For Parents: Navigating College Admissions With Your Child
Applying to college is stressful, but CollegeAdvisor is here to help! Join Admissions Expert Chelsea Holley as she provides tips and tricks on how to navigate college admissions stress as a family. This will be a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute live Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-09-27 – For Parents: Navigating College Admissions With Your Child
Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s Webinar For Parents: Navigating College Admissions With Your Child. My name is Lonnie Webb and I will be your moderator for this evening. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we will start off with a presentation, then answer your question in a live Q&A on the sidebar.
You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions now in the Q&A tab. Now let’s meet our panelist. Hello everyone. My name is Chelsea Holley. I serve as an admissions officer here with CollegeAdvisor. Um, my career in college admissions has been a little over 10 years, Um, and I’ve worked at a series of institutions including state flagships, um, private liberal arts institutions, women’s colleges, HBCUs, so just a ton of different institutional types.
I hope that I can provide some insight on how this process looks at these different schools, um, and how you can make sure that you have the least stressful experience for you and your student. Okay. So before Chelsea gets into the content portion of this evening, I’ve already started the poll, so you’ve probably seen it pop up on your screen.
How are you feeling about the college admission process? For your child, let us know. It’s a big milestone for your child to go off to college. So are you feeling excited, calm, confused, or just another feeling that we, we, we can’t describe. Let us know. And since I started the poll early, I already started to get the responses coming in Chelsea.
So I have about 56% are sharing that they are confused. Okay. Which very we, very typical, you know. Totally fine. Um, we have 22% that are excited, 11% calm and then another 11% it’s other. So I will turn it back to you, Chelsea, to lead us in our presentation. Thanks so much, Lonnie, for taking the temperature of the room.
Um, for those of you that are excited or calm, way to go, um, for those of you that are confused or feeling a little bit of anxiety, you are in large company with others that are feeling the same way. Um, so I hope that we’re able to provide some information about how to de-stress the college admissions process.
Um, so first let’s talk about some of those factors that can make the application process particularly stressful. Um, so oftentimes the very first step of this process is completing a college list. Um, this in a simple version might be you polling your student and asking them what schools they’re interested in, what schools they’re interested in touring.
Um, but to truly complete a college list, you should be researching each of these schools. You should be seeing if they have the student’s academic major, if they’re a good fit, if they are an affordable option for whatever your financial plan is. So all of these factors go into building a solid college list.
Um, the second piece is scheduling visits and campus tours. Um, it is never too early to get your student on a college campus, and it doesn’t always have to be the campuses on your students college list that you. Um, oftentimes there are some very specific characteristics that go along with, uh, colleges in the northeast or small private colleges or large state flagships.
And so you can set up a visit somewhere near you that can give you a sense of that type of college. Um, deciding upon a major, So this one is a big one. Um, students often feel pressured to decide on what their major is early on. Um, some students are feeling a lot of influence maybe from older siblings or parents on what that major should be.
Um, so deciding upon a major will shape the schools that you are interested in. Um, with that being said, we have tons of students that go into the college search process as undecided majors, and many, if not most schools do allow for space for you to be undecided in their process. Selectivity. Um, I think particularly in the past couple of years, there has been a lot of anxiety around how selective institutions are, how many applications they’re receiving, who’s getting in, who’s not getting in.
Um, and so this can be really anxiety inducing for families. Um, we’ll talk a little bit about how you can have a more realistic approach to, um, your odds of getting into a college. And more importantly, just finding a list of schools that are realistic, um, but are also really good fits that you can also be excited about.
Um, affordability. Uh, college admissions is very much, um, a kitchen table. Sit down, make a plan, make an Excel sheet type of decision. Um, and so students may not always feel the affordability stressor, but certainly parents and families feel that. Um, and then finally, balancing influence. Um, there are tons of different people that are influencing this decision about where your student will go to college.
You are one of them. Um, possibly your extended family or siblings. Um, but their peers are also influencers in this space. Um, we also have their high school counselors or teachers. So you have all of these people that have expectations, um, for where your student might attend college. Um, and so balancing those opinions and kind of sifting through that information can be daunting.
So what are some strategies that can help reduce student burnout along this process? So the first piece is starting early. Um, I think the sweet spot to begin, um, visiting schools, building a college list, thinking about your activities is certainly the sophomore year. Um, but it is truly never too early to begin this process.
As early as the freshman year, students can begin going on those campus visits, attending college fairs, and asking questions to prepare themselves, um, for what’s ahead. What you don’t wanna do is wait until second semester of your junior year to really start building a plan. Um, and thinking about college admissions.
