AO Advice: Gearing up for Senior Year & College Admissions with Your Student

A second semester junior is essentially a senior when it comes to college admissions. Access strategies on how parents can help their high school students prepare for senior year, so that they can excel in the college admissions process. CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert and former Admissions Officer Shannon Kennedy will share her insider knowledge for college applications success during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.

Date 03/07/2022
Duration 59:25

Webinar Transcription

2022-03-07 AO Advice: Gearing Up for Senior Year and College Admissions with Your Student

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on AO Advice: Gearing Up for Senior Year and College Admissions with Your Student. To orient everyone with a webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start so many of your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists.

Hi everyone. My name is Shannon Kennedy. I’m a member of the full-time advising staff at Um, I’m a former admissions officer at Northwestern university in Evanston, Illinois, which is actually where I still live. Um, I worked there for about. About seven years than admissions worked at a couple of other, uh, colleges in the Chicago area as well.

Um, and also at a high school as a college counselor. So I, um, take kind of like a full perspective of the college application process. And [00:01:00] I’m excited to talk with you a little bit more tonight about getting ready for the seniors. Yes. And real quick, before we get started, we just want to do a quick poll.

So what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student taking a gap year, or if you’re a parent on call and while we wait for those answers to roll in Shannon. And can you tell us a bit about, um, what it feels like, um, to be working with, uh, seniors during their senior year sorta like what they are.

Yeah, sure. Um, I think it can definitely get pretty overwhelming, uh, putting the college admissions process on top of probably a really challenging academics as well. So, uh, When I work with seniors, I’m always trying to have them spread out the work as much as possible to really make it manageable. Um, so it [00:02:00] absolutely can be low stress, but it’s certainly a little bit more usually when you’re used to doing so.

Um, it’s good to be strategic and prepared. Definitely. So it’s looking like we have zero eighth graders, uh, two. Ninth graders, 9%, 10th graders, 80%, 11th graders, 4% 12th graders and 5% others. And so, yeah, we have a pretty good mix and you can control the slides. Okay. Great. Well, um, since most of you here are pretty close to the college admission process, um, we’re really going to be talking about the different pieces of the application and kind of when all those different things happen, um, in the lead up to senior year.

So just to break down what the different parts are, first of all, um, you had had the application itself, so there are a variety of different platforms, the largest of which being the common application. Um, [00:03:00] many hundreds of institutions are common at members. So a lot of students can get by, um, just with the common app, but many students will also apply to the university of California system or apply Texas.

Um, or maybe even some schools that are exclusive to the coalition application or for certain reasons need to throw that one in the mix. So there could be. Um, more than one kind of application that you end up completing. Um, occasionally also individual colleges have their own application as well. So there could be a multitude of other individual applications out there.

In addition to these kind of major platforms that would cover, um, multiple schools at once. Um, from there, you would also have letters of recommendation by teachers. So what I’m talking about here, so, um, most students will typically have about two or three letters of recommendation from teachers that they’ll collect.

Um, and that would satisfy most [00:04:00] requirements. Uh, sometimes you don’t need them at all, but if you’re applying to, you know, on that eight to 12 range, like most of our students are these days, uh, you’re probably gonna need at least a few letters of recommendation somewhere along the way. Um, you’re also going to need some support from your school.

So your school counselor is going to prepare some documents that go out from your high school, which will include a letter from the counselor. So this is separate from the teacher letter of recommendation. This will be prepared by your counselor, um, kind of giving that big picture of your academic profile and your, um, rigor within the school.

Um, That, which is part of the school report that the counselor will complete kind of answering some basic questions about your, um, curriculum at the school. Typically there’ll also will be a school profile attached with that information coming from the [00:05:00] counselor that explains, um, the transcript. And again, the course offerings and helps the admissions officers understand the rigor of your curriculum.

Performance, uh, kind of how it stacks up against your peers at your school. So all of that really helps to paint a picture of kind of your achievement within your high school setting so that the admissions officers can kind of take that into context as they’re looking at your trans. Um, standardized tests, um, is, could be a whole separate topic in and of itself right now.

Um, so whether you choose to do tests or not, whether they’re optional or not, um, this could be a part of your application package as well. Um, I’ll leave it at that for now. Maybe there’ll be some questions we can come back to that later. Um, essays. Well, typically be involved as well. Um, especially if you’re doing the common application, most of your schools are going to just want [00:06:00] that personal statement.

That’s also a part of the coalition. Um, the university of California is a little bit different than. Multiple shorter essays, but all of them are going to have kind of some base as essays, um, or at least one major essay. That’s going to go into the process and then schools may have individual questions that they ask as well or supplemental.

Essays about why you want to attend that institution, why you want to major in that particular thing. Um, and then just some quirky, interesting ones along the way as well. So you could run into a whole slew of additional, uh, supplemental questions. Um, and then, um, If you some of that different, uh, options on your application, like you want to be considered for an honors college perhaps, or a scholars program, there might be additional essay is required for programs of that nature.

