Eric

Eric

College Applications – So Many Ways To Apply

With application season upon us, high college seniors everywhere are working on the Common Application, the Coalition Application and, in some cases like with the College of Charleston or Endicott College, individual college applications. And while there are multiple platforms to choose from as students complete applications, there are also multiple ways to apply. Let’s talk about the differences and how they affect you.

Early decision, also known as ED, is where you apply to a college through a binding agreement – if you are admitted, you must confirm your enrollment with that college. There’s no backing out of an early decision acceptance. You’re allowed to apply ED to ONE college only. That’s it. This is why your love for the college must be true – you will have to contact your other colleges at which you submitted applications and notify them that you are withdrawing those applications immediately.

Early decision can be a great idea if you know, without a doubt, that you are in love with everything that college has to offer, you know you can afford to attend and you are ready, willing and able to commit to that college. You’re all in with early decision and the risk level is significant if you haven’t done your homework ahead of time.

Early action, or EA, is where applicants typically complete apply in November or December and expect to hear an answer before the start of the New Year. Early action applicants can be accepted, denied or deferred to the regular decision round of applications. Unlike early decision, early action applicants are not bound to their acceptance and have the choice to commit by the May 1st deadline or attend another college altogether. Early action is great because you have the benefit of applying early while also keeping your options open.

There are variations of early action policies. Some colleges are considered single choice early action which means they may not allow applicants to apply early decision and/or, in some cases, early action, to any other colleges. Therefore, it’s important to understand your colleges’ policies when it comes to these early application rounds.

Regular decision is the process by which you apply by each college’s published deadline which is typically around January 1st. Once the application and materials have been sent, applicants can expect to hear a decision by April 1st. Regular decision applicants can be admitted, denied or placed on a waiting list. Regular decision is the vanilla of the application world – it’s plain and simple but it also makes you wait quite a long time for a decision.

Rolling admission is where students are admitted on an ongoing, or rolling, basis. The colleges begin making decisions in early fall and continue to do so until they have met their enrollment requirements for the new freshman class. Colleges may accept or reject an applicant right away, or they may hold off for a period of time in order to gather more information on the applicant before rendering a decision. Depending on how strong or weak of an applicant they are, students may also find themselves on the waiting list. Because decisions are made on an ongoing basis, the earlier you apply, the earlier you can expect to hear a decision. It can feel great to get that first acceptance and it may just help you enjoy the holidays with your family and friends that much more.

On the other hand, rolling admission is great because you can apply when you’re ready. I’m not saying you should wait until the last minute but, let’s be honest – some of you will. Maybe you want to wait for first semester grades before you apply because you know you have some strong grades coming. Maybe your SAT scores were low and you wanted to take them again in November or December. Maybe you just happened to come upon a college mid-year that you hadn’t thought of before and now you want to apply – for any of these reasons and more, colleges with rolling admissions grant you the freedom to apply later in your senior year. 

Of course, for every pro of rolling admission there are also cons. colleges with rolling admission will start awarding aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. Funds are limited so if you apply too late, your financial aid award may not be very helpful. Housing could also be an issue if you apply too late.

As with anything in the college application process, do your homework early on. Check out the admissions webpage for any colleges you are interested to find out which types of applications they offer.

If you have any questions or comments about the types of applications available to you and which one might be the best way for you to go, please shoot us a note – we would love to hear from you!

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


 

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Demonstrated Interest: The Dating Game

Imagine walking down the hallway to your locker and making eye contact with someone you’ve never seen but would like to get to know.  You can’t stop thinking about them. In your heart you know it could be love, but is the feeling mutual? 

What do you do? First, you have to find out everything you can about them. When you realize they’re perfect for you, introduce yourself, let them know who you are. Once you’ve got their attention, and you start to spend time together, you realize that they are interested in you, too.  You begin building a relationship. What’s next – flowers, candy, Six Flags? You see there’s a future here, and you consider the options – early decision, early action, or even (gasp!), restrictive early action!

What do we call this dating game? Demonstrated Interest. It’s how you show colleges your level of interest. It’s how you separate yourself from the pack. Like dating, it’s a process. If you send love notes (emails), bring flowers (visit them at a college fair), have a first date (visit the campus), they will likely want to know you better, see if you’re a good match. Can’t afford to go Dutch?  No problem, they’ll come to your school or invite you to a local Starbucks for a conversation.

Colleges are looking for students who want them.  For any relationship to grow, you need to put in some genuine effort. Take the time to show your top schools just how interested you are. The more love you show, the more they will understand the depth of your commitment.  Colleges want to offer admission to students they believe will accept their offer (we call that yield). Demonstrated interest is a real thing – don’t let your #1 leave you standing at the altar!

For more ways to demonstrate your interest to colleges, please see our related blog posts.

If you would like some assistance with your college search and how to show your interest the right way, contact Lynne today for a free consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


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Writing a Great College Essay

Introducing the 2015-2016 Common Application Essay PromptsNow that the school year is winding down to its final days, rising high school seniors should be shifting their focus to college essays. Sure, senior year is still almost three months away but, if a student wants to get ahead of the craziness that ensues, their goal should be to start their essay now so that it’s done before the end of the summer.

First, let me introduce you to the prompts. Then I’ll tell you why I don’t think they’re anything you should be stressing over:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

With the exception of the last prompt, you will see that each one asks for a specific moment, situation, place, event or story that reveals something important about yourself. Please note the emphasis on the word, “important.”

I didn’t say incredible.

I didn’t say amazing.

And I definitely didn’t say Earth-shattering.

