Category: Choosing a College
Choosing a College
Building your balanced college list is one of the most important steps in the application process. Students must do their research and visit campuses to pinpoint their best-fit options, but many might wonder how this all works in a virtual world.
There are a host of famous faces who count Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as their alma mater, including our Vice President Kamala Harris. Given their list of noteworthy graduates, many students might be interested in the benefits associated with attending an HBCU.
Finalizing your college list is one of the most important decisions high school students will have to make. Before solidifying your choices, it’s important to research each school thoroughly and reflect on what you are looking for in a college.
If you think your choices for college majors are limited to studies such as English and Mathematics, it’s time to think again. Universities across the world are offering students a host of innovative and inventive fields of study devised to align with the interests and goals of their entire student body.
In the wake of COVID-19, colleges and universities across the globe have implemented various reopening options in order to resume and continue instruction for the spring 2021 semester, and many are starting to set their sights to the fall with optimism that they will be able to return to normal operations by then.
Just like there is no one-size-fits-all top-choice college for every student, the application process itself is far from universal. Some students may choose to apply early, while others could benefit from a gap year, regular round applications, or selecting institutions with rolling admissions processes.
With the May 1 enrollment deadline approaching, current high school seniors have some big decisions to make. In addition to choosing an institution that aligns with your academic and social interests, it’s important to select a college that is financially feasible for you and your family.
College tours can feel a little intimidating, especially if this is your first time visiting a campus. In order to keep your nerves under control and learn as much about each institution as possible, it is important to plan ahead and prepare for every visit in advance.
What does the ultimate guilty-pleasure reality television show The Bachelor and the college admissions process have in common? It may feel like students are competing for their own “rose” from their top-choice schools, but, while there may not be romantic beachside getaways or dramatic tell-alls, a student’s quest to find their best-fit college is pretty similar to The Bachelor’s mission to find a future partner.
The May 1 enrollment deadline for college bound seniors is fast approaching, and while many students may know where they want to spend the next four years, the jury may still be out for others deciding where to enroll for the fall.
As high school seniors across the US, and the world, await admission decisions for the class of 2021, it’s important to remember the focus of this process at the end of the day: the student. At IvyWise we have the honor of working with some amazing students, and they have some advice for other students just starting the college admissions process.
When searching for best-fit colleges, size is often one of the first things that students consider. Many college bound students already have an idea of what they’re looking for in a school before they start researching specific institutions – maybe it’s a large student body with endless possibilities or a small campus with an intimate atmosphere. Going with your gut is a good place to start, but there are many pros, and cons, to certain college sizes that students might overlook when building their balanced college list.
As more families consider the ROI of a college education, the value of a liberal arts education in today’s world has been a hot topic. With many STEM degrees and programs topping lists of “highest paying majors” and “best college ROI,” many have waged a war on the liberal arts, pegging them as useless degrees that don’t warrant the cost. However, while a STEM degree can open doors to lucrative careers, many employers are finding that, without a liberal arts background, many STEM graduates lack the necessary communication, management, and collaboration skills that are necessary in the workforce.
When preparing students for the college admissions process, we place a lot of emphasis on identifying and developing students’ interests in addition to good grades and test scores. As we’ve said before, students’ interests are important because it helps colleges make admissions decisions and build well-rounded classes. However, developing students’ interests isn’t just about getting into college – they’re a key factor in helping students succeed during their four-years and after graduation.
Even though it has a reputation as a college town, I fell in love with Boston as a 3-year-old. The way my family tells the story over two decades later, Boston was all I talked about for months after the weekend we spent there—the Italian meal we ate in the North End, the dollhouses at the Children’s Museum, even the bell hop at our hotel. I was a child obsessed. At a bookstore on Newbury Street, my parents bought a copy of The Trumpet of the Swan, the children’s classic about a trumpeter swan with no voice, who eventually finds work on the swan boats in the Boston Common. Back in New York, I demanded several chapters read to me on a nightly basis. Our Boston trip took on mythic proportions, and at the time, my family joked that I would find my way back there as a college student.
