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IvyWise Holiday Gift Guide 2012

For college-bound students, the holidays are a great time to stock up on some necessities that they may need for next year. From dorm decor to a new suit for internship interviews, gifts this season will likely be more practical than strictly for fun. However, this doesn’t mean practical gifts have to be boring.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite gifts for future and current college students.

Monthly subscription box

In line with last year’s suggestion, it’s a no-brainer that college students like having something to look forward to when they venture to the mailroom. Monthly subscription boxes are the modern care package for college students.

Services like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club provide beauty and grooming products for men and women, but the options don’t just end with lotion and shaving cream. Other monthly boxes include Craft Coffee, perfect for the espresso aficionado who likes to pull all-nighters, and Turntable Kitchen, for the foodie fiend who is turned off by dining hall cuisine.

Personal Coffee Maker

Students might run on caffeine, but dorms usually don’t have enough space for a fancy espresso machine. Plus, students are always on the go. Save space, time, and optimize convenience with a personal coffee maker (to go with that monthly coffee subscription!). This one from Black and Decker comes with a travel mug and makes up to 15 oz. of your student’s favorite brew just for them. It’s compact and stylish; perfect for even the smallest of dorm rooms!

Disposable linens

When left to their own devices for the first time, some students may struggle with the domestic tasks they perhaps didn’t have to do at home. And for most students, this includes washing their sheets. It’s not uncommon for some students to go an entire semester without washing their linens, so why not make clean sheets a little more convenient?

Linens like Beantown Bedding’s BedSox are disposable and environmentally friendly. BedSox are available in the standard twin-XL size and last for about a month. When it’s time to change them, just throw them out, or see if your student’s campus has a compost. The sheets are 100% biodegradable and compostable, so students can feel good about throwing them away at the end of the month.

External hard drive

For most students, all of their schoolwork, photos, and music are stored on their computer’s hard drive. The last thing a stressed out student needs is for their primary hard drive to fail and lose all of their files. An external hard drive is the often forgotten gift that keeps on giving. If for some reason a student’s computer crashes, they’ll be happy they backed everything up on a separate hard drive. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

A Tablet

With the evolution of classroom technology and the increasing popularity of digital textbooks, it’s not a bad idea to arm your student with a tablet for the next school year. Amazon’s Kindle and the Apple iPad are the top tablets for textbooks, with many textbook apps available on both Android and iOS devices. This will take some of the stress out of trying to find and buy textbooks that may be out of stock, and will make your student’s backpack MUCH lighter when it’s time to trek to class.

Touchscreen Gloves

If your college-bound student will be heading to chillier climates, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to send them bundled up with a number of scarves, hats, and gloves. The problem for students trying to stay warm while on the go during the school year, however, is figuring out a way to type on their touchscreen phone or tablet without freezing their fingers off. Touchscreen gloves, like these from Agloves, are great for navigating a smartphone while staving off frostbite. Now when you send your student a check-up text, they’ll have no excuse not to respond!

Collegiate Gear

For those students who have been accepted early and already know where they’re going to college next year, some collegiate gear is a great way to get them ready for school while also celebrating their acceptance. In addition to the typical sweatshirt and T-shirts, there are also more personal and luxurious options, like JP Crickets collegiate logo shoes. These relaxed-style loafers can be customized with your student’s school logo, and are great for keeping their feet warm while lounging around the house or the dorm room!

Whether you’re planning ahead for a college-bound student, or just celebrating your child’s hard work this semester, these gifts for high school and college students are sure to be favorites this holiday season!

Copyright IvyWise, LLC ©2012

Hopefully, you’ve been busy the past few months, researching colleges, creating and finalizing a balanced college list. Now that you’ve narrowed down the list of schools to which you will apply, it’s time to create your application strategy – deciding when and how you will apply.

Throughout your research, you’ve likely come across terms such as Early Decision, Early Action, and Rolling Admission, among others. These are application options that differ based on the application deadline, response date, and your commitment to attend the school, if accepted. It is important for students to understand the different application plans, the potential outcomes, and the choices that are available. Feeling overwhelmed? The expert counselors at IvyWise have compiled a quick list of the different application options:

Early Options
Does the early bird really get the worm? Usually, but it depends. While there can be an advantage to applying early, you should only apply early if you’re ready. Being ready means you have visited and researched your school(s) extensively, your grades through junior year are indicative of who you are as a student, you have taken all necessary standardized tests (and do not plan to retake them), and you have completed all application components, including essays. The following early options may be offered:

Early Decision (ED)

Application due: The application and all supporting documents must be submitted early in November, usually between November 1 and 15 of your senior year.

