The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is set to launch its application in July, but the recommended essay prompts for the 2016-2017 season have already been released, though colleges can choose to not require an essay or offer alternate options. So far, a word limit has not been announced.
- Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
- Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
- What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
- Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
Although the questions have been released, many other details, including which schools will be using the application, are still up in the air. Of its 93 members, 60 are saying that they are not planning to use the application this season, and it remains to be seen how dependable the technology will be when presented. For more details, click here.
The tables have finally turned. Now that students have been notified by colleges as to where they've gotten in, it's their turn to make the decisions. And for the students to whom money matters, financial aid offers add another layer of complexity. Here are a few tips published by consumerreports.org to help figure out those financial aid offers:
- Make sure you understand the total amount you'll receive. Pay attention to the figure "total cost of attendance," but not all schools handle this number the same way. Some figures include tuition, fees, room and board, while others include additional costs such as books, activities and living expenses.
- Think about the type of loan you will need. You can opt for a Direct loan or a Perkins loan, and they can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Make sure to research which ones best suit your needs.
- Find out if work-study programs are available. Work-study programs can be extremely helpful in making ends meet, and they are usually offered on campus.
- Make sure that your offer will continue for four years. Schools often supply a financial figure for the first year of college. Be sure to find out what you are guaranteed throughout your four years.
- Financial aid offers are not written in stone. You can always appeal an offer with the schools' financial aid office. This is especially true when you have a more generous alternate offer.
Students are gearing up to hear from the remainder of their colleges over the next couple weeks, which always makes for a tense time for anyone involved in the application process. And we all know how admissions statistics have been going down every year with some top schools admitting less than 6% of applicants. Bearing that in mind, and keeping sight of the absurdity of it all (keep rolling with the punches, and you will find a school that's right for you!), it's refreshing to see today's article in the New York Times poking fun at the process:
"PALO ALTO, California — Cementing its standing as the most selective institution of higher education in the country, Stanford University announced this week that it had once again received a record-setting number of applications and that its acceptance rate — which had dropped to a previously uncharted low of 5 percent last year — plummeted all the way to its inevitable conclusion of 0 percent.
With no one admitted to the class of 2020, Stanford is assured that no other school can match its desirability in the near future."
To read the rest of the article, and have a needed laugh in the process, click here.
University of California schools have shared one application with the same essay questions for several years. However, this year it has been announced that the old, familiar prompts will be replaced by more personalized questions designed to elicit more relevant information. Fortunately, the schools still want students to have the opportunity to work on their essay questions early, so they have been released! Please find the new essay questions below, and click here to find out more information.
There are 8 essay question options, 4 of which applicants must respond to, and all are of equal importance in the admissions process. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
6. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?
Many of us are beginning to think about the 2016-2017 application system and what changes are in store, and we'll be on top of them all for you! While The Common App was on everyone's mind last season due to its past blunders, this year marks the launch of an application system referred to as The Coalition that has everyone asking questions.
The Common App has already announced that it's keeping its main essay options the same for the coming season (Tip: juniors start writing!), so that's one thing we can all relax about. As for The Coalition, things are more up in the air. According to this article by Nancy Greisemer, "The decision whether or not to require a shared personal statement is still under consideration, but the Coalition is leaning away from this requirement in favor of allowing individual colleges to fully script their own writing requirements."
The good thing is that while more schools may exclusively use The Coalition for the 2017-2018 season, there are very few schools that will exclusively use it this season. That means that students can still use the Common App for their applications this season without paying much attention to this up-and-coming system.
Thousands of students will experience some additional stress when taking the SAT this Saturday since it's the first time that the newly designed SAT is being administered. Here are some changes that students can expect:
- A return to two sections with a total of 1600 points
- A reduction from 5 to 4 answer choices on multiple-choice questions
- No more point penalty for incorrect answers
- No rarely-seen vocabulary words
- A more curriculum-based test that better measures college readiness
All of these changes make it seem like the test will offer a break from the previous test' demands, but that still remains to be seen. For more information on the new SAT, read this article.
The college admissions process has changed dramatically over the last few decades, and is continuing to shift as time goes on. However, what will not change is how technology has totally transformed the admissions process.
From when students submit their applications online to when they receive their notification letters via email, the process is almost completely online. Even college visits and interviews are moving to the web as sites such as YouVisit offer virtual tours of campuses, and video-chat interviews become increasingly common. And social media goes hand-in-hand with this. Not only are colleges likely to check your online profiles when applying, but once admitted, you will be invited to join online communities where students can connect with peers as they begin their college journey. To read more about how technology is altering the admissions process, check out this article.
As thousands of seniors across the country nervously await their April notification dates, juniors are beginning to contemplate the long road ahead. And the sentiment shared across the board is to have more clarity on the admissions process itself. This article gives a sneak peak as to what's going on. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Admissions officers usually spend around 7 minutes per application, so keep the information clear and simple, and don't leave any room for confusion. If there is a change of schools or a dip in grades, use the additional information section to clarify the situation.
- Applications are evaluated in light of the major you select on your application, so it helps for activities and classes to reflect that major.
- Take a few lines to explain an activity and highlight the important moments, so that any milestones stand out.
Most importantly, all admissions officers make mistakes. Admitted students turn out to not be a good fit for a college, and rejected students move on to accomplish phenomenal things, so don't put too much stock in what happens after you turn in your application. Chances are you will end up at the right place, and it will be up to you to take advantage of all the resources available to you to create the experience that will most benefit you.
Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions is already making waves in the world of college admissions. Yale has publicly announced that it will be adding a new essay option focusing on engagement in the community. According to this article, Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale University, stated that Turning the Tide expresses many of Yale's concerns with the admissions process:
"Turning the Tide does a tremendous job articulating many of the things we have looked at for a long time at Yale. In response to the report, Yale has agreed to add a question on next year's application asking students to reflect on their contribution to family, community, and/or the public good. We will also advocate for more flexibility in the extracurricular forms on both the Common Application and Coalition Application so that schools can more easily control how they ask students to list and reflect on their extracurricular involvement."
Expect to see more schools following suit.