Applying with B’s and C’s
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its webinar on Applying with B’s and C’s in a 60-minute presentation and Q&A with one of Bullseye’s former admissions officers, Blair Betts. Blair will provide information about writing about academics, explaining low grades, and more. Our presenter will share their insider perspectives as a former AO to show you how to highlight your strengths when applying with unbalanced stats and answer your questions about how to apply successfully with B’s and C’s on your transcript.
2020-09-24 Applying with B_s and C_s
Okay. Hi everyone. And welcome to the bullseye admissions webinar on applying with BS and CS. And thanks so much for joining us this evening now to familiarize everyone with the webinar, timing and different chat TEDS, I’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in the live Q and a and on the sidebar.
And in the public chat, you can download our slides in the handouts tab, and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab. So my name is Blair Betts, and I’m an advisor here at bulls-eye. And my colleague testes is also here as a moderator and for tech support. So feel free to private message her.
If you have any tech issues. Now to give you a quick background about myself, as you see here, I’m a former admissions officer. I worked at the university of Pittsburgh and the university of Miami, and I was a college consultant in Beijing, China, and I also worked in an independent school as an associate director of college counseling in Florida.
I have nearly 13 years of college admissions experience, and I’ve worked with students from a variety of backgrounds, including academic backgrounds. So I’m really excited to talk to you tonight about applying to schools with BS and CS. So there’s a lot of information to cover. So let’s go ahead and get stuck.
Okay. So there’s been a lot of speculation surrounding the college admissions process, especially within the last few years with, with the varsity we’ve our city. So I want to start off with the big picture here. And that is that there’s over 2,500 public and private four year colleges and universities in the United States.
And over 4,000, if you include to your institution. So really think about that. There’s plenty of options in the United States. So simply put there’s a school for everyone and not everyone who goes to the college has straight A’s. In fact, the vast majority of college students did not get straight A’s in high school.
Yes, college admissions is incredibly competitive at the very top ranked schools like Stanford and Harvard and MIT. There was absolutely no denying that, but like I said, just now there’s over 2,504 year colleges. So why is it that most people tend to only talk about a small fraction of schools and fixate on them.
So think about it, right? So the colleges that we tend to be most familiar with and that have the most prestigious or some of the oldest enriches institutions in the nation. So their name is going to carry from generation to generation. And we also become familiar with schools based on where we grew up.
So if you’re from Florida, then you’ve heard of the university of Miami and the university of Florida, your whole life. So it’s ingrained in you. And in the same vein, we hear a lot about schools who have had, or currently have really successful sports teams, such as Notre Dame and the university of central Florida right now.
So when we constantly hear about the same universities over and over again, they begin to take on a life of their own. And when it comes time to apply to colleges, students, and families tend to fix it on the schools that have the most name recognition. Now maybe prestige and name recognition are incredibly important to you when selecting which colleges to apply to.
And that’s perfectly fine. Those schools, aren’t going to be out of reach just because you have a few BS and maybe even a C, but the other hand, you also have to be realistic. If your transcript is dominated by BS and CS, then you need to consider the schools that are outside of the name brand schools, and just recognize that there are some amazing colleges and universities that are going to provide you with a wonderful education and college experience.
All right. So as you were considering which schools to apply to, it’s important to understand selectivity and what it generally means. So there are various levels of slept Tivity that ranged from less selective to most selective. And it’s the college board that the same company that administers the SATs and the APS who determined selectivity.
So keep that in mind. So based on the college board, college boards guidelines, it’s actually the percentage of admitted students that determines the school selectivity. That’s only based off of that one measure. So that means that GPA and test scores aren’t considered in determining a school selectivity.
So for instance, let’s compare two schools, right? So school a and school. Now, let’s say the average test scores and GPA at school a or higher than school B, but school B actually admits fewer students percentage wise, if school B that’s actually going to be considered the more selective institution. So don’t necessarily rule out a school based on selectivity, do your due diligence and see where you fall in terms of GPA and possibly testing.
And with that in mind also recognize that being less selective does not equate to low quality. So as you can tell, it’s going to take some research and understanding on your part when selecting which colleges are best for you to apply to, and also understand that selectivity within schools themselves is also going to vary.
So at top tier universities, you’re going to be competing with students whose transcript is dominated by AP and IB courses. And they also have high GPA’s. In fact, this is going to be the majority of applicants to these top tier school. So 3.5 GPA, and I talked to your school is going to be in the lower end of the spectrum.
But with the majority of other schools to Cornell, maybe on the lower end, now, colleges are also going to take into consideration the high school that you attend. So some schools for instance, are under-resourced as we know, and have limited dance classes like APS and extracurriculars for students to take.
And while they’re competitive, high schools are going to offer a larger number of advanced courses and access to top-notch resources. And also they’ll have a large variety of extracurriculars for students to choose from. So colleges are taking all of these factors into consideration when you do an application.
