Campus Tours

,

Building A Strong College List

Building A Strong College ListWhile high school seniors are wrapping up supplemental essays and preparing to submit applications, it’s time for the juniors to get their college search underway. And while it’s all well and good to like a college because you’ve been a fan of their basketball team or because one or more of your parents are alums, it makes a whole lot of sense to understand just what it is about a college that makes it a good option for you.

Here’s a few things to pay attention to as you work on building a strong college list:

1. Don’t get hung up on location

Not until you’ve really investigated a college, at least. If you’re willing to be open-minded, sometimes a great school might be just around the corner from what you think is your comfort zone.

2. Be realistic

Especially when it comes to gauging your chances of admission. When you see ranges for GPA and test scores for colleges and yours fall in the lower 25th percentile of who gets admitted, your chances really aren’t that great.

3. Merit scholarships go to the top students

Don’t think a college is going to give you a merit scholarship just because you’ve worked hard. Often, your GPA and test scores BOTH need to be in the top 25th percentile of who gets admitted for you to be considered for merit.

4. Find your WHY

Why you like a college is important. And it should never just be about the college's name.

5. Majors are not created equal

If you’re looking for a major in sports management, you will find it at some schools. You will also find it as a concentration under a business major at some schools. Don’t be so quick to discard a school just because you don’t find something listed exactly how you hoped you would. Also, keep in mind that many students change their majors and, for the ones who don’t, a major doesn’t always dictate what they will do in their lives. So be open-minded!

The bottom line? You have to research and turn over all the rocks to make sure you find what you’re looking for. You have nothing but time right now so put it to good use developing your college list. When you visit college campuses, you will have a more informed idea of who they are and what you need to find out before you submit your applications next fall.

There’s a lot to like about that.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact us today for a free 60-minute consultation.

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


Read More
, , ,

Demonstrating Your Interest to Colleges – Make it Count

IMG_0605

Franklin & Marshall College

As I visit colleges and talk with admission counselors, it has become rather clear that how much interest an applicant shows in a school really can matter.

Like anything in the college application process, applicants cannot afford to rely on doing the minimum and expect to be considered a strong applicant. Especially at the more selective schools where there are just too many applicants already.

What admission counselors are interested in are students who can do the work and who are likely to enroll. This is called yield and it’s something I talked about in a previous post:

Why Demonstrating Your Interest Matters

This is the aspect of the process that so many families fail to see. As much as an applicant may have worked hard to achieve strong grades and test scores, in the world of selective admissions, they have to be more than just grades and test scores if they are hoping to be competitive. At a certain point, a vast majority of the applicants can do the work but there are only so many seats in the incoming class. So as much as an applicant’s grades and test scores may look great on the surface, it’s also about how the college values other aspects of their profile when they are trying to make decisions.

And that’s where showing your interest in a school can help your chances.

But, there’s a catch.

As I mentioned already, if you want to make the most of this process and really position yourself as a strong candidate for a school that you are truly interested in, then you have to do more than the minimum.

What’s the minimum?

Just attending an information session and tour when a college offers an overnight program complete with an interview and the opportunity to sit in on a class and meet with current students.

Not even visiting a college who is within driving distance when they clearly state on their website that priority consideration for admission and scholarships will be given to students who visit.

An applicant who sends an email to an admission counselor to say how much he or she loves the school and then fails to continue the conversation when the admission counselor replies and asks the applicant a few follow-up questions.

If you really do love a college and you really do see yourself there then you really do need to go the extra mile to make sure the college knows this. Really, you do.

So, fill out the card and email the admissions counselor. Visit campus. Do all of those things. But, do more as well. Instead of just sending an email to say how interested you are, engage in a conversation about your major or a particular aspect of the school that excites you. Ask about meeting with or talking to faculty or current students. See if you can arrange to sit in on a class or spend an overnight on campus so you can attend an event or game. Schedule an interview with admissions – and don’t let distance dissuade you. Many schools will do interviews by phone or Skype knowing that finances can prevent a student from getting to campus. If you can’t get to campus, check to see if the school is running any admissions or alumni receptions in your area and connect with the school through social media.

College is one of life’s great journeys but it requires some hard work along the way. Put your best effort into this process and make the most of all opportunities to connect with colleges and admission counselors. You’ll be glad you did more often than not.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

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


Read More
, ,

Things To Pay Attention To In Your College Search

As juniors are starting their college research and considering where they might apply next year, here are some questions they should be keeping in mind:

Are you familiar with your high school’s profile?

