College Bound: Admissions Now! Quick Tip #10

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This week’s Admissions Now! Quick Tip(s) is college bound and comes from Brad Battaglia, Director of College Counseling and Director of Diversity at The Birch Wathen Lenox School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

We asked Brad to consider quick tips for the college bound student, and here he lays it out for parents and seniors. Tips for parents and juniors next week. Thanks Brad!


5 Tips for Seniors & Their Parents When Applying to College

1)   Pay Attention to Deadlines – This seems quite obvious, but with so many schools updating their deadlines and offering numerous ways to apply, it can become decidedly difficult to know exactly when all things are due. Also, pay attention to whether materials can be submitted on the day of a deadline or if they need to have arrived in-house by the deadline.

2)  Supplemental Essays ARE VERY Important – Many schools ask students to answer the question “WhyUs?” as a supplemental essay. These are VERY important essay questions because they gauge student interest as well as student knowledge of an institution. All things being equal, an institution will take a student who has answered the “Why Us?” essay well over someone who prepared a generic and/or uninspired “Why Us?” essay. As for how to best tackle such an essay, a student should focus on specifics such as interactions they had while visiting campus, or courses they sat in on during their stay. If a student did not visit the school they should focus on what information they can glean from the website regarding special programs, courses, professors, traditions, etc. Better yet, try to schedule a visit and then take copious notes based on your impressions.

3)  It’s Okay to Apply to Different Types of Schools – Just because a student likes a larger university does not mean they can’t also find a home at a small liberal arts college. Many times, students feel they can only apply to one “type” of school based on factors such as size, location or religious affiliation. Ultimately, a student can only attend one institution, and they will continue to develop as people throughout their senior year, meaning their preferences regarding schooling might shift as well. I advocate students keep doors open so they can make decisions about “type” in the spring as opposed to feeling pressured into that decision in the fall.

4)  Demonstrated Interest by a Student Matters – It is not uncommon for even large universities to measure student interest when making admissions decisions. Interest is shown in the following ways…visits to campus, attending local admissions events, interviewing with either admissions or alumni, emailing the school’s admissions representative (but don’t go overboard on this!), meeting with admissions personnel when they visit your high school, applying Early Decision. Yes, applying Early Decision is the ultimate sign of interest, but it’s also the biggest commitment. A student should not apply Early Decision to a school unless they are truly committed to that school and willing to withdraw all other applications the moment they learn they have been accepted.

5)  It Will Be Okay! – Remember that this process, like all things, will eventually pass. At the end of the day, a solid transcript and an appropriate list of schools will yield good results. I am confident each of you is receiving sound guidance from your counselors, who have your best interest at heart. Please listen to their advice with an open mind, as they know you well and work with great effort to understand the nuances that make a given institution a good fit for you. Last, every once in a while, take a moment to enjoy your last year of high school, for it will be over before you know it! Good luck!

Disclaimer – there are lots of possible tips, and I offer these as the ones that came to mind.

Related Post:

College Bound.2: Admissions Now! Quick Tip # 11

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