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The 5 Most Popular College Admissions Questions and How Your Students Can Answer Them

Your student received the email setting a date and time for an interview with the admissions team at the college or university they applied at.

Now what?

Well, preparation is key. They should prepare well and plan for a good interview to boost their chances of getting into that school. Fail to prepare and they could harm their chances.

Study International put together a list of the 5 most common questions admissions staff will ask your students in their interview and some tips for how to answer them. 

#1: Tell me about yourself

This seems easy until you really think about it. The difficulty lies in how general it is, so your student may not know how to begin. While the schools do want to know about them, this isn’t where they spill out their life story (there may not be enough time either – most interviews last around 30 minutes).

Suggestions: Brag humbly and succinctly. It may sound like an oxymoron, but with the right choice of words, they can paint a portrait of themselves as unique and separate from the other candidates. Throw in a little about their academic achievements as well as what they like to do in their free time.

#2: Why are you interested in this college/major?

Admission officers ask this question to see two things: 1) whether your student is  really interested in the major/school; and 2) whether they take their college application process seriously.

Suggestions: There’s no easy way around this. Extensive research will be necessary. Don’t just talk about the school’s rankings, prestige or location, according to Prep Scholar. That just shows a superficial level understanding.

Instead, dig deep. Find out about the specifics about the school’s extracurricular activities, cultural values of the school, etc. If there’s a particular internship program the school has, and that relates to the major they are applying for, talk about it.

Talking about how a major will bring lots of money or job security is a big no-no. Instead, talk about why the subject inspires them – admission officers want to see genuine interest. If there was a light bulb moment that made them decide to major in biology when they were just a six-year-old, talk about it.

#3 – Can you explain the grading system at your high school?

Many schools have different grading systems. This can effect GPA, class ranking etc.. They should be prepared to answer questions about their high school. 

Suggestion: Try to find the clearest way to explain the grading scale that their high school uses, as well as any other achievements they may have, such as awards received.

#4 – What are your academic strengths and weaknesses, and how have you addressed them?

Colleges want to know how your students  perceive their achievements as well as how well they overcome obstacles.

Suggestions: When talking about strengths, be specific. And explain how these strengths helped them throughout high school and how they plan to use it in future. For example, “Writing is my biggest strength. I capitalised on this to get an internship programme at a local publishing house, as well as winning an essay competition. I hope to do the same in college.”

When it comes to weaknesses, admit them readily, so long as they can show that they have made efforts to overcome them. Don’t say they have no weaknesses – no one’s going to buy that and they will only paint themselves as arrogant.

Instead, talk about strategies they have used to overcome procrastination, or a specific story about how they got that C grade to a B in calculus.

#5 – Do you have any questions for me?

Take this opportunity to ask the questions for which the answers just aren’t available on the school’s website. Ask a well-thought question and they can get extra marks for showing they have done their research.

Suggestion: Betsy Cotten, associate director of admissions at McDaniel College in Maryland suggests asking about more in-depth issues such as the culture of a college’s location and how the college’s students spend their time outside the classroom.

“More of the touchy-feely, rather than the more statistically driven stuff is a better use of their time,” says Cotten. 

Here is a link to Study International’s article: https://www.studyinternational.com/news/college-interview-questions/

7 Things College Admissions Officers Wish Every Applicant Knew

It’s the question every high school senior asks: What happens in the admissions office?

They work for months, bundle their entire life together into a neat, 12-15 page application, send it off, and wait.

But what goes on from the other side? How are applications read? How are decisions made? What do the conversations look like? Why does one student get in when another doesn’t?

In the hopes of shedding some light on these questions, Business Insider reached out to Admissions personnel from 7 top US universities—Yale, Brown, Stanford, University of Chicago, MIT, and Princeton & University of Pennsylvania.

Here are 7 things they think students should know:

  1. Students and their parents interactions with the school are tracked:

When a student, parent, or surrogate makes contact with the admissions office, it is important to be aware that treating anyone on staff poorly—especially the administrative staff—may result in a negative outcome in the admissions process. Do not be dismissive of or assume that the professionals answering phone calls or e-mail correspondence do not have any influence on the admissions process (they have a lot more impact on an applicant’s candidacy than one might expect).

