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Going Off to College: A Journey for Students and Parents Nicholas Amato, Jr., President NA Consultants Inc. 125 West Broadway Port Jefferson, NY 17777.

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Presentation on theme: "Going Off to College: A Journey for Students and Parents Nicholas Amato, Jr., President NA Consultants Inc. 125 West Broadway Port Jefferson, NY 17777."— Presentation transcript:

1 Going Off to College: A Journey for Students and Parents Nicholas Amato, Jr., President NA Consultants Inc. 125 West Broadway Port Jefferson, NY

2  M ake the Grade Send a strong message to colleges that you are READY Maintains study skills and keep the brain working Good Senior Grades could override past performance  Remain Involved Don’t get overwhelmed with Senior Activities Maintain your clubs and your involvement…senior projects Community Service Prioritize the Senior Activities in relationship to college Remember college search takes time Perils of Junior/Senior Year

3 Perils of Junior/Senior Year…continued  Stay Focused  Colleges want to see a strong senior year  Some will send warning letters after first semester grades  Some may rescind admission  Enjoy the experience  Seniors who resist senioritis will be able to balance fun and school work  Time management will ensure a great prom and senior year activities  Colleges look forward to welcoming a happy, well rounded, energetic student

4 35% of Colleges Revoked Admission Offers Percentage of Colleges that Revoked Admission Offers for Various Reasons (Among Those That Revoked Any Offers) SOURCE: NACAC Admission Trends Survey

5 One way to prevent senioritis is to ensure that students remain excited, active, and focused throughout their senior year. Challenge your seniors to: –Maintain a challenging course load. Urge them to take the most rigorous courses available, including AP courses (for which they can earn credit at many colleges). –Enjoy their senior experience—responsibly. Encourage them to celebrate the last year of school: they may enjoy attending football games; going to the prom; and participating in graduation festivities, clubs, sports, and volunteer work. Tips for Keeping Seniors on Track

6 Commit to an internship or career-focused job, which can help them make informed decisions about their education and career goals; or try out college early by taking a class at a local college in a subject that interests them or in which they excel. Keep a calendar of their activities and deadlines (tests, college applications, senior-year events, extracurricular, and so on). Caution them not to overextend themselves. Not obsess over the admissions process to the point that everything else, including grades, suffers. It's all about balance and making the right choices

7 How Admissions Decisions Are Made?

8 College Ratings of the Importance of Various Factors in the Admission Decision ConsiderableModerateLimitedNone Grades in college prep79.9%14.4%2.9%2.7% Strength of curriculum Admission test scores Grades in all courses Essay or writing sample Class rank Demonstrated interest Counselor recommendation Teacher recommendation Interview Subject test scores (AP, IB) Extracurricular activities SAT II scores State graduation exam scores Work

9 Factors by Institutional Characteristics Public vs. Private –Private: essay, interview, counselor and teacher recommendations, work, extracurricular activities, demonstrated interest –Public: add class rank Enrollment Size –Smaller: interview, counselor and teacher recommendations, demonstrated interest

10 Selectivity More Selective: strength of curriculum, essay, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, work, subject test scores, SAT II scores Factors by Institutional Characteristics

11 Questions & Puzzles  Why do colleges make decisions that are sometimes hard to understand?  Is there a perfect way to evaluate students?  Are there admissions “hooks?”  How do public & private colleges make decisions?  What information do colleges want from the counselor and the school?  Why do colleges with similar standards make different decisions?

12 Acceptance Rates – Ivy League Harvard 9.1% Princeton10.9% Yale 9.7% Brown14.6% Dartmouth16.8% Columbia10.4% U. of Pennsylvania21% Cornell24.3%

13 Acceptance Rates – Highly Selective Amherst19%Duke21% Stanford12%Bowdoin21% Georgetown22%Swarthmore19% Williams18%Pomona20% MIT14%

14 As a result of low acceptance rates... Many applicants with strong GPAs and test scores feel that they have been treated “unfairly.” ?

