There’s a good post by Martha C. Merrill, the dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College, up on “The Choice” blog on the topic of appropriate college tour questions. In the post entitled, “What (Not) to Ask on a Campus Tour,” Merrill goes through some questions that prospective applicants and their parents sometimes — rather astonishingly — ask. Wondering what those questions are? Have you ever been on a campus tour when a parent in the group asked how much it would cost to buy a library? Oh, it happens. Ms. Merrill didn’t mention this particular gem, but she did mention a few others that got us to giggle.
For instance, students should not ask their tour guide to admit them. That tour guide has no power over your candidacy. He or she is just a student in all likelihood. Maybe at some schools it’s an admissions officer so there are indeed exceptions, but this is neither the time or the place to bring such a question up. In fact, there is never a time or place to outright ask an admissions officer to admit you. That’s absurd. Oy vey. Merrill also says that students and parents shouldn’t ask the tour guide to “predict how much financial aid you might receive.” Yes, some folks really do this! How the heck would the tour guide know this information? Oy vey again.
And certainly don’t ask your tour guide’s grades or SAT scores, writes Merrill. Oh, we’ve heard people ask this. Are they kidding? How nosy can one be? What business is it of theirs? What an invasive question but, yes, there are people in the world on college tours who ask such questions. It happens. Have you been on a tour where an inappropriate question was asked? If so, how did your tour guide respond? Share with us your stories by posting below!
While you’re here, check out our video on What Not to Do on College Tours.Categories: College Admissions, College Decisions, Deciding on a College to Attend Tags: Campus Tour Questions, College Tour Questions, College Tour Questions To Ask, University Tour Questions, University Touring
As students and parents go on college tours, they should pay attention to what the tour guide is saying. But that shouldn’t be all that they pay attention to. In order to get a more complete picture of a university, parents and students should wander off after the college tour. They should talk to students. They should smile at students to see if they smile back. In our experience, smiling students equates with a lower transfer rate. Wouldn’t you want to go to a school that students love going to? Much of what your tour guide tells you about a school is informative. But much of it is also the school’s PR. The tour guide is instructed to say much of what they’re telling you. Wouldn’t you like to complement that with some off the record information?
Wander around the campus dining halls if you can. Check out the food. Ask students if they like going to their school. If you’re able to, sneak into a dorm room and see if someone will show you their room. Ask them questions about their experiences. Do you they love it? If so, what do they love about the school? Go to a basketball or football or hockey or soccer game if there’s one going on. Check out the school’s spirit. Do students attend games? If school spirit is important to you, wouldn’t it be nice to see this all firsthand?
And for students who are too embarrassed to walk around with their parents, walk around on your own. Or let your parents walk around on their own. Let them ask questions. Let them wander into dining halls on their own if you don’t want to accompany them. They’ll get the info for you, info that you can even use in your Why College essay if you do indeed want to apply after your campus visit. You’re not going to have many opportunities to visit each school (usually only one) — so make the most of it and get all of the information that you can glean.Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: College Tour, College Tours, Touring Colleges, Touring Schools, Touring Universities
Ever wonder which colleges produce the most interns? Well, wonder no longer! Menachem Wecker of “US News & World Report” has put out a ranking for the universities in the United States that “produced the largest percentage of interns among the class of 2011.” So who tops the list of college internships? That would be Clarkson University where 86% of the Class of 2011 graduated with internship experience. Clarkson is ranked #115 among national universities in the “US News” rankings. Coming in second on the internship ranking is the Colorado School of Mines, at which 81% of students graduated with internship experience (the school is ranked #77 in the overall ranking).
In third is the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College (ranked #10 in the “US News” overall ranking this year). At Dartmouth, 72% of students graduated with internship experience among the Class of 2011. One reason Dartmouth may appear on this list is because the school requires sophomores to spend their sophomore summer at the college. Because students are required to be on campus during that term, they take off another term at some point to even things out. When students are off from school during the fall, winter, or spring, they often don’t have as much internship competition as most interns intern during the summer months. It gives Dartmouth students a career edge in many ways.
