How to Start Your School List

Former Admissions Officer Rachael shares how to start brainstorming your college list.

Date 08/03/2021
Duration 63:02

Webinar Transcription

2021-08-03 How to Start Your School List

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on How to Start Your School List. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, 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 your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists.

Hi everyone. My name’s Rachael Moore. I’m a former admissions officer, um, but have a career in higher education for about 20 years now. Um, I’ve been with CollegeAdvisor for several months and given that admissions is where I started. It feels wonderful to be back coaching students, um, in their families on how best to set themselves up for success in the college admissions process.

Um, when I haven’t done admissions, I’ve done a lot of student services type of work. Once students have matriculated into a [00:01:00] college or university. Um, the most recent thing career and professional development consulting. Um, I also worked for a fortune 200 firm, um, where I worked just with just out of college graduates who had been identified as high potential future leaders in the firm.

So a lot of coaching students, you know, in professional development, um, early career professionals, um, in teaching them really how to navigate their way to keep developing in their growth throughout the. The common thread in all of those different types of roles is that at the end of the day, my fire, um, enjoy, really comes from helping others, whether it’s students and high school, college students or professionals looking at career moves to really tap into what lights their fire and how they can contribute their strengths to the greater good.

[00:02:00] And what’s the best environment for them. So this topic today how to start your school was really, um, is exciting. I’m hoping I can pass on some of the knowledge I’ve learned along the way to.

Uh, so now we’re going to do a quick poll. So, um, where are you in the application process? Haven’t started putting together my school lists started my application almost done, or if you’re really lucky, completed, which would be shocking just because the application opened like two days ago. But just to get an idea of where everyone’s at to sort of frame the rest of the webinar, can you getting in some responses, I’m seeing a lot of people haven’t started and a lot of people haven’t put together.

This school is a case I’m going to close the poll. Uh, okay. So we had 54 people that haven’t started or 55 people that haven’t started 59 people putting together their school list for people that have [00:03:00] started their application. And then one person is almost done somehow and the numbers are sort of fluctuating, but mostly people are in those early, early stages.

Great, great. And now you can do this. Okay. So then this is the we’ve captured the perfect audience here. So, um, I’ll talk through the presentation, give some tips and, you know, help give you tools to. Uh, start performing what should be a successful college search. Um, and then there’ll be opportunities for question and answers at the end.

So please don’t be shy on the chat. Um, McKenzie will certainly take care of you there as well. And we’ll talk at the end. Um, so how to start your school list, um, what is a school list? We’ll start at the very beginning. It’s exactly what it says. Um, it’s a diverse range of schools, ideally, um, that just serves as a starting [00:04:00] point for you to begin thinking about college and what might be not best for you moving forward, the different topic, types of opportunities that are available, um, and all just the different types of experiences that you may well, not even be aware of yet.

Um, and we’ll deep dive into that. What that really means, um, shortly. This number sounds really daunting. I know to a lot of people, um, but it often begins with 25 to 30 schools, um, that has some sort of characteristics that excite you. Um, but I would also say, you know, just once that you’ve heard of, um, that you can then just take note of and look at further, um, at the end of the day after you have gone through done a lot of research, that list will evolve to about eight to 12 schools that you feel really excited about and could sincerely [00:05:00] consider yourself attending if you were selected to that school.

So. Oh, so did you think about when beginning of school list, um, there are a whole range of factors. Again, you’re going to determine for yourself, you know, what is most important to you, but factors include size, you know, small, medium, large, really big research types of universities. Um, there’s all different types of environments, the settings.

So it could be rural. It could be suburban. It could be right in the middle of a major city. Um, same with location. It could virtually Erik could be well, could be virtual now, um, and can be anywhere in the world or a different part of the country. Um, definitely want to take a look at academic offerings to make sure that a school has the different [00:06:00] types of programs and subject areas that are of interest to you.

You don’t necessarily have to know right away what you want to do. I think that’s a pressure point for a lot of students in their families, not knowing it’s 16, 17 years old, what they want to do with the rest of your life. My answer is a counselor has always been, I don’t want you to know what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Um, you know, have ideas of what are interesting and explore that, um, and make sure that there are offerings that would help you to get a foundation in those areas that are of interest to you. Extracurricular programs. Um, absolutely college is about earning that academic degree. Um, but it’s also growing personally as well.