So sometimes those are really clear in the application process [00:07:00] and sometimes they may pop up later after you’ve submitted your application, you may be invited to apply for more things and then. I find you have more essays, uh, which is just another reason to kind of get ahead of everything in the game.

Cause you may have some surprise items that pop up later. Um, like for example, some of these materials on or experiences on the last section here, these wildcard things, uh, sometimes they’re very apparent in the beginning. Sometimes they may pop up later or afterwards like a portfolio and audition. Um, sometimes if you’re applying to business, there could be.

Business case analysis, um, maker portfolios for certain engineering programs, perhaps, perhaps, um, resumes. May, uh, be able to be attached in the application or, uh, later in portals that colleges give you. Um, so there, there can be interesting, you know, wildcard things that show up, um, even, uh, after you hit submit [00:08:00] in the process.

Um, another one that’s kind of a wild card is Dartmouth, for example, has the option of a, um, letter from a peer, um, which pops up. So sometimes. Take students by surprise.

Uh, so as you’re thinking about when you’re going to approach all of these different things and kind of what you should be doing now, if you’re a junior to kind of get ready for all of this, um, definitely should be making that decision about testing about whether you’re going to do the act or sat or not.

I start making plans for that. I’m looking at the available test dates, thinking about, you know, your family plans for spring break and summer, and how that aligns with when the tests are being given, and then working back, um, for your test preparation to make sure you’re ready for those dates that you sign up for, um, signing up in advance.

As spaces [00:09:00] are limited, and sometimes it can be hard to get a spot that’s convenient for you. So making sure you have a good plan and register for an advance and then plan backwards for your preparation, um, cause definitely worth putting in some effort to do your best. If you’re going to take the time to sit there for the majority of a day and to taking exams.

So make some plans for. Um, junior spring would be a great time to be doing some touring and to really. Research and dive into, you know, what is really important to you in a college? Um, what are your top, you know, must have items that you’re looking for in that college profile and really try to, um, work on that, to figure it out.

Um, spring break of junior year. Probably the most popular time for high school students to visit colleges. And as a result, colleges will just be so crowded [00:10:00] over spring break, um, hosting as many visitors as they can, because they know it’s a great time for you to really dive into this process. But that does sometimes mean like tourist sizes could be larger.

We’re limited space, um, is available, you know, on indoor presentations, things of that nature with different restrictions. Of course, those things are changing every day and different across the country, but. Good to definitely get on those lists far in advance to make sure there’s a space for you at the places that you intend to visit.

Um, and if you can’t, you know, make an in-person visit, um, just because of what we’ve been through these last few years, there are so many virtual options now. So you’ll definitely be able to go to the visit section of websites, uh, college admissions, um, office websites, and, um, Be able to view all sorts of virtual tours and [00:11:00] information sessions that way as well.

So again, you’re not going live in spring, break in person, then viewing those online during that time would also be a great option. We would also definitely encourage you to think about finances, family, finances, how this is all going to work out, um, which can be kind of difficult and vague. And it’s definitely going to take some.

Conversation and research and probably pulling out taxes and using some free, um, estimating tools that are usually found on every college admissions offices, uh, website, um, on the financial aid section, there should be links. You may have to Google, you know, net. The price, calculator, name of college to get there, but that should really help you to determine kind of the financial fit of your lists, which is definitely an aspect you want to be considering as you’re kind of refining [00:12:00] that list of colleges to make sure that you have, um, at least several options on there that you feel pretty confident in financially.

Uh, finally in your junior spring, it’s a great time to just kind of open that common app account, um, put in your basic info and just kind of click around and get a little bit familiar with it. Um, as I said, almost everybody is going to probably use the common app. It’s hard to apply without having to use the common app.

Um, so go ahead and create that account and take that first step. We’ll take like five or 10 minutes to get that set up. Um, you can fill out the profile section some of your basic info, um, and then it does roll over and save that information for you when the new year starts. So it’s good. Just to kind of check it out, see what it’s all about.

Start to understand.

So moving [00:13:00] on, um, as you go into summer, um, there are definitely some things that you could be doing over summer to, uh, get prepared, um, to ease that stress a little bit in the fall. Um, so I definitely want to do something, um, With your time over this summer. Um, as far as, uh, whether that’s, you know, like a job working for the summer, finding an internship that relates to your career goals or pursuing some type of academic or research program that will help you kind of narrow in on what you’re interested in.

All of those are valuable things. Um, Just really looking for you to do something, um, with your summer because some college applications are actually going to ask you, what did you do over the summer? So you want to have a, you know, a solid answer for something that you did, which can range from anything [00:14:00] from working to contribute to family expenses.

All the way through, you know, traveling to volunteer. Um, the possibilities are endless, but, you know, can, you can kind of think about, um, the fact that you may have to, if, you know, explain what you did for the summer. So you want to have something, you know, worthwhile, um, for that response. Um, definitely continue to tour and research over the summer and carry out your testing and preparation plan for testing.

