Ask An Expert – Being a Parent in the College Application Process
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its webinar on Being a Parent in the College Application Process in a 60-minute presentation and Q&A with Bullseye’s Head of Advising, Lauren Lynch. Lauren will provide information about the parent role, explain how to best support your student, answer parent questions, and more. Our presenter will share their insider perspectives on navigating the college application process with your child as a parent and as a former admissions officer.
2020-08-06 Being a Parent in the College Application Process Webinar
Yeah. Hi everyone. Welcome. I am Lauren Lynn. I’m the head of advising here at bulls-eye tonight. I’m going to be talking a little bit about what it’s like to be a parent in the college application process and how to help your children get through this process and how you can help yourselves get through this process.
I’m just gonna tell you a little bit about myself because my experience and background is actually relevant for tonight’s presentation. I have been in the realm of college admissions and college advising for about 20 years now. But before that, actually I was a psychotherapist and worked in the field of family and children’s services.
But perhaps the most important thing I can offer you tonight is that I’m the parent of two high schoolers. One of whom is also going through the college application process. So tonight’s presentation is as much for me as for you. Just to orient you a little bit to how we are going to do the presentation.
I will be speaking for half an hour at most after which we’ll be more than happy to take questions and answers. On the presentation this evening with me is also my colleague Lily. She is our tech guru and expert, and we’ll be available to assist if you’re having any issues. And we’ll be handling the Q as a Q and a as well as we move through this.
So just to. Get started really bizarrely. This is actually a great opportunity to take the time and get to know your child. And I realized that most of you have had 17 or 18 years in which to do that already, but this is a different experience. This is a child, an experience where your child who’s on the cusp of adulthood is also desperately needy for you and a lot of really important ways.
So it’s about finding that balancing act between supporting their independence and being available to them. Take the time to understand what success in this process is going to look like for your child, because it may not look like what you think it should look like, and it may be profoundly different from your measure of success.
Remember that prestige stage of university or college has no bearing on whether it’s going to be a good fit institutionally and personally for your child. And so getting to know them and their expectations and thoughts about this process is imperative. One of the things that I find very helpful for families and students going through the process is to take time at the beginning.
And even throughout the process to just sit separately, take a few moments. And each of you write down five or so things that you’re really excited and really happy about anticipating in the college application process while at the same time writing down five or so things that you’re absolutely dreading or fearful of, and then compare your notes.
I think it will be really illustrative of the differences between how you and your children are approaching this process and thinking about it. Awesome. Just to get everyone started, we also really want to see who’s in the audience tonight, so I’m going to send out a poll your way. Just to see if you guys are a parent, a student, or if you guys are booked.
Yeah. so I just sent the poll your way and if you’re a student watching, that’s great. And also a really great time to pause and bring your parent in and have them join you for the session before we get into the meat of things. And then apparent same thing. If you want to just pause and bring your student over this is a really great way to start discussing the college process and really open up the conversation with your student if you haven’t already.
Great. So I’ll give you guys a few more seconds to indicate who’s here. It’s like a lot of you guys have parents here. That’s really great. And it seems like the majority of you guys have both the parents and the students. That’s awesome. Okay. I’m going to close the poll more and I’ll let you keep going.
Okay, great. So how parents are feeling in the college application process or about the college application process? This list is by no way. By no means inclusive. I know there are plenty of emotions beyond the realm of this that people are feeling. I think it’s normal to have a variety of emotions that are going to come and go throughout this process.
One of the things I really encourage is to really focus on what you can control during this process. I think that helps manage some of the extremity of the emotions attached to the college application process. The more information you have, the better off you’re going to be. And that’s something that either we have bullseye or just doing simple Google searches can help you with throughout this process.
But also really focus on acceptance. Yes, there are things you can’t control and to be at peace with that, and really focus on the things that you can manage in this process are really important. Ironically, your children are almost certainly feeling the same kinds of experiences that you’re feeling in this process.
And you’ve probably seen this manifested in different kinds of ways. But to them, they’re probably experiencing these emotions very differently. I remember in grad school studying a. A developmental psychologist named Abraham Maslow, and he had a whole developmental theory of motivation. And basically his premise was that we are motivated to seek fulfillment through personal growth.
That self-actualization is really achieved when we are, as humans doing everything we’re really capable of. And I think about that a lot in this process when I work with students, that part of my job and now part of my job as a parent as well is not just to help the children achieve a successful outcome but to achieve personal success as well, but the growth, the feeling of self-esteem and pride that comes with reaching goals and working towards goals.
And that’s just something to keep in mind, but the same emotions can look very different for different people.
Yeah, child may not need you to do the things that you think you need to be doing in this process. One of the things that comes across again and again, in my conversations with students and families, is that students do not want parents to come in and fix everything. They want a partner. They want someone who’s going to be supporting their success.
