Athletic Recruitment Process during Covid-19

Seeking to play a sport in college adds much more to the already complicated college admissions process. Students and parents need to educate themselves on the intricacies of the process. This has become even more important during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Many of the students with whom we work play a sport in high school. For a variety of reasons, most of that group will not play in college. In fact, less than 7% will continue to play in college. Most decide not to, and some are not able to play at that level. When we work with a student athlete, we ask them how likely they are to play at the college level. I can tell within the first 5 seconds of their answer whether they will or not. So each student should first ask themselves how serious they are to play going forward. If the answer is still a resounding yes, then the most important thing you should be doing is to connect with college coaches. I’ve seen some theories suggesting that you should start with as many as 60 colleges. I think that’s too high, but it does imply two things: First, college coaches won’t find you, especially given the current crisis. You have to find them. Second, you have to cover your bases. You can’t just send a few emails and hope one replies. We work with 8-10 student athletes each year, and I tell each of them that they must mount a campaign to attract college coaches. This will be even more important in today’s environment. More importantly, you have to evaluate which level at which you think you can play. This can be difficult, but it speaks to the importance of contacting many schools. Each athlete should have a list of colleges at the Division I, II, and III levels on their preliminary list. The importance of doing so is enhanced by our current situation, especially for those students who play a spring sport. Because some college seniors may stick around for another year, there may be fewer roster spots at each level, so making sure you look at all levels will help you find a spot.

While there is much uncertainty in the athletic recruitment process due to the current crisis, there is plenty of room for optimism going forward for high school juniors, sophomores and freshmen. For example, one survey from “Front Rush” found that 66% of college coaches expected to maintain all athletic scholarships for their athletes. In addition, the survey revealed that 55% coaches did not think their current college seniors would use their extra year of eligibility, which bodes well for current high school athletes. As you may know, the NCAA approved an extra year of eligibility for current college seniors who play spring sports like baseball and lacrosse. This means that some students may opt to spend another year in college next spring.

We do believe that the current crisis will move back the recruitment process for all sports significantly. Many coaches have cancelled their summer camps, showcases and ID camps. As a result, you need to step up your communication with coaches. Begin by sending them emails describing briefly the position you play, your club or travel team and other facts about your sport. If you’ve already been in contact with coaches, we recommend continuing the conversation. Each sport has its own recruitment rules, so we recommend checking the NCAA website. While you’re there, you should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Regardless of your sport or level, continued communication with coaches is essential.

Most importantly, students should continue to learn and do well academically. No matter the sport, and no matter the level (Division I, II, or III), the first question most coaches will ask you is: “Do you have good grades?” This has not changed. And even though many colleges have now begun to offer test optional admissions, athletes will still be required to take the SAT or ACT. The timing of taking these exams depends on your year in school and your academic curriculum, but in general, the earlier you take them the better.

Navigating the athletic recruitment process is fun, exciting and sometimes difficult. In general terms, the earlier you engage with coaches, and the more communication you have with them, the better. If you or your child is an athlete who wants to play in college, please contact us today!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Kathy Laberge, College Admissions Coach 

At the College Advisor of New York we are grinning in anticipation. This is the time of year we launch our writing season and we simply cannot wait!

Every coach on our staff devotes substantial effort to knowing their students well. When an applicant demonstrates their candidacy in an articulate, convincing, and original fashion they increase their chances for admission. As we have discussed in in prior blog posts, this year we believe application essays will be of utmost importance to  colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced high schools into several unfortunate situations for the Class of 2021. These students, many of whom have been wholeheartedly devoted to their studies for the past several years, now find themselves without the concrete evidence of their earned success. Our staff is eager to reap the rewards of all this dedication. Our commitment to our students and our students’ commitment to their goals is sure to shine a spotlight on our applicants this fall in college admission offices. 

The College Advisor of New York staff teaches our students how to demystify the varied writing statements and supplemental essays that are intrinsic to college applications. As admission professionals we know exactly what colleges want to see in student writing. Equally important, we know what colleges do not want to see. We also understand that one size does not fit all, and therefore we coach our students to the best approach for each individual college. Every college application offers multiple, sometimes obscure, opportunities for personal comment. We know where to find these mysterious gems and how to employ them to the best advantage of our clients. Best of all, we think this is a lot fun!

