Four years of staying up late to study for tests, write essays, prepare for the SAT or ACT on top of the games and recitals have finally led to this: submitting college applications. After your child hits ‘send’, do not forget about critical tasks to ensure that your child’s application is complete and can be reviewed by admissions officers.
Many admissions offices practice rolling admissions—meaning that they review applications on a first come, first serve basis. What does this mean for your child’s applications? You want her application to be reviewed as soon as possible, when the most amount of spots remain to be awarded to applicants.
After your child submits applications you will receive status checkers to verify what has been received and what is outstanding. Check these every few days until all required items are marked as received. Review the following to make sure the following are covered:
2. Sending ACT Scores?
Go to www.act.org and send scores to each school. Note: public university systems, such as at the University of California, require you to submit test scores to each campus (i.e. UCLA and UCSB). You can search for the schools directly in the site and send all scores in one batch or individually.
3. Sending SAT Scores?
Go to www.collegeboard.org and send scores directly to each school. Note: public university systems, such as at the University of California, require you to submit test scores to each campus (i.e. UCLA and UCSB). You can search for the schools directly in the site and send all scores in one batch or individually. If your child took the ACT and the SAT Subject Tests, you will have to send both sets of test scores to each college.
4. Sending Transcripts
Discuss with your school’s guidance counselor what system they use for transcript requests. Many schools take care of transcripts, while Parchment is widely used with public schools throughout the country. Make sure you follow the proper protocol to ensure that the transcripts are submitted in a timely manner.
Remember to tie up any and all loose ends so your hard work and determination shines in a timely manner. Best of luck through the end of this process!
In a survey conducted by Student Loan Report, 69.3% of millennial student loan borrowers would rather receive a student loan payment instead of a gift this holiday season. The survey questioned 1,000 borrowers currently repaying a student loan.
Do not read this as a sign that the holiday spirit is diminishing for the country as whole. Rather, understand how pervasive the student loan crisis is and how it affects recent graduates to the point they would rather forgo a holiday gift in exchange for help with a crushing student loan obligation.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average student loan payment for a 20- to 30-year-old is $351 a month. If you’re worried that gifting money is unsentimental, think again. Chances are, it’s probably what your student borrower really wants for the holidays. In the survey, 58% of respondents said that they plan to use Christmas money to chip down their student loan debt, compared with 41.5% who want to spend it on other things.
At the end of the day, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt totaling about $1.45 trillion. From that number, about 11.2% of accounts are delinquent (90-plus days late with a payment or in default).
As the holidays approach and seniors put the finishing touches on last minute applications, your family must consider the implications of choosing a college that carries a $200,000 or $300,000 price tag for the total cost of education. Families, this may mean forgoing holidays for years or decades to come. Understand what non-dischargeable financial obligation accompanies your child’s dream college. If that total amount is something you together as a family are not comfortable with, consider lower cost alternatives that provide similar opportunities and probabilities for desired career outcomes.
Remember, a college education is an investment, and it is up to your family to maximize your return on investment.
Parents will move mountains to help their kids become successful. This includes driving like a madman between activities, brainstorming project topics, revising essays, and providing emotional support.
Getting into college is a team sport, and it is OK for parents to be involved in the process, but in doing so, we cannot serve as crutches for our kids to develop the skills they need to be successful in college and beyond.
My advice for the week is to watch this Ted Talk from Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Stanford Freshmen. It is an amazing talk about giving your kids the tools to succeed. Click here to view.
It is November, and for many high school seniors, this means that they are in the thick of applications and the stress many students impose on themselves thinking that they have to get into their dream school.
Let’s take a step back. There are 2,618 accredited colleges and universities in the United States, and countless junior colleges that provide every student a path to build the foundation for long-term success. The better question to ask, than how do I get in, is what is that path for you?
Avoid the temptation of thinking that only one college will provide that path to what you want to do after college. The reality is that many schools will accept students who have a GPA far below a 4.0, and who have scored the minimum on the SAT or ACT exams. Some of these schools have produced some of the greatest titans of industry.
One antidote to the admissions craze is Frank Bruni’s book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be. He argues that it does not matter what college/university you attend. Rather, what matters is what you make of the experience, how you capitalize on the opportunities, and the lasting relationships you develop during these formative years. Bruni illustrates his argument by citing where the CEO’s of the top ten companies in America went to school:
Most of these schools are very accessible to all students.
