen: College Learning Services Are for Everyone, Even Those Who Attend Harvard
Morton H. Shaevitz, Ph.D. and Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Did you know that the first course in reading and studying strategies offered by a U.S. college was at Harvard University in the 1940's? The Bureau of Study Counsel says that, "The Harvard Course in Reading and Study Strategies is the longest continuously running course at Harvard. Taught since the 1940s with constant updating, the Reading Course is designed for people who need to read more, and more critially…(and if they don't') find themselves overwhelmed or disengaged."
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, too many students view going to a learning center as a sign of weakness. Particularly students who attend selective colleges and universities feel that attending such schools means they don't or shouldn't need any help. As a matter of fact, the more selective the college you attend, the higher the skill level of your fellow students and the more you need to have all of the skills you can to compete academically.
Informed, smart students make use of services and do every thing they can to perform at their highest potential. To make our point, in sports the best competitors and teams are the ones who receive the best coaching to help them maximize their talents. If you wanted to be an outstanding tennis player, golfer, or swimmer, wouldn't you seek out some coaching? The same thing is true for academics.
As a freshman, find out if your college has a learning center. Usually, three types of programs are offered:
Reading programs are not simply the oft-heard-about "speed reading" classes, but rather programs to help you learn how to read more effectively and efficiently. What type of strategy or techniques are taught usually depend on your skill level and what you want to accomplish. For example, skimming the news online gives you a quick idea of what's happening in the world and that is very different from reading a History or Sociology textbook. Reading programs teach you how to approach different types of comprehension challenges and take into consideration your study goals.
B. Test Taking Strategies
Test taking strategies are not gimmicks, in spite of what you hear. There are more or less effective ways to take true/false, multiple choice, short answer questions, and long essay exams. By understanding how to deal with these different types of tests, you're much more likely to perform at a level commensurate with what you have actually learned. Most test-taking courses also spend time helping you manage anxiety and stress.
C. Study Skills
"I know how to study," you say! "Doesn't everybody?" Well, yes and no. Studying is different from reading; it is an active, engaging process. In fact, there are different study techniques for classes that require a lot of reading (Social Science and Humanities), a lot of memorization (Biological Sciences), or mastery of complex formulas (Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, etc.). By knowing how to approach the different types of content, you're much more likely to be an efficient studier and learner. And don't forget the payoff: you have more time to do other things, including play. Study skills programs also focus on time management issues and make study time a more positive experience.
Important fact: the best time to go to a college learning center is before you need help. That's why we suggest you make it a priority to check out the learning center when you first arrive on campus. Find out what's offered, when and by whom and get involved early. This action could make a big difference in your overall college experience.
New College Freshmen: Why Should You Go to the Career Center if You're Just Starting College?
Morton H. Shaevitz, Ph.D. and Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
What do you think is the most popular undergraduate major at American four-year colleges and universities? If you say, undecided, you are right on the button. Unless you are one of those fortunate freshmen who knew at ten years old you wanted to be a neurosurgeon, Supreme Court judge or engineer, you probably haven't chosen a major either. If pushed to come up with a major, your choice is probably based on less than the best information. Even more, you probably have no idea how the major you have chosen can be linked to some kind of career after four years of college. Enter the college career center.
Are Career Centers Just for Upperclassmen?
Most college students see career centers as resources mostly for juniors and seniors who are planning their entrances into the world of work or graduate school. Few freshmen, or for that matter, sophomores ever think about their career center as a service for them. This is simply not true. As a matter of fact, one of the best ways for students to get a sense about themselves and how that knowledge relates to what they should major in is to make an early visit to the career center.
What Happens When You Go to a Career Center
What usually happens is that you will meet with a trained professional, and perhaps take a few interest and personality tests to help identify possible career paths that suit you. Then you will find out what majors help you reach those career paths. To gain some idea about what's involved in different careers, most college career centers offer open information sessions that describe jobs and careers all the way from Art to Geology to Zoology. They also usually offer drop-in counseling opportunities to talk with counselors about what it's like to be in business, science, education, and other career areas.
Myths about Some Majors and Careers
Consulting with your college's career center may dispel some of the myths that many students have about majors and careers. For example, a common myth is that if you want to go to law school, you have to major in Political Science? In fact, the American Bar Association doesn't recommend any undergraduate major at all. Rather it suggests you take courses that interest you and also develop your research and writing skills. Another myth is that if you want to go to med school, you must major in a science. Right? Well, not necessarily. Most undergraduate students are unaware that many medical schools are looking for applicants who major in something other than biology. They welcome people who major in history, English or art, so long as they take appropriate science courses along the way. Career centers are also often wonderful resources for getting information about summer internships that give students experiences in working in real world occupations.
So, rather than fumbling around for a year or two with no direction or waiting to be struck by an occupational lightening bolt, consider an checking in with your college career center as a freshman. Not only might you get pointed in the right direction, but the involvement might help you have an undergraduate experience that is rich, interesting and focused.
New College Freshmen: Who Should Make Use of College Counseling and Psychological Services? Everyone!
Morton H. Shaevitz, Ph.D. and Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Yes, declaring that every student should make use of college counseling and psychological services may sound like a bit of an over-reach. The truth is, though, that most campus counseling offices offer such an array of informational and preventative services and programs (as well as, professional counseling) that virtually every student will find something of use. For some students, there is a stigma attached with seeking professional help. Nevertheless, many, if not most, college students take advantage of these services during college. It's a very "normal" thing to do.
Who Provides the Counseling?
College counseling services are called by various names: the Counseling Center, Psychological Services Center, and Counseling and Psych Services. Sometimes they are free- standing and sometimes a part of the Student Health Center. Most counseling centers are staffed by highly trained professionals, including Clinical and Counseling Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Clinical Social Workers. The services are usually free to students and the types of programs that are offered are remarkably diverse.
What Kinds of Services Are There?
The online description of the Counseling and Psychological Services office at Stanford University identifies the following services: crisis counseling, individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, medication evaluation and management. In addition, many centers offer access to specialists in such areas as sleep disorders, sexuality and intimacy issues, eating disorders, as well as workshops and programs for shy students, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and others. Counseling centers often help students deal with issues related to stress, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, many also offer relaxation, self-esteem/confidence, and relationships programs.
How Might You Use the Services?
There isn't a person alive who doesn't at some point find him or herself facing a problem or situation that feels daunting. And in college, there are many arenas with which students just don't know how to deal. Rather than struggling on your own to find a solution, the college counseling center is a place to reach out for help. As a colleague of ours once said, "Sometimes it takes two to see one."
So, as an incoming freshman, check out what's available on your campus re counseling services. See what appeals to you and consider getting involved. And if you find that something is troubling you, then deal with it directly with someone who is trained to help you come up with answers. It always pays to find ways of handling issues that seem to be getting in your way. Your campus counseling center is there to help you negotiate challenges that every student faces and emerge stronger, happier, and more energized.
Some Colleges Are Known to Search Facebook and Other Social Media for Information Re Applicants
While there are wildly differing practices among colleges, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), admissions officers at some schools are open to searching Facebook and MySpace for information about applicants to their respective colleges.
Students should know that what they post on these websites is public information that anyone can access. NACAC listserv counselors recommend that if a student is going to post information about him or herself, "…it should pass the Grandma test…if you don't want her or an admissions officer, future employer, scholarship committee, high school principal, etc. to see the information, don't post it…"now or ever.
If something of a questionable nature is already posted, as Grandma might say, "For goodness sake, honey, remove it."
NACAC counselors also suggest that you take a careful look at your email address to make sure that it doesn't give the wrong impression.
The New York Times article, "5 Easy Steps to Stay Safe (and Private!) on Facebook" offers very useful advice about how students can watch what they say and do on social media venues.
Here is a link to that article.
News Seniors Can Use Re The Common Application
Many students already have questions about The Common Application. Here are some answers to many of those questions. Here is the link to that application.
Students using the Common App must "Save" information as they type it in. If not, the system will log out after time (about an hour) and you will lose all the work you have done.
This often happens when you begin completing a section and get interrupted by a phone call, text message or a quick trip to the kitchen for something to eat. It also happens when students begin filling in the long 12 space Activity Grid section and lose track time. More than one student I know has lost all of his/her work and had to start all over again.
Other important details re the Common Application:
Browsers you should use:
For PC (Windows XP/Vista/7): Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox 3 or higher
For Mac (OS Xtiger/Leopard/Snow Leopard): Safari 3.1 or higher or Firefox 3 or higher
Just so you know, The Common App says that it cannot guarantee compatibility with the AOL browser. That is also true of many individual college applications.
2. WHAT MUST BE ENABLED ON YOUR COMPUTER
3. WHAT MUST BE DISABLED ON YOUR COMPUTER
To avoid grammatical and typographic errors, type your essays as a Word document, edit and then cut and paste (or upload) them into the online forms.
4. HARD COPY AND ONLINE FORMS
The Common Application application process must be consistent; that is, complete all aspects on paper or online. You cannot do both. For example, you cannot submit the regular application online and the Supplements as hard copy.
However, you can submit your application online even if your counselor and teachers choose to complete hard copy forms.
5. ANOTHER VERSION OF YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION
To create another version of your original Common Application, go to Instructions on the the top left hand side of the online application and there are step by step directions for doing this. Up to 10 alternate applications can be created, including the original.
6. MAKING CHANGES ON A SUBMITTED APPLICATION
Once an application is submitted, there is no way of editing or updating what you have sent.
If you have a question about the Common App, go to Frequently Asked questions that can be accessed here.
If you cannot find an answer to your question, go to Customer Support or Contact Us. There is no customer phone support.
August To Do List for Soon-To-Be Sophomores
Here are some things to think about as you go back to school.
This is the year to "up" the number of challenging courses you take, including a first AP class. And don't forget to get the best grades you can. You can find out more about courses, grades and intellectual pursuits here.
2. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Sophomore year is a good time to begin focusing your activities and interests. If your school doesn't offer what you like, then create it, found it, expand it, just do it! Colleges also appreciate students who go outside their own school to pursue what they love to do.
Keep a record of everything you do, as well as any honors and awards. You'll need this information for an activities resume.
More about choosing and enjoying activities can also be found here.
3. COLLEGE INFORMATION
As your family takes trips and vacations around the US, drive through college campuses that are on the way. It doesn't matter if you know anything about a college; simply becoming exposed to an array of college types–different geographic locations, big and little, private and public, colleges located in rural areas, college towns and big cities–will give you useful information for when you begin developing your college list.
August To Do List for Soon-To-Be Juniors
Here are a few things to think about and act on before you go back to school.
November is the only date when College Board offers the Language Listening Subject Tests. If you're going to take it, sign up now.
2. COURSES AND GRADES
Of all the years in high school in which colleges are interested, junior year is at the top of the list. Within reason, this is when you should take the most honors, AP and/or IB courses.
Getting top grades should be a priority. If any course gives you trouble, as soon as you notice, talk with the teacher about what you might do. This can also be a good way of developing a relationship with a teacher.
3. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Junior year is the time to develop leadership positions in whatever you do, or to lay the groundwork for those positions in your senior year. Look for ways of increasing the depth and quality of your activities. Colleges like when you show unusual initiative, enthusiasm, ingenuity, commitment or accomplishment.
If you're still not sure about what you love to do, go to the section on Extracurricular Activities, where I show you how to find activities you enjoy, if not love.
4. COLLEGE VISITS AND CONTACT WITH COLLEGES
This is the year to get serious about college visits. Of course, an important step before you do this is to come up with a good college list. Sit down with your parents and talk about when it makes sense for you to visit colleges. Think about weekend trips, a Spring Break trip, or where you might go next summer.
If your high school permits, ask your high school college counselor when the college reps of schools in which you are interested are going to be on campus. Attend the meetings, and be sure to put your name on their respective sign-up lists.
August To Do List for Soon-To-Be-Seniors
Since you have only a few weeks left of vacation, don't forget to take some time before school starts to relax, enjoy yourself, and maybe just chill. You need to be rested and full of energy to begin tackling both your schoolwork and college applications.
If you have any last minute testing to take care of, make sure that you are signed up for fall SAT, Subject Tests, or ACT testing.
The College Board URL to register for both the SAT I and Subject Tests can be found here.
To register online for the ACT, go here.
If you plan on applying Early Action or Decision, October is the last test date that will get your test scores to the colleges on time.
2. COLLEGE LIST
Your college list should be finalized by the end of this month.
Decide whether or not to apply early to a college/s. Early Action, Early Action Single Choice and Early Decision deadlines are usually October 31 or the first of November; some are November 15. Check the college website for the exact date. Students receive early admissions decisions by the middle of December.
Put together an Application Due Dates list for your college list.
3. RELATIONSHIPS WITH COLLEGES
Make sure that the colleges on your list know you are interested in them. If you haven't already, call or email each admissions office on your list. Ask when their representative will be visiting your school (or your home town).
4. FILLING OUT THE APPLICATIONS
For students who play a fall sport or are engaged in time-intensive extracurricular activities, try to get at least one college application completed before school starts.
From the chapter on Completing College Applications in my book adMISSION POSSIBLE, here are the steps involved in completing an undergraduate application:
a. Determine which school you want to apply to and whether it uses its own application, the Common Application or the Universal College Application.
b. Through the college's admission website or the Common Application Requirements Grid, find out what and when forms must be completed
+ Determine if the school has a Preliminary Form that must be completed and by what date (E.g., USC has a Preliminary form)
c. Complete all the forms for which you are responsible
d. Download and fill out your section for other required forms (e.g., Counselor School Report, Teacher Evaluation forms, etc.) and distribute them to appropriate recommenders
e. Identify essay questions
f. Decide on a focus for your application and topics for the essay questions
g. Write, edit and upload essays onto online application
h. Gather any supplemental materials (e.g., activities resume, art portfolio, etc.)
i. Photocopy and then send in all application materials by the due date
j. Contact College Board to send transcript of SAT and/or Subject Test scores to college and/or contact ACT to have ACT transcript send to college
k. Have your high school and other academic transcripts sent to the college
l. Make arrangements for an admissions interview (if possible)
m. Two weeks after all application materials have been sent, check with the college to make sure all your materials have been received
n. Make sure Mid-year Report is sent to the college after first semester grades come out
5. STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL BACKGROUNDS
Art and performing art students should begin putting together their portfolios
Getting On Top of the College Application Game Early
Every year approximately 2 ½ million students apply to college. In some instances, students apply only to local state colleges and universities. However, more and more apply to a wide array of colleges, public and private, as well as close and far away from home. The process is demanding, complex, and stressful. However, there are some things you can do early on to make the job easier and also end up with unique, better-than-the competition's applications.
1. START EARLY
Procrastination is a deadly trap for students involved with the college application process. Dragging your feet about completing applications often results in a rush at the end and a less than credible job. Particularly if you plan to apply Early Action (a non-binding program where students apply by November 1 and receive their answers by the middle of December) or Early Decision (A binding contract application where you apply by the first of November and hear back by the middle of December. If you are accepted, you must say yes or no in a short amount of time. If you apply Early, you must start completing the application in September or at the latest early October in order to have a competitive application. Even if you apply Regular Decision, it's useful to complete all of your applications before Christmas vacation, regardless of when their due dates are. It's no fun to spend the end of December working on college applications. And as the saying goes, "the early bird gets the worm." What's most important is that your applications be a little different and a little better than the other students' applications.
2. COMPLETE YOUR COLLEGE LIST
If you haven't put together a college list, do it before school starts in the fall. You need to find colleges that fit you as a person and match your academic background. Your list should contain Reaches, Good Chances and Pretty Sure Things (Safety's) based on how your grades and test scores compare to previously accepted students. The latter information is available in the U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges, as well as in the admissions section of individual college websites.
3. NAIL DOWN YOUR RECOMMENDERS
Lots of students ask your high school teachers and college counselor to write letters of recommendation. Keep in mind that the later you ask them to do this, the less likely they are to write powerful, focused letters that will make a difference in your admissions. If you didn't ask them at the end of your junior year, then ask immediately the first week of school in the fall.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR TESTING IS DONE AND SCORES ARE SENT
It's better if you can get your standardized testing completed before the end of your junior year. If you don't, don't worry. You still have September, October, November and December of your senior year to take the ACT/SAT or Subject Tests unless you are apply Early Action or Decision (in which case you need to have the tests completed in October). After you complete the testing, make sure that your test scores are sent to each of the colleges to which you are applying. There are always mix-ups at the testing agencies, Internet glitches, Post Office mishaps and even lost materials at the colleges. So after you turn in your applications, contact the different admissions offices to make sure they have received your test scores (and while you're at it, make sure they have everything else required of their application).
5. COMPLETE THE COMMON APPLICATION EARLIER RATHER THAN LATER
While there are lots of universities who still have their own applications such as USC, Georgetown, and most of the large public universities, over 400 four-year colleges and universities (and even a few public institutions) now accept The Common Application. In addition to the application itself, many schools also have supplemental applications that you must complete. My rule of thumb is to get at least one application completed during the summer before your senior year. You have no idea what a relief that is. And if you have schools on your list that are Common Application colleges, start with one of them. After you complete one, all of the other Common App school applications will be a piece of cake.
So, while getting through the college application process can be challenging, there are ways of making it easier on you, family, teachers, and high school counselor. Follow the suggestions above, and you should be just fine.
Five Steps to Getting Great Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendations from high school teachers and counselors play an important role in helping college admissions officers decide whether a student gets admitted. Many colleges require two letters of recommendation, often called Teacher Evaluation forms. Most applications also ask for a letter of recommendation called a School Report from a student's high school college counselor. Given that there are usually more qualified applicants than there are slots for next year's freshman class, having teachers and counselors sing your praises can make the difference between getting rejected or waitlisted and getting onto a college's acceptance list.
There are five things you can do to increase your chances of getting great letters of recommendation:
1. CAREFULLY CHOOSE YOUR RECOMMENDERS
First of all, generate a list of potential teachers that you might ask to write recommendations. Start off with teachers in whose classes you've performed well, getting at least an B or B+, but preferably an A. Also add the names of teachers with whom you've developed a personal relationship. To decide which teachers to ask, assign each teacher on your list a score from 1 to 10 (1 = not good letter, and 10 = the best possible letter). After you've given each name a number, go back and circle the two teachers with the highest numbers. These are the people you should ask. Who you choose to complete the School Report is simple: Your assigned college counselor. It's very important that you communicate well and often with this person. Of all the high school professionals college admissions officer consult with about students, the college counselor is the one they talk to the most.
2. START EARLY
Whatever you do, don't go waltzing into your college counselor's office or teachers' classrooms on December 1st, asking them to write your letters of recommendation! At that late date, what kind of job do you think they will do? Ideally, students should ask their teachers about recommendations before school ends their junior year. If you haven't done the asking then, be sure to see them sometime during on the first week of school in the fall. Don't send teachers an email or text message; go meet them face-to-face and politely ask about completing the Teacher Evaluation forms.
3. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM
Letters of recommendation should provide college admissions people with information about what kind of student you are, and also what kind of person you are. Help your recommenders with their jobs by providing an Activities Resume, a summary of everything you've done, accomplished, or achieved as a freshman, sophomore and junior in and outside of school. Take a few minutes and go over the resume with them so that you can answer any questions they may have. The more helpful you are and the more comprehensive the information is, the better their letters will be. Your attitude toward them should be, "I want to make your job of writing recommendations for me as easy as I can."
4. FOLLOW UP
Yes, teachers and counselors can get behind and even forget to write recommendations. Remember, you are one of many students with whom they are working. To help them keep on time, provide a list of your colleges and the dates when the applications are due. Cycle back to the recommenders a few weeks after you have made your recommendation request to "see how it's going." This is a gentle way of nudging them. Right before the application materials are due, make a final stop by a recommender's office to make sure that a recommendation is done and gone.
5. SAY THANK YOU
You may not realize this, but teachers don't have to write recommendation letters. It's something that they do as a special favor. Therefore, you need to thank them for their efforts, and do it more than once. While high school counselors are expected to complete School Reports as a part of their job, it's still very important for you to say thank you to them. This is more than just being polite; it's the right thing to do. And you never know when you might need to come back to a recommender for some kind of follow-up letter. For example, if you get waitlisted at one of your favorite colleges and want to get off the waitlist, a counselor or teacher follow-up phone call or letter might just do the trick.
Remember, every other senior who is applying to a four-year college is also in the process of asking for letters of recommendation. By following the five program steps above, you can make it easier on the recommenders and yourself.
Wowing College Admissions Officers
Having spoken to dozens of college admissions officers over the years, I have come to the conclusion that after looking at thousands of applications, even outstanding applicants begin to look alike to them. Particularly at highly selective colleges, admissions officers routinely look to stellar test scores and impressive GPA's. It goes without saying that students must have certain levels of achievement to be considered for admission even at less selective colleges. In most instances, there are many more qualified applicants than there are admissions spaces at colleges, so admissions officers go beyond grades and test scores.
WHAT DO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICERS LOOK FOR?
What do they look for after that? Personal characteristics; that is, who you are, what you have done and what makes you special. Some colleges are known for looking to applicants who are a little bit "quirky;" for example, an applicant who has spent his last two summers in an Indian city tutoring poverty stricken students and living in an ashram, or someone who plays an unusual musical instrument and has gained notoriety or a student who began collecting and breeding snakes when he was ten years old. No matter what you have done, admission officers want to know who you are as a person, what makes you tick and how you are different in a positive way from other students.
THE MOST USEFUL ADMISSIONS TOOL
Before you let colleges know about you, you have know something about yourself. Probably the best way of doing that is to prepare an activities resume, a 1-4 page written picture of who you are academically and otherwise. A good resume identifies extra curricular activities such as sports, community service, what special interests and talents you possess and act on regularly, leadership and/or student government positions, work experiences and the like. It should also list any honors and awards in those areas.
