‘U.S. News’ Changes Policy on Testing

‘U.S. News’ Changes Policy on Testing

Most college rankings are totally useless garbage, but no matter what we think, they are widely used by students/parents in their college search. If you do let them guide you it is important to understand the recent changes. Read more here

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UC Berkeley: The Spieker Undergraduate Business Program

Starting in Fall 2023, you can apply directly to Berkeley Haas to enter as a freshman in Fall 2024.

The Spieker Undergraduate Business Program is a four-year undergraduate business program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business that gives you an additional two years for deeper learning and enrichment, including:

  • Career development
  • Internships
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • Entrepreneurship programs
  • Capstone projects
  • Mentorship engagements, and
  • Student leadership experiences.

The first four-year cohort of students will enroll in August of 2024. Applications to the Spieker Undergraduate Business Program will open in Fall 2023. Learn more here

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Break Into Law School™ Conference June 25-26

S. Montgomery Admissions is hosting a free virtual 2-day conference on June 25-26, “Break into Law School,” that will provide information to law school applicants, current law students, and young lawyers at no cost.

Counselors and high school students are more than welcome to attend! They currently have 8 panels planned with roughly 24+ panelists for the entire event. Panelists include law school deans and professors, the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of the LSAC, judges, corporate attorneys, and more.

– Equity in Law School Admissions
– Financing Your Legal Education
– Conquering the LSAT Exam
– Surviving 1L Year
– Climbing the Corporate Law Ladder
– Entering Academia
– The Judiciary: From Clerkships to the Bench

– Branching Out with Your Own Firm

There will be a networking hour where registrants can network with attorneys, judges, legal professors, current students, and applicants. Thanks to generous sponsors they will also have LSAT courses, free hours of consulting, pre-1L support, and wealth management sessions to give away!

Register at bit.ly/joinbils
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Rising Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

Rising Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

College counseling is not a program that you simply sign up for—it’s a relationship, and a process that takes place over an extended period of time.

The majority of our work with students—which includes academic planning, narrative and extracurricular development (your academic and EC “story” for college), a strategic college list, and completing essays, app data, and an extended resume—starts in 10th or early in 11th grade.

Rising soph’s and juniors can:

  • Start to prep for standardized exams early. Don’t wait until spring of your junior year to begin prep. We have a small list of tutors who we can highly recommend; don’t leave who you work with up to chance.
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. They will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other.
  • Build your story! Have you been heavily involved with any of your extracurricular activities (other than sports, in which you can’t major)? Look for impact and leadership opportunities. More importantly, does your resume point toward a major or intellectual interest? What is your story, and how is it told on your resume?
  • Plan your summer wisely. You’ll want to use this summer to build your resume and make sure it’s pointed toward your intended major.
  • Visit the websites of schools you are interested in. Explore the admission and academic pages, start to attend virtual offerings, and track your contact with schools. It should be exciting to kick your college research into a higher gear this summer. How else will you get to know schools (rankings do not count, they are meaningless)? Don’t forget to connect with your reps, too.

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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2022 Waitlist Strategy

2022 Waitlist Strategy

We predict big waitlists again this year.

Are you on one?  Reach out for individualized advice, and keep reading below!

For an example letter, please subscribe to our blog (link below) and email us

Getting admitted from the waitlist is not easy. However, it is possible with a viable strategy and some persistence. Although we do not suggest being overly optimistic, here are some of the strategies that have worked.

First, get familiar with the WL data from past years. How many students are offered spots on the WL? How many accept their spot, and more importantly, how many does school X ultimately admit? Some of these numbers are dismal, but it is best to know what you are up against. Look at the Common Data Set first (http://www.commondataset.org/). A few other sites to review:

Before implementing waitlist strategies (below), it is important to deposit at a current top choice school (a school where you have been admitted) and get excited about the prospect of attending. Take advantage of admitted student days and other events that connect you with potential future classmates, including joining “Class of 2026” social media groups. These forums are often very informative, fun, and can help you take your mind off the waitlist waiting game.

Once you have accepted a spot on the WL, deposited elsewhere, and familiarized yourself with the waitlist data, consider the strategies below. Not all of them are novel, but without much to lose, why not do all you can so you can look back without any what-ifs?

