Admissions Officer Advice: Solidifying Your College List
Former Admissions Officer Brian gives the inside scoop on how to narrow down your school list and only apply to the best fit schools for you.
2021-11-17 Admissions Officer Advice: Solidifying Your College List
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on AO advice on solidifying your college list. To orient everyone with the 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 the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelist. Awesome. Well, thank you, McKenzie. Um, I appreciate, uh, the welcome on my name is Brian Poznanski. Um, and I’m excited to be presenting with everyone, uh, tonight presenting to you all a little bit, uh, on some advice on how to solidify, uh, your college list. Um, I am a graduate of Saint Anselm college in Manchester, New Hampshire, um, where I say politics.
Um, and then I also am a proud, uh, terrible. Uh, Boston university, where I received my MBA with a [00:01:00] concentration in public and nonprofit management in 2018. Um, and I also worked at BU uh, for six years as an admissions director. Um, well also, uh, doing school part-time. So I’m really excited to chat with everyone tonight a little bit about solidifying your college list.
So, um, I think before we dive into the material, um, we do have a poll here. Um, yeah. So the first poll is where are you in the college application process? So having started I’m researching schools, I’m working on my essays, I’m getting to, um, I’m getting my application, the tios together, or I’m almost done.
And while we wait for those answers to come in, um, Brian, can you tell us a little bit about why you picked on your undergrad school and maybe even your, um, Yeah, absolutely. So, um, the second part is pretty easy. I was working there and so I [00:02:00] got a little bit of a tuition discount, which was nice. Um, although I will say it was really hard to be, um, a full-time employee and part-time MBA student.
Um, there was a lot of, uh, long nights. Um, but I loved every minute of being a student at BU um, I chose St. Anthem, um, partially because it was close to home. Um, I’m from New Hampshire originally. Um, but also because I knew I wanted to study politics and I thought. Not many Biddy, not many better places to be then, uh, the front row, uh, to politics once every four years, um, which is the first in the nation primary.
And I actually got to work on a number of, uh, presidential campaigns volunteer and a number of debates on, and, you know, really get again a front row seat to, uh, all of that happening. Right. Uh, literally right on campus at St. Anne’s from [00:03:00] college, just a little ad for St. A’s here. Um, we actually hosted debates on and had, you know, the CNN trailer parked literally on our quad.
Uh, so that was pretty. Well, I worked at the election for the 2020 on primaries and Georgia, and that was my tidbit of in politics. So it’s looking like a 26% of, uh, our audience haven’t started 50% are researching schools. So that’s a great place to be a 9% are working on their essays and 15% are getting their application materials.
No one is almost done, which isn’t shocking considering, considering move webinars. Well, I think that that is a really good place to be regardless of where you are. And also I would imagine that we probably have some folks that are different years, um, in, in their high school experience as well. So that may dictate some of that answer as well.
[00:04:00] Um, but I think that. When it comes to solidifying your list and, and really deciding, um, what makes for a good college list, what makes for what I like to call a good fit. Um, it’s trying to meet all of your different interests, um, and good fit, um, is a really important term. I think that I used to use a lot when I was an admission counselor and as an admissions director.
Um, and it means a lot of different things. Um, it means a good academic fit. It means a good geographic fit location. Right. I talked about how I wanted to be a little bit closer to home. Um, some people want to get as far away from home as they possibly can and that’s okay too. Um, you know, so whatever is going to be for you, um, that is, you know, one of those things that makes that good fit size, definitely, always, uh, can often be a really big, um, contributor as well.[00:05:00]
Um, you know, do you want to be at a large, you know, a state university with, you know, tens of thousands of students where you’re going to a class that, you know, you might be one of several hundred in the class, or do you want to be at a small liberal arts college where you might be one of literally. Five or a dozen students in the class on that’s a seminar based.
So, um, that is always something really important to think about, um, location, uh, not just what part of the country or what part of the world may be. Um, but is it a rural, uh, campus? Is it a suburban campus? Is it in the middle of the city? Um, my experience on, in all of these from actually going to St at some college, a relatively small liberal arts college in Manchester, New Hampshire to gain my graduate degree at Boston university, a pretty large private institution smack dab in the [00:06:00] middle of Boston could probably not be.
Further apart on, you know, the, the spectrum of what the schools are like. So it really also depends on where you are in that process. I couldn’t have seen myself as an 18 year old necessarily navigating that large urban institution. Um, and that’s really why I was drawn, uh, where I was when we talk about, um, uh, what really makes a good college list is it’s a lot of balance as well.
Um, and so I noticed that I throw out a specific number here. I think I do talk about that a certain point, but that also means something different for everyone what’s really important. And what makes a good college list is not exactly how many schools you apply to, but the type of schools that you apply to.
And so that’s where we talk a little bit about what reach, um, targets and likely schools. Um, and so what exactly does that, does that mean? Well, um, If I can get the slide to [00:07:00] switch, we could talk about it. Um, generally, um, you know, these are, um, and this is a little bit of a typo on my part, not baked on the academic profile, but based on academic profile, um, of the previous admitted class.
Um, so utilizing your academic profile to compare, um, and because of that, by definition, This is going to be different for every single applicant. Okay. Um, so one students, um, you know, uh, reach school on may not be someone else’s, um, and someone’s likely school, uh, may not be, you know, maybe a target for someone else.
So it really is kind of a variety of depending on your personal profile. Um, but generally speaking, when I say academic profile, I mean, um, you know, the average GPA of the admitted [00:08:00] class, um, the rigor of the curriculum that the, um, the admissions office is looking for in their class, if they require standardized tests or they have accepted standardized tests in the past, that can play a role.
Those are the type of things that are usually, or, and also rank in class. If they have ranking class, if your school offers ranking class, these are the academic quantitative measures that are usually put out there that you can kind of see, all right, do I fit within this profile of this school? But when we try to D D uh, define the three different areas, I really think a reach school is any institution.
And we’re talking in the United States here is in the top, you know, kind of 50 us news. And, you know, I’m using us news and world report, top rankings, uh, overall. Um, and as an admissions advisor, uh, advisor now advisor and former, uh, admissions [00:09:00] director, I am. A fan of us news and world report, but that’s not what this, um, seminar is about.
Um, but when you’re the point is that when you’re applying to one of these schools, they’re very selective, right? They’re usually getting a good amount of applications and they typically have an admit rate below, um, 20 or 25%. Some of them far below that like single digit, um, admit rate. And so by definition, these institutions are very, very selective.
They are accepting a minority of the students that ultimately submit an application. So these are reach for even the student that is at the top top of their class. Great test scores, great GPA, great rigor. Some of the top institutions in this country still are not going to be admitting these types of students.
That’s what makes a school of reach for people is that, you know, Academic, they might match up, but it really is, um, you know, [00:10:00] just a very selective institution. Um, but a reach also could be on some, for someone, um, does not in the top 50, right. It’s not even necessarily a super duper selective institution.
It’s just that the type of student that they’re looking at is maybe slightly above where your academic profile shakes out to be at this particular moment. Um, and so that’s okay. Um, you know, that’s why we call it a reach and an aspiration as good to have aspirations is, is good to have goals. Um, but that’s why we also want to have round out our list with a good amount of target schools.
