Choosing Between Schools
You’ve heard back from colleges: now what? In this CollegeAdvisor.com webinar, our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on choosing between schools in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-06 Choosing Between Schools
[00:00:00] Oh, hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Choosing Between Schools. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panel.
Hi. So I’m McKenzie Murray. I am a freshman at Cornell university and our class of 2024. I’m a human development major with minors in policy analysis, global health, and then possibly education. If there’s time, I am currently pursuing a career as a a high school counselor and I have interest in non-profit work.
And then also I’m in education policy. Then I’m also an advisor here too okay. So today we’re going to be talking about the choosing between schools [00:01:00] and how do you really just pick between this is your first big decision. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. Okay. So how would I describe the college application?
So I applied last year. And the first thing I would say is time consuming, just because there’s so many different steps. And then it’s like they, after day it’s did I get my classes done? Did I get my CSS done? I look at every school, did I do the, my college list? It was just a lot of steps and it took a minute to really just get everything going.
But I’d also say it was manageable because I had an advisor. It wasn’t from this organization, but it was from thrive scholars. So I really had that support. So it helped with really keeping track of stuff and holding myself accountable. When I was going through my list of did I get everything right?
I’d say it was frustrating just because when you’re writing your personal statements and my essays and stuff, it was like I wrote and rewrote it three different times. So my first story wasn’t great. My second story [00:02:00] was okay, but it wasn’t really me. And then my third story, which I finally wrote about the college readiness club that I started my senior year was great, but then I was trying to perfect it so much that it was.
Taking a long time. So that really got frustrating. But the best advice that I got was from my mom, when she said that the admissions officers aren’t looking for me to solve cancer in this personal statement, it’s 650 words. They’re not looking for me to solve the world. Problems in this one little thing they just want to get to know you.
So that really did help me along with all of my teachers that read my personal statements and then my dad with editing it. And so having that support really helped me to make this manageable and really keep myself in control rather than freaking out all the time. Optimistic, exciting, and scary.
So all throughout high school in life, people are telling you. Oh, when you get in the real world, when you get into the real world or they’re saying like you’re just a kid, you can’t really make decisions. You need an adult and [00:03:00] stuff, and then you turn to your senior year. They’re like, okay, now you need to make the biggest decision that could decide where you go for the rest of your life.
And then it’s this is the first real decision that you get to make. That’s all your own. It’s not your parents’ decision. It’s not your teacher. It’s not your friend’s decision. It’s where you’re trying to go. What you’re trying to do with your life. This is yours. And then, so I’d say it was exciting because it was the first time that I could really see my dreams coming true, because it’s you’re sitting in class, you’re wondering like, why am I here for four years?
And then you finally get here and you’re like, okay, this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is my first real step towards being who I want to be being a high school account counselor, although before it was something else, but now being a high school counselor what was what were the factors I consider my creating my list.
So the first thing was majors offered because of course, like you’re going there to study to become something. So whatever you want to be for your career, you need to make sure that you’re picking a major that can get you there, or at least taking the [00:04:00] classes that can get you there. Majors are broad.
So like just looking for programs that are of interest to you and what you want to do. Even if you’re undecided, right. Cleared an important thing is to look and see if they have multiple programs that you might be interested in. And then I’m deciding if that’s going to be a good fit for you to test out different things.
So you can see where you want to go, what you want to end up with. The next thing was programs offered. So like initially I was pre-med so I was really looking into a bunch of pre-med programs. So that I can get my requirements for med school, but again, with the majors offered at Cornell university, I’m in the college of human ecology and the majors that they had in this college were like so broad and all humanities based.
And it was just all the things I was interested in. There’s even a fashion design one. So there’s nine majors. And I was like, if I don’t like the first one that I picked, which was global and public health science, I can see it. Eight more times in this college alone. And I did end up switching to human development.
So it worked out. And then if [00:05:00] this doesn’t work out, then I still have a policy. And then if that doesn’t work. I’ll look again, maybe a fashion designer or something. I don’t know. So that’s a big thing and then programs to support on your interest and then also your career. So like here, I’m in the students onto scholars educational outreach.
So that’s a big program for me. Cause I get to help students. Figuring out the college admissions process like I’m doing here. And then I’m in the Cornell fashion collective. So I could really explore my interest in fashion design and I’m on the set design team. So that’s gonna be interesting this year.
The fashion show is actually this weekend, so well getting set up for it is this weekend. So that’s going to be fun. Other programs like study abroad. I know I want to travel. The best time to travel the world while you’re in college, because you have no responsibilities and life hasn’t really started yet.
So you really got to see the world right now, and then it costs a lot less when you’re doing it through a school. So you might as well travel the world research opportunities that will help see them. If you’re really interested in a field. Like I know I want to do [00:06:00] research and education. Different schools had different programs for that.
So that’s something you want to look into and then also like different things that you might be interested in, like Greek life or like different clubs. So I know I went to pledge AKA, so I was looking in schools that had that they don’t really have the chapter this year. So I’m still looking. Location.