Okay. So obviously academics play a very important role in the college admissions process, but there’s a lot more that colleges are going to take into consideration. So in fact, you’re commonly gonna hear that colleges review applications holistically. And that just means that colleges aren’t just looking at one part of the student’s background to make an admissions decision, but they’re considering what students can potentially contribute to their campus community as a whole.
So what that’s going to include extracurricular involvements, special talents, diversity, and even personalities taken into consideration. Now in terms of extracurriculars. What do you do outside of the classroom, such as participation in clubs and activities, sports, volunteering, and even holding a regular job are all going to be part of the process.
And historically test scores have been a rather important part of the college admissions review. But as we now know, it’s not been a requirement for this year’s application cycle. But there’s a strong possibility that most schools will return to reviewing them next year, as far as essays and personal statements are concerned, they’re a very important tool and determining fit with the college or university, and they also help identify students’ academic motivation.
But it’s also a great way for colleges to get to know from get to know prospective students better. And another way that they get to know students is through reading your letters of recommendation from your teachers and your account, your college counselor. So colleges are also going to consider students for their uniqueness factor.
So this is going to include exceptional talents and skills such as performing arts or athletics, and they do this because they want to fulfill a particular need on their campus that they deemed that’s important to the overall campus community. Now, other factors, uniqueness can be the ability to enhance the university’s diversity on campus.
And this was because diversity adds to the overall learning experience in terms of offering a variety of it’s in the classroom. So as diversity is multifaceted, so it could include geographic location, which as we know a lot of schools like to talk about having student representation from all of the states and, various countries.
But socioeconomic status, political family educational background, sexual orientation, and of course, racial and ethnic diversity are all important when selecting a class of freshman class. So at the beginning of the webinar, I told you that there’s over 4,000 colleges in the U S so think about the number of public and private high schools there are in the nation.
So there’s more than 35,000. So admissions committees have to have some kind of understanding of the different schools that applicants are coming from. So in addition to your actual classes and grades, there are other academic factors that universities must take into consideration. Obviously wouldn’t be therapy for colleges to compare students from different high schools.
Because as I mentioned before, not all high schools offer the same type of curriculum and nor do they have the same resources available. So that said, it’s important to understand that your application is going to be viewed within the context of your high school. So for instance, if your high school provides a class ring admissions officers will use that ring in order to get an understanding of grading practices and other information that colleges and universities will rely upon.
For contextual understanding of your high school is going to be your school profile. That’s going to accompany your transcripts. Now, if you’ve never heard of a school profile or you’ve never taken a look at your schools, I strongly recommend doing so in order to get a true understanding of just where you fall exactly in comparison to your classmates.
So let’s take a look at a sample school profile and its various components. Now this is just one way that colleges get to know high schools, especially when they can’t, especially when they get applications from schools that they haven’t visited throughout the year. So you can see that this high school Sycamore is a very well-funded school and students have access to plenty of resources.
And it says that there’s 200 course offerings and 60 extracurricular activities. Now, if you look to the left, you see the number of students in each class, but the school profile is primarily going to focus on seniors for the most part. So you see, but this school doesn’t provide a class rank, which a lot of schools they say is really done.
And this school has a traditional grading systems. That means that 90 to 100% is going to be an a, so if you take a look at the class of 2018 statistics, you’ll see the grade distribution for that. Year’s graduating class. Now, remember when I said just now that you’ll be viewed within the context of your high school and then not compared to students from different schools, so that great.
Just this big, great distribution is a good example of how colleges accomplished just that. So they’ll take a look at your GPA and see where it falls in comparison to your peers. Now, obviously this is a competitive high school with the high median GPA, but as you can see, not everyone is making straight A’s.
So a 3.2 is about a B average. And if 3.4 is a B class and then the right side is going to provide some additional information such as how many AP courses that this school offers. So admissions committees are going to use this kind of information to help determine your rigor. So let’s say for instance, your high school only offers four APS and you’ve taken all four of them.
That’s going to work in your favor. And but if you haven’t taken any of the APS that are offered, then that could be viewed as negative and the admissions review. But on the other hand, if you’ve taken all four of the APS that your school offers and you took a more rigorous class outside of school, then you’ve clearly exhausted the curriculum at your school and you sought more of a challenge.
So that would be viewed highly positive. Even if you did earn a D, so that rigor really does come. So I really want you to just try to understand where you stand your school in terms of your grades and the courses that you do. And also be sure to do the same thing for the colleges that you’re considering.
Colleges have a similar report that they publish and it’s usually called the fresh class profile. So take a look at this information and don’t get intimidated by the averages that they report. But try to really get an understanding of the numbers. So for instance, are they reporting a weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA and are they only calculating the core subjects, right?
Or are they including PE? So it really makes a difference in the numbers that they report. So definitely, like I said, do your due diligence and take a look at what these numbers mean. So hopefully you get a good idea of how you’re evaluated individually, when it tons to academics and rigor and it encouraged you to do it, encourages you to research the information that universities.