This is going to be a school that probably matches your academic profile purview. Well, um, you feel fairly confident that if you apply, you would be admitted to this school on, you know, it’s not a guarantee, but it’s something that you feel confident about. Okay. Um, it’s a good all around fit in every stretch of the, uh, of, of that.
And then likely, um, would be a school where you perfectly match or even above their [00:11:00] profile. Um, you know, you feel even more confident that you would be admitted to this type of school. Maybe they have, you know, a very generous, um, acceptance rate. You know, they offer the, they emit the vast majority of their students.
Um, you know, they have, again, a greater than 50% admission rates, some schools, they have, you know, 60, 70, 80% acceptance acceptance rates because they want to really entice students to enroll at their institution. And therefore you’re relatively confident of your acceptance at these institutions. Um, and that’s what makes it a likely, uh, school.
Um, so it’s good to have a mix of these, um, and that’s what it comes down to, uh, overall. Uh, it’s good to have some, a couple reaches, some targets and some likelys. So again, what is that. I mean, it really varies for everyone. Um, I think, and this is also, I think probably you’re going to sense [00:12:00] this, um, throughout the, the presentation tonight, but I’m definitely someone that thinks that the emission process is a very individual process.
Um, and that there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. Um, at the, at the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way. Um, but that it’s your way and, and, and that you should really approach it from your perspective. Um, so I like to say that students should have a mix. Um, usually it’s a couple of reaches, two to three, you know, mostly targets, um, and a few likely schools.
Um, this is really going to help you, um, have a strong emission strategy again. Ultimately at the end of the day, uh, you know, maybe your, your reach school is like your ultimate number one. Um, and that’s fine. Um, but if you have some targets, you have some likewise you get into a bunch that’s also going to equal a good emission strategy because then you’re probably going to have multiple options, [00:13:00] multiple schools to compare on.
And that means not only an admission decision, but, um, we don’t really get into this tonight necessarily, but, uh, likely some, some, uh, the ability to compare some financial options as well, whether that be financial aid or merit aid, it’s always good to have options and not feel like you’re stuck on one school.
So it’s always good to have a variety of all of these are different, um, reach, target, and likely schools. So again, how do you narrow down your list to a reasonable number? And again, once you. Going to be the theme of tonight is going to be different for everyone. It’s a very individualized process, um, in 2007, um, and de myself a little bit here, but I applied to three target schools.
I only applied to three schools. I felt very, I don’t want to say very reasonably [00:14:00] confident by my own definition, a couple slides ago that I would be admitted to all three schools, the other, um, Def the other, uh, reasoning that I use. The other logic I used at the time was that if I didn’t get into any of the other two, I would be.
More than happy. I would be excited. I’d be good with going to any of those institutions. Right? I was, I enjoyed them. I toward I went to visit them. Um, I felt calm, uh, comfortable on the campus. Um, you know, they generally had a program that I was interested in studying. I had my own little rank at the time.
Um, but I felt relatively confident that I would be okay going into all three. Ultimately I did get admitted to all three and I did have my choices. Um, and you know, ultimately St. Anton college again, was my choice and, and, and probably was a really good option for me. Uh, at that time, uh, two years later, my sister [00:15:00] applied to a very different mix of 13 schools, and it was a very different process.
Um, They, my, my sister visited schools, literally all over the United States. I think the school that I applied to the furthest from home was like two and a half, three hours. Um, and again, she was applying all over the country. Um, so it was a very different process and that worked for her. Uh, she ultimately found, you know, uh, her path.
I think now I heard, I’ve heard the average is around eight. I’ve also seen it as high as 10. Um, again, I don’t think that what is important here is the number necessarily, but if you think that three is a good match of target, likely what have you schools for you then that’s, that’s a good fit for you? Um, I have some current clients that I’m working with at college adviser that are applying to.
Far more [00:16:00] than a, um, you know, probably in upwards, uh, you know, the high teens even. Um, and, and one of the reasons for that is because a good number of those are our reach schools. And so balance out their lists. We want to make sure that they have some of those good targets, some of those likely institutions, uh, in as well.
But I think that some important questions to ask yourself, um, for your family to ask for your school counselor, to help in this process, um, you know, why are you applying, you know, are you actually interested in attending that school? Um, I think that that is a huge question. A lot of students, I think, um, you know, apply.
Just to see, um, you know, if they could get in. And I don’t think that that’s necessarily wrong. Um, but also there is a lot of work that goes into these applications, right? Sometimes you have to put in extra time with the supplements and, and things of that [00:17:00] nature. There’s often a cost and the application fee.
So, you know, is it worth the time, the effort, the financial costs to be applying? That’s a question you have to ask yourself and it may be that it’s okay to apply to many, many schools. Again, would you enroll, if you admitted, I tend to think that you shouldn’t apply even to a likely school. If you have no interest of going there whatsoever, like, I think you’re just wasting your time and everyone’s time in the process now.
Some, I can already hear some people out in, you know, the computer sphere on the web saying, well, Brian, you know, I’m going to apply to XYZ school as my safety, my in-state whatever, just in case. Right. It’s your financial safety, it’s your, your likely school? What have you? I don’t really want to go there, but it’s a just in case I get that.
That’s fine too. [00:18:00] Um, you know, I, I had advised that as well. Um, again, I had many friends that ultimately ended up at, at, at their, um, state institution on that, at this point in the process, we’re probably saying there’s no way in the world I’m ever going to go to XYZ state. Right. And, um, You, you just don’t know where your process is going to go.
But I think that that is an important question to ask yourself through that process. Can I see myself there? Would, I want to enroll if I was admitted on and again, what does each application include? I kind of got at that a little bit earlier, but you know, if you have to submit, you know, five extra supplemental essays and it’s a lot of extra work and time and effort, you know, sometimes that can be a deterrence, um, in submitting those applications.
And it’s something to think about, you know, um, when it comes down to it, um, you know, whereas some applications, literally it’s checking a box online and signed, sealed, delivered, you know, you’re good to go. So [00:19:00] on all of those factors, I think go into, you know, kind of calling your list and, and, and quote unquote, narrowing down to that reasonable number.
And again, it’s going to be individualized. Um, it’s going to be up to you. So, um, So what kind of materials, um, are students submitting? Um, and, and, and what, uh, type of materials or, excuse me, what type of materials do you submit to multiple schools versus just sometimes one school? Well, I think that every application generally includes, you know, the four main pieces of the application.
Um, Overall that is the application itself, whether it be, you know, the common application, the coalition application, or a school’s own, uh, self-made application. Um, and within this application, I’m including your student involvement, your activities, your w we, um, you know, CollegeAdvisor often called the student profile.
Um, you [00:20:00] know, what you do, uh, within school that’s included within the application you usually listed in the application form itself, then there’s the personal statement. Um, you know, that’s often submitted within the application is. As well, but it is often talked about as a standalone piece of the application because it is evaluated, uh, very, you know, with an important, uh, weight to it on an actually did a whole separate webinar last month on the personal statement and essay and, and, and things, uh, to help prepare for that.