I won’t say that it’s too late because you can always play catch up. Um, but it does really increase the stress. Um, it gives you a shorter window of time in order to complete all of the many steps that will go along with choosing, um, a college that you’re interested in applying and then ultimately getting admitted.
So starting early is key. Um, it will help your student, um, feel less stress. It will help you feel less stressed. And if your student is looking at some of the more selective institutions, this gives you a longer runway to know exactly what these institutions are looking for and how you can make sure that you are putting forth the most competitive application and impressive high school career, um, to present at on your admissions application.
The second piece is certainly getting organized. Um, so getting organized in this process is really, really important. Um, I think for our families that are feeling confused, organization is a great remedy for that. Um, what this allows you to do is to understand each of your college colleges that you’re interested in, in isolation.
So yes, there are many, um, many similarities in this process, but there are some very specific deadlines, characteristics, policies that are unique to these institutions. Um, the average student is applying to anywhere from seven to 10 colleges. Um, 12 is also very, very common. Um, and so when you have seven to 12 institutions that all have different processes and deadlines.
It is incredibly important to get organized and stay organized from the moment you begin this process. And then finally, um, parents, we are looking to you to help manage the family anxiety around this process. Um, sometimes parents can be more anxious than the students. Um, and that is okay if you are feeling that way.
Um, but we encourage you to be good partners and, um, be a good example for your students and manage your own anxiety, but certainly manage the overall anxiety that the family and that the student might be feeling along the way.
So let’s talk about some strategies on how to stay organized throughout this process. Um, so the first piece is creating a dedicated email address, um, for the college admissions process. If you have began researching, um, already, you know that once you fill out any inquiry form or share your information, that you go into the school’s communication funnel.
And what that means is that you’ll begin receiving invitations to on campus events, you will begin getting information about, um, where an admissions recruiter might be in your city. Um, also tips to navigate the process. Um, so you will get a slew of emails from each of these institutions. So, um, multiply a couple hundred emails over the course of two years by the number of institutions that you’re applying to, and you have a whole lot of information coming to your inbox.
Um, it is incredibly important to have a dedicated email address because as you start this process, um, and begin your application, that email address is going to be the place where, uh, colleges are communicating with. . So, um, many colleges are still sending out admissions letters in the mail. Um, but the first notification that you’ll typically get of your decision is via email.
Um, your email is often your username that you’ll log to use in your college admissions portal, which is where, um, application updates are posted. Um, and so this allows you to track at all stages of the application where you are and how you’re progressing. So a dedicated email address is wonderful. Um, typically I usually see students choose an email address, email address that is student College 1997 at Gmail.
Um, and this allows them to mark that email address. Um, For any communication that they get. This is also amazing practice for the future because, um, students oftentimes don’t start really checking their email until they are in the college admissions application process. So this gets them conditioned to checking their email in a timely manner, responding to admissions officers asking questions, and really engaging with the colleges that they’re interested.
Um, the second piece is organizing, um, in some sort of folder or share shared drive. Um, so Google drives one drive or any other shared folder. Um, this is an amazing, uh, approach because this gives you and your student access to real time versions of any of the documents that they’re working on. Um, so whether that is their main common app essay, supplemental essays, um, a statement of purpose, a resume, There’s all of these documents that are involved in the application process that you want to be able to, um, organize and also have in a space that, uh, you or others that you trust in this process can give your student feedback.
Um, so this is not. An individual process where your student is typing away on their computer, they send off their essay and their application, and no one else ever sees it. Um, it is important to share, share, and share again, and get feedback and edits, um, from those that are going to be involved in supporting your student in this.
Next, you wanna create a realistic timeline. Um, so this timeline looks different. So if you’re starting your sophomore year, um, again, you have a little bit of a larger runway. Um, but if you are starting your junior year, you still have an opportunity to create a timeline that keeps stress low, um, and gives you enough time to hit all of your deadlines and benchmarks that you are looking.
Um, and then finally start conversations with your support system early. So I’ve talked a little bit about, um, members of the support system. Um, again, this is, um, any influencers that your student has in this process, um, that are beneficial to their college application. So this could include, um, a high school counselor that you might be looking to, to help shape the college list.
So starting a conversation with the high school counselor as early as the sophomore year, um, is absolutely wonderful. Um, your student should also be thinking about recommenders. Who are people in their academic or extracurricular circles that can, um, serve as recommenders and really, um, give a testament to the type of student they are and what their potential is.
Um, it is always important to have people around you in the academic context or outside of the classroom that know you as a student, know you as a leader and can share that with the institutions that you are applying to. This allows for someone to cosign, um, the story, the application, the resume that you are presenting to the college.