Our office has helped students write thousands of essays and no two are ever alike. There is no recognizable style or pattern we promote. Every student and every essay receive a deliberate, thoughtful approach, so the finished product is unique and personal. While we speak extensively with our clients before a pen ever touches paper (or a fingertip touches a key) we do operate by a set of guidelines. 

Colleges want to hear an authentic voice. They also expect a writing sample commensurate with the other components of the student’s application and transcript. Parental editing and rewriting are visible within the first one hundred words. Revisions demanded by rubric minded English teachers do not serve our students well. Essays that are so reworked they are excruciatingly formal and formulaic are boring and tortured. Our students write essays that cause application readers to wake up and take notice. As a college writing coach that makes me very proud. 

Students and parents often overlook one important piece of information. Here is the secret: Admission officers truly like college applicants. They appreciate every applicant,  and they want to admit every student. Their job is difficult because they need to choose which qualified members of their pool will not receive an offer of admission.

We are lucky to not suffer that problem at our office. We get to revel in the quirks of all our students. We are spectators to their self-discovery. We lead students from thinking of themselves as passive teenagers to sovereign and self-reliant young adults. We just finished celebrating our seniors from the Class of 2020 and we eagerly anticipate starting the process all over again.  

What will college campuses look like in the Fall of 2020?

By Kathy Laberge, College Admission Coach

That is an excellent question, and one that is prominent in the minds of high school seniors, current college students, administrators, and faculty. One reputable higher ed survey indicates 10% of high school students no longer plan to attend a four-year university. This strikes fear in the heart of colleges and universities. Their business is education, and be assured, higher education is indeed a business.

Many schools insist they will be open in the fall, even if only for distance instruction. They are, understandably, not making firm announcements about residential opening just yet, but are busy planning for a variety of scenarios ranging from fully closed campuses to a return to life as usual. Asking for full tuition while not providing full value is obviously unattractive to parents and students. Conducting classes is required for economic survival and closed campuses mean an abrupt decline in income when classes, athletics, performances, and facility rentals no longer exist. The infamous packed lecture halls and crammed residence hall triples are not likely to happen this year, but colleges want and need their students to return.

Interactions between faculty and students cannot be replaced by virtual classrooms. Lack of physical proximity widens the gap between faculty and student. Remote instruction allows students to multitask, chat, web surf, and tune out if material is uninteresting. Conducting instruction off campus will significantly hamper the phenomenon known as the college experience. Yet proximity to fellow students is suddenly unsafe. Colleges are scrambling to compile the best solutions.  As they design a return to an open campus, administrators are considering that young adults generally do not suffer a severe impact of COVID-19. Campuses know they need to have testing and tracing measures in place.  Mass communications systems that enable instant community wide notifications already exist. Mask wearing can be enforced, handwashing can be strongly encouraged. Travel restrictions on faculty and students and staff can be put in place. The health gamble is a different story for faculty and other adults who interact with students; they are at a much higher risk. Yet data minded decision makers may choose to mitigate that risk with more brain than heart.

Creative potential options being discussed on campuses throughout the country include:

• The fall semester may begin with distance learning and a plan to transition into residential instruction can be in place. It is far simpler for students and faculty to adjust from remote to live than it is to accommodate an unexpected campus exodus.

• Fall start dates may be delayed to October, November, or even January. Conducting spring semester 2021 during the summer months is a possibility, and it would be helpful in keeping students on track for graduation within the traditional four-year course of study.

• Hybrid learning is another option. Creating physical distance between students in classrooms is not terribly challenging. Instruction content for large lecture classes could be delivered both online and in smaller groups. Lecture halls filled with hundreds of students are not essentially conducive to interaction so there would be decreased impact in this scenario assuming faculty access remains in place.

• Shorter class terms may be successful, and they are already in place at a number of institutions. A semester of sixteen weeks may become a quartet of four-week terms. This academic calendar allows a deep dive into a subject. Study is intensive but flexible. Multiple beginning and end dates naturally lend themselves to interruptions and decreases the impact of an abrupt campus closure

• Classes may be presented in a more seminar style setting with fewer students per section and substantial physical free space around each student.

• Campus returns may be staggered with freshmen arriving first and upperclassmen arriving later as they, presumably, can jump right back into learning. First year success is a predictor of graduation and this option allows freshmen to adapt to campus life with substantial support.

