College Lists

, , , ,

Why Just Submitting an Application isn’t Enough

Frequently I find students applying to too many colleges. They think there’s some underlying mathematical equation that says the more colleges you apply to, the greater your chances are of being admitted to one.

Unfortunately, it’s just not true. Especially with the more selective schools that sit atop the various sets of rankings and which are releasing decisions this week. If your profile as an applicant doesn’t match up well with what the school looks for, or if the school tends to reject 90% of their applicants, no matter how many schools you apply to, admission isn’t likely.

So, what are students to do?

The first thing I tell my students to do is to get beyond this ever-growing obsession with brand names. In my experience, what you do with your college experience is more predictive of your future success in life. It’s not the name of the school or how highly they were ranked on US News or Forbes. In fact, in most high profile professional fields a bachelor’s degree doesn’t get you very far. You’re going to need a master’s degree, a lot of experience, or more, and that’s where you should be more focused on name brand recognition.

It’s about where you finish, not where you start.

The second thing I tell them is to build a college list that is focused more on quality than quantity.

I tell them they should be applying to colleges they love and where they feel they will be happy and successful. I tell them to apply to colleges they can afford. I tell them to apply to colleges where they will find everything they are looking for, where they will grow as people and where they will be successful.

Sometimes this means the list of colleges is five, sometimes it’s eight.

Regardless of the number, what matters most is how much effort a student puts into connecting with these schools prior to applying. When a student has matched themselves up well with a college and then does the right things along the way such as visiting, sitting in on a class, interviewing with an admission counselor, meeting with a professor or coach, attending special visit programs or an open house – when some combination of these factors happens, the student learns so much more about how and why the school fits them and admission becomes much more likely.

Why?

Because demonstrated interest matters more now than it ever has. Colleges are in the business of enrolling students and as the number of applications far exceeds the number of seats in an incoming class, it becomes critical for colleges to identify the students who are most likely to enroll. There are so many ways to demonstrate your interest to a school while you attempt to learn everything you can about it. Apply to too many schools and you may not be able to demonstrate your interest let alone put together quality applications that stand out in a crowded field.

Opportunity can and will present itself in many forms and, you know what? There is opportunity everywhere, not just at an Ivy League school. So, no matter where you go to college, remember that it’s about investing yourself in the experience and making the most of this time to launch yourself into your life.

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

High EFC? Here’s Where You Will Find Merit Scholarships

High EFC Heres Where you will find merit scholarshipsIf you’re like most people, you were pretty shocked and upset when you found out your EFC. But it is a necessary step if you want to pay less for college as the alternative of waiting to “see what happens” rarely ends well.

Even if you have a high EFC, there are still ways to significantly cut the cost of college. You just have to know where to look for them.

And you need to get past any obsession with name-brand colleges. If you’re looking for a merit scholarship to Amherst, Boston College, Duke, Georgetown, MIT, or Yale, it’s not going to happen.

Why? Because these colleges mostly (and in some cases, exclusively) provide money based on need. Now, they can have a more generous definition of need compared to most colleges, but nobody is earning a scholarship for stand-out grades or perfect test scores.

By contrast, there are plenty of colleges who provide generous merit scholarships; they just happen to be the ones that don’t make the top 50 of national rankings.

It’s basic supply and demand driven by a popularity contest. The most popular colleges are in high demand and don’t have to provide any financial incentives for students to attend. Their acceptance rates are already in the single digits (or close to it) and they are able to proudly boast of increasing numbers of applications year after year.

Other colleges, ones that you may have never heard of, have a more difficult time convincing students to attend because they’re not as popular. These colleges have to work harder to attract students. As a result, they offer incentives to students to attend.

And some of these incentives, in the form of merit scholarships, can be game changers.

Of course, the first thing you have to do is get past the idea that just because you haven’t heard of a college, doesn’t mean that it is lacking quality in some regard. Yes, there are some stinkers out there, but if you invest some time in learning more about a college’s programs, the type of students who attend, how many students graduate in four years, where they go after college and, then what that college may have to offer you in the form of a scholarship, it is quite possible that you may change your mind on just how important the name of a college is to you.

It is possible to find really great deals on colleges; you just have to get beyond the most highly ranked – and most popular – colleges in the country to find them.

