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Pre-Law Pathways, “Sample” College Classes, and Going Beyond Traditional Info Sessions

Pre-Law Pathways, “Sample” College Classes, and Going Beyond Traditional Info Sessions

Traditional virtual info sessions can get… repetitive. An excellent example of a school that is mixing it up and offering prospective applicants different opportunities is Syracuse! Check out some of them below:

Opportunities for Pre-Law
Hoping to pursue law school or interested in a law-related career? Discover the resources and opportunities available to all Syracuse students through our Pre-Law Advising Office and have your questions answered by Pre-Law advisors and current students.

Wednesday, December 7, 6-7 p.m. EST (click date for link, virtual)

Sample College Classes
Join us for one of our sample classes based on real courses taught at Syracuse University. These classes are open to all prospective students — no matter your desired academic program.

A Day in the Life of a Biomedical Engineer in the Hospital
Monday, December 5, 7-8 p.m. EST (click date for link, virtual)

Introduction to Cybersecurity
Thursday, December 8, 7-8 p.m. EST (click date for link, virtual)

Other virtual sessions this week:

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Colleges Requiring SAT/ACT Testing for 2024 Admissions

Colleges Requiring SAT/ACT Testing for 2024 Admissions

Purdue just announced they are rolling back their test-optional policy, so we thought it was a good time to post about other schools that have done the same. We will try to keep this page updated as other schools likely re-institute testing requirements. 

MIT
Georgetown
*Florida public’s: University of Florida, Florida State, University of Central Florida, New College of Florida, etc.
University of Georgia
Georgia Tech
Purdue
University of Tennessee
The Academies (Naval, West Point, Air Force)

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High School Class of 2023 Early Decision & Early Action Notification Dates

High School Class of 2023 Early Decision & Early Action Notification Dates

From College Kickstart: Schools often post results in advance of official notification dates, so they’ve compiled the most recently updated dates where available, as well as last year’s notification dates for reference. Bookmark this page, as they will be updating it frequently over the next 30 days.

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What to do if you were deferred by a top choice college

What to do if you were deferred by a top choice college

Every year we work with a handful of deferred students on turning those defers into admits. Reach out to us if you want individualized guidance!

Some colleges and universities can’t admit all of the students they would like to in early decision or early action (“ED” or “EA”), so they defer some and evaluate them again during regular decision (“RD”). These candidates have a shot (albeit small at many top 30 schools) at getting admitted RD. However, some schools just defer everyone or almost everyone! A not so nice practice. Most students who fall into this category should move on and focus on other schools. If you are not sure which category you fall into, ask us. 

If you’d like some general guidance on working the deferral, you’ll find it below. But first, a few notes before doing anything to “work” a deferral:

1. Stay positive for RD, or preferably early decision 2, and keep moving forward on other apps! Those are much more important now.

2. Consider ED 2; it’s often smarter than relying on RD. Not all schools have ED 2; check your Common App to see if ED 2 is offered at any schools on your list. Why? Because….

3. The RD round is tough.  Get familiar with the ED 1 and RD numbers and understand why ED 2 can present a significant advantage over RD. Read this chart by Jeff Levy and Jeannie Kent. Pay particular attention to the percentage of the class filled by early plans.

4. Don’t make the same mistakes again. You should be very open to doing a thorough evaluation of what might have gone wrong with your early app(s). With fresh eyes, you might find a few things you would change. Or, with the feedback from someone else, see that you missed the mark completely on some elements of your application. If you’d like an evaluation of your deferred app, our “redo report,” contact us.

Other Tips:

–Please follow all deferral instructions. If your defer letter does not provide specific guidance, reach out to your admissions officer/rep and ask them what steps they suggest. Check your portal, too. Sometimes defer guidance is hidden there.

–Get your guidance counselor’s support. Have your guidance counselor advocate for you via telephone. Make sure updated grades/transcripts are sent promptly. Your grades should have remained the same or improved, not dipped.

–If you applied test-optional, consider taking and/or sending scores. Colleges have always valued competitive scores, and this year is no different.