Um, there could still be a possibility of doing some testing in the fall, but if you can kind of finish that off over the summer and call it complete, then again, that’s just going to alleviate your stress in the fall. So the more that you kind of wrap. That testing plan, the better position you’ll be in to complete your applications in the fall.

So that’s really great item to check off the list. Um, you definitely can get very far and potentially complete your personal statement over the [00:15:00] summer. Um, all of the prompts are already released for the common app, personal statements, the coalition personal statements, um, they’re available now. So you could certainly, you know, when you have time begin.

Brainstorming on those thinking of ideas and working on them throughout the summer to refine them. I know you’ve got a lot to do right now. I’m with finishing up junior year and you want to do that as strong as possible. Um, so you can just kind of have this in the back of your mind as far as your personal statement and really dig into it over summer with the goal of wrapping that up before you get back to.

You’ll want to try to really finalize your list as much as possible. Um, certainly there may be things that change new schools that come across your radar even into fall. So it’s always possible to add and change later. Um, but the more that you can kind of go into fall [00:16:00] knowing what. Uh, work you have ahead of you and sort of lay out a plan for it.

Again, the better position that you’ll be in to make, you know, late additions or complete those random things that come up unexpectedly. So the more that you are ready with that list by the time school starts again at our position, you’ll be in. Um, to also strategize on those supplemental essays. Um, so they will start getting released over the summer.

Um, and you can start to kind of figure out what work you’ll have ahead of you and make your plan. Um, some of them may be able to be, uh, completed over the summer for the most part. You’ll be able to sort of make that plan of attack. Um, as long as you have your personal statement, well, in hand. So I think we’re going to talk.

A little bit more about supplements and admin it. Um, so. Going into summer. Um, as I had mentioned, [00:17:00] the common app will reboot, uh, at the end of July to the beginning of August. Um, so you could be filling out your basic information until then, and then when it rolls over, that is where you can really dive in and then continue on filling out additional details, adding colleges to your.

And continuing to work on that. Um, some of those supplemental essays will actually appear sooner on individual colleges websites. So if you do finish your personal statement early in the summer and, um, get to the point where you want to start working on supplemental essays, you can kind of start digging around, um, on college websites and you’ll find a good chunk of them there, um, to, uh, Get underway before they’re officially released on common app.

So that’s possible. But then when it finally rolls over is when you’ll be able to really [00:18:00] get into the nitty-gritty details of it, see what all the word counts are and so on, and, um, see them, you know, confirmed on the common app website. So that will come, um, at the end of July slash beginning of August.

Um, and then finally, um, as I, as I said before, you just want to be doing something interesting for the summer as well, that you’re going to be able to present, um, on your application and thinking about how you want to keep all of this, uh, organized going into fall. So are you going to keep spreadsheets, lists, calendars, kind of, how are you going to make sure your going to, um, get through everything?

You want to perhaps have like different tabs, different colors, there’s countless possibilities. You have got to think through, you know, what is realistically going to work for you to stay on track, to keep [00:19:00] all of this, uh, under control. So that’s, um, probably one of the more important tasks, uh, of the summer.

Okay. So as I said, definitely that personal statement. Um, should it be pretty well in hand, by the end of the summer, um, want to have all those basic questions on the common app completed? Those are simple things, but sometimes you have to ask questions of your parents. You need to, you know, dig some information out from your school.

Um, things of that nature. Maybe it takes a little bit longer than you anticipate it could take just to, to fill that out. So it’s good to get it out of the way. Um, the college specific dropdown questions are also really important, uh, just to go ahead and take care of and easy to get out of the way. Um, and, uh, a lot of students do [00:20:00] kind of underestimate these or forget about them and.

I think that, um, you know, they get really wrapped up in the personal statement and doing that and think they have to have that all finished before they go on to the college dropdown questions. But these are great to work on if you just have, you know, like five or 10 minutes to work, or you’re a little stuck on your personal statement, just to get these questions finished because, um, Answering these questions reveals everything that you’re going to need to complete in terms of essays.

So sometimes how you answer the dropdown questions, uh, because common app is a smart form, will pop up other assay’s or, or options that you don’t see at first. So if you kind of save the college. Jot down questions for too late in the process, you may suddenly be faced with something [00:21:00] kind of significant that you weren’t expecting at first.

Um, so I always encourage students to get these done early, um, just to really get them thinking about all those different options, uh, that schools are offering and asking about. And the potential questions that may be attached to those different options. So it’s good to definitely get those done by the end of the summer, if you can.

So it looks like you’re going to do another poll here. We can say yes. So, um, real quick, where are you in the application process? Haven’t started on researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together or I’m almost done. And, um, I’m adding some information in the chat.

If you want to see like what the college specific questions could be, those are things like your major, your programs. Uh, typically like. Premier programs tend to have additional work. So if you click that, you’re applying to those types of programs. It may pop up a different [00:22:00] question. When I was applying to Cornell, since I clicked on the college of human ecology, college of human ecology had its own questions, as opposed to the engineering school.

