How to Find the “Right” College Don’t be too focused too soon Do your research Don’t let college admissions data deter you unreasonably Take time to figure out what you most want from your college experience Not all advice is good advice…
TIP: Knowing what college is right for you really means knowing yourself.
How to Choose a College Academic Program Size Location and Setting Athletic and Extra-curricular opportunities School Culture Selectivity Cost/Financial Aid
Academic Program Liberal Arts Buffet of classes Develops writing, thinking, research skills Internships are important Pre-Professional Prepares for profession Licensing For the student who knows what they want to do
Colleges Small classes taught by professors More opportunities to be a “big fish” More intimate community Fewer choices and opportunities Tend to be more suburban/rural
Universities Made up of specific colleges More choices and opportunities Big classes, sometimes taught by TAs More diversity Can be athletic powerhouses
Geography and Setting Where in the United States or the world do you want to be? Rural vs. Suburban vs. Urban “Real” distance vs. “Logistical” distance
TIP : Don’t discount a school for its setting until you’ve been there
Athletics and Extracurriculars Finding the right team/coach/level of competition for the athlete Are there opportunities to explore areas of interest outside of academics? Theatre, political activism, community service, music groups, outdoors clubs, etc.
School Culture Can you imagine making friends with the students at the college? Are they “your type of people?”
What the Admissions Office Considers GPA, academic rigor, course selection Standardized tests (sometimes) Extracurricular profile Application materials: essay, supplements Disclosure of difficult issues Legacy, diversity, recruited skills College’s relationship with high school
The Transcript How rigorous is the applicant’s course load relative to the classes offered Are areas of interest emerging? What classes does the applicant choose to take beyond the required classes?
Standardized Testing SAT vs. ACT AP exams SAT IIs Increasing numbers of test-optional colleges www.fairtest.org
Testing Time Line PSATs – October of Junior year SATs – March 12, May 7, June 4 ACTs – April 9, June 11 SAT IIs – May 7, June 4 APs – May 2 – 13 …. And don’t forget about finals……
TIP : Subject tests are a better predictor of first year performance than SATs
Extra-Curriculars All the things that make you interesting Show consistency, involvement and leadership How you spend your discretionary time What talents/skills/interests you bring to the community May need to submit an art portfolio or audition tapes
Where things can go wrong Relying too heavily on one person’s advice Giving too much weight to factors that are ultimately unimportant Not giving yourself enough time for the process Doing what everyone else is doing Not taking your “safeties” seriously Not understanding that college admissions is an art, not a science
Tips for a Successful College Process Identify what is most important to you and don’t compromise Keep the process student-centered Stay organized and stay on track Don’t forget that the most important thing about the college process is that it is a process