We've been hearing about the new SAT for a while now, and yesterday additional details were revealed by College Board president David Coleman who criticized both the SAT and ACT as straying away from learning. Many were quick to point out that the ACT has always steered in that direction more than the SAT, and as president of ACT's education division expressed, "It seems like they’re mostly following what we’ve always done.”
Here are a few of the central changes as summed up in this article:
- The SAT will return to a 1,600-point scale with a maximum of 800 in math and reading taken in three hours, and an optional 50 minute essay scored separately.
- There will no longer be a guessing penalty where points are deducted for wrong answers.
- Vocabulary will focus on commonly-used college-level words, rather than words that are out of use.
- Reading passages will contain excerpts from "founding documents" and historical texts, as well as source documents from science, social studies, and other disciplines.
- Math will focus on the type of math required in college courses and beyond including linear and complex equations, ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning. Calculators will only be used on some sections.
- The optional essay will require analysis on how the author has used evidence and reasoning to support his position.
Check here for the unveiling of a sample of the new SAT on April 16.
The Common App was riddled with technological glitches this season causing an explosion of activity on College Essay Organizer. Who else could students turn to when supplements were not being released on time, and key essay questions were often missing? Not only did we email thousands of students weekly lists detailing which colleges' supplements had released, but we also provided the complete list of essay questions even when they were not available on the Common App.
While the Common App has gotten many of its issues under control, it has been unclear how things will be handled in the coming season, and whether or not past promises (such as all college supplements being released at once on August 1) will be kept. No matter what happens post Rob Killion stepping down, we can tell you that College Essay Organizer will continue to step up and provide students with the confidence needed to complete essays as accurately and early as possible.
For more information on the Common App's change in leadership, refer to Nancy Greisemer's article here.
Since it often feels like the student is completely out of control in the application process, it's good to know that you do have rights. As members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Common App member schools have agreed to give admitted first-year students who have applied regular decision or early action till May 1 to accept or decline an offer to attend. This means that if a college requests you to reply before May 1 (and you have not applied early decision), an extension will be provided upon written request. Here is a list of regulations:
- You can wait until May 1 to respond to an offer of admission and/or financial aid, unless you applied Early Decision.
- Colleges that request commitments prior to May 1 must extend you the opportunity to request an extension until May 1 that will not affect your offer for admission and/or financial aid.
- Wait/alternate list notifications need to include the number of students on the waitlist, the number of students offered admission, and the availability of financial aid and housing.
- You are not obligated to give a deposit or written commitment in order to remain on a waitlist.
- You must be notified of your waitlist status by August 1.
Click here to see more of your student rights and responsibilities as published on the NACAC site.
Waiting to hear whether or not you got into a college may just be the toughest part of the college admissions process. Even though all the work is done, if you are a worrier, suddenly having additional time on your hands to think about all your worst-case scenarios can prove to be quite stressful and exhausting. And if you happened to have had a bad interview, you may think that you completely ruined your chances of getting into your dream college. Fortunately, the interview plays only a small role in getting in, and is certainly less important than your college essays, grades, and test scores. Interview gaffes do make great stories though, especially if you do end up getting an acceptance letter. Here is an example from this article of one student who did end up getting into MIT:
“I put my hand down on the table just after he put the tea on the table. What I didn’t realize was that this was the tipsiest table ever, and this enormous kettle of tea spilled onto my interviewer’s lap, so there’s your first impression.”
We'd love to hear your most memorable interview stories. Please send them to us at email@example.com. We'll post the best ones (anonymously of course).
There are loads of scholarship programs out there, so it's always good to try your hand at a few that may be a good fit. After all, there's nothing to lose, especially if you already applied or you got in early. College Essay Organizer includes hundreds of scholarship questions in its database, and we rounded up a few of the most popular ones that students are applying to along with some of their thought-provoking essay questions.
Merit-based scholarships at Emory College of Arts & Sciences, Oxford College and the Goizueta Business School require one of the following:
- A) "The future belongs to the discontented." Robert W. Woodruff -- Just thirty-three years old when he took command of The Coca-Cola Company in 1923, Emory alumnus, Robert W. Woodruff shaped the fledgling soft drink enterprise and its bottler franchise system into a corporate giant with the world's most widely known trademark. During the next six decades, Mr. Woodruff established a remarkable record as a global leader and philanthropist. Describe how this quote resonates with you.
- B) “The cynics will tell you that the good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Just do it anyway.” Roberto C. Goizueta -- The Goizueta Business School is honored to take its name from Roberto C. Goizueta, who demonstrated a level of personal and professional courage throughout his lifetime that has ensured his legacy as one of the most respected business leaders of the 20th century. As a future business leader, what is the good you would like to contribute in the world, and why?
The Dean’s Scholarship in Business at Washington University in St. Louis:
- What is the world’s most pressing problem and how should business contribute to the solution?
The Lillis Scholarship at University of Puget Sound:
- A primary objective of the Lillis Scholarship is to encourage intellectual independence. To illustrate your own intellectual independence and ability to integrate it into your life, please provide the selection committee with an original essay in which you respond to the following prompt: Describe an intellectual idea that has transformed your thinking.