So when you’re going through your application, it makes more sense when you can actually see it. But when you’re going through it, you want to make sure you just answer those questions so you can see all the things that you have to answer. And it isn’t till the last minute. Um, and yeah, and that is also a place where they may ask you, um, if you want to apply to a specific scholar, And while we wait for some more responses to roll in.

Um, can you tell us, uh, like any, um, like where you start with your senior students first, um, or rising senior students first, um, when you’re working with them in the application, Sure. Um, well, most students, you know, right now at this time of year, uh, have some ideas about where they want to attend. Um, so we start from there and start figuring out kind of why, um, and [00:23:00] what their top priorities are, um, filling out, you know, a survey kind of about their.

Goals and interests. And then, um, we have a great college list team at college advisor. So, um, a lot of times, you know, students know what they want and have a pretty established list. Otherwise we work with our college lists team, um, to help round out that list. So most of our students, um, at this time are in the college kind of research phase.

And we’re talking about. What you were looking for on college visits and kind of getting prepared for spring to really hone in on that list. Yes. So it’s looking like we have 27%. Haven’t started 64% are researching schools. 3% are working on their essays. Another 3% is getting in their application materials together.

And 2%, the lucky few are almost done. So it’s a pretty thick mix, but mostly I’m researching schools. [00:24:00] Yeah. Great. That makes sense. Since we have so many juniors, that’s just what you should be doing. Um, getting ready for that. So that’s excellent to hear.

All right. So, um, you’re going to get so much done in advance, right? All the things that I’ve told you to do over the summer, so that hopefully in the fall, your work is going to be a little bit less, but there’s still going to be a lot of like little details to be pulling together in the fall. Um, so, uh, when you get back to school, um, you definitely want to do those official.

Requests for the documents and letters, um, right away. Um, you know, some students, you know, their school may have a procedure or process where they’re kind of talking or indicating to teachers, uh, not in junior year that they want them to write letters of recommendation. But [00:25:00] you’re going to have to actually probably send those invites over the summer, be following up on them in fall.

Um, and you don’t want to be the last person asking your teachers, your counselors, um, for that information or putting them in a position where they have to rush to get that done for you. You want them to have plenty of time to complete those things. And, um, a lot of. Also kind of have this misconception that, uh, the student needs to have their application complete and submitted before they ask the teachers to do their pieces, which is definitely false.

You can have your application in progress and started and, um, simultaneously invite your teachers. Their letters could even arrive before you hit submit, um, on your application and the admissions office, you know, we’ll match that all up. So. Don’t delay, um, in asking your teachers and counselor to start [00:26:00] preparing that information just because you’re not quite done or you’re not, you know, finalized on what your college list is.

Um, you can definitely begin inviting them and making sure that they know kind of what the basic timeline is before your application is complete on your end. Um, You’ll probably have some early deadlines you want to meet. Um, it’s usually advantageous. To meet some of these early deadlines. So that’s either going to be early action, restricted, early action or early decision.

Um, in November, for the most part, there are a few deadlines out there in October. Um, but the majority of these are going to be in November. Um, and again, you want to prioritize things and work in batches. Um, so meeting some of those early deadlines, we’ll get a nice chunk of applications. Out of the way and give you some advantages in the process typically as well.

So looking to meet some of those early [00:27:00] deadlines, um, and setting yourself up for, um, that kind of spread out process is a great strategy. There will be rolling admission. Potentially deadlines, um, throughout the fall, which means, you know, there’s not a one particular deadline. Um, but depending on kind of where a rolling admission school falls on terms of kind of like whether it’s a safety match or reach for you, um, you may not want to save the.

Until the very end, um, because it’s kind of like a first come first serve sort of thing you want to get in there early. Uh, so sometimes when students see, um, that that deadline is way out, um, even though. There is that very later deadline, uh, lots of other offers of admission are going out to students throughout the fall and the space could run out.

Scholarships could run out. [00:28:00] So we don’t necessarily want to save those for last. Do you want to be kind of thinking strategically about those and kind of where they are as a, as a match for you and when you apply, um, Regular decision will be a, usually by January 1st, there are some different timelines in there, especially the university of California on its own deadline.

Um, so you want to be paying attention to all of those regular deadlines. Uh, sometimes there are some special scholarship deadlines that are different from the regular deadlines. So even if you’re applying for regular decision, you want to sort of double check that there’s no. Scholarship deadline that you’re also trying to meet.

So you want to be looking for that. Um, kind of the end of the line is usually there’s some later January or February deadlines, any kind of rolling ones that you’re just signing to kind of tack on at [00:29:00] the end, um, might come after that. Um, so. This kind of can extend out all the way across the whole entire fall and into January, um, exams.

Hopefully, as I said, we’ll get those wrapped up in summer, but there still are some dates throughout fall that could still meet. Requirement and deadlines for colleges. So you do have, you know, a few more chances there in fall. If you’re looking to do, uh, one more exam to, um, improve your score and profile there.

