For Parents: What is a Personal Statement? And Other College Admissions Key Terms
Parents and guardians, this webinar is for you! Learn all about the college admissions process and its key components from former Admissions Officer Rachael Moore. Rachael will explain what a personal statement is and other college application key terms in this 60-minute webinar and Q&A session. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-04-04 For Parents: What is a Personal Statement? And Other College Admissions Key Terms
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar For Parents: What is a Personal Statement? And Other College Admission Key Terms. To orient everyone with the webinar timey, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Good evening everyone. My name is Rachael Moore. I’m an advisor team lead and admissions officer here at college advisor started in about June of, not about June. No question, um, last summer and, um, have been in education or some sort of professional development coaching type of role for over 20 years now, working at a variety of type of colleges and universities as well as talent [00:01:00] development, um, at a fortune 200 company.
Um, but recently ended up back where I started, which is in college admissions. And truly can’t tell you how happy I am to be back where I started. Um, 20 years ago over. That now, um, really helping students and their parents to navigate what can be a really overwhelming complicated process. So really it’s just such an honor to be here tonight and hopefully be a source of support and knowledge that will help you to feel more confident moving forward as you help your students navigate the college process.
Nice, nice. So before Rachael gets into her presentation, we were like to get a sense of who is attending. So I know that the presentation is focused on parents. So we’re just going to ask if you just put the [00:02:00] great level that your student is in
and we see the responses coming in, let’s see.
Give it a few more seconds.
Okay. So about 65% of the attendees this evening are in the 11th grade, followed by that we have 24% is in 10th grade. We have a small percentage of ninth, 12th, and other. Um, so mostly 10th and 11th grade for this evening. So I’ll turn it back over to you, Rachel. Wonderful. Thank you. Okay, well, this is wonderful.
This age range of families who are joining us this evening, because this truly [00:03:00] is the window of time where, you know, you’re giving yourself the grace of time, um, to really start learning the process, digging in, um, and understand what it’s all about. Um, so wonderful. It kudos to you for. Alrighty, starting to jump into it and start to educate yourselves a little bit more.
I can promise you, um, the more you build that foundation of wonder of figuring out what this process looks like, the different components that go into it. So to familiarize yourself with a lot of the language that goes into the college admissions process is going to help you out a lot as you progress and get deeper into it in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Ahead of you as well, especially for those sophomores that are out there. So wonderful. So, well actually probably [00:04:00] spend the most time on where we’re starting, which is what is the personal statement. And the reason for that is because that’s, that’s the piece that many students and families come to college adviser in the first place.
You know, we’ll always ask our clients, you know, what, what is it that makes you most nervous? And what is it that you know is making you come to us that you feel we could really support you with? And I don’t have exact statistics, but as an admissions officer, and as an advisor with a lot of clients, I can tell you that the essay is always one of the top two answers.
So. We’ll spend a lot of time, um, just kind of demystifying what it is and helping you to understand the purpose, the role, um, that it has an admission selection process. So the way that I really like to [00:05:00] communicate is to what a personal statement is, is it’s an opportunity for an admissions officer to really hear your voice.
Um, what, uh, you know, you’re gonna hear a lot of terms, like it’s a holistic process, you know? Yes, the academics are completely important. Um, some schools have, you know, the test scores, your letters of recommendation, you know, your activities, those all give us clues as to, you know, who you are. What other people say about you?
You know, a common term is what’s that student’s personal brand. Um, but that personal statement is really what brings to light all those other components of the application. So, you know, a lot of the work that we do with students, um, really is on that personal statement and getting to know them so that [00:06:00] we can help them feel confident, sharing their voice, what they bring to the table, you know, and a huge reason that that is so important is because it really helps the admissions committee to connect the dots between who you are and how you could be a good fit to the school or program that you are applying to.
Um, when I worked in admissions, um, I, we use this term called shaping a class. So. You know, thinking about it from a perspective in a more, you know, uh, really any type of selection process. But at this time it was a more selective college that I had worked for. And you have so many more applicants than you have spaces in a class for.
And, you know, you’re trying to figure out how can we bring together the richest diverse [00:07:00] experiences, backgrounds, talents, to a class that would be a really good fit to the community, the culture, the environment and programs that that college has to offer. You know, the goal is to really identify those students who are really going to thrive in that atmosphere.