College admissions is a stressful process. But that never means you can be rude or pushy to anyone working in or near an admissions office. Many schools track your or your parents’ communication with that college, and even if they don’t actively track your interest, admissions officers still take notes! Even on the phone with administrators, make sure you present yourself the way you want to be viewed by your application reader. This one is good life advice in general: Be nice.

2. Your students application only gets a few minutes to make an impression:

“As an admissions evaluator at Brown, we really had to keep up a rigorous reading pace with the regular decision applicant pool. We were expected to read 5 applications per hour, which equates to twelve minutes per application. In those twelve minutes, I reviewed the application, standardized test scores, the transcript, the personal statement, and multiple supplemental essays—all while taking notes and making a decision on the admissibility of the applicant.”—Erica Curtis, Former Admissions Evaluator, Brown University

Take a minute (or twelve) to think about this. Knowing that admissions officers don’t have a lot of time to read your materials, you should construct your own application accordingly. Don’t extend your personal statement into the additional information section. Don’t attach a resume if this information already exists in the activities list. Don’t send the school four additional letters of recommendation. These schools, frankly, don’t have the time to read them.

3. Your application could be good – but it should be great!

“At Stanford, when reading applications, we did use one acronym in particular—SP (“standard positive”), which indicated that the student was solid and had an overall positive application, but unfortunately was just standard.”—Anonymous, Former Admissions Reader, Stanford University

In thinking about the sheer amount of applications that admissions officers read, consider how you’ll stand out in the pile. You don’t want to be just “standard”. You want to be different, memorable, and (to use another Stanford admissions term) angular.

4. Even if you are an outstanding candidate, you might not get in

“Before a student gets her admissions decision, she can go from admit to defer/waitlist or vice versa. Until the Dean of Admissions starts to shape the class, nothing is final. Sometimes admissions officers get lucky and can add back in one or two of their favorite students (who made it through committee, but for one reason or another were moved to “defer” or “waitlist” along the way). Admissions officers really care about the students for whom they advocate, but often it comes down to the needs of the school and the desire to have a well-rounded incoming class.”—Natalia Ostrowski, Former Assistant Director of Admissions, University of Chicago

Even if you make a good case for yourself on your application, you still might not get in. Schools need to develop a well-rounded class. What this looks like can vary school-by-school and year-by-year, but balance is important in developing a strong freshman class.

5. Your personality matters

“As an admissions officer, I analyzed students’ personalities. If I read an admissions essay, and the student came off as arrogant, entitled, mean, selfish, or, on the flip side, funny, charming, generous, witty, I wrote that exact trait in my notes. It’s not enough just to be smart at top schools. Students must also show that they’ll be good classmates and community builders.”—Angela Dunnham, Former Assistant Director of Admissions, Dartmouth College

You’re more than your grades, test scores, and even your activities. You’re a whole person! And you should think critically about how to present some of your softer qualities—your sense of humor, your deep curiosity, your ability to empathize with others—through the written parts of your application. Schools don’t just want “smart” students, they want to build a class of individuals who will make good classmates, roommates, teammates, leaders, and friends.

6. Getting  an interview is a huge advantage

“If you are assigned an MIT alumni interviewer, definitely take advantage. There is a slightly higher admit rate for those applicants who take advantage of the interview.” —Vincent James, Former Assistant Director of Admissions, MIT

7. Don’t  forget to ask questions. 

My biggest pet peeve as an Admissions Officer was when a kid would visit the office, expect to have an audience with me, and then have no questions at all. Not even easy ones the website could answer! That tells me a lot about the student, not much of it good.

A sit-down with an AO is only awesome for a student’s candidacy if the student is awesome too, and has used that meeting thoughtfully to leave a big impression of enthusiasm for ideas (general or specific), a program or particular aspect of the school, or a big add to campus in terms of personality. Many AO’s won’t even consent to sit-downs with individual students anymore, for precisely the reasons outlined above.

Whether it’s in the admissions office, during an interview, or on your application, indicating interest in a school is essential. Taking advantage of opportunities like meeting with an admissions officer or writing a “Why this school?” essay is key. Do your research, ask good questions, and demonstrate your fit for a school. Admissions officers are always taking notes!

