Can I Get In There?

If you are wondering what your chances are at getting accepted to a particular college or university here are four things to consider:

  1. What percent of students do they accept?
  2. What criteria are important to that college?
  3. How well do you meet the criteria?
  4. Will the major you have selected have an impact on whether you will be accepted?

What percent of students do they accept?  

The higher the percent of students the college accepts, the better your chance for admission. If the percent acceptance is very small, your chance of admission is very small.

Percent acceptance ranges between 2 or 3 % and 100%. Schools that accept 100% include many 2-year community colleges and some 4-year colleges.

Some schools accept a much different percent of applicants depending on whether the student applies as an early decision, early action or regular decision applicant. Percent acceptance may also vary by gender or ethnicity. In-state and out-of-state acceptance rates vary significantly and many public colleges and universities.

What criteria is important?

Important criteria may be reflected in the school’s mission statement. It also may be reflected in published data (see collegedata.com) which indicates how important (i.e., very important, important, considered, or not considered) each of the following is to the particular college:

  • Rigor of secondary school record – Rigor considers the number of years of a particular subject that you have taken.  Colleges often specify the number of years required or recommended for a particular subject like English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. Rigor also looks at the level of the course you took (e.g., college prep, honors, AP, IB) as compared to what your high school offered.
  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized Tests
  • Class rank (if available)
  • Recommendations
  • Application essay
  • Application interview
  • Level of applicant’s interest
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Particular talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities
  • First generation to attend college
  • State residency
  • Geographic residence
  • Relation with alumnus
  • Religious affiliation/commitment
  • Ethnicity
  • Work Experience.

How well do you meet the criteria?

For every criteria that is very important, important or considered by a particular college, consider how you will measure up.

For example, consider how your grades and course rigor and how your SAT/ACT test scores compare to the students the college accepts. If your high school has Naviance or SCOIR, you can use scattergrams to get an idea about how your grades and test scores stack up to others from your high school that applied to a particular college or university.

Will the major you have selected have an impact on whether you will be accepted?

The acceptance rate at some universities may also be dependent to the college which you are applying. For example, the College of Engineering may be more competitive than the College of Arts and Science.

Some majors which are in high demand and/or which there are few professors may be “impacted” majors. They may be more difficult to gain acceptance into than other majors. You may get accepted to the college or university, but not for your first choice major. At some schools, no one is accepted directly for a particular major. Students can only declare that major after meeting certain criteria as a college student (e.g., completing certain college courses with a particular grade).

Conclusion

Be realistic about your chances of admission. Be sure to include colleges with a high and medium probability of acceptance, not just colleges with low probability of acceptance.

If you need or want assistance with the college selection and application process, work with an experienced independent educational consultant like me. I help students select colleges which meet their academic, social and financial needs and I work with them throughout the application process to make sure they put their best foot forward in their applications.

Senior Year Blues

If you are a high school senior and not feeling great about your future because of the following all is not lost:

  • You didn’t apply to college, but you recently decided want to go
  • You applied to college, but you didn’t get accepted into any of the schools you applied to
  • You applied to college, but none of the schools you got accepted to are affordable for your family or
  • You applied to college, but you don’t like any of the schools you were accepted to.

Here are three approaches you might take:

  • Attend a local community college or a college with open admissions in the Fall
  • Take a gap year, and apply to colleges in the Fall
  • Check the list of colleges with available space in the Fall on the NACAC website (https://www.nacacnet.org/) typically posted on May 2 or 3. Apply to the colleges that you would like to attend and that you believe will be affordable for your family.

Best of luck!

25 Things to Do After Getting Accepted Early Decision

Congratulations on your early decision acceptance. Here are 25 things to do:

Follow college’s instructions that came with your acceptance.
Stop work on any other college applications.
Withdraw any other applications you have submitted to by emailing the admissions office. Include your name, high school, and a brief note that you were accepted early decision to a binding program and you will be attending that school. 
Follow your high school’s procedure for recording your acceptance.
Thank your high school guidance counselor and those who wrote letters of recommendation for you.
Look for outside scholarships.
Get a meningococcal conjugate vaccine if you will be living in a residence hall. If you received it before their 16th birthday, you will need a booster shot for maximum protection before going to college.
Request that an official final high school transcript be sent to your early decision college. This can’t be sent until the current school year is over.
Send ACT/Sat score officially through the testing agency if it was previously only self-reported. 
Take any pre-tests required before registering for fall classes.
Determine if you can receive credit for college level work you took while in high school and submit any paperwork needed (e.g., send official AP scores or official transcript from dual enrollment courses)
Review course catalog and register for fall classes in accordance with college’s directions.
Complete financial aid verification process, if necessary. 
Accept or decline the loans you have been offered. 
Complete loan counseling online for any loans you are accepting. 
Sign master promissory note for any loans you are accepting. 
Consider finding a summer job.
Submit housing deposit and enrollment deposit.
Sign up for summer orientation.
Confirm freshmen move-in date and make your travel plans. 
Purchase items needed for college living. 
Check student portal and email daily.
If you don’t already have one, open a bank account.
Look into getting a state ID card if you don’t have one and don’t have a driver’s license. 
Consider reading a book like “The Naked Roommate” and/or “How to Survive Your Freshman Year” before college starts.

