College Admissions

Ten Valuable Take-Aways from The HECA Conference in Philadelphia June 2016

I met many knowledgeable and caring professionals including other IECs (Independent Educational Consultants), college presidents, college admissions representatives, vendors and authors at the HECA conference in Philadelphia last week.  I toured eight college campuses, attended nine workshops and listened to leaders in the field speak about college admissions, Liberal Arts Colleges, the current and future state of higher education and the Coalition for Access and Admission in Higher Education. The conference was extremely valuable and information rich. These ten valuable take-aways offer only a glimpse of what was offered.

Ten Valuable Take-Aways from the HECA conference in Philadelphia June 2016

(- not all new information, but information that I feel is valuable for my students and families to know)

  1. Checking the box indicating that you are applying for financial aid in the college application can cause your application to be considered incomplete to the college until all financial firms are submitted.
  2. It is important that after registering for any future SAT test, students check the email associated with their College Board account. The College Board implemented a new plan in June 2016. Selected students who register for the test will receive an email stating that they are required to submit a Verification Form by a given deadline. If the form is not submitted by this deadline, College Board will cancel the student’s registration and credit the registration fee back to the credit card. Avoid the surprise of showing up for the SAT only to find that you are not actually registered.  Students MUST check their email often.
  3. There are three different routes to the military: Service Academies, ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) and OCS (Officer Candidate School)  Each path has different requirements
  4. There is a company called New Frontiers in Learning that is full of trained professionals to help students with learning difficulties navigate the transition to college and learn to self advocate.
  5. HECA members as a whole are dedicated, collaborative, extremely caring and knowledgeable professionals in the field of college consulting.
  6. Liberal arts students are in demand: CIC Website For higher ed professionals - LiberalArtsPower For students and parents-  LiberalArtsLife Can you see yourself in this environment- @smartcolleges twitterfeed
  7. Purpose fuels GRIT and experiencing failure is essential to building resiliency
  8. Colleges want to admit students who will succeed there. If there is a concern about that, some colleges give the student a chance to try it out before committing. (Passport Program- St Joseph's University)
  9. Colleges and Universities have priorities in building their class each year. Their goal is to build a community of students who will help the university continue on its mission.
  10. Each college/university has special qualities just as each student does. The staff and faculty at those colleges really want their students to take advantage of all the school has to offer.
  • A pre-med student really can actively pursue the arts in college as well. Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College
  • A women's college can be made as coed as the student desires it to be.
  • Traditions are strong on most campuses (Bryn Mawr /Haverford/ Lehigh/Lafayette)
  • Engineering and business can be combined. (Lehigh IBE, Villanova SBI)
  • Pass fail evaluations require exceptional knowledge of a given subject and/or field. (Swarthmore College Honors Program)
  • Intellectual curiosity is very important - Haverford College
  • Jesuit colleges have the mission of developing students of giving character with a strong appreciation of differences. (Villanova University, Saint Josephs University)
  • Not every arts focused student needs to present a portfolio for admission. For schools that do require it, specific types of art are required and the admissions staff is there to help students through the process. (Muhlenberg College, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, University of the Arts in Philadelphia)
  • There are colleges who aim to provide both admission decisions and financial aid awards to early admission applicants by December 20. (Drew University)
  • Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

     

    Some October 2014 SAT Scores are Delayed

    Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 9.03.23 PMSome high school students recently learned that the reporting of their October SAT scores is being delayed.  This Washington Post article provides an overview of the situation.  With many Early Action and Early Decision deadlines only three days away, seniors who were counting on these scores to complete their application may not make the application deadlines.  The score delays affect students who took the SAT in China, South Korea and, possibly Singapore.  Students who find themselves in this situation should call or email each school directly to ask how the delay will be handled.  Some colleges will give a grace period due to the circumstances - some will not.  This is frustrating all-around.  At EDNaviagotors  we encourage students to complete their testing by the end of their junior year of high school.  For high school seniors, this removes the testing burden, the uncertainty of where test scores will fall and whether or not scores will arrive in time.  High school seniors are busy enough focusing on grades, essays and applications in the fall.

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators

    It's Essay Season - The Three Types of Essays Required of College Applicants

    overwhelmedHigh school students are asked to write three types of essaysthroughout the college application process.  Each essay type is unique and requires a unique approach.

    Know the essay purpose.  Know the reader/audience.  Know the format.  Have a plan.

    SAT/ACT Essays (1-3 handwritten pages written under time constraints)

    The Standardized test essays are persuasive essays.  They measure:

    • how clearly a student can express and defend an opinion
    • a student’s ability to write a traditional 5-6 paragraph essay
    • grammar, usage and mechanics
    • the ability to write under time constraints

    Scores are not base upon accuracy of facts. Students are not judged on their opinion, but their ability to express and defend it.

