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Admissions Tips: Archives

  • Many of the colleges that you applied to will require that you send your midyear report or grades at this time. For colleges using the Common Application, the form can be downloaded here. Other colleges will want only year-end grades after you have decided to attend. Check the admissions websites for your colleges for more information on what needs to be submitted.
  • Are you considering a gap year before starting college? Here is an interesting article on this growing trend, which is encouraged by many in the college community.
  • Seniors interested in deferring or reapplying to college next year should consider the many options available for a Gap Year. Many colleges will permit a deferment with an explanation of your plans, which may include work, travel, internships or a combination. You can visit this website to explore just a few of the options available for Gap Year and summer programs.
  • Juniors: Now is the time to make sure your mid-year reports have been sent by your high school to the colleges that require them. These forms are available in your application, including the Common Application, and will be submitted with your current semester grades. Not all colleges require these reports, but check the website or application to confirm this, and get them to your high school counselor for processing.
  • For students considering the University of California System, it is critical to plan ahead as high school course requirements are very specific, and two SAT Subject tests are required in addition to the SAT Reasoning test.
  • The Common Application and other college applications for 2007-2008 have been posted. Now is a great time to create an account and start working on your application. The Common Application has added a number of colleges to this one-stop application website. Check here to see which colleges on your list are using this standard format. One of the best places to start after creating your account is to update the “my colleges” section, and review the application. You should also print the form entitled College Deadlines, Fees, and Requirements in the “Download Forms” section as this will clarify everything from early application deadlines to testing requirements, the number of teacher recommendations, and the need for supplemental essays. A new alternative to the Common Application, the Universal Application has been posted with a list of colleges including Harvard and Seattle University, among others. The application for the University of Washington and other public schools in Washington should be posted by mid-September, for admission in the fall of 2008.
  • The Common Application and other college applications for 2007-2008 will start being posted in July.
  • Now is the time to make sure your midyear reports, if required, have been sent to all of the colleges to which you applied. If some of your colleges use the Common Application, you can download these forms to give to your counselor. If you’re not using the Common Application, you can download these forms from the admissions website for each of your schools.
  • Attention juniors: Make sure you take time to get to know your high school college counselors. These are important people in your college search and application process, and they can
    provide valuable input. Read more about how they can help with the process at your high school.
  • Interviews: Many colleges will offer interviews for seniors over the next few months, and you should make sure to take advantage of these opportunities. While some colleges will not schedule interviews until an application is submitted, others will offer them prior to submittal. Schedules for interviews fill up fast, so make sure to check the website for your colleges on the admissions page and search for interview information for more details. Interviews can be strictly informational, or evaluative depending on several factors unique to each college. They can be conducted on campus or in the Seattle area by current students, alumni, or by admissions representatives from the college. Be prepared for college interviews by answering these four questions and reading more here:
    • What is important to you, and why?
    • What do you most enjoy doing and why?
    • Why does this college interest you?
    • If you have a defined career goal, why have you chosen it?
  • In her presentation on a recent visit to Seattle, Marilee Jones, Dean of Admissions at MIT, offered insight into ways to make the admissions process less stressful. Her presentation inspired many families to use her strategies as they begin the process. Everyone should consider reading her book, Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions And Beyond, which offers valuable suggestions on surviving and thriving.
  • Learn more about student rights and responsibilities in the college admissions process, particularly with regard to acceptances and deadlines for submitting deposits once accepted.
  • This year, more colleges have been added to the group using the Common Application. The application for 2007-2008 will be posted in early July.
  • The college application process does not need to be stressful. It should actually be enlightening and fun. Jay Mathews of the Washington Post and author of the excellent book, Harvard Schmarvard has some valuable tips for those starting the process.
  • Remember to check your e-mail frequently during the applications process, as this is the primary way many colleges are communicating with students regarding missing material and updates. Notifications of admission are also online in many cases. This is a good reason for juniors to select an e-mail address that is suitable for communicating with colleges in the future.
  • If you are applying online to your colleges, make sure you print a copy of your final application and keep it for your records. You can usually review a final copy before submittal, but in some cases (UW), this is not possible and you can only print it after it is submitted. Application fees may be waived or reduced with online applications and in many cases your application will be more accurate and get an earlier review.
  • The University of Washington has launched a new, more comprehensive website for applicants.
  • Many seniors are completing college interviews this fall and winter and have concerns about the process and the types of questions that will be asked. Interviews are given by either admissions representatives or alumni, and questions will vary widely. One way to prepare is to do your homework on the college website and prepare a few questions to ask that are not answered on the college website. Be informed about the college, and know that this is your time to learn more about the school, just as it is the college’s time to learn more about you. Read more about the process and have someone ask you the questions included in this article.
  • We hear from many colleges that online applications are preferred in most cases. The good news is that students can work on their applications and save sections as they have time, and return to complete more sections later. Using the online option can result in an earlier review by colleges, more complete and accurate responses, and an overall increase in consistency, neatness, and quality.
  • For seniors who want to consider applying early to their top choices, many colleges have added an Early Decision II to their growing list of options for admission. The Common Application has a listing of the schedules for all of the colleges included on the site. For those not included, check college website admission calendars to determine what options are available and what works best for you.
  • Rising seniors: Check the website of your favorite colleges for scheduled visits to the Northwest and register for more information. Now is the time to start requesting applications and drafting your personal statements.
  • Juniors should start considering which teachers to contact to write their college application recommendations in the fall. Make sure to ask early and provide completed forms, stamped envelopes, a summary of your activities, and plenty of advance notice on deadlines. Remember they have a lot to do including other recommendations, so be sure to thank them for their help. Here is more information to help you in this process.
  • Your high school counselor can be a great source of information and will also be writing your letter of recommendation to colleges. Make sure to get to know your counselor. Learn more here.
  • Colleges are communicating primarily via e-mail. Make sure your e-mail address is suitable and rethink those middle school e-mail addresses that might not send the message you want to convey.
  • Common Application Tip: To confirm that your application was received by colleges, after you have successfully submitted your Common Application, you can log back in and your application will show that your application was submitted to X number of colleges, as well as the date submitted. Colleges vary in how they handle acknowledgments. However, you can easily see in the checklist which colleges have “touched” their application by looking in the “App Printed” column.
  • Be prepared for college interviews by answering these four questions:
    • What is important to you, and why?
    • What do you most enjoy doing and why?
    • Why does this college interest you?
    • If you have a defined career goal, why are you choosing to do this?
  • Many colleges prefer online applications as the information arrives earlier, and this format can help you avoid omissions. Remember to print a hard copy of your application before you hit the send button so that you have a record of your submission.
  • Online applications either through the Common Application or on individual college websites will make the application process easier for you and will speed up the review process. Make sure you register online with all of the colleges on your list, as applications and invitations for local fall college receptions will be mailed soon.
  • Do not let the essay process become your adversary. Remember that this is an excellent (and surprisingly short) way to show the colleges a side of you they do not see elsewhere in your application. Here are some things to think about as you start the process.
  • Are you considering applying to college Early Action or Early Decision? Here are some things to think about as you make this important decision. Many colleges are adding a second round of Early Decision/Early Action options, so make sure to work this into you planning schedule.
  • Tools for planning your college process: The National Association for College Admissions Counseling

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