The Trustee Scholarship at Boston University requires one of the following:
- A) Recent disclosures have revealed that the US government maintains a database that logs all American telephone calls and actively collects the contents of large numbers of domestic and foreign emails. National security officials have testified that these once-secret programs have disrupted more than 50 “potential terrorist events.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a suit against the Obama administration demanding an end to this surveillance, contending that it “gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.” In your opinion, what are the considerations in determining how much domestic surveillance is warranted to prevent possible terrorist attacks? Do you agree with the ACLU’s position or that of the government? Where do you draw the line regarding data collection and when this should be prohibited?
- B) According to Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, scientists will soon be able to perform genetic testing to determine an individual’s likelihood of developing 25 major diseases such as cancer, arterial sclerosis, and diabetes. Similar in-vitro testing will be available as well, permitting parents to know the probability of debilitating—as well as “undesirable”—traits in fertilized eggs before they are implanted in the womb. What are the arguments against making such information widely available? Do you agree or disagree with these arguments?
- C) Responding to the overwhelming amount of facts, information, and opinions that come to us though our electronic devices, the author Pico Iyer has written: “The only way to do justice to our onscreen lives is by summoning exactly the emotional and moral clarity that can’t be found on any screen.” Do you agree with this statement? Why?
We're deep into reading the thousands of admission applications that arrived before the regular decision deadline yesterday. But we've noticed that there is one application missing: yours.
Just in case you forgot to press the "submit" button, we're happy to announce that you've got until January 31 to send us your Wheaton application. We've had enough experience to know that in the crush of things to do as a college applicant, time and technology (this year) can get the best of you.
Simply return to commonapp.org, ignore the published application deadline, finish filling out the forms you started for Wheaton, and hit "submit"! It's that easy.
One important reminder: Don't forget to tell your counselor and teachers that you are applying to Wheaton so they can submit your transcript and recommendations to complete your file.
Good luck! We look forward to receiving your application very soon!
Vice President for Enrollment
Dean of Admission and Student Aid
For those of you frustrated by more Common App delays as you try to submit your application on today's already delayed deadline, not to worry! Colleges are continuing to be ever so gracious and understanding of the Common App's technical difficulties which have added stress and confusion to an already taxing process. Below is a letter sent out by George Washington University letting applicants know that they can continue submitting applications late without penalty:
Greetings from GW! We have been made aware that some students are experiencing difficulties submitting the Common Application. We want to reassure you that we will continue to accept applications if you are unable to submit it today.
Please contact our office if you have any questions. We look forward to learning more about you in your application.
Best of luck,
Karen S. Felton
Director of Admissions
Now that even the extended regular deadlines are about to pass, the temptation (we know it's strong) is to sit back and do nothing. Don't get us wrong: you deserve a break. But you could be missing some big opportunities. In fact, you might even be overlooking that pot of gold sitting at the end of the rainbow. You're really close. You can almost reach out and touch it. Or at least you can log into College Essay Organizer and check the list of colleges you applied to to see which scholarships you are eligible for.
When you've already written dozens of essays, what's a few more, and the payoff can be great! And the process can actually be fun--there are creative questions out there that could potentially bring new meaning to your life. You could gain insights that you never thought possible. Well, maybe that's a bit over the top, and we have to admit there are hundreds of pretty cut and dry questions, but the juicy ones exist too, and your challenge is to send us the most shockingly fun and original scholarship questions you can find by January 21. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll post the top ones to our blog. Let's see what you've got!
The Common App has continued to experience difficulties throughout the college application season, and this past January 1 deadline has been no exception. Despite the Common App's efforts to provide additional support during the holiday, a half-hour before midnight the site went down for about three hours. The support center was overrun with requests which continued to pour in as problems persisted into the next day. As a result, many schools decided to extend their January 1 deadlines so make sure to check in with the colleges on your list if you thought you missed a deadline. Here is s a list of schools with extended deadlines compiled by Nancy Griesemer in this article:
Amherst College: RD to January 10
Barnard College: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Boston College: RD to January 12
Boston University: RD to January 3
Brandeis University: RD to January 8
Brown University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Carnegie Melon University: RD to January 2
Colby College: RD to January 5
College of William and Mary: RD to January 8
Columbia University: RD to January 6
Cornell University: RD to January 9
Dartmouth College: RD to January 10
Duke University: RD to January 5
Fordham University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Hamilton College: RD to January 8
Johns Hopkins University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Lehigh University: RD to January 10
Middlebury College: RD and ED II to January 10
Princeton University: RD to January 2
Stanford University: RD to January 2
Swarthmore College: Winter ED and RD to January 6
Syracuse University: Applications submitted by January 2 will be considered on time; applications received after will be considered on a "space available" basis
Tufts University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
University of Chicago: RD to January 3
University of Virginia: Will be “flexible”
Vanderbilt University: ED II and RD to January 15
Vassar College: RD to January 8
Wake Forest University: RD to January 10