Coming in fourth is Clemson University, where 67% of students graduated with internship experience (the school is ranked #68 overall). After Clemson comes Pace University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Memphis, Syracuse University, DePaul University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges, The Rankings Tags: College Interns, College Internships, Ivy League Internships, University Interns, University Internships
Ever wonder how you can figure out if the vast majority of folks who attend a university you’re interested in applying to are happy college students? One way to find this out is to do the smile test. When visiting a school you’re interested in attending, smile at students whom you pass on the lawn or sit next to in the cafeteria. And then see if they smile back! It’s that simple. We find that at colleges where students are happy, they’ll smile back. At colleges where students aren’t happy, they won’t nearly as often.
How else can you tell if there are happy college students at the universities you’re considering attending? Look at the retention rate! Do students transfer? If a number of students transfer from a given university, chances are good that a number of students aren’t happy. If you’re happy, you’d want to stay all four years…and then some! Again, pretty simple logic and yet most folks don’t bother to check out transfer rates. There are some universities with ridiculously high transfer rates! We won’t name them here, but they sure do exist!
Additionally, “The Huffington Post” has come out with an article that reports on “Unigo’s” rankings of the happiest colleges in America. So what are the ten happiest colleges in America according to “Unigo”? In no particular order, Barnard College, University of Wisconson – Madison, George Washington University, Boston University, Grinnell College, Carleton College, Brandeis University, Colgate University, Vassar College, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are their top picks.
What do you think about these schools being considered the universities with the happiest students? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting below!Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend Tags: Happy College Applicants, Happy College Students, Happy University Applicants, Happy University Students, Low College Transfer Rates
Many of our students end up joining fraternities and sororities once they go to college. The fraternity and sorority scenes at various colleges vary and if it’s something that our students express an interest in, we do encourage them to check out the scene — or lack thereof — prior to deciding upon a school to attend. But on the topic of college fraternities and sororities, we thought we’d share with you an article that we came across a little while back by Abigail Sullivan Moore. The article, which ran in “The New York Times” discusses the lengths college-aged females are going to to gain admission…to sororities!
Apparently, there are folks who deem themselves sorority consultants. As sorority consultants, these folks offer their expertise about how to get into the sororities of their clients’ choice. Yes, you read that correctly. According to “The New York Times” article on sororities, “Margaret King of Birmingham, Ala., was at a loss about how to help her older daughter prepare to rush at the University of Virginia. In the South, where sororities have long been a momentous rite of passage, the road to sisterhood is long and not so clearly marked. So Mrs. King, who graduated from Yale in 1984, before it had any sororities, enlisted the aid of Marlea Foster and Pat Grant, local consultants who had coached their own daughters through rush at Furman, the University of Georgia and Auburn University. Naming themselves the Rushbiddies, they opened shop in 2009 after hearing about the rush misfortunes of their daughters’ friends.”
Oy vey. We initially thought that this article was a prank. But it seems “The New York Times” doesn’t have that kind of sense of humor — it’s serious. These folks really consult with college-aged women to help them get into sororities. So what does their help entail? They teach them how to make “appealing facial expressions,” they work on their conversation skills, and they correct their body language to improve their odds of sinking bids at sororities among other things.
Well, heck, it’s a free market economy and these folks seem to have found some kind of niche where their services are needed. So good for them. We’ve now seen it all. Really.Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: College Fraternities, College Fraternities and Sororities, College Frats, College Sororities, University Sororities
Here’s a college visits tip for you: Do the smile test! What’s the smile test, you ask? It’s quite simple! When visiting colleges, smile at students as you pass them on the lawn, in the dining halls, and in lecture halls. Give them a full, ear-to-ear smile. Then, see if they smile back at you. In our experience, we’ve found that students tend to smile when they’re happy at the college they attend. At schools with higher transfer rates, many students tend to fail the super simple smile test. Isn’t that funny?