Putting together an activities resume allows you to get to know yourself and also gives you ideas for what you will write about as you answer application essays. Essays should help application readers "get who you are."
A RESUME IS NOT BRAGGING
Some students worry that including a resume with their applications they may be seen as "bragging." That's not at all the case. The facts of who you are and what you do speak for themselves. If, for example, you have spent four summers taking immersion classes in Mexico and are now fluent in Spanish–that's a fact, not bragging. If you have been drawing since you were two years old and as your skills have progressed, you have entered and won assorted art contests–those are facts, not bragging. By not letting admissions people know what you have done, they have no way of knowing how unique and/or accomplished you are.
IT'S THE QUALITY, NOT THE NUMBER, OF ACTIVITIES THAT COUNTS
Just in case you don't know, colleges are not as impressed by the number of activities in which you have been involved in and outside of school as they are by the focus, accomplishment, and consistency you display. Lettering in two sports for four years is much more impressive then having played 4 sports, but only one per year. A community service project where you were initially one of dozens of volunteers, but three years later direct the program means more than lots of unrelated activities.
If you want to catch a college admissions officers' eyes, let them know who you are and what you've done. Let them taste your energy, involvement and excitement. An activities resume is one of the best ways of doing that.
The Five Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Choosing Colleges to Which to Apply
Okay, you're a senior and getting ready to apply to colleges, but the question is which colleges? Some students begin thinking about colleges their sophomore year, but most students avoid the topic until the last minute. Remember, it's never too late to come up with a good college list.
Unless you're a glutton for punishment, you'll probably apply to no more than 10 or 12 colleges. How are you going to come up with that list? Which colleges fit you are as a person and student? How do you avoid the five biggest mistakes students make in choosing colleges? Here they are:
1) Not doing any research on yourself
The place to start a college search process is determining who you are and what you need in a college. What kind of college do you want to attend? Big, medium-sized or small? Is it important for you to be in a particular kind of setting, e.g., in a city, college town or rural area? Do you want to be in an academically demanding environment and one that's laid-back? What kind of students do you want to be with? People like you or a very diverse group, including international students?
2) Not doing research about colleges
So how do you get quality information about colleges? There are a number of ways. First, there are the excellent college guidebooks such as The Fiske Guide to Colleges, The Insider's Guide to the Colleges and Colleges That Change Lives that provide information about colleges from a student's perspective. You might also talk to people you trust–parents, your counselor, teachers, and students from your high school who are now at different colleges–about which colleges they recommend. Attending different college fairs where admissions representatives come to talk about their colleges is a particularly good source. And, of course, there are online resources such as the Internet college searches. From your research, come up with a list; check out what the GPA and test scores stats are for the colleges and how they match yours.
3) Being too scared to take a chance
Sometimes students underestimate their chances for college acceptance, particularly if they have a learning disability. Know that colleges are very sympathetic to students who have learning issues and often are forgiving of less than stellar grades and test scores. Students who are gifted athletes and/or have special talents sometimes don't realize how interested colleges might be in them. Be smart in putting together your college list by applying to an equal number of Reach schools (where you have a 25% chance of being accepted), Good Chance schools (where you have a 50% or better chance of being accepted) and Pretty Sure thing schools (where you have a 75% or better chance of getting in). A good college list includes a range of college choices, but every one should be a school that you would like to attend. Finally, some students are afraid to be away from their friends, family or even their hometown. Most students usually go through some form of homesickness during their freshman year. The better you do your homework about colleges, the less chance there is of homesickness being a real issue.
4) Being arrogant
Some students who have stellar academic records and strong test scores confine themselves to applying to a handful of the most selective colleges. They leave Good Chance and Pretty Sure Thing schools off their lists. This is a big mistake and a kind of admissions arrogance or naïveté. There are plenty of documented cases where 4.5 GPA/2340 test score applicants are turned down by colleges. Colleges and universities are very idiosyncratic in terms of whom they choose. Therefore, it's really important that you select a series of schools that offer the characteristics you want, including some that may not be highly selective. The worse outcome is to wind up not being accepted to any of the colleges that you applied to because all of them were Reaches. With careful planning, that doesn't need to happen.
5) Being too Lazy
Applying to colleges these days is not easy. It takes a good deal of research to determine how your personal characteristics and individual colleges match. After you have a good college list, you need to spend time completing the applications in a way that maximizes your opportunities. Keep in mind that college applications that are a little better and a little different than the competition's are the ones that end up being the most successful.
Finding which colleges to apply to can seem like an overwhelming task. By avoiding the five biggest mistakes you can increase the chances of having many colleges accept you.
Soon-To-Be Senior To Do List Before School Starts
Hope you're having a great summer! To stay on top of the admissions process, here are some things for you to do.
• Continue updating your college list and researching colleges. Before schools starts, the list should be final.
• Begin making plans for college interviews during late summer and fall. Identify dates; call for appointments; research travel arrangements.
APPLICATION FILING SYSTEM
Now is the time to buy a file box, put together your admissions application filing system, and gather/purchase all the materials you need to complete the applications. My list for what your system should contain is attached.
The new Common Application becomes available on August 1; however, some of the college Supplements may come up later. You can access the Common App here.
If you haven't already:
• Complete your activities resume; email it to me for suggestions and edits. A resume is a critical part of the admissions process. At the very least, it will be invaluable to you as you choose activities on the application grids.
• Most importantly, a resume will help you define who you are, something that colleges really want to know.
• It will also help you to come up with topics to answer the application essays.
For any student, but especially those who are in a fall sport, the summer is the best time to write your short, long and "anything else you want us to know" Common Application essays.
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL BACKGROUNDS
• Art and performing art students should look into the 2010 Performing & Visual Arts Fairs to be held during the fall. You can see when and where the fairs will be held here.
• Students with learning disabilities should make sure that their testing is up-to-date (no more than three years before your applications are filed). If it isn't up-to-date, then this summer is the best time to get it taken care of. Also, ask the test psychologist to write a letter summarizing the test results and send it to each college.
CHECKLISTS, GRIDS AND FORMS
For your convenience, the following useful Checklists, Grids, Forms and such available in the Examples/Lists section of this website.
1. ACTIVITIES RESUME
• Model Activities Resume
• Sample Activities Resume
2. APPLICATIONS CHECKLISTS
• Master Admissions Checklist
• Individual Application Checklist
• Application Due Dates Grid
• Information You Need Before Filling Out Applications
• Materials To Gather Before Completing Applications
3. APPLICATION ESSAY GRID
• Master Essay Question Grid
4. LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION PACKAGES
• What To Provide High School Counselors
• What To Provide Teachers
• What To Provide Other Recommenders
• Sample College List for Counselor, Teachers and Other Recommenders
Cover Sheets for Recommenders:
5. COLLEGE VISITS
• Questions To Ask Current Students
6. INTERVIEW APPOINTMENT CHECKLISTS
• Making An Admissions Interview Appointment Form
• College Interview Cheat Sheet
• Sample Questions That Interviewers Often Ask
• Sample Questions To Ask Interviewers
• Sample Thank You Note To Interviewer
Colleges and Universities Offering Spring Term Admission
Every once in awhile, a student wants to begin college second, rather than first, semester of their presumed freshman year. According to a survey conducted by The Common Application, here is a list of colleges that allows undergraduate applicants to choose January (or spring Semester) as an entry term.
The American University of Rome
Fashion Institute of Technology
Franklin Pierce University
Green Mountain College
La Roche College
Loyola Marymount University
New York Institute of Technology
St. Edward's University
St. John's College, Santa Fe
St. Lawrence University
St. Thomas Aquinas College
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Miami (FL)
Westminster College (UT)
Since the number of admits is likely to be small and some programs at different colleges are closed for this practice, check individual admissions websites and/or call the colleges to see what their respective policies are.
2010-11 Admission Test Dates for SAT and Subject Tests, ACT and AP Tests
Now that the 2009-2010 school year has come and gone, I thought students and parents might find it useful to look ahead to the test dates for the I. SAT and Subject Tests, II. the ACT and III. AP tests for 2010-11. Here they are:
COLLEGE BOARD TEST DATES
|Date of test
||Last day to register
|October 9, 2010
|November 6, 2010
|December 4, 2010
|January 22, 2011
||December 23, 2010
|March 12, 2011
|May 7, 2011
|June 4, 2011
Here is the College Board URL through which you can register for either the SAT or Subject Tests.
The only date students can take the Language with listening Subject Tests is November 5. Either the SAT or Subject Tests can be taken on any of the above dates, except March 12, 2011 when only the SAT can be taken.
ACT TEST DATES
|Date of test
||Last day to register
|September 11, 2010
|October 23, 2010
|December 11, 2010
||January 7, 2011
|February 12, 2011
|April 9, 2011
|June 11, 2011
Here is the ACT URL through which you can register for either the SAT or Subject Tests.
REMEMBER: Colleges accept equally either the SAT or the ACT with Writing
Who Are You? The Most Important Question in College Admissions!
When I start working with students in the college admissions process, at the very first meeting I ask parents to identify a series of nouns, adjectives, adjective phrases, or even little stories (just positive ones please!) that will help me know who their son or daughter is. Very purposely, I don't ask students for their contributions, because most kids don't want to have anything to do with blowing their own horns.
MESSAGES YOU WANT COLLEGES TO GET ABOUT YOU
What I tell the family is that this exercise is just the beginning of the process to help their student come up with "messages" that he or she wants colleges to get about him or her. Clear, sharp images should leap out as the student completes applications, writes essays and goes through interviews.
Usually, one parent takes the lead, shouting out a rapid-fire list of words. A father might say of his son, "Brilliant, tough as nails in sports, hard-working, and a team player." Then the other parent chimes in with his or her chosen adjectives. A mother might say, "Caring, respectful, everybody loves him, a wonderful son." Yes, mothers and dads often have quite different things to say about their kids. All the while, I'm writing down what they say, sometimes asking for clarification or elaboration. If a parent gets stuck, I will say, "What has your son (or daughter) been like since he (she) was a little boy (girl)?" That usually brings forth a whole new set of fresh descriptions.
