More students are applying to more schools, leaving a small window for completing all those essays and applications on time, especially in the madness of senior year schoolwork. With more writing and less time to complete it all before early and regular decision deadlines, is it wise for students to build some essay-writing time into their summer breaks?
The simple answer: Yes, rising seniors should get a head start on their applications this summer.
The college admissions process is competitive, with almost a third of students applying to seven or more schools. For those looking to apply to selective institutions, it’s necessary to get a head start. Colleges know this, starting a trend of releasing essay prompts before applications actually open, allowing students the chance to start on their essays in the summer months.
The Universal College Application, which includes Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton, among others, as member schools, opened on July 1. Other colleges and universities have opened their applications or revealed essay prompts ahead of the standard Aug. 1 date, includingWake Forest University, University of Chicago, and University of Virginia.
Even the Common Application has given students a sneak peek at the2014-15 essay prompts, months ahead of its Aug. 1 open date.
Getting a head start doesn’t mean students need to be ready to hit “submit” by the end of July (although some schools will allow students to!) By brainstorming essay topics and working on essays now, seniors will already have a leg up on applications before they start the school year, alleviating stress and the overwhelming workload that comes with balancing senior year academics and applications in the fall.
Read Kat Cohen’s article for reasons to get started on your college applications this summer
Posted in Senior Year, Summer Planning, Essays, Tools and To-Do Lists, College Applications, College Planning, For Students, College Search, Recommendations
Tagged college planning, college, college applications, high school, students, college admissions, Higher education, application tips, Application essay, Admission, College application, College Life, college bound, summer college prep
Cynics will tell you that campus visits — a centerpiece of the Great American College Hunt — are largely a waste of time. No matter how diligently parents and their college-bound teens scour the country, all those dorms, libraries and food courts end up blurring together. The result: visitors finish their road trips exhausted and hardly any wiser.
The cynic are wrong. But it takes a maverick’s touch to get full value from a campus visit. I’ve been talking to lots of parents, school administrators and students lately, aiming to develop an underground guide to such expeditions. I’ve also been testing ideas during our family’s own college-hunting journeys.
Here’s what I’ve learned about turning even a four-hour campus visit into something memorable and instructive. The key insight: don’t dwell on whether the law school was founded in 1894 or 1903. (It’s been there long enough, either way.) Instead, break away from the pack.
Read George Anders’ article for 6 ways to make the most of a college visit.
Posted in College Admissions, College Planning, College Search, College Visits, For Students, Junior Year, Senior Year, Tools and To-Do Lists
Tagged Admission, admissions, campus life, campus visit, campus visits, college, college campus, college planning, college search, college visit, college visits, Colleges and Universities, Education, Higher education, senior year, Student, students, University and college admission
Students everywhere who struggle with standardized tests appreciate the increasing number of test optional colleges. However, it’s important to understand that there isn’t any one definition of “test optional.” Furthermore, just because a college states that it’s test optional for admissions doesn’t mean that tests aren’t required for scholarships or course placement. So be sure to check out the colleges for their specific requirements.
Of the 408 50-50 schools, at least 68 are test optional. According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 25 report that the SAT/ACT is “neither required nor recommended” and 43 as listed as “recommended.” Some of the “recommended” schools still require tests as part of their scholarship process while other don’t.
Read Michelle Kretzschmar’s article for the complete list of test-optional schools.
Posted in Choosing a college, College Admissions, College Criteria, College Planning, College Rankings/Lists, College Search, Standardized Tests
Tagged ac, ACT (test), college criteria, college list, college rankings, college search, high school student, high schools, Higher education, SAT, sat vs act, Standardized test, standardized testing, standardized tests, test optional, Test score
On the surface, it seems to be a simple question: How many college applications should you submit?
The answer may be more than parents may think, and the reason is that the admissions process has become less predictable, college consultants said.
“I have one student this year who was waitlisted at the University of Chicago and accepted at Yale, Harvard and Columbia,” said Shirley Bloomquist, a college counselor in Great Falls, Virginia with 30 years of experience.
Another student with similar credentials was accepted to the University of Chicago but rejected by Yale. “It’s much more variable than it used to be,” Bloomquist said.
There’s a chicken vs. egg quality to all this uncertainty. The national college acceptance rate has steadily declined in the past 10 years, but that’s in large part due to the growth in applications each student submits, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s latest “State of College Admission” report.
The percentage of freshmen who applied to seven or more colleges rose from 9 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 2011, before declining slightly to 28 percent in 2012, the report said. Seventy-seven percent submitted three or more college applications in 2012, compared to 61 percent in 1990.
Read Liz Weston’s article for more information.
Posted in Choosing a college, College Admissions, College Applications, College Planning, College Search
Tagged Admission, admissions, application tips, applications, college, college admissions, College application, college applications, college planning, college prep, college search, Colleges and Universities, Common Application, Education, high school, Higher education, senior year, Student, students, University and college admission