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Applying to Competitive Colleges John Baran Gifted Resource Teacher Monticello High School.

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Presentation on theme: "Applying to Competitive Colleges John Baran Gifted Resource Teacher Monticello High School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applying to Competitive Colleges John Baran Gifted Resource Teacher Monticello High School

2 What are competitive colleges? High student selectivity based on acceptance rate, high school class standing (top 10%), and SAT scores. To be ranked nationally, schools have high student selectivity, high academic reputation as rated by academics and industry, faculty resources, student graduation and retention, and financial resources.

3 Top 10 Most Selective Colleges SchoolFall 2013 Acceptance Rates Stanford5.1% Harvard6.0% Yale6.3% Columbia7.0% Princeton7.4% MIT7.9% USNA7.9% Brown8.7% Cal Tech8.8% U Chicago8.8%

4 Competitive Colleges in VA Public institutions considered competitive: UVA, William and Mary, JMU, Virginia Tech (in areas such as Engineering). UVAWilliam and Mary JMUVirginia Tech US News also ranks stellar regional and small independent schools such as Hollins, Randolph Macon Women's College, Hampden-Sydney, Washington and Lee, Roanoke College, University of Richmond.Hollins Randolph Macon Women's College Hampden-Sydney Washington and Lee Roanoke College University of Richmond

5 Resources Big Future by the College Board State Council of Higher Education in Virginia National Center for Education Statistics

6 Other Perspectives "Why Your Kid's Shouldn't Go to Harvard (Even If They Could Get In)” by Marty Nemko "Why Your Kid's Shouldn't Go to Harvard (Even If They Could Get In)” Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League by William Deresiewicz Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League Who Needs Harvard? By Gregg Easterbrook Who Needs Harvard? Looking Beyond the Ivy League by Loren Pope – Available from the IS Lab lending library

7 What are competitive colleges looking for in a student applicant?

8 (1) Rigor in Program Students should take the most rigorous and challenging program available to them at their high school (Honors or AP). Why? Recent DOE study showed that the single most important predictor of success in college was the rigor of their secondary education program. "try first, adjust when needed." – Students should enroll in the highest level classes, work with teachers and guidance on planning & work strategies, and assess the workload impact on their lives after attempting the program.

9 Rigor in Program (cont…) Most competitive colleges prefer AP classes to dual enrollment classes (unless those dual enrollment classes are taken locally at a competitive college such as UVA.) Competitive colleges view the nationally developed curriculums of the College Board as more rigorous that the typical community college course. Students should retain rigor throughout their high school career, including their senior year, carrying core courses at the highest level offered and electives that show challenge and interest.

10 Core Course Paths for Students Targeting 4-year Competitive Colleges Note: Commas denote options (“or”), Slashes denote taking courses in successive semesters (“and”)




14 (2) Initiative Students should be able to show by their involvement in extracurricular activities, community involvement, intern/work, or summer study/work that they are interested in expanding their mind. However, over-involvement - or "joiners" may be frowned upon. Competitive colleges look for leadership capabilities in their students. This does not mean all students should be president of their student bodies, but that they show commitment and follow-through in areas of talent and interest. Summer Opportunities

15 (3) Written Communication Written communication skills are highly valued. Competitive colleges DO read the essays, and the essays are a factor in admission. They are not looking for glitzy, commercially polished pieces. They are looking for real, communicative writing that show insight into the applicant's life and views. 2014 College Essay Lesson

16 (4) Tests Scores, GPA, & Class Rank Although competitive colleges view test scores (SAT and ACT) as indicators of ability, they often do not have firm "cut-off" scores. Test scores are viewed as "part of the package" in looking at the overall suitability of the applicant for the college. “Test optional” or “test flexible” “Test optional” or “test flexible” MHS sends weighted and un- weighted GPAs to schools. Weighted GPAs factor in Honors, AP, and dual enrollment courses on a 5-point scale (as opposed to the regular 4-point scale). Monticello High School and Albemarle County Public Schools eliminated class rank with the 2014-2015 school year. Admission officers have indicated that a substantial number of school districts no longer rank students.


18 Should my child take the SAT II exams? If so, which ones and when? Many competitive school require one or two (or more) SAT II "subject" exams, but the requirements vary widely. Check with prospective schools. Students should take the SAT II subject exams immediately following completion of the course.SAT II "subject" exams


20 Contact Information Room: P101Office: P101A Extension: 61381 Direct Line: (434) 244-3121 Fax: (434) 244-3104 E-mail: Website:

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