I am originally from Georgia. That was my home and I knew I wanted to get as far away from it as possible. So I ended up in the north. And then now that I’ve seen the snow, I want to go back to the south, but I’m okay. So that’s something to consider. Geographic location. Is it near the beach? Is it inland?
Are you going to get snow? Are you not going to get snow? Is it 70 degrees year round in California or not? But they have earthquakes. That’s something to really consider how far away you want to be from home, how comfortable you’re being far away from home or not. In-state and out-of-state tuitions can vary though more private schools are going to have just the same tuition regardless in-state or out-of-state, but for like public schools, that’s going to be a big [00:07:00] factor.
So that’s something to consider financial aid and scholarships offered. Financially wasn’t my biggest concern, but I was looking at if a school is need days, how does my family situation line up with that? How much aid will I get for that? But then merit based like Howard university Do I have the qualifications to really get a good financial aid package for that.
And then this one’s silly, but again, it is your decision. So I looked at how cute the sweatshirts were. So Cornell university is red and white, and then they have a bear for their mascot. So they had really cute such shirts, but then like brown university is like, their colors are brown. I wasn’t trying to wear it at least sweatshirt for high school.
So that was just something silly that I like thought of it for my college admissions process, just to tone it down a bit. Cause I didn’t want it to be serious all the time. So this was just a good way to relax and just see what the school culture is like. Just looking at their sweatshirts.
Okay. So [00:08:00] again, I got accepted into Cornell university and Howard university. I was early decision for Cornell, so that was a binding contract. And then I was early action for Howard. So it was non-binding. So that’s going to be a big factor in whether or not you get to choose between your school. So like I once I got accepted into Cornell I didn’t really have a choice, but to come here unless the financial aid was just completely terrible.
But When you’re, if you’re deciding to do early decision, which is a binding contract, you really have to be set on that school and know you’re going to get good financial aid. If that’s something you’re worried about, otherwise you might get stuck somewhere. You don’t want to go. But even if I didn’t get accepted into this, I still had like my backup schools, like George Washington university, and a few other places.
Just in case. So then I have, I applied in November and then I got accepted in December on my birthday. And then so I would have still had time to do the applications for regular [00:09:00] decision come January. So I would have had winter break to get that done. So that’s something you gotta look at when you’re applying.
If that’s going to be something that can affect your decision.
Okay. So what are the most in factors when deciding between schools? So this is going to be a big thing. How do you feel when you imagine yourself at that school? So do you see yourself living your best life? Are you having fun? Are you meeting people? Are you enjoying your time there when you imagine it?
Are you happy pretty much? Or are you thinking, oh, am I gonna fit in here? This is going to be weird. This is going to be far from home. Like, how do you feel when you see yourself there? If you haven’t been to like the campus of the school, this could be hard. So I’d recommend Tor not touring the school because of COVID restrictions, but like visiting the school, just to see what the campus is like.
And then walk around, even if you can’t go into the buildings yet. Just because. Going to an actual school can really give you like the vibes of the [00:10:00] school. Because I knew when I stepped onto Howard university in DC, I fell in love with the city. It was just the most amazing the weather was perfect.
And then the people there were just so nice, there was so much to do so much culture and I just love the atmosphere. So that’s what really made me love Howard back in 10th grade and 11th grade. But then when I saw Cornell university, And I saw the fall leaves and I met all the professors and the teachers and stuff.
When I came here, it made me fall in love, even more. So that was like, it was just amazing. And there’s like a whole thing here that whenever there’s a tour going on the weather’s perfect. And then just so that people will want to come here because when the snow hits, it’s pretty, but it’s not as great as when the weather is nice here.
So how do you imagine yourself when you’re at that? Okay. What do you get the most out of your time, money and effort there. And what opportunities will you get? So this sort of goes in with my last point, that financial aid isn’t the most important [00:11:00] thing, because school is really. Excellent. Will you be able to get a good network while you’re there?
Will the professors there be able to write you good recommendations or allow you to be on their research opportunities that will push you further into your career? How will you like the people there? Will it give you like a good set of friends for the rest of your life? Whoa, what other opportunities I will that area provides you with good internship opportunities to like some cities like in Silicon valley will have big tech internship opportunities for students while more so in Georgia, they may not have big tech Internships, but they may have music and like education, internships.
That will really good. So that’s something you have to consider because when okay, so going to this school is Going to the school is really important to think about where you get the most out of going there. Because when it comes down to make decisions between this school has good majors and this was the same majors and they both have good financial aid, it’s going to [00:12:00] come down to those little details, like which school is going to give me the best network to get a job later on which school is going to have that course that I really liked.
Just so I enjoy a little bit more that’s what’s going to be the most important thing. And then also, are you comfortable when attending there? Are you comfortable academically, like rigorous schools, like the Ivy league? Some people are scared that they won’t be able to fit in and keep up with the workload or the other students.
So are you going to be comfortable with that adjustment or do you want to go someplace where you feel more academically comfortable? Are you going to fit in there socially? So if you’re going to an HBCU or PWI are you going to fit in with that climate, that culture, a more conservative school versus a more liberal school geographically.