So seeing that they have different activities and opportunities outside of the classrooms for you to engage in as well. That’s [00:07:00] campus life scene, which is also very similar, you know, can include the extracurricular programs as well. Um, is it vibrant? Is, do people go home on the weekends? Is it, um, is that, is it residential or not?

Um, definitely including diversity inclusion and you know, how important is it for you to have a good support system, um, on campus and financing your college education? We can not talk about college, um, without also talking about, you know, making sure that you’re going to be able to set yourself up for success financially, as a result of that experience, too.

Okay. So what are some of the big categories that schools can be put into one of the terms that you probably have heard a lot and might seem somewhat confusing to you is selective duty. [00:08:00] Um, and that well drill down into what that really means shortly, but, you know, schools can be selective, meaning they have more applicants than they have spaces for an a class.

Um, and then from there to moderately selective, very selective, most selective, which would be more your Ivy league schools. Um, the top 50 schools that, you know, th in the country. But we’ll talk a little bit more about what the means specifically. And I bet there are public schools, private schools size.

We mentioned a little bit earlier, you know, and also academic focus. So a liberal arts school personally, um, as a psychology major English literature minor that is still near and dear to my heart. Um, arts schools, vocational or career. Type of programs, professional and graduate level [00:09:00] programs are all different types of schools that are appropriate for whatever your, um, career focus might be four year colleges, two year colleges, um, and also special interest colleges, religious affiliated schools, HBC use single-sex schools.

Um, all of these different factors, um, can be pretty overwhelming. Um, and usually they have multiple different factors here. You know, you know, a small school that’s private, moderately selective. You know, it’s not that there’s, you know, when different characteristics for each type of school out there. So you’ll start to be able to drill it down over time, to see which themes start to come up most consistently for you, um, as to what feels most comfortable.

Okay. So how does a student know which of the answers [00:10:00] these categories is right for them. And it always starts with. And probably ends a bit with research. Um, look online. There are so many resources out there now that, you know, I actually want to caution you that it can get really overwhelming because everybody has something to say about college, whether it’s too hard to get into whether it’s too expensive, whether you need it or not.

Um, everyone has something that they like to talk about when it comes to college, whether they’re interested in the area that you’re interested in or not. Um, so what I would definitely caution you is the counselor in me would say that, you know, you’ll develop a bit of a thick skin really think about what’s important to you.

And then just start, you know, doing your research to find where those best fits would be for you. Um, [00:11:00] talk with college representatives. Once you start identifying schools that you want to explore further, you know, I really encourage students and their families to reach out to the admissions offices and ask to have a conversation, um, with admissions counselor, or, you know, start with the students as well.

Students are. Unfiltered, um, it admissions counselors, definitely going to be honest with you, but when you have the student available to get their perspective is to what it is like to live there day in and day out. Um, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself to really get a sense of that. The place for you or a place where you can see yourself, um, and ask them, what do they love about their experience?

You know, what would they change if they could, um, how, you know, does their experience, or is their experience, um, changing their outlook, you know? And it could be an admissions [00:12:00] rep, but it could also be a matter of you just walking on a campus one day, you know, your family has some time or you’re visiting an area.

Um, and you want to check out the school, that’s there, you know, go to the coffee, shop on campus and just, you know, strike up a conversation with them. Students generally love talking about their experience. You know, they’re investing in that experience at a school they’ve been in your shoes. They will be happy to talk to you.

Yeah, attending information sessions and tours, whether it’s in-person or virtually. I really believe that one of the more positive things to come out of this pandemic is that while I don’t think a virtual tour can ever fully take place of that in-person experience, it’s a really great alternative. Um, and even the resources that colleges have to offer, um, virtually have drastically improved and will continue to because they realize that it’s [00:13:00] really to their benefit with families who want to first do their research online before investing in, you know, a trip to go visit a college.

