Tag: College Prep
By Danny, IvyWise College Admissions Counselor Embarking on a new journey is a challenging task to undertake. Going to college is among the most difficult new journeys, given that, for many students, it marks the first time being on your own and navigating a complex system. For first-generation college students, the journey can be even more challenging, considering you cannot turn to family members for guidance.
When students start learning about the college admissions process, typically during their freshman year of high school if not before, there’s a lot of uncertainty around what their admissions journey might look like. While every student will have the support of their friends, family, and teachers, it can also be beneficial to receive personalized guidance from a trusted source who knows the admissions process inside and out—which is exactly what your counselor can help you with. College counselors can work with students one-on-one to guide them through every step of the process, from researching schools to finalizing their best-fit list.
“Today was a good day at school. Ingrid and I played at recess.” And so began my very first journal entry.
We say this all the time: the earlier you start on college prep the better. But how early is early? The reality is that colleges look at everything from 9th grade on – meaning students need to show up to day one of high school ready to go.
SAT and ACT testing has been dramatically affected by COVID-19. Testing opportunities have been few and far between over the past two years, spurring many colleges to announce test-optional admissions policies. While some colleges have said the switch is temporary, standardized testing has been a hot topic for many years and this gives us an opportunity to reimagine the admission process.
The landscape for higher education is always evolving. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed unprecedented levels of change, leaving many students and families with the same question: what will the future of college look like? Although there’s no crystal ball to use for absolute certainty, several trends have emerged that foreshadow what might be next for higher education.
This year has had surprises for people across the globe, and students have been hit especially hard, having to adjust to new learning models they never anticipated. This back-to-school season, I think it's important for students to take a step back and get inspired by a few pieces of advice that have helped many students in the past and remain valuable for everyone, no matter where they are in their educational journey. In this back-to-school season, more than any others, students need to focus on the things that matter most to them and give themselves permission to work as hard as they can at them.
Even in a “normal” school year, the process of preparing for, taking, and responding to standardized test scores is a stressful and overwhelming one for students and families. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, test centers across the country have closed or canceled exams throughout the spring and summer, and even into the fall, sending the world of college admissions into a frenzy. One of the ways that colleges have responded to these obstacles is to implement test-optional admissions policies for the upcoming admissions cycle, to avoid disadvantaging students who have been unable to sit for an ACT or SAT.
One of the first things I do when working with families that have come to IvyWise for guidance is debunk the persistent admissions myth that colleges are looking for “well-rounded” students. In reality, colleges are looking for “pointy” kids in order to build a well-rounded class. It’s simple: students who develop a specialty area are often in a stronger position to stand out in competitive applicant pools.
For students studying a foreign language, learning doesn't have to stop just because class is no longer in session. In fact, summer break is the perfect opportunity to engage with a language more informally in order to continue to learn and develop language skills outside of the classroom. Often, after a lot of classroom learning, a language learner will start overthinking the language, or get lost in the weeds and lose touch with the fundamentals of basic comprehension and expression.
The Common Application is officially open for the 2021-22 college application season, and there are several changes that high school seniors should be aware of as they embark on their college admissions journey this fall. The Common Application is the most widely used application for college admissions in the US. For the 2020-21 application season, there were approximately 989,063 students who submitted at least one application, an increase of 1 percent over the last year.
Preparation for college, and even post-graduate life, starts well before students begin filling out college applications. Decades of research has identified key qualities associated with student success, and understanding these studies can enable parents to help their children develop these qualities early on and reinforce them throughout high school and the college admissions process. Success in the college admissions process starts with the student.
I’ve always been fond of the small but mighty group of institutions called liberal arts colleges. Maybe it’s because I began my admissions career at a liberal arts college. It might also be because, as numerous highly selective universities share that their number of applications increase by tens of thousands (and in some cases, eclipse 100,000!
Most US colleges and universities use a holistic review method when reviewing applicants for admission, considering various aspects of a student’s academic and personal record. This includes the tangibles, like a student’s four-year transcript, test scores, recommendation letters, and essays. But it also includes the intangibles, like a student’s passions, interests, and motivations.
