Class of 2022 Early Notification Dates

It’s time to start hearing back from early action and early decision schools—exciting! Some schools have already released early decision or early action results—Tulane, Northeastern, Georgia, and of course, schools that release on a rolling basis like Penn State and Temple.

College Kickstart is updating their list of decision release dates daily. Check it out here to find out when you might be hearing from the ED and EA schools on your list!

 

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December Action Plan – Freshmen & Sophomores

As high school begins, it’s not too early to be thinking about your plans for applying to college! Here are a few items to keep in mind as 2017 winds down:

December Action Plan

  • Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities? Have you thought about what you might want to major in? Think about how to get more involved in your favorite activities (academic and non-academic). A great place to start is Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org
  • Many 2018 summer program applications will open soon. Begin thinking about your plans for summer 2018 now so you can get ahead of deadlines and work on applications if needed.
  • One way that your “story” is conveyed is through your resume/activity sheet. Start working on it now.
  • Have a dream school? Check out their website to get a sense of what it takes to get admitted. For example, some schools require or highly recommend you take a language all four years of high school and, for certain majors, take a certain level of math. Some schools (although very few) require SAT Subject tests and depending on what classes you are currently taking, you might be able to take some as early as this June. In addition to looking into testing requirements, try to get a sense of what your target schools recommend your high school curriculum look like—then take a look at your curriculum to make sure you’re on track to fulfill these recommendations/requirements.

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December Action Plan – Juniors


Juniors have a lot to work on and look ahead to this month!

December Action Plan:

  • Meet with your high school counselor. Does s/he know what your plans for college are? Does s/he know you well—or know you at all? Your counselor will write one of your letters of recommendation, so it’s important to establish a good relationship now to receive a more meaningful letter next year.
  • Grades from your junior year are incredibly important to college admissions officers. Study hard and keep your grades up!
  • If you have not started compiling your resume, start drafting one over the holidays.
  • Think ahead to spring activities and potentially starting the personal statement.
  • Many 2018 summer program applications will open soon. Begin thinking about your plans for summer 2018 now so you can get ahead of deadlines and work on applications if needed.

 

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December Action Plan – Seniors

Seniors! Many of you have already heard from one or more of your early application schools, and many more schools will release decisions on or around December 15th. Still, there’s plenty to do as early application decisions roll in. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

December Action Plan

  • Track your application status. Once your applications have been submitted, be sure to track their status online to ensure schools have received all of your application materials. Follow up with your school counselor ASAP if a college is missing your transcript or a letter of recommendation. Check your JUNK/SPAM email folder daily so you do not miss correspondence from schools.
  • Do you have any updates that might benefit your early application? An award or big upward trend in your grades? If so, please contact me about sending an update email to your early schools
  • Do the schools on your list require you send midterm grade reports? Check requirements online and talk to your school counselor about having them sent to schools as needed
  • It is very difficult to write your essays and complete your applications from December 15 through January 1 because of the holidays, and…
  • It’s always a good idea to submit apps two to four weeks ahead of RD deadlines as some schools have early RD deadlines for scholarship or interview consideration (for example, Duke should be submitted by 12/20 for interview consideration).
  • Meet with your school counselor. Share your RD list and make sure they know to send docs accordingly and far in advance of deadlines.
  • Prepare for interviews!

 

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College Interviews and Interview Prep

Not all colleges require interviews. In fact, many don’t offer them. At schools that do, they are not always evaluative or even considered in the admissions process. That being said, I still suggest you interview if you can. Why? It is a way to demonstrate interest, learn more about the school, and help the school learn more about you. Sounds worth it to me! If you can’t, don’t worry about it.

College Kickstart compiled some helpful interview data regarding colleges that require or strongly recommend interviews, and how that interview is used (or not used) in the admissions process. Head over to their website to check it out!

Below, you will find some common interview questions. Practice with a parent or friend. Never go to an interview (even those that are not evaluative) unprepared!

High School Experience

  • Tell me a little bit about your high school.

  • Tell me about the courses you are taking currently.

  • Tell me about your favorite class(s) you have taken. Why was it your favorite?

  • Which class has been your least favorite? Why?

  • Which classes have been the most difficult (or most challenging)?

  • What subjects do you plan on studying at [school]?

  • What activities and/or classes have you taken related to that field?

  • What is your dream job?

Extracurricular Activities

  • What extra-curricular activities are you involved with? What do you like to do for fun (outside of the classroom)?

  • When you’re not in class, studying, or doing homework, what do you do with your time (organized activities or things for fun)?

  • How did you get involved/started with ____ activity?