College offers far more than instruction. Students spend precious few hours in classrooms and far more time interacting in collaborative study or recreation. Closed campuses restrict research opportunities and forbid study abroad programs. Many students view the social component of college as an irreplaceable and indelible part of campus experience. Campus traditions are intrinsic to the college experience. Student activities encourage interaction between likeminded peers. They are an opportunity to learn concurrently with students who share interests and passions, and they are an important component in campus life.

If a substantial number of high school graduates of 2020 choose to take a gap year, then colleges will be forced to handle essentially two incoming freshman classes. Colleges have already committed to the students who were initially to have arrived in August of 2020. We believe this population crunch indicates a more competitive admission process for the Class of 2021.

Happily, colleges and universities are intrinsically adept at nimble thinking. This is the essence of what they represent! And under current conditions they are strongly motivated to adapt and create innovative solutions.  It may look different than years past, but we are confident campuses will be accessible and students will thrive.  

Why College Admissions Essays Just Became More Important

By Dr. Dean Skarlis, Founder and President

In the college admissions world, there are many long-standing truths.  In terms of what counts most with respect to how admissions officers evaluate applicants, the three most important elements of an application are a student’s grade point average, their SAT or ACT score, and their essays and applications.  (In addition, the rigor of a student’s academic curriculum is critically important for those who seek entrance to highly selective colleges). 

But the current Covid-19 crisis has caused a dramatic change for current high school juniors.  What’s different now is that a growing number of colleges are waiving or de-emphasizing their SAT/ACT requirements for at least one year due to the lack of availability of the admissions exams this spring and early summer.  As you may know, the March, May and June SAT and the April ACT exams were cancelled.  As of this writing, it is unclear as to whether the June ACT will also be cancelled.  Moreover, the July ACT and the August SAT are still up in the air.  In addition, many high schools have moved to pass/fail grading systems for the final portion of the current school year.

As a result, college essays and corresponding applications will now be much more important.  This trend actually began about 15 years ago.  As the Common Application became more popular, and internet research began to avail students of more information about more colleges, students began to apply to more schools.  The resulting volume of applications was simply too much for admissions counselors to handle, so many schools dropped interview requirements.  College admissions counselors began to rely more heavily on a student’s essays to add a personal element to the otherwise highly objective decision-making process. 

The trend of more applications has continued.  According to the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), more than 36% of students applied to 7 or more colleges in 2019.  So a process that used to be highly personalized became much less so. 

But with the elimination of testing requirements, and the implementation of a pass/fail system of grading, college essays instantly became more critical.  Many officials now speculate that the student’s writing will be the second most important piece of his/her application, following their academic GPA.

For the past 16 years, we have spent considerable time each summer helping students conceive of and write strong, genuine admissions essays.  What will be different this year is that we have begun the process earlier – in May – primarily because students have more time, but also because we recognize the increased importance of helping students write more about who they are, so admissions officers understand them on a deeper, more personal level.  This requires our staff to get to know students on a one to one basis so we can help them illuminate what makes them unique, and why that’s important in their admissions applications.  This is our favorite part of the admissions process since it enables us to get to know students on such an intimate level.

This year, more than ever, students will need to craft pieces that stand out among the pile of applications sitting on the desks of their evaluators.  Not only will their writing need to be stronger, but their message will need to be crisper and clearer.  There is, however, one cautionary note:  Many parents believe their student’s essay needs to be exceptional, if not perfect.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, the more honest and genuine a student’s writing is, the better their chances for admission.  We’ve seen far too many essays that seemed perfect, but were either not the student’s own work, or were so heavily edited that they caused an admission rejection.  This balance between strong writing and making certain that the student’s voice is clear is something we strike each year.  If you think your son or daughter needs help with this critical part of the process, please contact us here.

High school juniors should make the best of their time during the pandemic restrictions

By Kathy Laberge, College Admission Coach 

May of your junior year is traditionally a hectic and rewarding time. Student calendars revolve around exams and proms. This year, of course, is completely different; juniors are conducting their coursework virtually and doing their best to socialize that way as well. We have had our movements restricted for more than six weeks and it’s simply human nature to feel a decline in motivation. At The College Advisor of New York, we say fight that urge! There are a variety of ways to make the best of this situation. It’s easy to think we are in an indefinite holding pattern, but, someday the world will reopen and when it does we want you to be poised to hit the ground running.

