Admissions Officer Advice: What Can I Do Boost My Chances?

Former Admissions Expert Aya will share her insider perspective on what will have the biggest impact on your application in the shortest period of time.

Date 12/16/2021
Duration 54:54

Webinar Transcription

2021-12-16 Admissions Officer Advice: What Can I Do Boost My Chances?

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar: AO Advice – What Can I Do Last Minute to Boost My Chances. To orient everyone with the webinars timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in the live Q a. On the sidebar, you can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. Good evening or good morning and good afternoon, based on where you are in the country of the world. Uh, I’m Aya Waller-Bey and I am an AO that works with CollegeAdvisor. Um, a little bit about me. Um, so I graduated from Georgetownin Washington, DC.

Where I studied sociology. Uh, I then worked as an admissions officer [00:01:00] there and coordinated the multicultural recruitment for the university. I then went on to get my masters, um, at the university of Cambridge, in England, as a recipient of the gates Cambridge scholarship, which was a life-changing experience.

And there I study education and now I’m getting my PhD. And sociology at the university of Michigan Ann Arbor go blue, um, where I actually studied college admissions for my research. So I’ve seen how the sausage is made. Um, and now I get to study it as a researcher and also get to advise and support like amazing, talented young people with CollegeAdvisor.

So super excited to be here and to, uh, present an answer to your question. Nice students are so lucky to have you Aja you’re so experienced and you have the research background. That’s amazing. Um, we will move into the Guinness starting. We’re going to move into our first poll for our presentation. So we want to get a sense of [00:02:00] what grade are you in?

So go ahead and mark your response in the poll and we’ll start to see them come in.

All right here comes the responses.

So I, it tell us a little bit, like what, what made you decide to pursue a doctoral degree? Such an advanced degree? Yes, that’s a great question. So I always, so in fact, I’m quoted in several. Like publication saying, I want to be Oprah with a PhD. So I’ve always enjoyed connecting with people in storytelling, but I also wanted to be able to contribute to the literature, the scholarship, the books that we all read and engage and actually, you know, Help to kind of make impact, but through scholarships.

So it’s something that had been on my heart. I [00:03:00] forgot to mention this earlier. I’m a first generation college student also. So I was the first person in my family to go to college. Um, so to now be in a PhD program and studying something as rigorous as sociology has been both challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to like publish my research and to have books that you all can read. Good. Good. I definitely look forward to reading, um, some of your work. And then also I got to check out some of your work you’ve already been able to publish. That’s awesome. So thinking of, so going back to our poll, um, about most of our participants this evening are 11th and 12th grade students.

We have a small percentage of students who are in ninth grade. So one marked other, but for the most part, we have 11th and 12th grade students here. All right. So with that, I will turn it back over to you to get us started in our presentation. Fantastic. Right. So again, this conversation is about what we can do last minute to boost our chances are your [00:04:00] Kansas, um, to get accepted.

So we have juniors and seniors and ninth grader in a student who marked other. Um, so for seniors, this information, that’s going to be incredibly timely. Um, and then for our juniors, these are things for you to continue to think through as you navigate the college admissions process. So. This first lie, you know, how much time is left until regular decision applications are due.

So I think historically, and even, you know, we hear most often that January 1st is the deadline for regular decision. Uh, while that may be true for a number of universities, Reverend decision dialyze actually can range and can occur throughout the month of January. So. You have institutions like Boston university, um, whose regular decision is actually January 4th.

And then for places like my Alma mater Georgetown university, regular decision is actually January 10th. So because of this variability, it’s really important to verify the regular decision deadline for the schools on your list. And that can be done simply [00:05:00] by visiting the admissions website. Definitely keep that in mind.

Again, people are often aiming for that January 1st, but they can vary. I mean, there, their schools with January 2nd deadline is January 3rd. And again, you have some that are a little later in that month. So keep that in mind as you prepare your applications. So given that what aspects of the application can still be adjusted and the last weeks before they’re due.

Now, this is a really interesting question. Um, Yeah, because, you know, you want to make sure that you are not procrastinating, right? So you want to make sure you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to prepare a really high quality application. What given that what you have in your control as first as the ability to frame your extracurricular activities, you know, including summer and out of school experiences.

So you really want to, you know, if you’re working on your application, there’s [00:06:00] still opportunity to organize that activities list. So you can really capture. Activities and, and things that you’re doing to have the most impact. So you want to make sure that you are using action words that describe your impact, almost thinking of it as a resume.

Right. So instead of, you know, I was a part of, you know, thinking about I organized, I hosted, I collaborate. Then supplemental essays, right? So there’s always an opportunity before, you know, those last few weeks before the applications are due to be thinking through your supplemental essays, editing them, um, you know, making sure that you are most importantly answering the question.

I was trying to drive that home with students that I work with for supplemental essays answering the question is the most important thing. That’s your bread and. And then your personal statements. Well, I think person statement should be written as early as you can write them. There’s still opportunities to tweak them and to just get proofread and make sure that you are sharing a [00:07:00] narrative that indicates who you are and the type of student and community member you will be at your respective institution.