Allowing them a little room for failure because that’s an important part of growth in this process and in every aspect of their adulthood. Help them identify their areas of success, really help them take pride in the things they haven’t accomplished. One of the things that I think families can do, you actually, which can be very important is to really serve the role of protector.
And what I mean by that, I’m sure you all are experiencing this already. But people can be very intrusive and very nosy. And it’s very hard for a student to say to grandma or the neighbor. I don’t want to talk endlessly about the college application process. I don’t know where I’m applying and no, I haven’t heard if I got into Harvard yet.
I think it can be really helpful to have the parent as advocate to set some boundaries around that. I actually have a friend who they literally put a note on their door for, the six months around the college application processing. We love having guests over this was pre COVID, obviously. And everyone is allowed to ask one question about the college application process.
The other thing I think that is, just internally in your family unit, I think it’s important to set some limits so that not every dinner table conversation is embroiled into what they did do or didn’t do during their day regarding the college applications and the endless list of things they should be doing.
Make the one question rule or make the 10 minute rule where you’re allowed to ask them questions and find out what’s going on and set some goals with them, but then that’s over. And then you’re back to living a relatively normal life that isn’t only focused on the college application process.
Okay. I have no idea where I came across this coat. And I’m a little embarrassed to say that I know nothing about this author. And I realized this is a little bit melodramatic, but I put it up there because it really resonates with me as a parent. And as someone who is a professional advocate for children.
And I think it really speaks to our tendency to feel like when we see someone struggling with something, we have a mandate to go in and fix it. And certainly if it’s physical safety, that’s true. But again, part of watching your children grow up and become capable, adults is letting them have room to solve their own problems and figure things out and identify strength in themselves that they didn’t necessarily know they possessed.
And I love this image of just sitting quietly and holding space. They know you’re there, you’re making yourself loving and available and supportive in all the appropriate ways. But you’re letting them figure things out. And to me that’s really crucially important.
These are some dates that are these are, not universal. But these are just generally some dates that you should keep an eye on in terms of deadlines for applications. And oh, I’m sorry. I went too quickly on that in, in terms of applications and obviously the financial aid forms as well.
Definitely take note. Every school is going to have a different deadline. It’s going to be really important to manage that. But generally speaking, this is what you need to keep an eye on.
Awesome. Oh, quick note. If you guys, need to go back to that slide in any point in time, if you go to handouts, you can also download the slides for that. And then in the meantime, while Lauren is going to be telling you more about this, something she knows about the application process. I also have a question for you guys.
Just to see how much you guys already know about the college at past should a student apply to thing that pull out really soon,
right? So if you, some us going in and then you guys can see each other’s answers, so we can get a sense of what everyone here is thinking.
And so I’ll keep this poll open for a few more seconds.
All right. So it seems like the majority of you guys said five to 10 schools, second answer was eight to 14, then third was 12 to 20 and that both are, we actually recommend applying to eight to 14. And so Lauren, I’ll let you talk a little bit about what is the breakdown of those eight to 14 schools.
Thank you, Lily.
Let’s see. Can you, I don’t know how to get this off my screen. I’m sorry. Yeah, I just hold the side for you. Okay. Thank you so much. Okay, there you go. Thank you. I appreciate that. This is why Lily’s on the call with me. So definitely in the college application process more does not equal better.
And as Lily said, we do recommend a more targeted number of schools to apply to. Typically we’re looking at students applying to two to four safety schools, three to five match schools and three to five reach schools. And I’ll talk for a moment about what that means. But before I do that, one, one thing I like to do when I’m working with families is use the the garden analogy that I think sometimes families have this notion that, they just need to.
Throw everything out there and see what’s going to happen. And you can do that. You can take a handful of seeds and, throw dozens of seeds in the garden and see what lands and what blooms, or you could be more measured and you could take fewer seeds and really take the time to dig the holes and plant the seeds and water them and watch them grow.
And in terms of. The college application process and each individual college application it is much more likely to get a good yield, a good bounty a nice Bocquet of acceptances. If you’ve really taken the time to do each application thoughtfully and thoroughly, in order to understand how your student or you, if you are a student measure, which schools are safety or match or reach for you, it’s important to understand a little bit how applications are evaluated.
This year is going to be a little bit different, obviously, because standardized testing. Either waived entirely or just not necessarily going to be considered. But generally speaking colleges are looking at a student’s academics, how well that student has done within their academic setting. In other words, what academic resources are available to them?
Is it a school with a lot of APS? Is it an IB program? Are there no APS or honors courses available that students being evaluated in the context of his or her setting? Beyond that they’re looking at all of the extra qualities a student is going to bring to the community demographics, ethnicity, culture socioeconomic status activities, areas of interests, the quality of the writing and the quality of the recommendations that come with the application as well.