If you’re coming from California or Georgia to the north, are you going to be able to fit in what that winter weather that’s going to be a big thing and then financially as well? Will you be able to, are you okay with taking out loans? Are you okay with the aid that they give you those types of things?[00:13:00]
What factors were most important? Okay. For me, the most important thing, like the first and foremost thing was how excited I was about this school. Cause like I remember with Howard university, I was really excited just because of like the atmosphere and like actually being in campus and just thinking about the HBCU experience that I would get and all the people I would meet.
Doing the homecoming games and seeing all the parties and stuff. And then and I was really excited about that. But then when I started looking into Cornell, I realized that I was way more excited about not only the social stuff and the climate, but also about what research opportunities I would get, how many other majors I could look into to explore my interests what clubs they offered.
What types of things I’d be able to do studying abroad or just programs. They have, they even have a program called Cornell in Washington here. So I’d be able to go to DC and get that experience, which at Howard, I may not be able to come up to [00:14:00] it, the cut and get the Ethica experience. So I was able to get more excited about Cornell, just because it has so much more that I was looking for and it had more opportunity.
Whether or not I’d Brett going to a different school. So since I was early decision, it really had to be like my top choice if I got in, just because I don’t get any other options. So like I was looking at George Washington university and after applying, I sorta felt a little bit of regret just because I was like, I started to like their programs more, but it worked out in the end, but that is something I did consider am I really going to like it?
Or did I make the right. My financial aid award, this, again, wasn’t the most important thing for me, but when I started looking at how much the student contribution and the parent contribution would be, that did become important because it was like, okay my parents be able to handle it.
They were good. And then will I be able to handle mine with a job or something? And then Howard university offered me the full year, so that one was [00:15:00] good, but that’s not always the case. How comfortable I felt when I was going to go there. So like, When I initially got here and I was like, oh, I’m at an Ivy league.
That was like a big thing, because it was like an adjustment from my high school that I went to. And then being at an Ivy league, a tough school am I smart enough to be here? Like I was a gifted kid in high school, but it’s been, it’s oh no, am I really meant for this? A school is a school.
Even if it’s Ivy league, you’re not just doing your best is going to be the best thing that you can do. And then knowing that you belong there, you got accepted. So clearly you were meant to be there. That’s like a big thing is am I going to be comfortable where my best friend was going?
So the funny thing is I applied early and then regular decision, my best friend applied. And I had helped him with his application. So like we were waiting for three months till March to find out if we were going to the same school together. And then on March, I just told him to tell me, shrimper pancakes.
We’re having shrimp, we’re going to same school together. We’re going to make sure I’m [00:16:00] for our best friend versary. If we said pancakes, we’re going to have a sad little brunch together with pancakes just to consult each other. Luckily he was joking and he said the pink it takes, but then I found out it was shrimp.
That was just, that’s not something that everybody gets to get. Especially if you’re going out of state, that’s more of an in-state thing going with your friends to school, but. Sometimes people want to have that sort of support it wasn’t important. Yeah. Initially he had said, oh, we’re going to go to the same school together.
And I was just like, okay. But then once we actually got towards the application time and he was being serious about it, I was like, okay. I want to go to school with my best friend. Cause like coming up here to the north with all these different people, it was like I would make friends and then I still have him here with me.
And then the valedictorian from my high school is here too. And me and her have known each other since middle school. So it was a good, my friends are here with me too. And then ed. So again, I was early decisions. So binding contract, I didn’t really get that choice. So if you’re doing [00:17:00] early decision, you have to have your heart really set on that school, just because getting out of the contract can be difficult.
And then you don’t want to put all your. I guess let’s not putting all your eggs in one basket. You want to make sure you have a backup plan just in case you don’t get in early decision.
Anything I wish I’d done differently. Wonder just because like, when my friends decision started coming out, a bunch of them started getting to Harvards and Yales and like 10 different schools. And I always wondered, if I would have applied regular and applied to a million schools, how many would I got in?
But that was just more of an ego thing than an actual concern of mine. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you’re going to the school you want or a good school. That’s on your list. You’re going to go where you’re going to go. But I w I did wish I looked into George Washington a little bit more just because I did end up liking their public health program a lot, but I guess it worked out because I ended up switching out of public health anyways, and then Cornell had a lot of options that I was really [00:18:00] into.
So again, having a bunch of those options available with majors and programs and different opportunities is really going to be the big deciding factor because. You might change your mind at some point, and it’s good to still have some variety you where you’re at. Okay. So this one’s kind of a big slides, but bear with me.
What would you advise for someone she’s in between schools? First, you have to think about where you want it to end up. How do you want to be, who is the person you imagine when you see yourself walking across that stage, you’re going for your first job. College is going to be the time when you’re transforming.
And so that person, and you want to make sure you pick the school that can get you to being that person. So that’s going to be my first. Second thing is going to be take other others’ opinions with a grain of salt, because they’re not the ones going to the school. I know for me when I told my teacher Mr.
Spiegel, who I really looked up to it, when I told him that I was going to applying to Cornell university, he just looked at me [00:19:00] what sort of a face. And then he started listing off like exam VR and. Spelman and quite different smaller schools. And I felt offended just because it’s okay, clearly you don’t think I can get in here because he recommended other students to apply to the big name schools.