Um, and you’re trusting these folks a lot. Um, so you want to begin building that relationship with them very early on, um, so that you’re not asking for a favor out of the blue, um, or you’re not asking folks that you haven’t built a relationship with. Um, and so starting early and making sure that you know the people that you’re going to be leaning on in this process, um, can really help reduce.
Okay, so speaking of starting early, we would like to know what great is your child in? Um, and then Chelsea, like, is it ever a time where it’s like, what’s, is there such thing as like too early or too late? ? Um, so my, my two late might be second semester of senior year. That’s late. Okay. It’s not impossible.
There’s still applications that are open. Um, but you wanna have a very specific plan if you are jumping into this process, um, that late in the year. Um, now is it ever too early? Not at all. Um, there are so many things that you can do really early on. Um, the eighth grade year is actually when students begin tracking into a lot of these rigorous courses, AP coursework, honors coursework.
Um, and so when you are registering your students for courses as early as eighth grade, you are certainly having college in the back of your mind somewhere. Um, because that is typically when the academic rigor begins. Thank you. Thank you for, um, answering that. So we have, uh, about 36% of our parents are, have children in the 12th grade, followed by that same 30%, 36% in the 11th grade, and then 29% in the 10th grade.
So we have 10th through 12th grade representation for our audience. Very good. Um, so 12th graders, once we get, um, to the Q&A portion, I would love to know what are your outstanding questions that you have right now? Um, this is likely the craziest season of college admissions. Um, it is recruiting season.
You’re putting final touches on your applications. You’re preparing for those early decision, um, deadlines or early action deadlines. Um, so I would love to know kind of what those burning questions are about the process right now. So one thing that I always talk about is that there are aspects of this process that you have control over and there are aspects of this process that you have no control over.
And I know, um, that is very difficult to hear for some families. Um, but I actually think if you can understand that and accept that it actually brings a level of peace into this process. Um, because all of a sudden, you know that a hundred percent of your students fate is not wrapped around their worth and how good they are in some institutions choosing them.
Um, institutions have all of these external priorities that drive enrollment, admissions who gets in. Um, and so keep that in mind. I do wanna focus on the aspects that your student does have control over because there are tons of those as well. Um, so the first piece is certainly their academic record. Um, their academic record is the types of courses they took, when they took them, the grades that they got in those courses.
These are all things that the student has control over. I will play the devil’s advocate on academic records and course selection. Um, I hear of students all the time who are not able to take, um, an AP course until their junior year or their institution caps, uh, their AP or honors courses, so they’re not able to take as many as some other students and another high school.
Um, so what do you want to think of for that scenario is that institutions are looking at students in the context of their high school and so, I just about bet any parent on this webinar, you can think of any little nuances that you know are going on at your, your students high school. Maybe they’re not on a 4.0 grade point average.
And you’re wondering how will admissions committees view, um, this different grade scale? Um, maybe they have no access to AP courses at all. Um, and so you’re hearing AP and honors and IB courses and your student doesn’t have access to those at their. Admissions committees are always looking at students in the context of their school first.
So it is our job to be informed about your high school, um, what’s offered at your high school. And one of the best ways that we do that is that your institution, your high school presents what we call a school report. And this is like your school’s resume. Um, it tells us things like how many advanced courses are offered.
Um, it digs in a little deeper into class rankings if there are any. Um, they don’t class rank because that’s also, um, a nuance at certain high schools. Um, they talk about, uh, population of first generation, um, racial and ethnic populations. Um, all of these elements that allow us to get a good picture. Of the type of high school that your student attends.
And from there, we’re able to contextualize the academic record in a fair and equitable way. Um, and so let’s say we’re looking at a student who has access to no AP courses. Um, they do have an opportunity to take honors courses, but only two or three honors courses are available at their high school. We would not be holding them to the same standard as a student who had access to 20 AP courses and 15 honors courses.
Um, so your academic record, you absolutely do have control over because the institutions are controlling for some of those other elements that you may feel put you at a disadvantage. The second piece is the overall quality of the application. And when I think of overall quality of the application, I think of organization, uh, preparedness, um, and thought that you’ve put into the application.
Um, I’ve read thousands of admissions applications in my career, um, and it is always apparent the student who spent some time being introspective and crafting their application and students that have rushed their application just to hit submit. Um, and so when you think about the overall quality of the application, this is putting your best foot forward into the admissions process and making sure there’s no loose ends or errors that you may need to tie up, um, throughout your entire application.
The third piece is essay editing interview. This is huge. Um, so many admissions professionals will tell you that an essay is not going to make or break your application. Um, but the essay does provide opportunities to do a couple of things. Um, one, this is an extension of the overall quality of the application.
This means that if there’s typos in the essay, if the essay is underdeveloped, if the essay is not answering the prompt, this is the signal to the committee that you have not taken your time with the application. Maybe, um, you are not as interested in the institution because you haven’t put, um, this type of effort into the essay.
