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Common Application Shut Down on July 12

Posted by: Website Administrator on 7/11/2013

If you’re a rising high school senior, you’ve probably been thinking about the upcoming college application cycle. You may even be thinking about getting a head start on your applications during your summer vacation. Getting started early is a great idea, but it’s important to keep in mind the Common Application shut down and re-launch dates.

The Common Application will be shutting down at 11:59 PM on July 12, and re-launching on August 1. All applicant data will be cleared from the system, and any work done on your application before then will be lost. You can still begin your application early, as long as you take the right steps to save your work.

The simplest option is to wait to create your Common Application account and begin filling it out after August 1. That way, your work won’t be lost, and you’ll still be starting well in advance.

If you really want to get started right away and not wait until August 1, you can – but be sure to download a PDF version of your work by using the Preview function. That’s the only way you’ll be able to keep a record of your work once the Common Application shuts down. Then, when the application re-launches on August 1, you’ll be able to transfer your saved answers into the new form.

And remember – you can always work on your Personal Statement and brainstorm essay ideas without logging in to the Common Application at all. The new essay questions for 2013-2014 are publicly available at CommonApp.org.

So despite the Common Application shut down on July 12, you can still get a head start on your applications. Whichever option you choose – waiting until August 1, saving a PDF version of your work, or simply thinking about essay ideas in the next couple of weeks – starting early can help alleviate much of the stress of the college application process later this fall.

Changes to the Common Application

Posted by: Website Administrator on 8/1/2012

This fall, a small, but significant change has been made to the Secondary School Report section of the Common Application. Historically, the form has included a comparison chart for college counselors to rate a student relative to other students in their class, and then provide a written evaluation or recommendation. This application cycle, counselors will still be expected to complete the comparison chart, but they will be able to opt out of the written evaluation.

If you are concerned about how this might affect you, here are a couple of things you should know.

1) Some counselors work with hundreds of students, and simply do not know their students well enough, or have the time to write hundreds of detailed and thoughtful letters. If your counselor has a caseload of 500 students and elects to not write a letter for you, admissions offices will not penalize you for that. They understand that your counselor has too many students to work with and too little time, and will leave it at that.

2) On the other hand, if you go to a small school, admissions offices will expect a written evaluation from the counselor for every student. In that situation, it might appear strange if your counselor declines to write a letter for you. If you go to a small school, but don’t know your college counselor very well, there is still time to make a good impression! 

3) You can ensure that your counselor will write you a detailed letter, but only if you take the time to build a relationship with him or her. If you are worried that your counselor may not know you very well, it’s not too late. Make an appointment with your counselor; ask if s/he would review your college list with you, or help you edit your essays. Even just spending some time in the counseling office, researching colleges or working on your applications, will provide an opportunity for your counselor to learn who you are, and see your commitment to the college process.   

Of course, you can’t control what your college counselor actually ends up writing about you, but you can do some things to better the chances for a positive evaluation.  

Important Application Changes at Ithaca College

Posted by: Website Administrator on 5/16/2012

Ithaca College has announced two important changes that will affect applicants for the fall 2013 entering class: Early Action and test-optional admissions.

Until now, applicants to Ithaca have had two application options.  They could apply by November 1 as an Early Decision applicant to receive a binding admissions decision by December 15.  Alternately, they could apply by February 1 as a Regular Decision applicant to receive an admissions decision by April 1.  Starting this fall, Ithaca College will offer a third option: to apply by December 1 under a non-binding Early Action deadline to receive an admissions decision by February 1.

The new application option will allow students who are excited about Ithaca College (but perhaps not ready to commit to attending) to still apply early and show their enthusiasm for the college.  Note that because of the audition and interview process, applicants to the Music or Theatre programs cannot apply Early Action.

Applicants will also have the option of not submitting SAT or ACT scores.  Students with a strong academic record in school, but relatively weaker test scores, can feel less anxious about applying to Ithaca.  However, home-schooled students and students who attend schools with descriptive (as opposed to alphanumeric) report cards must submit an SAT or ACT score; all international students whose first language is not English must also submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. 

Changes to the MCAT Exam

Posted by: Website Administrator on 5/1/2012

For the first time in more than 20 years, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which administers the MCAT exam, has approved changes to the test that will take effect in 2015.  Any student considering medical school in the next few years should be aware of these changes, as they will have an impact not only on how you study for the exam, but also on your course selection in college and your academic path overall.

Notably, the MCAT is placing more of an emphasis on the social sciences than it has in the past.  On the 2015 exam, in addition to two sections on the Natural Sciences, there are going to be two new sections: Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (yes, that is the name of one section) and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.  The Writing Sample section will be eliminated.  In all, the updated exam will be about an hour longer.   

With the addition of Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, the AAMC is recognizing that health is influenced not only by purely biological and natural science factors, but also by our psychology, behavior, society, and culture.  The two sections will test students’ accumulated knowledge in the social sciences, and also their reasoning ability in social science disciplines through analysis of various passages. 

Considering the coming changes to the MCAT, it’s important to reflect on how this could change your academic trajectory.  Physicians are expected to be well-versed in more than the sciences, and to have a more holistic worldview.  If you are considering a career in the medical profession, be sure to include a solid base in the humanities and social sciences in your college coursework.  This will help prepare you to take the MCAT, and ensure you have covered the breadth of knowledge and skills that will be expected of you in medical school and beyond.

GRE Score Choice

Posted by: Website Administrator on 4/27/2012

Educational Testing Service (ETS), the administrator of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), announced that applicants to graduate school will no longer have to submit all of their test scores, but will be able to choose only the best scores to share. 

Test takers who are worried about having an “off day,” will now have the option of retaking the test without needing to share the lower score.  However, applicants will have to submit scores for an entire administration of the exam, meaning they cannot send sections of GRE scores from different dates.

With the addition of score choice for the GRE, it could become a more popular test for business school applicants who would otherwise have taken the GMAT, which requires applicants to submit all scores. 

ETS’ new policy gives the applicant more control in the graduate school application process.  Just remember to check-in with the schools you are applying to before deciding to send just one, or all, of your GRE scores.  Some graduate schools may want to see your entire score history to provide context for your test scores, and others may not have a preference.  Either way, your best plan is to follow the recommendation of the Admissions Office.

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