And that’s sorta bothered me a little bit, but I didn’t let it deter me because I’m stubborn. So then My parents were worried about me leaving home, especially my mom, but then it’s my brother is already across the country in Korea because he’s in the army and now she lives in baby. Me.
That was something that worried her, but we’re on the phone. Like every single day, I think she’s okay. She’s still adjusting. But that was something to think about. My dad was ready for me to go, so that was fine. And then he just moved to Philadelphia. So he’s actually closer to me now. What else?
Others, and then your friends opinions about where you go. It’s good to consider where they’re going, but at the end of the day, it’s really about what you want. It’s always your [00:20:00] decision. So also don’t worry about where everyone else is applying. Don’t worry about if they’re applying to all the big name schools and you’re comfortable or happy with your state school, that’s that’s your decision.
If you feel you’re going to be the happiest there, then you got to go for what you want. Or if your friends are saying, oh, you shouldn’t apply to Cornell or. Or whatever. And just because they aren’t, then you got to ignore them because clearly if they aren’t willing to support you where you want to be, then you don’t need to be around them.
You need to go to a school with people that are going to support you and you need to, it’s good to have the people that you’re with now to support you, but, for that growth. Yeah. Go where you need to go. Okay. If you’re picking a school, that’s worth it, don’t worry about how much it cost.
The school is an investment. So like I was saying earlier, if you have like school, this is going to be a different example. If you have school, a that’s, your top choice has everything you want. It is your dream school. It makes you the happiest, but it costs some more money than the other school.
And you have school [00:21:00] B where it’s like, they’re giving you better aid, but they’re not your top choice. Always go with that first choice. That’s just your dream. Unless that finance is really going to put you in the hole, always go with that first choice and just spend a little more, because school is an investment that extra investing could mean the difference between you being happier and doing well in your school.
It could be in the difference of having counselors and support at that other school that are going to really get you through those four years. It’s going to be the difference between becoming the person you really want to be, or the person you settle it for. It’s going to. The difference between having that internship opportunity at this other school and that city that you really want, or having a professor that can really get you where you want to be, that’s going to be the school.
That’s going to end up getting you a job after your after you graduate to pay off that extra debt, you’re going to get the best job. You’re going to be the happiest. You’re going to be doing what you love because you went to a school that really got you there. So that extra little bit of money is just paying.[00:22:00]
The better, it’s going to have the better pay off in the end, just because you’ll be happier. You’ll enjoy it more. You’ll be more secure with your decision. It’ll just work out in the end. So don’t worry if it costs a little more, because money isn’t going to be the biggest thing. Money will always be there.
Especially if you go to a really good school with financial aid, there’s always like some sort of way around. I know when I. Here. I initially didn’t have the best aid, but then I talked to someone in the financial aid office and I was able to come here for, I think my parents only paid like 8,000 for the whole year.
So it was like, it was really good. And then, and that took down a lot of debt for me. This is solely your decision and it’s your first big decision. So you have to choose the one that’s going to make you the happiest, not your parents, not your friends, not your teachers. And it’s gotta be the thing that’s going to benefit you the most, just because it’s going to affect you.
And only you like your parents may be a little less proud of you say, go to the state [00:23:00] school, then an Ivy league, just because they don’t get to brag as much, but. It doesn’t matter because you’re the one that’s got to live with the decision. Not really them. They can make up a story about wherever you ended up.
If that was a big thing a good school is a good school. You don’t need to go to an Ivy league. People will make a big fuss about Ivy leagues just because they do have great programs and they are the best schools, but a good school. Can be a state school. It can be a Georgia tech, isn’t even an Ivy league and that’s a great school.
Princeton might be an Ivy league, Stanford. Isn’t an Ivy league, but it’s a great school. You don’t need to go to the school that everybody has a lot of hands-on about because a good school is going to still offer you the best opportunities. And it’s going to give you a good education Ivy league.
Originally actually meant, like they just had all the D one sports, but then it also did come with prestige because they are the older institutions, but don’t worry so much about the name. Just [00:24:00] worry about, are they going to get you where you want? And then lastly, you can always change your mind if you go to a school that you picked and he realized you don’t like the programs you have, you don’t like the atmosphere.
You don’t like the people just know that you can always transfer. You can always leave it. Isn’t always as set in stone decisions. Even if it’s early decision, you can always leave the school. You can. You can even come back later in life and get a new degree. If you realize that it was the career you didn’t want, it’s always good to make those decisions earlier, just so you don’t have to use as much money or time.
So that’s always good if you want to switch a major. But. It’s never something you have to set with. You can always change your mind. If you realize that it’s not in your heart anymore, you don’t need to feel so worked up or stressed about oh, I have to go here now. I said, I was going here.
Like you can always change. So that’s the best thing about college is that it’s your decision and you can always change your decision.[00:25:00]
Okay. If you’re still not sure. I wasn’t I didn’t really get this option for choosing between schools, but I asked some of my friends who did choose between schools. One of them made a suggestion that if it comes down to two schools would coin because if they’re that close, you might as well flip the coin.