Um, so proofreading, uh, is a huge, huge, huge piece to this puzzle. So I have this funny example here that was actually shared with me my first, uh, week, while, uh, when I was an admissions officer at Georgetown. So the example is, you know, I enjoy torturing animals. I have volunteer at torturing animals at a local shelter since eighth grade.

And the experience solidified my desire to become a veterinarian. Now clearly the student does not, well, I will hope does not enjoy torturing animals. Um, but again, you can prove you can edit something. You can do work. However torturing is spelled correctly here. Right? So proofreading it’s critical because the student says she, they, they meant to say that they enjoy training animals.

Right. And they volunteer training animals at a [00:08:00] local shelter, but here you reach torture. So again, so incredibly important to ensure that you are. Who’s reading your essays and that you showed them a family, friends, teachers, et cetera. And then last I have a little abstract here and we’ll talk more about, this is performance on exams in classes and current semester, right?

So what you have control over is what’s happening now, right? You can’t go back in time and change your trends. But, you know, making sure you are working hard in the courses that you are in now, to make sure you have the strongest grade to help make sure you have the strongest GPA for this semester before you actually apply.

Right? Because colleges and universities are going to look at this, this semester, this transcript. So if you have, you know, you want to make sure that you’re ending the semester strong that you’re doing well in those final exams, as you wrap out the semester.

So what aspects of the [00:09:00] application cannot be adjusted at this point before applications are due. Now you have the academic transcript, which there’s an asterisks, cause we’re going to talk a little bit more about that. Um, and you have, you know, at this point, teachers in counselor letters of recommendations, They’re either written at this point or at least they should be.

Um, and if there are, um, if they’re not written, there’s really nothing. There isn’t much you can change about, um, you know, your performance in a course, or, um, how you engage with the teacher and costs are at, at this stage, right at, by this point, they develop a understanding about who you are, you know, um, what your contributions, right?

And also these are things you do not, I can not stress this. Want to wait to do at the last minute. Right? So you really want to have letters of recommendation secure and even submit it into, you know, the common app portal as early as you can, you know, in September and October and then [00:10:00] standardized test scores.

Right? So if you’re a week from the application submission, you, there’s nothing you could do as far as scenarios, tasks, like whatever tests you have taken at that time. What you’re allowed to submit or not submit depending on if the school is testing optional testing blind. Right. So there’s some things that you’ve like you would have already done and they are kind of a part of the application.

Right. So when you want to do then is to prioritize things that you can control. Right. So what can you then control? So, um, So let me just make sure. Yeah. So, uh, other things can still be made changes that could still be may. What do you think has the greatest impact? So, you know, I argue. And I, I think my colleagues will also argue this, but the most important aspect of the college application is the high school district school transfer.

Right? Again, while you don’t have a time machine, you can not retake the AP bio [00:11:00] exam. And I meant this as an a course, not the actual AP exam. You can’t, you know, earn 94 versus 82. You can still try your best to finish the semester strong. Transcripts are the bread and butter. I, in my experience, they hold the most weight in college admissions decisions.

So you want to make sure that you are doing your best in your classes, right? Also colleges and universities really like to see upward trajectories. So have your grades on your transcript in your first semester of your senior year are higher than your grades from the previous semester, that will signal that you can handle more rigorous courses, right?

So we know sometimes students may start off their freshman in high school. It’s a different type of culture. Different level of rigor, different level of independence that they may not have had during their middle school experience. So perhaps they don’t have all A’s the first semester, right? They have BS maybe even a few CS.

Right? Well, most they get their berries in order every semester they update, they progress. So by the [00:12:00] time they’re a sophomore, you know, they’re knocking it out of the park. Colleges love to see that. Right. So again, you want to make sure you are performing as well as you can. And the courses that you were currently enrolled.

Okay. So we are going to go into our next poll for this evening. So we want to know, you know, speaking of how to boost your chances, where are you in the hellish application? I should say college, not scholarship college application process. Where are you at in the college application process? So have you, maybe you haven’t started, maybe you’re, you’re doing some research, maybe you’re working on essay getting your application material together, or you’re almost done.

So again, where are you at in the college not scholarship application process and looks like we have a [00:13:00] few of our participants that are in the research process. So they’re researching their school. We have some that are getting their application materials. Some that haven’t started, which I would imagine there’s probably some of our students who are not seniors at the moment.

Um, and then we have some that are almost done. So that’s really, really great to see. But majority of the participants tonight are in there currently researching their schools and congrats to the students who are almost done with their applications. Turn it back over to you. Perfect. Okay. So I know there are a lot of words in this slide.

So forgive me for that. So how can students revise their essays to make them as strong as possible? So providing essays, read an essay. It’s like my favorite thing in a world. I mean, I’m getting a PhD. All I do is write. Um, but here are a few tips. Um, I want you to kind of think about, um, [00:14:00] oh wait, this says essays.

