This week one of our new interns, Sara, shares why she chose Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Sara will be a freshman at Skidmore this fall:
This summer, as many rising seniors create their college list, we remind our students that there are no guarantees when it comes to college admissions. Admission at the nation’s most selective schools has become much more competitive over the past decade. To add some perspective, keep in mind that parents of today’s high school students likely applied to college 20 or more years ago.
IvyWise students often begin working on the college admissions process in the spring of 11th grade, and many of our rising seniors complete the bulk of their college application work before even starting senior year! Once school ends, many students begin intensively researching colleges, creating a college list, and drafting essays. We’ve asked some of our college admissions counselors, advisers, and friends to share their best advice for students embarking on the college admissions process:
When it comes to your college applications, you will likely need to submit a resume or activity list. Colleges are not admitting facts and figures, they want living, breathing human beings with likes and dislikes, passions and aversions. What Dr. Kat calls your “soft factors,” your essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular involvement, will tell an admissions committee what kind of person you are. From the quality and duration of your participation in certain activities, a college admissions officer will gain a more in-depth understanding of your personality and character.
As the academic year winds down, students finishing their junior year may be looking to get a head start on the college application process. Almost every student gets nervous about college applications, but for students who have to explain an infraction, grade dip, or extenuating circumstances, there’s an even higher level of anxiety. Are you afraid that a “red flag” on your file will drop it straight into the ‘denial’ pile? Make an appointment with your guidance counselor or with an independent college counselor to address any red flags on your application in an articulate, comprehensive, and responsible way.
Now that spring is in full swing, many high school students are looking forward to their summer plans (and some time away from school!). While September and the start of another school year may seem far away, most high schools require students to choose their courses for the fall before the end of the school year. Nya Marie, a high school junior from Chicago, recently blogged about choosing her senior year courses for the Huffington Post. Like Nya, many students struggle to balance the courses they want or need to take with what colleges “want” to see. Because there is nothing more important to an admissions committee than your performance in the classroom, the expert counselors at IvyWise offer the following tips for choosing your courses:
Score Choice & Test Optional
Classroom ability doesn’t necessarily correlate into standardized testing success. When it comes to standardized tests, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will be with the test, and the higher score you will achieve. That said, our counselors advise that students take the SAT or ACT no more than three times. Students’ scores tend to plateau after the third time and subsequent attempts may look desperate to an admissions committee. For students who struggle with standardized testing, or whose test scores don’t accurately reflect their academic effort and ability, there are a few options.
College admission at the nation’s most selective schools has become increasingly competitive. As another admissions cycle comes to an end, many colleges are reporting another rise in applications and another decrease in acceptance rates. According to the Department of Education, there are 3.2 million graduating seniors in the US this year and the number of international students in the US has increased by more than 20% since 2007. Below is a list of colleges including the number of students who applied to each school and the percentage of students who were accepted. We will continue to update this list as more information is released in the coming weeks.
Lets be honest, the college process can be stressful. Many applications have gotten longer, essay questions more complex, and the competition stronger than ever. While independent counselors for college admission like the ones at IvyWise aim to alleviate this stress, there are also less conventional resources, such as apps, to help you simplify the daunting task of applying to college. Whether reminding you of deadlines, helping you find your perfect college match, keeping all of your documents in one place, or preparing you for standardized tests, the following apps might be worth checking out.
This week, one of our awesome interns shares what she loves about attending Washington University in St. Louis. Though she (and her parents) were originally considering mostly Ivy League schools, extensive research and campus visits proved that this Missouri university was her best fit school:
At IvyWise, we love helping students discover the schools that will be a great academic and social fit for them, where they will be happy and successful. That said, when given the chance, we never hesitate to give a shout out to our own alma maters and share what made that school a great match for us. Previously, members of our team told tales of Turkey Trotting at Lehigh, classes in the Commons at Emerson, and following in the footsteps of strong women at Barnard. This week, the newest member of the IvyWise team, our Executive Assistant Ashley, tells us about her experiences at American University in Washington, DC:
With more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the US, many students find that creating an expansive list of schools they’d like to go to is easier than winnowing down the list. As juniors embark on the college admissions process (and visit schools over Spring Break), now is a great time to make a preliminary college list. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see students make and some tips from Dr. Kat to help you narrow your focus.
Though there are nearly 3,000 4-year colleges and universities in the US, the eight Ivy League colleges are some of the most well known institutions in the world, causing students from all over the globe to obsess about getting into an Ivy League college. Despite this frenzy (the Ivy League colleges received 245,732 applications for the Class of 2015), few students know what designates a school as a member of the “Ivy League.”
February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate those who improved the lives of African Americans in the US. There are more than 100 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the US today. These schools were originally established with the intention of serving the black community, and have evolved into some of the nation’s preeminent educational centers. For students interested in schools with a rich cultural history, Dr. Kat and the expert counselors at IvyWise have identified a list of colleges with strong roots in African American history.
When it comes to the college admissions process, it is imperative to show how you have developed your interests throughout your time in high school. College admissions committees want to see how you have made an impact in clubs and activities during the school year, but also during the summer. While it may be tempting to sit around all summer working on your tan, boards of admissions specifically look to see that you have remained productive during your time away from school. Summer presents many opportunities for students to further develop their interests and goals —travel to a foreign country, continue training in your favorite sport, make up a class or gain extra credits in summer school, start a business, get an internship, or join a community service organization.
Though summer may seem far away, the applications for many popular programs are due soon. Some of these applications can be as complex as a college application, requiring essays, letters of recommendation, and even test scores, so you will need to get started soon! Dr. Kat and the team of counselors at IvyWise, have come up with the following
As we finish up college application work with our seniors in the class of 2012, we thought we’d take a look at where IvyWise students have come from. College admission has become increasingly competitive and complicated, and can be even more so for students navigating the process from abroad. IvyWise counselors have worked extensively with students from around the US and around the world on the admissions process, and almost a third of IvyWise students are international students!
The US Department of Education reported that for Fall 2010 admission, women, on average, accounted for 56% of applicants to four-year colleges. That same year, the New York Times stated that for every 100 American women enrolled in college, there were only 77 men. Meanwhile, the National Center for Education Statistics projects that by 2020, men will represent only 41.4% of students enrolled in college. With colleges becoming increasingly concerned about gender balance on campus, has this really led to preferential treatment for men in college admissions?
Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Dragon! While the Year of the Rabbit was characterized by calm and tranquility, the upcoming year is expected to bring excitement and unpredictability. For students seeking an academic and social experience as exhilarating as the dragon’s personality, Dr. Kat and the expert counselors at IvyWise have identified a list of colleges with strong Asian Studies programs.
People often ask us what we think about high school counselors. Our reply: We love them! Your high school guidance counselor is one of the most useful resources for college information and you should try to cultivate a relationship with your high school college counselor as early as possible in your high school experience.