The college application season of the 2012-2013 school year put me through a string of acceptances and rejections that ultimately led me to Barnard College, the women’s college of Columbia University. I’ll admit that I was initially unsure about picking Barnard—its Upper West Side location certainly hiked its tuition rates up, and after four years at an all-girls high school, I didn’t know if attending another women’s institution was the right choice for me.
This week The Princeton Review released its 2013-14 Best 378 Colleges rankings, ranking some of the country’s best colleges in 62 different lists. While we don’t encourage you to make rankings a defining factor when building your balanced college list, these lists can be a good place to start when researching what you want from your college experience.
It may be the middle of summer, but application season is fast approaching! In just a couple of weeks the Common App will be released, but with the prior announcement of the essay topics, and some schools announcing their supplement questions early, many rising high school seniors have already started on their applications.
As the semester comes to a close, college seniors everywhere are saying goodbye to the schools that have been their home for the past four years. While graduates typically commemorate the event with caps, gowns, commencement speeches, and a march set to “Pomp and Circumstance,” some colleges have been known to incorporate some less conventional traditions.
These Campuses Hold Special Events to Celebrate Going Green
Earth Day inspires students and schools to take initiative and help the environment. Some schools use Earth Day as a time to spread awareness and aid the effort to go green by hosting week-long events, fairs, and fundraisers.
Schools With Service Learning Programs
While community service is required during the admissions process, does not need to stop for students when they attend college. In addition to individual service projects and organized days when student bodies volunteer in their communities, some schools incorporate service learning into the core curriculum. Service learning usually encompasses classroom discussions and lectures that are conducted simultaneously with hands-on projects so that students are able to directly apply new knowledge to helping their communities. Students who are passionate about community service should consider finding a school with a pre-established program that weaves service learning in with other core classes.
Happy April Fools’ Day!
College students have conducted some of the best pranks in history. Rival schools, politicians, school administrations, and fellow students have all fell victim to elaborate and harmless pranks. A lot of technical planning, crafting, and attention to detail was put in to these projects so they would go off without a hitch.
These schools offer students some of the country’s most interesting concentrations
While many students opt for college majors like business, history, and biology, others decide to take a more unconventional path in school. Interdisciplinary studies allow students to combine a variety of interests into one major, but some schools decide to create distinct majors on their own. Colleges across the country offer a slew of unique majors for students with highly individualized interests, and the list grows every year.
Academy Awards presenters this year came from some impressive programs
Sunday night, stars flocked to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet and see who would win the most highly-acclaimed awards in Hollywood: the Oscars. Stars like Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Lawrence were amongst those who received the coveted award, and this year, the Academy chose to celebrate the future of filmmaking by choosing six students to present the awards. The contest winners were narrowed down from over 1,100 essays and film submissions answering the question “How will you contribute to the future of movies?” With this opportunity, these young artists are already on the path to stardom and an Academy Award of their own.
The characters are fictional, but their alma maters are all real
Ever heard of the University of New York in the TV show Felicity? How about Pennbrook University in Boy Meets World, or The University of Los Angeles in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? While all of these schools served as major settings in some of America’s most popular shows on television, and are modeled off of some of the nation’s most selective schools (New York University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California – Los Angeles, respectively), none of these colleges actually exist.
College football traditions across the nation create a wave of school spirit and pride in fans
College football is a crucial aspect of student life at many schools across the nation. Football season for some schools is a way of life, and brings a college community together through tailgates, jam-packed stadiums, and time-honored traditions. While each school has unique rituals surrounding a big game, some are louder, larger, and get the football crowd on their feet more than others.