Um, then there’s the transcript. Um, every school is going to require a transcript. Um, you know, they’re looking at your years in high school, uh, the grades that you earned, um, and the courses that you earn those grades in, um, you know, the five core academic solids on, you know, English, math, science, social science, and foreign language, um, and the rigor of those courses, you know, schools are looking at that transcript and then lastly, most applications, um, almost every application, uh, that a [00:21:00] college admission officer’s going to look at is going to ask for some form of recommendation, whether it be a T a teacher or multiple teacher recommendations, um, and then typically a counselor recommendation.
So every application, regardless where you apply, you’re really going to submit your application, your personal statement, your transcripts, um, and then your recommendations. Um, the extra stuff, um, comes into play at a variety of different schools. This is, um, often supplemental essays. Um, you know, and, and the supplemental essays can be anywhere from, um, I think I’ve seen as little as literally a 50 word essay to all the way up to, you know, a 750, a thousand word, you know, much more involved essay, um, and everything in between.
Um, you know, I think the, the, the standard is kind of that 250 to 400 word, um, kind of, you know, tell us a little bit more about yourself, or why are you applying to XYZ university? You know, tell us a [00:22:00] little bit about why you’re choosing your major or, you know, this school we re we really value the. Three, you know, criteria, you know, creativity, engineer witty.
And, you know, I can’t think of a third one off the top of my head right now. So, you know, tell us how you fit these three values on and why you would be an asset to XYZ university. You know, those are pretty common, um, at a lot of schools, but not everyone has them. Um, some have one, some have. Um, some schools will require you to submit an additional essay to apply to their honors program or their honors college.
Some schools will require you to submit additional essays for a scholarship on consideration, whether that be, you know, a nominal scholarship, uh, you know, uh, um, you know, partial tuition or even full tuition scholarships. Um, you know, so looking out for those additional essay requirements, always good, um, to think about in terms of that application strategy again, [00:23:00] uh, and, and thinking of, okay, when’s my application deadline, how many essays do I need to be writing?
And, and when do I therefore need to start set essays? Um, and preferably not at 11 o’clock, uh, the night that the application is due at 11:59 PM, uh, that, that that’s usually not a good strategy. Um, And then, you know, portfolio of an audition I, through these end because, um, sometimes schools do ask for them, if you’re applying to like an art program, um, or a music program, you might have to audition a theater program.
Um, you know, when I worked at Boston university, we had, uh, the college of fine arts that required, you know, a portfolio audition for the either visual arts music or theater program. So that’s an example of some, uh, additional, uh, requirements on, and I didn’t throw this in, but you know, if you are looking, um, you know, to do athletics, there may be some additional [00:24:00] requirements on for, you know, athletic scholarships and things of that nature.
Uh, Um, you know, you have, uh, if you’re looking to, uh, you know, play at the division one level, you have to go through, uh, the clearing house. Um, so there’s a lot of different, uh, uh, additional, uh, pieces that you may have to submit to your school that may or may not be directly, uh, related to your academic admission, but also are part of your overall application admission to the university, uh, that you’re applying to.
All right. So when should students start looking into, uh, these specific supplements and materials? Um, and I kind of went into that a little bit previously on, and you should do it immediately. Um, I mean, again, knowing that there’s a variety of different, um, probably folks that are at different stages of their high school career, or maybe even pre high school, I don’t know.
Um, you know, [00:25:00] Ma, if you’re in ninth grade, you don’t have to start researching, you know, your dream school, supplemental essay question now, um, that’s, you know, probably not necessary on the other truth of it is that, you know, again, just from my experience at Boston university, we did tweak our essays on a year and at least revisited them on a year to year basis.
And, um, so they might be different next year, if, even if you’re a junior, um, and you’re researching them now. Um, but let’s say for argument’s sake, you are in your senior year, you’re applying this year. You definitely should be looking at all of these specific, uh, supplements and materials, um, right now, um, you know, if, if you haven’t already, um, You know, uh, these play a decision on, I am probably are going to play a decision whether you ultimately apply or not.
As I talked about earlier sometimes, um, you know, I know that there are candidates that decide, you [00:26:00] know, what, I’m not going to apply to this school because I don’t have time to write those three supplements right now, or, you know, this school, not so much nowadays, but you know, five years ago, you know, I’m not going to apply to XYZ university because they require an sat, uh, two subject tests, you know, and I didn’t take that test.
So by definition, I’m not going to submit an application, right? So there are a variety of different things that you want to look at ahead of time. I think that going into your senior year, the summer is probably a really good idea to start solidifying your list. And when you’re solidifying your list, also looking at things like application deadlines, Whether it be a regular decision deadline and early actions, a deadline, or even maybe if you’re considering early decision what those deadlines might be, and then working backwards and saying, you know, if I have to do all these essays, how much time is it going to take?
Because if you do your common application essay, your main personal statement, you can submit that for [00:27:00] every school you apply to on the common app. Right? But if every school requires additional supplements, that’s something new you gotta do every time you’re submitting that application. And again, you don’t want to get in that tricky situation where you’re all set, raised, submit your college application, and it’s not going through because, oh crap, you forgot to do that last 200 word.
Um, Y you know, XYZ university essays. So definitely pay attention to all those specific deadlines. Um, again, additional materials that are required, um, whether it be an audition and a portfolio, um, some schools have earlier scholarship deadlines, right? So they might have a regular decision deadline. Let’s say hypothetically of January 1st, but in order to be considered for their scholarship, you actually have a priority deadline of December 1st.
You gotta apply a little bit earlier. Um, so just to be considered, you gotta apply that that month earlier. So paying attention to all those different dates and here’s the little bit of a tricky part. Every school [00:28:00] is a little bit different. And so you do have to kind of pay attention. Um, my best advice, um, go to your school counselor, go to your admissions director at the schools that you’re applying to go to the website, um, but contact your admission officer every school.
Typically you have an admission officer and there are people in the admission office that literally their job, their entire job is often to. Answer emails, answer phone calls, someone it’s their job to get back to you. Um, even if they’re also reviewing applications, when I was, um, in, in the role, um, we had something that was called officer of the day, right?
And so that day I was in charge of responding to every email and every phone call Beryl is laughing cause he remembers those days as well. Um, from his emission office days, I bet. But, um, you know, we, uh, we were the officer on duty, right. And so, um, that [00:29:00] was our role, um, to get back to folks that day. And so reach out to them, they know the information and they are more than happy to speak to you.
Um, and that’s, that’s really their job. Um, so go to the source of the information. If you have question. Okay, so we’re going to do one more quick post. So what grade are you in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, or other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student younger than eighth grade or a parent. And while we wait on that, I had.
Tidbit, um, just for our broad timeline. Um, so, uh, in the first half of like your college research, just start looking up schools for interest’s sake and seeing what you like. And don’t like about a school and figuring out like what a general list of schools that you want to get into. And then as you get closer to start of your senior year, then you start looking at qualifications, requirements, essays, deadlines, and mapping out [00:30:00] your plan, figuring out what schools you can drop, um, which schools you have a good chance of getting into and start worrying about all the boring details, because the first half of your college research to at least be a little fun, just getting a feel for college stuff.