Cause you’re going to be 50 50 on it anyways. As someone who has gone there, like an alumni or a faculty or another student that’s there now, or graduated recently about what their experiences and opinions or where they ended up to see if that’s, who is actually going to help you get where you want to go.
And if you might enjoy it, but you don’t, you may not have their experience. So always keep that in mind. Just, it’s good to have a good variety of. Oh, he said this about this school. She said that. And so on and so forth. Watch YouTube videos and read reviews online. I know that with COVID there isn’t as much ability to go on campus right now, but like YouTube videos are really good.
Like for SOS. We recently made a [00:26:00] tour of the Cornell campus. You can see like a video of the different areas on campus. Those are going to be really good. I’d recommend watching the really nice ones that the universities put out with all the good what are those things? Drones, videos, and stuff with all the good views, but then also watching the ones that students make, just so you can get the real T about the schools and find out like, oh, their dining hall.
Isn’t all that great. If that’s something important to you, cause like you’re going to be eating. Also check out their social media posts and like their Facebook pages. So you can really get a sense of the community. I know a lot of schools have meme pages, so you can see what type of humor they are.
What are the big jokes? You can get an idea of what the culture is like at a school based on their social media pages. And then you can also see more reviews. And then there’s also like rate my professor, rate my school. And then you can see like what the professors are like, what the courses are like. What people are saying is good about the school and bad about the school.
It’s always good to look at the good, so you can be happy about it, but it’s good to look at them that so you can be brought down to reality, cause no way it’s going to [00:27:00] be perfect. You just got to find the place that’s going to be good for you. Make a pros and cons list. If it really comes down to it, you gotta.
You gotta write down what all is gonna be good about this school, what all is going to be bad? And it might just come down to who has the most prawns, oh my gosh. The most pros or the least cons. And then also I lost my train. Oh, no. Okay. So I’m also, okay, there we go. It’s going to come down to which school is going to have the most opportunities.
Like I said before, that’s going to push you to where you want to go. It like really, when you’re looking for schools, if you get down to all of them have the same qualifications, look at something random. What sort of organizations are in that area and how do they work with students? Because it may be that both schools have something great, but then in this city, they have an organization that is a startup starting a startup company that may give you that extra internship.
That’s really going to set you apart when you’re applying for a job, it’s going to [00:28:00] come down to those little details when it gets to like two schools or multiple schools are seeming really great. That’s really going to set them apart from.
Okay. So I’ll talk a little about this. CollegeAdvisor has a summer opportunity database. This month’s webinars series is on summer opportunities. And this database has opportunities in various fields that are remote in person paid unpaid in order to boost students’ resumes and involvement in careers, they’re interested.
It’s a jumping off point for freshmen through seniors to start to familiarize themselves with what opportunities are out there and what is required to apply at this point in time, the database is available only to CollegeAdvisor.com clients through their advisor, but hopefully it will be public at some point in the coming months.
Yeah. So this is the end of the presentation part of the web. [00:29:00] I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the slides from the link in the public chat, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. Our first question is what factors should I take into account when choosing between two schools that are very similar?
Okay. Like I said before, I’m with the factors you choose it’s going to come down to the little details, like which school has. Maybe you can look at the courses of that school. So if both schools have programs, you like, look at the specific courses they have, because like for What’s it called for brown.
They have, [00:30:00] they don’t necessarily have courses you have to take, but they do have majors. So they may have classes where you can get a little bit more variety, like instead of, for a bio major, maybe instead of having to just take only biology for your first year, you can take biology, but you can also take history and you can also take an art class, maybe look into the professors that are teaching those classes.
Do they have like research opportunities that you’re interested in? Are those classes going to be intriguing to you? Different majors can have different. Distribution requirements. So like for my major, for most of the human cology majors for Cornell it’s humanities based, but it’s also natural science space.
I’m more of a humanities person than a natural sciences person. So that was an, that was something that really drew me to the college of human ecology, just because a lot of them. Biology majors that like more science, natural science schools are just going to be science focus, which a lot of people pre-med go into.
But if you’re not really a [00:31:00] science person, but you still want to do pre-med and you still need the requirements going into a school that offers more variety. What their majors could be with their majors could be a big. Game changer in your decision. So like looking at those specifics could be a big thing, even if they offer the same major, because they may have the same name, but they could be completely different.
I think also looking into extracurriculars, like what makes the extracurriculars at that school special can also be a helpful place to find where you feel like you’re really going to fit in. Okay. Our next we’ve had. Oh, sorry. What are some easy questions to ask yourself while researching and choosing where to apply from?
Okay. Some easy questions. I guess the first one would be, do they have my major second one would be, you could ask yourself, do they have cute sweatshirts? That’s a good question. What’s another [00:32:00] what What’s the school motto, like does the school motto fit in with your interests?
Because Cornell’s is any person any study that sort of fits in with my personality, because I believe anyone should have equal access to education. So does that fit in what’s your values, your morals, this school model can really tell you a lot about a school. So you can look into that. What other easy questions?