A college interview is your chance to bring some more color and personality to your application. Conducting a great interview can give your application momentum and potentially push you into the “accepted” pile.

Here is a link to the original article on Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/7-things-college-admissions-officers-wish-every-applicant-knew-2018-2

Help your students understand their PSAT Score Report – A free webinar

Your students have taken the PSAT and received their results report. Do they know what it means?

Their score report offers lots of revealing data, but they will need to know how to interpret this information so that they can use it to improve their scores.

Method Test Prep will be offering a free webinar on January 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Information that will be covered in the webinar will include:

  • examine the details of your students PSAT score report from top to bottom.
  • review how to interpret the numbers they see.
  • discuss the ways they can apply the information to their SAT prep.
  • open the floor to questions about the PSAT, SAT, and raising their scores.

Here is the link to register if you (or your students) would like to attend: https://www.methodtestprep.com/webinars/understanding-psat-results-2019/


8 Things Juniors Should do Right Now to Get Into Their Dream College

Your Juniors should now be preparing for their futures and looking ahead to their futures. Her Campus posted some great tips that your juniors should be using to begin planning for that next step in life. Here are the tips your juniors can use:

1. Learn about the college

Figure out why your dream school is your dream school. Even if you think you already know, write it down and validate it with your words. Is it because it’s got an amazing program that’s exactly what you want to do? Or maybe you’re obsessed with the football team? If you understand why you want to go there, you can pinpoint whether it’s really the school for you. Don’t focus on just your dream college, though –– broaden your interests so you have a wide variety of schools to choose from. That way, you can understand whether your dream school is really unique for you or not.

If you’ve only just now decided to try for an Ivy League school as a junior and haven’t been pursuing the rigorous coursework required, it might be wise to look at other options. If you’ve been aiming for your dream college throughout your high school career, you have a much better shot at acceptance. Keep that in mind as you learn about your college.

2. Visit the campus

The best way to experience the atmosphere of a campus is to go there. If it’s far, bug your parents for a summer trip, and if it’s close, visit often to get a feel of what it’s really like. College visits give you a glimpse of both academic and student life, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see if your dream college is for you.

3. Connect with current students

It’s hard to know what living on a college campus is like if you’ve never done it before. Contact people who attend your dream school and ask them some questions. If you don’t know anyone who attends, ask around your family and friends if they know anyone you can get in touch with. Even lurking around on Facebook can get you results ––message a friend of a friend of a friend who goes to your college and see if they’ll respond. Most people won’t mind if you express that you genuinely want their advice.

If still no luck, search around on your college’s home page and you’re sure to find some email addresses to contact. Most students would be more than happy to give you advice.

4. Find out the school’s specific admissions requirements

As you’re liking the college more, it’s time to start thinking about applying. While as a junior, you don’t have to start writing your applications just yet, it’s important to understand what GPA and standardized test scores will increase your chances of admission to your dream school. Look online and you can find the score range that makes up the majority of the students your school admits.

Start studying for the SAT and ACT and continue to do well in your classes, so you can be comfortably in the score range for your school.

5. Build your resume

Apart from academics, extracurricular activities and work experiences can really beef up your resume ––especially if you’re a little shy of the score range that your school prefers. While you don’t have to join every club at your high school, choose a few extracurricular activities that you can shine in and definitely pick up some leadership positions along the way.

Look for work or internship experiences that you can snag as well. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your teachers.

6. Look for high school programs that your dream school offers

Many colleges offer programs for high school students that allow them to obtain college credit by taking a few classes on their campus, whether over the school year or the summer. It’s a great opportunity to get a feel of what studying on your dream school’s campus is like. If you’re interested, look online to see if your dream college offers a program like that. However, these programs can often be costly, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s really worth it.

Don’t expect to have a better chance at admission to your dream school because you paid thousands of dollars to attend their summer program. However, it will beef up your resume in terms of productivity over the summer. Choose whatever you think will help your application the most.

7. Consider early decision

It’s a huge decision to completely commit to one school. However, if it’s really the school of your dreams, then follow it, girl! In case you didn’t know, early decision is different from regular decision in two ways: you need to apply earlier, and if you get in, you are required to attend the college.