  • Write a waitlist letter. This letter should contain information updating the school on what you’ve been up to both inside and outside of the classroom since the time you applied—but most importantly—it needs to fill in any GAPS from your original application and highlight a few specific value-adds you will bring to X campus. This is where individualized feedback can be critical.
  • Consider including:
    • Academic Updates: Spend some time talking about coursework and school projects, and make connections to future courses of study. You can even drop in related courses you’d like to take at school X, like those you’d include in a Why School essay, but only do this if you did not submit an essay of this type when you applied, otherwise you are being redundant and that is not well-received.
    • Extracurricular Updates. But only if significant and can be connected to how you will add value to the school where you are deferred. This includes school and non-school clubs, service commitments, and/or other leadership experiences you can highlight. Like the academic paragraph(s), making connections to similar opportunities you plan to undertake in college can be helpful additions. For example, if you talk about a new project you spearheaded as VP of your school’s Interact Club, you may want to include that you hope to lead a similar project within a specific club or group at school X. Being very specific is important.
    • The additional ways you have connected with and continued to get to know school X since you applied. This could include setting up an informational interview with a local alum, a current student, reaching out to your local regional alumni group (more on this below), or continuing to connect with your regional rep via email.
  • Make sure you read and follow any specific WL directions that are shared with you. You might be asked to send updates to a specific WL manager, or upload them on your applicant portal. If you previously connected with your rep (you should have at the beginning of the process), reach back out and ask them if they have any advice for you as a waitlisted candidate. Keep this line of communication open; do not send updates every week, but stay in touch to continue to demonstrate interest.
  • Ask your guidance counselor to call the admissions office and advocate for you, as well as provide any additional information they may have that will support your candidacy.  Ask them to back up what they say on the phone in an email if they have time. Make sure they send updated grades/transcripts promptly. Your grades should have remained the same or gotten better, not dipped.
  • Obtain and have an extra letter of recommendation sent, but only if the school welcomes extra LORs.  A teacher, coach, or someone else close to you who can speak to your potential contributions to the university could draft this letter. Some schools explicitly state on their WL docs they do not welcome or want extra LORs; if that is the case, don’t send. *Side note on alumni letters­ and letters from well-known and or famous people. Many students ask if these are helpful to send, and the answer is no unless the person knows well you or they are a very high-level donor with solid connections to admissions (even then, why count on someone else?). If you think that a big name vouching for you will help, it generally doesn’t as a stand-alone factor, and officers can see through these often brief and less than meaningful notes.
  • Worth saying again: Make sure you follow any directions they provide!

Additional strategies…

  • Check if school X has a local alumni group (Google search) and if so, reach out to them and ask if there is anyone willing to meet with you via Zoom for an informal informational interview. Use this meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the school, as those learnings might be good fodder for a WL update.
  • Use social media to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to follow your WL school on TikTok, Instagram, or other social channels to connect. Don’t forget to open all email correspondence from the school, as schools track opens/clicks as interest.

You don’t need to…

  • Show up on campus or engage in other over-the-top moves that you think will make an impact. They won’t. Please understand that this type of behavior is not appreciated or welcomed.

More questions about the WL? Email us!

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Free Event – Majors to Careers: Business

Free Event – Majors to Careers: Business

Exploring majors? Considering studying business? Join us to hear different viewpoints about studying and working in business – featuring current college students, career counselors and alumni in the field, as well as admissions professionals from Coalition schools. Come with your questions to this interactive panel discussion, and stay for a college fair to explore opportunities at a variety of Coalition schools.

 

Panel Discussion (7 to 7:45 p.m. ET)

Featuring admissions officers from Indiana University Bloomington, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame, along with student, alumni and career counselor perspectives.

 

College Fair (7:50 to 9 15 p.m. ET)

SESSION A. 7:50-8:30 p.m. ET

Room 1: Florida Southern College, Indiana University Bloomington, Skidmore College

Room 2: Southern Methodist University, University of Michigan, York College of Pennsylvania

Room 3: Maine Maritime Academy, Ramapo College of New Jersey, University of Notre Dame

Room 4: Johns Hopkins University, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, University of Dayton

Room 5: Hope College, Texas State University, Washington University in St. Louis

SESSION B. 8:35-9:15 p.m. ET

Room 1: Chatham University, St. Edward’s University, University at Buffalo

Room 2: Case Western Reserve University, Marquette University, University of Connecticut

Room 3: James Madison University, University of Massachusetts – Lowell

Room 4: Binghamton University, Lycoming College, University of South Carolina

Room 5: Lehigh University, UNC Charlotte, University of Vermont

 

Register

Consult the schedule above, then make your selections here.

Please note: Coalition schools may be in touch with you following the event based on the information you provide here.

Thanks for registering for our session, Majors to Careers: Business, which will take place Thursday, March 10 .

Please check your email (bmaschal@gmail.com) for the links to join the opening panel as well as your selected fair sessions.