While we don’t have the data to support our theory, we suspect it’s true. Walk around Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and everyone will smile back at you. Even if there is three feet of snow on the ground. Walk around Williams College and you’ll find the same is true there. Walk around Binghamton University…and not so much! Then, look at the transfer rates at the respective universities!
Doing the smile test seems silly, but we would argue that it’s as important as anything when deciding upon colleges to apply to. Why would you want to attend a school where students aren’t happy? Why would you want to subject yourself to that? Why not just go to a university where people are happy, where they smile, where they are excited and energized? If you learn nothing else from all of our blogging about highly selective college admissions, we urge you to do the smile test. It’s worth it.
While you’re here, check out this newsletter on College Visits.Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: Campus Visits Tips, College Visit Tips, College Visits Tips, University Visit Tips, University Visits Tips
Students on college visits need to behave themselves. A recent study by CARE (Center for Adolescent Research) reports that 16% of high school students surveyed who spend an overnight at a college admit to drinking. And those are only the students who admit to drinking. We believe that figure would quadruple at least if all students surveyed responded honestly. The study also found that for about half of those students surveyed, this marked the first time students drank alcohol. And alcohol is only one sort of risky behavior students engaged in on overnight college visits, according to the study (no surprise there!). We’re not going to get into the other behaviors since we aim to keep our blog PG, but we trust you get the idea.
Many parents think that their children are smart enough not to consume alcohol on college visits. But then whose children are drinking alcohol? Parents need to realize their children are just as susceptible to peer pressure on college visits. High school students are on foreign turf. They’re surrounded by students who are older than them, who they admire. These students don’t live at home with their parents. They live on their own. They’re cool and so high school students will often try their best to fit in — which includes drinking.
But not only is underage drinking dangerous (especially for students who have never before consumed alcohol), it can jeopardize your chances of admission to the college you’re visiting. After all, our blog is about college admissions. Deans of admission find out when students visiting colleges get into trouble. Did you think they wouldn’t? Of course they do! And do you think if you get in trouble on your overnight college visit that you’ll be admitted? Likely not — no matter what your grades and scores are.
College athletes on recruiting trips often get into trouble on their visits because they’re surrounded by a team. When the team drinks alcohol, often so do the recruits. And these recruits can then find themselves in hot water with their parents, their potential college coach, their high school coach, etc. It’s very easy for a high school student to fall off a college coach’s recruiting radar. Students on college visits thus need to avoid risky behavior. They need to be on their best behavior. That means not drinking alcohol!Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend Tags: College Recruiting Visits, College Visits, Students on College Visits, Students on University Visits, Visiting Colleges
There are pluses and minuses to visiting universities over the summer months. The big minus is that at most universities, the majority of students aren’t around during the summer. Sure, there are exceptions. At Dartmouth, for example, sophomores are required to spend their summer on the Hanover, New Hampshire campus. And you’ll find trickles of students taking summer courses at a host of universities, including highly selective ones. But by and large, you can’t get a good sense of a student body over the summer. What if you apply Early Decision to a university only to realize once you matriculate that the vast majority of students play the guitar and have purple hair (not that there’s anything wrong with that or that students with purple hair tend to play the guitar)? We’re simply saying that it’s important to get the full picture of a university and you often can’t do that when school’s out for summer.
But we’ve told you about the minus. What’s the plus, you ask? The plus is that some highly selective universities offer campus interviews over the summer. Did you know that? If not, now you do! See, it pays dividends to read out blog regularly for helpful tips. And that’s not all. If you are visiting universities this summer that offer campus interviews, be sure to schedule your interviews after you attend the info session and tour. Why’s that? By doing so, you’ll know more about the university at which you’re interviewing and you’ll be better prepared to answer questions about why you want to attend that college. Seems logical, right?