If you would like some assistance with your college search or financial aid process, 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
, , ,

Why Just Submitting an Application isn’t Enough

Why Just Submitting An Application Is Not EnoughFrequently I find students applying to too many colleges. They think there’s some underlying mathematical equation that says the more colleges you apply to, the greater your chances are of being admitted to one.

Unfortunately, it’s just not true. Especially with the more selective schools that sit atop the various sets of rankings. If your profile as an applicant doesn’t match up well with what the school looks for,  no matter how many schools you apply to, admission isn’t likely.

So, what are students to do?

The first thing I tell my students to do is to get beyond this ever-growing obsession with brand names. In my experience, what you do with your college experience is more predictive of your future success in life. It’s not the name of the school or how highly they were ranked on US News or Forbes. In fact, in most high profile professional fields a bachelor’s degree doesn’t get you very far. You’re going to need a master’s degree, or more, and that’s where you should be more focused on name brand recognition.

It’s about where you finish, not where you start.

The second thing I tell them is to build a college list that is focused more on quality than quantity.

I tell them they should be applying to colleges they love and where they feel they will be happy and successful. I tell them to apply to colleges they can afford. I tell them to apply to colleges where they will find everything they are looking for, where they will grow as people and where they will be successful.

Sometimes this means the list of colleges is five, sometimes it’s eight.

Regardless of the number, what matters most is how much effort they put into connecting with these schools prior to applying. When a student has matched themselves up well with a college and then does the right things along the way such as visiting, sitting in on a class, interviewing with an admission counselor, meeting with a professor or coach, attending special visit programs or an open house – when some combination of these factors happens, admission becomes much more likely.

Why?

Because demonstrated interest matters more now than it ever has. Colleges are in the business of enrolling students and as the number of applications far exceeds the number of seats in an incoming class, it becomes critical for colleges to identify the students who are most likely to enroll. There are so many ways to demonstrate your interest to a school while you attempt to learn everything you can about it. Apply to too many schools and you may not be able to demonstrate your interest let alone put together quality applications.

Ultimately, there will be circumstances outside of your control so make peace with that idea and control what you can: which colleges you apply to and how sincere and genuine your interest is. You may not get in everywhere you apply to, but if you conduct your college search the right way, you will get into and enroll at a college you love.

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
,

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
, , ,

Starting Your College Search? Here’s Why You Should Know Your EFC

Starting Your College Search. Here's Why You Should Know Your EFCIf you’re like most families, when it comes to finding colleges that will fit, cost is going to be a significant factor. Looking at price tags of $30,000 to $60,000 or more a year for college is overwhelming if not downright scary.

What’s even scarier is that most people don’t even know how much of that price tag a college will expect them to pay.

Sure, they have an idea of what they can afford to pay, but when it comes down to how much money a family will have to contribute towards college costs, and their true financial aid eligibility, most people are in the dark.

Parents of freshmen, sophomores and juniors, I’m talking to you. Go figure out your EFC.

EFC stands for expected family contribution. It is the amount of money you will be expected to contribute towards one year of college costs. While it won’t paint the entire picture for you, it will serve as a starting point before you venture into how generous a school is with their aid. You won’t know your official EFC until after you’ve completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but knowing a rough estimate of your EFC now will help you plan your college search more strategically.

For example, let’s say your EFC is $25,000. If you are looking at a college where the cost of attendance is $45,000 you can immediately see that you could  be hoping to receive $20,000 in aid. Conversely, if the college’s cost of attendance is $20,000, you shouldn’t be expecting anything.

In the case of the former, $20,000 is a big difference to make up. The next step is to understand just how generous a school is and if they are going to help you out. By looking at how much of your need a college will meet, you can then do the math and determine how much you should be expecting, if anything. Staying with this example, a school who meets 50% of your need would have $10,000 in aid for you while a college who meets 75% of your need would have $15,000 in aid. How much of your need a college meets varies from college to college so look closely at the numbers so you know what to expect.

Outside of your ability to pay, some colleges also factor in how competitive you are as an applicant when they determine how much aid to award you. The stronger you are as an applicant, the more desirable you are to the college and, therefore, the more likely you are to receive aid.

So, do yourself a favor and obtain your estimated EFC now. Write it down, understand it and use it when you are researching schools and want to know what a school is going to cost you.

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