Recently, a number of parents have asked me to provide them with a list of words that will help them jump start their message list process. Here is a list of 140 words and adjective phrases that I have collected over a number of years:
140 GREAT WORDS AND ADJECTIVE PHRASES TO DESCRIBE WHO YOU ARE
A: Academic, an acquirer of knowledge, adaptable, adventurous, affected by the plight of others, analytical, animal-lover, animated, articulate, artistic, assertive, athletic
B: Balanced, bright, brilliant, has a good business sense
C: Can do anything, caring, good with children, the class clown, devoted to community service, compassionate, competent, concerned about others, confident, conscientious, considerate, courageous, creative, curious
D: Deep, dependable, detail-oriented, determined, disciplined, down-to-earth, people are drawn to her, driven
E: Good with the elderly, empathetic, enthusiastic, ethical, exceptional
F: Fitness-oriented, flexible, focused, a foodie, doesn't suffer fools, friendly, fun (or funny)
G: Generous, genuine, never gives up, goes beyond what is expected, good natured, grounded
H: Happy, hard-working, health-oriented, helpful, honest, humble, good sense of humor
I: Imaginative, independent, inspirational, great intellect, intelligent, involved
L: A leader, a fast learner, logical, loyal friend
M: Mature, mechanical (can fix anything), encyclopedic memory, modest, moral, motivated, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, musical
O: An "old soul," one of a kind, opinion maker, optimistic, organized, original, outdoorsy, outgoing, his or her own person
P: Passionate, patient, persistent, poised, polite, popular, positive, a problem solver
Q: Very quick, quietly confident, a quiet leader
R: A reader, refreshing, reliable, a researcher, resilient, resourceful, respected, respectful
S: Scholarly, self-directed, self-motivated, self-starter, sensitive, science-oriented, sincere, sparkling, spiritual, a sponge for ideas, stands out from the crowd, studious, superb, supportive of others
T: Talented, has good taste, team-player, a techy, loves to travel and explore, trustworthy
U: Unique, unpretentious, upfront
W: Willing to step up, acerbic wit, work until you die kind of person, a beautiful writer
If you are a parent (or student), take a look at the words above and circle any that apply to your child (or you). If other words or adjective phrases pop into your head, add them to the list. If you end up with more than 20-25 adjectives, you should probably go back and select no more than 15 or so to hone in on.
MANY USES FOR WORD DESCRIPTIONS
There are many uses for word descriptions. For example, the USC application usually asks for "…three words that describe you." Last year's Stanford application asked, "What five words best describe you?" And as noted above, as applicants decide what they are going to say on the applications–especially in the essays–it's useful to keep in mind what you want the colleges to "get" about you as they read your words.
Some counselors and teachers like to receive lists of words that describe student applicants to help them know what to say in their respective School Reports and Teacher Evaluation Forms/Letters of Recommendation.
Finally, based on my many years of writing about confidence and competence, I also tell students that knowing who you are is a first step in becoming a confident, effective adult person.
If you have some good words to add to my adjective list you want to share with others, send them along to my Twitter or Facebook pages.! I'll be sure to keep a running list on the website.
San Diego News Network Interview of Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, Founder/Director of www.admissionpossible.com
San Diego News Network (SDNN) is a new, innovative, news and information website in San Diego, California. This week, they are also launching a weekly hard copy edition with the Los Angeles Times. The Executive Editor and Associate Publisher, Barbara Bry, heard about what we were trying to do with admissionpossible.com and asked me if I would be the first subject for the paper's Q and A interview. How could I say no to such a delicious offer?
In this interview, I talk about what prompted me to put up admissionpossible.com, what my hopes are for the website, what I think the effect of US News rankings is on high school students and their parents, as well as a few words about "the secret weapon" in admissions and the importance of visiting colleges.
The interview can be seen here.
I am very flattered to be a tiny part of this new journalistic effort. From everything I read and hear, this is the way of news in our culture now and in the future.
Soon-To-Be-College Freshmen: How To Make Your First Semester at College a Success
You've already faced one of life's biggest challenges: getting into college. You did it! The next challenge is to take full advantage of everything your college has to offer, get good grades, all the while having a great time. As someone who worked on the Stanford University Dean of Student's staff (and was in charge of a dorm with many freshmen), I have some personal advice about making your first semester the beginning of four of the best years of your life. In a nutshell, my advice is to START STRONG.
I. ARRIVE ON CAMPUS AS EARLY AS YOU CAN
Sometime during the summer, colleges usually notify freshman students when in the fall they can move into their residence halls or other housing. There are so many reasons why you should move in as soon as the doors open. To begin with, in order to feel comfortable in your new space, you need to get unpacked and that's going to take a little while. No doubt, there will be some things you have forgotten to bring and the best time to go shopping is when Mom and/or Dad are still around and before school starts. You also need to meet your roommate/s and figure out how you-all are going to share the space.
Once your gear is unpacked, the room is arranged and settled, it's time to explore the campus and figure out where everything is, including the libraries, the gym and workout spaces, the student union (and other places where students gather) and best places to study.
II. CAREFULLY CHOOSE YOUR CLASSES
To make your first semester a success:
• Sign up for the minimum number of classes (usually 12 units).
There's going to be plenty of time for you to take all of the classes you need. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to prove your academic prowess by taking a much larger than average number of classes. Also, don't get into the game that some students fall into of bragging about how tough a schedule you're taking on ("I'm taking 20 units, how about you?") It's important that you give yourself time to adapt to college life, including managing your schoolwork, activities and all the myriad of other things that a college has to entice you.
• Choose classes that you know you will do well in.
In other words, based on your experience in high school, sign up for courses in which you can get A's, regardless of the content. Are you good at English, love history and have spent time as a Madrigal singer? Sign up for classes in those areas. Don't fall into the trap of taking the hardest math, science, or whatever classes available to show other students how smart you are. Frankly, no one is going to care, and you might just get yourself into academic trouble. You don't want to do that.
Ask upperclassmen who the good professors are. See if there is a college website that offers teacher evaluations. And for sure, don't sign up with a professor who gets bad reviews. Unlike high school, you can be picky about which courses and professors you choose.
• Once you have your class schedule, get a campus map and go to each of the buildings where your classes will be held.
If a classroom is open, go in, look around and decide where you want to sit. All of this pre-work means that on the first day of classes when everybody else is scrambling, you will know where you're going, where you want to sit and feel much less anxious than most other new students.
III. PREPARE FOR CLASSES
There are some very simple things you can do to get ahead of the game for your classes.
• Get to the bookstore early and purchase all the books for each of your classes.
Did you know that sometimes campus bookstores run out of required books, and it can take weeks to order them. That's not something you will want to deal with during your first semester. And if you're looking for used texts, often they're the ones that get bought first. You know the saying, "The early bird gets the worm?" At colleges, the worm is textbooks.
And while you're at the bookstore, get all of the other supplies you need for taking notes and keeping organized.
• Buy a wall calendar with an erasable pen to keep track of everything. While many students keep track of things on their IPhones and other hand-helds, there is nothing like having a big calendar on your dorm wall to helps you see when assignments and papers are due, when mid- terms and finals are, and when special events and games are coming up. Once everything is up on a wall, with a quick scan you can see that the third week in October is going to be a killer because you've got two papers due, as well as two midterms. Visually seeing what's happening allows you to plan and prepare.
• Ace the First Test
There's an old saying that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. So to make a good impression in every class, what you want to do is to get an A on your first test. The stronger you are at the beginning, the more likely the professor will see you as a strong student throughout the class.
IV. IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH A CLASS, GET HELP RIGHT AWAY
And if by some chance you should get into a class that gives you trouble, immediately see the professor to get some help. You might also look into getting a tutor. Just so you know, getting help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of maturity. At one time or another, even the smartest students ask for help in something.
If you get excellent grades first semester, your reputation as a good student will follow you. Special internships and honors programs might open up, jobs will be easier to get, scholarships may become available, and you'll go to the top of the Study Abroad list. And, if for some reason you're not happy with the college, having top grades will make it so much easier to transfer to another college.
Seniors-About-To-Become-College-Students: 10 Things You Can Do To Get Ready for College
Most graduating seniors see the summer before they go off to college as their last chance to be free and easy. Sure, many high school grads get part- or full-time jobs to help pay for their college expenses, but there's usually plenty of time to hang out, party with friends, and have a good time. Do it! Enjoy the summer! You deserve to celebrate and feel relaxed!
Without taking away from your feeling of being fancy free for the first time in a long while, here are a few things to do to make sure you're ready for college.
1. Carefully read everything that is sent to you by your college. Take care to note:
• Any forms re special academic programs or activities to sign up for, roommate preferences, housing, medical or insurance issues. Complete and return them ASAP. The earlier your college gets the materials, the better the chances are for your getting what you want in a special seminar, a roommate that is a good match, your choice of dorms, the right meal plan, etc.
+ When Freshman Orientation begins. Again, sign up ASAP to make sure that you get what you want. The best sessions often fill up the first day they are announced.
+ Sometimes colleges offer Pre-Orientations that are wonderful opportunities to meet other freshmen. Some of the cool experiences they offer include river-rafting trips, retreats in the mountains or at the ocean, special seminars with star faculty members, and unique community service projects. Sign up early because there is often limited space.
+ Anything that comes to you about Registering for classes. Pay close attention to the directions. For your first semester, you don't want to get stuck with a bunch of courses you don't want to take.
+ When tuition and room/board are due. Put the date on your and your parents' calendars to make sure that it gets paid on time.
2. Sometime during the summer, contact the Financial Aid Department at your college to confirm exactly what scholarships, work/study and other financial aid you will get. Once you know what it is, sit down with your parents to discuss what they are contributing and what you will be responsible for.
Also talk with your parents about what your college budget is so that you know how much money you have to spend on trips home, movies, concerts, books, haircuts, meals outside the dorm, and a whole host of other unexpected things that come up.
3. Get a hold of your roommate right away when you receive his or her name and contact information. Colleges usually have Freshman Facebook pages that make communicating very easy. Do it! After you get acquainted, you can then decide who is going to bring what so there's no duplication in cost and effort. Remember, dorm rooms aren't that big and will accommodate only one small TV, and/or microwave (if allowed), and/or small refrigerator (if allowed), and/or coffee pot and/or area rug.
4. Find out what the computer requirements are at your college. At this point, virtually every college or university is fully wired. Some colleges even provide computers for students. Go online to see what's available.
5. Develop a list of your Internet Passwords and Pin #s, credit card numbers, social security number, and serial numbers for your computer and printer. Leave this list at home in a safe place so if you need the information, one of your parents can get it for you.
6. Find out when you need to arrive at college, whether for Orientation, Sorority and Fraternity Rush (if you're going to participate), or the beginning of school. Work back from that date to see when your travel arrangements should be, whether you are driving, flying or taking a train or bus. See if one or both of your parents can take time off from work to accompany you for this momentous occasion.
• Make travel and hotel/motel reservations as early in the summer as you can, if you or your parents need to spend a night or two in a hotel/motel or B &B near the college before you move into a residence hall.
7. Depending on what form of transportation you use to get to your college, you need to determine how you are going to get all of your "stuff" to where you're going to live. Check to see if the college has a special arrangement with UPS, Kinkos, FEDEX, the US Postal Service or another delivery service. If no, then call these groups to find out what the least expensive way is for you to send packages to school and when you need to send them so that they don't arrive too early or too late.
8. For a list of what to take with you to college, go to College Board's site for their "Off-to-College Checklist."
9. Check out the New Student section of your college's website that will tell you exactly what to do, where and by when.
10. Once again, make sure you have great summer so that you are relaxed and ready to begin your exciting, new life.
If you follow the above ten pieces of advice, you'll be more than ready to get started with your new life at college.