Um, and then looking at all that stuff. Um, so yeah, that was my tidbit, but while we’re waiting for the answers to roll in, um, so you said you applied to three schools. So can you give a little a bit about like how you went about picking a school and how you knew it was like the right. Yeah. I mean, I think something that we haven’t actually even really talked about, um, that I think is so important solidifying your college list is if you can visiting the institution, um, you know, I’m a strong, strong believer in that visit, um, you know, for multiple perspectives.
I think that yes, some schools do track that demonstrated interest in showing that interest is great. But I think more importantly for yourself, you get the [00:31:00] fields, right? You get kind of that sense of, yes, this is good or no, this is not so good. There’s at least one school that I can think of right off the top of my head.
I’m not going to say where, who, what school it was, but I didn’t even want to get out of the car. We drove on campus and I was like, nah, this is not it like, I’m good. Um, I don’t even want to go on the tour on, and then there were a whole number of schools. After the tour, I was, you know, I was really excited to go to the school.
I even liked, you know, I liked it when I was there. I liked the campus, but there was something about the tour and what kind of happened and, you know, asking questions and vibing with the students where I didn’t quite fit. Um, and, and so that then got checked off my list. So, you know, the three schools that I did apply to all of those things, you know, I vibed with, right.
I, I liked the location. I liked the feel. I liked the academics. I liked the culture of the school. I had a good tour experience. I got some good questions answered. I felt good about it. [00:32:00] Right. Um, and so those are really important. And then, you know, ultimately I decided to enroll at my Alma mater by actually sitting, I got to sit in on a class and, you know, the professor even called on me in the class.
And obviously as you know, a senior in high school, I was, you know, scared out of my. With, but, um, you know, it solidified my decision and I deposited, uh, that debt. Um, I felt the same way when I was, um, get it. I toured Cornell and I taught in the fall. So it was like, the weather was perfect. Everything was nice.
And I felt like a real college student drinking coffee on campus. It’s just something about, and then meeting all the professors, it’s a satisfying feeling. Um, but it’s looking like we have zero eight is that’s not surprising. Uh, 5% are ninth graders, 8% are 10th graders, 50% are 1130. So this is a good place.
30% are 12th graders, still a good place and 7% or other. [00:33:00] So I’m assuming that’s parents are transfers. Yeah. So, and again, that’s a really, it’s a good gauge to kind of, you know, you guys can, all everyone, um, on the line can kind of take, um, my advice and kind of put it into context based on where you are in the process.
Right. Because I think. Um, I am a personal believer in that. Um, you know, it’s good to kind of get an idea early, but there, you know, I’m not a big fan of the phrase. It’s never too early to start because I think that that can cause us to get a little over excited a little over anxious, maybe. Um, and, and that’s not great.
We want to, um, enjoy, um, we do want to enjoy our, um, you know, our high school years, um, and, and, and not be totally focused on going forward, you know, what’s happening after high school. So ideally going into senior year, you know, we probably have a good. You know, solidified list, [00:34:00] ideally, right? You going into that summer, um, hopefully, you know, a little bit about what’s going on.
You maybe you’ve done some tours, you’ve done some visits, you know, spring of junior year is an awesome time, um, to visit on and, uh, you know, continue those visits through the summer. Um, but again, it depends on your application deadlines, um, and your focus and overall emission strategy. If you’re a student that is applying early decision or early action, you know, we’ve already passed.
Most of those deadlines. Most of those are November. First, maybe November 15th, maybe even in October, some schools. Um, so if you’re applying early decision, you really should probably know what that school is, you know, going into September, um, you know, early October at the latest, because again, you want to be able to put that application together and get it to a place where, you know, you feel really good about it, submitting it, uh, ready [00:35:00] for that November 1st deadline.
But if all your applications are regular decision and a little bit more of a rolling admission type situation, and they’re not doing until, you know, the beginning of January, then, you know, now mid, late fall, that’s probably a good time to kind of be finalizing that list. Um, you know, give yourself time though, um, to meet all your application requirements and your deadlines.
We talked about that already. What those apples, what are those application requirements, right? Is it and deadlines, you know, what essays do they require is the application due at a certain time, is an application due early to be considered for a scholarship. Is it due early to be considered for the honors program?
All of these different things. You have to have your audition in before you even submit your application. These are all important things to start to be thinking about, um, in terms of when you need to have on your list finished, um, and be ready to go. So again, individualized process for [00:36:00] every. And what is fit again?
This is really one of my favorite questions because it is so many things on it is the academic offerings, right? So the majors, the minors, um, the courses that are going to be offered, um, it’s the rigor of. Uh, both this institution that you’re applying to, um, as well as the courses that you’ve taken, the rigor that you are presenting, um, to the admissions office.
Um, my, uh, I had, uh, uh, a good friend when I was in, in admissions that worked on the counseling and the high school counseling side that said there are some schools that are easier to get into than they are to get out of, um, and vice versa. Um, and what that person meant is that, you know, they might not have the highest, uh, or the most rigorous acceptance rate, but when you’re there, boy, do you work for that?
For, for that grade on? And, and then [00:37:00] there are others that it might get be really hard to get into that school, but once you’re there. Maybe the courses aren’t quite as rigorous as some of the other ones. I don’t know. Um, and so, uh, that’s kind of always something to be thinking about, um, in the grades that you might be, um, you know, used to getting, uh, versus what you might be getting again, when I was at BU I always used to say, you know, a lot of students, you guys are, are used to being the smartest kid in the class.
Well guess what, you’re now in a class of 30 or 40 students with the smartest kid in the class on. And so that’s going to be a really interesting adjustment. Um, and, and how do you feel about that? So something to think about location, we talked about this, right? Um, part of the country, urban, suburban, rural.
Um, you know, are you someone that you want to be able to walk out of class and immediately go get your, you know, dunks or your Starbucks coffee, or are you okay with, you know, uh, not having [00:38:00] that at your fingertips, um, and you know, kind of, you know, being in, you know, the, the green grass and mountains and, and, and all of that good stuff, um, all no right or wrong answer there, of course, on costs, financials come down, uh, to be a really important, uh, piece for a lot of people.
Right. Um, totally. Okay. Um, to, to put in, in fact, you probably, most people are evaluating costs, um, in their ultimate decision. Um, so, um, what I would say is that, um, you know, I would not, um, women, uh, an application, um, Based on cost, right? Like I wouldn’t look at the sticker price and say, I’m not applying there.
Um, because it’s too expensive for me because you don’t know what you ultimately may qualify for in either institutional aid, need-based financial aid or some form of scholarships. So, [00:39:00] you know, if you can still apply and then see where you are, uh, down the road, um, is that politics important to you? Do you want to go to a, again a D one school, D two school, a D three school.