Um, and look to see does the cultures, this college has culture and focus, fit your priorities. All of us have, you know, different characteristics that are going to be important to us, whether it’s the size of the school, the financial aid or scholarship opportunity that’s available, the type of environment, you know, for some, they want a really liberal type of environment, some want a more conservative environment, um, somewhat big school athletics where on the weekends, everyone’s at the games.

Um, you know, what’s important to you is going to be different for each persons, but really take time to think about that for yourself. Um, and you know, certainly people that you trust can ask their opinion. And for their perspective, [00:14:00] but at the end of the day, this is about you. Um, and listen to that, um, most carefully, you know, and when you consider whether you can see yourself there, you’re going to hear this theme throughout this presentation.

I want you to drill down and really think about why, why are you excited about a place? You know, why can you see yourself there? You know, why don’t you like a place? You know, what was it about that experience that kind of turns you off? Um, that’s going to help you get closer and closer to figuring out what, you know, the best place is for you.

And it’s going to help make you comfortable setting you up for success later on. So we’re going to do one more quick poll, um, just to get an idea of where everyone is at. Um, so what grade will you be entering this year or this fall? Yeah. One thing that I’ve noticed like with working with students is a [00:15:00] lot of them are either scared about picking the wrong school or like worried about the name of the school more than what they’re wanting.

And I keep trying to tell him like, no, you gotta go, are you trying to be happy? Where are you going to be happy? Yeah, that’s absolutely true. I mean, my, um, Alma mater is Valparaiso university that not a lot of people haven’t heard about it, or I will tell you if they have heard about it, it’s because of an amazing athletic play that you will see every year, um, during the sweet 16, um, or you know, basketball tournament, um, because of the shot that took place.

And I’m sure there are a lot of parents on the call that will know exactly what I’m talking about. Um, But as great as basketball was. And I think still is I haven’t followed that so much with my Alma mater. Um, but you know, it, it’s not a huge name, but it’s a great school. And to be honest, I would choose it again, [00:16:00] you know, for what it did for me.

Um, so again, it had everything that I wanted and I’ll talk about that later. Um, but it, you know, it’s, it’s not just about the name. Um, so we got some results, no eighth graders that’s the first, um, we have 12 ninth graders started early 26, 10th grade is also starting early 75 11th graders, um, 54 12th graders, and then one other, which I’m, I’m going to guess as a parent.

Awesome. It’s a great mix. Um, so what’s the best time to be getting your school list. Most of the guidebooks are all gonna tell you, you know, junior year. And what is great about the junior year is that allows you the gift of time without pressure to feel like you’re hurriedly making, you know, all these college visits, [00:17:00] and it can be overwhelming.

You also during your college search, you also have your regular school and activities and family priorities going on. Um, so giving yourself more time is going to allow you to deep dive and think a little bit more clearly with that being said, however, Anytime. It’s a good time, you know, for those sophomores and juniors that are out there, I’m sorry, freshmen and sophomores that are out there.

I mean, you’re just giving yourself even more of a gift of time. You know, I always loved when I was giving information sessions for colleges, I work for seeing siblings taking notes while the younger siblings, while their older siblings were looking at a school, sometimes the younger siblings were a little more engaged.

Um, you know, they could do my job now. Um, but the point is any time is truly a good time if it senior year, which for many [00:18:00] this year, that is, um, because of how life just up ended for many of us. Um, our day to day over the past year and a half, um, you do what you can, and I will tell you that schools are going to do their best to meet you where you are and helping to give you the information that you need, um, to make them.

Form decision as to where you ultimately should attend.

All right. So what are some tips to help students narrow down their lists as they get closer to applying? Um, I’m going to go back to digging into the thinking about the why, you know, take time to reflect and be able to answer it honestly, why you feel a certain way about a school, a certain location, different types of environments that you would like to be a part of that you think would be a good [00:19:00] fit.

Hmm, this is going to be really important for you moving forward. Um, when it comes to decision time, once you receive your acceptances, but it’s a life skill as well. So, you know, take this time. There’s never a time quite like now where all of the sudden you’re exploring so many different opportunities is to what your next step, um, is going to be.

And there’s not, you know, there’s so many different factors that make a right answer. You know, so think about what is it that excites you about a school? You know, I really recommend journaling. Um, you don’t have to write pages and pages about each school visit, but even just a couple of notes or adjectives, um, that are part of your takeaway.

