On January 1st, we celebrate the New Year all over the world as our new students finish their applications by the college admissions deadlines. Most of our students finished their applications a long time ago, but some students don’t come to us until around the holiday season so we’ve got fast work to do. This year, we celebrated in four different time zones across the world. That’s quite a bit of confetti.
If you’re a high school junior or the parent of a high school junior, wouldn’t you rather enjoy your New Year’s Eve? Wouldn’t you rather not have to worry about finishing your college applications at the deadline? If so, consider not procrastinating when it’s your turn and start way earlier in the year. There is no need to finish applications at the deadlines. It sure is a relief to finish at the buzzer, but why give yourself this added stress? Instead, you should be enjoying your New Year’s Eve and not worrying about getting your college applications in on time.
So, high school juniors and their parents, take our advice. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve. Don’t do your applications at the deadline. Give yourself ample time to write, to rewrite, to proof, and proof all over again. It’s a good strategy for the highly selective college admissions process. And it’s a good strategy for life!
While you’re here, read about the deadline extensions that impacted this past Early admissions cycle (due to Hurricane Sandy).Categories: College Admissions, Submitting the Application Tags: College Admission Deadline, College Admissions Deadlines, Ivy League Admissions Deadlines, University Admission Deadline, University Admissions Deadlines
It never ceases to amaze us how many students wait until the very last minute to do the vast majority of the work on their college applications. College essays should not be written over winter break, right before the college application deadline. They should be written way beforehand! But we suppose saying as much changes nothing since we say the same thing every year and every year we help students at the very last minute with their college applications. It’s remarkable just how many procrastinators there are among high school students.
When students write their college essays at the very last minute, there isn’t as much opportunity to revise. And good writing is about revising, revising, revising. How many rewrites can one possibly do if the first draft of a college essay isn’t written until December 28th? Not many — considering that student only has a couple of days to get that essay in. Rarely — and by rarely we mean never — do students write a fantastic college essay on their first draft. In over twenty years of offering college admissions counseling to students around the world, we’d be hard-pressed to think of a single instance when this happened. Good writing is about rewriting. It’s true of college essay writers. It’s true of professional novelists, screenwriters, and journalists.
Is it narcissism to think that one can hammer out a remarkably compelling essay on the first draft? Perhaps. Perhaps it’s just a fundamental misunderstanding of how good writing happens. Good writing happens by taking time in between drafts, to reflect a bit. Maybe something you wrote last week was terrible but it will take a week to realize it. It’s this very sort of thing that one won’t have opportunity to realize if one waits until December 28th to write college essays. So, high school juniors, don’t make these kinds of mistakes!Categories: College Admissions, College Essays, Submitting the Application Tags: College Application Deadline, College Essays Deadline, Ivy League Application Deadline, University Application Deadline, US College Application Deadlines
Telling the truth in college admissions is something that most people know they should do but so many choose not to. Maybe it’s that award you claim to have won on your varsity track team or maybe it’s an activity you claimed to have done 30 hours each week when in fact you only spent two hours a week. These kinds of lies can severely damage your chances for admission to highly selective colleges.
Some universities such as MIT actually check up on a random selection of applicants to ensure that what they put on their application is the truth. They do this in the hope of not only deterring people from lying but in the hope of catching applicants once they lie so that these students will not become members of their incoming class of admitted students. So if you’re foolish enough to lie, rest assured that there’s a decent chance you’ll get caught. And even if you do get in, if the college learns of lies on your application during your college years, they can certainly expel you for your dishonesty.
Tell the truth on your college application. Tell the truth when you share your athletic profile with college coaches. If you tell a college swim coach that you go a :54 in your 100 breastroke and then you show up unable to break a minute once you’re admitted, that college coach is going to be fuming mad. Granted, the coach should have done his homework by checking your times online (where they’re all available through USA Swimming) but he’s not going to take this easily. Maybe he’ll contact your high school or the admissions office. Your fellow swimmers will invariably know about your deceit. Is that the way you want to start off your college career? We don’t think so.