  • What activity is the most meaningful to you, and what is just the most fun?

  • What extra-curricular activities do you hope to be involved with in college?

College Expectations

  • What type of environment are you looking for in a college/university?

  • To what other colleges/universities are you applying?

  • How is the admissions process going for you?

University Specific

  • How did you become interested in [school]?

  • What do you find appealing about [school]?

  • Why do you think you [school] might be the right fit for you?

  • Do you know any students at [school]? Have you reached out to them to learn more about [school]?

  • If you had an opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee anything about yourself, what would it be? What would you want the Admissions Committee to know about you that may not come across on your application?

  • What have you learned about [school] that seems unusual or surprising?

Miscellaneous

  • Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you wanted to discuss?

  • Apart from looking at colleges, how have you spent your high school summers?

  • How would your best friend describe you?

  • How would your teachers describe you?

  • If you had a year to do anything you want, what would it be and why?

 

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Say Thanks!

If you recently applied to college, my guess is you didn’t do it alone. Show some gratitude this Thanksgiving holiday by sending a heartfelt thank you to the people that helped you make it happen. People to thank: parents, guidance counselor, teachers, letter of recommendation writers, anyone else who read your essays/app, and of course, your tutors, just to name a few!

After you’ve submitted early apps…

If you’re applying Regular Decision (RD) to colleges, you should continue to make progress on your essays and applications in case your early applications are denied or deferred in December/January. It is very difficult to write your essays and complete your applications from December 15 through January 1 or 15, and…

It’s always a good idea to submit apps two to four weeks ahead of RD deadlines as some schools have early RD deadlines for scholarship or interview consideration (for example, USC should be submitted by 12/1 for scholarship consideration, and Duke should be submitted by 12/20 for interview consideration).

I also suggest meeting with your school counselor and triple checking that all early app materials were sent. Share your RD list and make sure they know to send docs accordingly and far in advance of deadlines.

Don’t forget to prepare for interviews! If you have alumni or on-campus interviews, prepare now, don’t wait until the interview is scheduled.

IMPORTANT REMINDER:

Track your application status. Once your applications have been submitted, be sure to track their status online to ensure they received all of your application materials. Follow up with your school counselor ASAP if a school is missing your transcript or a letter of recommendation. Check your JUNK/SPAM email folder regularly (every day) so you do not miss correspondence from schools.

 

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Secrets of the College Admissions Process

Joel L.A. Peterson’s “secrets” aren’t really secrets to me, but they are to many students and their parents. I am re-posting his recent Huff Post article below as it is worth a read!

Secret 1 is especially important to remember when you start your college search and once you have applied and have started getting back decisions. There are SO many colleges, so many excellent colleges, that I honestly believe there is a place for everyone and where you land is often where you were meant to land.

Secret 2 is mostly true. Incomplete apps, late components of apps, a low test score or GPA (yes, even though colleges say they don’t do this, they do) are all good reasons for a quick deny on a file.

Secret 3 is very true and such an important thing for applicants and underclassmen approaching the process to keep in mind! Same goes for secret 4!

Now in a perfect world secret 5 is always true, but depending on the school and lots of other factors, sometimes spin goes unnoticed or simply isn’t a deciding factor. I think the point he is getting at here is that a disjointed profile where the applicant has not committed to activities over time or appears not to have committed themselves to anything meaningful at all, is never a good thing. Weak profiles will never stand up to profiles of students who have been active, engaged participants in their education and life outside of school.

Give the full article a read below!

As parents and students look ahead to education opportunities after high school graduation, the headlines overwhelmingly paint college admissions as bleak and increasingly competitive. Actually, there is much good news. There are more colleges than ever, and they are more varied and diverse than ever. In reality, most students who want to go to college can and do find numerous schools that will admit them and where they can find a happy fit.

SECRET NO. 1 – There is a college for almost everyone who wants to go to college.

According to the U.S. government, there are over 4,600 post-secondary degree granting institutions of higher education in the U.S. Approximately 2,900 of these are four-year colleges and universities and 68 percent of all high school graduates gain admission and enter a college each year.

Of the 2,900 four-year colleges, only about 150 are “Selective.” Selective, when used in college admissions, means that a college may turn away an applicant even if that student meets all admission standards and even if the school has not filled all slots. That leaves 2,750 four-year colleges that do not turn away students if they meet the school’s requirements and have admissions slots open. Many highly respected colleges are not “selective” institutions, but still offer a great education. And many “selective” schools are struggling to meet their enrollment goals and are eager to work with families to encourage students to be able to meet their standards and to choose them.