So. Being able to, you know, hear that student’s voice and really be able to in our minds, see them on that campus. Um, It’s really critically important. So not telling you that to put pressure on you because there’s so much information and so many resources out there that help us to help you understand how to do that.
Um, but I think if you approach that personal statement from that perspective, that this is, this is your opportunity to get on your soap box and just show us who you are, share that with [00:08:00] us, it’s truly such an honor from our perspective, when we’re reading applications to have that window of insight. So I think maybe it may sound daunting at first, but actually it helps you to dig in and give you a starting point as to where to go forward or how to leverage that really important component of the application.
Something that I try to help students to understand very early on. Um, when we start to look at the different types of essays, um, that go into some college applications, is that, that personal statement is most likely unlike any type of writing that you’ve done before. Maybe if you journal personally, you know, that’s the, it’s a similar type of writing, but a lot of times it’s not [00:09:00] writing that you’ve ever shared with anybody before.
Um, and a lot of times where students seem to, um, you know, kind of have a hard time grasping where to go with their essays or their personal statements is when they think about the writing and, or, or approach their writing, like they would for. An essay for school, where they get graded on it. And that’s completely natural.
We completely understand where that thought process comes from in the writing can be great. Um, but unfortunately when it’s approached in that way, where not necessarily hearing that student’s voice or their heart or their perspective, um, in that type of writing, because it’s so formalized, um, again, it can be great writing.
They might get an a on that topic, um, if they had submitted it to class. Um, but we’re looking at it from a little bit more. I’m a personal [00:10:00] perspective. So sort of the tip that I give students is think about this more as a personal memoir, as opposed to a high school essay. And when I say memoir, not at all, suggesting that you’re supposed to give your life story, um, it’s there are endless ideas is to, or topics that you could choose to approach with your personal statement.
Um, it could be how you feel about something. It could be an experience that you had just to start off thinking about it. Um, but it could also be just an observation you’ve had and how you approach thinking. Um, that’s revealed in that sample of writing. Um, but it’s the key there is that it’s that getting an idea to see how the wheels turn in your head?
Um, for the personal statement, um, general, there’s a wide range of the length for them. I I’m [00:11:00] generally two 50 to a thousand words is a range. Think about that’s totally different types of writing for, you know, you take a 250 word prompt versus a thousand word prompts, very different. Um, and we can talk through that later on.
If you have questions about where you might see those differences. Um, but for that pre primary personal statement that comes with an application, um, we generally refer to the common application or the coalition application, which are the two most common, um, ways that students apply to colleges for the common application.
A maximum of 650 words for that essay or personal statement. Um, and then for the coalition application, it’s 500 to 650 words doesn’t mean you have to fulfill that whole space. [00:12:00] Um, it, it’s hard writing, um, and Morrison, you know, narrowing down the word count is really difficult writing. Um, but it’s not going to count against you if you go under six 50, um, as long as you’re truly answering the prompt that that you’re being asked to, to respond to.
Um, and that you’ve really put a lot of thought into it and careful attention to detail.
So, um, oh, one piece before I move on to the slide actually about what is the common application and was the coat was an application. I will tell you that if you want to get an idea of the different types of questions that are asked, um, a great place to start is to go to the common application. Um, anyone can go in and start to put an account or just account together.
It’s [00:13:00] really easy and you can start to feel your way through. What those applications look like, the different components that go into it, and you’ll see the prompts that are there. They may change slightly from year to year or add one, take one away. But generally what you see, um, is going to give you a really good idea for preparation of what you’re going to experience, whether you’re a junior entering your senior year, um, or if you’re a sophomore are going to be applying two years from now.
So, um, that’s a really great place for you to start. So what is the common application? What is the coalition application? Um, I like to think of it simply as a one-stop shop. Um, the common application is. The largest resource that colleges used, [00:14:00] um, for Stu or for colleges to use the common app, they have to be a member institution, um, and over 900 public and private colleges and universities across all 50 states and 20 countries, um, except their applications through common app.org.
And really it was designed to provide easier access to all students, regardless of background, regardless of, you know, resources that they have available to them. Um, simplify the process, um, make it easier. Also being able to put into their hands more resources as to how best to approach, um, the college admissions process.
And to that point of making it accessible to all, you know, one of the notes that you’ll see, um, in, on this slide as a third of students who [00:15:00] use the common application, uh, are first-generation students. So, you know, again, wide range of backgrounds, wide range of schools, um, that use this, this resource. The coalition is newer than the common application.