So. That is, um, the big part of fall. Um, I, I didn’t even get into really the financial aid process because it’s a little bit separate, but that would be in there as well in fall. So that would be, um, we’ve got entire other webinars on the financial aid process, but just want to throw that out there that that could also be, [00:30:00] um, a timeline that you’re trying to work with.

Um, so as far as parents, since, uh, that’s mainly who we’re speaking to tonight, I’m sure we have some students here as well. Um, but for the parents, um, really, you know, want to encourage you to be supportive and positive as possible throughout this process. It’s going to be tough and stressful, uh, for everybody.

Um, so, um, really want to be, you know, encouraging and supportive, um, for the students there, it’s gonna be kind of one of their major, first adult decisions. Um, so they’re going to need a lot of support throughout that. Um, I like to encourage parents to discuss. With their, you know, student, um, what information student wants to share with who, uh, cause sometimes this gets to [00:31:00] be one of the more stressful parts.

When you have kind of neighbors asking grandparents, you know, friends and family just kind of constantly. Uh, asking for an update on your college admissions process. Um, and, um, it feels, you know, really personal or like it’s a judgment of you kind of, you know, what you’re doing. And so, um, it’s good to kind of have some boundaries established for what you’re saying to who or when, or a plan for kind of deflecting, um, nosy people who you don’t want to share.

Every detail of every application with, so that’s a nice way for parents to kind of help deflect some of the kind of stress and anxiety that can go with a process. The people kind of constantly, um, asking for status updates. Um, another strategy that I’ve heard that is pretty [00:32:00] successful for families and parents is to kind of.

Establish a plan for communication amongst yourself as well. Um, let’s decide if we’re going to have, you know, a family meeting on Sundays about where we’re at with all these deadlines in the college process, kind of rather than having a daily, random. You know, check in that feels a little bit like nagging.

So let’s kind of, um, make a plan for kind of how we’re going to talk about this so that it doesn’t feel stressful, um, for the family. Uh, it’s definitely a great experience, um, for students again, to kind of. Think about themselves, it can be a very, you know, reflective process. Um, you’ve got to present yourself, think about your strengths and weaknesses.

Um, if students really engage with that and lead. Um, the process and are the [00:33:00] center of it. They’re going to learn a lot about themselves and feel really confident in where they’re going and what they’re doing. So really empowering the students as much as possible to take the ownership and the lead. Um, it really leads to.

Better results, better applications, a better fit, um, and success in the long run. So anything we can do to really kind of help the students, um, be at the forefront of everything, um, is where we’d like to. Um, we’ve attic also keep that senior-itis and check in in the senior year. Um, this can be a lot, um, we really want, um, you know, to make sure that the students finish the year strong, um, almost every year I’ve seen students get in situations where they’ve had.

Uh, one really bad grade or run into some, you know, kind of trouble at the end of senior year and then, um, have their [00:34:00] admissions office or admissions offers be in jeopardy. Um, so we really, you know, want to make sure that students are gonna finish out successfully as those offers are going to be contingent upon completing the senior year with the same.

That you applied with during junior year. So that’s really important one just to add the process successfully. So again, um, just to really. Get students, um, set up for success. Uh, parents can really help with that management organization kind of, um, Google sheets are great in that, you know, multiple people can edit and contribute or on our portal.

For example, everyone can take a look. Um, so figuring out what’s gonna work for you and helping with that organization. Parents are also [00:35:00] really helpful, like in adding those complements, those kind of brag sheets, um, parents often remember some details that students tend to forget or gloss over, you know, as big accomplishments.

So kind of helping to fill in those details. Those gaps, um, parents usually are really helpful there. Um, as well as just kind of thinking about some of those. Oddball supplemental questions too. Um, sometimes parents, you know, think of those stories or. Those key, um, qualities that students have maybe that they don’t realize in themselves.

So sometimes weighing in on some of those essay ideas, um, can be helpful too, besides just the resume. Um, and then definitely the financial stuff is going to be a major piece, um, where parents. Um, can be a huge support, uh, just because, um, it’s usually something that students aren’t as [00:36:00] familiar with at all.

Um, so having with parents, you know, really helped through that process, um, there’s gonna be a lot of family, uh, documents that are going to be needed. Um, so getting ready for that and kind of running point on that process, um, as the, as the failing of parents definitely can. Be a major assist to the student.

Um, we definitely, you know, just wanna keep everything in perspective, um, throughout the whole process. Um, it can feel, you know, stressful at times. But I always believe that everyone who wants to go to college is going to go to college. Um, there’s a place, you know, out there for everyone. If we’re building out a list that is full of places that you want to go and the variety of admissions rates, you’re going to have options.

Um, once it’s all over. And although sometimes maybe hard to understand the [00:37:00] decisions. Um, everyone is gonna land, uh, in a place that’s good for them and where they were meant to be. I believe in admissions karma. So, um, and destiny, so everything will be okay. Uh, it sounds like a lot, but you kind of break it down a bit by bit.