Notification: Applicants usually find out about ED decisions in December.

Early Decision is ideal for students who have identified a college as a definite first choice.We encourage students to apply Early Decision only if they are ready and if they will definitely enroll if accepted. You may only apply to one school ED and the application is binding; if a student is accepted under ED, he or she must withdraw all applications to other schools and he or she is committed to attending that school. Dr. Kat says that by applying ED, the student is “essentially telling the college that it is your first choice; and you may be rewarded by a higher admit rate during this period.”

Because of the ED application deadlines, junior year grades are extremely important for ED applicants. However, first semester senior grades are often submitted later on as well. Watch out; don’t start slacking off second semester senior year, as schools can rescind their offers! [AW ONLY: If you are looking for the best financial aid offer, ED may not be the plan for you. You do not have the flexibility to compare financial aid packages and must accept the financial aid offered by the ED school.]

Early Decision II (ED II)

Application due: Usually between January 1 and February 1 of your senior year.

Notification: Applicants usually find out about ED II decisions in March.

Some universities provide two ED dates; the second date is for students who are sure about the school being their first choice, but aren’t ready to apply by the November deadline, or for students who were denied from an ED school. This is often called ED II and these deadlines are usually closer to the RD deadline. Like ED, ED II applications are binding, and students may have an advantage by submitting an ED II application. Because students are committed to attend if accepted, the college can more easily determine their yield. Bowdoin College, Tufts University, and Pomona College are some example of schools that offer the ED II option.

Early Action (EA)

Application due: The application and all supporting documents must be submitted early in November, usually between November 1 and 15 of your senior year.

Notification: Applicants usually find out about EA decisions in December.

EA is similar to ED but you are not required to attend the school if accepted. This option is great for students who have decided their EA school is one of their top choice schools (if not their number one), and they are ready to apply, but do not want to be obligated to attend the school if accepted. Like ED applicants, EA applicants receive acceptance decisions in December, though have until May 1 to decide if they will enroll. You can apply to more than one EA school, even if you are also applying ED to another university. Some schools with EA plans include University of Chicago, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and MIT.

Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) or Restricted Early Action

Application due: The application and all supporting documents must be submitted early in November, usually between November 1 and 15 of your senior year.

Notification: Applicants usually find out about SCEA decisions in December.

SCEA is similar to EA in that you are not bound to attend if accepted. However, with the SCEA restriction, you cannot apply early to any other school, be it EA or ED, until you have heard back from your SCEA school. After you receive the school’s decision of acceptance, deferral, or denial, you may apply to other schools [AW ONLY: and compare financial aid offers] before deciding where to enroll by May 1. This is a good option for a student who is ready to apply to a school they really like but don’t necessarily want to be bound by the decision of the school. However, be sure you do not want to apply early elsewhere, as you will not be able to do so. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have SCEA or plans, while Boston College and Stanford University have Restrictive Early Action plans. Note: Boston College’s Restrictive Early Action Program permits candidates to apply to other Early Action programs, but not Early Decision programs.

Other Options

Regular Decision

Application due: Regular Decision applications and supporting documents must be submitted to the school by a set date in your senior year, which varies from November 30 to March 15. Applications to most selective schools are due January 1, 15, or February 15.

Notification: Applicants usually find out about Regular decisions by April 1.

Looking for some regularity? Regular Decision is one of the most common application options, as you can apply to as many schools as you want under this option. Once the college has received all applications, they are reviewed and all applicants are notified at the same time, during the spring of senior year. If accepted, you must notify the college by May 1 of your intent to accept or decline their office of admission. Applicants who are deferred in the early round will be reconsidered during the Regular Decision round. Regular Decision acceptances are non-binding, which means you can choose to enroll in that school or another school that has accepted you.

Rolling Admission (RA)

Application due: Usually anytime between September 1 and May 1, though it is best to send in your application as early as possible – in September or October of senior year – as RA schools continue to accept students until they reach their enrollment capacity.

Notification: Applicants are notified of admission decisions as soon as the file is complete (usually within weeks of receiving the application).

Looking forward to acceptance letters rolling in? Once the RA school receives your completed file, they immediately review and act on your application. The college generally notifies the applicant with an admissions decision within several weeks of receiving the application. Schools such as Rutgers University, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Tampa use rolling admissions.

IvyWise counselors help students craft a strategy to determine which application options they will use for each of the schools on their list. You should prioritize completing your standardized tests and finishing your essays based on those deadlines. You can find out your schools’ deadlines and policies by visiting the schools’ websites and reviewing the admissions page.

Best of luck from all of us at IvyWise!

Copyright IvyWise, LLC ©2012