Do you care? What type of school, uh, athletics they have? Are you looking to play athletics? Are you looking to be a fan? Um, is that important clubs, organizations, do you want to be at a school that has Greek life? Do you want to be in a band, in a band? You know, like what kind of stuff do you want to be doing, um, at, uh, the institution when you’re there and visiting, get that feeling.
Right. I talked a little bit about this and then transition. Um, you will get that feeling when you visit and you know, that it’s the right fit. All right. So, um, how can students craft their best application for their top choice? I mean, we talked a little bit about getting starting early, being prepared, um, you know, seek additional readers with all pieces of the application, the application itself, your essay, your personal statements, your [00:40:00] supplements have everyone, every single piece read by another person.
Um, you know, have your mom, have your dad have, you know, a sibling, have a friends, have some, you know, a teacher, a counselor, someone that doesn’t love you, you know, read your essays, your supplements, your application. Look at those little pieces. Uh, give you a critical eye and kind of see, oh, this makes sense.
This doesn’t make sense. What were you trying to get across here? Those can always be really helpful, uh, in that process. Um, and think about what essay questions are asking you. Um, I talked a lot about this in, again, that webinar I did last month about writing essays, but answer the question. I can’t emphasize that enough.
I think it’s the biggest mistake that people make when they’re writing supplement and personal statement essays is they don’t end up answering the question. They talk about something congenital, but they don’t really answer what is actually being asked. So the first thing you should do when you read a question is what is [00:41:00] this asking me?
What is the reader trying to learn about me? The applicant by me writing this, this. That’s always a really helpful, I think, a really helpful, um, tactic in, in, in sitting down and writing essays and then don’t wait, um, you know, start, um, you know, start early and often, uh, um, you know, the common application goes live, I think in early August, um, typically, um, of the application year.
So always good time to start on, uh, applications in the summer. Um, you know, I know most of you are probably busy with other activities in the summer as well, but not probably as busy as you will be, uh, when school starts. Um, so never too early to start on those, those essays and things of that.
Um, so what makes an admissions officer think that the student is a good fit? I mean, there are many things. Um, we talk a lot about this idea of the holistic review. Um, we look at academic performance, we look at involvement, you [00:42:00] know, is this person going to be a good fit, a good member of our school community?
Will they add and enhance our school community, not just inside the classroom, but outside the classroom, in the residence halls, on the athletic fields, in the clubs and organizations that we offer, will they be a benefit? Will they be a D will our school community a better place because XYZ, this student is now a part of it.
Um, that’s really at the end of the day, what we’re trying to assess as admission officers. Um, and we, we weren’t this through what you have to say about yourself, what you’ve done, but what also people have to say about you. Um, some of my favorite phrases on. Uh, from recommendations, include things like, you know, this student is intellectually curious on you.
They were addition to our student, our school community. They made our school a better place for the four years that they were in, you know, our classrooms, you know, those are, I don’t think there’s a better compliment that [00:43:00] come from a school counselor. Um, then, you know, you made the school a better place because you know, you showed up on a day-to-day basis.
Um, and again, at the end of the day, I think you should be happy to attend any of the schools to which you apply. Um, but I think that, you know, the last pieces of advice that I would give on would be to prepare for uncertainty, um, because that’s one of the few things that we can always guarantee, uh, in the admission process.
Um, even those of us that have been doing it for a long time, uh, can not predict, uh, admission rates and yields and all of that good stuff. Um, and so, you know, we never know what exactly is going to happen, but the process is individual. That’s the last thing I’m going to leave you with, um, run your race on care about your process, your you, the student are going to be the one that enrolls at that institution, eating in the dining halls, taking the tests, writing the exam, uh, you know, taking the exams, uh, writing the [00:44:00] papers, living in the dorms.
Um, Uh, you know, it’s your, it’s your process and you need to be happy with your decision. So put your blinders on. Don’t worry about what your friends, your family, uh, your fellow classmates are doing, um, you know, and focus on your process. So I think, uh, without we’re going to be handing it over to my colleague, uh, Pharaoh here.
Um, so Pharell, um, is, uh, a former, uh, Vanderbilt admissions officer, uh, and a college advisor specialist. Um, he’s going to talk to us a little bit about, um, you know, CollegeAdvisor. Um, so Farrell, uh, turn it over. Well, thanks so much, Brian. I really appreciate it. And I just want to compliment everybody.
First of all, you know, for being here tonight, it shows just how significant your taking this process and understanding the, you know, the timeline that it takes to be truly successful in the standout. And it’s really, you know, the steps that you take after this moment that are going to determine, you know, [00:45:00] the impact that you have in the journey and the significance that your application has in the review process.
And you know what I’ll tell you, it’s really about timing here. Timing is truly everything in this process, in my opinion, it’s our, you know, our greatest weapon, if you will, because I think that we can all agree that the more time that a student or anybody that’s working on something in life that they can spend proactively working on it, the greater the outcome should be expected, right?
Cause you’re putting your best work and you’re polishing doing a little bit more work and polishing again. And. W one of the most common questions I used to get that Vanderbilt. And before that the university of Georgia and the students would ask me a seniors, you know, what could they be doing to shape the rest?
A’s? And the answer is to start sooner because by starting sooner, you’re going to learn a lot more about where you’re applying and how you can craft each part of your application in essays to that particular school. You know, generic is not a good thing in this process that you really want to make sure you’re, you’re the unique applicant as Brian [00:46:00] kind of hit on earlier.
And what I’ll tell you is that by starting early, by getting an application list in place at an earlier time than when a lot of other applicants are doing it, it’s going to impact everything else that you’re submitting in the future. You know, and one of the things I like to highlight on is do you know, as an applicant, do you know the expectations of the schools that you’re applying to.
Are you applying for an engineering major or are you applying for computer science major? These, you know, well, technically those are the same thing. Excuse me. Uh, but what I will tell you is that different schools have different levels of expectations and to not get too confusing, but sometimes these expectations aren’t necessarily what the schools are putting on you, but what your competition, other students applying or kind of doing in the process.
And I’ll give you an example. You know, when I was at Vanderbilt, we had a lot of students that would apply to our engineering department that were completely unaware that we required calculus and physics in order to be reviewed for that. And if the student didn’t have that, they were [00:47:00] automatically denied on the spot.
And so by becoming more aware of the schools that you’re actually selecting to apply to, you can address your needs and not find out later on in the journey that you’re too late to do something that was required. Um, the same thing can be said for, you know, experiences. You know, a lot of students today are surprised to learn that for computer science, you need to have some coding proficiency to some degree.
Um, the other thing that I’ll say is that this will also kind of organize how you apply to schools. The sooner that you get your list in place, the better off you’re going to be in selecting how to target a school and maybe target a strong word. But I believe in that word, because this is a science, [00:48:00] you know, college admissions is a science and you need strategy behind how you’re applying to a school.
Um, some schools, you will have a better chance of being admitted early action. There are a few schools out there where depending upon the program that you’re applying for regular decision may be your best chance at admission. And you need to know those statistical differences. And that can tell you how you should order which schools you’re applying to first and which schools you’re moving to and focusing on and the latter part of the process.