Everyone’s gonna make it through, um, and get across that finish line. So, um, I hope that’s not too overwhelming. And I think I’ve seen it quite a few questions coming in. So looking forward to seeing what everyone has on their mind after going through all those details. Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar.

I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can do that. That’s from the Lincoln, the handouts tab and the webinar is being recorded as well. So you can watch this again on our website. If you go to, where you can also set up a free account with us and get all the information you need about college [00:38:00] advisor, um, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions you submitted in the Q and a tab and read them aloud before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads-up.

If you’re taking. Tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom link sent to your email and not from the webinar landing page or the website, because if you join through the website or webinar landing page, um, you won’t get all the features of big marker.

So just make sure you join through your email. Okay. So now getting into the Q and a, our first question is can tours be done virtually and, uh, since it’s difficult to go out, go to out-of-state schools, and then also adding onto that, um, do do that. Does doing the virtual tours, um, show that demonstrated interest or is it better to do the personal visit?

That’s a great question. Uh, the tours can definitely be done virtually and a lot of the times you will be signing up or registering again to show that [00:39:00] you attended. Um, so you can demonstrate interest that way. Um, If you are able to visit in person, I think that could be a little bit more valuable in terms of your own experience and the demonstrating interests, but colleges definitely understand that everybody cannot visit in-person.

So shouldn’t hurt you to do the virtual tour. Um, but I do think you probably just get, you know, a richer experience, um, being there in person and, you know, seeing more action on the campus, if your POS, if it’s possible to do that. Um, but, uh, we’re lucky that the virtual tours are really so much more widely available and robust than they had been in the past.

So you’ll still get a great experience that way, too. Definitely, um, personally, uh, there’s also other options. Your school may host, uh, college spares and then also different colleges may do like panels or college fair type events, [00:40:00] uh, within your city. So I’m from Georgia. They ha uh, Cornell and a few other schools did one together in Atlanta.

And that’s how I found out about Cornell. I know. Existed, but it was really great to, um, go into that and be able to speak with admissions officers and learn more about the school. So those are great events going in. Person is definitely more for your personal benefit, just because you can get a feel for the school and.

Speaking with different professors and students can really help with your admissions decisions. And also what your essay is. Like. I spoke with an admissions officer who told me about some of the values of the college of human ecology at Cornell. And I sorta quoted some of the things you said in my supplemental essay.

So that really helped, uh, with my decision in the end and with my actual applicant. Going on to the next question. Um, so are there advantages to applying early decision over regular decision? Uh, for most [00:41:00] places that have early decision. Yes, it is an advantage. Um, you can, you know, want to probably do some Google research on this, um, and dig into perhaps the common data set, um, which is information that’s available from individual colleges on their admission statistics, um, and compare the admission.

Of early decision and regular decision. And, um, you will find that some colleges, admissions rates are almost double or more than double in early decision versus regular decision. Um, and if you think about it from the perspective of the admissions office, they’re really, um, you know, managing their risks.

That way they’re admitting a group of students that will definitely attend versus offering admission widely to more students, many of whom will not end up actually attending. Um, so they’re able to kind [00:42:00] of control their, um, class a little bit more. That way. Um, and so it’s really safe for them, um, to admit a big percentage of their, um, class in early decisions.

So most of the colleges that offer it. Favorite to some extent, um, there are a few exceptions out there, but that’s kind of the general rule of thumb. Definitely. And we do have more webinars on early decision, early action and regular decision. If you want more information, I applied ed for Coronel because it was my top choice.

Um, it really depends on like your financial situation, your personal applications, like how strong it is, um, how quickly you want to, um, Uh, plot or how soon you want to apply versus having a little extra time, uh, if you can get everything together. And then also, if you really want to go to that school early action is another great option.

If the [00:43:00] school offers it where it’s not a binding contract, that’s really the thing where early decision is that it’s binding. So you have to go there. And the only way you can really get out is if you absolutely cannot pay, which is still pretty difficult to process. So that is something to consider. But again, there are more web.

Uh, going down to the next question, um, sort of tying into the financial aid. Uh, one parent is asking, um, their daughter’s really interested in the Ivy leagues and really would like a full ride, um, and is asking if it’s worth to pay for that application fee and to actually apply, uh, even though they have a high estimated family contribution and then, uh, but their student is very, um, active and has a lot of, uh, extra credit.

Yeah. Um, I think, uh, you know, you will never know kind of what the final financial aid offer would be unless you apply and see how it plays [00:44:00] out. Um, I always, you know, encourage students not to rule something out, um, that they think will be too expensive. Um, Without, you know, having really done either the deep research or actually applying to see what offer, um, is received.