You know high school isn’t cancelled. You know how closely the junior year is examined by college and university admission offices. Yes, there are still papers to write and exams to take. Yes, you may be worried about how cancelled standardized tests, reduced class requirements, or pass-fail grading will affect college admission assessments. Maybe your activities have been halted by social distancing requirements. Perhaps you are comforted by hearing “You are all in the same boat.”  But is that actually true? Can’t you pilot your personal boat to a well-prepared success instead of trusting the currents to keep you afloat?

We think the creative students who display their ingenuity will be rewarded when their college applications are reviewed next fall. And we believe you should make the best of your summer as well. Jobs and internships are uncertain so now is the time to plan how you will make the most of the summer.

Our advice on this topic mirrors the advice we give our students in all areas. Be yourself!  So, if you are a musician then you can spend your extra hours perfecting a challenging piece or picking up another instrument. Researchers can deep dive into the intricacies of their inquisitiveness. Artists now have the large blocks of time needed to create fully realized works. Writers can write and rewrite to their heart’s content. Programmers can develop an app from nothing, and inventors can produce the objects of their wildest dreams. Athletes can work hard on developing their strength, speed and skills…What do you do? What is your passion? This is your chance to indulge it!

This summer you can take a college level class online. Universities and colleges have made tremendous strides in their virtual presentation over the last eight weeks. You may already be aware of virtual tours and admission zoom chats geared toward potential students. But campuses need to accommodate their existing students as well. More courses than ever before are available online and more faculty are prepared to conduct them. This is your opportunity to explore an academic interest and experience how college instruction takes place. 

Last, but by no means least, time can be spent on your college search. Perhaps you cannot get on campus, but you are able to research college websites. Remember that we are offering a, “bring the college visits to you” series.  Check out our Facebook Page for details of upcoming events.  Many college websites are boundless. You can move beyond the admission overview and analyze the school’s approach to your anticipated major, Read course descriptions and faculty biographies. Read student blogs and take advantage of the offers to chat with someone who shares your interests. Remember that we have students at most if not all of the colleges on your list, so just ask, and we will connect you with current students or alumni at the schools you’re considering. Look at the career counseling department and see if it equipped to assist you in your next step. Ask questions. Although campuses are physically closed, a great deal of business is still taking place via email. And remember to take notes. You will need them to write your application essays.

We know colleges value students who challenge themselves, those who are creative, and who demonstrate determination to learn despite restrictions. Remember, not all learning is conducted in a classroom. You can be your own best teacher by asserting your curiosity.  

Keep up your momentum. Stay engaged. Be ready for a post pandemic world.  

Important News for Accepted Seniors

Deb Coco, College Admissions Coach

At The College Advisor of New York, March and April are normally months when we advise our students to attend their final school visits. Colleges and universities call these “Admitted Student Days” and they are one of the most valuable components of the entire college decision process.  These events offer students and families one last chance to step onto campus and ask themselves, “Do I see myself here?”

However, there is nothing normal about this spring and we are in the midst of coast to coast campus closures; all the normal procedures are being amended on a day to day basis.  Here are our suggestions in light of the Coronavirus crisis. 

At this point you should have heard from all the schools to which you applied and be thinking about your top 3 choices.  Normally, May 1 is decision day and you are required to send your deposit and paperwork to become a fall 2020 freshman.  But we are seeing schools change this date to June 1, even later in some instances.  This is a fluid, school by school situation, but is likely to become the norm as the situation warrants.  Please click here for a list of schools who have shifted their decision deadline. 

More importantly, we recommend that you contact your top choice schools (you may have to do so via email) and inquire what their process is for accepted freshman. If they plan to hold their Accepted Student Days in late May, we advise you attend.  Although one more school visit is probably not your idea of fun, it’s important.  From personal experience, Admitted Student Days played a crucial role in 2 of my 3 daughters’ school choices; they had great options and were just “betwixt and between.”  Some colleges just knock these days out of the park.  They roll out the red carpet, open the athletic buildings, dining halls, auditoriums, residence halls AND let you attend lectures.  They host student and faculty panels which enable you to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of the college. 