All of these things are going to be important. A process that, although there are some finite qualities to it, this is not an exact science, these are human beings, reading applications and responding to mandates beyond your control, internal mandates about the kind of class they’re trying to create out of an enormous pool of applicants.
So it’s really important that your list, again, be thoughtful that the schools on the list are schools. The student genuinely wants to go to no matter how rigorous or so-called prestigious the school is. If you’re struggling with a list, it’s something that we at bulls. I certainly do lots of, and we’re happy to help you with that.
It can be overwhelming to know when you’ve done enough research. I think there’s this notion sometimes that the perfect school is right around the corner. And. There’s probably no such thing. Children usually thrive or wherever they end up, but we can certainly help in that process. Keep in mind that for every college a student applies to, there may be anywhere from one to six essays that is a lot of writing.
And so to start off thinking that there might be, 15 or upwards of 15 colleges on an applicants list. That’s a lot, that’s a lot of work and it can be really profoundly overwhelming.
I think it’s really important to ask this question of yourselves, but more importantly, ask this question of your children going through the process. Every student’s going to be different. There are students who are just fiercely organized and are on top of everything. And those who are just really floundering.
And so continuing a dialogue is important. And some of this I already talked about earlier, but again, allow your kids, the room to grow, find out how much involvement they want from you in the process. And I think one of the things that I don’t usually advocate families getting particularly involved.
But one of the things that I think students are always infinitely grateful for in terms of family involvement is in terms of the logistics. I think it, obviously you can’t a parent can’t write a student’s essay and a parent can’t, do some of the stuff that’s in the student’s voice. But if a parent wants to be the one to go online and order all the standard standardized testing, SATs, or ACPS to be sent to all of the colleges, great.
Take that off your student’s plate. The other thing that I often tasked families with that I think is very helpful for students is to be in charge of some kind of spreadsheet where once you have at least a pretty firm idea of your students goal schools your students list, you can. Start documenting.
What’s the name of the school? What application platform does that school take? What are the application deadlines? What are the supplemental essay questions organization? As I’m sure you all know is not a teenager strong suit. So helping in those regards can go a long way in terms of easing their burden, but still allowing them the creative and personal ownership over this process which is really important.
Okay. In terms of scholarships and funding the first thing I want to say about that is I am absolutely not an expert in either field. I have limited knowledge, so I’m going to talk in generalities. We do have experts on staff at bullseye. I know there are lots of resources out there if you want to gather more specific and personalized information.
One of the first things I want to say though is that it’s really important that families have on this communications about the limitations that might be in place in terms of the cost of college. Having said that, I think it’s also important to let a student apply widely. I think it is often surprising to families that sometimes those smaller, more expensive colleges end up costing less ultimately than a public university.
Merit aid can be. A huge boon for some students as well as need based financial aid. And so it’s important once you’ve had the conversation about what ultimately those limitations might be to really honor the student’s opportunity to apply to the schools that are interesting and compelling to that student, knowing that they may have some hard decisions to make down the line depending on what the results are.
One of the things to keep in mind. And this kind of goes back to the slide about shaping the college list, merit aid. Most certainly going to be given to students who fall at the upper end of an applicant pool. So if you’re looking at a college that offers merit versus need-based financial aid and your student has generally a higher GPA with a more rigorous academic curriculum.
And if you have testing higher testing than the admission office is stating as their predicted averages or historic averages, your student is more likely to be a recipient of some of that aid. They want to yield the student who is going to boost their academic profile.
This is one of the things that, that I always Find him using his, and I think I’m just going to be a little honest here that in the time of COVID your beloved adolescent might actually be getting on your nerves a little more than they might have otherwise, when you are just on top of each other all day just remember, your student is not you, they are going to handle all of this very differently.
Again, keep the conversations open about it. One of my kind of favorite examples of this was early on in my college advising career. I had a parent come to me just exasperated because she was just frustrated by her son’s study habits. She would go in his room and he’s hanging upside down on his bunk bed and listening to the loud music and it’s chaotic and there’s clothes everywhere.
And how could he possibly study? This is a kid who was getting straight A’s. And taking five APS and it was just this perfect example to me, of how we want our children to do the same work habits and study habits and lifestyle habits that we do. But just take a step back and think to yourself what is working for them, because if it’s working for them, is that something you really feel like you need to change?
This is a question that I ask myself a lot. I think this can feel all consuming the college application process. It feels like there’s nothing more important than this. It can also be really imbued with intensity because. From the parents’ perspective, it feels like if you don’t do your part to help your child get into the perfect school, the perfect fit, the perfect opportunity.
Then you have failed as a parent, your child will fail. They won’t have the opportunities you wished for them. And just again, remember what you can control. And one of the things you can control is how you and your student and your whole family get through this process together. Focus on things other than the college application process, obviously.
