Communicate early to avoid problems later.
Now that the college application process is over, students are shifting their focus to what lies ahead, and the thought of having a roommate in the fall is causing some anxiety. After all, no one wants to be stuck living with someone they hate. This article includes some great tips on how to handle even the toughest roommate situation. Here are a few highlights:
- Communication is key. Make sure to find out each other's pet peeves from the beginning so that you can be sensitive to them before they blow up into larger issues.
- Work out problems when they're small. We all know how quickly small misunderstandings can snowball, so make sure to discuss them early on.
- Respect each other's belongings. Don't assume that your roommate won't mind if you borrow something. Be sure to ask first and set clear guidelines.
- Remember the Golden Rule. Be sure to treat your roommate the way you would like to be treated. No matter how things turn out, at least you'll know that you acted the right way.
The earlier you start planning for the college application process, the easier it will be when you finally apply.
Now that the end of the school year is near, high school students are selecting their classes for the fall. With this process comes questions surrounding the best way to impress admissions officers down the road. The New York Times Choice blog has posted some great tips to consider when making your class selections. Questions that are addressed by Jeff Rickey, the vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at St. Lawrence University, include:
- How important is a student's transcript when applying to colleges?
- What do admissions officers look for when reviewing a student's transcript?
- Is it a good idea to take challenging classes in subjects of little interest to the student?
- What is the best way to balance extracurricular activities and classes?
- Is it better to take Advanced Placement classes or classes at a local college?
- Is it better to have an A in an honor's class or a B in an Advanced Placement class?
To see the answers, click here.
You're almost there!
Congratulations on making it this far! You're almost done with high school and college is right around the corner, but you're not there yet. The New York Times Choice blog has provided a checklist here with some important points to remember:
- While it's easy to give in to spring fever, it's important to continue to prepare yourself for the demands that lie ahead. Being disciplined now will definitely pay off later, and a significant drop in academic performance could jeopardize your spot at the college you plan to attend in the fall.
- If you've made your decision on which college to attend, be happy knowing that you've done your research and made the best decision possible.
- Let other colleges know that you will not be accepting their offers so they can move to their wait-lists as necessary.
- If you are still on a wait-list, let the college know that you are still interested or take yourself off.
- Stay on top of college communications. You'll be receiving lots of forms that need to be filled out, so be sure to return them promptly.
- Now that you've made it through the application process, make sure to share the lessons you've learned with your younger friends, including any valuable technology you used (like College Essay Organizer) that helped you along the way.
- Plan your summer so that you're sure to have another great experience before college.
Just when you think acceptance rates can't get any lower...
Now that college decisions are out, acceptance rates are trickling in, offering a realistic view of the admissions process. While many seniors experienced disappointments, it is easy to see that they are far from alone. Juniors who may already be experiencing some fear of what's to come can benefit from a larger view of the process as well. And it's important to keep in mind that, ultimately, the majority of students find a college that feels just right for them, even if it's not where they expected to end up.
Here are a few examples of top schools' acceptance rates that continue to go down each year:
- Columbia University had 33,531 applicants and accepted 2,311 applicants
- Brown University had 28,919 applicants and accepted 2,649 applicants
- Johns Hopkins had 20,614 applicants and accepted 3,465 applicants
- UNC at Chapel Hill had 30,815 applicants and accepted 7,806 applicants
For a complete list of available acceptance rates, click here.
Time is flying, and for juniors that means that the college admissions process is getting closer and closer. It's always good to check in and see if you're where you need to be. The New York Times Choice blog posted this calendar which lets juniors know if they're on track. Here are a few highlights:
- Stay focused on your grades. Junior year is the last full year of grades that colleges will see, so it's important to finish the year on a high note.
- Plan next year's classes and your standardized testing schedule. If you're leaning toward applying to any special programs, make sure that the classes you take in high school reflect your interests. Taking AP classes may be a great way to demonstrate your strengths. Determine whether the colleges you'll be applying to require SAT IIs, and consider which test better suits you: the SAT or ACT.