Um, it’s a little bit smaller group of schools, um, that are part of the coalition for college access, but you’ll also see some crossover, there are coalition schools that also accept the common application and vice versa. Um, so right now currently a hundred and over 150 member schools that use the coalition for college access.
And again, that’s one where I encourage you to, you know, as you start digging into the different types of. You know, applications for applying to colleges, familiarizing yourself with the process overall, the different requirements that [00:16:00] go into applying to colleges, set up an account, um, with both common app and coalition for college access.
Um, these are the two most common that you’re going to hear about the say on a day-to-day basis when you’re exploring, you know, the college admission process. But what you’re going to find as you dig deeper is that there are a lot of, you know, some colleges or universities have their own application to use in the place that you find.
You know, that is by going to the admissions website. Um, for each of the colleges that you’re, that you’re researching at any given point, um, there are different states or university systems that use their own applications. For example, the UC system for university of California has their own application that they use, um, university of Texas.
Um, our two just really popular ones. Um, the [00:17:00] students that we work with use as well, but, you know, to really find out, you know, the different types of options are out there. Just start looking on college websites, you know, one that you’ve maybe never heard of. Uh, come across the name, just go on their website, go to the admissions page.
And you know, those you’ll start to familiarize yourself with the type of information you’d need to know, to figure out next steps, whether it’s to apply how competitive the school is, um, or just simply to learn more about the school.
Okay. So we can’t talk college applications without talking about standardized testing. Um, the two standardized tests that students in the United States use are either the sat or the act. Um, and a common question that [00:18:00] students and parents have is should you take both? I will tell you. You know, off the bat that there’s no, you it’s not to your benefit to, and it admissions officer’s eyes did.
She took both tests, um, either is acceptable. Admissions offices do not prefer one or the other. They’re a little bit different in their approach and we’ll go over the similarities and differences on them, but really it truly comes down to what the student’s preference is, how they feel they’re going to be most comfortable, um, navigating that test and performing their best done.
So, um, sat act, they can be called standardized tests. They can be college called college entrance exams. Um, and they’re just one single component that allows for a common standard [00:19:00] that all applicants are measured against. When I wrote the slide, I, and I’m still, as I’m talking about it, I struggle in my head to even say it in that way.
Um, because there are so many different components to reading an application. The test is just one, um, and there’s a lot of controversy around access to resources for preparing the tests. Um, so, you know, if there is, there’s nothing on this slide that you, you know, if you have questions, um, even how. It’s the best approach testing personally, that’s something always happy to, after the presentation reach out to me and we can talk through that as well, because there is no one size fits all when it comes to the application.
What we do know is that that [00:20:00] test is one for whoever takes it. That is a common experience that everyone who takes that test has. Um, so that’s truly what I mean when I say that. So that second bullet there, um, They, there are a lot of colleges that consider scores, um, as part of their admissions process.
But again, it’s not going to be the end all be all. Um, it’s going to be one component in combination with your academics. So the type of curriculum that you’ve chosen to take honors, AP students are also reviewed within the context of what type of curriculum is available to them. There are some schools that offer every single AP class out there.
There are some that have one straight curriculum they’re really tiny. They have limited resources. Um, [00:21:00] every student’s reviewed within the context of what’s available to them. Um, so again, it just, it adds a whole other layer. In addition to the sat and act. Um, we’re also looking at unique interests. The student has, you know, what lights their fire, you know, why are they excited about the prospect of attending a certain college?
Those are all components that we’re really looking to, um, that we talked about in, when we went over the personal statement as well. I answered the question. Should my student take both the sat and act? The answer is no. Um, some students do, um, what I, but usually when they do that, it’s because they just want to see how they do on each, um, and where they’d be most comfortable.
Um, especially if there’s say a student’s has really [00:22:00] didn’t do well, or as well as they thought that they code on that sat since the style’s a little bit different for the act. They may try the act, um, just to, you know, see if they do better. And oftentimes that happens or vice versa. Uh, my recommendation to you is before you spend the money to take the test, do a practice test, um, do some studying for both the sat and the act, take the practice test, see how you do see how it feels.