So right now, we are going to do a quick Paul next step, where we’ll be talking about application strengths and what you can do to focus on your strengths. So here’s a question for you. What are your application strengths? As a reminder, if you’re a student athlete, let X fall under the extracurriculars category,
I’ll give everyone a few seconds to fill out this pong.
Some people are saying as soon as I strike a lot of people, I think extracurriculars are their strengths since they letters of recommendation. Since that interview skills academics, and a few are saying out there, now that’s looking like 50% of the group. I said, extracurriculars are their strengths.
Cool. Yes, others are really great. And that to Blair to talk about. All right. So now you might be wondering what can you do to strengthen your candidate profile? And it obviously depends on where you are in school. So if you’re a junior, one thing you can do now is think carefully about who you want to write your letters of recommendation.
As you may know, not all colleges are going to require letters of recommendation, but most do it’s really impossible to weigh the role that letters of recommendation play in the overall admissions process, because it’s going to vary by school, but most colleges report that the counselor and teacher recommendations have moderate to considerable impact.
So there’s constantly discussions in the higher ed world surrounding the fairness and the validity of letters of recommendation, but one thing’s for certain, there are going to continue to be used in the process. And I would even argue that with standardized testing, taking a back seat or not being considered at all right now coupled with the fact that a lot of high schools had to resort to pass, fail grades on when the schools went online due to COVID.
So say the letters of recommendation are gonna play an even more important role from now. And let us a recommendation can also be a deciding factor in the admissions process. So let me give you three scenarios. So at most selective schools where each component of the application process counts, this could definitely be the case.
So let’s say for instance, the admissions committee is deciding between two candidates who have a similar profile. So in terms of major extracurricular involvement, GPA and curriculum. So the stronger letter of recommendation in that case just might be the deciding factor who is admitted. And in the second scenario Yeah, sorry.
So in second scenario let’s take a less selective school. What the true holistic admissions review process. Now it couldn’t be the case that a candidate presents as an average student who could easily be overlooked by an admissions committee, but a really strong letter of recommendation may provide additional context that makes them what the admissions committee wants to take a chance on that particular candidate.
And then lastly, a common scenario at selective schools. There’s one in which a candidate, maybe in the cusp of admission. So maybe at the , they aren’t strong enough to be a definite offer of admission. So the decision can go either way and that’s really the letters of recommendation and essays, which I’ll get to next really can make all of the difference.
So the strong combination of the two can provide that boost. That’s needed to settle on a decision to admit. Now if well-written letters of recommendation provide key information, that’s not necessarily obvious from the rest of the information that’s provided in your application. So a letter of recommendation provides really important contextual information, such as your journey in a particular class insight into how you think, how you treat your classmates your relationship with your teacher and how you contribute in the classroom.
So that’s information that you simply can’t get from a letter grade that’s provided on a transcript. And I always like to point out to students that you don’t have to ask the teachers whose classes you earned an a in to write a letter of recommendation for you. Sometimes the strongest letters can come from a teacher whose class who did an ACE, a strong letter can really attest to your commitment that you made to do well in the class, whether it was meeting with the teacher outside of the classroom or seeing a tutor, or just ask them for additional resources so you can get a better grasp of the stuff.
So really think about it. Many, wouldn’t appreciate a teacher speaking to your resilience and your dedicated work ethic. The schools aren’t looking for perfection, but they are looking to form an ideal class of students who can thrive academically. Now at the end of the day, while letters of recommendation, aren’t the end all be all in the college admissions process.
They can play an important role in the final decision. So that said it’s really best to ensure that your letters are as strong as possible, especially as we move into uncharted territory due to COVID-19. So ask the right teachers to write your letters of recommendation, and also keep in mind that some schools are going to allow you to submit supplemental letters of recommendation.
And so these letters should come from people who are able to offer the admissions committee a different perspective. And that’s one that’s going to be presented in your teacher or counselor ladder. So this can come from the clergy member to Tom, from the community leader your supervisor, or a representative from a CBO and even a research advisor.
For example, and then lastly your college or school counselor is going to provide a letter of recommendation on your behalf. So it’s important to forge a relationship with them. If you haven’t already. And even if you were working with both sides, the advisor can submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
So it’s really in your best interest to meet regularly with your counselor at school. So their letter of breath, Matthew mandation can be as strong as possible.
All right. So you may have heard this before, but when it comes to your essays, your personal statement is the area of the application where you have the most control and where you can really shine and stand out from the rest of the applicants and within the candidate pool. So you have limited word count, so really make your words.
Your essay is a chance for you to provide the admissions officers with insight as to who you are as an individual. So you’re going to want to show them your personality and what motivates you, and they want to know how you think, how you feel, and as well as they want to see a demonstration of growth and learning.