Financial Aid Basics for Parents
Many parents want to know how to plan for the financial aspect of college admissions. To this end, the U.S. Department of Education has a simplified version of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) that helps families get a preview of the financial aid for which they might be eligible. Their site also offers advice on how to pay for college. This is the link.
Students complete the FAFSA after January 1 of their senior year.
Just so you know, College Board offers PROFILE, a financial aid form that is used by many private colleges. Here is that link.
Here is another link on the College Board website that identifies the colleges, universities and scholarship programs that make use of the PROFILE.
Students can complete the latter form during the fall of their senior year.
THE COLLEGE SOLUTION BLOG
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a respected blogger about admissions and financial aid, as well as a contributor to CBS's Moneywatch.com. If you are interested in how to pay for college, her www.thecollegesolutionblog.com offers wonderful insights and advice.
One blog she wrote in January about how colleges allow families to shelter a fair amount of their savings from FAFSA financial aid calculations may be of interest to you. The link is here.
May 1: Today Is The Day To Say Yes
Just a reminder that today is the deadline for saying yes to the letter of acceptance from the college you have decided to attend. Usually that also involves sending them a deposit for your housing next year.
Congratulations to you and also to the college who was so wise in accepting you!
After the acceptance is done and gone, it's important for you to inform all other colleges to which you have been accepted that you decline their offers (and if appropriate, alert the Financial Aid Offices that you will not be accepting their financial aid packages).
You can accomplish the above by sending them a simple email saying something such as,
"Thank you very much for your letter of admission, but I have decided to attend __________ (the college or university that you will be attending).
Sincerely, (provide your name and the name of your high school.)"
Testing/Schmesting Part IV: Test Optional Colleges
Students applying to four-year colleges and universities have a number of challenges to face. First is figuring out which colleges you want to apply to; second is completing the application forms themselves (including usually writing a number of essays); and third is gathering letters of recommendation from their counselor, teachers and others. Life is a little easier for students these days because over 400 colleges and universities now use The Common Application. Applicants simply fill out one application and send it off online to any number of schools (Note: for some schools, they also complete individual Common App Supplements that include extra questions and essays).
GOOD NEWS FOR STUDENTS WHO DON'T WANT TO TAKE TESTS
Added to the above challenges is the requirement of taking standardized tests, the SAT or ACT. But there is good news for students as an increasing number of colleges and universities now make standardized testing an option, not a requirement. That is, colleges leave it up to each applicant to determine whether or not they wish to take the SAT I or ACT and report their scores to test optional schools. As of April 2010, there are 830 four year colleges that do not use the SAT or ACT to evaluate their applicants.
PUBLIC COLLEGES THAT ARE TEST OPTIONAL
Among the public colleges that have a test optional policy are Arizona State University, Cal State University Chico, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Sacramento, and San Marcos, Eastern Washington University, Indiana State University (Terra Haute), Kansas State University (Manhattan), Minnesota State University (Mankato), Montana State University (Billings and Bozeman), the University of Arizona, University of Idaho, University of Nevada (Reno), University of Oregon, University of Texas (Austin), and University of Wyoming.
PRIVATE COLLEGES THAT ARE TEST OPTIONAL
There is also an impressive list of well-known private colleges and universities that are test optional, including Bates College, Bard College, Bennington College, Bowdoin College, Bryn Mawr College, Colby College, College of the Holy Cross, Connecticut College, Franklin and Marshall College, George Mason University, Gettysburg College, Goucher College, Hamilton College, Hampshire College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Lewis and Clark College, The New School (of New York), Pitzer College, Providence College, Rollins College, Sewanee (The University of the South), Smith College, Susquehanna University, Ursinus College, Wheaton College (Massachusetts, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
For a full listing of test optional colleges, you can go to the Fair Test website.
With a number of test optional schools, there are some stipulations. For example, some colleges use the SAT/ACT only for placement purposes in college classes or for academic advising; others require test scores from out of state applicants. Still others require test scores when a student's GPA or class rank does not meet their requirements.
WHY COLLEGES ARE GOING TEST OPTIONAL
There are a number of reasons why colleges become test optional. According to the FairTest website, schools choose not to require test scores of applicants because:
1. Test optional policies promote excellence and equity.
2. Many colleges have decided that classroom performance (rather than test scores) is a much better predictor of academic success a their colleges.
3. Any number of schools report that having a test optional policy leads to greater diversity because "…otherwise qualified minority, low-income, first generation, female and other students…" are more likely to apply.
Even if you only apply to colleges that are test optional, you might consider taking the SAT or ACT, mostly because you have nothing to lose. In other words, if you apply just to test optional schools and don't score well, you don't have to report your test scores. If, however, you do score well, reporting your scores to test optional schools might increase your chances of being accepted.
The test optional movement is increasing with each year, resulting in more and more colleges moving away from requiring standardized tests as part of their admissions process. For the moment, though, most students still take the SAT I or ACT because testing remains one of the critical elements of what college admissions office look at in making their decisions about who will attend their colleges.
Testing/Schmesting Part III: PSAT/SAT and PLAN/ACT
In this article, I discuss the two families of standardized tests: the PSAT/SAT offered by College Board and the PLAN/ACT offered by American College Testing. While an increasing number of colleges and universities are moving away from required testing (more than 800 according to FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing), the vast majority of schools still require either the SAT or ACT.
WHAT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PEOPLE LOOK FOR IN APPLICATIONS
In general, colleges look at three sources of information as they make their admissions decisions. The first is your academic record; that is, what courses you have taken freshman through senior years (including how many Honors and AP courses), and what kinds of grades you achieved in those classes.
A second area that college admissions officers look at is who you are as a person. They want to know what you do when you are not in class, what your interests and passions are, and if you have special qualities or talents? They are also interested in what you say about yourself in the essays you write.
The third area that colleges are concerned about is the test scores you receive on the SAT and/or ACT. Standardized tests are thought to be a kind of leveling instrument in evaluating students from different schools, different regions and different personal circumstances, although many would say that these tests favor students who have more privileged backgrounds.
THE PSAT/SAT FAMILY
What is the PSAT?
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is a multiple-choice test comprised of three sections, Critical Reading, Math and Writing Skills, that is offered every October. Each of the sections is scored on a scale from 20-80 points, with the total of all three sections ranging from 60-240.
Some high school sophomores and most juniors take the PSAT. Top scores on the PSAT may qualify a few high school juniors for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and some colleges. In addition, the PSAT is seen as a rough predictor of how a student might score on the SAT. In reality, there are no negative consequences for taking the PSAT, but the PSAT does not affect your college admissions.
What is the SAT?
The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is also a multiple-choice test comprised of Critical Reading, Math and Writing sections that is offered seven times a year, in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. Every test also includes a 25-minute experimental section that doesn't count. For each section, a student can score from a possible low of 200 points to a high of 800 points. The highest possible score for all three sections is 2400.
THE PLAN/ACT FAMILY
What is the PLAN?
Typically administered fall of a student's sophomore year, the PLAN is the "pre-ACT." The PLAN structure is slightly different from the PSAT in that it is comprised of 4 subject areas, English, Math, Reading, and Science. Test takers may score anywhere from 1 to 32.
What is the ACT?
ACT, (an abbreviation for American College Testing) is another standardized college admissions test that is accepted equally by college admissions offices.
The ACT is comprised of four tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science and there is also an optional writing test. A total composite score is an average of all four tests and ranges from 1 to 36. The Writing scores ranges from 2 to 12.
TO PREPARE FOR TESTS OR NOT?
For years now, there has been a lot of discussion about whether preparing for standardized tests does any good. In our opinion, there is no question that it does. As a matter of fact, the greatest increases in scores with the SAT and the ACT usually come to students who start out with the lowest scores. That is, the higher the score, the less room there is for improvement; the lower the score the more of a chance there is for improvement.
That being said, there are a number of ways to prepare for tests including:
1. SAT/ACT PREPARATION BOOKS are inexpensive, convenient and usually contain much of the information you need. However, it takes a very motivated student to stick with working from a book. And without feedback from someone who knows these tests, students often make the same mistakes over and over.
2. SAT/ACT COMPUTER SOFTWARE programs for test preparation are also available and tend to be inexpensive, convenient, and for those who are computer savvy, easy to work with. Once again, high motivation is needed to stick with the program, so if you aren't a self-starter computer programs may not do the trick.
3. SAT/ACT TEST PREPARATION COURSES AT SCHOOLS are another resource. Some are as short as a day or a weekend, while others may last throughout an entire semester. Test prep at schools is usually free and convenient. However, the quality of the preparation varies, depending on the knowledge and skill of the test tutor.
4. COMMERCIAL SAT/ACT PREPARATION COURSES from the likes of Princeton Review and Stanley Kaplan are often the resource of choice by students. The advantages are that they have a predictable schedule, they tend to keep up with testing trends, and the classes are small. On the other hand, they can be very expensive and time consuming. More importantly, since the curriculum is fixed, you may spend the same amount of time in areas in which you don't need improvement as you spend in areas where you need a lot.
5. INTERNET TEST PREPARATION RESOURCES FOR THE SAT AND ACT are becoming increasingly popular. Usually, they don't cost anything. Often college professors and graduate students organize the preparation materials, but it takes a lot of self discipline to keep at it.
6. INDIVIDUAL SAT/ACT TUTORING is a another option. This type of help tends to be very expensive, as much as $200 per hour. The quality totally depends upon the knowledge and skill of the tutor, which is sometimes difficult to assess. The advantage, of course, is that if you get the right tutor, he/she focuses on your deficiencies, helps you know how to perform at your best on the tests, which can lead to your significantly raising your scores.
A May 20th, 2009 Wall Street Journal article declared, "…the only effective method to prepare for these admission tests is to study with a private tutor. While tutors typically cost more than a class or book, their expertise and personal catering to each student provides a real advantage and will result in higher scores."
I am not endorsing any particular method, only providing you with what the options are. I leave it up to you and your parents to determine which option is best for you.
Like it or not, standardized testing is probably going to be a part of college admissions for some time to come. What you need to do is prepare for it in such a way that you can get the most out of a test that you can.
Testing/Schmesting Part II: AP Tests
Before I deal with AP Tests, let's do a review of what Advanced Placement (AP) courses are all about, especially how they differ from other regular high school courses?
College Board, the organization that develops and offers SAT and Subject Tests, is also responsible for developing the 30 courses and exams called Advanced Placement that are offered at high schools in the United States and other parts of the world. The current AP courses and exams are:
WHAT AP COURSES ARE AVAILABLE
Computer Science A
Comparative Government & Politics
US Government & Politics
Chinese Language & Culture
Japanese Language & Culture
HOW AP COURSES ARE SCORED
For each course, there is a two to three hour exam that is offered every year in May. The tests are scored numerical scale of 1 to 5. 5 equals "Extremely well qualified," 4 equals "Well qualified," 3 equals "Qualified," 2 equals "Possibly qualified," and 1 equals "No recommendation to receive college credit or advanced placement."