And then. You know, which tests you want to pay to sign up for. There are similarities. Um, so between the two tests, so preparing for one, even if you decide to go with the other, it’s not time lost, it’s not energy lost. You’re always going to be able to, you know, find that some of what you did to prepare for that test is going to help [00:23:00] you.
One piece that I would say is we do not recommend that students over test, truly the recommendation that I have for students is take your time, you know, study, strategize, practice testing, you know, take it the first time. Um, we recommend in the junior year, See where you did really well, see where the you’ve really found some opportunities for improvement.
Go back test in those areas where, you know, you could maybe pick up some points, um, and get more comfortable with, you know, those areas and then take it again. Everyone’s going to have a different answer to this, but there’s a lot of information out there that indicates when a student does do everything they can to study, prepare, take the test after three times, two, three [00:24:00] times.
Um, they’re not likely to. That much better, um, after subsequent tests, um, that it’s really worth the time and money. What I would say is again, because the tests are not the single factor in an admissions decision, you use that time and energy for the other parts of the application that are going to be really valuable.
You know, the, the research on the schools, the, you know, starting to self-advocate for yourself and share, you know, present yourself in your essay. How do you communicate your out of class involvements, you know, continuing to do really well in your senior year classes or your junior year classes? Um, because that’s really important to do.
So again, can always talk about how to use the test, how to leverage your time and strategize. Um, but I would say, you know, we really caution students not to [00:25:00] over test. Um, simply even just from the stress of it. Um, that’s not going to help you, um, in the long run when you’re so worried about that one number.
Okay. Some Sarah similarities and differences between the sat and the act, um, similarities, the, they are accepted in all United States colleges and less. They, um, are just don’t accept tests at all. It’s not a component of their review. Um, both of them have an optional essay that you can take. Um, and both are about three hours in length.
I think that act is maybe five minutes shy of three hours. Um, so there, while the approaches a little bit different at the end of the day, it’s about the same period of time that you’ll be tested. Um, differences in the sat and act is their structure. The [00:26:00] act has four tests, one in English, math, reading, and science.
Um, and the sat has three tests. One in reading, writing, and language and math. The scoring for the act, um, is on a one through 36 scale. And for the sat, it’s going to be a composite score of 400 to 1600, as I S um, for the different types of tests, again, act has four separate tests on the exam. The sat has three.
Um, the longest test on the act is going to be one hour and the longest one on the sat is going to be an hour and 20 minutes. The shortest tests on each of those exams is going to be, um, 35 minutes.
And I would definitely recommend going to act dot or college [00:27:00] board dot or, um, start signing up for, you know, information about the tests. You can get sample questions in your email every day. Um, just trying to familiarize yourself with the process, um, when the deadlines are for signing up. Um, again, those are just ways that you can start to dip your toes in, um, to the process and start familiarizing yourself with all the different resources to help you out with.
Um, since we’re talking about testing, um, a common term that you’re going to hear, especially over the past year, um, is test optional, a lot of colleges as a result of COVID when getting to testing sites, preparing, um, it was just such a difficult time, um, for students, for everybody. Um, a lot of schools this past year did not [00:28:00] require the sat or act as part of their admissions process.
They did take it as students decided to submit it, and many still did. Um, but test optional, um, was a term that has been used a lot more in the past couple of years than we’ve heard in the. So that’s something that you’re going to want to look at again, there can be a lot of advantages and reasons to submit a test.
Um, some of them being, you know, eventually, you know, wireless school doesn’t require an sat or act for admission. They’re still gonna require that test once you enroll at the school, um, because they use that to help with placement and advising for your fresh first year classes or first semester classes.
Um, the other pieces, a lot of schools will use the test scores for merit [00:29:00] scholarships and honors programs as well. Um, and it is important to know that if you are, if you decide not to submit your test scores, you’re still going to be considered in that same applicable with the students you did to submit their test scores, you know, where, you know, they might’ve put some more weight on your tests.
They’re going, because the test isn’t there, they’re going to have to put more weight into other parts of the applications. So your curriculum, your GPA, how you spent your time outside of the classroom or your activities is, um, your letters for recommendation. Um, all those other components are gonna carry more weight.
Okay. All right. So another area that, you know, we can do sessions on all of these terms, actually that we’ve been going over today. [00:30:00] But, um, something that I think is really worth our time to go over is what is early action. What’s early decision, regular decision what’s rolling admissions. Um, and what are the differences between them?