Now that’s a lot to accomplish and 650 words. I know. So use the opportunity to write about something that can’t be found elsewhere in your application. So tell the admissions committee something new about you. It’s going to help add more dimension to your application. Now, some students they might want to use the personal statement as an opportunity to explain any missteps.
But for most students, I really don’t believe that’s where the explanation belongs and I’ll adjust where you can include that information. Sure. But a lot of schools also are going to provide are going to require supplemental essays. So those are going to usually fall into one of four categories.
So they could be why a particular school, why a particular major expanding on your extracurricular activities and a community essay. Now these essays tend to be a lot shorter, but they provide applicants with the opportunity to demonstrate that. So that’s going to be really important when shaping a freshmen class.
So you really want your supplemental essays to be specific to the individual schools that you’re applying to. So a generic essay is not going to do you need to show these admissions committees that you should be at their university, and you’re going to do that with your writer.
All right. So there is an opportunity, like I mentioned before to provide an explanation for low grades on your application, then let’s face it. Life is messy, and their situation that are outside of your control sometimes. So if you’ve experienced these circumstances, don’t be afraid to share that information within your application.
It’s really gonna allow the admissions committees to understand the full picture of who you are rather than have to wonder, why your grades were low freshman year or why they drop sophomore or junior year. And then you can also include information about documented disabilities, serious illness.
If you moved and it affected your grades and your parents and employment, or just major financial obstacles, for example and in situations like that, you can also ask your school counselor to include that information and their letter of recommendation, but you have to give your counselor written permission to do now another place in the application where you can provide insight into your particular circumstances. It’s going to be in the additional information section on the common application and the coalition and this year. There’s a section on both of those applications where you can explain any setbacks that you might’ve suffered due to a Corona virus.
And to be clear, you should only use these sections for explaining stimulating circumstances that impacted you personally. You don’t want that to be a section that you use to make any excuses. So only for extenuating circumstances, like this said that it impacted you.
Okay. So we have another poll for you after hearing about this application section, are you planning to write about grades and the optional essay prompt?
Okay. It looks like some people are saying maybe they still deciding some people are going to put it in the additional information section. And it looks like a few people are planning on setting it in the optional COVID-19 supplement. There are also people who are going to say that they aren’t going to write about this optional at this right.
About their grades. It looks like most people in the group are still deciding, and that’s a perfectly fine place to be at this point in the application process. Okay. I’m closing that poll back to you. All right. How to improve at this point, right? So if you’re a freshmen and that’s, if you have more time in high school so if you’re a freshmen, then the good thing is, or sophomore you still have time to improve your grades.
And the best thing to do at this point is to really reflect on your academic struggles evaluate where you are now, and then plan ahead. So if you’re having trouble with a particular subject, then figure out right now, what you need to do in order to improve. Will it be meeting with your teacher or tutor on a regular basis, if that’s helpful, then do it or maybe perhaps you just need help with.
Adjusting your study habits or your techniques. And you may also want to think about your extracurricular activities. And I know a lot of you mentioned the first poll that those are your strengths, but if it’s taking up too much of your time and you can’t fully commit to your studies, you may need to commit less hours or cut some of your activities out entirely.
Especially if you’re not participating at a high level, then you really may need to consider scaling back a little bit. Now, in this case, I’d strongly recommend just mapping out your academic trajectory through your senior year and make a plan just to ensure that you can take some of the more dense courses that your school has to offer.
Now, on the other hand, some of you can use your extracurricular activities to really stick out in the process by taking them to the next level in order to demonstrate impact and even accomplish this by aligning your academics with your extracurriculars and your. For example, if you’re a talented actor or actress, then maybe you can join the local theater or teach acting to children or kids with disabilities.
Maybe you can get involved in student council and eventually run on for class or student body president in order to so in order to have an impact, you’ll want to find ways to develop leadership or contribute to your local, your, even your regional national ordinary national communities. But maybe you’re more introverted like me and you want to do something like will computers or robots in your garage.
That’s okay, too. For those of you who are already participating in activities that are fairly high level, then developing a spike in also work in your advantage because it’s a great way to really set yourself apart from other candidates in the pool. So your spike is like your signature or your specialty, so to speak.
It’s something that you’re so passionate about that you’re consistently looking for ways and dedicating time to help it grow. So it’s essentially a really deep dive into your cheek, choo curiosities. So for example, if you’re interested in business, then, think about becoming an entrepreneur now and developing and starting your own business.
If you like writing work to publish a book, If you’re in the computer programming, you can develop an app. So developing a spike, it moves away from the notion that you have to be a well-rounded student and it puts you in a position to really stand out. So your spikes can be informed languages or fashion or writing.
It’s really limitless. And it’s individualized because it’s based on your passion. And that’s the Mon schools. I was going to be hosting a series of webinars of application spikes. So be sure to join us, to get more detailed information and how you can develop yours. And if you’re simply not there yet.