Interested in applying to visual or performing arts programs in college? The application process, while not completely different than regular undergraduate admissions, can be more nuanced and requires a lot more prep and consideration. From finding the best-fit program to putting together a portfolio, here’s what you need to know about applying to college as a fine arts student.
Who says preparing to apply to college can’t be enjoyable? Of course, college prep still involves working hard, earning the best grades possible, and achieving your target scores on standardized tests, but there’s a lot you can control about the process that can —and should — be fun. As a college admissions counselor, I’ve had students tell me that the process of applying to college helped them get to know themselves, and that they found the experience ultimately very enriching.
With all of the changes that have occurred during the 2020-2021 academic year, it’s understandable that many students may feel off track with their college prep going into the Spring semester. Even if you’re normally really good at sticking to a schedule, it can be challenging to stay accountable when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding the admissions process this fall. As a result of the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19, some students may be delayed in beginning their college preparation.
As college bound high school seniors anxiously await their admission decisions, the thought of actually preparing for life on campus tends to take a backseat until they learn of their acceptance. Luckily for many of these students, they already have the tools they need to succeed in college – they just need to know how to harness them. The college prep process may be over for college bound high school seniors, but there are a number of college prep tips that can carry students into their freshman year and throughout their college experience.
When I first meet freshmen, sophomores, or juniors who are just beginning to think about college and the application process, they often say that they are most worried about “getting in somewhere” and “getting all the work done.” Accomplishing these two things seems overwhelming to students – and understandably so. One way that students can get a head start on the process without feeling totally overwhelmed is to set some easy goals for themselves.
With all of the unavoidable summer distractions and widespread mixed messages, it's sometimes hard to separate fiction from fact. How is anyone supposed to know what's actually expected of a competitive student over the summer? You're informed enough to realize that television (and the characters and personalities therein) is neither a wealth of reliable knowledge, nor does it produce an excess of shining role models.
Preparing for college (and indeed for life!) requires steady effort throughout high school. However, even the most prepared of students can inadvertently hurt their college chances by making simple mistakes that are easily avoidable!
Summer break is just around the corner and soon current high school juniors will be rising seniors starting the college application process! There’s a lot that college-bound juniors can do between now and summer break to ensure they’re ready to apply to college this fall. Junior year is the most critical college prep time, as it’s the last full year of grades that colleges will see, and the last chance students have to prepare for the college app process before they’re actually applying.
Research is the most important thing that students will do when building their balanced college list. Knowing where to start and what to look for can be daunting, especially when there are thousands of colleges and universities in the US. There are a few things that students should ask themselves when researching for their colleges list in order to learn more about those institutions and why they might be a good fit.
Admission decisions may be coming soon for college-bound seniors, but for high school juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen, the college prep process is still top of mind, and there’s a lot that students can do before the end of the semester to get on track for their college goals. One of the most important things that students can do this spring – no matter what grade they’re in – is meet with their college counselor before the end of the semester. College counselors are a valuable resource not only during the college application process but also in the years leading up to applying to college.
IvyWise counselors Victoria and Nat discuss when and how to start college prep on the college admissions podcast, giving listeners expert insight from former admissions officers. Listen Now! How early is too early to start preparing for the college admissions process?
By Victoria, IvyWise Principal Counselor A lot of students I work with are still trying to discover or uncover their true passion and therefore a career path. This can be easy for some people but more difficult for others. I like to impress upon students that finding their passions and career paths are journeys that are different for everyone.
Compiled by Katherine Cohen, Ph.D., CEO & Founder and the team of counselors at IvyWise Summer will be here before you know it,and although this signifies the end of the academic year, it doesn't mean you should take a break from learning and developing your talents and skills.
With just weeks to go before the first day of classes, now is a great time to get organized and prepare both mentally and physically for the school year ahead. High school can be an exciting and transformative time in a young person's life, but it is often accompanied by busy schedules that can be stressful for students and parents alike. Take some time in the coming weeks to have a discussion with your student to coordinate schedules, discuss expectations, and outline priorities so that your entire family can hit the ground running come September.