Um, and then the second piece is definitely. Truly reviewing and editing the content, um, and grammatical composition of the essay. Um, typos. We all make typos all the time in our emails and tech me text messages, and that is no big deal. But a typo in a college admissions essay again speaks to your preparedness of this application.
Um, and it does not put a good vote of confidence, um, for how seriously the student is taking this process. So, um, I think you always, always have, uh, control over putting together an essay that is organized, that is structured, um, that is grammatically correct, and that does not have. Um, the next piece is preparation for standardized test scores, and I want to emphasize that you have control over preparation for standardized test scores.
Um, I don’t wanna just say standardized test scores because we have tons of students who know that they don’t test well and they may prepare as much as possible. Um, but they are still not happy with the SAT or ACT score that they receive. And so students should focus on that preparation and the rest will come.
Um, Right now there are over 1800, uh, colleges and institutions that are test optional. And so students right now have, um, a great advantage. They’re able to build a college list around test optional policies that are a good fit for them. So if you begin preparing for standardized test, you take it once, take it again, and by the third time you’re just really not feeling like you’re going to reach that test score that you’re interested in or that, um, will get you into a competitive range at the institution that you’re interested in.
It is absolutely an option to begin restructuring that list around. Colleges that have a test optional policy. Um, so definitely preparation for standardized test scores, prepare, study, do a formal program. Um, but your standardized test scores we know are not made equal, um, for all students. And then finally, um, students have control over their story.
So when you pick up an application file, um, or toggle, because most of these are being now read, um, on computer, um, think of it as a job application for a human resources professional. You have a finite amount of time to present, um, all of your accomplishments. Um, but also present a personal story, a personal narrative that the reader can connect with.
Um, a study came out, um, a couple years back that said on average admissions readers are spending six minutes looking at a file. Um, this can change depending on the reading approach, the institution, the person, um, but the bottom line is there is a very short amount of time to connect. With the person that’s reading your application.
And the best way to connect is to provide an authentic story that is weaved throughout your application. Um, and so the narrative that you’re sharing in your essay is congruent to your recommendation letters, and those are congruent to the activities that you’re listing. That is how you thread together a story in your essay.
Um, and those are the applications that feel authentic in the most compelling. And then, um, in summary, again, there are, um, tons of elements of this process, um, that you do have control over. But it is important to remember that institutional priorities do control an equal part of the application and admissions process.
Um, particularly if you are looking at highly selective schools that are, um, in the reach category. Um, At a certain selectivity rate, the institution becomes a reach for every single student applying. And this is based solely on the number of applications they’re seeing, um, and the caliber of applications that are coming in.
Um, and so it is not all about your worth in those moments. Um, these institutions are incredibly selective. Um, and it takes, in addition to putting forth a compelling application, it also takes the institution seeing you to be a right fit for that specific class.
So ways to offer support to your students during the application process. Celebrate small wins. Um, so. Taking the second SAT test and, um, seeing an incremental increase, um, in your score, that is a small win. Um, putting the finishing touches on the first common app essay, um, or the first uc insight question, that is a small win.
Um, the only win cannot be once you get an admit letter. This process goes on for far too long and is way too stressful for you to be waiting, um, for this pie in the sky Admit letter from, uh, college number one. Um, in order to celebrate, you should be celebrating this process throughout the senior year as well as the junior.
Uh, encourage your students to be their true selves. Um, this is super important, um, because a lot of times students want to know what colleges are looking for, and that’s always a really tricky question. Um, because half of that is we’re looking for you to be yourself in this process. And it is very apparent when someone is crafting and strategizing their application in a way that’s disingenuous versus someone just really, really paying attention and trying to present, um, all that they can about who they really are, what their interests are, and what their goals are.
So encourage your students to lean into who they truly are instead of trying to think of what the colleges wanna see. Be conscious of your ego. Um, this is a big one. Um, so. Similar to students, parents can feel like getting into college. And what college your student is going to is a reflection of their parenting, of their worth.
Um, this is really important because this can certainly stress out your student. Um, if you are wrapping up all of these expectations into the college admissions process, um, this is going to be a very stressful process for you no matter how it ends. Um, so check your ego, put it to the side and remind yourself this is about your student.
Um, and that. A good, a good fit for them is going to be something that feels good. Um, something that is a safe option, uh, an affordable option for whatever your financial plan is. Um, and then that is not tied to rankings or any other reputation of an institution. Um, and then finally, one of the good ways to do that is to be realistic about what colleges are truly a good fit Early on.
