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.

Finding Your Voice in the College Process

Posted by: Website Administrator on 4/23/2012

The college search and application process is your opportunity to take some time out of your hectic schedule to focus on yourself.  You get to think about your interests, likes, talents, and strengths, and show off your accomplishments.  The college search process is all about you, how you learn best, and how you find fulfillment.  

College is when you begin to truly come into your own.  You may be living independently for the first time and responsible for making your own decisions – not to mention that choosing a college may be one of the biggest decisions you have made so far.  Remember, when you do go to college, it is you who will be attending, so make sure that it’s your needs and interests you’re focusing on.

You and your parents should work in partnership throughout the college search.  It is important, of course, to rely on your parents for guidance and advice.  After all, they probably know you better than just about anyone.  But be assertive about your interests while remaining open to the insight your parents provide.  And remember, when you communicate with colleges, admissions counselors prefer to hear directly from you.  After all, if they only hear from your parents, how will they get to know you?

The college search is a time of self-exploration and personal development, and we want you to find your way to a college that fits your personality and learning style.  Taking ownership of your college search early will help you face the challenges ahead, and give you the confidence to relax a little and enjoy the process along the way.             

Categories: College Search

An Introduction to Different Types of Colleges

Posted by: Website Administrator on 4/20/2012

There are over 4000 colleges and universities in the United States.  To help you begin to narrow -down your search, here are the basics about some common types of four-year, bachelor degree-granting institutions.

Liberal arts colleges are small with close-knit communities.  Typically, they have fewer than 3000 undergraduate students, and very few graduate students.  Class sizes are small, most of the classes are taught by professors, and you will be expected to participate in the classroom.  Academically, you will be encouraged (if not required!) to explore a wide range of academic fields before focusing on your major.  Because there are so few graduate students, most of the research and internship opportunities will be available to undergraduates.  Living in the dormitories is encouraged, and students are heavily engaged in campus life.

Private research universities are larger than liberal arts colleges, and may have thousands of graduate students, but rarely have more than 15,000 undergraduate students.  These universities frequently have more than one college or school.  As an undergraduate applicant, many, but not all, private research universities require that you indicate which school you are applying to (College of Engineering, School of Education, College of Liberal Arts).  Applying to a specific school within the university allows you to be more focused in your academic field from the beginning.  Professors are dedicated to research in their fields, but also committed to undergraduate teaching.  There will be at least some small classes for undergraduates, but your class sizes may simply be larger here, relative to classes at a liberal arts college.  As an undergraduate, you may also have to compete for some resources with graduate students, but the facilities and opportunities will be of very high quality.  Campus life at these universities is vibrant and active, but many students may live off-campus.

Public research universities range in size, but may have between 15,000 and 50,000 undergraduate students, in addition to thousands of graduate students.  Most likely, there will be several colleges or schools at the university, and you will have to indicate your choice on your application.  Class sizes are probably going to be larger, and you can expect to have a lot of lecture courses.  Professors are primarily focused on research, and working with graduate students, but many professors teach undergraduate courses, as well.  Laboratory and research facilities will be strong, but you may have to compete for access.  These schools are often located in vibrant “college towns,” where a significant percentage of the population is affiliated with the university.  You also have the excitement of big-time athletics.  With huge student populations, there is no shortage of things to do, but you may have to be proactive to find and access what you want.

As you continue in your college search, you can use this guide to help determine what type of schools you want to consider, and where you think you could be the most successful academically, personally, and socially.  We encourage students to take a look at all three types of schools, just to be sure that your instinct (if you have one off the bat) is indeed pointing you in the right direction.

Categories: College Search

Common Application Announcements!

Posted by: Website Administrator on 4/19/2012

The Common Application is the most widely used college application, with over 400 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad accepting it.  Chances are, if you’re applying to college in the coming months, you’ll most likely use the Common Application for at least one of your schools.

This week, the Common Application announced the addition of 37 new member colleges, raising the total number to 490.  The new members include 9 public colleges, 5 overseas universities, and 2 historically black colleges.  You can see the complete list of new members here.

They have also released the updated versions of the 2012-2013 applications for freshman and transfer applicants.  While the official application will not be available until August 1, you can see a preview of the 2012-2013 applications with the updated sections highlighted.  Here are links to the new freshman and transfer applications.

Extracurricular Activities

Posted by: Website Administrator on 4/17/2012

If college applications are still a ways away, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do now to put yourself in the best possible position once it comes time to apply.  To start, you’ll want to pursue challenging courses and perform well academically.  However, one of the most important things you should be doing is thinking about the extracurricular activities you’re involved in outside of school.

Extracurricular involvements include any activity not immediately related to a class assignment or a course you’re taking in high school.  This includes school clubs, athletics and outdoor activities, community service, work experience, internships, research experience, religious activities, political involvement, theater, music, and a host of other things. 

Just about every college expects that you’ll be active extracurricularly. Colleges want to see that you will be an engaged and contributing member of a college community.  One way to show this is to be active outside of the classroom and pursue outside interests while in high school.  The value of extracurricular involvement is not only that it strengthens your college application, but also develops your self-awareness, maturity, and time management skills.  Besides, participating in activities of interest to you should be fun and engaging (if it isn’t, maybe you should try getting involved in something new!).

In choosing extracurricular activities, it’s OK to start broad.  You’ll want to explore several areas of interest early in high school so that you can narrow it down to a few meaningful activities later on. 

Remember – colleges like to see commitment to a few activities throughout high school, as opposed to inconsistent involvement in several activities.  Think about ways to earn or qualify for a leadership position early on.  Your extracurricular involvement is a reflection on you, so try to find activities you find enjoyable and fulfilling!
Categories: College Applications
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