It can be so confusing, um, because all of them are related to when you apply to a college. Um, but all of them have different components. Um, and parameters is to. Make it, why it’s an advantage or disadvantage to apply under, so to go over them. Um, probably two of the most common that you hear about are early action and early decision.
So early action plans are what we call non-binding. You apply to a school a little bit earlier. Usually it’s going to be a [00:31:00] November to December deadline. There are a couple that are October 15th, but generally it’s going to be November one, um, into early December. And you’ll receive a decision usually in January or February, maybe late December, um, for your, for that decision.
If it’s early action, that nonbinding decision, what that means is you can apply. But you do, if you’re accepted, you do not necessarily have to accept that invitation. You still have until may one to decide if in fact you are going to attend that school also gives you time to explore other financial aid options.
If that’s important to your family, which for many of us, it is, um, as well to give you some more time to, um, explore, you know, the, [00:32:00] the costs of the education and the support that you’re going to receive from each of your. Early decision is binding. So you will apply to one early decision school. And if you are admitted to that school, it’s understood that or expected that you will attend that school you’ll send in your mission’s deposit and, or your romance deposit.
And, you know, you’re done. And for some students who have clearly once hop school, they’re not going to have any regrets or wonder what if they’d been admitted to other schools, um, that’s there and I’ll be. That can work really well. Um, but it’s also important to understand that, you know, again, what that’s it, the process is done, [00:33:00] um, for some that’s attractive for many, especially when it comes to even need-based aid that you have, um, you know, They’re going to do what they can to support you.
Um, they are going to look at your financial aid forms and determine what your family, what they feel your family is able to contribute, and they’ll do their best to help meet that need. Um, but whereas there could be other schools that might be able to offer other options. Um, that’s one of the pros and cons that you have to weigh, um, is how important is financial aid for you or scholarship money.
Um, and are you willing to sort of gamble that a little bit, um, for that admittance to your top choice school, if you’re at, because that’s a binding contract. Um, if a student is admitted [00:34:00] early decision, you’ll be expected to withdraw any other early action or regular decision applications that you hit submit.
For regular decision that’s, it’s a lot simpler. Um, and that this is, and I think it’s important to understand that actually the majority of students who apply to schools do apply regular decision to a given institution. Yes. Um, applying early can really demonstrate your interest in a school and your commitment to attending.
And there can be some that certainly some value to that, but at the end of the day, um, truly most students do end up applying regular decision and there often isn’t a big difference between the students who apply early versus regular destiny. I think it’s also important to talk about how [00:35:00] truly the best time to apply to school is when you can turn in the best possible application.
So for example, when I’m working with students who initially come into the process, thinking that they want to apply early to all of their schools, sometimes, you know, life happens. They need a little bit more time on their applications, or maybe the schools they on their college lists have shifted a little bit.
Um, and they just need more time past that early decision deadline or early action deadline don’t force the early, um, because you think you’re going to have a better chance of getting in. If you’re not turning your best application, meaning maybe you’re doing really great in your senior year and you want the admissions committee to be able to see those first semester senior grades, or maybe you need some extra time on those essays, the supplements or the personal [00:36:00] statement, um, or maybe something’s happening personally.
And you’re just not quite there yet. Um, focused on getting that application and take the time. Um, it’s far more to your advantage to present your best possible self, um, than to just try and meet in early deadline. If you apply or a regular decision and, um, and are admitted, then you do have until may one to either accept or decline your admissions officer, again, giving you some more time to feel out, um, what the best school for you is.
Do some more research, do some visiting, um, to make that final choice, evaluate financial aid packages. Um, you’ll have, you’ll have the time to be able to do that. Rolling admission, um, looks a lot like regular decision and basically what that means is. Schools, well, keep reading those applications until they’ve filled their [00:37:00] class.
They read those apps, um, as they come in, um, usually within a few weeks after they’ve received an application. Um, and again, um, you still have really until may ones, often the common deadline, um, to give your application or to commit to your school. Um, but you know, say you again, life happens and maybe you need to look at some other options later on.
Um, oh, a lot of rolling admission schools will still take a look at your application.
Okay. Alrighty. Well, we’re going to take a slight pause because we want to get a sense of where you are in the college application process. So whether you are a parent or a student, give us a sense of where you are. So perhaps you, maybe you haven’t started, uh, maybe you were in the [00:38:00] research phase, perhaps you’re working on some essays, eating early, start getting application material done.