–Get an extra letter of recommendation if the school notes you are allowed to send one*. This letter could be written by a teacher, coach, employer, or someone else who can speak to your background, performance, and potential. *Side note on alumni letters and letters from well-known or famous people. Many students ask if these are helpful to send, and the answer is usually no. And…some schools explicitly state not to send any extra letters.

–Make contacts locally and talk to students and alumni. Reach out to local alumni chapters and ask if there is anyone willing to meet with you for an informal informational interview. Use this meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the school, and demonstrate your interest in attending. Information learned in these meetings can be included in your deferral letter.

-Connect with your regional rep and consider sending a deferral letter (aka an update letter). You should have connected with them prior to applying, so this email won’t be out of the blue. Most schools value an update on grades, test scores, impact/leadership activities, and sometimes more information on why them specifically. A deferral letter should be both intentional and very specific to the school and what was contained within your initial application. It should not be a list of your accomplishments or an essay that re-hashes information already shared in the initial application. You don’t need to label this update a “love letter” or “letter of continued interest”—try to think of a more thought-provoking and less common subject line if you are sending the update via email, or skip it altogether if you are sending a portal update.

-If you had an interview and established a good relationship with your interviewer, you can also reach out to them to see if they have any tips.

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We’re Grateful For…

We’re Grateful For…

The chance to help students (and parents!) tackle the process of applying to college. It means a lot to us! 

Seniors: if you recently applied or are in the process of applying to college, my guess is you didn’t do it alone. Say thank you to the people who helped you make it happen, such as parents, guidance counselors, teachers, “other” letter of recommendation writers, admissions officers who hosted special events at your high school, friends who read your essays, and test prep tutors, just to name a few!

Why do I think this is important? An attitude of gratitude is—according to positive psychology research—strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Harvard agrees

Also super grateful for our entire team and their dedication to supporting students and families. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Public Flagships Are Hard to Get Into!

Public Flagships Are Hard to Get Into!

UGA continued to serve up a competitive EA round, especially for out-of-staters. Look for other public flagships to do the same again this year (we’re looking at you UF, UNC, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and of course the more selective UCs). 

The UGA admissions blog is a must-follow, but if you want to make even more sense out of data they shared, head to Edison Prep’s website.

It is crucial for students to maintain excellent grades in rigorous classes, raise their GPA if possible, and consider the impact of test scores; at schools like UGA, and we would argue MANY other schools—even those that are test-optional—they matter.

Academic rigor continues to be far more important than extracurricular activities, with the average EA applicant (not admitted student!) having 9+ AP/IB classes by graduation. 
Senior Associate Director of UGA Admissions David Graves posted a quote on the UGA Blog that we still sincerely wish were included at the top of every UGA mailer: “When parents or students say that their schedule is already so busy with other activities that it is tough to handle challenging courses…instead of dropping rigorous courses, maybe an activity could be dropped.” We tell students daily that no one has ever been ever rejected for having too low of a “play practice score,” but millions of applications are rejected each year for low GPA, low rigor, and/or low SAT/ACT scores. Activities matter if and once your core academic metrics are in the right ballpark.

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Send The Complete College Essay Handbook to a School, Library, or Non-Profit!

Send The Complete College Essay Handbook to a School, Library, or Non-Profit!

We are excited to get our expertise and years of experience into the hands of as many students as possible—especially now that it’s peak college application season!

We’d be so grateful if you shared a link to The Complete College Essay Handbook with friends and family. If you decide to purchase it—thank you, and consider leaving a short review!

If you leave a review and share it with us, we’ll send a copy of The Complete College Essay Handbook to a school, library, or non-profit (that serves high school students!) of your choice.

Email us at brittemmaessays@gmail.com to let us know where you want a copy sent.

The Complete College Essay Handbook is a no-frills, practical guide that will give students the confidence and know-how they need to craft the best essays for every single school on their list—in less time and with less stress. The Complete College Essay Handbook walks students through:

  • What makes an essay stand out, drawing on sample essays by real students to illustrate main points
  • Brainstorming activities to find the best topics for the personal statement and supplemental essays
  • How to write the two central components of every application essay: scene and reflection
  • Editing and revision—including techniques to cut down or expand an essay to hit the word limit
  • The four types of supplemental essays and how to decode the different essay prompts, using actual essay questions
  • The strategy behind a well-rounded set of application essays

Thank you and write on!