So if you are visiting universities this summer when school’s out and your workload is lighter, know that this is OK. But be sure to do your research. Know what kinds of students attend a university. Ask around. Over the summer, you can’t do the smile test (checking to see if students on campus are smiling and happy or if they look like they want to transfer on the first bus out of town). So comb through the website. Ask your peers. Ask recent grads of your high school who attend that university. Nothing beats the smile test, but something is better than nothing. At The Ivy Coach, we are firm believers in the smile test. If you smile on a university visit, see if students smile back. It is the ultimate test to see if the students are nice and happy. We dare you to try!Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Interest Tags: Campus Visits, College Visits, University Visits, Visiting Colleges, Visiting Universities
If you’re someone who wants to work in the business world after college, that doesn’t mean that you have to be one of the many undergraduate business majors. Just as med school applicants can major in philosophy (so long as they satisfy medical school course requirements), students who want to work in corporate America or as entrepreneurs do not in any way have to major in business. It’s completely not necessary and, in many cases, it can even hurt these students during their career.
According to an article on undergraduate business by Melissa Korn in “The Wall Street Journal,” “The proportion has held relatively steady for the past 30 years, but now faculty members, school administrators and corporate recruiters are questioning the value of a business degree at the undergraduate level. The biggest complaint: The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting and don’t develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through long essays, in-class debates and other hallmarks of liberal-arts courses.”
The fact is that businesses value and seek out students with certain skills (i.e., the ability to program in Java, PHP, etc.) rather than seek out students who have certain degrees. Take a film major as an example. Do you think a film executive in the entertainment industry is going to hire an applicant because she majored in film? No. She’s going to hire her because she thinks she’ll do a great job, because she’s a strong writer, an avid reader, and eager to do grunt work. Sometimes a major in an area outside of what you end up working in can really be to your benefit. A major in computer science can often prove more valuable as students seek out employment in Silicon Valley than a business major. Even if they are seeking employment at a startup. The same is true on Wall Street. A psychology major can sometimes be more helpful than a major in business. The list goes on and on.
At The Ivy Coach, we believe in the merits of a strong liberal arts education. If you’re at Wharton (the business school at the University of Pennsylvania), you’ll be studying undergraduate business. But, at most schools, don’t think that you need to major in business to get a leg up in the business world (as it’s often not a leg up at all!).Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Selecting Colleges Tags: Business Majors, College Business Majors, Undergrad Business Major, Undergraduate Business Majors, University Business Majors
We’re often asked around this time every year why our students who were admitted via Early Decision aren’t invited to their school’s admitted students weekend. After all, they committed to attend their future alma mater over every other college. They sent in applications back in the fall, so sure that this was the college for them. So why don’t they get invites to admitted students weekend? That’s an easy one! Because the college doesn’t have to convince them to matriculate! They only have to convince Regular Decision admits to attend.
The point of admitted students weekend is for the college to boost their yield. They roll out the red carpet. They assign prospective students a current student who will house them. They serve prospectives lobster dinners and sing and dance. This weekend is, in no uncertain terms, the best marketing tool the college has — its own students. No flyer will have the energy of current students. No email will make you feel like this is the college that you must attend over all others.
So if you’re a student (like many of ours) who was admitted early and didn’t get the invite to admitted students weekend, don’t worry too much. Maybe you can ask the admissions office if you can attend. The answer is likely no, though, as they quite often simply don’t have the room to put you up with all of the other prospective students on campus. During this weekend, you’re just not the priority. They already have a binding commitment from you! One last thing — don’t forget to be on your best behavior during this weekend if you do end up going as the last thing you want to happen is get your admission rescinded. It happens each and every year.
Check out our Ivy League Admissions Statistics.Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Early Decision / Early Action Tags: College Admits, College Admits Regular Decision, Early Decision Admits, Regular Decision Admits, University Admits