That’s okay too. You have time. So take advantage of your summer break and delve into an activity or entrust that you’re truly, that you truly enjoy. So you can do this by signing up for a program or applying for a summer internship that aligns with your interests, even if it’s a new discovered interest.
That’s all right. As well. So as you see, every student can be at a different level and it’s perfectly fine. Not everyone is going to have a strong sense of their interests and their passions at this point. It’s okay. No worries. Again, there’s a college for everyone. So moving on to other ways to improve, if you have the time now discussing testing right now is a little bit tricky for obvious reasons because schools, of course, aren’t requiring them this admission cycle.
And then some schools may phase out testing requirements all together, but for now it’s definitely worth mentioning since you don’t know for sure. The role that testing is going to play in the future. So if testing is a requirement or it’s optional in the future, then strong scores can certainly provide a boost to your candidate profile.
And to be clear, I’m referring to the sat or the act. Although in the future, we may see more schools who are tests flexible in the future. And that’s going to allow students to submit AP or IB scores, for example, or even subject tests. Now at the end of the day, if, and when you’re able to sit for the sat or the act I strongly recommend doing so, because you just don’t know what’s going to be required in the future.
So if you can do it, please do now for upperclassmen. It’s going to be, a little bit more difficult obviously to make significant improvements to your GPA, if you have a lower one. But it’s important to do the very best that you can. If you’re a junior, then worked as hard as you can, to ensure that your transcript shows improvement.
I’m going to show an upper grade upward bridge from this year. And colleges will definitely take note. If you’re a senior, you can also take the opportunity to show an improvement in your senior coursework. You can do that with your interim grades or your first quarter grades that your counselor can submit on your behalf.
In fact, some schools might even request your first quarter grades and then students whose grades and academic courses are improving, are more likely to succeed in college. So colleges are really gonna look for students who continue to take these more challenging classes and increase their grades in those courses.
All right. So keep an open mind. So I mentioned earlier about not getting so caught up and the same schools that everyone tends to talk about all the time. So if you are a student who realistically needs to look beyond the top 50 or so schools, what are some of the options that you have? I recommend starting with just figuring out what truly is important to you in a college where you’re going to spend the next couple of years of your life.
What are some of those qualities and characteristics of those reach schools that you want, and that you can find in some colleges or universities that are going to be considered a target or likely school for you. So research and work with your advisor to build a list of schools that meet your criteria.
There’s a lot of lists out there that you can refer to as a starting last point. So for instance, U S news, they publish a list of colleges called A-plus schools for B students, pretty self-explanatory. And I think it really be surprised by the name recognition of a lot of those schools that make it on that list.
Now, if you’re looking for a smaller liberal arts college and you want that transformative college experience, there’s an amazing group of schools called colleges that change lives on that you absolutely have to look into. I really support this schools. And then let’s continue, with best colleges for gay and lesbian students with disabilities.
So do your research. And again, just love to see what’s important for you. I always say that choosing a college is also an exercise in self-awareness and soft reflection. So like your personal statement, right? So at least if you’re doing it right, so this is really your journey and it should be personal to you.
So keep an open mind throughout the process and remember that it’s what you do in a school that counts. It’s about making your, the best of your time in school and really taking advantage of the resources that are going to be available to you for not only your academic growth, but your personal and professional growth as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there’s some amazing institutions with incredible academics that simply don’t have the name recognition that I think they deserve. So for example, things, Madison university and Appalachian state, they’re the top producers and the U S for students and scholars who receive Fulbright awards.
And that’s one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country that you can get. So again, prioritize what’s important to you and keep an open mind. So you don’t overlook schools that just might be the perfect fit for you.
And then the last point that I want to make this evening, before we move into the Q and a session. Is to consider alternative strategies such as applying to less selective brands, which is a states state universities. So when I’ve worked at the university of Pittsburgh, I constantly ran into students who just assume that no, because pit was in their backyard, that they are automatically going to be admitted there.
And they just took for granted without actually realizing that it’s a, really a competitive school. But I think a lot of local students tend to think that way when it comes to their state institutions, but oftentimes flagship schools such as the university of Michigan or the university of North Carolina chapel hill are incredibly competitive.
Yeah. And that’s because they draw attention from students nationally, but also internationally. So they have that really strong student interest. So if you truly are a BNC student consider the less selective branches of the competitive flagship schools, we’re still going to get a great education. And then lastly you can always consider transferring colleges.
Ideally, you’ll end up in a school that you really love, but is your heart is truly set on attending a different institution that not admissible to as a freshmen transfer is always going to be an option. And the great thing about transferring is that depending on the number of credits that you have, and when you apply, you’re only going to be evaluated by the work that you’ve completed in college.
So no sat scores, no ICT scores, none of that’s gonna matter at that point. So you can have a really strong freshmen and sophomore year and be a serious candidate for your dream school later on and keep in mind. I always like to say, it’s not where you start, but where you end up. Okay. So before I wrap up the presentation and get to the Q and a, I also want to send out this document for you to share with your families.