Let us know where you are.
Okay. I see them. Let’s see the responses rolling in. Okay. So about 65% of our participants are in the research phase. So they are researching schools. Follow up by that. We have a few who haven’t started, but I know accurate tonight’s information. They’re going to be, they’re going to be geared up and ready to go.
Um, a few are working on essays, which is awesome. Some are getting there and some are getting an application material together. Um, so I’ll turn it back over to you right now. Oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. I, let me just say from a personal perspective, I just love this time of the year, you know, because especially sophomores and juniors [00:39:00] are, you know, this is a whole new world to them, so it’s so exciting to see what’s out there and the opportunity.
You’re not under the pressure of admissions deadlines yet. Um, you kind of have the luxury of time still, um, just a fun, exciting time. Um, so I’ll definitely just encourage you to, you know, enjoy. Um, because it’s a whole different world than what a lot of families have experienced yet. Um, especially if it’s the first child in a family to go to college or the oldest, um, in a family.
So, um, but again, that’s something we could always talk about at any time. Um, it’s, it’s just a really special. Opportunity to be able to take advantage of now. So going over to some key terms that are [00:40:00] important to start familiarizing yourself with, um, what is need blind admission versus open admission, and these can be really confusing.
Um, and so you want to make sure when you’re looking at these, when you see these terms, that you understand the context that they are using that term in, um, for need-blind admission, what that means is that an admissions committee. Only looking at non-financial of an application when they’re deciding on accepting a student or not.
For example, they’re looking at your out of class involved and what’s coming, your activities, your family responsibilities, work honors, you’ve received sports, um, the arts, whatever it is that lights your fire, or that you have to commit your time to, [00:41:00] um, your essays or transcripts letters of rec demonstrated in trust, et cetera.
Um, finances are not at all a part of the selection process. Open is admission is admission is offered to everybody, um, who has a high school diploma or GED generally for open admission schools. Um, the sat or act is not required, but they will have, um, placement tests again, to help ensure that a student, when they’re matriculating in is signing up for the right level of classes.
That’s gonna give them that solid foundation that they need moving forward in their program. What does weighted GPA mean? And what’s considered good. So weighted GPA, [00:42:00] um, is simply taking, you know, if you have an honors course, an AP course, if your school has an international debt baccalaureate diploma program, um, those courses are considered more demanding than your regular or standard, um, course.
So they will. So a lot of times an a will have a value of 4.0 attached to it. If you’re in an honors course, Then they may add half a point to that. A, um, it, because it’s more competitive. The requirements for performing well in that class are a little bit more difficult. Um, they’ll add a value to what that EI is.
So maybe it’s a 4.5. Um, then you know, maybe a step up from an honors course would be an AP class [00:43:00] because it’s considered more college level. Maybe they provide a value of a 5.0 for that AP course. So in a regular curriculum, you have all A’s, you’d have a 4.0, um, but if you have some honors and APS in there that you’re going to have, if you got all A’s in them, your GPA is going to be above a 4.0.
Usually the weighted GPA, um, courses that are in five core subject areas. So English, math, the social sciences and history, foreign language and science. Now the next question, very quick follow up to what is the G weighted GPA? Is it, what is a good or bad GPA? And I’m never going to sit here and tell you at least in a [00:44:00] general conversation where I don’t have context for what your personal circumstances are, um, to tell you what’s going to be good or what’s going to be not good.
Um, so what I always say, and I sincerely mean this, um, even if it sounds like I might be trying to fluff around me, answer bit is, you know, think about. You know, if it’s good, if you want to label it as that, when you’re looking at your colleges, you’re going to look at an admitted student profile. So what I mean by that is when you’re looking at a college and it says students who are admitted to the school had say an average GPA of 3.8 and predominantly honors and AP courses, essay, average sat score, or mid 50% range sat scores across a certain range.
If you fall in that range, then you could label that good. [00:45:00] Um, if you fall, you know, if you exceed that range, um, seems like a really good fit, um, academically to you, then I’d say that’s great. That’s really good. Things are looking in your favor. If maybe you’re a little bit below that range, I’m not going to call it bad because it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re still not competitive and you shouldn’t apply.
Um, we’re just going to strategize as to how you’re going to leverage your strengths for that application. And it’s going to look different for every school that you apply to including reaches and targets.