Options for traveler limited, but take walks, work on puzzles, do meaningful things that are going to help them prepare for college that are not necessarily directly related to applications, help them learn how to do laundry and change their own sheets and grocery shop and balance a bank account and be fiscally responsible.
These are things that are small gestures of support and pride in your child’s growing independence and adulthood, and will shape a really positive relationship, both for the college application process and in every other way as well, going forward.
Just want to keep you updated. We do have some other webinars and presentations available going forward. And obviously our website is full of good resources. So these are some dates available if you want to participate in other opportunities. Okay. And these are more resources. These are webinars that we’ve already done.
You can download them and we do have a whole bunch of college panels. Our college panels, I think are crucially important because they really allow students who can’t obviously travel and do school visits to get a really insightful, personal, relevant glimpse into a number of different colleges and universities.
So definitely take advantage of those as well. We are also publishing, I think almost daily posts on the college supplements, school specific college supplements. So definitely take advantage of those as well.
All right. I think I’m done talking and I’m happy to leave time for questions. Awesome. Thanks so much, Lauren. So I guess just to get everyone turned into the live Q and a basically you guys can submit your questions. And so the tab that says Q and a, and then I’ll read them out loud and piece them into the public chat so everyone can see the question.
And then I’ll read it out loud before Lauren gives you an answer. And so just as a heads up, if you’re tuning in you submit questions just double check that you actually joined the webinar through the customer that went to your students email. If you just joined from the website itself, you won’t have QA access.
Yeah. I’ll give you guys some time to submit some questions. And I also have the questions that you guys submitted when you registered. So we can also go through those as well. Once we get through all the live Q and a
Lauren, I’m gonna start you off with question that someone submitted when they registered. So they wanted to know how to build a compelling towing for the next. That’s a great question. As students are working on essays, it’s really important to ask yourself continually what you want the admission officer to know about you.
What are you trying to communicate? Through your essay and through your application that may not necessarily come through in other parts of your application. I think there’s a tendency sometimes for students to feel like they need to go deeper into one activity or really try to prove their expertise in a particular area.
I think it’s more likely that you’re going to make a bigger impression and have a more compelling narrative. If you really pull back from that and ask yourself, what are some of the defining moments in my life? What are the things that distinguish me from other people? Most teenagers don’t think they’re unique.
They don’t think they have anything worthy to share or to talk about. I can promise you that everyone has a story to tell. It may just take some time to tease that out a little bit. Certainly at bullseye, we spend a lot of time helping students identify that narrative. Really getting to know you, getting to know your personality, the things that distinguish you and set you apart.
And they can be really small things, really sweet things. It doesn’t matter necessarily what these. Kind of life stories are, it’s how they’re communicated with warmth and a genuine voice. And that’s
part of the process that’s very important is really right. And personality. Next question that I got was how long for we should start working on the end. I would not wait, honestly. I think that especially you’re more than likely to have a number of essays to work on. And so the earlier you start the better off you’re going to be, especially now that the applications are open.
And some colleges have earlier application deadlines than others. You are going to want to leave time to do a few rounds of revisions. You’re also going to want to leave time for supplemental essay questions and what I mean by supplemental essay questions are the school specific supplements. Usually those fall into a couple of different categories.
Often it’s the, Y X college essay. Sometimes it’s the, why do you want to study this subject? Tell us more about your academic interests. Sometimes. It’s a question about your community or diversity usually frame something like, describe your community and your role in it, or your experience with diversity.
Then there are also some kind of fun and different, very niche schools, specific supplemental essay questions. So all in all, if you’re applying to, even if you’re applying to 10 schools, you’re probably going to have. Probably six to 10 essay questions at the very least to answer. So it’s important to get started as, as quickly as possible.
One of the things that both is going to happen in place in the next few weeks actually is we are going to have a 24 hour essay edit option where you can upload essays for us to look over and evaluate. We’re going to give really in-depth feedback and editing, not just grammatical, really content-based.
We want to retain your voice. We want you to tell the best story you’re capable of. But that’s a way to get some help with your essays if you’re looking for that down the line. Awesome. Thanks Lauren. Next question I have is how soon should a student start building their list of schools?
His sophomore year, too. That’s a great question. Sophomore year is not too early to start thinking about schools. And so I guess technically, no it’s not too early to start building the list as long as there’s the understanding that list is going to be very fluid. You are very different as a sophomore, then you’re going to be as a junior or even as a first semester senior.
Your tastes are going to change your academic interests might change, even if they don’t, you’re just going to get exposed to more and different schools throughout the next year and a half. So I think it’s great to start with a kernel of schools that you’re interested in. Ideally within a certain amount of time, we will be able to get out and about again and start visiting college campuses.
And that’s a great way to get exposure and that ultimately should be hopefully a driving force in, in shaping and refining a college list. Even if you started working on it in sophomore. Awesome. Next question is, what if you don’t know exactly what you want to major in? Is it ever too late? I love that question.
