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College Admissions: 7 Things Your College Counselor Won’t Tell You

Monday, June 23, 2014

 

Applying to colleges can often seem overwhelming. Ease the burden with these tips.

Summer is a popular time for rising juniors and seniors to visit college campuses. With early action and early decision deadlines looming just around the corner, here are seven crucial things you

should know about college admissions that you may not hear from your guidance counselor.

1. The early bird catches the worm in college admissions.

It’s not unusual today to see a college fill 30-70% of its freshmen seats in the early action or early decision round. That means that if you wait until regular decision, there are a lot more applicants for fewer openings. Colleges with rolling admissions also tend to favor early applicants. So, while guidance offices don’t like a rush of requests to send out packets in October, it’s almost always to your advantage to file early.

2. National Honor Society isn’t a big factor in college admissions.

According the NHS, more than 1 million students between 10th and 12th grades are in the NHS in 50 states. So, it’s a nice club to be in, but it’s not all that exclusive, and most competitive colleges don’t bat an eye at it.

3. If you aren’t a straight A student, there is still a LOT of financial aid in the form of merit money.

However, you are most likely to get it at your backup colleges where they want your GPA or SAT scores to raise their average entering class stats. Also, colleges outside of your region are more likely to offer you money to improve their geographic diversity.

4. MANY colleges make cuts based on cumulative GPA, and 9th grade counts as much as 11th grade when that is calculated.

Students who falter in 9th grade have a hard time catching up, so start strong freshman year! Also, remember that most colleges do not take the GPA that your high school calculates. They pull your five core courses each year and calculate a GPA on their own scale in order to ensure that they have parity across school systems.

5. You should apply to 9-12 colleges, evenly divided between stretch, reasonable and backup.

Your preferences are likely to emerge and morph during senior year, and this number should provide a good array of options when acceptances come in. It will also give you and your parents a range of financial aid packages to compare.

6. The Ivy League, Georgetown, Duke and other elite colleges reject valedictorians every day of the week.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, more than 35% of graduating seniors have an A average. Getting into a top college today also requires SATs in the 700s, stellar extra-curricular activities, leadership roles, academic awards…and often a deep demonstrated passion for an academic subject, the arts or a philanthropic cause.

7. You need to see colleges when they are in session.

High schools don’t like kids to take too many days out of classes, but it is critical that you see colleges when the students are present. Otherwise you will not get a feel for the energy level on campus, the type of people who attend that school, the activity of the surrounding neighborhood, etc. All are key elements in determining if a college is the right fit for you!

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 8, 2013.

 

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