The applicant pool is significantly smaller and the college knows that only the most dedicated of students are applying, so you definitely have a higher chance of admission when going for early decision. It’s a difficult choice, so weigh all your options before jumping the gun.

8. But remember: It’s okay if you don’t get in

Just a friendly warning ––don’t go overboard with all this “dream college” stuff. If you don’t get in, no sweat. No matter where you go to college, you can still get a great education and have tons of opportunities to stand out. In fact, attending a less competitive school can even make you stand out more in your classes in the long run. Big fish in a little pond, right?

Keep your head high and do your best, future collegiette – anywhere you go you can find fulfilling college experiences. Best of luck!

Shereen Jeyakumar is currently a junior at Florida Atlantic University, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Literature. As the Life Section Editor and Feature Writer for Her Campus, she loves to read, write and express her opinion. When she’s not scribbling away in a notebook, you can find her obsessively playing videogames, procrastinating for her physics final or staying up till 4 AM for no reason whatsoever.

 

Work Personality/Career Assessment Tests

Do your students know what Career they want to pursue after College? Do they have an idea of what major they will pursue that fits with their interests? If the answers to these questions are no they might want to consider taking one of the many great free tests available to assess what careers/majors they might want to pursue.

We have found three free resources they may want to check out:

  1. Career Fitter is a work personality test developed by psychologists to help people identify and learn about the careers that best suit their work personality. This test can help your students make sure they pursue the degree that will lead to the right job for their strengths and work style. Here is a link to the test: https://www.careerfitter.com/free_test/careerbuilder
  2. JobQuiz is a career aptitude test built for the modern-day job market. It takes about 12 minutes, evaluates hundreds of career possibilities, and allows your students to discover their perfect career. Here is a link to the test: http://www.jobquiz.com/
  3. Red Bull Wingfinder is a psychological self-assessment tool that helps discover the test takers to identify their strengths and provides advice and coaching on how to leverage these strengths. The Wingfinder assessment has been created by Red Bull together with an expert team of psychometricians and psychology professors from University College London andColumbia University New York and it’s based on more than 30 years of collective psychological research across thousands of studies involving more than 300,000 participants. Here is a link to the test: https://www.wingfinder.com/

This man could give wings to your students careers – An interview with Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Catching that amazing job after graduation — or after changing career entirely — can be a hugely daunting experience. But there is some clear direction you can take to increase the chance of landing the right role, beginning with hard data, science and answers from one of the world’s leading experts in job finding, Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.

As head of assessment at one of the world’s biggest recruiting companies and Psychology Professor at University of London and the University of Columbia, Chamorro-Premuzic is well placed to give you the inside track on what employers are looking for. Here, he answers the key questions about giving wings to your career.

Inset: Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is head of assessment at one of the world’s biggest recruiting companies and psychology professor at University of London and the University of Columbia. Photographer: Shannon Morris.

Interviewers often ask, ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’. How do you suggest people answer?

Try and look like you’re thinking about the answer, because the more you look like you have rehearsed the less truthful your answer will seem. Avoid common clichés such as ‘I’m too much of a perfectionist’ or ‘I’m too self-critical’. Avoid being completely honest, too. Much like a first date, an interview is not the time to reveal your deepest darkest secrets, so instead highlight the things your interviewers may have already identified as weaknesses, be it gaps or shortcomings in your CV and background, which will show self-awareness.
What is waiting for graduates out there?

Jobs today can pay well. They can also be interesting. They can also require creativity and fulfil multiple life needs. Competition is fierce though and qualifications are only a first pass filter — without them, you can do very little; but without understanding your personality, experience, connections, and self-awareness you’re not going to get very far, either. We live in a talent economy and the main talent passport you have is your reputation. How are you different and better from your competitors? I don’t like the idea of cultivating your personal brand – it sounds trivial, vacuous and narcissistic – but if your reputation doesn’t stand out in a crowded market, or if you can’t explain how you will use your talents at work, you’ll only make it if you are lucky.

What’s the most important skill a graduate can develop to flourish after university?

Your main competitive advantage lies in discovering your own skills. Tests we’ve set up on Wingfinder.com give you tailored feedback as to how you can do this. What you need for any role in any company is what’s called the RAW components of talent (Rewarding – interpersonal and intrapersonal skills; Able – a style of thinking or Intelligence suited to the demands of the role; Willing – drive and motivation).