Um, I cannot tell you how many times, uh, families build a college list and maybe three of the colleges for whatever reason, are just not an option at all. Two of the colleges, the student has no interest in attending, and so already the college list is disingenuous. Um, and so if you go into this, uh, process, Realistic, open-minded about where your student might attend school.
Um, it really does have a better income, uh, outcome than, um, if you are trying to craft a list that really isn’t a good fit for your student.
So some other strategies to help lower stress levels for the family. Um, let your child lead. Um, I will say, I, I think of this as, as a partnership. Um, but you do wanna let them, um, Certainly exercise their autonomy early on in this process. Um, I talked a little bit earlier about how this is very much a kitchen table, um, uh, topic where they’re going to go to college, particularly the financial aspect of that.
Um, but what seems to work best is actually scheduling dedicated time. So parents are likely to bring this up at the kitchen table, bring it up when they’re in a car, and students sometimes can feel ambushed by those conversations and shut down a little bit, especially if they’re already stressed out. Um, so schedule some time.
Sunday nights at 8:00 PM Um, we’re gonna check in about college admissions. How are you feeling? What’s the college list looking like? Um, what are some next steps that we need to prioritize over the next. Set expectations about how finances will influence this process, um, that is really important. Um, I talk to students, um, who know going into the process, Okay, my parents are looking for this level of a sticker price because we know that we’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Or students that are saying, I know I’m going to have to go somewhere that meets full need. Um, this is going to be the very first, um, for many of our students financial decision that they’re going to have input in, um, in their adult life. So definitely, um, talk about what the expectations are around financing college.
Um, don’t try to play the system. I think this goes back to my other point about over strategizing the application. Um, be honest, be authentic, and if you have a hard time figuring out what that authentic story is. Then there are other resources that can help you craft out, um, what that story is, deal with rejection.
Well, um, the worst thing that you can do is be filled with anguish when you experience rejection in the college admissions process because your student is already going to be feeling some of that. Um, and so if you do encounter some rejection along the way, um, again, save face for your student. Um, encourage them, um, and quickly find the positive and look at what their other options are.
And then lastly, consider help from professional CollegeAdvisors. Um, if any of the information that I’ve shared today still seems overwhelming, um, for you to manage as a family alone, there are tons of resources out there, blogs, webinars. Um, CollegeAdvisor has tons of college guides that are accessible to the public.
Um, but you are also able to seek out some dedicated time with CollegeAdvisors that can walk you through this process. So, last advice, um, for students and families, um, where your student attends college is not a measure of your worth as a parent or their worth as a student. This is not a value judgment.
Um, remember the right fit is a financially appropriate option that your student will feel safe, supported, and thrive. That.
Okay. Well thank you so much Chelsea. That is now concluding our presentation portion of our webinar this evening. So now we’re gonna move into the Q&A. So how it is gonna work is I am going to read the questions that you have submitted in the Q&A tab, and thank you to those who’ve already started to submit their questions.
Um, I will pace them into the public chat so that you can see them, and then I’ll read them aloud before Chelsea gives you an answer. As a heads up, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom linking your email and not the webinar landing page.
All righty. So let’s go to the first question. Um, so this question is, um, how are international slash Canadian schools assessed through the, the application process? Is there anything you can offer for that question? Yeah. So, um, the general structure for international students does not vary widely from domestic students.
Um, schools typically divide the, um, admissions readers by territory. So more than likely the admissions counselors that you see at your local college fair, the person that is listed on your website is going to be one of the first people that begin reading your application. Particularly for international students, you can be sure that your admissions reader is someone that is well versed in international student, um, questions.
And so they are well versed in whatever your curriculum is. Um, if it’s on the Cambridge system or another international school system, um, they are going to be going into your application with that as the standard that, as the context, not necessarily the domestic model. Um, so. I wouldn’t worry as much about, um, how you would be viewed as inter as an international student, but some good questions that you can ask, um, of your institution to get a better sense how many international students were in your incoming class last year, who is your international student admissions counselor, and they would be more than willing to walk you through their specific process.
Thank you. Our next question reads, if you waive your rights to the letters of recommendations, how do you know what is being said to add to the story? Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, and actually most of the students, um, do waive their rights to their letters. So most students aren’t seeing what, um, uh, their recommenders are saying about them.
This is why it’s important to know your recommenders. Um, and so these should be people that if you close your eyes, you could just about bet what they would say about your student. Um, another good way to verify, um, that the right information is being included in your or is to give, uh, counselors.
Teachers or any other recommenders, a brag sheet. A brag sheet is basically a resume that goes through, um, the things that you are most proud of. Um, it will give them details like what you wanna major in at the college that you’re applying. Um, and this ensures that you all are both telling the same story.