Do I know someone that goes there. Did any of my family go there? What else? What study abroad programs? I guess some of the questions that I listed previously earlier in the sites could bounce ideas off of really, you should ask yourself before even looking into a school. If I can make my own dream school, what would it look like? What would it have? And then go to look at all the schools and see how many things they check off.
Just make a list of everything that you need to be happy to be supported to feel like you’re going to thrive to feel academically challenged to get where you want to be. Just make a list of all of those things and [00:33:00] then see what schools are really checking off the boxes. And then you can look more.
I did like your sweat shirt. I thought that was a great answer. And honestly I’ve heard way better or way worse times to apply to certain colleges. The next question is, what extracurriculars did you participate in during high school? Oh Lord. Okay. That one is going to be funny just because some of the clubs I started.
So I. My freshman year, I did track, but I didn’t really stick with that. But I also was in beta club. What else to do? I did science fair, which isn’t an extracurricular, but I did science for that year. What else was I in any other clubs? I wasn’t in many because ninth grade or 10th grade, but then 11th grade, I joined cross country and I did IB the international baccalaureate program.
And then, so that was a big thing for my application. And then I also, [00:34:00] what else I started I did I be in cross country and then senior year is where more of my clubs come in because my my administrator from my school, Ms. Black invited me to be an advocates for higher level education. My junior year, actually, to talk about what the middle schoolers and the high school is about joining IB and AP courses at our school.
So that one wasn’t really an official club, but it was something I had on my resume and stuff from the school is good. Even if it is an official What else? Senior year I got accepted into national honor society finally. So that was on my resume. I was the team manager for the wrestling team at my school, cause my best friend wrestled.
So I was just there. I did DECA, but I wasn’t really involved. It was just another thing to add. And then I, also, my biggest thing for my application was something that I started. It was my cast project for the IB program. I started at college readiness club at my high school, and that was my biggest thing for me, just [00:35:00] because I, it was something that I owned.
I created, I helped students with their college application process essays, finding scholarships, doing the same things that I was doing here. But it was something that I really got to talk about a lot in my applications and in interviews. And it’s how I got this job. So you don’t necessarily need like the betas or the NHS is for your resume.
It’s about showing, like which interests are I was in Japanese clubs. So that was something what’s your interests are what your commitment, sorry. So are you able to balance out stuff? Are you well-rounded can you. Sports academics and service. So those are big things that are going to be affecting you.
Those sports isn’t necessarily needed. What else? And then they’re really looking for your commitments and your involvement. So you don’t need a million clubs on your resume. You just need some good ones that you can talk about if you want to, or that Or that has something to, I think you can talk about them, like something you started or something that was a big part of your [00:36:00] life or something that just shows that you’re a top student, because you have to get invited into like beta and it just, and those have some credentials to them.
This next question is a bit related to what you were talking about, but in your opinion, what makes a student stand out in their application when applying to a school? Oh my gosh. What makes the students do now? So schools are really looking to see in your application, the most important part is going to be your essays.
Cause like they look at your demographic information for your school and your family and you, and then they look at your They look at your grades and your courses and your scores and stuff, just to see okay, did this person were they taking the most rigorous stuff at their school? Are they a good student?
Just to see if like you can handle you’re academically competent pretty much, but then it’s going to be your resumes and your letters of recommendation that are really gonna set you apart in your In your applications, just because those are the times when they really [00:37:00] get to see who you are as a whole student and a whole person.
So something that really makes you stand out in the application process is going to be some you can, if you can show your excitement, your passion about something In my applications. I talked about my college readiness club and I talked about my interest in access to education. It was something that made me mad.
It was something that I could rant about. It was something that like when I walked into my school and I like saw the issues that were going on, I was just like, oh my gosh, I need to fix this only I can fix this. And that’s what I talked about. That was. School is really want to see that you have an interest.
Like you’re not just a person who’s just reading. Just a person. That’s just doing their textbooks and going to school. Like they want to see that you’re involved in the two I for my junior year, I had to do a project for my class where I went out on community and I had to solve an it problem for them.
So I went to a local consignment shop and I was able to be her sole, the owner, social [00:38:00] Social media developer. And so I took photos of different clothes. She hadn’t made a promotion, no video for her. And I was able to get a good recommendation from her that showed that I not only have like tech skills and design skills and interest in fashion, but also I’m willing to go out into the community and fix a problem.
I’m a problem solver. So they really want to see it. That you’re involved in the community. You’re not just by yourself, sitting at home and stuff. They want to see that you’re well-rounded students. So I’m doing multiple classes, but not too many during multiple cuts that you’re committed to along with school, along with home life, if you maybe.
Maybe you aren’t able to do as many clubs. Maybe you have to take care of your siblings. You can talk about that. They’ll see that you’re a really caring person. You’re a family person. They really just want to get a sense of who you are and whether or not you’ll be able to fit into their school. And if there’s school will be able to help you, it’s a two way process.
It’s dating pretty much both of you have to [00:39:00] like each other. So it’s really not about. Oh, my gosh, this student was able to cure cancer. Like when they were nine years old or something, it’s going to be about how you can market yourself to be the most, to show your interest, to show your passions, to show what you care about and to show what you did in high school to, to follow your passions or find them.