AP courses generally demand more of students than regular courses. When you take an AP course, you usually read more, write more papers, solve more problems, and analyze and evaluate more material. According to The College Board, AP courses are like college courses.
WHY TAKE AP COURSES?
So if AP courses are more demanding and difficult, why would you want to take them? The answer is simple: colleges and universities want you to take the most rigorous courses offered by your high school, and AP courses are the epitome of that. The more AP courses you take and the better you do on the AP tests, the more colleges and universities will consider you a serious admissions candidate. This is particularly true of more selective colleges such as the Ivy Leagues. Another reason is that many colleges will give you college credit for some of AP courses for which you have received a score of 3 or above, and/or advanced placement in some their college courses.
HOW MANY AP COURSES SHOULD YOU TAKE?
How many AP courses you can take is often determined by what your high school offers. Some high schools only offer a handful of AP courses, while others offer all thirty. Many schools have a selection process that determines which students are eligible for AP classes depending on what kinds of courses they have taken in the past and the grades they get in those courses.
Also know that you can take AP classes on-line through such groups as the Brigham Young University Online Independent Study courses and the University of California College Prep Open Access online courses.
Little Known Fact: You don't have to take official AP courses in order to take AP tests.
A "C" OR "B" IN AN AP CLASS OR AN "A" OR "B" IN A REGULAR CLASS?
Should you take an AP class in a subject that you're not strong in and get a C or B, or take a regular class and get an A or B? Frankly, there's no totally right answer to this question. Many colleges will say to get an A in the AP course, period, but others will not be as demanding, appreciating that you are pushing yourself to take a harder class. If you're planning to apply to a selective college, you should try to avoid getting a C in any class. Perhaps this is a solution: if you think you're going to struggle to get a good grade in a particular AP class, it might be best to take a regular class, but then take an AP class in a subject area that is one of your strong suits.
WHAT ARE AP SCHOLAR AWARDS?
Many students are not aware that there are awards given to students who take a number of AP tests and score well. And they're even more clueless that college admissions offices pay a lot of attention to these awards.
• To be an AP Scholar, you must have taken 3 or more AP exams and received 3 or higher scores on the tests.
• If you've received at least a 3.25 on all AP exams and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams, you will be AP Scholar with Honor.
• AP Scholar with Distinction awards are given to students who receive an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams and a grade of 3 or higher on 5 or more of the exams.
• AP State Scholar goes to one male and one female student in each state with grades of 3 or higher on the greatest number of AP exams taken with the highest average grades on all exams.
• Finally, National AP Scholar is granted to students in the U.S. who receive an average grade of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and grades of 4 or higher on 8 or more of the exams.
Whew! Did you know about all of this?
BOTTOM LINE FOR AP'S
So here's the bottom line if you're applying to selective colleges or universities. Take as many AP courses as you can handle, and get A's and also get 4's or 5's on the AP exams. But if you're not applying to selective colleges, don't sweat it. The vast majority of students who apply to moderately selective colleges take a few AP classes, get good grades, pass the AP exams with 3's or 4's and are just fine.
CONTACT INFO FOR AP'S
If you want to know more about AP courses, or about the tests, or how to request an AP Score Report (not the same as the SAT/Subject Test report), go here or call their toll-free number (888) 225-5427.
Testing/Schmesting Part I: SAT Subject Tests
So, you've finished taking the SAT (or the ACT), have received the scores you want–at least you're not planning to take it again–and now you're ready to go through the rest of the application process without worrying any more about tests. Right! Well, maybe. Before you relax, let's talk about Subject Tests.
WHAT ARE SUBJECT TESTS?
Subject Tests are exactly as they sound; tests that focus on a specific subject. The College Board offers twenty of these tests that are broken down into five different content areas: English, History, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, and Languages. There are twelve tests covering the French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin and Spanish languages. You can also take "listening" tests for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Korean. Like the SAT's, the scores for each subject test are reported on a scale from 200 to 800.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE THEM?
How do you know if you have to take Subject Tests? Well, that depends on the test requirements of the colleges and universities to which you are applying. Some colleges require no Subject Tests, others require two, and a couple require three.
So how do you know whether or not to take one, two, three or none at all? There are a number of ways: individual college admission websites are one source and The Common Application website (if the school uses The Common App) is another. Two other websites that offer that information are:
Compass Education Group
WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKEN SUBJECT TESTS?
So if I find out that I have to take Subject Tests for some of the universities I'm applying to, when should I take them? Here are a couple of tips: If you are taking an AP class whose content matches a Subject Test, then take the Subject Test during the College Board May or June test date, after you have taken the AP Test. For example, if you've taken an AP World History class, then take the Subject Test in History. You'll be at the top of your form and will probably need very little additional preparation. Otherwise, take Subject Tests in course areas in which you have excelled.
INFO ABOUT SUBJECT TESTS
You can find a lot of very useful information about Subject Tests on the College Board website.
Here are some generally useful pieces of advice:
1. November is the only date when Language with Listening Tests are offered
2. If you're a senior and plan to apply Early Decision or Early Action, you need to take any required Subject Tests by October test date.
3. To avoid getting overwhelmed during first semester of your senior year, try to get all of your Subject Testing completed by the end of your junior year.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RE SUBJECT TESTS
Can I take a subject test and not report it?
It used to be that you determined which schools, if any, got the results of your Subject Tests, but as of fall 2002, all Subject Test scores are automatically displayed on your College Board test report with your SAT scores. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can retake a Subject Test if you don't feel you've done as well as you like.
How well do I have to do on the subject tests?
Well, the distribution of scores is similar to the regular SAT's. If you're applying to an Ivy League or other very selective schools, they like to see test scores in the 700's. Less selective schools look for scores in the 600's, and even moderately selective schools want to see test scores in the 500 range.
Should I prepare for the subject tests
Absolutely! Among college admissions professionals, there is general consensus that preparing for Subject Tests is a good idea. Since these tests are based on specific content, you really can study for them. More importantly, there is a positive correlation between how much you study and how well you do on the test.
Knowing what to do, when and how makes it more likely that you are going to hit a homerun with Subject Tests! And that can only help you with your college admissions.
High School Students! So What Are You Doing This Summer?
When you were in grammar school and junior high, on the first day of school, what did teachers ask you the moment you walked into their classrooms? Remember?
"What did you do this summer?"
Most of the time, your answers were probably pretty predictable: "Just hung out;" "Went to the beach;" "Went to camp;" "Went on a vacation with my parents." Well, now that you're in high school and planning to apply to college in the not-so-far-off future, what you do with your summers can affect your college admissions. The last thing you want colleges to think is that you are a goof-off or couch potato.
Most colleges not only look at your grades and test cores, but they also look at how you spend your time when you're not in school. They want to know what your interests are, what your passions are, and what kind of a person you are as evidenced by what you do. How you spend summer vacations is also of real interest. Carefully choosing your summer activities might help your college applications stand out from other applicants.
Here are the some options that you might consider:
Special Academic Programs
There are a number of special academic programs that are highly regarded by admissions officers. These include Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth (CTY), Duke University's Talent Identification Programs (TIP), Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) and California's California State Summer School in Mathematics & Science (COSMOS). Most of these programs have special applications for their programs, so you need to begin the admission process early.
Hey, don't think of these academic opportunities as a grind. Not only do they offer students academically rich programs, but they are also a lot of fun. Most students come back excited and ready to go again.
If you're an artist, musician, singer, or dancer, there are also wonderful summer programs. Take a look at the Idyllwild Arts Camp in California, the Interlochen program in Michigan, Aspen's Festival and Music School in Colorado, and Tanglewood in Vermont (operated by Boston University). These programs and many more around the country offer you the opportunity to have a wonderful arts experience, develop your skills, and also meet other students who share your passion.
These days, many students volunteer in and outside of school during the school year. However, summer is a time when you can do very special volunteering, even help to change peoples lives or work to save the planet. Some examples of organizations that offer summer volunteer programs are the Audubon Society, City-Year, The Dynamy Program, Global Quest, LeapNow, the National Outdoor Leadership School and Thinking Beyond Borders.
Volunteer programs abound in the United States, but there are also many located outside of the U.S. Some last one or two weeks, and others last most of the summer. Colleges are impressed when you get outside of yourself and do something meaningful on behalf of others or causes.
Summer Language Immersion Programs
It is almost trite to say that we are a part of a global society, but it's true. The peoples of countries other than the US are often fluent in two, three, and even four languages. Most Americans speak English only. So, your becoming bilingual or even trilingual is something that will help you stand out in college applications. Language immersion programs take place in the U.S., but also in other countries. An immersion program usually involves speaking and writing only in the language you're trying to learn. Some of the better-known summer language immersion programs are through Middlebury College pr, American Field Service, Experiment in International Learning, Youth For Understanding, and the Concordia Language Villages.
Programs for First Generation or Under-represented Minorities Who Are Economically or Otherwise Disadvantaged
Many colleges are aware that first generation students (that is, students whose parents did not attend college) and under-represent minority students (that is, students who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, whose representation at colleges is disproportionately less than their proportion in the general population) have special challenges to face. Therefore, a number of colleges and independent groups have created special summer programs to help students from these groups deal with the challenges they bring to college. Among the programs that are offered are the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at MIT, Questbridge, University of Michigan Summer Bridge program, Telluride Association Summer Programs, and Carnegie Mellon University's Summer Academy for Minority Students.
There are many, many other summer opportunities. If you want to explore a gamut of opportunities, try one or more of these links:
Peterson's Summer Programs and Camps Search
Attention Juniors! Admissions Tests To Get Under Your Belt Before The School Year Ends
It's April or May and you're a junior in high school. While it's easy to be thinking ahead to summer and all the fun you're going to have, you also need to be thinking about which admissions tests to take before the end of the school year. Here is a list:
What Are The Tests That Need To Be Taken?
High schools all over the country offer one or more Advanced Placement (AP) courses that have been developed by the College Board. By taking these courses, students demonstrate that they can handle college level classes. In many cases, they can earn college credit for the courses and/or advanced standing in courses for academic departments in U.S. colleges.
EITHER THE SAT OR ACT
The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a multiple choice and writing test offered by the College Board/Education Test Service. It is comprised of three sections: Critical Reading, Math and Writing each scored for a possible 200 to 800 points and highest combined score of 2400 for all three tests.
The ACT is divided into four multiple choice tests, including English, Reading, Math and Science. An optional writing test is also offered. Total test scores range from 1 to 36.
Colleges accept equally either the SAT or ACT with Writing.
Formerly known at SAT II and Achievement tests, these are 21 hour long multiple choice tests on content areas such as English, History and Social Studies, Math, Science and Languages.
A few colleges require three Subject Tests, quite a few recommend or require two Subject Tests, but many other colleges don't recommend or require any.
When Should The Tests Be Taken?
AP tests are offered only in May. Ask your AP teachers about how to register for them.
Here is a link to the AP website.
SAT or ACT Tests
College Board offers SAT tests in May and June.
Here is where to register for the SAT.
ACT offers ACT tests in April and June.