It’s a joint statement written by the college deans that you might find useful and it’s in reference to COVID-19.
So that’s the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. I remember that you can download the slides and the handouts tab from the pub, from the link in the public chat. Now moving on to the live Q and a task is going to read through the questions that you submitted in the Q and a tab.
And then she’s going to paste them into the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud before I answer it. As the headsets, if your Q and a has, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email. Who’s went to students’ emails.
So they’re not from the webinar landing is the first question I had for you glare is it bad if the grades and the AP slash honors classes I’ve taken are DS and CS? Can you repeat that? I’m sorry. Yes. Is it bad if the grades in the AP slash honors classes I’ve taken are BS and CS. So like I talked about earlier rigor is going to be really important.
So in schools, they want to see a combination of reader and strong grades. So it’s definitely going to be something that’s going to give the admissions committee pause to have those lower grades, but then they also will recognize the fact that you did check that you did challenge yourself by taking those more difficult courses.
Okay. Next question. Where do we see our school’s profile? The student attended a fairly new school with only two past graduating class. So that’s a good question. So usually your school profile is going to be on your school website. So it might be under the college counseling section. It could be under academics, so maybe Google your school and also school profile.
And if you can’t find it, talk to your college counselor and get that information from them. Okay. Next question. What makes a good recommendation letter? Some of my teachers do not know what to write in terms of what colleges are looking. Okay. So a good letter of recommendation.
So like I said, it’s really going to attest to who you are. And yeah, some of the really good ones that I’ve read from teachers just give like personal, like anecdotes of how a student is in their classroom how they interact with their classmates. They talk about their leadership and this potential to Excel in college.
What happened mandation? I can give, if you really don’t know your college counselor, that well is, get in or if you’re not in school, physically make an appointment and just really try to get to know them. And you might also just want to give them some information about who you are.
That can maybe help guide them. I know I started a job where it was a whole new college counseling staff a couple of years ago. And I had seniors and I had to just meet with every single student and their parents. And I talked to their advisors and some of their teachers, so I could really get a strong sense of who the students who are.
And I asked, I sent questionnaires to my students too. So if you need to feed them that information, then you know, you have to, okay. The next question, is it worth mentioning in my applications, how I wasn’t able to improve my grades since they shifted to tasks slash no mark because of COVID-19?
No, I wouldn’t mention that. Unless it continues to affect you somehow, but and the and the link that Tessa just shared with you about the Dean’s response to COVID-19, they specifically mentioned, schools having to switch to pass fail system. So they’re very well aware of that.
So all of those things will be taken into consideration. So it’s really not necessary to include that. And they’re going to see it on your transcript. Okay. If you took one sat and received a low score and didn’t get a chance to retake it. So do you include this sat score? I wouldn’t, yeah, that’s my answer.
This is a year where it’s not required. So if it’s not, if it’s not as strong score, don’t even bother to submit it.
Where to place, sorry. I am having some sound issues. Where’s the best place to look for scholarships. So for scholarships and there’s a lot out there. Fastweb is a great place to start off college board and there’s a new service actually called going there. It’s only about two years old.
So it’s going Mary Emmy, double R Y. And I really like it cause it’s like a common app for scholarships. So you’re pretty much just enter your basic demographic information and upload your transcripts and you can send applications or scholarships to various schools. And there’s some scholarships too that are now included on the common application.
Just a few. But yeah, I would start off with that.
Next question. Is it acceptable to have a letter of recommendation from a coach? So is the coach is also a teacher and one of your core subjects. Absolutely. That same would go for like the debate coach or debate a debate tap in or something like that. But I would consider that to be a supplemental letter of recommendation and not one of your core teacher recommendations again, unless your coach is also your teacher.
Okay. So we are partly paid with QA right now, as a quick break, I wanted to let you know about both sides, which is partnered with NCSA to bring you this webinar to bulls-eye and NCSA members. So we have a bunch of free resources uploads. I can help you with your college apps, including free webinars like this one essay guides and our blogs and pages on our website, featuring different colleges and so much.
So that’s not going to be a whole set of webinars that are here to help you build a strong foundation for applying. So I’m going to send you the link to our foundations landing page, which has all of the information about our webinars this month
to tell you more about the foundation series. We have 10 sessions that are foundation specific along with four more hours that are generally about the application process or in the style of college panels. Since we’re nearing the end of September, if there’s a session we’ve had in the past that you want to watch, we also have recordings available for any sessions that have paused.
Alright, we’re going to continue the Q and a right now. The next question is what is the sat score for the average college? So that, yeah, that’s one of those questions and you’re going to hear a lot in the admissions process that it depends. So like I mentioned earlier, the best thing really to do is for the individual schools that you’re interested in is to look at that freshman class profile.
