Waitlisted? What's Next?

Posted by: Website Administrator on 3/30/2012

Getting put on a waitlist feels strange. You put so much effort into your application, all of this pressure and expectation builds up, and after all of that, you're told you still have to wait. If you've been placed a waitlist, you might be wondering, “What’s next?” 

Every college has its own policy, so be sure to check in with colleges you're waiting on. It's perfectly acceptable to call and ask how the waitlist is ordered (if at all) and managed, and to ask what you can do to increase your chances of admission.

Some schools have students arranged numerically, while others have students grouped in tiers. Others have no ranking system at all: if they need to go to their waitlist, they review whoever is on it at the time and go from there. You get the picture...

Regardless of how the waitlist is structured, if you want the best shot at being admitted, be sure to follow-up appropriately with the college(s) you're interested in.

Few colleges are able to make any movement on their waitlists before May 1st, the Universal Reply Date – so patience is key. After getting in touch with the college(s) you’re interested in, try to focus on the schools that have already offered you admission. Remember, you will need to submit an enrollment deposit to one of them by May 1st!

As the Admissions Process Comes to a Close

Posted by: Website Administrator on 3/30/2012

You've put a lot of effort into your applications, and hopefully you’re hearing good news from colleges.  That said, you’re likely receiving a mix of decisions from a variety of schools.  Here’s some advice on how to get through the coming weeks, as the college application process begins to wind down.

1) Celebrate your acceptances!  You worked hard, and deserve all of your success. 

2) Prepare to be recruited.  When a college admits you, they want you to enroll, and they will do their best to make you feel wanted.  Expect invitations to visit campus and phone calls or letters from current students; some schools will even send you t-shirts, scarves, or posters.  Take advantage of opportunities to meet with students, spend the night in a dormitory, and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.

3) It’s OK to be disappointed by a deny letter, but try not to get hung up on it.  Most students end up having a great time at whatever college they attend, even if it wasn't their first choice.  Besides, you should be excited about all of the schools you applied to (otherwise, why did you apply?).

4) Remember, when you don’t gain admission to a school, the college did not reject you. Your application was denied.  It is a subtle, but significant, difference.  A college may not have a space for you in the fall, but you are still the same smart, motivated, and talented student you always were. No admissions decision defines you.

5) Focus on the schools to which you were admitted.  Those schools are excited about you!  Boost your ego and spend some time with people who think you’re awesome.  

Tighter Rules For SAT and ACT

Posted by: Website Administrator on 3/28/2012

Cheating in any academic setting is not only immoral, but also holds significant consequences.  Twenty students found that out the hard way in an SAT cheating scandal on Long Island last year. Legal charges of fraud and illegal impersonation were brought against students who paid others to take their exams for them; legal action was also taken against those who accepted payment to take the exam.  In all, 20 students from 5 high schools were charged.

In an effort to eliminate cheating on standardized tests, the College Board and ACT are tightening up their rules for test-takers.  Students will now be required to submit a photograph when they sign up for the SAT or ACT, and officials will check that student IDs match their registration photos.  In addition to the requirement to submit a photograph, several other changes will be implemented, as well. 

Standby testing, whereby students can register the day of the exam, will be eliminated, and students will have to certify their identity in writing at the test center.  Furthermore, test-takers will be required report their gender, birth-date, and high school.  Previously, students could choose not to report their high school, but with the new changes, all scores will be sent to the high school, along with the students’ photographs. 

Plans were also proposed to send student photographs to colleges along with their SAT or ACT scores.  However, due to concerns that sending photographs might influence admissions decisions, this proposal is under reconsideration.  The ACT has opted not to send photographs to colleges, and the SAT will not automatically send photographs, but make them available to colleges in a database.

The new regulations will go into effect this fall for both the SAT and ACT.

How To Ask Questions

Posted by: Website Administrator on 3/27/2012

No matter where you are in the college application process – about to get your admissions decisions, or at the very beginning of your college search – you will have questions.  Whether in person or via e-mail, admissions counselors always appreciate when a student communicates well.  As you make your way through your college search, here are some pointers about asking questions and communicating effectively with admissions offices.

  1. Before asking any questions at all, fully explore the college's website.  Some of the most common questions are about application deadlines and academic majors – information that is easily available through a quick perusal of the admissions website.
  1. Think about the most specific way you can ask your question. Instead of "What kinds of arts programs does your university offer?" try "I'm a cellist and I want to continue to play in college. I noticed on your website that you don't require me to be a music major to play in the orchestra, but how competitive is the audition process?"
  1. In general, avoid emoticons and overly casual language in written and spoken communication.
  1. Before you visit, check with the college about their standard visit options.  Colleges typically offer a tour and information session, but some offer the opportunity to attend a class, have lunch in the dining hall, or spend the night in the dormitory.  If you are interested in activities other than the usual options, be sure to ask if your request can be accommodated, and be understanding if it can’t.
  1. Parents: don't call or email colleges pretending to be your child!
  1. Students: don't call or email colleges pretending to be your parent!
  1. Be positive and friendly.  Admissions officers want to help you as best they can.

Positive communication goes a long way at any time in the application process. It is important to develop these skills early so you can have smooth interactions with the colleges you are interested in.

Reporting Sexual Orientation

Posted by: Website Administrator on 3/16/2012

The University of California system has proposed asking incoming freshmen to identify their sexual orientation.  For now, they are only considering asking incoming students, but this is something that admissions offices at other colleges are beginning to explore.

Elmhurst College began to ask applicants about their sexual orientation last year.  Elmhurst is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which endorsed gay marriage in 2005.  They even have some scholarships available for students who self-identify as gay in order to foster a more diverse campus community.

Asking students to report their sexual orientation on an admissions application or prior to enrollment serves a dual purpose.  It is important for practical reasons so that colleges know what types of resources and support services they will need to provide for the incoming students.  It also demonstrates that colleges recognize the value of a diverse student population, not just in terms of ethnicity and geography, but sexual orientation, as well.

For more details, you can read the full story at The Choice, a New York Times blog about college admissions.

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