For all high school students caught up in the frenzy of figuring out how to get into Stanford, Harvard, or any other college that accepts a mere 5% of its applicants, your time is better spent figuring out how to grow in high school, college, and beyond into a person capable of accomplishing your long-term goals. Work toward foreign language fluency, intern in fields that fascinate you, and develop leadership skills that employers and grad schools covet. You will be pleased to learn that these are the exact things that the Ivies and Stanford’s of the world are looking for in their applicants. However, much more importantly, you will develop the skills along the way to navigate life’s challenges that extend far beyond the diplomas hanging on your wall.
As the creator of College Path and a college counselor, I believe that every family should have access to information that helps them earn admission to the college that is right for their child. This is why I built College Path. I am always happy to share other resources that families can use to make informed decisions that make this process easier and less stressful.
If you are looking for definitive information about what test scores and GPAs are needed for admission, not just the applicant averages, try College Confidential. College Confidential is a forum for students and parents navigating the college admissions process. For highly selective colleges such as Harvard or Stanford, where applicants outnumber places by ten to one, it’s important to look beyond the SAT/ACT averages since there is so little variance between those admitted and those that are not. It is helpful to assess your odds of admission by looking at who was admitted in the prior year and identify any students with scores and demographics similar to your own.
Members active on College Confidential may also be able to provide you with suggestions for identifying colleges that are a great fit, tips for reducing the cost of college through scholarships, and even peer review of personal statements.
There is no magic formula to earn admission. Remember that test scores and GPA alone are not enough to earn admission to many of the most selective colleges in the United States. Whether it is Boston College or UC Berkeley, admissions officers are looking for the next generation of students that are passionate and can make a difference on campus. To stand out, demonstrate that you are a leader capable of propelling the college forward in a field or area that matters to you. Whether that is a cause, an orchestra, a sports team—the choice is yours. Follow your passion and excel where you can. Admissions officers will notice.
To visit College Confidential click here.
That is a great question, and it really depends on where you are applying.
Does it matter when you submit?
This will hinge on the school’s application policy. It is critical for you to understand how schools review their applications. Do not rush an application just to apply early. If your essay is not as polished as it could be, or you are taking the SAT or ACT at a later date when you will be more prepared, applying early will not make up for a lower test score; so apply when your application is complete and as strong as possible.
Here is some helpful information on the different types of application policies to help you decide when to apply:
Early Decision I/ Early Decision II
Early decision is a binding application program, where an applicant agrees to apply to one college and submit all application materials by November 1st. The application is binding; this means that if an early decision applicant is admitted, she is obligated to attend that university and withdraw any outstanding applications to other colleges.
Colleges notify early decision applicants by mid-December as to whether they have been accepted, rejected, or deferred to regular decision review. If an applicant is deferred, it means that applicant will be considered again as part of the regular decision applicant pool and find out by April if she will be offered a place.
Some colleges offer an Early Decision II application program in addition to an Early Decision I program. Early Decision II is very similar to an early decision program, but has a January deadline. Early Decision II may be a better fit for an applicant that is able to commit to attend one college but needs additional time to complete the college application, take the SAT an additional time, or submit grades from the first semester of senior year to strengthen her application.
The difference between early decision and regular decision admission rates is somewhat misleading. Many of the colleges listed above require recruited athletes to apply early decision. Some colleges also require applicants that have alumni legacies to apply early decision if they want their alumni legacies to be considered in the application process.
Early action is a nonbinding early application program. With an early action application, an applicant submits her application, usually by the beginning or middle of November, and is notified whether she has been accepted, rejected, or deferred to the regular decision applicant pool by the middle of December. If an applicant is accepted under an early action program, she can continue to apply to other colleges and decide by the regular decision deadline whether she will enroll or not.
Regular decision refers to applications that are due as early as the end of November and usually no later than the beginning of January. Regular decision is the normal application process and offers no particular advantages over other application programs a college may offer. If your child plans to apply to a college that offers a priority or preferred application deadline, your child MUST submit her application by the preferred or priority cut-off date. Failing to do so will severely harm your child’s odds of admission, as many of the available slots will be allocated before admissions officers review your child’s application.
Some colleges offer rolling admissions, which means they either admit or deny applicants as the applications are received. The more slots available, the higher your child’s odds of acceptance will be for that college. Furthermore, some colleges have much higher admission rates for early decision or early action application programs, which your child should capitalize on as well.
The high cost of college is a well-publicized fact: private schools now approach $300,000 for four years including room and board, and public schools can cost as much as $120,000 for tuition, room, and board. This can seem like an insurmountable price tag without scholarships or financial aid.