Most schools are now doing this virtually via webinars and online meetings.  Please do attend.  While it won’t be the same as an actual campus visit, you can learn more about each school from your living room.  These programs were what ultimately swayed my children: hearing from some top faculty in their fields of study.  They left knowing they’d found the right school. What a WONDERFUL feeling.  And, on the flip side, you might learn that a school you thought looked incredible in November has lost its bloom – this happens too, so it is never time wasted!

Other ideas for helping you make your final choice include talking with one of our former clients who now attend your schools of interest.  Because we’ve been at this for 16 years, we are very likely to have a current student or alumnus at just about every school on your list. They can provide unbiased , invaluable insights.  Finally, you should try to join unofficial campus groups on social media platforms.  If you’re into robotics, follow the Robotics Club on Twitter.  If you play baseball, join the Facebook group for baseball players.  This will help you get past the official word of the college.

So yes, doing more college visits sounds time consuming, but we certainly have a little more time these days.  And we don’t know what the next few months will look like.  But if these “visits” are an option, please make use of them.  You are looking at 4 very expensive years and you’ve worked hard to get this far; it is worth taking the time to truly seal the deal with confidence.  In the meantime, we advise that you do more research about your top choices online and reach out to us with any concern.  And of course, stay safe!

Some Mid Year Academic Advice

By Deb Coco, College Admissions Coach

As February winds down, many of our students are fortunate enough to have several acceptances under their belts, and a handful have zeroed in on their school of choice.  It’s a great feeling to have hit the submit button, have a few options, and feel a bit of relief from the college application and essay pressure.

But mid-year also means mid-terms, and with that some new pressure.  At The College Advisor of New York, we are often asked if colleges and universities follow up on academic performance after acceptances and the short answer is YES.  Will every school do this?  Probably not, but the fact is you can’t let your guard down yet and need to head into spring of your senior year with the same drive and determination that you had in the fall.

And this can be tough!  Fall was likely exhausting.  But colleges are now wise to students who knock it out of the park before applying, and then kick back and relax.  Think of this as a football game —you caught the pass but now you still need to keep running into the end zone.  Easier said than done, but remember you are still in school and this requires commitment that will serve you well once you are a college student, when there is no time to let your guard down.

Some students also received “conditional acceptances” and this does mean that they are guaranteed that college will require their spring transcript meet a certain standard.  Although this can be disconcerting, it’s actually a great way to guarantee that you’re keeping your academics ‘up to snuff.’

So whether you are a “conditional admit” or just facing a slew of mid-terms, here are some recommendations of ways to stick to a study plan as your mind wanders towards your next step.  Remember what got you to where you are now.  Our best students are planners, list makers, studiers.  Keep it up.  Sticking to a schedule is your best friend no matter what you’re tackling, and especially when it may be easy to get distracted – think beautiful Spring weather!  Try setting aside time blocks per subject – even if you set a timer to do so.  Often the most effective studying is done in short, intense stretches.  And at the risk of sounding like your mother, put away your phone!  We are all guilty of being sidetracked by social media and texts but it’s at the expense of our focus.  If you took one hour and broke it down into 4, 15-minute segments PHONE FREE, your studies would thank you.  There is a direct correlation between the distraction of the phone and the quality of the work produced.  If there is one take-away here, let it be this – don’t multi-task your studies and your social media.

Senior spring is incredibly exciting; you’ll be attending Accepted Student Days and eventually making your final decision.  But May 1 is three months away, and it’s not time to let up yet.  Six months from now you will be a college freshman, so enjoy that achievement but remember that right now, high school still requires your attention, and summer is right around the corner!

Trends in College Admissions

By Deb Coco, College Admissions Coach

It’s the time of year when many of us have made and are trying to keep New Year’s resolutions.  At The College Advisor of New York, rather than looking forward, we are looking back over the last admission season for the trends that affect the families working with us.  The following three trends have emerged, and we believe parents and students who understand them will be more successful in navigating the college admissions process.