I hope none of, what you want to major in. I know from. Working in a college setting at Williams for about 10 years. I think we did a study at one point. I forget the exact data, but a huge number of students who come in saying they want to major in anthropology. Whatever that, whatever field you’re sure you want to major in.
I think at some staggering number nationwide of students who end up changing their major, once they get to college I believe very firmly that college is about exploration and that even if you think, what you want to major in and study, when you get to college please give yourself the opportunity to push the envelope a little bit.
If you’re sure you’re just completely passionate about science take a music theory class, take an art history class or a sociology class. Conversely, if you’re all about humanities explore the sciences a little bit. It’s really an opportunity to grow intellectually. Typically at a college or university, unless you are applying to a very specific program where you have to declare a major in order to gain access to that program.
Typically you do not declare a major until the end of your sophomore year, and there’s a reason for that. They really want you to have that option for exploration and intellectual growth. I know students who’ve changed their major even in junior year. I know that’s not ideal because then you have to make up all the credits you may have missed out on, but it can happen and you will have plenty of time.
Great. Thanks Lauren. This question’s a little bit longer, so they said I’ve heard mixed things regarding quotas. So what happens during the application if kids are native American or native Hawaiian, for example, on the east coast, it seems to be 0.0003% are out of school. And on the west coast, it can be up to 10% sure.
I, there are some demographics that pretty much every college is going to be excited to have represented on campus. When I talked about the internal mandate in the admission office, before there is a, a. Element of racial integration that the campuses are looking for. Diversity is hugely important and that spans everything that spans ethnicity, background identities socioeconomics, interests activities, athletics, all of it.
So certainly that’s going to be a part of it. I know at some schools in order to be considered as a native American in the application process, it’s not merely just a matter of self identification. Some colleges want to see a tribal enrollment. But that I, I can’t speak about every college and university out there.
Generally speaking again it’s one of the many factors that is going to be considered in the application process. It might be simply that there’s a greater representation in west coast schools because there’s a greater population on the west coast. I don’t know that factually. I do know that again, colleges are really looking for reasons to include students and to include students from a range of backgrounds and a range of settings.
So if there’s something about you that identifies you as something, in, in your identity that is important to you, that you want the colleges to know about you, whatever that is, it’s really important to make that clear in the application process. It’s just one more thing they can use in terms of understanding and evaluating you and how you’re going to enhance the overall experience in the, on the college campus.
Awesome. Maybe two more questions before we take a quick break. Lauren, I think this next question might’ve been about the 24 hour aesthetic thing that you were talking about. So the question was, is this just for both. No great question. It’s for anyone. And that’s why we did it because we know not everyone needs help, on maybe a broad spectrum of college admission issues.
But essays are really a sticking point. One of the things that I think I typically recommend is that families not spend a lot of time looking over their children’s essays. I think unless you have a very unique relationship with your child and a lot of experience in what a college essay looks like versus a English class essay or an academic essay you can really lead a student in the wrong direction in terms of edits and feedback.
So this is something that’s really important to me is that we are offering an opportunity for students to get really keen feedback from experienced college advisors who have read. Hundreds and thousands of college essays to get that feedback that you need. And no, it is not limited to bullseye clients.
Awesome. Great for that. Thanks for the clarification. Next question was, I would like to know about the application process in general and major differences between Ivy league colleges and regular state colleges slash universities. Sure. Okay. That’s a big question, so I may not be able to give it the time it deserves because it’s a really great question.
Generally speaking This is not necessarily true, but when you’re looking at schools like the IVs generally speaking, the more kind of prestigious, I really hate that word, but the more prestigious a college or university is the more comprehensive the application process is. Again, that is not true across the board, but you are going to have either the main common application or the coalition application which you fill out once.
And that goes to every college that you are applying to. And then of course you have the school specifically. Portions of the application where generally the colleges are gathering demographic information finding out maybe a little bit more about you. If you’ve had any parents or siblings or relatives who’ve gone to that college.
And that’s where you are going to find also the school specific supplemental essay questions. Universities are often the same state universities. Most of them also have supplemental essay questions. Some of them have their own application platform. That’s something just to be aware of when you’re going through this process is to really be aware what school am I applying to?
And are they on the common app? Are they on the coalition app? Do they have their own application really keep tabs on that? Because it can get very overwhelming and confusing. Some of the state universities do ask three or four or five supplemental essay questions. Often they are shorter maybe 250 words or less.
But it does vary from school to school. I wish there were a simple answer to that question. But there is not every application is going to be different. You will find some state universities where. It is a very straightforward application. They don’t want to see teacher recommendations. It really is going to come down to a numbers game.
They want to see your grades pre COVID. They would want to see your scores and they are making their decisions on, in a very strategic numeric metric based on that metric versus the more personal quality of the application and that the more of the private universities and tons of the public as well as colleges, it’s going to be a little bit more of a holistic review of the application.