Um, and this isn’t four feeding information to your recommender. It’s making their job easier so they can look at your application and say, Oh my gosh, well I was his advisor in engineering club, but I had no idea he did this junior year. Um, and they can begin speaking to, um, more, more depth in your application.
Um, so you don’t always know, but there are ways that you can try and control for that on the front end with who you pick and the resources you provide. . Okay. Our next question reads, does an IV school have both EA and R EA application options at the same time, or EA and ed options at the same time? So it depends.
I don’t wanna answer for all Ivy’s or all selective institutions. Um, but generally speaking, um, if you are applying to a binding decision, the binding deadline typically comes before any of the non-binding deadlines. Um, that gives you an opportunity if you’re deferred, um, to go ahead in, um, have your shot in the non-binding deadlines.
Um, but it really, really does depend, um, on the institution that you’re interested in. Okay. Uh, next question is, how do I work with my child who doesn’t wanna take the time to write the essays? Yeah. Um, that’s, that’s a interesting one. Um, so that will require you to be more hands on. Um, that may be a good candidate for seeking out some professional help.
Um, someone that can talk to your student, sometimes an hour long meeting, talking through what the story is, the concepts that they’re wanting to share can kind of get some of the creative juices flowing, um, and get them more excited about writing. Um, so I would say consult a professional to work with your student.
Um, and or try to model some of that, some of that work yourself. So if they’re dragging their feet on writing, say, Okay, let’s have a 30 minute brainstorming, uh, session and let’s talk about some of the concepts that you find that are important, um, that you might wanna highlight in your essay. Okay. A next question reads, uh, how do admission officers really feel about disabilities, such as a student with autism?
Um, do they tend to avoid selecting students who may have an IEP. Really great question. Um, so short answer, no and no. Um, I will say for IEPs, um, typically unless you tell us formally in the application that a student has an IEP, whatever information you give to the student Access Center or disability center is not shared with the office of admission.
So very likely we wouldn’t know whether your student had an IEP on file unless they disclosed it, um, their counselor or their teacher disclosed it in the application process. Um, in addition to that, we’re seeing more and more students, um, leaning into the ways that they are learning differently. Um, it is much more common for students to talk about, um, autism in their applications or any other learning differences.
Um, and so I would say. Institutions in general right now are focused on, uh, crafting a diverse class. Um, diversity for us is beyond, um, race and gender. It’s regional diversity. Um, it’s students that learn differently. Um, it is everything that you can think of. Um, so I think when we see that, that is actually something of interest, um, that once makes us ask more questions about the student, um, and wanna dig more into their background and the application that they provided.
So I wouldn’t shy away from that at all. Okay, so the next question reads, uh, what should I be working on with my 10th grade student? That’s always the time of like, what should I really be doing? That’s, you know, setting my child up for the college application process. Any, any suggestions? Yeah, so I think, uh, 10th grade, if your student is, um, looking to take standardized tests, um, that is a good time to begin studying and kind of giving that first, um, test a whirl.
Um, 10th grade is also a great time to get them on college campuses. This could help tease out the college list a little better, um, so that by time you are in the 11th grade, you have a pretty solid idea of the types of schools that your, uh, student might be interested in. Okay, so this question reads, if the student had, um, I’m gonna kind of para paraphrase, um, but if a student had like an extra time and being able to take assessments and exams, how would the student be compared with those who never had those options?
So again, we would not have that information unless students, um, disclose that in their application and explicitly said that, um, otherwise we would have no idea what what accommodations were made for them. Okay, we’re gonna take a short pause, um, for me to share more about our one-on-one advising that we provide through CollegeAdvisor.
So for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be. As we heard earlier, some parents. Feeling a little stressed about it. Um, and so even just thinking about your child being a competitive applicant, so our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising sessions.
Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free consultation using the QR code on the screen. During the consultation, a member of our team will review your current, your child’s current extracurricular list will start to discuss college goals, and also help your child identify opportunities for growth and leadership.
After scanning the QR code, you’ll be able to select a date and time for a phone conversation with a member from. So we’ll leave the QR code up as we continue the second half of our questions and answers. Um, so the next question reads, um, should my child take the SAT/ACT? I know there’s a lot of, you know, different debate going on, on like whether those tests are gonna still be used or some are, some schools are test optional, some are test blind.
Um, so what do you recommend in regards to taking the SAT. Yeah, so as I mentioned earlier, um, over 1800 bachelor’s degree accrediting institutions out of 2300 in the United States are currently test optional. Um, so those numbers are, are quite overwhelming. Um, I will say that there has not a clear vision of what the future of testing will look like.