15 Goals for Every College The ultimate goals for every college are the same :  Admit a freshman class with many different dimensions  Admit students who will make good use of the available resources  Admit students who will help meet the institution’s needs.  All schools look for a “national” student body

16 “But I’ve Always Had Straight A’s!” “ The primary criterion for admission is academic excellence, and the most important single credential is the transcript. Our ablest candidates have mostly “A”s in their courses, but we do find that some students with lower grade averages may show more real promise for strong college level course work than some students with high averages. We find the same may apply with regard to test scores—very high scores, though they may in many cases confirm scholastic promise, do not guarantee admission to Stanford.” Stanford University

17 Perfect Test Scores? “In each of the past few years Harvard has received more than 500 applications with double 800 scores and has accepted just under half of them.” Harvard University

18 Reality Check  25,000 high schools in the country, each with top ten list of students  250,000 students applying to the same group of 8 Ivies and highly selective schools  Diversity is common among this group  Perfect scores on the ACT/SAT not unusual in this group

19 How Applicants Are Evaluated?  The Academic Performances  The Evaluative Measures  Personal Background  Geographic Considerations  Extracurricular Activities  Extenuating Circumstances  Recommendations  Fit/match Considerations  Education Environment

20 “Is a ‘B’ in a Hard Course Better Than an ‘A’ in an Easy Course?” “Be careful not to assume that the world is divided between students who take difficult courses and get Bs and the students who take easy courses and get As. Most of our applicants are able to take difficult courses and receive As. If you can handle the work in honors and AP, take at least a few of them. If it is obvious from your transcript that you are taking a lighter load than you can handle, admissions officers at selective colleges are going to wonder about your motivation. Grades from the junior and senior year are most important.” Stanford University

21 Admitted Students: Things in Common  Scholars (working to the best of their ability and beyond)  Sustained commitment  Increased level of responsibility  Leadership  Sheer ability  Positive image

22 We've all seen the lists by U.S. News & World Report, Petersons, Kiplinger, Forbes, and other companies in the business of ranking colleges. These rankings all have a certain value--they tend to represent schools that have strong reputations, lots of resources, high graduation rates, good value, and other notable features. That said, no national ranking can tell you which college or university is the best match for you. Your interests, personality, talents, and career goals make any ranking have limited usefulness. Appearances, of course, are superficial, but you want to go to a school that you are proud to attend. If your classes are held in a dilapidated building that smells like dead fish, the physical problems with the school could very well be a sign of more deep- rooted problems. A healthy school has the resources to maintain its facilities. What to look for in a perfect college… is there a perfect college?

23 There are colleges that have four-year graduation rates in the single digits. A 30% rate isn't at all unusual, especially among regional public universities. If you are applying to colleges, presumably your goal is to get a college degree. Some schools are much more successful at graduating students than others. If the majority of students at a college don't graduate in four years (or don't graduate ever), then the majority of students are spending a lot of money for a goal that will evade them. High Graduation Rate

24 When you are calculating the cost of a college degree, you should take graduation rates into account. If most students take five or six years to graduate, you shouldn't budget for four years of tuition. If most students don't actually graduate, you shouldn't plan on an increased earning potential because of your college degree. That said, make sure you put graduation rates into context. There are often good reasons why some schools have higher graduation rates than others.

25 The most selective colleges enroll students who are extremely well prepared for college-level work. These students are likely to succeed and, in the process, boost the college's four-year graduation rate. College's that admit students with weaker college preparation do not have this benefit.most selective colleges Professional programs in fields such as engineering, nursing and education are more likely to take five years than many other fields in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Many state universities have a large percentage of commuting students, working students, and students with families. The demands on these students often make graduating in four years difficult. Colleges with open admissions or non-selective admissions will often have low graduation rates. These schools provide an important role by making college accessible to all. At the same time, they will often matriculate students who are entirely unprepared for the demands of college academics.open admissions Other Factors Affecting Graduation Rates

26 The student / faculty ratio is an important figure to consider when looking at colleges, but it is also a piece of data that is easy to misinterpret. The California Institute of Technology, for example, has a 3 to 1 student / faculty ratio. This does not mean, however, that students can expect an average class size of 3. It also doesn't mean that your professors will be more interested in undergraduates than graduate students. Most of the country's most prestigious colleges and universities have low student / faculty ratios. However, they are also schools where a high research and publication expectation is placed on the faculty. As a result, the faculty tend to teach fewer courses than at schools where research is valued less and teaching is valued more. You are likely to find that a prestigious college like Williams with a 7 to 1 student / faculty ratio has class sizes that aren't much different from a place like Siena College with a 14 to 1 ratio. California Institute of TechnologyWilliamsSiena College Low Student/ Faculty Ratio

27 At a well-regarded research university, many of the faculty members spend considerable time not just on their own research, but also supervising graduate research. This gives them less time to devote to undergraduates than the faculty at an institution with primarily undergraduate enrollment. While you should interpret the student / faculty ratio carefully, the ratio still says a lot about a school. The lower the ratio, the more likely it is that your professors will be able to give you personal attention. When you find a ratio over 20 / 1, you'll often discover that classes are big, the faculty are overworked, and your opportunities for one-on-one interaction with your professors are greatly diminished. I consider a healthy ratio to be 15 to 1 or lower, although some universities deliver excellent instruction with a higher ratio. Low Student/ Faculty Ratio