Check out this post on Lying in College Admissions.Categories: Admissions Process, College Admissions, College Athletes, Submitting the Application, The Application Tags: Lies and Ivy League Admission, Lying in College Admissions, Telling the Truth in College Admissions, Truth and Ivy League Admissions, Truth in College Admissions
Lying on college applications is a really bad idea. It’s morally wrong. It severely jeopardizes your chances for admission. And, if you get caught, you risk not only not getting in, you risk going to jail. Just ask Adam Wheeler from Delaware, a young man who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in addition to ten years of probation for lying on his application to Harvard. Was it really worth it? Of course not! And guess what? He’s done it again!
According to CBS News’ piece on the Harvard faker, after serving out his sentence, he now must undergo psychiatric evaluation for claiming he went to Harvard on his resume – a violation of his parole. And why’d he go to prison in the first place? Because he received federal financial aid funds after lying about even the high school he attended. He claimed to have attended Andover and even MIT (it’s unclear if he applied to Harvard as a transfer student but how else could he have even theoretically attended MIT if he wasn’t applying to Harvard as a transfer?).
If you’ve ever considered lying on your college application, think again. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Not in the least. If this story doesn’t sufficiently deter you, check out this post on lying on college applications along with a video of our founder, Bev Taylor, on FOX News discussing another student who lied to get into an Ivy League college.Categories: Admissions Process, College Admissions, Ivy League, Submitting the Application, The Application Tags: Deceit and College Admissions, Lies and College Admissions, Lying in College Admissions, Lying in Ivy League Admissions, Lying on College Application
The Common App activity essay is the place within your college application to write about your most meaningful extracurricular activity. This is an activity that should absolutely appear among your other extracurricular pursuits on the application. Too often, we hear from students who want to focus on an activity that they don’t list among their other activities in an effort to highlight an aspect of themselves that admissions counselors wouldn’t otherwise know. While it’s great to highlight an aspect of yourself that an admissions counselor wouldn’t otherwise know, this activity should still be listed among your activities. It should, after all, be your most significant one.
In the Common App activity essay, it’s important to be different — just like in the personal statement and supplements. Don’t just list your accomplishments. That will come across as bragging. Don’t just tell admissions counselors how frequently you participate in the activity. They can ascertain this information outside of this essay prompt. This is your chance to showcase to admissions counselors how meaningful an activity is to you, how you’ve fully immersed yourself in this activity, and how you intend to continue to pursue this passion.Admissions Process, College Admissions, College Essays, Submitting the Application, The Application Tags: College Application Activity Essay, Common App Activity Essay, Common Application Activity Essay, Ivy League Activity Essay, Most Significant Activity Essay for College
You may wonder what superscoring the SAT and ACT means. Superscoring, a practice done by some colleges, is when admissions counselors combine scores from different test dates. It’s when colleges combine your best scores to reach the best possible composite score for you. There are many colleges that superscore the SAT and the ACT and we’re going to provide you with a sampling of superscoring universities.
But to give you some more clarity on superscoring the SAT and ACT, if you took the ACT on two different sittings and you scored a 28 on the math, 31 on the reading, 30 on the English, and 28 on the science on the first sitting and a 29 on the math, 30 on the reading, 29 on the English, and 28 on the science on the second sitting, your 29 math score from the second sitting would replace your 28 math score from the first sitting. You would then have an improved composite score. On the SAT, if you score a 710 on the math in the first sitting and a 780 on the second sitting, colleges that superscore the SAT will combine your 780 with your best verbal and writing scores.
So what colleges superscore, say, the ACT? Well, there’s Babson College, Amherst College, Caltech, Brown University, Boston College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Brandeis University, Connecticut College, New York University, Tufts University, Annapolis, University of Chicago, Washington University (MO), Wesleyan University, and Colby College, to name a few. Other colleges will use your highest subscores on the ACT, but will not change your composite – or “superscore.” Check back soon for more information on superscoring the SAT and ACT. And, in the meantime, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation!Categories: Admissions Process, College Admissions, SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing, Submitting the Application Tags: Colleges that Superscore ACT, Colleges that Superscore SAT, Superscoring Colleges, Superscoring the SAT and ACT, Superscoring Universities
If you’re a student who received tons of brochures, posters, and e-mails from top universities and were surprised to then be denied admission by these very colleges that “recruited” you, you’re not alone. In recent years, colleges have increased their recruiting efforts by sending promotional material to students who they know full well have no chance of admission. They do it to boost their application numbers so their admit rate goes down and the college appears more selective. And don’t forget — college applications cost money. At an application fee of $75 to $100 the money that schools take in each year when all of these unqualified students apply adds up to a sizable sum. Just think…for the Class of 2015, the average number of applications received at all eight of the ivy league universities was over 30,000. Multiple that by $100 per application and you get $3,000,000. In this economy, this is a great source of revenue! But do you think this kind of college admissions recruiting is unethical?
Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Admission at Yale, seems to think that this type of college admissions recruiting isn’t right. According to “Bloomberg,” “Yale, which admitted 7.4 percent of applicants this year, cut its mailings by a third since 2005 to 80,000, Jeffrey Brenzel, dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an interview. ‘I feel obligated to be reasonable in recruiting so we’re not creating unrealistic expectations of applicants,’ Brenzel said. ‘If a student has only the most remote chance in admission, I feel it’s inappropriate to try to persuade a student to send an application.’”
If you’re wondering how in fact the colleges even get a high school student’s personal information that begins the mailing solicitations, look no further than when they sit down and take a test. On the SAT, for example, students are asked 42 questions such as what size college they’d like to go to, what sports they play, etc. According to “Bloomberg,” “While the Federal Trade Commission’s 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits personal information from being collected online from children 12 and under without ‘verifiable parental consent,’ teenagers aren’t covered by the law and neither are nonprofit companies like the College Board.”
Despite some college admissions counselors claiming that they’re scaling back these advertisements to unqualified students, we don’t anticipate this type of recruitment ending anytime soon. As long as the admission rate and number of applicants matter, colleges will do anything to make those statistics as good as possible.Admissions Process, College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Ivy League, Submitting the Application Tags: College Admissions Recruiting, College Admissions Recruitment, College Recruiting, University Admissions Recruiting, University Admissions Recruitment, University Recruiting
A principal in Baltimore’ Western High School has acknowledged that certain college application materials for a number of its high school seniors did not reach university admissions offices. Yikes! This is a mishap that should never take place with vigilant college applicants! Applicants need to make sure all of their material has been received. High school guidance counselors and guidance secretaries do make mistakes (like not submitting certain college application materials) that will adversely impact your college admissions chances.
Students need to always check to make sure all of their college application materials were received by each college. According to a WAMU release, “In a release letter, Principal Alisha Trusty said last week she learned some college admissions materials required from the all-girls public school, including transcripts, school profiles, and recommendations were not received by all the colleges students applied. Trusty said she immediately contacted the parents of 24 students who had not been accepted to any college. A spokesperson said 10 of those students were eventually admitted to a school, leaving 14 members in a class of 187 still waiting. The principal also wrote the school is investigating the cause of the oversight, and will hold the responsible parties accountable for the mishap.”
Francis, Elliott. “Baltimore High School Says Colleges Didn’t Receive Some Admissions Material.” WAMU. Web. 1 May 2011. 2 May 2011.College Admissions, Submitting the Application, The Application Tags: College Admissions Application, College Application Forms, College Application Materials, Common Application for Colleges, Submitting College Applications
A “Wall Street Journal” article entitled “Buying Your Way Into College” discusses how by not applying for financial aid can be the difference between a college admission and a college denial. While most applicants and their parents think that all colleges have need-blind admissions policies, the truth is that they don’t. They never did. Some universities do have need-blind admissions policies and have had such policies for several years. Yet still other colleges claim to have need-blind admissions policies when the facts speak otherwise. It’s a terribly kept dirty little secret, a hidden agenda, within the college admissions community that those students who need financial help in applying to college may be at a distinct disadvantage with regard to their admissions decisions.
