Last month’s newsletter discussed expanding your college list by having the courage and an open mind to explore different schools and programs that maybe you hadn’t considered before. This month, we’d like to talk about narrowing down your choices by focusing on the criteria that really matter to you. We’d like you to go beyond the simple criteria of size or location and think more deeply about other aspects of college life that will make you happy and successful. For example, if you are unsure of a major, be sure to look into freshman advising to see how this will help you explore and learn about programs and choose an area of study. Also, perhaps you are concerned about “finding your people” once you arrive on campus. Looking to see whether a school has living-learning communities would be helpful so you can automatically meet students who share your interest or background. Last, if experiential learning interests you, look to see if a school has opportunities for conducting research with a professor. Ultimately, your list should include likely, target, and reach schools. By the end of the summer we’ll assist you in finalizing a well-balanced list of schools that meets your needs and matches your criteria.
But how do you do that? Now that COVID restrictions are lifting, colleges are starting to welcome prospective students back to campus. They are excited to open their doors and show you all that they have to offer. When you finally get to see one of your schools in person, it’s important to get the most out of your VISIT. Ask about first-year experiences and ways students transition to college. Look at the campus culture and imagine yourself among this student body. We can revisit your criteria with you to help you hone in on what really matters to you and help to coordinate these visits where you can ask questions that matter to you.
We can also discuss an application plan with you. We’ll work with you to help rank/prioritize which colleges matter most to you. Then we’ll discuss the different options of how to apply to those schools to increase your chance of being accepted. Often, that includes applying to a school Early Action or Early Decision (if that is an option), but it can also mean getting an application in early at a school with Rolling Admissions because you could receive an acceptance as early as September or early October!