Um, so that’s the only way to truly know. And I think. Because of the robust financial aid that is offered at the top, uh, institutions that, um, some families are surprised, um, that even if they have a, what seems like a relatively high EFC, they may still qualify for something at that institution. So. Um, I do think it’s worth trying so that you have the actual, you know, information, uh, to compare with before making a decision, as long as you’re smart, you know, with the rest of the list and making sure that you have, um, other, you know, [00:45:00] financial options, um, on there to compare it with.

I think you won’t know, you know, for sure, unless you kind of go through the whole process and see, of course, um, those application fees do add up. So, um, you can’t, you know, be adding every institution on there, um, in that way. But, um, if you want to try for a few, just to, to really have the final information before ruling anything out, I think that’s, um, a very strategic way to.

Definitely. And just to clarify, I view it, I forgot to mention it said merit scholarships, none of the Ivy leagues offer merit scholarships and they do not offer, um, sports scholarships. You can get recruited to an Ivy league, but you will not get a sports scholarship if you’re looking for a full ride like that.

Um, all the Ivy leagues do needs based financial aid, which is based on your parent and your. Yours and your parents [00:46:00] ability to pay for college and not on your merit. Merit just gets you into the school essentially in there more webinars on this again. Um, but even if you have a high EFC, Ivy leagues do tend to still be pretty generous with their financial aid, you do get better financial aid if you’re from a lower income background, but, um, it’s really, you just have to go and see, and you can always.

Uh, school for more money. Um, it’s a little easier once you get into the school to ask for more money, but, um, also another weapon, our topic, and then also, um, you can get these waived, um, certain schools apply different, um, Specials, I guess if you apply at a certain time, or if you do a certain thing, you may be able to get your application would be waived, uh, or if you apply through their application, there are different methods and different schools have different policies.

And then also if you’re on free, reduced lunch, you can get, um, application fees, um, way for your common app. And as well as for your sat [00:47:00] or act, you just have. Ask your school counselor for the coat for that. Um, if you’re on free and reduced lunch at school. Okay. Going on to the next question. Um, okay. Um, okay.

Do colleges take the grades from 10th, 11th, and 12th, or is it only from seat? Okay. So most of the time we’re looking at your cumulative grade point average from ninth grade through 11th grade, that those will be the ones, uh, considered in your. Admission decision, uh, because your, your high school counselor will be submitting your most recent transcript in the fall of your senior year.

So that should have up through the end of your junior year grades on it. Um, and then when you’re in the application process, and depending on the timeline that you choose to apply by, and sort of. When everything unfolds at your high [00:48:00] school as well. Um, usually your mid-year grades will be submitted to colleges as well on sometimes make that in as part of the admission decision.

Um, so, uh, again, you want to have that strong first half of senior year, because a lot of times that will be considered, um, in the decision. Uh, process. And then finally, you know, wherever you decide to attend, um, they will get your final transcripts. Um, so they will want to see that you graduated and completed with grades that were consistent with the ones that they considered when they admitted.

So all of them are important, but the ones that will probably weigh the most on your decision will be the ninth through 11th grade, um, grades. So finishing this junior year strong, um, is definitely number one top priority for those of you in 11th grade. And they do also look at the courses that you’ve taken at your high school.

So they consider rigor when they are looking at your [00:49:00] grades. Um, some people have said that a B in an AP class is better than an a in a regular level class. It really depends. So, um, real quick, um, for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students.

Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising sessions and last year’s admission cycle. Our students were accepted into Harvard at three times. The national rate and accepted into Stanford at 4.4 times the national rate sign up for a free consultation with us by registering for our free web class.

At their students and their families can explore webinars and keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and more right. All on our website. Um, okay. So now going on to the next question, a lot of students are asking about the, um, essays. Um, [00:50:00] and, uh, so, um, one student’s asking where can we find the information on the personal statement that you mentioned and.

Mentioned. And where do you find it on the common app? Okay. Um, so if you go into common, um, that’s where you want to start from. Um, you can create an account and I think it won’t take you very long, click around in there and to find the writing section, to see the prompts. Um, I don’t think they’re changing too much on common app from last year.

So if you create an account, now it should look pretty similar when it rolls over. Uh, but you could also just Google comments. Um, 22 and 23 prompts. And, um, you should find their announcement about the prompts for next year, too. So one way or another, you’ll get over to common where you will either create an account and see [00:51:00] it, or just find it listed there on their website.

Um, it’s definitely available. Um, and then it’s really just been in the last week or two that, um, the coalition application and. They’re prompts, um, for fall for the personal statement. Um, so again, if you just Google coalition application, um, essay prompts, you should find it pretty quickly. Um, so those are all settled, um, for next year.

So you could get a pretty good idea now of what, um, your writing prompts with. Yes. And I’m going on to the next question. This one is a bit more broad. Um, but can you just give some advice on what international students can be doing to prepare for the admissions cycle? Right. Yeah, sure. Um, so international students, you know, may have some additional requirements or, um, you know, kind of extra information [00:52:00] that they need to provide.

Um, so it is going to probably take a little bit more research and time. Um, To complete that process. There may be some English proficiency, um, exams, or, you know, documentation that’s going to be needed. Um, depending on what kind of school you’re at, there may be some translation of transcripts, um, things of that nature, as well as some additional financial documentation.