I think, um, this is actually activities list. Here. Yeah. So one thing to really think about as you are, I think the question doesn’t align with the actual, um, the language here, but one thing we want to keep in mind when we are, um, organizing our activities list, um, You want to make sure your activity list almost operates like a high school resume.

So, you know, consequently, you want to show impact and outcome. So this can be done, even if it’s an activity that you recently started. So evidence of impact and positive influence on others and demonstrate a concern for others is really what you want to make sure you can reveal when you are writing your activities.

Enlisting your extracurricular activities. So you want to quantify, quantify. Okay. When you’re thinking about your activity list, you want to say how many, how often and how much [00:15:00] that is like really critical to, um, writing activities list, because you want to make sure that you are just not, um, showing that you joined 1,001 clubs just to be a member to beef up your resume.

Right? If you can’t show what you’ve done, the impact that you’ve made in your community, it’s really not going to. Kind of demonstrate a sustained engagement. Right. Um, so also in thinking about your achievement, you want to create context, right? So when you’re writing your activities list, if you’re selected for a program, say from what was the sample size, right.

So select it as one of 12 students in the district. Right? So specified. You also want to list activities in order of importance to you. So you want to consider what you find most impactful, meaningful, and demonstrate, sustained engagement, right? Again, um, you really just want to show like, this is just something that you’ve been committed to for quite some time.

And if it’s not something you’ve been a part of for multiple years, still show how [00:16:00] you’re contributing and how you’re making impact. So that’s super important. Um, And then, you know, also add jobs and work experiences, including, you know, babysitting and service roles too. I think so many times students think, oh, colleges don’t care that I babysit my younger siblings after school or college just don’t care that I’ve been a Starbucks.

They’ll restate. It’s so important. You know, if you’re spending time, you know, outside of the classroom, you know, working with a sibling and that’s taken a multiple hours of your day, that is showing that, okay, you can’t, this student could not be a part of 101 club because you’re actually, there are other responsibilities that they’re doing, right.

So we make sure you include those work positions and that includes your summer jobs as well as other, you know, maybe you’re a bagger at a grocery store at that include that that’s. And then here, you know, on the screen, I have an example, um, of like an activity, right? So say you were a member of the finance [00:17:00] club and your role as president, uh, both 11 and 12th grade.

And to describe this, you know, this activity and say the common app instructing weekly senior workshops on financial aid. Top classes and meanings of financial aid scholarships in debt for approximately 50 students. Right. So you’re showing how often you’ve done something, what exactly you done, and then the impact, like who did you reach the reaches approximately 50 students, right?

So this has given you a way to be able to, um, explain and describe some of those activities.

So, um, what. So this question, you know, wondering kind of what can you do? Um, what can you be thinking about one week before somebody, your application? So, I mean, by the point you were at, um, you know, one week out, there is a lot of, you know, work that has already been put in, so you might be running on E [00:18:00] um, so you want to create a checklist, you know, did I complete all of my essays?

Check. Did I proof read those essays? Right. Did you write about torture animals or did you write about training them? Um, did you allow someone else to proofread your essays incredibly important? You know, digital counselor and letter writer submit their recommended. Is your transcript uploaded and that in transcription transcripts are uploaded by your concert, right.

So that they upload their, your official transcripts. So that’s something your cost was do, did you complete your activities list and then did you include your awards? So what you want to do is just create a checklist, just making sure you hit all the boxes, right. And I’m sure those letters are. Make sure that you proof read your materials, you know, double check that your concerts and teachers have submitted their materials.

So that’s really at the one week part, things should be written. Things should be compiled. You know, at this point you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time kind of reworking things.[00:19:00]

So w what’s your students be thinking about 48 hours before? So many of the applications, you know, 48 hours, you know, At that point, there’s very limited things. Right? So you want to think about, you know, I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do, right. It’s it’s time to submit at that point. You really want to make sure, um, that you have, um, you know, that again, double check that list and just make sure that you have your materials loaded.

Okay. So you really, there’s really not much to do you want to be able to be able to take a breather by that point? So you don’t want to. B. So I’m kind of stressed out, uh, at that time.

One second

slides are moving. Okay. Um, so, uh, you want to, this is a [00:20:00] really important question, right? So as a former AOL, you know, What can I, what can I do? What, like, what do I, what do I look for as it as, uh, an application? So, um, one thing that is incredibly important is we want to make sure that as students are taking the most rigorous courses available to them, um, and this is a really important piece.

And I used the words available to them on purpose. Not all schools are created equally in this country in abroad, right? So some students have access to the API. Um, you know, curriculum, some people have AP courses, dual enrollment. There are students who attend schools where they don’t have AP courses, right?

So whatever the most rigorous courses that you have available to them, you want to make sure that you are taking that colleges want to see that you’re challenging yourself and that, you know, courses are only going to get more challenging as you proceed to the university. Right? So they want to make sure that you’re pushing yourself.