So what are some important college admissions key terms, um, that we haven’t talked about? Um, college selectivity is one of them. Um, you’ve probably heard me say that [00:46:00] term a little bit earlier on in the presentation about, you know, when you’re looking at more selective schools and the personal characteristics that we’re looking at, um, where we have more competitive.
Applicants than we have space for in the class that really starts to determine how selective the school is. So for example, the most selective schools, just some general guidelines. These aren’t the only guidelines that make a school, you know, give them their definition of selectivity. But I think these are really good baselines to start understanding what we mean when we label the level of selectivity for a school.
So most selective schools, um, fewer than 15% of all applicants are selected, um, or given admission to their class and their sat scores or [00:47:00] act scores are going to be in the higher. Uh, near the highest ranges for, again, this isn’t even including GPA’s, um, challenging and their chat level challenges in their classes, but you can expect that they’re going to be some of the most competitive students academically within their respective schools for extremely selective, um, schools.
Well, fewer than 35% of applicants are selected, are offered admission and their act score is likely to be over a 29 or over a 1340. For very selective schools, um, fewer than half of applicants are selected or offered admissions and their sat scores are going to likely be over 1280 and [00:48:00] over a 27 composite score for the act for the moderately selective schools.
Um, fewer than 60% of applicants are selected. Um, and their sat scores are going to be often times higher than a 12, 10, um, on the sat and higher than a 25 on the act. Um, but again, We could go over, you know, kind of the nuances of all of this forever. Um, it, the context is so important based within your level, you know, the balance of your college lists, um, other components of your application, the story, and the brand that you’re presenting.
Um, this is just simply to help you establish, you know, how competitive a school you’re applying to is, and to ensure that when you do start to put a college list together, that you’re [00:49:00] not just applying to the selective schools, um, that you know, and that you have some real targets in there as well. Okay.
So speaking of balance college lists, um, some terms that we use. Are having a number of reach schools, match schools and safety schools. So reach schools mean that maybe your academic and overall profile is not quite as strong as the typical admitted student. Um, but again, you really feel a real match to that school.
You’re excited by it. You think you’d really thrive there. Um, those are all reasons to still consider applying. What we’re going to tell you though, is you simply can’t apply to all reaches because they are competitive. Um, you know, the more students apply, um, [00:50:00] the more difficult it’s going to be to get in.
And that’s true for every student that’s applying there. Um, they tend to have less than a 25%. Typically have less than 25% chance of acceptance and reach schools include any institution with an acceptance rate below 15%. And I think it’s really important for students to understand that those are reaches for anybody.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a valedictorian of your class, you know, have these just really unique academic or personal profile. They’re the most competitive schools to apply to. And they’re going to be no matter how qualified you are. There is no guarantee of admission, um, with match schools again, never a good idea to think that any [00:51:00] admission is guaranteed.
It’s, we’re really looking at odds here based on your profile personally, academically, and you know, where you fall within range of students typically admitted to those schools and also just personal fit to the school. Um, generally for match schools, there’s a 25 to 75% chance of acceptance. So the term safety you’ll see her, I have in quotes.
Um, the reason being that, you know, just with how competitive college admissions continues to get, um, and the more, you know, like this past year where a lot of tests, schools have gone test optional, it means more students have decided to apply. Um, We’re no longer, um, considering schools, you know, some will still call it a safety.
I err, on the side of more [00:52:00] conservative, if I’m your advisor, I, and I’m going to say, you know, here’s a school that you can probably sleep well at night about, you know, having a few of those schools really match the profile, looks like a great fit, really going to, you know, just like all your other applications present the best possible application.
It’s a great chance of you getting in. Um, but I, safety does not mean guaranteed. And because of that, I’m tending to move away again. This is me as an advisor. I don’t necessarily want students to. Veer away from the idea of having a really balanced list. Um, so maybe it is more of the, what we would consider safety schools, um, or let’s not call it that so much anymore.
Um, because you know, in a competitive process, there are always going to be surprises and some of them can be great surprises too. So [00:53:00] I don’t want it to all sound scary. Um, just one more term to go over would be accredited, um, institutions or programs. Um, do you go through rigorous evaluation processes by official governing bodies?
And the reason for that is to ensure that the level of education is meeting a standard. Um, that’s going to give them the foundation that they need to do well in the careers and the paths that they’re following. Um, you know, when a student says that they have taken a certain program, there’s an expectation that they have a certain level of knowledge is a result of going through that schooling.