Whether seasonal or year-round, colleges by the beach offer a scenic getaway for students
Looking to live in a college town with extra opportunities for tanning? Can’t stand the snow? Want to overlook the coastline from your dorm room? Colleges in beach towns offer students a unique living experience by the sea. Whether for weekend beach parties, or a quiet walk to relax from a long day in class, campuses on or near beaches provide excellent getaways for busy college students.
Sports are central to campus life at many colleges and universities across the country. Students flood stadiums and arenas drenched in their school colors, chanting fight songs and cheers, and shouting words of encouragement to their schools athletes. Mascots serve as the ultimate cheerleaders and sports figures that are often an important part of a school’s identity. While some schools have more traditional mascots (tiger, bears, etc.), others showcase their creativity and school spirit with more unconventional representations.
School reevaluates awarding college credit for high school courses
Students take Advanced Placement (AP) courses throughout high school, in a variety of subjects, for many different reasons. AP courses can positively weight a student’s GPA, are challenging and are viewed favorably by college admissions counselors on transcripts, and they offer a student with a particular academic curiosity more knowledge and work in that interest. Additionally, most colleges award students who have earned a particular score on the AP exam, usually a 4 or 5, college credit or exemption from core requirements. Gaining credit before enrolling in college courses can lighten students’ workloads, give them the option of graduating early, and may save them money on tuition.
Students interested in becoming engineers have traditionally enrolled in four-year degree programs at large universities with comprehensive engineering programs. These programs allow students to specialize in a particular type of engineering, such as mechanical, chemical, or civil. However, different paths for studying engineering have begun to diverge from the more traditional trajectory.
Most colleges and universities throughout the US are coeducational, allowing men and women to study together on the same campuses. Though this may seem commonplace today, a college education was once a rite of passage reserved only for men.
What your financial aid package means when paying for college
Now that the new year is in full swing, college applications are being submitted, and decision letters are being sent, it is important for students to plan ahead for decision-making time. The 2013-2014 federal financial aid application was released on January 1st, and while many deadlines are a few months away, it is important for students and families to plan ahead and discuss how they will finance college. For many college applicants, following an acceptance to a college or university, or maybe even included in that large envelope waiting for you in the mail, is a financial aid package. As it becomes increasingly expensive to fund a higher education, financial aid packages become more important in making a decision about where to attend.
This week our client relations manager, Alex, tells us what she loved about attending Stanford University in Stanford, CA.
This week, our IvyWise intern, Becca, shares what she loved about attending Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
I have always believed that attending college in New Orleans is like studying abroad for four years. The food, music, and Mardi Gras make living in the “Big Easy” an experience unlike any other. “Lessez les bon temps roulez” (let the good times roll) is a city mantra ever apparent throughout NOLA, including on the campus of
Did you know that at some schools you can take a classes on Harry Potter, how to watch the TV show The Wire, and even one on Lady GaGa’s (actual) fame? Many colleges these days are offering interesting course selections that take pop culture and familiar icons and use them as tie-ins to deeper, more intellectual ideas and lessons.
Making new friends and getting involved on campus starts with exploring your interests. Student clubs and organizations are a great way to meet new people and build on the skills and interests that you already have.
High school students across the US aren’t the only ones trying to navigate the often-confusing college application process; students across the WORLD are, too. And many are thinking about coming to the US for their higher education.
For high school sophomores and juniors, fall marks the first steps in the college search process. Many schools have a mid-October fall break, and students and families often use this time to go on college visits. At IvyWise, our team of expert counselors always stress the importance of the college visit. Not only does it give you the opportunity to show demonstrated interest, a factor that admissions officers take into consideration when reading applications, but it also gives you the chance to get a feel for campus life first-hand.
These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things…
It may sound very arbitrary, but I knew when I was applying to colleges that I wanted to go to a “big football” school. Of course a university with an exceptional journalism and communications program (my major) was the most important factor, but I have lived and breathed college football since before I could remember and I wanted to go to a school with a deep-rooted sports culture. One of my favorite things about the University of South Carolina was the football games.