Uh, also things that really kind of stood out to me and what I [00:21:00] look for with students who show leadership inside and outside the classroom. Right. So students who, um, were, you know, perhaps they, you know, were on the finance club or in the French club. Right. But like, what did they do outside of the classroom?

How did they impact their community? Um, how do they make a difference? And that could be. You could be, you know, babysitting younger siblings, teaching people, your community, how to read English. I mean, the list goes on, but sewing, the sustained engagement is just really, really important. And that brings to the next point, right.

Showing sustained engagement. Okay. So showing that you could be committed to something, uh, cause a person, um, you know, showing that you can really, uh, contribute to a. A compelling personal narrative now compelling personal narrative. Um, it does not mean, you know, a struggle narrative and this is actually the work that I do in my own research.

He doesn’t mean a struggle narrative. It just shows that someone who’s able to. Take lived [00:22:00] experiences and be able to kind of talk about them in a thoughtful way. Um, but they are able to demonstrate concern from others where they’re able to kind of be reflective and introspective. That is a compelling narrative for.

Um, students who reflect value alignment. So, you know, when thinking about, you know, save, you’re applying to a university who says, like, we really like global thinking global minded students, right? So students who are showing this value alignment, you know, whether it’s they’ve done study abroad programs are ready or they expressed an interested hap uh, to, uh, take on a profession that will make them more, uh, global, a desire to study abroad, a student who’s shown that they’ve done some homework, right.

And evaluate. As soon as you take advantage of summer opportunities also. So what are you doing over the summer? Right? That is incredibly important. Now that could be again, a summer job at summer camp. Um, It could be babysitting siblings, you know, it could be internship, right. Just showing, being able to show, [00:23:00] what did you do over the summer?

How, how were you using this time that you had, were you taking more courses? Some people do dual enrollment, um, you know, did you vacation with your family? You know, what are you doing during the summer? And then a clear sense of purpose and goals. So, you know, I always say, you know, people ask, oh, what do you want to be when you grow up?

You really don’t know at 16 or 1700. And there’s so much life happens that you begin to learn and grow as time progresses. Right. Um, so, you know, students who have a vision, uh, students who can say, you know, even though we know these things change, say like, oh, one’s important for me to, you know, I want to be a lawyer because I’m interested in civil rights law, right.

Showing just like a clear purpose. Um, it’s important. So those are some of the things that. Then I looked for an application and you will notice that there’s something on here and that standardized tests. Um, that is not something that I prioritized, um, [00:24:00] when I looked for, uh, an applicant. So, and we can perhaps chat more about that.

The QA, all right, now this list looks very long, so don’t be, don’t be intimidated, but I think it’s an incredibly important, um, Yeah. So, so what are the biggest red flags on an application? All right. So firstly, incomplete applications, you would think that you can’t even submit an incomplete application, but in places like Georgetown, where we have on a private application, um, we will see it, um, or people will write sentences and just won’t finish them.

So we’re at flat. Downward trajectory and graze unexplained. Right? So I spent, you know, a good amount of time earlier talking about the ways that upward trajectories is so important is something that is so valuable and something really, um, appreciate it when looking at applications. So when we see a big dip, you know, say you start taking more AP courses in your grades, plummet, [00:25:00] we’re going to my food.

The student is kind of challenging, was like cha um, struggling with. If it’s not explained now, there is a host of reasons that grades, dip, I mean, look the pandemic, um, transition from in-person to external health, you know, parents, um, you know, sickness, there is a host of reasons, right? So you want to make sure you explain that if it’s unexplained, we’re just going to think that the student can handle these particular.

You wouldn’t think people still do this in 2021, but it still occurs naming the wrong school and essays. Right. So if you’re applying to Swarthmore college, you know, you want to make sure you are not name dropping Barnard, right? So you just want to make sure you’re proofreading. So you are not naming the wrong schools, wrong major named.

So this might seem like a minor one, but again, at Georgetown, our, we don’t have a political science. And by wheat, the university, I know you’re working for [00:26:00] sure, but Georgetown does not have a political science major. The major is called government. Right? So just a little bit of research. We’ll let you know that that, that major doesn’t exist.

Right. So schools have different ways that they named their majors. Right? So just do a little homework, not addressing essay prompts, critical, I guess, especially in supplemental essays. You want to make sure that you are addressing essay prompts, right? If it’s asking you to talk about. Uh, uh, extracurricular activity that stood out to you and why it’s important, you know, don’t want to rent and start talking about, you know, why you, Penn is your first choice, right?

You want to make sure you answer the question that is being posed. Um, another red flag essays read like written by a parent teacher or independent counselor. So if the essay is so polished and it looked like I could have submitted it to academic journal, that’s a red flag, right? If I can’t hear a student’s voice and some students are incredibly.

Strong writers, but I know a student voice when I read one. [00:27:00] And if it just feels like a, you know, a Russian bot wrote it, red flag, um, if a school requires an interview or it gives you an opportunity arriving late to interviews is a, um, a red flag, right? So you want to make sure that you’re writing on time, if you can early.