Inset: www.wingfinder.com model; based on the original model of determinants of employability by
*Hogan, R., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Kaiser, R. B. (2013). Employability and career success: Bridging the gap between theory and reality. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 6, 3–16

‘If you could redo your time at University what would you do?

I would spend more time on extracurricular activities, getting real world experience. It’s important to focus on your studies but use your spare time to create something, pursue hobbies, internships, projects and interact with people, proving to yourself that you can influence others and work well with them. These interpersonal skills are critical in any company.

What are the most common mistake graduates make as they begin a career?

Thinking they’re better than they actually are. When in fact modesty, self-awareness, the right career choices, and hard work will open doors. Expect less and give more. You’re at the beginning of your learning curve, so understand that this journey is probably not going to be a straight line. Nothing will open more doors than performing in your current role and being valued by those that you work with.

What do you wish you knew when you graduated?

That, from now on, life will only get harder and more complex, but the rewards feel even greater.
In a real sense, you never truly graduate — it’s a constant flow of learning, adapting and gaining more insight into yourself. Learning how best to leverage your curiosity and creativity, drive and how to work with others will be the greatest way of finding success.

What’s your top tip for somebody working out their next step?

Self-awareness can go a long way. The better people understand their own strengths, limitations, and interests, the smarter their career choices will be. They’ll end up liking their jobs more, performing better, and staying put longer. Self-awareness, in other words, is a sorely undervalued talent enhancer because it can help people identify jobs that actually match their values and skills.

A Scholarship Opportunity for Your Students

1 For 2 Education Foundation has a Scholarship Opportunity available to all your students.

Each director of the 1 For 2 Education Foundation credits their higher education for the opportunity they had in life and are determined to “pay-it-forward” in an innovative way. These successful entrepreneurs each had their lives transformed by their education. With the cost of higher education rising at a rate significantly higher than the overall rate of inflation, and the difficulty of obtaining scholarship funds, the directors recognized a need for exceptionally promising students to have access to scholarship funds to defray the cost of their post-secondary education.

 Foundation:

1 For 2 Education Foundation

4337 E Grand River,  Suite 198

Howell, MI  48843

Contact:  Lori Childers, Email: mailto:info@1for2edu.org

Deadline:  Preference will be given to those applicants who apply before February 28, 2019..  However, applications will be accepted until April 30, 2019.

Scholarship Awards: A minimum of two scholarships awarded per year.

Scholarship Tuition Award Limits: $8800 – $50,456 per academic year, per individual.

Criteria:

The 1 For 2 Education Foundation is seeking highly motivated applicants of accredited U.S. four-year colleges and universities. Applicants seeking scholarships for U.S. graduate schools are welcome to apply, however, the first priority is given to undergraduate scholars.

The Foundation considers the applicant’s high school academic record, leadership and community service activities, and any letters of recommendation.

Applicants are not required to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to be eligible for the scholarship. The Foundation assumes no responsibility or obligation to obtain immigration documents for the applicant nor is the Foundation liable for the tax consequences of any scholarship.

While receiving a scholarship from the Foundation, scholars are required to attend the Foundation’s annual gathering. During this time you will have a chance to meet other scholars and directors. You will also be able to participate in personal development learning sessions. The 2019 Gathering will be held on July 26-29, 2019 in Michigan.

Applicants are required to make the following pledge:

In consideration of the 1 For 2 Education Foundation (“the Foundation”) paying for my tuition, I pledge to support the mission of the Foundation to build a community of scholars who are dedicated to being life-long learners by:

  1. a)Participating in the annual Foundation Gathering and supporting my fellow scholars’ academic and career goals
  2. b) Paying for the tuition for a comparable education of two persons, who are not related to me by blood, adoption, or marriage, during my lifetime

Confirm eligibility to maintain scholarship:

Scholars need to be full-time students and maintain a 3.0 GPA and will be required to provide proof of grades each semester.

Here is the Application link you can share with your students:  http://www.1for2edu.com/

 

Help Your Students Trim College Essays Without Ruining Them!

Early applications to college are in, and now many students are scrambling to finish personal statements and essay supplements for regular admissions, beginning Jan. 1.

