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How Important Are AP Tests in Admissions Decisions?

As many of you are in the midst of taking AP exams this week and last, I want to make something clear: do your best, but please don't stress. Grades, ACT or SAT scores, extracurriculars and essays are much more important than APs because typically AP scores don't go on your college application. They don't count towards your GPA, and they're not part of your transcript. There isn't even actually a place on your application that they're required.


So, the question is, do admissions committees even look at your scores, and how much do they actually matter? The answer is if you self-report, they will look at your scores, and how much that matters is probably none at all. AP scores affect the classes you...

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Planting a Seed

Juniors!

As you think about the next steps for your college application process, you may be thinking that now is the right time to reach out to a college admissions officer. The short answer is, if you're in the class of 2020, it's “yes!”

Now is the time that you can “plant a seed” with a college, and specifically with a college admissions officer after you meet them at a college fair, a local reception, or possibly you visited their college campus.

Planting a seed means introducing yourself to someone (an admissions officer) to learn more their school and also to convey your interest in the institution. There is no harm in getting somebody's business card and emailing them,...

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Does Contacting a Professor Help with Admissions?

I get this question all time and there is no blanket “yes” or “no”’answer. Different schools have different relationships with their faculty. Most professors have little impact on the decisions that the admissions office may make. They are teachers, and trust that their administrative colleagues in the admission office will admit and yield the best students for the university who may ultimately end up in one of their classrooms.

However, I do encourage students who have a particular academic interest to reach out to someone -- usually a professor -- in an academic office of interest. Why? Because that professor may offer greater insight into what their department does...

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How to Avoid "Senioritis"

 

Class of 2019!!!!!

Don’t do it…….

YES, I encourage all of my students to celebrate their acceptances and keep their eyes squarely focused on the goal: a college education. But there’s a problem going on that everyone needs to be aware of: slacking off from high school is recipe for disaster as well as a sign of immaturity.

The colleges that have accepted young adults, older teenagers, not kids who cannot discern right from wrong. Yes, mistakes can happen and adjustments can be made, but be the person and student who applied three or four or five months ago - the one “College X” accepted - follow these simple rules:

(Parents, PLEASE share this with your...

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Common Application vs. Coalition Application

Rising Seniors, as the time comes to decide where you’re going to apply to college, you’ll also have to decide what application portal you’ll be using to complete your applications. There are a few options, but the two portals that offer the largest number of schools are the Common App and the Coalition App. Neither will guarantee or hinder your chances of getting into the college of your choice, but there are some key differences you should know before choosing which one to use.

The Common App (www.commonapp.org) is just that - the most commonly used app among students. Its popularity can likely be attributed to the almost 800 institutions that house their applications there....

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Why Colleges Use Waiting Lists

In tandem with my last post and video about waiting lists, I figured I would also tell you why colleges use them in the first place.

A waiting list decision is not a yes and it's not a no. It's a wait and we will see. The waitlist is a tool that is used for a pool of students who may have been admitted to a university, but, regardless, they've been, there are levels of enrollment that have to be considered and colleges use this as a tool to manage their enrollment. So it's not a no but they're trying to figure out who's going to accept their offer and who's not.

The length of the list varies between institutions and it can be from 100 or to 1000 but there are many reasons why you, who should be...

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How to Get Off a College Waiting List

Last week colleges across the country notified current seniors about their admissions decisions. Some students were admitted, others were denied, and some were waitlisted.

Now the first two are easy. It was a 'yay" or "nay" decision. But understanding what a wait list is and why colleges use them, and more importantly, how to get off of one, can often cause some confusion.

Students, if you've been waitlisted or parents, your child's been waitlisted, please consider this: first and foremost you must confirm your interest on that waitlist. Colleges won't assume that you want to remain on the waitlist. If they send you something online, that reply card, a simple click of a button must be returned to...

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What Parents Should Ask Their Child's School Counselor

Whatever you call the school counselor at your child’s high school -- guidance counselor, college counselor, etc -- please know that they are an integral part of the college application process. A few elements of their job are:

  • to offer college advice to you and your child
  • weigh in on the selection of courses for each year
  • write a school counselor recommendation on behalf of your child
  • send the transcript
  • communicate with colleges about your child’s application and interest

Some school counselors do this better than others, and usually it depends on their caseload of students.

As a parent, you should attend any college preparation presentations that your school offers. You should also...

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Types of College Applications

As of today, there are three kinds of applications that students can use further for college. There's the common application, which has about 700 different schools to choose form. There's the coalition for free application access which is also available which has about maybe 350 schools, and thee are schools who have their own individual applications that you can fill out online. Every application should be online, whether it's the common app, the coalition or schools' individual application, they can all be found online.

Before you start doing either of them, or any of them I should say, please make sure it's for the proper year, class of 2020 should be the one you're considering now, but again you...

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When Should My Child Start Their College Application?

A question I get asked a lot about college applications is: When should my child actually start doing their application. I highly encourage students to start over the summer. They can start their application now actually online at commonapp.org but to complete the college application, to actually be prepared to submit it they should probably do it in July, August, and September. The early bird catches the worm in this process. I need to say that again. The early bird catches the worm.

Many schools will actually prefer that students submit their applications in the front end of their senior year so they can make sure that it's complete. So they can make sure that if there are any questions or...

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