SECRET NO. 2 – College admissions is not a selection process, it is mostly a deselection process.

When college admissions offices are often inundated with thousands or tens of thousands of applications, admissions personnel look for reasons to deselect applications simply to bring the number of applications to be reviewed down to reasonable levels. This means that deadlines, application instructions, required information all count. There are no waivers for missing a deadline, not following an application’s directions, or failing to provide required information or documentation.

SECRET NO. 3 – Colleges do not want well rounded students, they want well rounded classes.

Attempting to have your student be involved in everything in an attempt to show that he or she is “well rounded” is usually a wasted effort. A college or university is a community with its own culture and traditions. Just like a town populated only by Albert Einsteins would not function, it would not function well if populated only by well-rounded jacks-of-all-trades, but who are expert in nothing. You want your town to have a well-rounded population of various experts, specialists, and talents. Colleges are no different; they want individuals who meet certain academic minimums, but who can bring an expertise, a talent, unique experiences or skills. This goes for every college. They all want a balance of genders (except women’s colleges), races (except for historically black colleges), hometowns, talents, skills, experiences, and cultures. Many colleges find this challenging, which can mean opportunities for the right students.

SECRET NO. 4 – The earlier you start preparing for college admissions, the better.

Showing a college that you offer something unique, that you have a specialty, expertise, or background requires you demonstrate a track record in these things. You can’t make up experience or a track record if you haven’t actually done things. Waiting until your junior or senior year to start planning and preparing for college admissions is often too late. You can’t go back to 7th or 9th grade and remake history. You can’t get back time in which you didn’t prepare for tests or participate in activities. The earlier a student starts to plan and strategically prepare for the day when the college application is due, the more – and better – actual facts, activities, skills, specialties, or accomplishments that student will be able to document. Often, good grades and test scores, with little other documented, sustained involvement or accomplishment, are not enough to gain acceptance at many colleges and universities.

Even with many colleges struggling to fill freshmen class numbers, without the track record, a student may not be able to show that he or she meets a need a college has to accomplish its admissions department’s goal of creating a well-rounded freshmen class.

SECRET NO. 5 – The smell of “spin” will nearly always guarantee rejection.

Nothing can replace truth, a documented track record, and the reality of results from good planning and years of preparation. Trying to spin a set of disjointed academic and extracurricular activities and participations into a tale of focus and passion – particularly at the last minute – is nearly always a recipe for rejection. Admissions officials see thousands of student applications. Fabrication and spin standout. Especially if the “voice” of the application – its essays, personal statement, and brag sheets – sound too adult, too parental, or too canned, a college admissions person will immediately put the application in the “deselect” pile, even if the grades and test scores are authentically good.

With 4,600 post-high school educational institutions, there is better news than many think about a student’s ability to earn admission to a college that will be a great fit for them. But even for schools that are not “competitive” or are struggling with finding balanced, well rounded entering classes, admissions professionals will reject fakery, puffery, and spin. Planning ahead, thinking and acting strategically over a number of years, performing well academically, being prepared for and doing well on the SAT or ACT, and having a well-documented track record beats a last minute scramble and creative spin any day of the week.

11th Grade: Time to Start the College Search and Application Process

 

By 10th and 11th-grade college talk should be fairly consistent—especially if you are, or have a student who is— aiming to attend a selective college or university. That being said, the majority of our work with students—which includes applying to summer programs, narrative development (your “story” for college), compiling school lists, and completing the personal statement and resume—starts in 11th grade. There is no better time to start the process than right now!

Juniors should consider the following:

  • It is test prep time! It is best to start prepping for standardized exams early. Don’t wait until spring of your junior year to begin prep.
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. S/he will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other! Talk about your plans for this year and next year; let them know about your preliminary college list, any visits you have scheduled, and your testing plan.
  • Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities? Look for leadership opportunities in school and consider activities outside of school as well. Think about ideas for new and different activities, or for how to get more involved in your favorite activity (academic and non-academic).
  • Visit the websites of the schools you are interested in. Explore the admissions and academics pages. Start to think about your major of interest and how the activities you are involved in support this interest. Don’t forget, you should be exploring your interests outside of the classroom/school!
  • Visit colleges in person! Fall is a great time to visit colleges. Please note, there are not many students on college campuses during December/January, so plan accordingly.

Email us or fill out the contact form to schedule a consult and find out how we can support you in your college planning and application process!

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That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket

I read a CCTL post recently that I wanted to share here:

Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger.  Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers – and make progress seem pleasant.

Read More: That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket – Forbes

 

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