Um, it just makes sure that, you know, you are putting your best foot forward. In writing essays, use of slurs about individuals or communities and essays. It should go without saying that you don’t want to be offensive, um, or obscene in an essay, but, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen a great deal of, you know, interesting things during my time.

So again, you want to be respectful, even if you’re critiquing a system or organization, you know, that that happens, but you don’t want to be obscene. This will typos and grammatical errors. You know, again, we kind of talked about the torture versus training situation, but also just generally just things have jumbled, you know, no spaces, you know, it just, it looks like [00:28:00] it was rushed.

Nope. Extracurricular activities or jobs list it. So like none. Cause then it’s like, okay, how are you spending your time outside of the classroom? You know, let us know something. If we can’t tell that you have any type of engagement with or any passions, certainly a red flag. Uh, activities joined only in junior, senior year, without explanation.

Again, it looks like a re like you’re beefing up your resume to apply for college. Right? So we kind of need to know more. Maybe again, you were working a lot of hours or you were there, you know, there are special reasons, but everyone has a story, but you have to explain those types of things. Okay. Um, last two teacher letters of recommendations that student is not collaborative, unkind, or just respectful.

You know, we ask a letter writer, you know, so a teacher that, um, who knows you, or, you know, well, a teacher that you think would write a favorable letter of recommendation and also a teacher who’s in an area, a [00:29:00] discipline or field that responds to your future major aspirations. Um, if a teacher says that you you’re disrespectful or unkind, that is, that is a red flag.

I don’t, I couldn’t think of any university who would admit a student, if a teacher. Um, unkind or disrespectful and then just disciplinary problems, especially with that explanation as well. You know, uh, if you’ve been expelled a history of plagiarism violence within a school, that those are certainly a red red flags for, uh, an applications for.

Okay, so another word he’s wide against to me. Um, so what makes an excellent application? So I told you what the red flags are, but let’s look more at the green flags. So one word comes to mind compelling. And again, compelling for me really means a student who, you know, as well-rounded. [00:30:00] Um, who’s demonstrated a strong academic performance in the classroom taking advantage of intellectual and academic opportunities while also demonstrating a cursor or others.

Right? And this concern for others piece, I want to be clear your desire. You could want to work on wall street and, and major in finance, into work. School of business become an investment banker, make money, and, you know, You know, invest like that can be your end goal. That’s okay too. But a demonstrated concern for others is just someone who shows that they’re still interested in a community that they, they recognize that we are all interconnected in some way.

So they are, they’re engaged. They are passionate, you know, they’re participating, they’re collaborative, you know, thinking about those qualities. Um, the students who still, again, stand out to me and my tenure. Demonstrate a resource. One is compassion, academic excellence, integrity, and a commitment to service.

Right. And again, service looks in so many different ways, but just [00:31:00] making sure if someone is just, you know, not kind of narrowly minded, like focused on self, right? Because a university is looking for someone who’s going to contribute to their campus community. Um, and, and, and also something to think about, you know, students who come from well-resourced family.

And wanted to study finance, but still volunteer to teach financial literacy and holding to middle school students and underserved communities. Right? So there are students who come from incredibly well-resourced families, and yet there was still this desire to like give back. And then you have students who came from less resource families who spent majority of the time babysitting siblings or helping on a family farm, but learn hackle is by YouTube because there’s food in.

You know, those are the students who I found incredibly compelling. So students who are ambitious, creative show, determination and commitment and drive, those were some of the factors that make an excellent application.

[00:32:00] And then, you know, so given us, you know, what last advice would you give to students who want to boost their chances last minute? You know, see previous lives. Given a host of kind of resources, whether it’s, you know, making sure you’re responding to the actual questions, you know, spending time on that, you know, extracurricular lists, making sure you’re quantifying your impact.

Um, double checking, creating a list and just making sure that you were responding, um, to, you know, uh, you know, making sure that you are completing all the pieces of the application. So it’s not a last minute ditch effort. Proof reading, uh, and performing strongly in the courses that you are currently enrolled in.

So, um, yeah, I hope that you found that advice helpful and I look forward to taking questions. Okay. Thank you so much. So that actually concludes the presentation portion of this webinar. Um, I hope you all [00:33:00] found the information very helpful, and just a reminder that you can download the slides from the.

And the handouts tab. Now we’re going to move on to the live Q and a. I will read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat so that you can see them. And then I’ll read them out loud before our panelists answers, um, as a heads up your Q and a tab, if it’s not working, just make sure that you just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page.

Okay. So going into our first question that I see over here from our live Q and a, um, someone asks, what are some of the awards that you have seen on applications? Yeah, so awards vary greatly. I mean, uh, awards that I’ve seen have been everything from a tennis championship. Um, then a student at one, because they were, you know, incredibly skilled in tennis, like a state level [00:34:00] champion.