Because let’s be honest – at 16 and 17 years old, very few people have had incredible, amazing and Earth-shattering experiences in their lives. So take the pressure off yourself to write something that has never been written before. Instead, focus on a story you can tell that helps an admission counselor learn something new about you. And while you may not be able to come up with something for each essay prompt, I’m sure you can come up with a story that relates to at least one of them.

In fact, I think you should first focus on all the possible things you could say that show your values, interests and any personal attributes that truly make you who you are. If you can talk about any life lessons you’ve learned or explain any growth you’ve experienced after working through a challenge or obstacle, that would be a great idea too. Don’t worry about whether the ideas are stinkers or the seeds of a truly great essay right now. Just brainstorm and get some ideas on paper. Talk to your parents, friends and relatives. Let them help you brainstorm – chances are, they may think of something interesting about you that you, yourself, didn’t think of immediately.

Writing is a process that involves steps and time. If you take the time to go through the steps, the finished product will be so much better for it!

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

As a child, you probably had any number of answers to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But, as a teenager and a college-bound student, the answer is not always so clear. You may think you have to decide on your major before you even look at colleges. But did you know that according to the National Center for Education, about 80% of college students change their major at least once during their college career? And, “undecided” is one of the most popular majors for incoming college freshmen. In fact, there are jobs and careers that haven’t yet been invented but will be by the time you graduate college. So, the real question is, “What do you need to know before you embark on your post-secondary path?”

The ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself”, holds true for students of all ages considering their future. Research has shown a significant correlation between happiness and success. While not everyone is passionate about something, everyone is unique. The earlier you learn what makes you tick, the earlier you will be able to make informed decisions and plan a clear path to your future.

Enter career assessments and career exploration. Career assessments can measure a person’s personality, abilities, interests, strengths, skills and values. They can be taken at various stages of a person’s life: as a high school or college student or later in life for those seeking a career change. While personalities seldom change, people’s interests, skills and values can develop and change as they grow and have real-life experiences.

As college advisors, we strongly recommend that high school students take a series of career assessments as a sophomore or junior in high school as they are the starting place to begin the college exploration and planning process. Once students learn about the occupations matching their results, they can begin the process of career and college major exploration. Many students discover occupations or college majors they’ve never heard of. Even if a student is certain they want to be an engineer, for example, they may discover that there are other occupations that hold more interest and utilize the same abilities, skills and knowledge that engineers possess. While all paths may lead to Rome, many paths can lead to a student’s first choice career interest.

A high school student’s next step in career exploration is to research their various occupational interests to determine employment prospects, wage and salary outlooks, skills and values necessary to perform these jobs, as well as the education and certifications required for these occupations. When a student has narrowed down the list to their top occupations and corresponding post-secondary paths, they have an academic direction for their the college search.

We believe that using career assessments and exploration to determine your areas of interest rather than to find a particular career or major is key to the college search. Students tend to enjoy this process of self-discovery and are often relieved and less stressed about their college planning. Parents appreciate learning about the opportunities that are available to their children, and we are happy to see our students become one step closer to finding their best “fit” colleges.

If you would like some assistance with your college search process, contact Lynne today for a free consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.

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If You’re a Parent of a College Applicant, Please Follow These Rules

dobler college consulting, college applicationWhen I first meet with new families, I make sure they know it’s the student who needs to be in the driver’s seat if they expect the college application process to go well. Some parents are relieved to hear this while I can tell that others aren’t so sure what to think.

They’ve been so involved with everything their son or daughter has been doing since birth that the idea of not being actively involved is, frankly, quite terrifying.

As a parent myself, I get it. But what I also get is that kids have to take responsibility for their college search. They have to figure out what matters most to them and which colleges (note the plural form here) fit them the best.

So while this is the drum I beat along the way, I also make sure parents know it’s okay to be involved. It’s okay to talk about college and it’s okay to have feelings about how the process is going.

It’s just not okay to do any of the following:

  1. Calling the admissions office

Parents should not call the admissions office to ask questions about their daughter’s application. Nor should they call to share their view on an unfavorable grade. Or to try and explain why their son only volunteered so many hours at the local soup kitchen. Parents can and should call a college if they have questions on financial aid or anything to do with costs, but that’s where it should end.

Admissions counselors want to hear from the applicants, not the parents. Having sat on their side of the desk for a number of years, I agree. Show me an applicant who has questions or is willing to have a conversation and I’ll show you someone who is demonstrating maturity, responsibility and accountability.

  1. Saying “we’ll figure it out” when it comes to paying for college

Unless parents are sure they can pay for a school through some combination of means, saying otherwise never ends well.

Never.

There’s just too much emotion, effort and energy invested in this process to allow students to believe in a falsehood like this. For many parents, yes, it may be hard to talk about finances and affordability. None of us want to say “no” or “we can’t”. But, as hard as these things are to say, it will be so much better for their son or daughter to understand what is and what is not realistic up front rather than after months of having fallen in love with a college that will never be affordable.

  1. Making changes to their college essay

Depending on the kid, parents can sometimes be a great sounding board for essay ideas. But at the end of the day, this is their essay and it should sound like a 17-year old wrote it. That means it won’t be perfect.

Admissions counselors aren’t sitting there questioning every last word choice. Instead, they are trying to learn more about who the student is through the story he or she is telling. Yes, an essay should be well written but in no way does that mean it should sound like a doctoral dissertation.

  1. Making this about you

All too frequently I hear from parents that someone they know said their kid did THIS or was accepted THERE or was being recruited by THEM. Many of them feel the need to compete. I try to remind them that this process is not a competition. It’s never about bragging rights. It’s not a prize to be won. What it is about is helping their child connect with a college where they will grow while creating a path into a happy and successful life.

If you would like some assistance with your college search process, contact me today for a free consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


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