- SAT and ACT – A number of SAT and ACT test dates have been cancelled. So far, the College Board has added a September 26 test date. Some additional colleges have announced they will be test optional.
- AP – The scope of both the AP classes and exams have been reduced. There is a new at-home testing option.
- College visits – Most colleges switched to virtual visits and information sessions. Attend virtual visits and information sessions, communicate with admissions personnel to get your questions answered, look at college videos online, read student feedback on sites like unigo.com and niche.com, read online versions of the college newspaper, talk with current students or recent graduates, and follow the college’s social media to get a better feel for the colleges you are considering. Be looking for changes in college visit policies. Come colleges are planning to switch to in-person campus visits starting in June (many of these will be of one family at a time and limited to outside spaces at their college.
- Deposit date – Some colleges extended their deposit dates from May 1st, often to June 1st for 2020. The extra time may help students learn more about the college, determine if they can still afford the college, and appeal the financial aid where there has been a significant change in family income and/or assets due to Coronavirus.
- Summer activities – Summer plans (e.g., jobs, summer classes, volunteer activities, travel) for many high school students have or will be cancelled. Plan meaningful alternate activities. There are a lot of things you can do from home. For instance, you can take a free or low cost online class on Coursera, Udacity or edX, learn a foreign language on Duolingo.com, practice a foreign language in Language Bird’s Chirp Room™ Chat or volunteer from home.
- Extracurricular activities – Many extracurricular activities have been cancelled this spring and/or will be cancelled in the fall. See if you can move your activity online (e.g., via Zoom) or pursue your passion in an alternate way. You may want to explain extracurricular activity changes that were out-of-your-control in your college applications.
- Online classes – Many classes have moved online. It is likely that in some areas of the country, high school and/or college classes will be online or hybrid (i.e., partially online and partially in-person) in the Fall.
- Grading – Many schools are switching from letter or numerical grades to Pass/Fail or Credit/No-credit grades. When you have a choice, consider how this will impact you (e.g., college or grad school admissions or merit aid).
- Finances – Families may have fewer resources available for college funding because of the loss of job or an illness/death in family. Appeal your financial aid package, if your family’s financial situation changes significantly.
Net Price Calculator – on each college’s website
The school has over 400 clubs. There are 17 Division I teams. There are free tickets for students to watch the Division I sports. Football is the big spectator sport in the Fall and Baseball is the big spectator sport in the Spring.
Twenty percent of student go Greek. Greek students attending the Football games get dressed up (i.e., guys wear jackets and ties and gals wear heels and pearls).
If you are a student looking for a large State University the South, with Greek life, and strong Division I sports, the University of South Carolina might be for you. If you are a very strong student academically, the Honors or Capstone Scholars program along with the merit aid for out-of-state students might seal the deal for you!
The time for the “big decision” for high school seniors is quickly approaching. For those who have been accepted to more than one college, it will soon be time to make the final choice.
Now is a good time to visit or re-visit the campuses and surrounding areas of the colleges you are considering. It is time to ask and get answers to any final questions. Here are some things to consider:
- Academics – Review the core curriculum courses and the required and available courses in likely majors and minors. Consider class size; opportunities for internships, research, a senior project, and travel abroad; accessibility to professors, and support in finding a job and/or graduate school when you finish your undergraduate studies.
- Social – Consider school environment (e.g., location, size, weather, distance from home), as well as your social, political, extra-curricular and religious needs.
- Financial – Know how much tuition, room and board, books, travel, and miscellaneous expenses will cost. Make sure you understand your financial aid package, including how much you will need to pay back each month on loans and how long it will take you to pay back those loans.
What other tips would you give high school seniors faced with the big decision?
General: Lebanon Valley College (LVC) is a private residential college of 1630 students on a 345-acre campus in Annville, Pennsylvania, 10 minutes from Hershey. The buildings are architecturally mixed and the college has impressive physical education facilities. The 4-year graduation rate is 70%. About one quarter of students are commuters. The remaining students have housing for all four years.
What’s new: The school has just started a self-designed major, which must include at least two disciplines. The school has a new President, Dr. Lewis Evitts Thayne, who came on August 1. He would like to increase the school’s diversity geographically, ethnically, internationally, and racially. Arnold Field was renovated over the summer with artificial turf, track resurfacing, and new lighting.
Academics: Teaching is the #1 priority for professors. Classes are generally small, with an average class size of 20. The largest classroom on campus holds 70 students. The school encourages students to study abroad/away, do internships and/or research. Students often do travel abroad in the summer (e.g., education majors in London, business students in the Netherlands). In addition to travel abroad in about a dozen countries, there is study away in Philadelphia and Washington DC. Education placements start in the freshman year. One hundred employers come to campus in January.
The school is probably best-known for its 6-year Physical Therapy (PT) program. The school also has other unusual majors including actuarial science, music business, music recording technology, and digital communications.
Extra-curricular activities: The school has Greek life, Division III sports, including football, and a Marching Band. There are 540 student athletes, 120 students in the marching band, and 100 students involved with the theatre. There are 90 clubs and organizations, including many faith-based groups. The students do over 18,000 hours of community service a year. There is a 4-day social justice program in January. 300 to 400 students attend the Friday night comedy series.
Admissions: The school has rolling admissions with 60 – 65% acceptance rate. The school is test optional.
All of the 4 types of music majors require an audition.
In order to apply for the PT program students must have shadowed physical therapists for at least 15 hours in each of two different clinical settings. Only 85 students are accepted to the PT program out of about 500 applications. PT students are admitted to the college first and then considered for the major.
Financial Aid: 98% of LVC students get some form of financial aid. There is both need-based and merit aid.
The top 30% of students get academic scholarships. Merit aid of 50% off of tuition is provided to students in the top 10% of their high school class. Merit aid of one third off of tuition is provided to students in the top 20% of their high school class. Merit aid of 25% off of tuition is provided to students in the top 30% of their high school class. Students with an SAT score of 1100 (2 sections) with no ranking or ranking lower than 30%, have an opportunity for a merit scholarship via an interview.
There are multicultural scholarships valued between $2 and $12K.
PT majors receive one-third off scholarship for their 5th and 6th year of school.
LVC and Bias: When I visited in mid-November, a freshman had found a piece of paper with a sketch of a person lynched. The school responded quickly. There was a special edition of the school newspaper, a student and faculty gathering to raise awareness and speak out against racism, and the president responded. The school has a Bias Response Team, which was created in 2005 after several incidents of racial and homophobic comments in which two students were charged.
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.