And it’ll give you a range. It’s usually like the middle 50% for SATs and actsh, so you’ll see like that middle 50%. And that just means that 25% scored lower and 25% scored higher. So if you’re in that upper range and obviously, that’s better for you. But it’s really hard to give, a definite number.
Next question. Is it appropriate to reiterate if the high school has a higher grading standard? Like it’s an a, is a 93 and above, or is the install of the school profile adequate to explain to you. Yeah, absolutely. That let the schools rely on the school profile. My high school was like that too. It was like 90 to a hundred.
So all that information is going to be there. So just like the sample that I showed you, it laid out the grading scale and that there’s this traditional 90 to 100. So that’s really the school’s best tools and same for, for those schools that have like the 12.0 or an 11.0 GPA or something like that.
Yeah, that rating scale is going to be available for this, for the schools. And then if counselors have questions, I used to do that all the time. When I was when I was reviewing applications, but didn’t quite understand the grading scale. Then I would just call up the school and I would talk to the counselor and just get a better understanding.
The reps will do their due diligence and making sure that they truly understand what a grading scale means. For that particular school. Next question is there’s an upward progression after a blip in grades. Can you assume that they will view this or is it better to add a supplemental essay or a counselor, a letter of recommendation to explain the upward progression?
Yeah, if you have enough word progression, there’s, it speaks for itself. But if you want to address maybe it was like your freshman year or something like that. If you want to address any extenuating circumstances, then you can do that in these, up in the additional information section or your counselor can also do that, but your grades are going to speak for themselves if they’re on an offer grade trends.
So good job by the way. When constellates, but a recommendation letter, is it for one college or is it for multiple. So it’s typically going to be for multiple colleges. It’s going to be a general letter of recommendation. If it’s a scholarship, then it could be more, it would be specific to that scholarship.
And then every once in a while you might have a teacher who writes a supplemental, like a letter of recommendation or administrator because they were an alum from that school or something like that. And that could be more specific, but in general, your letters of recommendation, aren’t going to be addressed to a specific school.
Okay. The next question is if you apply, has international students, do you have to have better grades than local students? So that’s a tricky one. You’re still going to be reviewed. Within the context of your high school. So they, yeah, international admissions office officers, they have access to all the different kind of grading systems from every single country.
So you’ll still be reviewed within the context of your high school. You’ll also have to take, they’ll take into consideration like your TOEFL score things like that. So it could be a little bit more difficult, but then you’re also adding to diversity too. So all of those things matter in the process.
And I will say for this year, if you are an international student and international student number as applications are down because of COVID. That could also work in your favor. A lot of schools really rely on international students because a lot of you guys are full pay students.
So all those things are gonna play a factor this year.
Okay, next question. If you went to a very prestigious school that freshmen through sophomore year and then switched, will colleges see those grades with more value? No, it’s not going to be with more or less value because you switched schools again, it’ll be within the context of your high school. So you’ll have they’ll review two separate transcripts.
So they’ll see how you did at your first school. What classes you took and then they’ll look at how you did your second school or at your second school. And then they’ll take into consideration too, on the fact that you switched schools and had to adjust to new environment and new teachers and new friends.
So all of those things were taken into consideration. Okay. If the sat at the school canceled the sat in school, dive, should he still study for it just in case. Yeah. If you’re a senior this year, then, it’s yeah, you really don’t need to do that. But if you’re a junior, I, like I said, I do recommend that if you have the opportunity to sit for the sat or act, and I definitely recommend doing so, so yeah, it depends on your year, but I would say still study for those tests.
Okay. So next question in the chat is have there been any Ivy league students that have had high school BS or CS and were still admitted? And then the student has heard, had heard of a few who had a sporadic fee, but it’s sparse. Yeah. Not every student at the IVs has straight A’s trust me. I’ve had a lot of students that have gone to pretty much all the IVs at the last school that I worked at.
And yet most of them did have, really high GPA’s and they had, amazing extracurricular activities that they were involved in and, really high levels, but there are definitely some A’s some B’s there. And maybe even the C every once in awhile, but, yeah. It’s the upper grade 10.
That’s really gonna matter a lot, but the, yeah, I’m not every school or every student rather the IVs has had straight A’s all along. Okay. Next question. Should one disclose a diagnosis of ADHD as part of an explanation of grades and GPA, or is it better to keep that a C. So you can disclose that information.
Cause I, I’ve had a lot of students who, maybe didn’t know that they had ADHD as a freshman or sophomore and then they were placed on medication. And then, obviously their grades improved at that point. So I have, for my myself included that information with, written permission from students.
But one thing to keep in mind is it does it does contribute to the overall picture and just understanding of, your personal struggles, but schools can’t deny or admit students just based on that. I’m not alone. So keep that in mind that’s illegal actually. Okay. Question is what is the first factor that admissions officers look at?
Like I said, most schools are going to do a holistic review, but it’s really going to be a lot of your academic record is going to be a major component of the review process. Next question does finishing strong senior year make a meaningful difference. So finishing strong, it does make a meaningful difference.