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Dear Therapist: My Mom Won’t Stop Pressuring Me to Get Better Grades

Dear Therapist: My Mom Won’t Stop Pressuring Me to Get Better Grades

It is hard to truly give students the freedom to be who they are when colleges are forcing them into little boxes on applications and asking them very clearly: are you who we want you to be? 

Lori Gottlieb’s recent Dear Therapist is a good one for anyone approaching the college application and planning process. 

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College Admissions Interview Season!

College Admissions Interview Season!

For many students, college admissions interviews are fear-inducing. The good news is, you are already an expert on you, so all you need to learn is a little bit about the school and how to channel nerves into excitement.

Hear us out: You do not need to spend hours preparing answers to hundreds of questions to thoroughly prepare for alumni or any other college admissions interview. Canned responses sound terrible anyway. 

Remember, so much of college admissions (especially the interview) is about likeability—rehashing your resume word-for-word or sounding like a robot does not make you likable—but being able to hold a simple, genuine conversation does. 

Practice with a parent or friend, or practice for 30 minutes with us! Never go to an interview unprepared! Learning how to interview is a skill for life, not just for the college process. Email us if you are interested in a short mock interview session. 

Below, you will find some common interview questions.

High School Experience

  1. Tell me a little bit about your high school experience and the courses you are taking currently
  2. Which class has been your least favorite? Why?
  3. Tell me about your favorite class(s) you have taken. Why was it your favorite?
  4. Which classes have been the most difficult (or most challenging)?
  5. What subjects do you plan on studying at [school]?
  6. How have you pursued this interest in school and outside of school?

Extracurricular Activities

  1. What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
  2. When you’re not in class, studying, or doing homework, what do you do with your time (organized activities or things for fun)?
  3. How did you get involved/started with ____ activity?
  4. Which activity is the most meaningful to you, and which one is the most fun?
  5. What extracurricular activities do you hope to continue in college?
  6. If you could only continue taking part in one EC, which one would it be and why?

College Expectations

  1. What type of environment are you looking for in a college/university?
  2. Have you visited [insert college name]? What did you learn?
  3. What matters most to you in a college setting?

School Specific

  1. How did you become interested in [school]?
  2. What do you find appealing about [school]?
  3. Why do you think you [school] might be the right fit for you?
  4. Do you know any students at [school]? Have you reached out to them to learn more about [school]?
  5. 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?
  6. What have you learned about [school] that seems unusual or surprising?

Miscellaneous

  1. How have you spent your high school summers?
  2. How would your best friend describe you?
  3. How would your teachers describe you?
  4. If you had a year to do anything you want, what would it be and why?
  5. What are you currently reading?
  6. Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you wanted to discuss?

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Colleges Requiring the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR)

Colleges Requiring the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR)

Some colleges require a form called the SSAR or the SRAR when you apply to college. It is a self-reported transcript and it speeds up the admissions process tremendously at many schools.

Please read the application instructions for each and every school on your list. The Application Instructions or the “Steps to Applying” will inform you if it is required.

Please see a list of colleges and universities that accept the SSAR-SRAR for current high school seniors below. This list can change and is from a secondary source; please read your app instructions carefully!

BAYLOR UNIVERSITY OPTIONAL
BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK OPTIONAL
CLEMSON UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY OPTIONAL
FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OPTIONAL
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
KEAN UNIVERSITY OPTIONAL
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY OPTIONAL
NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA OPTIONAL
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (NYU) REQUIRED
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, CAMDEN REQUIRED
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, NEWARK REQUIRED
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, NEW BRUNSWICK REQUIRED
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK OPTIONAL
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT OPTIONAL
UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TWIN CITIES REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA OPTIONAL
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA REQUIRED
VIRGINIA TECH REQUIRED

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