28 At times during your college career, you are likely to struggle with the material you are learning. So as you're choosing the schools to which you'll apply, look into each college's academic support services. –Does the college have a writing center? – –Can you get an individual tutor for a class? – –Are the faculty members required to hold weekly office hours? – –Is there a learning lab? – –Do first-year classes have upper-class mentors affiliated with them? – –Do most classes have review and study sessions before major exams? Good Academic Support Services

29 In other words, try to find out how readily available help is should you need it. Realize that all colleges need to comply with Section 504 of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Qualifying students must be offered reasonable accommodations such as extended time on exams, separate testing locations, and whatever else may be needed to help a student perform up to his or her potential. However, some colleges are better than others at delivering services under Section 504. Ask how many employees work for support services and how many students they serve.

30 Most students go to college with the hope of either getting into a good graduate program or landing an appealing job upon graduation. As you conduct your college search, look into each school's career services. –What help and guidance does the school provide as you apply for jobs, internships and graduate study? Strong Career Services

31 Strong Career Services Some questions you should consider: –Does the college bring job fairs and graduate school fairs to campus? –What is the college's job placement rate? –What percentage of students go on to graduate school, and what programs are accepting them? –Does the college have a program for helping students find meaningful summer work? –Does the college help students write and develop their resumes?

32 Strong Career Services –Does the college conduct mock interviews to help students prepare for the real thing? –Does the college have an involved alumni base to help students get leads on jobs?involved alumni –Does the college have resources to help students prepare for graduate entrance exams such as the GRE, MCAT, and LSAT? –Does the college have services for providing feedback on graduate school applications and personal statements? –Does the college provide testing such as the Briggs Myers assessment to help students find suitable career paths?

33 It doesn't matter how great a college is if you can't pay for it. You won't know exactly what a school will cost until you receive your financial aid package. However, when you're researching colleges you can easily find out what percentage of students receive grant aid as well as what the average amount of grant aid is. Look at both public and private colleges as you compare grant aid. Private colleges with healthy endowments are much more able to offer significant grant aid than the majority of public universities. Once grant aid is factored in, the price difference between publics and privates shrinks considerably.publicprivate You should also look at the average amount of loans the students take out to pay for college. Keep in mind that loans can burden you for over a decade after you graduate. While loans may help you pay your tuition bill, they can make it harder for you to pay a mortgage after you graduate. Good Financial Aid

34 The financial aid officers at a college should be working to meet you at a reasonable financial midway point -- you should make some sacrifices to pay for your education, but the college should help out considerably as well, assuming you qualify for aid. As you shop around for the ideal college, look for schools where the average grant aid is more than the average amount loan aid. For private colleges, the grant aid should be considerably more than loan amounts. At public colleges, the numbers might be similar. Hundreds of college profiles can be found on individual college websites.Hundreds of college profiles

35 Interesting Facts Only 7 CEO’s from the current top 50 Fortune 500 companies were Ivy League undergraduates. Who Needs Harvard?”

36 The Reality of It All “You are being judged according to criteria that you would never use to judge another person and which will never again be applied to you once you leave higher education…” Who Needs Harvard?”

37 To Seniors & Parents So remember, the letters you start to receive in mid-December don’t determine anything!

38 Sound Advice Look for a good fit – Challenges you, makes you stretch, allows you to grow Don’t go to a place where you’ll have to study 24/7 just to keep up

39 Final Words of Wisdom  Keep an open mind  Don’t take shortcuts  Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to aim high  Don’t rely on myths, rumors or anecdotes  Don’t stereotype people or colleges  Seek advice, but make up your own mind

40 Final Words of Wisdom  Make appointments with your counselor  Don’t rule out a college because of cost  Be yourself (ok, yourself at your best)  Keep things in perspective  Have a sense of humor  Make sure your application is your own work, but seek out feedback from adults  Read the instructions first

41 And finally…  Keep in mind that no matter which college you attend, it’s a good idea to remember that “Batteries Are Not Included” and “Assembly is Required.”  However much you sweat over the college admissions process, be sure to take the long view. Nowhere is it written that life begins or ends with the college admission process!

42 Good Motto to Remember It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you do well!

43 Thank You for Coming Q & A’s


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