Awesome. Thanks Lauren. I’m going to flip the, and we can take a quick break before we continue with the rest of the queue. So I, as a break, I also do you want to tell you guys about bullying, how we can help with your essays? Both I right now has two advising plans. We have the starter plan and the scholar plan.
And so they’re both in the form of these monthly subscriptions where you can either choose what regards you want to work with, or you’ll get a match with an advisor based on what school that you’re interested in. And so you can get one or two hours of one-on-one advising each month. And then so what our advisors do is say, we’ll help with your college apps scholarship apps, writing what extra curriculars, pretty much anything that your student needs help with in the college, that process, no matter where they are in the college app process.
And so Lauren is our head of advising at both sites. So if you want to get help from a bull’s-eye advisor or even talk to Lauren about things like mapping out the college at process discussing your main college essay or any of your supplemental essays or your application strategy I’m going to send out the link where you guys can actually sign up for an advising plan.
So while I’m sending that out Lauren, do you want to tell us a little bit more about both and what your role is with Lincoln? Sure. Absolutely. Thank you, Lily. So as head of advising, I have the great pleasure of being able to work with a range of different advisors. We have about a hundred different advisors who come from.
Myriad colleges and universities. All of them are really accessible and caring and incredibly helpful. As Lily is showing you right now, we do have these plans. We have larger packages as well, which are much more comprehensive. One of the things that we’re offering in the larger packages, which I think is really worth noting is the opportunity to have individual sessions with a number of different advisors at some of your target schools.
I think that’s particularly helpful in this time of COVID because it means that you’re going to get that inside scoop for the the inevitable, why Princeton essay, why Harvard essay. These are things that it’s hard to get really. Personal data from a website. And that’s a good way to do it.
At bullseye, we are really committed to offering affordable equal access. We really want to make the college application process manageable for everybody. So we have a ton of stuff on our website that you should take advantage of and look over. Our goal is to help every student feel successful in this process.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Lauren. So I’m going to continue with the Q and a so the next question that I have for you, this is a little bit more general. What is the common app or coalition app? Oh gosh, great question. And I’m sorry, I shouldn’t assume that people know this stuff. The common application and the coalition application are two application platforms.
They are. If you go to common app.org and look it over you’ll, you can create an account for yourself. It basically captures all of the information that colleges need in evaluating your application and same with the coalition application. So when you log on and create an account for yourself, you’re first entering all of your demographic information, your name, where you’re from, what school you go to, you’re entering family information.
You are going to enter in it’s laborious, and you will enter in all of the classes you are taking, all the classes you’ve taken. You will enter in all of your scores. There’s a dropdown menu for you to enter up to 10 activities that you’re involved in. There’s also something similar for honors and awards.
And then you get to the meat of the application. And that’s the personal statement. Both the common application and the coalition application have this personal statement, otherwise known as the college essay. It is up to 650 words. On the common application, there are a number of different prompts available for you to answer.
You can you choose one? But the the ultimate prompt on the list is basically write about whatever you want to write about. I typically recommend that is the prompt that students choose to use. Because I find that the essay usually tells a very strong story without necessarily having to adapt it to a specific prompt.
Once you have completed the coalition or the common application there’s a section on each of them for you to gather together all of the colleges you’re interested in, you can search up colleges and then add them to your page on the common application. That’s where you then link to the college supplements.
That’s where you are linking to again, whatever demographic information they’re trying to capture as well as then filling out all of the supplemental essay questions required by each particular school you are applying to for each the common and the coalition application. You can save it and go back to it.
It’s not something you have to fill out all at once and then submit immediately. You can work on it bit by bit, which is what most people do. That main part of the common application or coalition application outside of the specific school supplements is what you will submit to every single school on your list.
So when you’re ready to submit to a school, you’ve done the school supplements, you’ve done the main common application. You click that submit button, you enter your credit card information, and that application is sent. Awesome. And just to add a quick follow-up to that, we also have webinars and how to navigate the common application portal and the coalition application portal, and also including the ApplyTexas portal and university of California patient portal.
So we have a whole step-by-step thing in an hour long webinar where we had a student who was very familiar with these portals go through and go through each of the section, share their tips and tricks, like common mistakes to avoid stuff like that. And also answer questions that students had.
So I highly recommend checking them. When we had a few more questions about the 24 hour essay editing. So I’m just going to put them all here. So someone just wanted to know when will the 24 hour at the editing be available. Cool. That is a great question. I think our rollout is going to be September 1st, but I’m hoping we can get it out there sooner than that.
And we will be sending out, we will be sending out updates when it’s available. Awesome. That’s going to be something really exciting to look forward to. Next question I got was how will the current moratorium on standardized testing affect the national merit scholars? National merit? Was that the question?