Um, so in five years, will this still be the reality? Um, I cannot say that for sure. We’ve already seen, um, some institutions going back to requiring s a t and a c t test scores. Um, and so I think to be safe, I would recommend that any student that has the time and resources to take a standardized test should go ahead and take it.
Um, there are many institutions that while they are not using test scores for admissions, They are still using them for merit aid, um, special academic programs such as the honors program. So they’re still playing a role in admissions. Um, I do think if your student is in the ninth or 10th grade, this is something to keep an eye on as this is changing pretty drastically in the field.
Um, and it could look very different in four years. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, the next question is, I’m concerned about finances. Um, but my child wants to go to a four year college. I was kind of thinking community college. Um, but how do I handle this and not make my child upset? . Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I think that is, you know, When the decision goes to college, goes out of the kind of fairy tale and butterflies and clouds, and you have to make real decisions that are important for your family.
Um, there are many ways to finance a four year college education. Um, this may look like only considering in-state institutions. Um, this may look like us seeking out schools that meet a hundred percent need, um, for those that meet the income requirements. Um, oftentimes for private institutions, that goes all the way up to $80,000 a year.
Um, so there’s still opportunities where your student, um, Could be able to afford a four year college education without going into debt, um, and without the parents going into debt. So it’s possible it takes a little bit more research, Um, but again, that goes back to being upfront about finances really early on in the process so that you can help guide that college list.
All right, So next question reads, um, where is a good place to research about different college majors and costs? Yeah, so the, the internet is your oyster. Um, to be honest, there are so, so many resources. Um, I believe there is a CollegeAdvisor guide that goes through a lot of those resources. Um, but off the top of my head, um, the CollegeAdvisor site, CollegeVine is another one that I enjoy.
Um, US News World Report can give you some information on majors and costs as well, um, but also, College websites. So all colleges must publish the cost of attendance for the current year. You can find that on their websites. You can also dig into their academic catalogs if you already have an idea of the colleges you’re interested in.
All right. Um, could Canadian students apply for financial aid? Um, so yes and no. So there’s types of financial aid that is open to international students. Um, federal aid is typically not open to international students. Um, so a lot of domestic students, um, their first thing that they’re going to do is fill out the fafsa, um, which is our application for federal aid.
Um, this would generate funds like grants, um, government loans, so on and so forth. So international students are not eligible for that. Um, but they are eligible for institutional aid. Um, so that can be grants or scholarships that are offered through the institution. Um, what I would encourage you to do is to explicitly ask what types of financial aid is available for international students at the schools that you’re interested in.
And they should be able to give you a concise list.
All right. Uh, moving on to our next question. Um, are there any benefits to applying early action and early decision? Yeah, so I think the earlier the better. Again. Um, early action and early decision typically allows you to get an initial response, um, on your decision as early as January, some in December.
Um, if you wait oftentimes to the final deadline, which is typically regular decision deadlines, um, Colleges have up until early April to notify you. Um, May 1st is National College Decision Day, which is where most institutions require students to make a decision on whether they’re coming or not. Um, and so the closer you get to May one, the shorter that window of decision, um, gets.
And what you don’t wanna do is for it to be the first week of April, you have four weeks to decide, and you haven’t visited any colleges. You’re still waiting to hear back from people. You still have financial aid questions. Um, and so earlier, uh, is always better. Um, I will say the past year there’s been, um, arise in, um, data about just a lot of students getting deferred from early cycles to regular cycles.
That may happen, you may receive a decision of deferral, but generally speaking, um, you are no worse off applying and getting deferred than if you would’ve just entered the application pool regular decision. Um, think about it like concert tickets. If the concert tickets go on sale in January, there’s a lot more tickets.
Um, the closer we get to the concert in May, there’s fewer tickets. Um, so it is advantageous to be in that pool earlier that also signals to the institutions that you are interested in their college early on. Okay, Chelsea, and this is a follow up to early action, early decision. So one asks what’s the difference between early action and early decision, and which one is easier to get out of?
So typically, um, typically early action is non-binding and early decision is binding. Um, and so I’ll, I’ll kind of separate it from those specific names because schools call their decision rounds different things, but think of them as what are the binding decisions and what are the non-binding decision.
Binding decisions mean that if you are accepted in that institution, you are expected to revoke your application from any other schools. And this is, this is your choice. Um, a non-binding decision means that you can get accepted into 10 schools and you have up until May 1st to decide which of those institutions that you wanna go to and no penalty.
Um, and so easiest to get out of is always a non-binding decision. Um, early decision applications, I would never, um, encourage someone to apply early decision unless they are absolutely sure, um, because that does bind you to that institution should you get admitted. So that has to be like number one top choice.
