I am often asked, “how do I get into college?” I propose asking a different question to help boost your odds of admission: why do I want to go? Right now the buzz word in the college admissions process is passion. There is so much pressure in the college admissions process to build a story that shows passion and how you will pursue it in college and beyond. For many students, it is stressful to have to declare an interest at such a young age when you’ve had precious few opportunities to explore and discover.
Strong applications tie together academic and professional interests through community service and extracurricular activities.
This is why we recommend that you develop a strategy for why you want to go to college and pair it with your strategy for getting in. It allows you to focus on building a story. However, do not worry if you are unsure of your plans for college. The most important thing in high school is to try to discover what you love. If your interests change, you will be able to change your mind when you get to college; if you need to change direction, then it will be healthy to do so.
Success beyond college comes from knowing what motivates and inspires you and knowing what does not. Taking a class or participating in an internship or extracurricular activity that reveals you dislike something is as much of a positive step as trying something and loving it. Do not be afraid to try something more “left-field” in the college admissions process. Life is trial and error. Every time you try something and do not like it, use this as a catalyst to do an about-turn and find things that do inspire you. Once you have the inspiration, this will help guide you to the courses and careers that are right for you...
I have included a fantastic article featured in Forbes by Mariko Silver explaining why a terrible internship may be the most important one you ever have. Click here to read the article.
Welcome the chance to have positive and negative experiences as part of this process.
The heads of three of the most prestigious private high schools in Washington DC, which produce an outsized share of the entering class of many of the most selective colleges in the US, recently penned an op-ed detailing their reasons for removing AP classes from their curriculum.
They point out the obvious: with AP classes now so ubiquitous across high schools, the value of taking college-level coursework in high school has been dramatically reduced as it relates to the college admissions process.
They are right.
Colleges are searching for passionate students capable of making a difference in their community. No amount of AP classes, or perfect grades in these classes, will ever paint a picture of who your child is and what she is capable of accomplishing.
Make sure that high school affords your child the opportunity to discover who she is and what she wants to do in college and beyond. Loading up with unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming AP/advanced classes is counterproductive and deprives your child of the opportunity to do things to increase the strength of her application. Focus on the advanced classes relevant to your child’s area of interest, and skip the ones that are not.
To read the op-ed, click here.
With college students preparing for the fall semester and 10.7 percent of all student loans 90+ days delinquent or in default as of Q1 2018, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s States with the Most and Least Student Debt.
States with the Most Student Debt
1 South Dakota
2 West Virginia
4 New Hampshire
States with the Least Student Debt
Best vs. Worst
It is critical to take into account expected student loan burdens as part of your college application strategy. In some states, 10% of people over the age of 50 still carry a student loan balance. You do not want this statistic to apply to you or your child. As part of our school list strategy, we identify colleges that may provide full tuition scholarships based on SAT/ACT scores and grades along with more affordable public school options. Play the long game when applying and ensure that your school list is tied to your long-term financial health.