Accreditation ensures that there is that baseline of knowledge there. Okay. Okay. I’m going to turn this over to Lonnie to help me out with some questions. Yes. Thank you so much ratio for sharing [00:54:00] all of this information for our parents and our students. We’re going to take a few questions for this evening.
So I been seeing a few already kind of come up in the chat. So I’m going to read that, read the question out loud, and then I’m gonna paste it into the public chat for everyone to be able to view it. Um, so first question that I saw is, um, should you do the essay if it’s optional, is there an upside and how do people view doing it or not doing it?
Great question. Um, I would say if you’re there, why not do it? I am, again is mot. This is just me. This is personality. This is an advisor, you know, I never want to leave anything on the table as to chance. So if there’s something I could have done that could have really worked in my favor, I’m going to do it.
And I’m going to [00:55:00] encourage you to do it as well. Um, I would, so with the sat act, I can’t say, you know, again, just like a lot of times the test scores, it’s a component of, for admission consideration, but it’s not necessarily the make or break component. Um, same as if you choose to take the essay or not, but, you know, and if you think it could be a real strength for you, take it.
Um, is it going to hurt you if you don’t take it? No. Um, but that’s just something you for yourself have to weigh, um, for an essay on an application though. I would absolutely say. You do that essay? There is in my mind, there is no reason that you should not do that essay if it’s optional, because it’s just another opportunity to present yourself and provide [00:56:00] more information, um, for the admissions committee.
Okay. Thank you. Um, let’s see. Typically how many schools should a student apply to? Great question. Um, thought I had that and I want her to have somehow made it off the slide because of me. Um, I would say generally seven to 12, um, schools. Again, it’s gonna depend on each student’s interests their goals. I tend to feel that if you’re going much above 12, 13, could you have done more to vet the list and really have an informed opinion of what you want and what you’re looking for?
Um, I do think it’s helpful to have, you know, you know, 7, 6, 7 is a [00:57:00] minimum again, for the reasons that it was said simply to open up more opportunities, maybe for financial aid, honors scholarship opportunities, um, and admission. Okay. Um, if I don’t get accepted into the college, I want shell ISS, a safety school that I don’t want AF and then after one year transfer or refuse and take off a semester, then play again.
So this is for the student who maybe didn’t get into like their dream school. They got. Yeah. Um, so again, oh my gosh, we could talk about this for days, but I would say there’s a lot of value in, you know, getting out there, experiencing, you know, getting, you know, getting into the college experience. And, uh, you never know, there are a lot of students [00:58:00] who go even maybe to their bottom choice school and for whatever reason, maybe it’s they just found a program or classes or friends, activities that they loved, that they hadn’t anticipated before they wouldn’t ever dream of going anywhere else by the end of their freshman year.
What we talk a lot about, and I sincerely mean this, not just for colleges, but in life is, you know, we want you to be open. We want you to be curious. And even if it’s not what you dreamed, your top choice was going to be, we want you to be all in so that we can make sure you didn’t leave anything on the table.
And you really w you’re still going to be able to grow from that experience. And at the end, you decide, you still want to go for that other school. At least you, you know, you didn’t sit around waiting for [00:59:00] something that might happen, because that is not going to work in your favor to transfer into a school.
They’re going to look to see, well, what did you do with this time in the past year? Thank you. Thank you. So I want to share a little bit about college adviser, um, for those who are in the room that may not already be working with. We know, just, you know, from what Rachel has been sharing, there’s a lot of information about the college admission process at times can be rather overwhelming.
Um, our team of over 300 former admission officers and emission experts are ready to help you and your family navigated all in a one-on-one advising session and last year’s admission cycle. Our students were accepted into Harvard at three times the national rate and the set, and it’s a Stanford at 4.4 times.
The national rate sign up for a free consultation with us by registering for our free web [email protected] advisor.com app.college [01:00:00] advisor.com. Their students and their families can explore webinars, key track of application deadlines, research schools, and so much more all on our website.
And so that is actually going to bring us to the end of our webinar for this evening. Thank you, Rachel Moore for sharing everything about the college admission process and giving our parents and students all the information they need. And again, families, if you’re interested in working with us and want to get more information, please again, visit [email protected] advisor.com.
Have a great evening, everyone.