What To Learn from Virtual Visits - Fall 2020 - Part 1
(this contains excerpts from a high school that I admire as they address how to approach online college information sessions and tours. Please share this with your child as it directed towards them)
Many of you have taken advantage of online college programs this fall, whether they be college fairs, info sessions or college rep virtual visits at school. So what should you be learning during this process? You should be paying attention to what individual colleges offer and how important you believe these offerings will be to you a year from now when you are applying to college. Some of the information may be confusing and won’t make sense until you meet with your college counselor, so make sure you take notes and write down any questions you have. But one of the first things we will discuss when we begin meeting with families this winter is how to interpret what colleges and universities say about their admission process.
Just remember that during group information sessions, admission representatives are addressing students from all over the world who come from a variety of schools with different profiles, curricula and academic programs. Even when they present at specific high schools, they provide that same stock admission information. But the admission selection process is quite specific to the student. A student from a school that sends 100% of its graduates to selective four year colleges is going to be looked at differently than a student from a school that sends only a small percentage of its students to college. They consider the rigor of the school, the courses offered, the resources that are available, the student’s motivation and interests, and a variety of other factors when making admission decisions.
When college representatives talk about how they decide which students to admit, most will say that students who gain admission into their schools take the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and they list examples --- AP, IB, honors, advanced, etc. This statement almost seems standard for schools no matter the acceptance rate. Below are statements from two major research universities and their admitted student profiles:
School #1: We consider students who complete the most rigorous secondary school courses available to them the strongest candidates.
3.2-4.0 gpa 1110-1260 SAT 26 ACT 72% acceptance rate
School #2: ...it is very important that we see a high level (or an improving degree) of rigor and success throughout your high school years.
720-770 CR 740-790 MATH 33-35 ACT 6.5% acceptance rate
What colleges care about most is behavior. Sometimes it is revealed in your transcript and other times in teacher recommendations, essays and other documents.
But the overwhelming majority of schools, meaning those that admit more than 15% of their applicants, ask a different set of questions: Are you looking to become the best version of yourself that you can be? Will you take full advantage of the opportunities for individual achievement and growth offered here? Again, the answers to those questions are not on a transcript.
The patterns and trends related to your transcript will tell a story, and college admission officers care about those stories. You may not be able to change your grades or your courses, but you have all the power to shape your story.
But the most important piece of advice we can give you is to relax. So many educators predict that Covid-19 has changed college admissions, and things may never return to where they were in previous years. That could actually be a good thing. We will know more once we get through this cycle. Keep exploring. There is so much out there!
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