Your high school’s profile contains information regarding course leveling, ranking policy, grading, weighting (or not) for grades and averages for standardized test scores. The profile is important because it shows an admission counselor not only WHAT is offered at your high school but HOW well you have maximized the curriculum.

Does a college know that you’re interested?

It won’t matter everywhere (think Ivy League schools for instance), but a lot of colleges are tracking just how much you interact with them before you apply. In order to make sure your application isn’t the first time a college hears from you, here’ a few ideas on how to best demonstrate your interest:

  • Visit campus and attend an information session
  • Email or call the admission counselor for your high school with any questions
  • Connect with the college through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
  • Talk to admission counselors at college fairs
  • Complete an interview if the college offers one

Do you know why you’re interested in the college?

One of the challenges I see seniors struggling with is the “Why Us” essays that a lot of the most selective colleges are asking applicants to complete. You can help yourself out now by identifying what it is about the school that gets you excited. Internships, interesting courses, amazing professors in your major, unique learning opportunities, exciting activities and sports, a new facility in your program – whatever it is, make a note of it so you can talk about it later.

How can you stand out?

Most colleges allow students to submit supplemental information whether it’s an art supplement, a graded paper, a writing portfolio, a science project or a resume.  These opportunities allow students to demonstrate their unique talents and interests to help them stand out in the application process. With nothing but time ahead of you, take stock of what you do in your spare time, how you can demonstrate it, and consider how it may affect your applications. Even as a pre-med student, your talent in drawing or painting may be of interest to colleges.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the most of your college search. Start now so you can take your time researching and visiting colleges and, of course, doing awesome in school. Above all else, colleges want to see that you’ve done very well in the most challenging courses available to you. Without strong grades, not a whole lot else matters.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, we can talk by phone, email or Skype.

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


Read More
, ,

Why Demonstrating Your Interest Matters

Why Demonstrated Interest MattersBack in December, I wrote a piece about demonstrated interest. It’s become a popular phrase in the world of college admissions and if you missed the post, you can read it here.

I wanted to revisit the idea of demonstrated interest in today’s post because of a few takeaways from NACAC’s recent report, The State of College Admission 2013. NACAC releases the report each year (free for NACAC members, $25 for everyone else) which offers insight and statistics based on data gathered from both college admission counselors and high school counselors.

This year’s report talked about a few factors which are rather relevant to the idea of demonstrated interest.

Consider that admission counselors read anywhere from 600-1000 applications each with the larger number typically belonging to counselors at public universities. That’s a lot of information to sift through, a lot of grades and test scores to review and a lot of essays to read. In my day, I used to review anywhere from 500-600 applications in a season and I will be very honest when I say that it can become a blur rather quickly when students don’t make the most of the opportunities available to them to stand out.

And that’s the key with demonstrated interest. It’s all about standing out. Not in an obnoxious, I’m waving my arms and professing my undying love for you kind of way that you would find at a boy band concert, but more in the I’m really interested in your school, I get who you are as an institution and feel I would be a good fit based on XYZ reasons, kind of interest.

Admission counselors are trying to build a class and they have to figure out which students are more likely to enroll. This is called yield and it’s an important term in the college admissions world. Predict your yield too high and you don’t have enough seats or beds for your incoming class. Predict too low and the college is running in the red. Neither is a scenario that colleges want to do deal with. The problem is that as students submit more and more applications, on average, it gets harder for schools to know who their “real” applicants are.

And that’s why you demonstrate your interest. Because you want admission counselors to notice you, and you ultimately want to enroll at a school that you love; a school which fits you academically, socially and financially.

If you make a good effort at showing these schools who YOU are and that you are an authentic and strong candidate, they will at least be able to identify you as such. Should who you are jive with who they need, it is more likely that they will admit you. Then the best part of it all happens…

You get to decide if you’re going to enroll.

So, reach out to admission counselors, visit college campuses, ask to interview, connect with the colleges on social media – do all of this and it will pay off.

If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation. If you’re in the local area, check out my FREE college planning workshops coming up this spring in Cheshire and Southbury. 

Read More

College Counseling Tip Of The Day – Test-drive the college

Would you buy a car without driving it first? Would you buy a home without going to see it first? Arrange for a college visit and see everything “up close and personal“. Can’t visit? Spend some time on YouTube and you can learn quite a lot about a college as well!


Read More