And then the financial considerations may be quite different for international students. Um, so there, there could be kind of like some. Things that need to be taken care of. So, um, every college site typically has. Different tab for international applicants. So you want to start really digging in to those specific details and timelines and understanding, um, what additional things you may need to provide.

Cause there will be some additional aspects required. [00:53:00] Definitely. Um, another question, um, since there are student athletes on the call, um, one student was asking how can they, um, balance and manage, um, their summers with, um, preparing for the admissions process as well as during that. Yeah, that is a good question.

Um, I have found, you know, athletes that I’ve worked with to be very efficient and, um, Targeted, you know, in what they’re doing. Um, you know, you’re used to kind of being on a certain schedule and carving out time for specific things. So again, it’s like thinking about that schedule, thinking about spreading it out, educating, you know, a certain amount of time per day to this process and just kind of attacking it, just how you do your sports, um, inner schedules.

So, um, I usually see athletes being [00:54:00] pretty. Um, strategic and, um, practical about things, uh, to getting, to get them accomplished. So, um, if you’re a serious athlete, I feel pretty confident that you’re gonna be strategic and methodical about attacking the process. Definitely. Um, so going onto the next question, um, another, student’s asking how many, um, recommendations, uh, should a student go for it?

Yeah, that’s a great question. So again, it’s a, it’s a good idea to kind of go through the individual colleges that you’re applying to and kind of understand what the requirements are so that when you’re going into fall, um, you know exactly how many letters of recommendation you need to get. All of your requirements and usually two is going to satisfy most of your requirements.

Um, sometimes there’s an optional, um, [00:55:00] one. So if you are an athlete sometimes, um, a coach or if you’re, you know, highly involved in some other activities, sometimes, you know, some other mentor internship advisor, that type of thing, research, a professor that you’ve worked with. May provide an extra, a letter of recommendation to make a third.

Um, if an optional one is allowed, um, but typically to academic, maybe an optional, um, is going to be all you need. But again, you’ll want to. Sort that out all ahead of time. So you know exactly what you’re trying to obtain going into. And since many of you might’ve been virtual winning are yours. Um, you may not feel that you had a great connection with some of your teachers or people that you’d would want to ask for recommendation.

Uh, it’s never too late to start building upon now. Um, and all you can. Um, reach out to [00:56:00] teachers and send them a Brack sheet or your resume, or just like a description of what you want to do in college and what you’ve been doing in high school, so that they can have some extra points to add into your letter of recommendation though.

You’re not technically allowed to see your recommendation. You want to just provide them some points. Um, Just so you can, it can really be as substantial recommendation, but you really do want to go for people that know you well and can talk about different assets, whether it’s academic or if you’re looking for those outside recommendations also, uh, your work ethic or.

Sportsmanship your, um, community leadership and other, um, qualities that you’d really like to, except that in your application and as the webinar does come, is coming to a close, uh, Shannon, can you give us any last advice or tips, um, for what rising juniors should be doing right now? Sure. And just to kind of add onto one more thing to what you said, something else, wildcard, that you may not expect as your recommender may ask you to write [00:57:00] your recommendation.

I’ve definitely heard that happen to students before. So just when you think like, oh, I have all this work to do with my application, and now you want me to also essentially write what I want in my recommendation and hand it to you. It’s could be another wildcard thing added to your list of things to do.

Um, that’s pretty rare, but yeah. Definitely happened before. Um, so basically, you know, just the more prepared you can get the further kind of ahead you can get over the summer, the more ready you’ll be for any of those wildcard things that come up, any kind of last minute changes that you may have as far as, you know, schools that you’ve suddenly become interested in or come onto your radar late.

If you kind of have the core of things, um, completed as you’re going through. Um, you’ll be in so much better shape for any of those kinds of unexpected things that can come up and add stress to the situation so that you’re here tonight and getting, you [00:58:00] know, um, acclimated and ready for everything is a great indication that you’re going to be in excellent shape throughout this process.

So, um, good luck to everybody. Just try to stay organized and stay calm. You’ll go to college and everything will be just like it’s supposed to be definitely. So thank you to our panelists, Shannon. And thank you everyone for coming out tonight. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, as well as this webinar is being recorded.

So you will be able to view it, I guess, later on. where you can set up a free account with us and be able to keep track of your schools as well as watch our, um, previous webinars and register for upcoming webinars. Here’s the rest of our March series, where we’re talking about increasing your ed.

Uh, admissions odds, uh, where we would talk it about, um, different opportunities for students, ways to increase, um, your art [00:59:00] to better prepare your application and really, um, set your brand, um, for the app, uh, application process. And yeah. So make sure to check those out, to find out more information and if your questions weren’t answered tonight, remember there are other webinars that go into.

So, or if you’re just looking for more information and we also have a blog, if you would like to read that as well. So thank you everyone for coming out and good night.