Many families are caught off guard with the high preparatory costs even to get into college, so in this blog I’ll give some pointers on what you can expect and how these preparatory costs can be offset. Today, a college application can cost $50 to $75 dollars. Each application also requires you to submit test scores and official transcripts, which can cost another $25 per school. With each application costing up to $100, applying to ten colleges will set your family back $1,000 or more.
For families where these costs present an undue financial hardship, discuss with your high school counselor about fee waiver programs. These are typically available for applicants that received fee waivers for the ACT or SAT.
Many colleges across the country offer free college applications to entice applicants to apply to their establishment. Many of these same schools offer generous merit and need based financial aid as well. If concerned with the high cost of college and the application process, consider a partial sampling of schools that offer fee-free college applications. Many of these schools are both regionally and nationally recognized colleges that offer students incredible job prospects.
In an era where crushing student loan debt prevents college grads from living on their own, and their parents from retiring, it is critical to keep an open mind and reduce the cost of a college education. Seek programs that empower you to be healthy, happy, and financially independent after graduation. That is the true measure of success. Adopting a low cost application strategy is a great start. As part of that strategy, enjoy investigating what the following schools have to offer:
A sound strategy to make college more affordable includes making the application process less expensive as well. Be mindful of all costs associated with this journey.
The only thing scarier than getting into college is figuring out how to pay for it. With public universities now costing more than $120,000 for tuition, room, and board for four years, and private colleges costing upwards of $300,000 all in, most families need a plan, and many need all the help they can get.
Consider the following to help defray the cost of college:
Do not write off earning admission to a fantastic college simply because your grades are not where you would like them to be. Yes, it is true that 47% of college-bound high school seniors have an “A-” grade point average or higher. And, yes, if you have less than stellar grades, getting into college is harder – but it is definitely still doable.
Here are the things you must do to stand out and earn admission:
1. Study for the SAT or ACT. A strong showing on the ACT or SAT can make up for lackluster grades and demonstrate aptitude even if your transcript does not. If you didn’t achieve your anticipated grades and are, nonetheless, in the process of making your applications right now, you can still position yourself as a competitive applicant: do this by choosing colleges where your scores will be at the top end of the applicant pools. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but it doesn’t mean all is lost. It can become a question of repositioning yourself and choosing the best strategy for the revised situation. Admission to a college that is a revised option doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things in the outer world later on. Learning to see the long-view and the wider perspective is good training in itself for a healthy and successful approach to life!
2. Address your grade issues head on. Many applications allow for students to address any issues in their applications. If there is a reason for the low grades, tell the admissions officers. They are not mind readers and do not know if there was a valid reason for the lower-than-expected grades. Even if your grades resulted from not doing homework or something completely in your control, spin your transcript into a positive by discussing what you have learned from not getting the best results you know you are capable of.
3. Show an upward grade trend. If your high school grades started off rockier than expected, that is OK. Do your best to earn better grades later in high school. Admissions officers will give students with upward grade trends the benefit of the doubt and chalk up the improved academic performance to maturity and developing better study habits (both good things in the eyes of admissions officers).
4. Prove you are more than just a number. No one wants to be defined just by their GPA or test scores. Demonstrate excellence in a field beyond academia. For those whose forte is not in the classroom but shine in their chosen field in other ways, this is your opportunity to make up – and even supersede – the lost ground. Whether it is starting your own business, running your own club, or receiving accolades for an instrument, admissions officers value applicants who bring unique skills and leadership to their campuses in areas outside of the classroom. Make these parts of the applications as strong as possible.
5. Adopt a healthy mindset when looking for colleges. Stanford may be out of the question, but that is OK. There are still plenty of colleges that will provide you the foundation for long-term success. Keep an open mind and focus on how college can prepare you for the future and not just on the brand names.
Recognize that colleges seek to balance genders and backgrounds in different programs, and applicants that contribute to that balance are more valuable to a college. For example, women earn over 57% of all bachelor’s degrees, but only 19% of engineering degrees. A female applicant with a demonstrated interest in engineering may stand out more than an equally qualified male applicant as admissions officers strive to create a balanced and diverse class. The same would go for a male applicant that applies to a nursing program. As college counselors we work with applicants to make sure that they apply to majors that fit their interests and application theme, and, wherever possible, boost their odds of admission. Remember, major selection is not set in stone. Most colleges allow students to change majors rather easily. Check with the colleges your child is applying to about their policies for changing majors.