- Narrow down your college list. Continue to research and visit colleges in order to better pinpoint colleges that will be a good fit. Be sure to discuss your college list with your parents to make sure that you're all on the same page.
- Choose your summer plans wisely. The summer before your senior year is an opportunity to dive into one of your passions, whatever that might be, and to ultimately allow colleges to better understand who you are. It can also provide an experience for a strong college essay. Create your College Essay Organizer account now to get an idea of what next year's essay questions will look like.
- Relax and stay positive. If you're working on the above items, then you're ahead of the game. As long as you stay calm and focused, you may even enjoy the college admissions process.
Don't let the stress get to you.
The pressure is mounting for high school seniors as they await decisions from colleges. Many schools post notification dates of early April on their websites, while some, like Brown which promises March 28, will let students know even earlier. For many, the pressure can be almost unbearable. Jack Brodsky, a senior at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School, has been doing his best to focus on his other interests, but finds it harder as the day approaches.
Hillary Hewins, director of College Counseling at Leman, explains this anxiety: "This is the first time that they're no longer in control of the process." A decrease in admissions rates has also added anxiety to the process, leading many to apply to more schools than ever before.
To read more, click here.
Are you thinking of opting out?
While almost all students take the SAT or ACT at some point in their high school careers, their scores are not always reflective of their true abilities in the classroom. According to this entry posted on The NY Times Choice blog, a growing number of colleges continue to recognize this by making standardized testing optional for applicants:
"If you are a student who wants to opt out of the standardized testing game, you now have two alternatives: you can withhold your scores from test-optional institutions, or you can apply exclusively to schools on this growing list, dropping out of the testing process entirely. Fairtest.org, a standardized testing watchdog, points out that more than a quarter of all American colleges and universities are now test-optional in some form."
This is a positive change for students who struggle with standardized testing or have a strong belief that it shouldn't be used to evaluate applicants. As a result, many colleges are adding more and more essay questions, as personal statements often tell colleges more about students than test scores do.
The list of schools using the Common App has grown steadily over the years, with new members joining every admissions season. The 2013-2014 admissions season will see 39 additional colleges using the application, bringing the total number of Common App users to 527.
Member schools make up a diverse group of colleges representing 47 states including Hawaii, and include 16 international members from 7 countries outside the United States, 81 public institutions, and 7 historically black colleges and universities. Here is a complete list of new members for the coming season:
American International College
California College of the Arts
Central Connecticut State University
Chicago State University
George Fox University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgian Court University
Hawai'i Pacific University
King's College London (UK)
Mary Baldwin College
Modul University Vienna (Austria)
Pine Manor College
Saint Joseph's College (IN)
St. John's University
Trinity Christian College
University of Aberdeen (UK)
University of Birmingham, England (UK)
University of Bristol (UK)
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Maine at Presque Isle
University of New Hampshire Manchester
University of North Carolina
Greensboro University of Oklahoma
Virginia Commonwealth University
William Paterson University of NJ
William Peace University
Does this feel familiar to you?
As parents watch their kids go through the college admissions process, the question often comes up as to how much they should be involved in their children's lives. Here's an article that may allow parents to feel less guilty when they step back and let their kids start to make more of their own decisions. According to parenting writer Bonnie Rochman, helicopter parents are doing their children a disservice: "Helicopter parenting decreased adult children’s feelings of autonomy, competence and connection. In turn, feeling incompetent led to increased reports of feeling depressed and dissatisfied."
While it is important for parents to be involved in their children's lives, parents must slowly begin to take a step back as their children near adulthood. This can mean less stress for guilt-ridden parents as well: "Perhaps by choosing to watch Downton Abbey reruns instead of playing Candyland with a tot or editing college essays for a high-schooler, they’re actually building their offspring’s independence and confidence."