But you’ve got to be strategic in what I’ll tell you is that, you know, a lot of this culminates into families having success that they are hoping for. And on, fortunately on the reverse side of that, it culminates into families not having success, that they were looking. No, but I think the biggest thing I want you to take away is just by starting early, you give yourself a greater opportunity to be known and recognized.
And the reason for that is, is that we genuinely, and I think Brian might agree with me here. I don’t wanna speak for you, Brian, but we genuinely can recognize the [00:49:00] students that have, you know, spent more time preparing for this. And I can recount, you know, I I’ve read anywhere between 30 and 40,000 applications in my years of doing this.
And it’s been my only career. I can recount the best applicants to this day from their entire application, what stood out about them and those students, the reason they stood out is that, you know, they were able to implement, you know, our institution’s core values into their essays. You know, they were able to show their authentic self, you know, within their application.
And they connected that to our school’s mission, uh, or I should say they connected their profile to our school’s mission. And I think for me, what makes me confident is first understanding that you’re confident with us. Establishing that fit that Brian was talking about. It takes time to understand what’s going to make that impactful moment.
And so what I will tell you, uh, kind of the, uh, the last and kind of final thing that I’ll kind of highlight on is, you know, the significance of utilizing the right resources. You know, I, I do think sometimes [00:50:00] today, and maybe this is a little direct, but I do think sometimes today students tend to rely a little bit too heavily on what friends do or what, you know, neighbors or other family members have done.
And that’s great. That’s a wonderful influence to, you know, become interested in certain schools, but just because it worked three years ago, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s going to be what helps you now. And I think what’s important is to get outside resources from just your school and, and, and just a university, your college’s website.
And I will say something here that is a little bit. But I, I do want you to understand I’m meeting with the greatest respect, the admissions officers while they are wonderful and, and having served as one for my entire career, I’ve loved every minute of it, but you do have to take some thought into the process that they were there to recruit you to a school.
And sometimes you’re going to get a little bit more of an effective answer by connecting with current students and recent graduates of a school to understand what that community is really all about. [00:51:00] And that’s, I think the last piece right there is that you’re not just applying to a school, you’re applying to a community.
And I want you to understand the differences in the information that you can get by who you’re talking to and who you’re working with in the process. And so listen, if you’re working and getting help with this right now, you’ve given yourself a dramatic advance. Because you’re getting additional resources and you’re being able to put those to work.
And ahead of time, when most of your competition hasn’t started, you know, for a lot of the families that are with us this evening that are thinking about perhaps what it might look like to, you know, get some guidance on how putting together a healthy college list should look, you know, I would encourage you to reach out to our colleague Madison harm.
Uh, her contact information is on the screen there in front of you right now. Uh, I do believe in fact, she is on her phone and available to take your calls and she’d be happy to schedule the appointment, to talk with me or one of our other teammates here to give you a better idea of what it would look like to work with someone like Brian.
So we could serve your family in this process. Um, but we do thank you. And I’m going to [00:52:00] certainly turn it back over now because I believe we were going to go to quest. Okay, so now, uh, thank you, uh, for real, and thank you, Brian, for your presentation and your wonderful information. Now moving onto the live Q and a, I’ll go through your questions.
You submitted in the Q and a tab, and I’ll read them aloud before our panelist gives you an answer. Uh, and you can ask both Brian and borough, um, any, um, questions that you may have about, uh, college lists or the admissions process in general. Um, and just make sure, um, so you can submit questions in the Q and a tab that you joined the webinar through the link sent to your email.
If you joined from the webinar landing page, you won’t get all the features of big marker. And so just make sure you, um, join through the link in your email, but we will get started. So I’m going to read a question from the, um, from the poll. So I saw someone at asks, should you tour schools before, after you’re admitted?
And I think that’s a great question. [00:53:00] Yeah. And I think the answer is, is both. Um, and also, uh, Pharaoh. I absolutely agree with your assessment that you mentioned before in terms of how, how much time students spend on their application. Um, but I think it’s both, and also make another comment about, um, what Farrell said, and that is that when you do go on those tours, um, and this used to make me really nervous as an admission officer, but I would say going to the dining hall.
And, and, and have lunch and then go ask some of the students what they think, what they like about the institution, um, what their favorite classes, what their favorite professor is, why they chose, you know, at the time I worked at BU so why they chose Boston university. And again, I didn’t know what they were going to say.
So I was always a little nervous, but you do get that on a, uh, that, you know, unfiltered, um, you know, opinion that can be really helpful. Um, but I think if you go early on, you know, sometimes again, I, I [00:54:00] shared with you that I wiped some schools totally off my list. And so that might be helpful. Um, but then I also went and visited again, some of the schools, um, you know, the schools that I had applied to, to try to make that final decision.
Um, and so I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong. Um, there, um, except that knowing that there’s a potential that you could just totally not like a school and then you don’t have to end up going through the process of applying. Um, so if you have the time you have the ability, um, you know, feel free to go before.
I think that going before you apply as a really good time, because I remember going to tour Yale through the scholars program I was in and Yale is a great school in theory, but I knew I would have hated it there because something about it just felt super business suit and tie. And I am not that type of person.
It was a pretty campus, but it just wasn’t for me. But when I was at Cornell, I was just happy. And Brian, I feel like I saw you at Boston [00:55:00] university. If you were there years, I was doing a tour, I felt like I slept.
So, um, okay. So next question. So building a college list is like its own process in and of itself. So a lot of students in the pre panel questions were just wondering, like, how do you even get started? Where, where do you even begin? And I think that’s really tying to like, how do you know what you even want?
Yeah. It’s so hard. Um, but I think I’m going to answer this in kind of a weird way, which is to say that I think a lot of people approach the college process by kind of reverse engineering where they ultimately want to be, you know, five or six years from like when they graduate from high school. Right.
And so what do they see themselves doing after college? And then they work back to how do I get to that place? And that [00:56:00] can be good for some people, but. For everyone. And, and my point in saying that also is, uh, to make it okay, to not know exactly what you want to do or what you want to be when you quote, unquote, grow up or what you want to do after on.
And then it’s okay to apply undeclared. It’s okay. To change your major in many cases. Um, it’s okay to explore on. And so the bottom line is it’s okay to be like, I have no idea what I want to study or what I want to do or where I want to go the then guess what, here’s a surprise for you, regardless of what anyone says.
Most people feel that exact same way. I think that’s my personal opinion. Um, and so. On the, on the verse side, if you know exactly what you want to do, and you’re like, Brian, I am dead set. I know exactly that I’m going to do this. I’m going to go to med school and I’m going to be on that track. Great.
That’s awesome. I’m excited for you. [00:57:00] Um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s great to have that kind of, you know, um, confidence and, and absolute, uh, about the future, but you don’t have to. And so I think. Thinking about what you like to do, um, and not necessarily, you know, what you have to do, um, sometimes is a good way to start, like thinking about what are those classes that you’ve taken in high school that you really enjoyed?
Um, you know, what was your favorite thing to study? Um, would you want to learn more about, um, you know, and I’m saying this as a liberal arts student, right. I think there’s a lot of the value in the liberal arts. I understand the professional studies are really important as well. Um, but you know, I had some friends that were like philosophy majors and theology majors and art majors, and, you know, everyone would always kind of give them a hard time, like, what are you going to do with philosophy?