And then also explaining how college will help you get further into your passions.
very true. Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break and I want to let you know what you can do after this webinar. If you want to get help on your college apps from any of our advisors at CollegeAdvisor, we have two monthly advising plans and larger packages that come with a set number of. As advisors, we will work with you on your college essays, choosing schools, interviews, and more.
I’m sending everyone at this panel, a link to get started. [00:40:00] The offer links to our page to sign up and get started. Our students at CollegeAdvisor have had a ton of success. This past admission season. We had CollegeAdvisor clients get into all of the IVs and every top 25 school in the county. Our clients rate us at 9.8 out of 10.
And that’s because advisors put a ton of care into working with you. One-on-one through every step of the application process. If you want to discuss this, one-on-one with an advisor, this is a great chance to work with us. Now, back to the Q and a, our next question is what would you avoid? What should we avoid in our colleges?
Things you should avoid. Okay. There’s nothing you can like, there’s nothing that’s he can’t say, there are some things you should maybe stray away from one of my advisor from thrive Angie, she had told me about she told the group about one of her [00:41:00] applications she saw when she was a admissions officer and it was about It was a girl applicant who was talking about her growing up and the way she framed, how she grew up was she went from diapers to Pampers, to underwear, to thongs.
So like to show that sort of development. And it was like, it was shocking. So they remember, but it wasn’t shocking in a way that was endearing. They’re like if curse words aren’t necessarily banned from speaking, but if if it adds emphasis, if it was necessary to the story you technically can, and it won’t hurt you, but if it was just, like you said, an explicative, just to be explicit.
It’s not really gonna, it’s gonna shock them, but not in a way that you want. There are some cliched story stories, like for people that did sports, like talking about how you won the big game may not be interesting. But talking, there was another application that was talking about the bus [00:42:00] rides to the games and how that affected them in their mindset during that.
And that was more interesting than just oh yeah, we won the big game. My coach gave a big speech and stuff. Those types of stories are hackneyed talking about like personal troubles or troubles. Is good. If you can explain how it leads to where you want to be, it’s not good if it’s just like a really sad story per se, that doesn’t really tell much about you.
It just tells what you went through, things like that. Like hardships can go into a special part of your application where they ask, have you experienced any sort of hardship in your life? And you can explain it there, but like a story that’s about you per se. Your trauma may not be able to tell them who you are.
It just tells them what you went through. Now, if you can tell them how it like makes you who you are and makes you who you want to be or something like that, then that could be a good story. Like hardships aren’t bad. It’s just how you frame it. And whether or not it comes off as you’re just trying to be like pitiful or.
I [00:43:00] guess inspiration, something like that. Those are sorts of things to steer clear of. I, from my first personal statement, I talked about being like I’m usually I’m I was in gifted the gifted program. So I went to a class, like I talked about three different instances where I didn’t feel like the smartest kid or something and colleges don’t really care about.
If you had a little bit of rigor in your life. That’s life. They don’t care. It doesn’t tell them anything. And clearly you got through, so it wasn’t that challenging if you got the boost. So steer away from stuff like that. Definitely just because everybody goes to goes through academic rigor. So that’s not really a story.
It’s not necessarily about which one to avoid. It’s more so about like, How can you show yourself, show your thoughts, your opinions, your feelings, your personality, it’s 650 words. It’s going to be just tell them what your [00:44:00] application, what’s your grades. Can’t like the way I see it is if you can get a recommendation for say, if you did a service project or you’re in a sport from like your coach or the person in charge of that surges service project, and you have your teachers talking about how you are as a student, they’ll know how you were as a student, how you are in the community, tell them something that’s either on your resume that you didn’t get to talk about anywhere.
Or tell them about something that’s not in any other part of your application, so they can really get the full picture of you. That’s more. So what you’re going for then avoiding something like just, don’t be heinous, don’t be gruesome. Don’t be rude. But just really be yourself. You don’t have to necessarily be formal or we’re worried about that or grammar so much, just make sure it’s legible or eligible, I guess is the word.
I also think sometimes it can be helpful to have people who, you know, and trust to read your essays and people [00:45:00] who care about you and who know the best parts of you to say whether or not you’re showing the best parts of you. That can be very helpful as well. Okay. Our next question is. What are the pros and cons of going out of state versus in yes.
The first thing would be weather depending on where you’re coming from. Me from the south where it’s hot all the time to coming up north where it’s cold is not fun. Some of the pros of being in state is if you’re going to a public school, you can get a lower amount on your tuition. Then if you go out of state to a public school, just because they change that.
But for private schools that isn’t something you had to worry about, but one little pro about Cornell. I wrecked Cornell. Since I’m in the college of human ecology, it’s a. I think it counts as like a state funded school. There’s like a special name for it. This was a grant school given by New York state.
So it has a different [00:46:00] tuition than like cows or the engineering school. So my tuition is lower actually than the actual Cornell tuition being in the college of human ecology. And then there are like a few other schools that are the same way on campus. I can’t name them right now, but I definitely know college of human ecology has its own tuition.