Learning is more exciting than ever as students across the country have the opportunity to experience and interact with new technologies on their college campuses. The classroom of the future may be mostly electronic and far more accessible than the one you know today. However, schools are not just adopting new technologies for the sake of being cutting-edge?
Fall is college fair season, and high school juniors across the country will have the opportunity to explore different colleges and learn more about schools they’re interested in applying to next year. College fairs are a great opportunity to get student’s interest piqued in the college admissions process while also providing them with valuable information needed to make informed college decisions. As a counselor and former admissions officer I see the value in attending a college fair, especially for students who are just starting to think about what they want out of their college experience.
It's nearing that time of year when school lets out for the summer and you can finally relax, kick back, and binge watch your favorite Netflix shows or just hang out by the pool all day, right? Well, not really. For high school students who aspire to go on to college, they should know that colleges pay attention to what you do over the summer.
Want to get a head start on your college preparation this summer? There’s an app for that! Staying on track and organized is crucial for success in the college admissions process, and there are a plethora of smartphone and tablet apps available to aid students and parents in preparing for the college application season senior year.
Sometimes, the college process feels like climbing a mountain – a little intimidating, with some obstacles you need to navigate along the way. But if you pick your milestones, break it down into smaller pieces, and remember to have some fun along the way, you will make it to the top. For juniors in the middle of college prep, the second part of the year can feel like you’re staring up a mountain – so what do you do next?
For juniors preparing for the college admissions process, there’s a lot to consider when evaluating the strength of your applicant profile. There has been a lot of buzz recently about what colleges can do to alleviate college prep stress, and what colleges are really looking for in applicants today, so it’s easy for college-bound families to get confused by conflicting reports and certain admissions misinformation. Our team of expert counselors is here to set the record straight about what colleges actually want to see in applications and how students can prepare.
As admissions experts, we are often asked, "How many hours of community service is enough?" It's crucial to understand that community service is not about the quantity of hours spent, but rather the quality of those hours you've devoted. Some high schools require students to participate in a certain amount of service.
As 2018 winds down, high school students have another semester of courses, grades, activities, and more under their belts, making it the perfect time to reevaluate their college prep plans – or start from scratch if they haven’t yet created one. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to planning for college, and different students will hit milestones at different times. It’s important that students continually evaluate and adjust their college prep plans and goals throughout high school, especially at times, like the end of the year, when they have a clearer picture of their grades, test scores, and more.
When I meet with a new student and their parents for the first time, I will often point out the things about their college admissions profile that are “set in stone.” The closer the student is to senior year, the longer this list is because we are too close to application season to make any big changes to GPA, testing, and activities. When I meet with younger students, though, there are a lot of things about their profile that are set in stone and there’s a lot they can do to make the most of their high school experience so that come senior year they’re satisfied with the elements they’ve solidified.
How does one prepare for a future that seems so uncertain? How do you pace yourself for a race whose length you don’t actually know? Or, more practically, how do you write admissions essays that will convince your dream school that all you want is to be a student there when you haven’t been able to visit?
The Price Is Right is iconic, having graced TV screens since 1972. Plinko, the Showcase Showdown, and of course the excitement as they call your name to come on down to contestant’s row is familiar to a lot of people, so I was thrilled when I appeared as a contestant in 2017. Becoming one of the nine players that are plucked out from an audience of 300 (that's a 3% “acceptance rate") is not as simple as just showing up and hoping for some good luck.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted learners at all stages of their academic journey, and while the 2020-2021 school year has certainly left many college-bound students feeling that they have lost valuable time in pursuit of college preparation, there's still a lot that they can do virtually to make progress on their college prep goals. In fact, thanks to digital technology, many major college readiness milestones can now be achieved from the comfort of your living room. Students are participating in tutoring sessions over Zoom, attending virtual college tours, and getting involved in volunteer activities through online platforms.