And it’s like, I don’t know, but it, you know, what philosophy does help you do, it helps you think, and it helps you be critical about the [00:58:00] world around you. And I. That’s really important as well, and being engaged in the 21st century society that we’re all in. Right. So I think there’s a lot of different, uh, things that that can help.
Um, and then also thinking about again, where you want to be, um, you know, there are many websites, there are many resources out there that kind of help you through this process and kind of help you match with some schools, talk to your school, counselor, um, you know, talk to teachers, um, you know, get advice there.
Um, I think that’s a really good place to start, but think about what do you enjoy doing? What do you want to spend time learning about? What do you want to be reading about what you want to do more of? Um, you know, I think that’s a really good place. Um, definitely. I know when I was, um, applying Cornell was my number is still my number.
My number was, and, um, I was dead set on pre-med medical school. I had my whole plan mapped out. It took [00:59:00] one semester for me realize I hate everything related to the natural sciences and I switched majors immediately. And then, um, but what really made Cornell stand out was that the college of human ecology had everything I wanted to study.
So I knew if I didn’t like my first major, which was public health, I would just keep switching within the college of human ecology until I found something. Cause they had policy, they had fashion design, they had everything that I liked. So I really liked the diversity going onto the next question. Um, when a student is asking, um, uh, uh, what colleges do you consider.
Not, I think I read that wrong. Um, well they’re asking like, um, what schools like have, how do you, how can you tell if a school has like really good support for students with disabilities or just, um, how can you tell if a school is going to be supportive for you in general? Maybe if you don’t have a disability, but just, how do you go about finding which was going to have the [01:00:00] support.
Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, I think going on tour and asking about support services is always a good way to go about that. Um, you know, in support services can mean a lot of different things. I mean, academic, it can be, um, health, it can be, um, you know, mental health. It can be. Um, you know, tutoring, uh, both with faculty and peers, um, you know, both the institution, I worked at an institution I attended had peer tutoring, and I think that’s a really great opportunity to, you know, work with, you know, your fellow classmates at all different hours, right?
The, the college schedule is totally different than the professional schedule, right. So I used to say you, do you work with your teachers? They’re going to be available probably, you know, maybe eight to six or something like that. You can meet with one of your peers and in, uh, the dining hall, literally at 11 o’clock at night and study Spanish, if you want to, or if that’s cool with them.
And that’s cool with you. So, um, you know, you can kind of match that up, um, [01:01:00] asking about that on tours, asking the students, asking the admission officers, asking, um, you know, to get numbers of those professionals that are on campus, um, seeking out that information on the website. Um, that’s usually a good way to go about finding where those support services may be.
Most schools are good about publishing that type of. And, and going off of that since a lot of students are concerned with COVID and everything, or just financial reasons, not being able to tour schools, um, how, what are other ways they can find out about, um, schools, what they had to offer, what the community is like?
Yeah. I think that, you know, a lot, I’ve seen a lot of schools, um, offer far more and really enhance on their virtual offerings, especially at they already, some of them already had them, um, you know, virtual tours and things like that, but many, many schools over the last year and a half didn’t allow students on campus [01:02:00] events.
So they would have, you know, virtual info sessions, virtual tours, virtual, um, program days, virtual classes. What have you. So even for those folks that, you know, may be traveling to this school that you want to apply to is, you know, even a financial burden to even travel there. Um, or it’s just really far away, you know, maybe you’re an international student, um, you know, try to seek out those virtual opportunities.
Um, another thing is that, you know, as mission officers. For the most part, probably the cycle is kind of winding down if it hasn’t already for the fall season, but we typically come out to you. Um, we come to your high school as we come to your regions on to do presentations, to do high school visits, um, to go to college fairs.
Um, sometimes we travel with students. Um, sometimes we travel with faculty, um, attending those types of presentations. Um, you know, it’s not as you don’t get the full feeling of being on the campus. [01:03:00] You get the information brought to you? Um, so it’s kind of second best. Um, so I always really appreciated when people showed up to my high school visit and I wasn’t sitting in the counselor office all by myself.
Um, that was kind of sad. So come visit your college advisor, uh, your college admission officers. When they come visit you at your, at your high school. I definitely got some information. That’s how I found out about Cornell. Cause I didn’t know, it existed. I went to a thing in Atlanta, um, that had a bunch of different schools and Cornell was the one that I just loved.
But um, other ways you can do is going on YouTube. I really like watching tours of places on YouTube. Um, CollegeAdvisor has different webinars where we do, um, virtual tours and the, um, different advisors that go to the school. Let’s talk about what they have to offer. I’m reaching out on like Instagram.
Other social media to current students is a good way. Uh, I know when I was looking at the schools, I was just texting a bunch of people like, Hey, what’s it like, just so I can figure it out. Definitely if possible going on [01:04:00] tour is a really good way. Cause I know when I went on tour at Cornell, I got to talk with the head of admissions over the college of human ecology and what he was saying about the college of human ecology and its mode, like its motivations and mottoes and all the things really resonated with me because it was what I wanted to do.
But I was also able to tie in some of the things he said into my supplement for the Y school questions. So that’s just a good way to get some more information and more reasons to want to go to a school. And then I also put in the chat thread scholars and seed up, uh, you can go to their websites to find out more information, but those can be good ways.
I’m pretty sure they are running thrive, definitely is fully functioning again. Um, those are just good ways to find out more information thrive. You apply to this year, January. If you’re a junior and see that is you can go in eighth grade or you can apply your senior year, it’s just go to the website and then also flying programs.
And going off of that, that was quick ad [01:05:00] break. Uh, Brian, if you see any questions that, um, you want to get to. Yeah. I mean, I just saw one, that was a little bit about kind of, um, you know, my comment about schools being in the top 50, um, you know, being kind of in that reach category. I mean, I think that my point in saying that is that, um, those are all pretty selective schools.
And what I mean by selective is again, they’re accepting less than, and, and in many cases far less than 50% of their applicant pool. Um, and so when you get into that category, I think it’s hard to say that a school is a target school when they are accepting a minority of their applicants. Um, and so, you know, Kind of a, is a personal opinion.
I’ve heard a lot of other people say that as well. Um, it’s just something to, to know that, you know, if, if you’re applying [01:06:00] school only off. Yeah, publish the day mid 20, 25%, even 30% of their students. Uh, you know, that’s, that’s like a reach to me for most, for most folks. Um, and again, we’re looking at, um, it’s not just solely based on academics as well.
Um, so I think that something to consider, um, but you know, again, um, some of these schools may be, you know, within a general target on area for you. Um, so it really kind of varies. Um, We did talk a little bit, I think about, um, you know, the, the, um, disability services and things of that nature. Um, you know, I’m not super well versed in inciting specific schools that cater to any one, um, you know, uh, learning disabilities, speech, disability, what have you, um, for that, I would really reach out to your school counselor, reach out, um, to, you know, [01:07:00] maybe some of the schools that you think of.