Whether you are writing a personal statement for the Common App, Coalition App, or a supplement for an Ivy, private liberal arts college or public university, make sure you follow the directions and stick to the word count!

Recently, I reviewed a student’s personal statement for the Common App that he assumed was ready for a final edit; it was 1,560 words –that is 910 words above the 650-word limit. He did not think he could cut his story, and he did not think it mattered. Yes, it matters.

We read and suggest cuts to our students’ essays every day, and we’ve never seen a personal statement or supplemental essay weakened by the editing process.

While some admissions insiders say limits are strictly enforced, others suggest a few words too many will not make a difference. In any case, it’s not worth the risk. Just answer the question within the specified word count, and you will not need to doubt yourself.

6 TIPS FOR TRIMMING YOUR COLLEGE ESSAYS

1. Circle or highlight all adverbs. Take them out. These include “very” and many “ly” words, such as really, extremely, completely and absolutely.

2. Look for a single word or short phrase followed by a comma. These include because of this, in fact, first, last, hopefully, to be frank, quite frankly and in conclusion. Highlight the words or phrases, then read the sentences without them. Take out the ones that do not enhance your story.

3. Delete helping verbs. Example: Replace “is going to be attending” with “will attend.”

4. Delete to be verbs. Rather than saying “I am a voracious reader,” try “I read voraciously.”

5. Circle “transition” words and phrases used to begin a sentence, such as “similarly,” “as such” or “moreover.” Take out the ones that do not enhance your story.

6. Turn some nouns into verbs: “I concluded” is better than “I came to the conclusion.”

After trimming that essay, there’s one more thing to do before clicking send: review it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Lifton, named one of 10 LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education, 2018 , is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communication company staffed by experts who understand the writing process inside and out. Since 2009, Wow has been leading the industry with our unique approach to communicating any message effectively. Click the Wow Method to find out how we help students write college application essays, grad school personal statements and resumes that get results. We also help business and nonprofit leaders create better blogs, manage social media, develop websites and create other communication materials. If it involves words, Wow can help. 

Would you like a professional review of your essay to make sure it is ready to submit to college?

Wow’s trained writing coaches pay attention to factors that admissions officers tell us matter to them, like reflection, theme and flow. We know how to help untangle that messy essay. We also make sure all the “I”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed. Kim can be e-mailed at kim@wowwritingworkshop.com

Common college admissions questions asked and answered

Whether I’m leading a workshop on navigating the college admissions process or getting stopped in the frozen food aisle at the supermarket, here are some of the most common questions parents ask.

1. The easy A:

Is it better to take a lower-level class and get an “A” or struggle somewhat in a higher level and be thankful for a “B”?

A: The snarky party-line from college admissions officials is, “It is better to get the A in the higher-level course.” Rigor of coursework is scrutinized and is almost universally considered the single biggest factor in the admissions decision-making process.

Most colleges would rather see a student stretch academically by taking a more demanding class than cruise through lower-level courses.

As students enter their second semester, they will be asked to select their courses for next year. Be sure to keep in mind what a college “recommends” and what it “requires” as far as course distribution. This information can be found on most college websites and in many college guidebooks.

As an example: the University of South Carolina requires a minimum of three science classes of which three must be lab sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, or upper-level courses requiring a lower-level course as a pre-requisite). Davidson College “recommends” four years of a foreign language; that means that if Davidson is on your junior’s list, they really expect that students will continue with Spanish in their senior year. Dropping core classes like foreign languages and science is not looked upon well by the more selective schools.

2. Testing strategies:

My son didn’t do well on the PSAT and has had some tutoring. How many times should a student take the SAT? Do colleges get upset when students take them too many times?

A: Students generally begin taking the SAT in the winter or spring of their junior year. All juniors should have just received their PSAT scores from the October test. In addition to acting as a benchmark score, the PSAT serves as the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship competition.

Taking the SAT or ACT three times is usually sufficient. Colleges process their applications differently, so many schools may not see how many times a student has taken any of the tests. However, there is a point of diminishing returns for students when taking the SATs. If a student has studied and/or had test prep and has not significantly improved, more tutoring might not have much of an impact. Parents need to remember that taking the SAT is not fun and can make many students anxious, especially if there is a history of less-than-stellar test-taking performance.