Like any other business, college admissions is affected by the economy.  We might not want to believe that profit is part of the formula when it comes to higher education, but a school’s bottom line is a huge factor in the admission process.  What does this mean for the applicant?  For starters, it means that more than a student’s academic prowess and abilities are being scrutinized, despite college admissions officers professing to be “need blind” in the process.  The truth is that there are very few need blind colleges in the U.S.  Schools work to “shape” their admitted pool, in part, based on finances.  They seek to ascertain how many – and which – families will pay in full, and how many will receive assistance by either scholarship or aid.  The total cost of college tuition, room and board continues its ascent; at the end of this decade we now have a handful of schools that have reached the $80,000 a year mark – yes, you read that right. If your child selects one of these schools, four years would exceed $325,000, once you’ve added in expenses, travel, books etc. 

For this reason, one of the most valuable components to our process is our financial aid guidance.  Our families are evaluated as soon as they begin working with us.  We then create a customized plan based on your unique financial situation and ability to pay.  It’s crucial to know how colleges will assess your ability to pay, and there is more to it than your child’s grades and test scores.

In that respect, if you have worked with one of our admissions coaches you understand the term “Demonstrated Interest” all too well.  This is because over the past five years we’ve seen a huge rise in the importance of students proving their commitment to the schools to which they plan to apply.  Demonstrated Interest is tracked by most colleges and they take it very seriously.  What does that mean?  When a student visits a school, they need to begin the process of expressing interest.  Register for a tour on the website so admissions officials know you took the time to visit.  Should your child want to apply, they need to follow that school on Instagram, Twitter, or the social media platform of their choice.  These are just a couple of examples of how students need to prove their interest. We teach our clients the other aspects of Demonstrated Interest.  It goes back to the business model mentioned above.  Because yields have decreased markedly, schools are more likely to accept a student who has demonstrated an interest in attending; they want to offer an admission slot to a “sure bet.”  It is one of the simplest things a student can do, but one that has proven results.

Finally, there are college essays.  Like Demonstrated Interest, we’ve watched this soft factor go from standing on the sidelines of the admissions process, to being one of the most important components.  If you work with us, your student won’t be left wondering what to write about, and they’ll have it completed before the beginning of their senior year — we take it very seriously.  Do colleges read essays?  Most definitely.  And they look for very specific elements, which are different than many families expect. But our students also write some of the best essays out there, because we know what schools want, and more importantly, what they do not want.

The process of applying to college is overwhelming.  It can be emotional and exhausting (not to mention expensive).  We are here to navigate it with you, and each year we tweak our approach based on industry trends, so as to put our families in the best possible position.  We are now in a new decade that will bring with it even greater challenges and complexities as colleges compete for applicants, and the process becomes even more competitive.  Let us help you.  Please contact us to schedule a consultation by clicking Here!

Hurry Up And Wait

By Deb Coco

So, you’ve hit the submit button . . .what happens next?  First, I tell all my students that it’s prudent to follow up with college admission offices and verify that they’ve received ALL the components of your application.  You should do so about a week after you’ve applied.  Believe me, we’ve seen the fall-out of panic when students realize they forgot to send their test scores or their supplemental essay…it happens.  And, because there are so many moving parts to this process, (transcripts and recommendations from your high school, test scores from The College Board and ACT, in addition to the applications themselves) it just makes sense to “trust but verify.”

The most important quality during this phase of the college admissions journey is patience.  The majority of our students begin working with us at some point in their sophomore or junior year, so once the application deadlines have come and gone, they are more than one-year in.  It is at this point that the real waiting begins.  Acceptances for Early Action and Early Decision normally begin to roll in around the holidays, but Regular Decision notifications won’t be available until February or early spring.  That can feel like a lifetime of running to the mailbox.

Just hold tight because many students will receive at least one “deferral” letter.  Deferrals place students who applied under the Early Action plan on a “wait list” until the entire application pool is reviewed – usually in the spring.  Most schools will offer the option of remaining on the deferral list or not.  This can cause some last minute anxiety, but unfortunately is quite common.

It is also very common for students (and parents) to JUMP at the first acceptance letter that rolls in.  At this point, worry sets in and there is sometimes fear the first could be the last.  We cannot stress this enough – HOLD TIGHT!  Even if that were the case, (which it never is) with the exception of Early Decision, you have until May 1 to make your final choice and send in your deposit.  We highly recommend you wait until you’ve heard from all of your schools.  Why?  Well, you took the time to write the essays and complete the applications, and in most cases visit the schools.  So, a bit more waiting is part of the game.  And, you just never know:  what if some merit money or scholarship is part of an acceptance that you don’t wait for?  Once you’ve “signed on the dotted line” with a school, it’s a done deal. 