If I get admitted here, I don’t care about anything else. And finances must play a part in that because it is not helpful to apply ED be in a binding decision, but you haven’t thought through what the financial plan is for that institution. Okay. Um, this question reads, um, my daughter has dyslexia. Um, should I wait to share this after admittance or like, at what point do I share about, about this situation?
Yeah, I love all the questions about, um, accommodations. It’s really great. Um, so it’s completely up to you. Um, so you have the option to share it in your admissions application, and then once your student is transitioning into that college, you then can begin a conversation with the access office or disability office.
So those are two separate things. Um, I will say if part of your student story is her having him or her having dyslexia, um, and, uh, she’s really accomplished some things, um, through. Uh, high school. Even having this, uh, disability, it is really cool to tell that story. Um, so then it goes back to what is the authentic, true story that I’d like to share.
Um, as a student, dyslexia is part of that. I don’t see that hurting your student’s chances of getting admitted. Okay. Um, this is another early action, early decision question. Uh, what is the difference between restrictive early action and early decision? So that one is pretty nuanced. Um, and so early decision is still absolutely binding.
Um, restrictive early action, um, typically gives you a window of time to commit. Um, and once that window of time passes, then. It’s binding. Um, but it does give you some wiggle room to, um, check finances, think about some other things before you make a decision. All right. And then this question ask, um, do you evaluate the high school programs slash curriculums that international students come from, like you do for domestic schools?
A lot of international, uh, questions too. Yeah, so that one is probably more school specific. Um, what I will say in general is that we are looking at a student’s school profile, so that’s something that the, the high school is providing us in the transcript. Um, and so those two pieces together tell the story of the academic offerings, um, that are available.
Um, I do wanna note there is variety. Even in domestic schools, there are tons of, um, grading skills. Um, I’ve seen transcripts that don’t even have grades, they just have narratives. So I’m reading two paragraph descriptions for every class a student took, um, in their four years in high school. Um, so it is important that we are looking at every student, whether domestic or international in the context of their high school.
The school profile provides that. Um, so I would say no, we’re not viewing them in the same way as we’re looking at domestics, uh, applications, but even in domestic applications, none of those are exactly the same either. Okay. Alrighty. I think that was our final question for this webinar. So I wanna thank you Chelsea, for this great content.
Oh, one quick question, Sorry. So I wanna just through one in there, we have a few more minutes. So, um, where can I get information for grants and financial aid? Yeah, so, um, a bunch of resources, um, that you can, uh, figure out. I just wanna know, you should never have to pay for information on scholarships, financial aid, or grants.
Um, there are some sites out there that can be scam like when it comes to that. So definitely keep your antennas up. Um, typically the admission sites will have explicit information on their financial aid and scholarship policies. Um, again, I’ll also recommend CollegeAdvisor and college buying. Um, can help you gather some information.
Um, and I’ll say Fast Web is like an old school Google scholarship database that you can always look at. Okay, this will be the final question. So in California, there was basically no school for my son’s freshman year, which I would definitely assume from the pandemic as I’m from California too. Um, they never got the chance to meet with their counselor, um, until their son was in their sophomore year.
Um, so as a result, like he didn’t get to take an AP class in 10th grade, so the parent wanted to know, will this, will this hurt him? Yeah, great question. Um, and I think there’s. Tons of variations of this question, particularly around the pandemic. Um, I will speak because you’re in California, you may be looking at some uc schools, but I’m gonna speak directly to the CommonApp first.
Um, there are two opportunities on the common app for you to tell us about this kind of situation. Um, one question is the community disruption question. Um, and that was added specifically for Covid 19, and this essentially, How, if in any way have you been impacted by the pandemic and your educational progression, tell us.
So that is certainly a place where I would put that information. Um, but in addition to the community impact question, there’s also an educational progression question. Um, this is, have you moved? Are there any kind of, um, things that you wanna explain on your transcript? Um, so the short answer is tell us, Um, that is the best thing to do.
I will say admissions committees are going into the admissions process for pretty much the next three years. With the pandemic high in our minds, um, we are gonna continue to see the effects of the pandemic on transcripts and essays and everywhere else in this process for really many years. Um, and so your student is certainly not in the minority in that space.
Um, if they only missed out on an AP course or access that sophomore year, um, I don’t think that this is something that would hurt them, especially if it’s tied to systemic issues due to the. Great. Great. Okay, well, like I said, that was our final question. Thank you so much parents for asking those awesome questions.
Thank you, Chelsea, for sharing all of this great information with our audience. Just a heads up that even whether you are student or parent, you are more than welcome to continue to attend our webinars. So here are our remaining September webinars. We have one more tomorrow, and then we have a host of webinars happening this October.
So we look forward to seeing you on our future webinars. Everyone. Have a great night. Bye-bye.