So it’s really about looking at specific schools for their tuition. If money is a thing for you Whether or not, you want to be close to home. Cause like I know sometimes with the dining hall, even though it’s good and I worked there, so I know what they cook and stuff it’s sometimes I miss home. They don’t make fried chicken.
Like they do back home here. Their orange chicken is not comparable to my mom’s orange chicken. I miss my dad’s. I missed chicken a lot. Like the chicken here just isn’t good in Ethica. That could be something you could worry about whether or not you can go home on the weekends, do your laundry for free.
That could be a thing. Cause I have to pay for laundry here, which isn’t fun.[00:47:00] What’s another thing about a changing climate, not climate as in weather, but like climate as in society because Georgia is the south. We all know how the south is. New York is the north and it’s more liberal up here. So it was a big adjustment for me.
When people at liberal schools that are toward were saying their pronouns, that was an adjustment for me, just because in Georgia that isn’t something they really do that isn’t the climate. But then also like Southern hospitality, the different accents the different cultures of the area can make a difference.
If you’re going out of state, especially if it’s a state, that’s not like your home. If I would’ve went to Alabama, it would have been pretty similar to Georgia, but coming up here, it’s very different. If I went to west California that have been much different because the valley accents over there are very different than the ones over here.
It can be little things like colloquialisms. In the south. We say, when you want to give someone a share of your water, he say, you’re giving them a waterfall, but in California they call it a [00:48:00] sky. And up here, they call it a air set, which is weird. So those are things you could consider. Culturally what’s another thing instead of the state.
So tuition how far you are from home. Oh travel. That could be a big thing. So like when you have to travel between states. So I have to, I, my parents drove me up here for. Two days, it took 18 hours to drive up here. So that was something. But most people don’t want to drive that far. So you might have to fly plane tickets, especially with COVID.
And coming into it, the collect a small area, our airport is small, so it was like, Thousand dollars for some of the tickets. So that’s something you got to look at. Can you afford that amount of travel? Does your school offer programs to cover cost of travel? Like some schools offer different subsidies for those, or if you’re like coming from the south to a Northern school where there’s snow, they have different programs for students who may not be able to afford a coat, like a nice coat or don’t know how to get a nice coat.
So those are things you got to look at and [00:49:00] so travel. How far you are from home financial aid differences and then different culture. Yeah.
Okay. I think this is probably going to be the last question. So the last question will be, what do you tell yourself when you start having second thoughts or it gets over? So for second thoughts when you have second thoughts about a school. It’s good to just comfort yourself and say I’m like it, there can transfer.
That’s something sometimes it’s it’s just good to be uncertain. Like I know when it came down to the last two week or so that I was at home and I realized that, oh, I’m about to move across country. I started to cry and stuff just because I was scared of leaving home and I was scared about the adjustment.
And then I knew like from going to my summer program that I went to, when I went to Boston, I had cried that first night. I was there just because I was like, why am I [00:50:00] here? I’m away from it. I want my mother, I want to hug her mom. That is something like that. It can affect you. But like when you start to second, guess yourself, just know.
There’s a reason you probably want that school. Like you just gotta meet sure enough, sure enough, that it’s gonna get you where you want to go. It has what you need and what you want. Sure enough, that you’ll be happy. If you think, if you imagine yourself and you’re happy most of the time you’ll be fine.
And then also just know. If I don’t like it there, I can leave. You can go home, you can do anything. There’s nothing keeping you there. And then if you get overwhelmed, I know I got overwhelmed with the application process. Cry, just cry. Just cry a little bit. Cause sometimes you just need to get it out.
You just need to explain why you’re frustrated because I wrote and rewrote my personal statement and I was just like, why isn’t it? Perfect. And sometimes you just gotta rant to somebody, talking to people can really help. Talking [00:51:00] to an advisor, the CollegeAdvisor, or talking to a family member or a friend seeing where they’re at.
Just like having somebody that can listen to you when you’re getting overwhelmed can really help calm you down and help you think through your thoughts. I’m writing it down. If you’re into journaling when you get overwhelmed by the application process, just step away. This is why you got to start early, so you can have time to step away and procrastinate a little bit.
So you don’t have to look at your screen when you’re applying. If you’re doing it last minute and don’t step away from the screen, just cries. You write your personal statement. Yes. That’s something you learned in college, you just learn. So right through the tears, you do learn that in college. So it’s gonna sometimes you just have to step away because like, when you get frustrated or overworked and stuff, you’re not really going to be thinking so much.
You’re just going to be worrying and stressing and you won’t be able to see the positives. You won’t be able to have as many good ideas. Sometimes you just need to step away, go for a walk, get away from your computer. I know when I was thinking of my personal statements or. Topics for other [00:52:00] people. I had my best thoughts when I just went on a run or I was in the shower and I was relaxed.
That’s a big thing that people talk about taking a shower for their thoughts. It’s it’s can be overwhelming just because this is your first big decision, but just know you will more than likely end up making the right decision in the end. Everything works out pretty much. Yeah,
I second that okay. So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and thank you so much for Mackenzie for such a wonderful presentation. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a really great time telling you about how to choose between schools and here’s the rest of our April series.
We have one tomorrow on stem research. And yeah. Thank you so much for coming. Have a great night.