Here is where to register for the ACT.
College Board offers Subject Tests in May and June, but you cannot take the SAT and Subject Tests in the same day.
Here is where to register for Subject Tests.
IMPORTANT! No admission tests are offered in the summer.
To save yourself a lot of hassle in the fall, it's much better to take all of the admissions tests by the end of your junior year.
Should you not be able to complete your testing junior year, the first ACT test is offered in September by ACT and the first SAT or Subject Tests are offered in October.
"I Didn't Get Into A College, But I Think Should Have:" What You Need To Know To Appeal A College Admissions Denial
Appealing a college admissions denial is very tricky. Most students don't appeal for one very simple reason: the chances of getting a denial reversed are very, very slim.
However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, particularly if you have legitimate reasons for your appeal.
There are legitimate reasons (things that can be documented and/or information that wasn't available the time of the application) and questionable reasons for appealing a denial decision. The fact that you really, really, really, really want to go to a particular college is not sufficient reason for making an appeal.
Two Appeal Rationales That Are Not Likely To Work:
A. "I'm as good as the other guy!"
Suppose you have a good friend who goes to your school and whose grades and test scores are almost identical to yours. He gets admitted and you don't and you think this is reason enough to appeal. Well, not necessarily. Remember, colleges base their decisions on GPAs, academic records, and test scores, but also on many other factors, many of which are difficult to know.
B. "I'm absolutely, positively certain that I would be a good match for the college that rejected me!"
You may be right, but this argument is unlikely to lead to a successful outcome. The truth is that there are more qualified students than there are places at many, many colleges. Even if you are a good match and the college would be a place at which you would thrive, this is not sufficient reason to get a denial decision reversed.
What Are "Plausible" Reasons For Appealing A Denial?
A. There was an administrative error
Even though you did everything right: sent in your application before the due date, had your transcripts and test scores sent, and asked your recommenders to get their letters in on time, sometimes things go wrong. Human error does occur, as in the college didn't receive a piece of your application. If you are certain that any of the above took place, this is a reason to appeal, documenting the mistake and making sure that the information that is missing gets to the school ASAP.
B. Something bad happened
On occasion, unexpected events take place during fall semester of your senior year: you have a serious illness or injury; something serious happens with a family member; some unusual event takes place that dramatically affects your academic and/or test performance. Whatever it is, this is a time to explain the circumstances to a college admissions office. Hopefully, they will listen to you and be sympathetic to your cause. Occasionally they will reevaluate your application. And once in a great while, they will accept a student who was previously denied.
If you're going to appeal a denial decision, be very organized, specific, factual and clear. While chances are slim, you just might turn things around.
I've Been Waitlisted At A College… What do I Do Now?
You've gone through the process of selecting and applying to colleges and then you receive a letter from a college that says you are waitlisted. What does this mean? What do you do?
This message puts you into a kind of limbo: you've not been accepted, denied or deferred by a given college. At least you have not been outright rejected!
If you are waitlisted, what this means is that you might be offered admittance to a college if fewer students than the college anticipated say yes to their letters of acceptance. Most colleges and universities have desired sizes for their freshman classes. Waitlisting applicants is a way they assure themselves of having the right number of students for their fall freshman class.
So What Do You Do?
To begin with, ask yourself if you really want to attend the college. If the answer is no, simply let the college know that you want to be taken off their waitlist.
If the answer is yes, then don't just simply sit back and hope for the best. That's a little like hoping to win the lottery. Being waitlisted at a college is a time to be active and also to mount an acceptance campaign.
How To Get Off A Waitlist And Onto An Acceptance List
Here are some actions to get off a waitlist and onto the acceptance list.
First, let the colleges know that you want to remain on their list. Colleges usually give waitlisted students specific directions for following up on their waitlist notifications. Follow those instructions to the "T." If they want a letter from you, write the letter. If they ask for additional recommendations, get them (and make sure they're really outstanding ones!) and do anything else they ask.
Second, if there are no wait list directions or vague instructions, call the admissions office and ask them what you should do. Be sure to let them know how interested you are in their school.
Third, within the directions you are given, you need to mount an acceptance campaign, paying particular attention to let them know that their college is "your top choice." You can write a strong, personal letter letting them know of your continued interest and very specifically why this college is a perfect match for you. If you've received any awards, won any contests or done something special since you turned in your application, identify each one with some specifics. Also be sure to let them know what you will contribute to their school. To impress the admissions officers, you must give them everything you've got that they don't already know about you.
Fourth, ask people who "know and love you" to advocate on your behalf. Let your high school counselor know what's happening and ask him/her to write a glowing letter on your behalf. Find someone who is a "big gun," such as the principal of your school, or a well known alumni of the college, or a highly esteemed family friend, employer, or athletic coach to write you another letter of recommendation extolling your virtues.
Finally, stay in touch with the admissions office. There's a fine line between expressing your interest and "bugging them." Having said that, it never hurts to let an admissions office know that you "really, really" want to go their school.
In summary, if you are waitlisted, don't sit back and hope for the best. Be active, if not proactive, and give them all the ammunition you have to get onto their acceptance list.
The Admission Decision Letters Are In! How Do You Make Your Final College Choice?
Congratulations! You've been accepted to three colleges! Now you have to make a decision. How do you decide on one college when all of the choices are good ones?
Well, there are a series of things you can do.
First, identify what it is that you really want to in a college: size, location, makeup of the student body, the feeling of the campus, how much access you have to professors, etc.
Second, if it's important to you and your family, take a look at the financial aid packages.
Who is offering you the best deal? However, if College A's financial aid package is superior to College B's, but you think you'd rather go to College B, call the Financial Aid Office at College B to see if they can match College A's offer.
Third, if you haven't done this already, visit your top choice colleges. If you go, try to visit when classes are in session. And be sure to talk with current students about what they like (and don't) about the college. Also try to meet faculty members and check out different kinds of activities. Many colleges have pre-admit weekends (special days for newly admitted students). If you can, attend these special events.
If making college visits is not within your family's financial circumstances, then call the colleges to see if they have funds to help you make the trips. Any number of colleges provide this kind of assistance.
Fourth, as you get ready to make your final decision, try to do it in a systematic way. For each top choice college to which you've been admitted, make a list of pros and cons and also rate each school on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = not interested at all, 10 = totally love the school). Certain colleges will emerge as you go through this exercise.
Finally, if you continue to be undecided, go with your heart, not your head.
Which of the schools on your list is the one that makes you feel good? Which college offers you the most of what you want? Where can you see yourself happy and involved for the next four years of your life? Which school offers a student body that feels like you, a faculty that seem accessible and friendly, a nearby town or community that will be good to live near and a campus that makes you smile?
You should know that regardless of whether they end up at their top choice school or not, most students end up having a wonderful college experience, wherever they decide to go to college.
Final Decision Letters From College Admissions Offices: What You Need To Know
Once upon a time (aka, just a few years ago), the word was out that the heft of an envelope from a college admissions office was a big hint as to what their admission decision was for you. The bigger the envelope, the better the decision! While a few colleges still send out decisions by regular mail, those days have come and gone. Many, if not most, colleges now simply send out acceptance, deferral, waitlist or denial letters by email.
When Can You Expect To Hear?
Unless you are a Rolling Admission, Early Action or Decision applicant, you will hear from college admissions offices sometime during the spring. Some colleges let students know during February and March, but the more competitive colleges send out their decisions in early April.
In the emails or envelopes you receive, there are four categories of responses to your applications, including:
• Deferred Admission
What do each of those responses mean?
An acceptance response is simple and clear: You're in! You've been admitted – we hope to see you in the fall!
II. Deferred Admission, Regular Application (not Early Applications)
Another response a few regular applicants receive is deferred admission. What is that? Some colleges who fill their fall admissions quota quickly or find an applicant a little less qualified than other admits (but still compelling enough), defer a student by giving him/her the option of enrolling during second quarter or semester of freshman year. This is sometimes done for applicants with learning disabilities. Other schools defer a student to sophomore year, providing that he or she takes a year at another college and gets a minimum GPA (often 3.0 or above).
In summary, a deferred admission means that eventually you can go to a college, but you may have to wait awhile or fulfill certain types of conditions before you do.
As you know, many airline companies overbook their flights, assuming that some passengers won't show up and there will be other people waiting to fill their seats. In a similar fashion, in order for a college to insure that it will have a full freshman class, an admissions office will sometimes create a waitlist; that is, a list of students to whom admittance might be offered should fewer students than predicted say yes to their admission offers.
Being waitlisted has the effect of saying to an applicant, "You're not admitted right now, but you may be a little later." The number of students that admissions offices admit from waitlists varies from year to year. Some years it is zero and other years it can be in the hundreds.
If you are waitlisted, but still want to attend the college, you should let the admissions office know immediately that you want to remain on the waitlist. Since you can't count on getting off the waitlist, in the meantime you should accept admission to another school by the May 1 deadline. If you should get off a wait list (and that might be any time from early May until right before school starts in the fall), you must then decide if you want to accept the admission offer. If the answer is yes, very quickly accept admission and let the first school to whom you said yes know that you have decided to attend another college.
Then there's the big D: denial of admission. Nobody likes to be rejected, but every year almost every college will have more qualified applicants than they have room for. So, admissions officers deny a number of applicants. Sometimes, denials are given to students who are less qualified than other applicants, but very often denials are given to highly qualified students. You just never know.
What's The Final Step?
Once you get the news about your admission from a college, you might still have some choices. For example, if you have been accepted to more than one college, you need to decide on just one college. If you receive a deferral, you must decide if you want to accept the conditions of the deferral. If you are waitlisted, you can accept another admissions offer and mount an acceptance campaign with the college at which you were waitlisted. And if you are denied by a college, it's time to move on with your life and make a good decision about where you want to go to college among the choices you have.
Whatever your decision is, be sure to carefully read the instructions noted in your decision letters and act accordingly within the time frames that are provided. This is the final step in the long admissions process that has taken up so much of your senior year. Finally, you can relax, enjoy and celebrate!
25 MORE COLLEGES NOW ACCEPT THE COMMON APPLICATION
Good news for future college applicants! 25 more colleges have just joined The Common Application group. Among the colleges that will now accept The Common App are Columbia University in New York, DePaul University in Illinois, Otterbein College in Ohio, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois, the St. John's Colleges in New Mexico and Maryland, the University of Connecticut and the University of Michigan.
This means that a total of 414 colleges and universities in the United States accept The Common Application.
For a list of all the colleges involved with The Common Application, as well as forms and other information, go here.
SENIOR MARCH TO DO LIST
As acceptances start coming in, talk with your parents about making a few college visits to the schools that really interest you.
Many colleges offer Pre-Admit events in which admitted students are invited to spend a couple of days touring the campus, living in a dorm, participating in special activities, talking with professors and current students, attending lectures and, of course, dining at various dorms, coffee houses, and other venues.
If you can't attend one of these events, then consider visiting a campus on your own. Some students prefer to see a campus under normal circumstances.