Yeah. Yeah. that’s a great question. The honest answer is, I’m not really sure. And I don’t necessarily know that anybody does. I, the PSA T’s were I don’t know how it’s going to affect it. I think that some colleges, if they have access to the data are still going to be using it for merit money.
But I think some colleges are just absolutely adamant that they’re not considering scores at all. However, what you would certainly want to do is put on your application under the awards and honors section that you are a national merit, whether it’s a semifinalist or finalist because at the very least that’s something that is going to have a profoundly positive impact on your application evaluation.
Ideally, we’ll also yield whatever merit money you might deserve. But I would say if there are any schools that are really top of your list, it’s worth looking over their website. I think schools are doing their absolute best to be really transparent about how their policies are changing for this coming application cycle.
So I would check their websites or even email them and ask them I think it’s going to be almost certainly a school-by-school decision. But at the very least again it’s going to make a positive statement on your application. Thanks Lauren. This one’s a pretty specific question, so we’ll try to go quickly since it might only pertain to this person who submitted does your organization help and improving the GPA for the kids?
And then quick background? My kid is a soccer athlete and a junior hugely got into Montclair university, New Jersey, however, wanting to get selected in a better college in the west coast. Who’ll be graduating 2020. Yeah. We, academic advising in terms of tutoring, isn’t something that we focus on.
But I am a firm believer that every student can have really great college opportunities. And sometimes it’s about finding that fit. It’s about helping to create the strongest possible application you’re capable of. There are strategies and ways to take something that might be seen as a weakness and make it into a compelling narrative and an application process.
And that’s certainly something that we would be more than happy to try to help you with. Awesome. For this one, I’m going to combine two questions from the same person. When should we exactly send her Sam? And when is the last day to submit your college application? Good question. And both of those are dependent on the schools you’re applying to because every college, although there are some pretty universal deadlines, like the slide we showed earlier there are a lot of colleges and universities that are going to have there’s some variety within there where maybe early decision or early action, it could be on November 1st, maybe it’s November 10th, maybe it’s November 15th.
So it’s really important to keep track of that. That’s why I talked about maybe a spreadsheet or some kind of document that, that organizes all of that information for you. That’s not dates. Those are not dates you want to lose track of. And also our website is very helpful with that in terms of keeping track of your applications and all of that data.
In order to have an application basically what triggers your application being considered in a college, having them say we’ve received it in time is literally you pushing that submit button and sending your application to the school on that you are applying to, if your teacher recommendations are a couple of days late, or your test or official test scores, aren’t there quite on time.
That’s far less important, but if you miss that deadline, if your application is not submitted in time, then you are not going to be considered. Awesome. Got it. Next question. I’m just going to read the backend of it. So I guess when she’s my daughter start to narrow down to her 10 to 14 applications, especially as Sarah, my texting isn’t back.
I guess I’m assuming this is a rising senior. I would say that actually Yeah. they’re actually starting their sophomore year, but I think maybe an answer. Goes to like both grade levels might be helpful or, for sophomore there’s no reason to start narrowing down the list yet. I usually like to have people, consider at least that many schools, this is sophomore because I think every student owes it to themselves to do a really substantial amount of research on different schools and really start articulating and refining what appeals to them about the schools on their list.
Why is that school on my list? And I beg you to take prestige out of it because really ultimately the prestige of a school is not going to be a particular influence on the student’s happiness and ability to thrive at an institution. I know it’s crucially important in some ways, but at this stage as a sophomore, you really have the luxury of focusing on the fit.
What aspects of the college campus are important and the academic experience moving forward? Again, 10 to 14 schools, even as a junior, even at this time of year, first senior is appropriate. It’s really maybe in the next month or two for rising seniors that you want to really narrow down your list and make absolutely sure that every school on there as one you’re compelled by interested in and would be absolutely honored to go to.
Awesome. Another question was, can I have more information about your role and what you will do for my daughter and her application process as an international study? Sure. My specific role as head of advising I and other former admission officers are available to work with students. We also, again have a whole range of advisors available from different schools.
Many of whom have a lot of experience working with international students. We have obviously as, as the pointed out some of these subscription packages again the more substantial packages are sometimes better for international students, just because they’re more comprehensive and it’s a little more complex and especially given America’s political climate and some of what’s going on with COVID.
I think negotiating the college application as an international student can be a little bit daunting these days. Yeah. And we also do have an upcoming webinar about I’m applying as an international student. It’s going to be presented by one of our advisors who is an international student herself. So that’s going to be coming up and when you actually leave this off, now you’ll get directed to the page.
It has all of our webinars for this month. So you’ll be able to look for that webinar there. Another question we got was what exactly is early action and really just. Okay. Sure. Early action and early decision are both. Let me take that back one level. When you’re applying to colleges, there’s typically three major ways to do so there is regular decision and that application deadline is usually at the very beginning of January.