    The Personal Statement Essay ("your story" usually 650 words or less)college essay rescue

    • This is, essentially, a personal story or autobiography. It is the student’s way to set himself apart from the other students who present similar transcripts and test scores.
    • It is a way for the college to get to know the student.
    • It requires the student to dig deeply inside himself and reflect upon his life, who he is, and what he values.

    The Supplemental Essays ("why us?"  "tell us more" usually 250 words or less)

    • These short essays tend to be either fact based or creative.
    • The fact based prompts require the student to research and explain or defend something.  They should contain accurate information.
    • The creative prompts are ways for the admissions readers to dig deeper into who the student is.

    The three essay types above are very different and need to be approached differently.

     EDNavigators offers assistance with all of these essay types.

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

    Related Articles:

    Essential information about the SAT Writing Score and the Essay

    The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT - A Preliminary Look

    EDNavigators Introduces Guided Path for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

    Common Application Essay Prompts for 2014-15

    EDNavigators Introduces Custom College Plan for Comprehensive Management of the College Process

    Another College Application Question With Varying Answers

    Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.24.14 AMRising Seniors are encouraged to begin their college applications over the summer between Junior and Senior Year.  This sounds like a simple task, but considering that colleges work with different applications and on different timelines, it gets complicated quickly.  The first question students must find the answer to is:

    When Do College Applications Go Live?

    For schools that accept the Common Application and the Universal Application, these dates apply:

    • The Universal Application opens on July 1, 2014
    • The Common Application opens on August 1, 2014

    At some schools, like The University of Chicago, you can start and submit your supplement before you complete the Universal or Common App.

    Some schools with rolling admission, like Delaware Valley College, accept applications anytime after the student completes his/her junior year of high school. Others with rolling admission, like Pennsylvania State University make the application available September 1.

    Bottom Line:

    Check the website or call each school to which you plan to apply to get its specific application timeline.

    Use a system to keep track of what is due when.

    If you are planning to apply to colleges that accept the Universal Application or Common Application, start the main essay as soon as you can and supplemental essays (common app prompts are here) as soon as they are released by the school.  Early Decision/Early Action Dates of Nov. 1 and Nov 15 come quickly.

    Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC

     

     

    Important Information for College Bound High School Students with ADD/ADHD or any Learning Disability

    education-labyrinth1.jpgKnow your standardized testing accommodation options and deadlines early - as early as freshman year of high school.

    SAT and ACT Testing Accommodations - Frequently Asked Questions

    When should accommodations be requested?

    • For accommodation for sophomore PSAT or PLAN, requests should be made spring of freshman year.
    • If accommodations are not needed for tests given in the fall of sophomore year of high school, accommodation requests should be made in the spring of sophomore year.

    Who submits the request?

    • The school disability coordinator or guidance counselor - When making the request, the counselor should be specific about what the student needs.

    What must be included in the request?

    • Evidence of a professionally diagnosed disability and documentation proving how the student’s limitation impacts both daily functioning and the ability to take standardized tests Formal psychological testing for the ACT must be no more than 3 years old.  Formal psychological testing for the SAT must be no more than 5 years old.  Generally, testing should be repeated for students when they are 16 as the tests are then given on the adult scale.

    What are the differences between the extended time accommodations for the SAT and the ACT?

    50% Extended Time:

    • SAT: Time and a half is given per section. The student must wait for the time to expire for each section before moving on to the next - The full-time spent on the test is 1.5 times as long as it would be without accommodations.
    • ACT: Student self-paces through the test, going on to the next section at his or her own pace. The test ends when he student finishes OR when the 1.5 time has expired.

    100% Extended Time / Special Testing at school (typically for students with more severe deficiencies than ADHD)

    • ACT - The student takes one section per day. He/she is given double the standard time for each section. For example, English would be 90 minutes, Math would be 2 hours etc.

    When will I hear if the accommodation has been granted?

    • ACT Response Time: about 4 weeks
    • SAT Response Time: about 7 weeks

    Who grants a higher percentage of accommodation requests - ACT or College Board (SAT)?

    • ACT

    When accommodations are approved, what tests do they include?

    • College Board Accommodations Include: SAT, PSAT, AP Exams
    • ACT Accommodations Include: ACT, PLAN

    EDNaviagators suggests that students with disabilities get the wheels in motion for accommodations spring of freshman year of high school. Have the request submitted before the end of freshman year. Submit requests to both College Board and ACT since the only way to know which test is better for the student is for the student to take full practice tests of each.

    Since these guidelines and procedures are subject to change, it is always best to confirm with the official websites: Services for Students with Disabilities: The College Board Services for Students with Disabilities: ACT

    Sandy Aprahamian, Independent Educational Consultant, EDNavigators