7 Surprising College Application Essay Prompts

With the 2019-2020 application season winding down, here are seven surprising and thought-provoking college application essay or short answer prompts (in random order):

  1. “What is the most compelling thing you have ever read, and how has it changed you or inspired you to take action now, in the past, or in the future? This could be an entire book, a passage or chapter, a poem, an article, graffiti- anything written.” George Mason University Honors prompt 
  2.  Seattle has a rich musical history and SU students love discovering new Seattle music. Tell us: what five songs would be the soundtrack to your perfect college experience? (two to three sentences for each song is appropriate)” Seattle University prompt
  3.  “At USC Viterbi, we endeavor to engineer a better world for all humanity. This vision goes hand-in-hand with the objectives of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and their 14 Grand Challenges. Engineers and Computer Scientists are challenged to solve these problems in order to improve life on the planet. Learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges at http://engineeringchallenges.org and tell us which challenge is most important to you, and why.” University of Southern California prompt
  4. “There are approximately 171,476 words in the English dictionary. Pick your favorite word and tell us why you picked it.” Brandeis University prompt
  5. What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?” Stanford University prompt
  6. “Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics… it’s all up to you (or your woodchuck).—Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024” University of Chicago prompt 
  7. Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask?” Yale University prompt 

Which of these prompts do you think is the most challenging? The most creative?

What prompt did you encounter that you consider thought-provoking?

 

Babson College

Overview – Babson College is a private business college with a focus on entrepreneurship in Wellesley, MA, only 10 minutes from Boston. The college has 2300 undergraduates with an average class size of between 20 and 25 students and no TAs teaching. Classes are capped at 40 students.
Academics – The following makes Babson different:
  • Everyone is involved in entrepreneurship
  • There is a focus on thinking globally (30% of students are international) and innovatively
  •  Students need to be willing to be creative, take risks and be able to fail
  • There is an emphasis hands-on learning.

There are required business and liberal arts classes including rhetoric, quantitative classes and a business foundation in finance, accounting and marketing.
Everyone takes a yearlong foundations of entrepreneurship where they start a company to solve a problem, they pitch an idea to get funding for their idea and launch the business. At the end of the year, students liquidate the business and donate the profits to a local charity.
Students can have 0, 1 or 2 concentrations (like majors at other colleges).
All freshman get a laptop with needed software loaded.
There are no classes on Fridays.
Babson has partnerships with Olin College (which is their next door neighbor) and Wellesley College. Students can take 1 class per year at these 2 other colleges. The three schools also have a shared makerspace.

Study abroad – Over 50% of students have a global abroad experience that is over a break or a semester in length. There is also a yearlong partnership with the London School of Economics.

Post-Graduation – Students can work with the center for career development from day 1. Over 500 employers come to campus to recruit. Most students have at least one internship, although an internship is not required. 99% of graduates are placed in a job or a graduate program.










Housing – 85% of students live on campus all four years. Students can choose to live in a Living and Learning Community or Greek Housing if they like.

Extracurricular activities – There are 22 NCAA Division III athletic teams, as well as intramural and club sports. Babson has Greek life and lots of clubs for students to join (or students can start a new club).

Applying – Students can apply Early Action, Early Decision or Regular Decision. Admissions are holistic with an average SAT score of 1360 or ACT score of 31. All applicant must have pre-Calculus in high school, although Calculus or AP Statistics are encouraged.

ZeeMee Intro

What is ZeeMee?

Lynn University is a ZeeMee partner
ZeeMee lets students use images and videos to let others get to know them for free. It can be used as part of a college application, to find a college roommate, or to provide information to a counselor or teacher writing a letter of recommendation. Currently, over 190 colleges are partnered with ZeeMee.

What are the parts of ZeeMee?