And then there is early action and early decision. Those deadlines are usually in the beginning of November, again, summer between like November 1st and November 15th. Typically early action allows you to apply to a school under an early action policy, but it is non-binding. So you apply in November, you will be notified by the school.
Usually, maybe in the third week of December, if you’ve been admitted. If you’ve been deferred, meaning that they are not denying your application, but they want to reconsider you when they get all of the regular decision applications. Or if you have been denied outright, if you apply to a school early decision, it is a completely binding process.
You signed something, the students sign something, the parents send something, the school counselor signed something saying, basically I am applying to this school early decision. And if I am admitted, that is the school I am attending. So again, the application deadline is usually in the beginning of November.
If you apply, you will find out again, usually in the third week of December, if you’ve been admitted, if you are being deferred again, to be reconsidered under the regular decision policy. And if you are deferred, you are released from the early decision obligation, by the way. And. They will also tell you if you’ve been denied outright.
So if you do apply to a school early decision, and you’re admitted that is the school you’re going to, there are a lot of colleges and universities that also have kind of a priority application deadline like university of Maryland has a November deadline. If you want to be really considered, you have to apply early to that priority deadline.
The UC system has a November deadline. It’s not early action or early decision. That’s just when their applications are due. And some schools have what’s called rolling decision, meaning there’s no end, particularly to the application deadlines. You can apply whenever, but. Typically, if you are applying to a school that is rolling decision, you want to apply early in the process.
Think of it a little bit like a funnel. If you apply early in the process, there’s lots of room up there to start getting down towards the bottom. And if you apply late in the process, there’s just not a lot of room left. Awesome. So we can probably get through maybe one or two more questions before we wrap up.
Lauren, I got a bulls-eye specific question. So what’s the difference between a monthly plan and missions package? Do we need to join the monthly plan? You do not need to join the monthly plan first. I will, for the sake of time to, for you to our website because on the website, it lists all of the packages that we offer from the monthly plans to the more substantial and comprehensive packages.
Definitely take a look at what we have there. And if you’d like to speak to anyone about that, you can just let us know based on the correspondence from today. Awesome. Yeah. another question, more of just a statement, but what last minute extracurricular activities will work for that?
Last minute. I love that. None is the answer colleges, despite what you might think, colleges are not looking for. Students who are running around like squirrels, doing a lot of different things. What they really want to see is a student who’s demonstrated consistent and legitimate depth and passion in just maybe a few different things.
If you’re the kind of student who doesn’t have a lot of organized stuff on your activities resume, but you’re deeply passionate about things you do independently. That’s okay. Not every student is a doer or is necessarily involved in a lot of activities. I think people are really scrambling right now.
Yeah. Summer activities have been canceled. School’s not in session, you can’t do your clubs and organizations, colleges are going to understand that. So I think the answer to the question is if there are things you can be genuinely invested in care about and do, because they’re meaningful to you, then you should do them.
But if you’re looking to just fill your resume with something I would take a step back from that and really try to figure out what it is that would give you pleasure. Those are the things that translate best. And then application, when a student is really genuinely doing what that student loves the application.
Is resonant. It really can connect with the reader. It can make the reader feel a strong bond with you and really want to get to know you better. And that’s the ultimate goal. You want to be someone that the reader of your application is going to like, so worry, don’t worry so much about trying to fill the space that might not be there.
Worry instead about how you can help the reader, understand what you do with the space you do have. Awesome. Thank you so much, Lauren. So that sort of wraps up the presentation and Q and a part of our webinars. I’m going to resend that link. If you guys missed it earlier about a bullseye and just learning more about their advice and plans.
So I guess during that time, Lauren, if you want to give a quick. Sure. I just want to thank you all for being here. I know that this is an exciting process and obviously can also be profoundly overwhelming. I wish you all the best, please know that whether it’s with us or other organizations or friends or family, there are resources available to help.
I think it’s especially right now with COVID easy to feel isolated and disconnected and a little overwhelmed by everything. I want to absolutely reassure you. You do not have to go through this alone. There is a lot of support for you and we would be more than happy to help you get through this.
Thank you all for being here today. Yeah. And then just to wrap some stuff up. So we’re going to have our next session in two days. This is going to be on Saturday and the time is actually different. Instead of being in the evening, it’s going to be from two to 3:00 PM Eastern that’s because whatever pain was is actually currently in Europe right now for school.
Our Georgetown panel is going to be next. And then when you exit, you’ll be able to see our page that has all of our webinars that we have for August. We have a bunch of resources on, especially if you guys want to discuss more about like financial aid topics, we have experts coming in to tell you more about these topics.
So yeah, I hope you guys really enjoyed the webinar. Great seeing you all here, and I hope to see you guys for the next one. Thank you all very much. Have a good evening.