I’ve seen student as a win, um, awards such as like poetry competitions, whether it was within their school or like in a local context, I’ve seen students receive like state honors because of like service and academic excellence, uh, students who participated like BPA or business professionals of America or DECA or other school-based programs, maybe their team was second place, or maybe they won first place or second place in a competition.

So awards really bury they their worst when people’s like clubs and activities, their wars for sports, there’s a wars and honors for service commitments that they may be recognized and their, their school local government, or sometimes state level. So the wars really vary. Thank you. Okay. Our next question is how do we get, or send transcripts to a college or university?

So your counselor uploads those transcripts. So your [00:35:00] counselor high school counselor, it’s responsible for submitting your official transcripts to your college or universities. So that’s not something that you physically do. That is something that your, your counselor at your high school will do. Okay, great.

Um, do you think of, um, so this next question is, uh, do you think of AP dual enrollment. And on wraps equally, do they have the same weight when, when you review the application? Thank you for that question. So I’m actually less familiar with OnRamps. However, from my experience with AP and dual credit, I actually think they are, they are definitely weighed differently.

So some universities actually see, um, particularly I’m thinking about the select institutions that I’ve worked with. See dual enrollment, um, As just kind of additional, uh, kind of rigor, however, because those courses are technically kind of [00:36:00] like collegiate, um, courses, uh, less, they appear on your high school transcript.

Uh, they really don’t kind of add any particularly kind of value to the application. However, AP. Courses and an AP exams, I think have more visibility, uh, and then that you can actually get credit at some universities. If you have a four or five, you can kind of test out some of those first year kind of baseline courses.

So, um, I think AP and dual Roman actually serve different purposes. Uh, and I think colleges, universities have a more. I think they’re more familiar with the consistency of AP courses because dual enrollment varies so widely based on the type of institution that is more variable. Uh, and I think AP courses are more like, you’re more likely to, uh, if you perform well on the AP exams, you’re more likely to get credit for those and be able to test out or opt out of some courses in a ways that I don’t think, uh, [00:37:00] most colleges university.

Allow students to use dual to Roman for that purpose.

All right. Moving on to the next question and I want to make sure you get a sip of water too, cause we have a, Oop, you have a few questions. Um, I’ll read through this one. Um, as you get a sip of water, um, let’s see. So this question is what would a great why us S. Look like, or what is a great wise essay look like?

Um, and then, yeah, so just wanted to know more, just like, yeah, just, can you share like some examples as we know, many colleges typically will ask that question. So what recommendations do you have for our participants? Great question. So I always tell folks that when is a, why us think about people in place?

I think those are the two factors that you want to make sure you hit. So in thinking about people, you want to think about what type, um, what individuals, so they could be faculty [00:38:00] members. Uh, the types of students at the university is known for, um, maybe a director of a initiative or program, you know, being able to name like, I want to go to this institution because this person is there.

This person is not at this other school that this is, this person is here. So people and then place. Right? So Y what about living in Boston? You know, we’ll help you reach some of your goals, right? So maybe, um, Boston has access to a certain type of population that you always wanted to do research with. Uh, maybe there are centers in that particular area.

Right. So think about people in place, right. And also hit, you know, think about it like a multi-level kind of approach. Right? So you want to think about. The people at the school. So again, professors, the types of students you want to think about, um, like units and, uh, courses and initiatives. So like the academic space, but maybe there is this, the school is known for this particular type of [00:39:00] class.

Or this class is framed in a unique way at this school, or maybe the school has a, a, a core curriculum that other schools don’t have. So you want to be specific there. You want to think about students and student life, right. So think about the student level. What’s the culture. What type of student does his university usually attract the end?

I think about my Alma mater where students are very simply engaged because. It’s located in Washington DC. Right? So you want to think about people in place is what I tell people and try to hit these multi-level. You want to think about the physical location geographically, where it is, want to talk about the, the professors.

Uh, you want to talk about the students and then you want to talk about initiatives or departments or units on the campus that you want to be a part of. Nice. Nice. Very helpful. So it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t sound generic at all. It should be to that university as much as you can. I mean, there’s only so much you can research, um, and all the struggles have study abroad [00:40:00] programs.

I tell people this all seals have, you know, universities have study abroad programs. You know, saying you want to study abroad, go to a school because the study abroad is like, you can go anywhere and do that. So there’s, there is a lot of overlap. I don’t want to act like the, all the schools are so niche.

They almost start to seem like, you know, one another, but there are certain people and professors, faculty that of course are not at other places. There are certain cities that are more conducive to certain type of work, you know, New York being like the financial hub. So there’s a way to make the case for the school that you want to apply.

Um, I’m kind of going to refer for kind of reframe one of these questions, but, um, is it, does it look bad? Like if a student maybe took a class, took AP classes their whole junior year, and then, you know, for perhaps their senior year, they took less AP classes. How does that look on the admission officer?