Students who don’t need financial help in applying to college (if they may be able to cover the cost of tuition, room and board without any help) shouldn’t risk checking off the box that they need financial aid on the application. By doing so, this could well cost them their chance of admission to that university! But if you definitely need the aid, then you no choice but to check the box since you can’t ask for aid after you’ve been admitted. On the other hand, if you’re just checking that box because you think there is a slight possibility that you could get some small amount of aid or because you just want to give it a shot, don’t do it! It’s a huge mistake that too many college applicants make. The bottom line is that colleges want full-pays. At the end of the day, college admissions is a business and while recruiting and admitting underrepresented minorities who need aid is a core component of that business, colleges still need to enroll students who can pay the full fare. It’s a question of simple economics.
According to the “Wall Street Journal” article (and it should be pointed out that even this article doesn’t give the full story on the universities that claim to be need blind but are really need aware…or even blatantly need aware): “Thanks to the recent recession, more colleges are giving seats to wealthier students—especially international or wait-listed applicants—who are willing to pay full freight. Last fall, Williams College began admitting more international students who could pay full tuition, and will reintroduce loans into its financial-aid packages this year. Middlebury College and Wake Forest University began looking at wait-listed students’ financial status as a factor in admissions last year. And Tufts University, which was able to admit all students on a ‘need-blind’ basis—where they pledge to admit students regardless of their ability to pay—in 2007 and 2008, has reverted to being “need-aware” for some applicants—meaning that it takes an applicant’s financial status into account.”
In tough economic times and with college endowments not what they once were, colleges often have no choice but to take into consideration the need for financial help in applying to college. Some colleges, however, claim to be need-blind until they have reached their budget at which point they claim to be need-aware. When they are need-aware, waitlist, transfer, and international applicants who can pay the full fare have the advantage over their fellow applicants who need financial aid. According to the “Wall Street Journal” article, “Middlebury, which is need-blind for U.S. students, says it will make its first-round decisions for all applicants based on merit alone. If the school is within budget, then it will leave those decisions alone. If not, then it may consider the financial status of wait-list, transfer and international applications, says Robert Clagett, dean of admissions at Middlebury. ‘Being need-aware usually only influences those decisions at the margins,” he says. ‘It depends on what resources are left.’”
Check out Jane J. Kim’s “Wall Street Journal” article here.College Admissions, Submitting the Application, University Tuition Tags: College Admissions Help, College Applications Help, Help in Applying to College, Help in Applying to Colleges, Help with Applying to Colleges, Help with College Admissions
Colleges that subscribe to the Common Application are on the rise…again. So next year, expect the most competitive college admissions class ever with more college applications than ever before! Only we know that this isn’t really the case. Next year’s admissions class will not be significantly more competitive than the current one. That is pure myth.
According to “Inside Higher Ed,” “The membership of the Common Application is about to grow by 46 colleges, to a total of 460. While the Common Application was founded 35 years ago, half of its membership has joined in the last decade. And while the program was once associated with small liberal arts colleges, it has expanded in recent years. This year’s additions include two flagship public universities — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky — on top of 10 other flagships added in the past few years. Public institutions now make up 12 percent of the colleges in the program — a record high. Another notable addition this year is Howard University, the fifth historically black college to participate.”
Here is the full list of universities that have just joined the Common Application:
Caldwell College (NJ)
Carroll University (WI)
Castleton State College
Christian Brothers University
Christopher Newport University
Cogswell Polytechnical College
Eastern Connecticut State University
Franklin College Switzerland
John Cabot University
John F. Kennedy University
Long Island University Brooklyn Campus
Lyndon State College
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Rhode Island College
Saint Leo University
Saint Martin’s University
Seton Hill University
Sierra Nevada College
St. Joseph’s College – Brooklyn Campus
St. Joseph’s College – Long Island Campus
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
SUNY College at Old Westbury
SUNY Institute of Technology
The American University of Paris
The College of Saint Rose
University of Evansville
University of Hartford
University of Kentucky
University of Michigan – Flint
University of New Orleans
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
University of Southern California
University of St Andrews
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Wheeling Jesuit University
“Common Application Continues Growth.” Inside Higher Ed. 13 April 2011. Web. 13 April 2011.Submitting the Application, The Application Tags: Applying to College, College Admissions, College Applicants, College Application, Completing the Common Application, Ivy League Admissions