Um, I think, you know, college board can be a really great resource to kind of serve schools, um, and also. I don’t have a problem with us news and world report in terms of them reporting facts and figures. Um, I’m just not a big fan of the whole ranking system to begin with, um, for a variety of different reasons.
Um, you know, I think it puts a little bit too much pressure on going to that top tier. Uh, and that’s part of my quote, that’s part of my feeling about, you know, kind of reach schools being in the top 50, right. I mean, there are a lot of really good schools that, you know, aren’t even in that quote unquote list.
Um, so again, it’s, it’s all about fit for the individual. Um, but that’s neither here or there. We don’t have to go down that rabbit hole of, of, uh, rankings and all of that good stuff. So
did you have some.[01:08:00]
Trying to meet myself. Um, yeah. I just want to echo kind of what Brian’s saying there it’s, you know, I think what’s so important is to also recognize the global brand recognition that, that, you know, these schools carry now. I mean, um, you know, what I didn’t share earlier is that when I was at Vanderbilt, I was actually their chief of international admissions.
And, you know, I would travel the world recruiting students, and I would have, you know, other schools that weren’t in the top 30 top 40 schools. And they had 500 people, you know, in a, in an auditorium, in a different country motivated about that school that was on that same trip with me. And certain, some of the students were also coming to see me at Vanderbilt, but they were also, you know, nailing at other school visits as well.
And I think you got to look at it from that global perspective. And I think going and building off of what Brian was saying, You know, just because of school may not be overall ranked as in the top, you know, 25 or top 30. That doesn’t mean their programs. Aren’t, you know, some of the top programs in the country, [01:09:00] you know, Babson is a very popular school and, uh, for entrepreneurship and, and typically when I, I personally refer to Babson is probably the best entrepreneurial program in the country.
And people go, where’s Babson, what’s Babson, who’s Babson. And I’m like, this is why we have to start talking. Right. And so that’s why I think it becomes an exact, what Brian said. It’s like doing your research, you know, getting those conversations going about what is you’re generally looking for in a school.
And let that lead you into what schools end up on your list. Not, not by playing the rank game from us news and world report. And I’ll give you one other tidbit of information here. Uh, when I was, uh, when I was at Vanderbilt, we, uh, for three years running, we were ranked the happiest student body in the country, right.
They finally put out a poll to the student body, not a single person, ever got an email, asking them or polling them about their experience. So Vanderbilt never had an answer as to why we’ve ranked the number one. You’re the happy student body in the country never had an answer for [01:10:00] it. Cause no one claimed to have been pulled for.
Wow. Yes. So, um, definitely don’t focus on the numbers. They don’t really matter numbers and names of school don’t matter at the end of the day. Cause if you, even, if you get into the top school, if you had nothing that you liked there, you don’t like the vibe, your, your feelings about the school aren’t gonna make you do well.
But if you really enjoy a school, you’re going to be more involved. That’s what’s really going to have the most impact. So what I tell my clients or students in general, um, when you’re looking at schools to think about, um, what’s gonna make you the happiest. And if you like, and this is just a good thing, not every school has the white school question, but if you.
If you were to say, have the white school question for all of your schools. Um, if you can only write two sentences about that school, maybe rethink why you’re applying there, because you should have a lot to say about a school. You should run out of word count. When a school is asking you, why you want to come there, [01:11:00] you should know every, like you should be imagining, like, where are you going to be doing there?
Where are you going to see you? Not even what you’re just going to be doing in the classroom. But what about around campus? What about off campus? Thinking about every aspect of college that’s relevant and important to you and that’s, what’s really gonna make the college experience. Um, really good. Cause like there’s stuff about Cornell that I didn’t even know existed.
Um, I switched majors, so I’m re finding out stuff, but. It’s like, there’s so many cool different things about this. Like I just found out my advisor does the exact research that I want to do. I didn’t even know that like that those are the little things that are going to make the difference about a school, um, at the end of the day, rather than what the name of the school is.
And so, um, yeah, you should just have a lot to say about why you want to go to a school when you’re applying. Um, if I could add emojis, um, here I would heart that like a hundred million times, uh, because there’s, it’s so true. Um, we had, uh, what [01:12:00] we called the Y BU at Boston university. And, you know, again, if you wrote one sentence or God forbid put another school in the Y BU on it, usually didn’t reflect, um, too well on, on your emission chances.
And another tidbit is if you can take XYZ school out of that and put another school in, and it still makes sense. Um, you also have an answer to the question. Um, so it should be specific to the school that you’re applying to. So again, um, A huge fan of Boston, love Boston, Boston native. Um, but it’s not enough to say I want to go to school in Boston because you want to go to Fenway park and walk the freedom trail and all of those things, great things.
Both of them truly mean it. Um, but you know, uh, there’s more to go into XYZ school in Boston and then just. And I think this should probably be another webinar, but one words had tidbit, even with the majors, uh, at [01:13:00] a school, a biology program at state Cornell is not going to be the exact same as a biology program at Yale.
Because depending on if it’s a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, that’s going to determine what sort of classes, what professors you have, what the learning outcomes are. So like one school may focus on just understanding biology. Another school may focus on understanding how to apply the concept.
So thinking about like how you want to learn, how you want to apply the knowledge that you learned later on, that’s just a good way to also think about like, are you going to fit at this school? Is it going to give you, what is it going to get? What it’s supposed to gave as they say on Instagram? Um, that’s just, that’s like really deep diving, but that is just another way, um, to look into, see if a school is really gonna, um, give you everything that you want, like looking at how their program is.
And that’s where arts is more humanities writing. Bachelors of science is more like stem statistics. Uh, [01:14:00] though you can still have a good mixture of humanities, liberal arts or stem, et cetera. Um, it’s just more leaning one way or the other. And I think on that note, um, Brian, for out, if you have any last notes, um, before we end the webinar, we do, we did go over just a smidge
again, I’ll, I’ll just leave you this. You know, a lot of folks are asking some questions. These are my opinions, and it’s, it’s an individual process. Um, you know, every process is going to be different for every person. They’re going to find their own way. Um, I wish you the best of luck in the process, but I also truly believe that, um, you know, the emission folks, your school counselors, they’re there to help you in this process.
So take advantage.
Okay. So that is the end of our webinar. Thank you to our panelists. And thank you everyone for coming out tonight. I hope you enjoy learning about building your college list and learning about the college [01:15:00] admissions process as an overview, a bit broad. Um, so here’s the rest of our November series, where we’re going to be talking about taking your application to the next level.
We had a bunch of webinars with admissions officers, as well as other aspects of the application process and how to really solidify the different parts of them. And next month, we will be doing a bit more of like a, like a last stretch sort of thing. And then also if you’re an underclassmen, uh, getting started early and then look out for even later, um, webinars in the upcoming year, because those are really going to be a deeper dive into picking the right school for yourself and knowing what you want.
Uh, and then we also have our, um, our other webinars from past. Uh, and then we have our blog and other resources and then again, our amazing advisors that college advisors and admissions officers. So, yeah. So, um, thank you everyone. And good night.