We also recommend that all students take advantage of Accepted Student Days.  When spring rolls around and all letters have gone out, you will be invited back by schools and they will roll out the red carpet for you.  Go back and look with fresh eyes.  Visit a class, have lunch in a dining hall and walk around town — is this the right match?  It may sound like too much work, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard that this was THE visit that changed a student’s mind.  It is quite different to tour after you’ve been admitted!

The take away is that this process is long and drawn out, with curves and speed bumps.  The sigh of relief after pushing the “submit” button is closely followed by worry, both by student and parent.  Waiting is hard, and nowhere is that more evident than waiting for a letter of admission to arrive.  I tell my students that the best way to fight the anxiety is to understand that the work is done.  Don’t look back and don’t fret . . . it’s time to let go and let the process play itself out.  Senior year comes but once in your life, so congratulate yourself on a job well done, sit back, relax, and await good news! 

College Admissions Application Tips

Welcome to August!  As of today (August 1, 2019), the Common Application is open for students applying to start school in fall 2020.  The Common Application is an important tool offered by more than 800 colleges across the country.  However, please note that not every school accepts this application.  There are some schools that  use The Coalition Application or have their own school specific application that must be completed.

As students work to complete the Common Application, there are several places where students seem to stumble.  We compiled a list of ten tips to help as students start exploring their own application this month.  Take a look!

1 – Login/E-mail Address 

Make sure to choose an e-mail address that is appropriate (first initial, last name, etc.) and can receive e-mails from the Common Application and college admission offices.  Some high school e-mail addresses will not accept e-mails from outside sources.  Double check!  In addition, if your school uses the Naviance software, you need to make sure you enter the proper email address in the Common App.

2 – Family

In the citizenship section, be sure to list your social security number if you are planning to apply for federal student aid.  Your social security number is used to match your application with your financial documents.  If you are NOT applying for aid, you can leave this blank.

3 – Education/Colleges/Universities

This is tricky because many students HAVE taken college classes through their high school.  However, those classes WILL be listed on the high school transcript.  ONLY list a college in this section if the student has taken a course outside of their normal high school curriculum, such as through a summer program.

4 – Education/Grades

Make sure that these numbers match the high school transcript for GPA and rank!

5 – Education/Honors

These spaces should be used to list ACADEMIC honors only.  Recognitions such as National Honor Society, Student of the Month, Honor Roll, etc. go in this area.

6 – Testing

This can be a little tricky and should be approached carefully with your college coach.  Only above average test scores should be listed in this section (including SAT, ACT, SAT 2 or AP exam scores).  However, ALL scores MUST  be sent directly from the testing company to the college admissions office. For SATs and Subject Tests: www.collegeboard.org and ACTs: www.actstudent.org. If you have any questions about what scores to send, PLEASE ask before doing so.

7 – Activities

A place for the student to shine!  List all of the activities from grades 9 – 12 including part-time jobs and family commitments (if applicable).  Be sure to provide a reasonable estimate for hours spent and participation dates.  The order of these activities is important as the first three spaces should be used for activities where the student spends the most time.  In some cases, these three spots may be the only ones carefully reviewed by the admissions office (see your college coach for more details).

8 – Writing/Personal Essay

Be sure that this is spaced/formatted correctly after it is copied/pasted from the original source.  Save then double check!

9 – Writing/Additional Information

Not all students need to complete this section.  However, if there is something that dramatically impacted the high school transcript, it can be explained here.  Try to be brief, give the facts and explain what was done to improve/correct the situation.  Your college coach can also help with this!

10 – Courses/Grades

This area is only required by certain schools.  After the colleges are added to the application, it will be clear if this section should be completed.  If you have questions about this section, please ask your admissions coach!             

At The College Advisor of New York, our students have access to our Application Clinic, which takes place at our office during the month of August.  During these workshops, our expert staff members walk through the application step by step as our students work on their own application at the same time.  Later, after the student  completes the application, it is carefully reviewed and revised by their admissions coach.

If your student is looking for application assistance, we can help!  Our coaches are glad to help new clients work through just the application and essay sections of their application as they approach senior year.  Give us a call at 518-512-3021 or Click Here to schedule an appointment!