Even if you have visited a college before, do it again! There is a big difference between seeing a college when you are an applicant and when you are an accepted student. A post-admit visit usually has a very different feel to it. You are now in the driver's seat, a place from which you can look at a college more realistically.
Rather than gaining specific information about a college campus, focus on how you feel while you are there. Can you see yourself spending four happy years at this college? Are you already thinking about what you'll do when you arrive in the fall? As you walk around the different parts of the school, do you find yourself smiling? The answer to these questions are very important. Write down your impressions of what you see and hear.
Important note: For students that find a college visit a financial hardship, contact the Admissions Office of a school to see if there are funds to support your travel and stay at the school.
When you finish visiting colleges, begin the process of identifying the pros and cons of each college that is on your final list. If you have trouble deciding, go here and go through the step-by-step decision-making process in the section on Choosing Your College.
FRESHMAN & SOPHOMORE MARCH TO DO LIST
Begin thinking about what you want to do this coming summer. Colleges are just about as interested in what you do outside of school and with your summers as they are in your academics.
March is the perfect time to research and begin applying to summer programs. Look for experiences that tap into what your interests or talents are, or be brave and try something new! Above all, make sure you choose something you really enjoy.
Be sure to check out when applications are due; some are as early as March.
Here are some links to online resources about 2010 Summer Programs for High School Students:
1. Cogito.Org, Johns Hopkins University
Connecting Young Thinkers Around the World provides a comprehensive up-to-date information on some of the best academic summer programs in the country. You can search by content, location, grade level, program, etc. This is a real find!
2. Enrichment Alley
This website provides information about enrichment opportunities in general, but also specifies programs that are offered in the summer. Search for different kinds of programs, by location, by dates offered, etc.
On this site you can search for many different kinds of summer programs, including internships, college experiences, special interests such as music, art, or athletics, study abroad and wilderness outings.
4. Sloan Career Cornerstone Center
If you are interested in science, this is the site to go to. Find summer programs involving Technology, Robotics, Biomedical research, Oceanography, Veterinary medicine, Computers, Math camps, special minority programs, programs specifically for girls, you name it.
If you want to do some community service this summer, here is website that will help you find something meaningful to do. Plug in your zip code and you'll get a list of what's available in your area.
JUNIOR FEBRUARY TO DO LIST
• Begin putting together your college list. If you need help with this, complete the adMISSION POSSIBLE College Selection Questionnaire on The Examples/Lists page.
With a list in hand, start researching colleges by reading the various guidebooks, such as The Fiske Guide, The Insider's Guide, and/or Colleges That Change Lives. When you have researched the list and narrow down your preferences.
• Sign up for the SAT I, Subject Tests and/or ACT tests that will be given in March, April, May and June. Many test sites fill up for these dates and some students end up having to drive to a far away test site.
If you haven't already, make arrangements to get some admissions test tutoring.
Here are the links for College Board and ACT:
• Begin making plans for this summer. Believe me, it's not too early.
• Put together a first draft of your activities resume. Samples of real resumes can be found here.
SENIOR FEBRUARY TO DO LIST
Here are some suggestions for dealing with your college acceptances:
DECIDING WHICH COLLEGE IS THE BEST ONE FOR YOU
• Some acceptance letters have conditions tied to them: be sure to check for this
Deciding On One
• If you have been accepted to your college of choice, but want to defer for a year, it's important to consult your college about how to do this. More and more students are taking a gap year.
√ Identifying what you want in a college
√ Examining the financial aid packages
√ Re-reading your notes about the different colleges
√ Consulting with good sources
√ Attending pre-admit days or receptions
√ Rating each school on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = No way!, 10 = The best!)
√ Deciding based on what your head and heart tell you to do
• Even if you make a decision about a college that you later regret; it's not fatal. You can always transfer to another college
• May 1 is the deadline by which colleges want to hear that you accept their invitation to attend their college. You also need to fill out any housing forms you have been sent.
• Do it and celebrate!
Important! Many colleges pay close attention to second semester grades. Don't even think about slacking off: keep your grades as high as you can. Keep in mind that colleges do rescind acceptances if student grades precipitously drop second semester, senior year.
NEWS ABOUT THE COMMON APPLICATION ESSAY QUESTIONS FOR 2010-11
To: adMISSION POSSIBLE Juniors
The Common Application people have just announced that the Essay questions for the 2010-11 Common Application will be the same as they were this past year. This is very good news since a previous announcement a couple of months ago indicated that the new application will be available in August, rather than the usual July release.
Just in case you want to know, here are the questions:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below or on an attached sheet. (150 words or fewer)
This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. Choose one of the following topics. (250 words minimum)
1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national or international concern and its importance to you.
3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
4. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
5. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated their importance of diversity to you.
6. Topic of Choice
If there is any additional information you'd like to provide regarding special circumstances, additional qualifications, etc., please do so in the space below of on an attached sheet. (No word count provided)
The Common Application can be found here.
SOPHOMORE: JANUARY – JUNE TO DO LIST
So that you can plan ahead for the rest of the school year, month by month here is a list of things do:
• Begin thinking about what you want to do this coming summer. Colleges are as interested in what you do outside of school and with your summers as they are in your academics. Make sure you choose something you really enjoy.
• Stanford University has announced its summer institutes for middle and high school students. Here is the URL that describes their programs.
• Attached is a list of web links that provide information about other great summer programs. The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth website also lists many cool things to do. Be sure to click on the other links listed on the site.
Know that there are many, many other great programs around a variety of academic and other interests, especially at colleges and universities. Here is where you can find other summer programs.
• During school breaks and while on vacations, swing by any colleges that are nearby just to have a look at what different colleges are like.
• Take stock of how you are spending your time in and out of school. Is there anything you want to add or eliminate from your schedule? Make sure that everything you do is either something you enjoy or "counts" academically.
• Decide whether you want to take any Subject Tests for advanced classes in which you are enrolled. The possibilities are:
Here is a link that takes you to the list of Subject Tests offered by the College Board.
Just so you know, the UC's require two Subject Tests, but in different subject areas. A few of the very competitive colleges such as Harvard require three Subject Tests; many other colleges require two and some don't' require any at all. The Common Application website, college websites and this URL are good places to find what individual schools are requiring.
• Begin researching and making contact with the best test tutors in town so that you will have a place with one of them next year.
• Make sure that you are signed up for AP tests that are given at your school in May.
• Attend the National Association of College Admissions Counseling college fair at the San in the city in which you reside. The URL that lists dates for fairs in different cities is here.
• Finalize your summer plans.
• Carefully choose your next year classes, taking into consideration the rigor of the program and balance in your life.
• Take the AP test for any AP class in which you are enrolled.
• Ace your Finals.
JUNIOR: JANUARY – JUNE TO DO LIST
First semester will soon be over. Believe it or not, this is a good time to begin thinking about college admissions for next fall. So that you can plan ahead, here are some things for you to do in the next six months.
• Because a number of colleges ask for a writing sample as a part of their applications, save some of your best English, history, and other papers from this year.
• Every once in awhile stop by to say hello to your high school counselor. You want to make sure that this person knows who you are as he/she will be filling-out your application School Report forms, something to which admissions officers pay a lot of attention.
• Also, take extra time to "make nice" with teachers who you might ask to write recommendations for you.
• Stanford University has announced its summer institutes for middle and high school students. Here is the URL that describes their programs.
• Attached is a list of web links that provide information about other great summer programs. The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth website also lists many cool things to do.
• Take stock of how you are spending your time in and out of school. Is there anything you want to add or eliminate from your schedule? Make sure that everything you do is either something you enjoy or "counts" academically.
• Decide when you are going to take the different college admissions tests, making sure that you complete all by June of this year.
• Find out when the National Association of College Admissions Counseling college fair will be held in the city in which you reside. The URL that lists dates for cities is here.
Here are when the College Board and ACT tests will be given in 2010. Sign up now, even though it seems like a long time away.
SAT TEST DATES
January 23, 2010
March 13, 2010 (SAT I only)
May 1, 2010
June 5, 2010
ACT TEST DATES
April 10, 2010
June 12, 2010
• Decide whether you want to take any Subject Tests for advanced classes in which you are enrolled. A list of the Subject Tests can be found here.
Just so you know, the UC's require two Subject Tests, but in different subject areas. A few of the very competitive colleges such as Harvard require three Subject Tests; many other colleges require two and some don't' require any at all. The Common Application website, college websites and this URL are good places to find what individual schools are requiring.
• Begin putting together a list of colleges in which you are interested; start reading about them in the various guidebooks.
• If you haven't already, make arrangements to get some admissions test tutoring. It is said that students who don't get tutoring underscore by 200 points.
• Begin thinking about what you want to do this coming summer; colleges pay particular attention what applicants do the summer before senior year.
• Put together a first draft of your activities resume.
• Remember that junior year grades are very important, especially Spring semester.
• Make plans for summer activities, including applying to programs that interest you.
• Consider using Spring Break as a time to visit colleges.
• Make sure that you are signed up for AP tests that are given at your school in May.
• Continue exploring and narrowing down your college list.
• Ask favorite teachers if they will write recommendations for your college applications.
• Finalize your summer plans.
• Carefully choose your senior classes, taking into consideration the rigor of the program and balance in your life.
• Take the AP test for any AP class in which you are enrolled.
• Have your college list narrowed down to the colleges you like best.
• Ace your Finals.
January Senior College Admissions Checklist
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday break.
JANUARY ADMISSIONS CHECKLIST
For some of you, all of the applications are done and gone. Yippee! For others, there are a few left to do. What a wonderful feeling that must be!
Besides letting one college know that "they are the one" before May 1, there are a few things left for you to do.
1. Submit any college applications that are due in January, February and later.
2. Students with Early Decision acceptances need to say yes to their schools.
3. For students who applied Early Action and/or Regular Admission, give your high school counselor copies of the 2000-2010 Midyear Report forms with the top portion filled out by you for every college on your list. Also provide a stamped, addressed envelope for each Midyear Report.
4. Make sure that each college to which you have applied receives an updated copy of your school transcript that includes first semester grades (except for the UC's).
5. If you haven't done this already, make a call to each college on your list and ask them if they have received all of the required application materials. If the answer is yes, simply say thank you. If the answer is no, find out what is missing and immediately act to get the missing material to the college.
For colleges that provide you with application information on-line, check the respective websites to make sure they have received everything. Follow-through appropriately.
6. Because a lot can happen between the time you fill out an application and the beginning of the new year, update the colleges with a written note addressed to the College Admissions Committee (or email to the college representative assigned to your high school) with any new information, including recent awards, athletic achievements, volunteer efforts, etc.
7. For students deferred in an Early Decision, or Early Action Single Choice application
Updating your file is particularly important. Write a letter reaffirming that the college continues to be your first choice and provide an update of what you have done since you turned in the application. If you have teachers or others who will write additional superlative letters of recommendation, then ask them to do so.
If you have any questions about the above, don't hesitate to email me. And PLEASE, let me know when you start hearing from the colleges!