ZeeMee has three sections:
  • Meet Me – a video, ideally between 30 and 90 seconds in length to introduce you
  • My Story – an elevator pitch limited to 300 characters.
  • My Activities – Three to five of your most important “activities” that you share with pictures, video and/or documents. These can be activities in your Common App or something totally different (e.g., family stories, personal challenges, talents, passions, interests).

What does ZeeMee look like?

Here are several ZeeMee samples.

How long does it take to set up a ZeeMe?

ZeeMee can be set up in as little as 30 – 45 minutes.

Who can see my ZeeMee?

Your ZeeMee link can be public (i.e., anyone can see it and it is searchable) or private (e.g., you send the link only to those you want to see it; it is not searchable).

Do colleges look at ZeeMee?

Brittany Werts, an Elon University Admissions Counselor said she spends 2 to 5 minutes reviewing the ZeeMee of Elon applicants, who she is on the fence about admitting.

What should I do if I have ZeeMee questions?

Check out the ZeeMee FAQ.

College Admissions Trends 2013 – Part 1 of 4

On February 26th, I attended a workshop at Rutgers University featuring a panel of college admissions and high school guidance personnel. They reviewed college admissions issues, concerns, and trends for members of the NJ Association of College Admission Counseling (NJACAC). The common themes were increased applications, more applications from international students, more demand for certain majors, continued building on-campus, and NJ state colleges looking for students from outside of NJ. Do any of these trends surprise you?

Some questions discussed included the impact of the economy on colleges and financial aid. Some private colleges are offering additional financial aid, with some discounting up to 50%. The panelists didn’t see how that could be supported on a long-term basis. Parents are asking more questions on college completion rates; it is taking students 5.6 years to graduate on the average. Some colleges are seeing the willingness to pay for college going down among those who can afford to pay. There is also an increase in families appealing financial aid awards. As parents, how has the economy impacted how you view a college education for your son or daughter?

In my next post, I will review the comments from the admissions personnel from Rider University, Fordham University, and The College of NJ (TCNJ).

Albright College, Reading, PA

The Basics – Albright is a small college in Reading, PA. Most of the classes have 15 to 25 students; only 2 classrooms hold more than 40 students. Two thirds of the students take a dual major and 1 in 3 students is a minority or international student. Albright is known for its business and arts programs.

Academics – The school is on a 4-1-4 calendar and has a new Gen ed (general education) requirements. Gen ed requirements include a first year seminar class of 15-18 students with lots of reading and writing, a composition class, a foreign language requirement, foundations (i.e., one course in each of five areas), connections (i.e., two classes on cultural or biological diversity), synthesis (i.e., a class with two teachers) and experience events (e.g., study abroad, study off-campus, internship, research or service learning). Students can study abroad after two semesters and there are some scholarships available for study abroad. Some majors require an internship.

Extracurricular Activities – Greek life and athletics, especially Division III football, basketball and swimming are important here. 12% of men and 18% of women go Greek. There is a great health and wellness building. Popular activities are ultimate Frisbee, rugby, and the comic club. One school tradition is to throw you in the pond, which is more like a fountain, on your birthday.

Admissions – The school has rolling admissions with decisions starting on October 1. Students generally hear if they have been accepted two weeks after they apply. This year there were 1500 applications by Labor Day. The school uses the Common App without a supplement. The mid 50 % for GPA was 3.1 to 3.7. The mid 50% score for the SAT (for Critical Reading and Math was 1000 – 1170. The school is test-optional.

Building on Campus – The college is building a new $30 million science facility, is doing a $5million upgrade to the building that houses business, accounting and political science, and is doing a $10 million library renovation.

Financial Aid – The big news at Albright is that starting in the Fall of 2013, Albright will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need! Expect to have a Stafford loan and to do work-study. The school is need blind. There is also merit aid available. Most scholarships are between $5K and $25K. There are 2 full scholarships per year. There are also awards of between $500 and $5K for arts, participation, being a member of National Honor Society, and for Methodists.

The Dreaded College Application Essay

Put yourself in the place of an admissions officer. You have hundreds of applications to read. You have just read an application filled with grades, scores, lists of courses and activities. It’s time to read the college essay. The last thing you want to read is a poorly-written essay that could have been written by any high school student.

Instead of dreading the essay, think of it as an opportunity to make your application come alive. It will change you from a bunch of numbers to an interesting person that the admissions officer would like to have as an incoming freshman. The essay is your opportunity to share something important with the admissions officer that doesn’t appear elsewhere on the application.

A memorable essay starts with the right topic. Read the essay prompt and instructions. Then, get in touch with yourself and brainstorm possible ideas. Pick a topic that you have firsthand experience with and that is important to you. Allow enough time to write the essay and then to edit it.