Just in terms of, obviously your personal achievement and setting yourself up for success in college and knowing that you can do it and you can succeed. But when it comes to the admissions process, at the end of your senior year, you’re already admitted in your school. So where it will count would be, your first quarter grades and maybe even your mid-year grades, especially if you’ve been deferred from school during the ed or the EA rounds.
Or if you’re applying regular decision, they will see your mid-year grades. But on the flip side, what can happen is if you completely wrestled your senior year and a school, can you send them seeing that happen before too? So it just finished strong for yourself and for your school. Okay. Next question.
How can I bolster my college application to accommodate for BS and CS? Repeat that? I’m sorry. How could you both stay your college application to accommodate for a BS and CS? Yeah, so like I just talked about throughout the presentation is having strong letters of recommendation having strong essays that are really going to show your personality and, your academic motivation and then also demonstrating.
Okay, next question. How do you make it clear that you’re not looking to make excuses when applying with low grades? Don’t make excuses. Yeah, so like I said, if you really have extenuating circumstances due to illness or, financial situation, then, definitely use that information or that part of the application for additional information or the COVID response.
Definitely do that, but yeah, your grades are what they are and you can show strength through extracurriculars and just having an upward grade trend really is going to be really important depending on where you are and your in your high school.
Okay, the next question is, and it says current year because of COVID 19, if you do have a good sat or act score, will you still be able to submit it? So depends on the school. So some schools won’t even take them into consideration and then other schools well yeah, if you can submit them and they’re good, absolutely do it.
You worked hard for your, for those schools. So submit them if you can, for sure.
Next question. Do colleges lean towards students that know what they’re going to major in? Do they sell I’m sorry. If do colleges Leanna lean towards students that know their major. No, not really. I don’t think it really matters. So obviously if you’re applying to a specific school, like if you’re applying to a school of engineering or a school of nursing or business, you want to have shown, some some in engagement in the past with, with align with your extracurriculars and things like that, but it’s perfectly fine to, to apply as an undecided student.
So yeah, it really just depends on the particular school or college that you’re applying to. And so say for example, you’re applying to engineering some of those schools might want to see, physics C or physics too, if your school offers it business, a lot of schools our calculus base for business.
So they might want to see that you’ve taken, at least calculus. So it just depends on the requirements for that individual school, but not knowing their major. It really, it can’t hurt. Okay. The next question is the strong force for a letter of recommendation who is not a teacher or a counselor, and the school only allows two letters of recommendation.
What should you do? What I’ve always done for my students is, obviously submit the two letters of recommendation. And then I would send on behalf of the student a supplement, a letter of recommendation, and I would just say to the general, admissions email. And I would just say, if you’re willing to, consider this letter of recommendation as part of the review, then please, please, here it is.
So that puts it in the school’s control. And they can decide whether or not they want to attach it with your application. But generally, if a school specifies no additional, letters of recommendation, then. I really wouldn’t do it.
Okay. Next question is one step of high school babysitting siblings all at the time causing grades to slip. Is this something that should be put on the application? I’m sorry, what was the first part of the question? If you spent most of high school babysitting your siblings, which caused your grades to slip, is that something that could be on an application?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Any circumstances like that your, the schools are definitely going to consider? So I would say in that case, try to get your counselor or one of your teachers to also include that information. But that makes a difference. So everyone has different, family situations and it can affect you academically.
So absolutely include that information.
It’s a 3.5 unmuted GPA considered low. So I’m gonna just refer to what I said earlier and that it really depends on the individual school. So take a look at that school profile and see that middle 50% and see where you fall and also find out, if that reported GPA is weighted or unweighted and that’ll give you a better sense.
Sorry. I was to say that some colleges might also recalculate GPA. Yeah. So then, find that information out and see where you fall. Okay, this is going to be my last question in the Q and a, but would you recommend getting a recommendation letter from a teacher? You got to beat them, but worked very hard and improved.
Yeah. Yeah. Like I said in the presentation, you don’t have to get a letter from a teacher that you got an a from you can work really hard and in a class and still not get an a really hard work. It does not always result in an A’s as we know. But that teacher can really attest to your dedication and your work ethic.
So absolutely ask that teacher and especially if they know you well, for sure.
Okay. So this will be the end of our webinar.
Yeah. I had a really great time telling you about the holistic review process and answering your questions in the live Q and a. So I hope this webinar was helpful to you and that you feel more prepared. And the college application process if I didn’t get to your question, then I’ll also send out a feedback form later, the SI thing, and you can ask any additional questions.
So our next webinar is going to be in three days on Sunday. So this is the last session for our foundation series he had towards NCSA members, but it won’t be our last session that ever so bullseye, we’re planning to have additional webinars and we’ll be in touch soon with more information on that.
So thank you again so much for attending tonight’s webinar. I hope you guys all continue to stay safe and good luck in school and with your application.