Like how do they view that if they took fewer? Yeah, so they took fewer AP classes and honors classes, 11th grade, they took a lot. You know, 12th [00:41:00] grade, they didn’t take as, you know, as many rigorous courses as you kind of talked about a little bit earlier, you know, it’s hard to say it like matter of factly because there, this question requires a little bit more context.

So if a student say took, you know, maybe they could take AP capitalists their junior year, you know, AB um, And then they decided to not take like BC. They went stats for senior year, but they were interested in majoring in a math or stem based kind of major. That would be, uh, that would give a red flag because you know, admissions officers will want to know why you didn’t complete the.

Um, however, you know, if a student, you know, wants to study English and they took some AP courses in my AP bio junior year, and then their senior year, they, they didn’t, you know, take AP chem or they didn’t, you know, take an AP course and they took another. But their intended major is English that that’s like, [00:42:00] okay.

Right. So it really, it really depends on your major. And also just being able to kind of indicate like why. Uh, so it’s hard to say like definitively, if it was. Badly again. You want to try to challenge yourself to take the courses that are, uh, that are available to you, but it also should make sense for your, your, your academic program.

Right? So if you don’t want to study a science or stem based program and you choose not to take AP bio your senior year, even though your school offers AP bio, that is okay. If you were interested in studying. You know, no, one’s gonna be like, oh my God, you didn’t take AP bio, but do you want to study government?

And that that’s okay. So it really kind of depends on your attended major, um, to, to be able to say like for a matter of fact, that can DEQ in the application process. Great. Really great response. Um, thank you for sharing that. We’re going to take a slight little pause and our questions and answers so that I can share with you all a little bit more about CollegeAdvisor.[00:43:00]

So once I work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 200 advisors and admission officers, such as myself and I, uh, I sign up for a free consultation with us by going to and clicking the green chat button and the bottom right of the screen. So again, if you would like to sign up for a free consultation with.

Go to and click on the green chat button in the bottom. Right of the screen from there, just write in consultation in a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. Okay. All right. So now we’re going to go back to our live Q and a. So the next question is.

I was deferred during EA from my top choice. It’s to hear that I have a chance to submit an [00:44:00] update, update a sheet before mid January, besides my first semester transcript. What else might have an issue have the most impact? Great question. And again, sorry about your deferral, but you know, it’s a Durrell, you know, the minor set back for a greater setup for you.

Um, yeah. So again, those, those grades are the most important, right? Especially if they’re strong, they were only help your chances. Uh, that the thing is between early action, early decision and regular decision is just, you be, get, you get kind of. Into a different type of application pool. Right. Um, so we used to defer suit all the time.

That will be admitted because who they were competing with cha change. Now, any updates that you have, so that includes any, um, kind of awards or like progress in a club or activity maybe while you were applying. I mean, you, by early. Maybe I’ve, you know, late November, December your golf team went to the championship.

Right? So [00:45:00] including that, um, maybe one in a war, including that maybe you secure a summer opportunity, uh, that you didn’t apply for yet, or hadn’t received a decision to include that. So you want to just kind of give any kind of value updates that show like. You know, a really, you know, high achieving spit.

I’m still very involved. I have this honor on a ward. So you just want her by any kind of additional context in that regard. Um, yeah, because again, they all of your information. So at this point you’re just implementing, you know, you’re adding to their path to show that you’re still an excellent candidate.

So, um, those are some of the things that you can, you can add to your profile during that. Okay, next question. From our live queue, from our live Q and a tab, uh, what would you recommend for a junior that has not taken any APS so far? I would recommend they take APS their senior year if [00:46:00] available to them.

I mean, I don’t know why, um, you know, you w you hadn’t seen them. I mean, there could be reasons, um, some schools allow. Juniors sophomores and juniors to AP take 80 courses. So maybe you didn’t take them. Um, you know, maybe they were not available to you. Maybe you’re going to offer them. So I don’t have enough context to know why you haven’t taken them, but if they are available to them, your, your senior year virtually.

Yeah. How about even just taking college classes, if you’re not able to take APS, what do you think about that? Like at a community college or so. I will crush the students to think I’m taking too many college courses, because if you get too many college credits, you are no longer a first year student, you know, you would be applying almost like a transfer student.

So you need to kind of be careful and kind of talk to your high school about what that looks like. Then there’s dual enrollment and then there’s college courses. So there are students who might take, you know, [00:47:00] calculus at a college over the summer because they don’t their high school doesn’t offer. Um, but that’s like just a few bits, but you don’t let them take too many credits to the point.

You actually have us credit and you are now, then a transfer student. So you want to be in communication with your high school counselor and also universities that you’re interested in applying to see how they actually do college credit, because it too much credit all for how your view and the, um, the application process.

Great. Great, great advice. Um, next question is, should I provide evidence for every activity I did on the college application? So for example, should I give the website for the club? I was involved in to give evidence that I was really involved in. No. So you don’t need to provide evidence. You just need to explain the club and activity in your impact.