3. Making time for campus visits:

It is really hard for us to get away for campus visits during the school year. Is it worth it to visit colleges during the summer when classes aren’t in session?

A: Definitely. Colleges offer campus tours and information sessions all summer. The campus might not be buzzing with political demonstrations or humming with students studying in the library, but you and your student will still get a better feel for the college than any glossy brochure or website can provide. You’ll be able to walk away with a good sense of the physical look and feel of the campus, and if you ask targeted questions, you’ll also learn about the softer side of college life from the tour guide. A visit will also provide dedicated time for you and your student to compare notes and debrief.

I encourage all families to begin senior year with a final list of colleges. Since visiting every college on the list is often not feasible, I recommend focusing campus visits on reach and target schools in the spring and summer. Seniors should visit safety schools, only if necessary, in the spring when a final decision needs to be made.

Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte:

You can e-mail her with any questions at lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com or visit her website at www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com

8 Fears Your Students May Have About Attending an Out-of-State School (and How to Help Them Deal with Them)

There are many great Colleges around the country and many students have that itch to spread their wings and attend school out-of-state. Her Campus posted 8 things they might be concerned about that might keep them from pursuing an education at an out-of-state school and some tips you can give them to face those fears:

  1. They won’t know anyone else:

The idea of your student being completely on their own thousands of miles away from friends and family is a bit of a shock to the system, but it might turn out to be one of the best things ever.

First of all, your students get a completely clean slate. It’s a great opportunity to start fresh and rid themselves of any stereotypes from high school.

If they want to make sure that they know at least a couple people when the first day rolls around, they should try to make friends with people at orientation. Although some people might try to play it cool, most freshmen have the same fear of not knowing anyone right off the bat. When they meet someone new or talk to someone that they could see hanging out with, they should not be afraid to ask to exchange numbers – or even Snapchats. What better way to become friends with someone than by exchanging the occasional puppy filter?

It’s also be a good idea to look into the programs or clubs that their future school has. Usually during the first few weeks of classes, there are interest meetings for freshmen to attend. Joining a club with other people who share your interests is the perfect way to bond.

The fact that they don’t know anyone means that they have plenty of room for everyone they meet to potentially become their new friend.

2. This is the first time that your student will be away from their family

Sure, they may have gone with their friends on spring break or a summer program for a few weeks, but potentially spending an entire semester away from their family can be tough. It may be hard to believe that they are going to miss things like their parents randomly coming into their room (and not closing the door) or having to be their sibling’s personal driver, but they will be fine.

Living far from home might also mean that they have to do things like make their own appointments, pay their own bills and take care of other things that their parents usually take care of. No one leaves home completely ready to enter the adult world, but after they successfully make their first doctors appointment they will totally embrace your their Olivia Pope and start handling things on your own left and right.

At first, it can be hard to say goodbye to those who know them best, but being on their own will encourage them to move towards being more independent.

It’s going to take some getting used to, but there are plenty of ways to make sure they feel as close to home as possible. Maybe they can plan a weekly Skype date with their mom or kindly ask their sister to unblock you on Instagram so that they can see what she’s up to (and promise not to snitch). Also, the more they get out of their dorm room and get involved on campus, the less they’ll notice the absence of their family.

3. It will be hard to adjust to the weather

If they are moving one or two states over, they probably won’t experience that much of a weather change. But, if they’re looking to move to a completely different coast, they’re in for a whole new world (or at least a whole new part of the country). It’s probably a good idea to do research and find out the general temperatures for each season, so they are not left out in the rain — literally. Fortunately, moving to a different place is definitely a reason for going on a shopping spree, or at least adding a few staple items to their wardrobe, which is never a bad thing.

In terms of knowing what to actually wear on a particular day, watching the weather or checking the weather app on their phone is definitely never a bad idea.

Depending on whether they are moving from a warmer climate to a cooler climate (or vice versa), there are adjustments that they can make in their dorm room that will make them feel more at home. If they are used to cooler temperatures where they are from, make sure to bring a fan so that they stay cool regardless of the toasty temperatures outside.