In the meantime:
  • Invite a friend to join you at Coalition events! Share this link.
College Deferral Steps

College Deferral Steps

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-20 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:

–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 or letter continued interest). You should have connected with them prior to applying, so this email won’t be out of the blue. Ask if they have any specific advice for deferred candidates. Are reasons for the deferral that you can address in the coming months (grades, test scores or lack thereof, lack of demonstrating interest, or understanding the mission and values of the school)? 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. A deferral letter should contain information updating the school on what you’ve been up to both inside and outside of the classroom since the time you applied as a way to show your fit for the school, how you will add value, etc. It should not be a list of your accomplishments or a brag sheet.

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Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Penn Admissions has shared four great informative guides to help students with their college application process—and they are NOT Penn specific (although the samples they provide are)! 

Narrowing Down Your List

Fill out a worksheet for each school on your list while visiting school websites, exploring virtual tours, and attending information sessions. Compare worksheets and see which schools match your must-haves. Download Guide 1

Curriculum & Majors

This second guide will help you narrow down which colleges will be the best fit for you based on academics offered. Use this worksheet to learn more about a school’s curriculum, majors, and learning opportunities. Download Guide 2

Tracking Application Requirements & Deadlines

There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re applying to multiple colleges. Use this worksheet to stay organized and take some of the stress out of the application process. Download Guide 3

Highlighting Your Extracurriculars & Activities

This worksheet will prepare you for the activities section of your college applications. Think of this guide as a way to brainstorm what you’ve been involved in through high school, what your commitment looked like, and how things may have changed in the past year. Download Guide 4

Bonus: Watch this video for even more tips on activities!

Thanks, Penn! Pair this advice with The Complete College Essay Handbook and get ready to apply! 

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“Best of the Best” Colleges & Universities for LGBTQ Students

“Best of the Best” Colleges & Universities for LGBTQ Students

Campus Pride’s 2021 BEST OF THE BEST Colleges & Universities is online at https://campuspride.org/BestoftheBest

Campus Pride, the preeminent resource for LGBTQ leadership development, diversity inclusion and advocacy within higher education, recently announced the annual Best of the Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ students in the United States. 

“More than ever colleges today want to be viewed as LGBTQ-friendly and a welcoming place for all students. LGBTQ students and their safety impacts the recruitment efforts of the entire campus,” said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride Executive Director. “Upper-level administrators are now understanding how LGBTQ-friendliness is key to academic success of students and the future institutional success of the campus.”

The announcement features 30 four-year campuses from across the country that have shown themselves to be deeply committed to LGBTQ students, earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, the definitive national benchmarking tool tracking LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices.

This year, Campus Pride is putting a spotlight on two-year colleges and religious schools with two separate lists focused on community colleges that are leading the way on LGBTQ inclusivity, and religious schools living up to LGBTQ-inclusive values.  These campuses were selected by the Campus Pride Index team showcasing campuses with inclusive policy, program and practice and who scored 3.5 or higher stars in their respective categories.

“Seeing the representation of schools from every corner of the country, and highlighting the efforts of community colleges and even religious institutions really underlines the successes Campus Pride has had over our 20 years,” said Tom Elliott, Campus Pride Board Chair. “The work we’ve done with student leaders, and the resources Campus Pride continues to provide them, is making the higher education experience safer and more welcoming to LGBTQ students nationwide.” 

The Campus Pride Index, cataloging more than 430 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities, is available at https://www.campusprideindex.org/

Juniors: What’s Your Story?

Juniors: What’s Your Story?

The start of junior year is the perfect time to determine your story for applying to college. What majors are you considering? What have you done to explore those majors? Where will you add value in college both inside and outside of the classroom? Is your value add clear on your resume? 

It might seem early since you won’t be submitting apps until this time next year, but those apps are much easier to write if you’ve done some work ahead of time. 

Juniors, right now you can:

  • Create a testing plan and learn about test-optional admissions
  • Develop relationships with admissions officers and regional reps (the people who make key decisions on your application) as well as current students and faculty (we can fill you in on why these connections are so important and set you up with a peer guide)
  • Open up a Common App account to get familiar with the system
  • Craft a preliminary college list so you understand the many application plans colleges now use, and why this is a critical component of a smart application strategy
  • Make the best of virtual campus visits 
  • And of course, determine your academic narrative and “story” for your apps, and learn how this plays into one of our favorite parts of the college app process: essays!

Speaking of essays now would be a great time for juniors to grab a copy of our book, The Complete College Essay Handbook

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