So, you know, frankly, fish’s officers are going to be reading [00:48:00] thousands of thousands of applications. They will not have the capacity. Times like click through and go to hyperlinks. So you just want to, as I mentioned earlier in the presentation, explain if you are a part of a club, how long you’ve been a part of the club.

Again, the common application will allow you to input this information in a very concise way. I became 150 characters. So you just want to like plug in your information and just show your impact, but you don’t need to provide evidence. Now, if you say that, you know, There’s a club. If every club you say you’ve spent 40 hours a week dedicated to that is a red flat, because we’re like this student, that’s a lot of time to be dedicated to 12 different activities, but you don’t need to provide a link to the site.

No, you don’t have to do that. Okay. So if a few, few more questions left, um, before we wrap it up, do IBS in APS. Are they, are they equal? Yeah. Yup. [00:49:00] And based on, I guess this is kind of a previous question, um, based on the question that was answered, what if a student does not declare a major, um, but just took AP courses in science and the humanities.

I mean, I think that’s great. I think they’re referring to the idea about. I dunno, the downward trajectory in this course. I don’t know exactly what I think is that. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of schools, most students are undeclared simply even if you declare a date to the mixed pool, unless you were in a specialized program like business generally.

Um, yeah, I mean, again, how we’ll just want to see that you are, you know, challenging yourself and that you can handle a rigorous course, uh, courses. Um, I think being, I’m trying to it’s, it’s hard without a little bit more context for this question, but you know, you want to, if [00:50:00] you’ve taken AP courses in humanities and students, fantastic, that only makes you a more well-rounded student that kind of shows that you know, that you are challenging yourself across the board.

I did the same thing when I was applying to college. You know, if you don’t get all A’s in those, all those AP courses, I mean, that’s fine too. There’s a lot of. Schools where AP courses are weighted, et cetera. So, yeah, I mean, I guess I say all that to say that it really is, it’s hard to make a definitive kind of response to that question because it really kind of depends on the other parts of your profile.

Uh, if you take a lot of AP courses and you don’t perform well in them, that is going to be a red flag to colleges, particularly. And I’m speaking particularly to the selective ones, right. Because you’re going to be competing with other students. Perfect. The GPA’s if you will. So you do also want to make sure that you are managing your own kind of course load.

So you are not burnt out and that you can take courses that you also can perform while in,[00:51:00]

okay. This one’s a little wordy. Um, I’ll take my time reading it for you. I took all of the dual enrollment this semester at a top university in my state, and I have graduated high school early. I did that because I need to work second semester. And also, how about the family financially? I heard what you said about AP versus dual enrollment.

I have five AP classes and now five dual enrollment will. It hurt me that I took dual enrollment this semester and graduated early instead of staying all year and taking more APS. Yeah, that’s a fantastic question. So that is a type of question you need to talk to your, your college and university about for sure.

Right? So there’s not a one size fits all and that’s a specific. Area. And I know you didn’t name the state and there’s different types of relationships that universities have for [00:52:00] colleges, um, you know, community colleges within their state, or like selective schools in their state. So you should reach out specifically to the admissions office, it offices of the schools you’re applying to and ask them that question, because I, I think, um, the responses will vary based on the state where you’re like, Great.

Okay. And then this will be the last question for this evening. Um, what are other ways to show colleges, our involvement in community service and clubs, and how can we put a further emphasis on some of the things that we haven’t done? Yeah. I mean, I talked a little bit about the activities list, but one thing I didn’t mention is, you know, there are so many universities, uh, Harvard being one of them where, um, you know, there’s opportunities where you can write a supplement or essay about an activity.

So they’ll ask you to describe an activity that you listed that you’re most passionate about. Right? So use that as an opportunity to really drive home the impact that you can. And a club or community service opportunity, [00:53:00] right? So you can use this supplements to also, um, drive home that impact. And again, when you write that Alyssa activities on the activities list, you want to talk about impact.

You want to quantify what to say, how much, how often, how, um, how much you really want to just show, you know, how you’re making a difference in your community. Also. Um, a good way to, uh, make sure that there’s this web that you’re, this picture you’re painting is kind of consistent throughout your application is, you know, so you can supply your, your, uh, Counselor, um, with like your resume and you can say, like, I really want to emphasize that, you know, community services is important to me so they can include elements of that and also in there in a letter.

Right. So it can show up in very, it could show up in your activities list. It could show up in your supplementary essays and it can also show up in your letters of recommendation.

Okay. All right. So thank [00:54:00] you for sharing this very valuable and informative information I needed you and I was. Thinking about how to boost my chances. I might need to talk to you how to boost my chances for doctorial programs. Um, but thank you again for sharing this just wealth of knowledge, what our panel is.

Um, and so with that, everyone that is actually going to conclude our webinar for this evening on AOL advice. What I can do last minute to boost my chances just want to let you all know that we do have a few more December webinars that are happening as you all will see on your screen. For more information, just check us out on with that.

Thank you everyone. Thank you. I, uh, have a great evening. Bye-bye.