For those used to warmer temperatures, making the move to a cold environment can be a bit of a shock to the system. It’s probably a good idea to invest in a space heater, just in case their roommate isn’t thrilled about the idea of turning the entire room into a personal sauna, just make sure their dorm allows it. It also wouldn’t hurt to bring along a few blankets that can be their source of warmth day or night.

It might take a few weeks (or months) to better adjust to the out of state weather, but they will become a master of multiple climates — which is something not many people can say.

4. It will be too expensive to visit home

If they are looking forward to moving far from home, it more than likely won’t be an issue if they can’t go home every single weekend. However, there will probably be some moments throughout the semester when they will want to go home, but might not be able to because of the quick turnaround time.

Thanksgiving is a prime example of this. It’s a major holiday that they, of course, want to spend with your family, but it might be a bit costly to go home when Christmas break is right around the corner. Some out of state collegiettes opt to stay on campus during the break but still make the most of it.

They can also consider getting a part-time job to help pay for their plane or bus tickets home. Their parents want them to be able to come home for breaks and they will really appreciate it if they see you are trying to step up and help out.

5. They will always feel homesick

This fear is pretty common for almost everyone. It’s not easy to go from seeing your parents and siblings at home everyday to maybe seeing them for a few weeks every couple of months. Feeling homesick isn’t something that is going to go away all at once, but as they settle into college life they will notice it a little less.

Some of the best ways to deal with homesickness include surrounding themselves with new friends, finding a club or organization that they are passionate about and making the most of getting to know their new state. The more they can keep their mind on their new experiences, the easier it will be.

Even though it will be a little tough at first, they will more than likely be thankful that they took the plunge. Of course, where their family is will always be home, but who says that their second home can’t be just as great?

6. Their friends at home will forget about them

It can be hard to be the only one from their friend group going away for college, but they shouldn’t let that keep them from going. Their best friends want the best for them even if that means that they will be away from them. Just because staying in state is a good fit for some of your friends, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for them. Even though they can’t be there in person, don’t forget that they are just a phone call or text away. Group messages are a super easy way to make sure that they and their home squad keep in touch throughout the semester. Before they leave home for their first semester, make sure to grab your favorite pictures of them and their friends to decorate their room. Not only will it make their room feel more like home, but it’s a great daily reminder of the awesome memories they share with their friends at home.

Before they come home, they should make sure to schedule a few days where they and their besties can meet up without other family obligations getting in the way. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder and plus, they will have tons of cool, never before heard stories to share with your BFFs.

Sure they are going to miss being a locker away from their BFF or being able to drive to their friend’s house after class, but as cliché as it sounds they will find a new squad once they get to college.

7. Tuition will be very expensive

Why students are punished for choosing to go to a school other than where they live, we have no idea. The best advice we can give for this one is scholarships, scholarships and oh, did we mention scholarships?

From describing their dream ice cream flavor to writing an essay about how expensive college can be, there are so many opportunities for scholarship money out there — not to mention the scholarship money that they can get from their actual school. It’s never too late to start applying.

8. They will miss their pet

Okay, they can put on a brave face and say that they are not going to miss their parents or siblings, but they can’t tell us that they are totally fine with leaving their pet behind? While bringing their pet to college with them is a possibility, there are definitely pros and cons to this.

If they are missing their pet at school, they can always ask one of their parents to put them on Skype or FaceTime — they’ll probably be happy to see their face too. It might also help to see if their family could give them updates, even a random story could make their day. Keeping lots of pictures of their pet around their room is also a great way to feel a little more connected to their pet while they are away.

Going to school out of state is easier said than done, but they should not let their fears prevent them from potentially awesome opportunities. Embracing the challenge will only make them a more independent, well-rounded collegiette.

This was written by Briana Trusty. She realizes that her last name is Trusty and does that make her trusty? Yes, yes it does. She cares way more about the goings on of Kylie Jenner, One Direction, and the rest of the celebrity population way more than the average person should. So as opposed to becoming a professional paparazzo, she does this while she studies Broadcast Journalism at the University of South Carolina. You can find her on Instagram @briballerina or @verytrustysource.

Here is a link to her original story on Her Campus – https://www.hercampus.com/high-school/8-fears-you-have-about-choosing-out-state-school-how-deal

 

 

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