But think about, do you light up every time you talk about a school, you know, do your eyes get really bright? Do you, you know, start talking faster because you just [00:20:00] loved the place, you know, why was that, you know, how did you feel? Was it the friendliness of the campus? Was it the research opportunities that were of that you could use, um, while you were there?

Um, was it the environment of where it was located? You know, really take some time to think about that. And of course, can you see yourself there? You know, does it offer the top factors that you need in a school, which is what you really need to think about, you know, major, you know, you wanna make sure that there are going to be programs there, even if.

That you might shift your major change. Um, once you get there that there is going to be something that would still be a good fit for you, costs, um, and accessibility to unique needs that you may personally have. Um, and how do you feel after engaging with the school? You know, are you, if you’re talking to an alum, if you talk to a student, if you talk to an [00:21:00] admissions counselor, you know, how did you walk away, um, feeling after that engagement that is really going to tell you a lot as to whether that’s a place that you would like to further, um, engage with and apply to.

Okay. So we talked at the beginning about, you know, how you start with a school list for many, we’d advise 25 to 30, um, what should be on a final list? So that’s going to whittle itself down to for many, eight to 12 schools. Now, some will find, you know, you have a really defined idea of say a geographic radius as to how many schools you’d like to apply to.

You know, maybe it’s going to be a little bit more, um, if you’re applying to really exclusive niche type of programs could be, you know, a few more because, you know, there’s only [00:22:00] certain schools that offer it. So you’re gonna, you know, try and, um, compete for as many options as possible. So eight to 12, two to three of those schools will be what we call safeties.

Um, and we’ll talk more about what this means in our next slide. Moving forward three to five would be matches and two to three are what we consider reaches. Um, and you’re going to use your discretion, you know, no matter what you should apply to a school, believing that you’d ultimately be happy there.

Um, I talk about a lot about depth and breadth. You know, you have to, you want to have an array of different opportunities. Um, but there also have to be significant reasons as to why you could see yourself there, why you’re choosing to apply to that college. Um, and again, we’ll talk [00:23:00] finances location, the academic offerings will also impact the size of your list.

Okay. So going back to, you know, the terms, reach target and likely schools. So reach schools are those schools that are considered the most selective students, um, have. Uh, less than 25% chance of being accepted into that school, any institution with an acceptance rate of 15% or below, um, those are reach school for absolutely any applicant, whether you’re the top of your class, um, have a really impressive.

The background experiences related to the field of study that you’re going into, um, whatever it may be, there are the way I think it’s easiest to understand is there are simply many more [00:24:00] qualified applicants than there are spaces available in a class target schools are also known as match schools. So that is what we want to be.

The, the majority of the schools, you know, that three to five instead of two to three schools that you’re applying to. Um, and those are schools that have an academic or overall profile that match what a typical student admitted, um, that match your own profile as well. Um, and they have a 25 to 75% chance of acceptance.

And then the safety schools are your likely schools of admission. The one piece that I would just caution with is you never know. I want to think that it’s a shoe in, um, you should give as much attention to detail for your likely schools as you are for your reach schools. You know, you want to give the respect to that [00:25:00] application and the opportunity there because you really it’s a place where you could still see yourself.

You know, you want to give that the same level of attention and detail is you do with any other, um, school that you’re applying to in the process, likely schools do have more than a 75% chance of acceptance for those who are more numbers focused. I know there are some parents who just want to run the numbers, um, and some students too.

So I always like to make sure I

just trying to move forward a slide. Whoops. Okay. Hold on. I think I skipped. Okay. How does a student know if a school is a reach, target, or likely school? I started to touch on this in the previous slide. Um, but I’ll deep dive into a little bit more look at your academic profile. So your academic profiles going to [00:26:00] be the classes that you’ve chosen to take the grades that you’ve done and that you’ve achieved in those classes and your test scores, and then go back and compare your profile to each school’s applicant profile page.

Um, every college should have one, you know, what’s the average sat or act score if they, if that’s part of their evaluation process, you know, what’s the average GPA, how competitive are there, you know, is the course load of the students who applied. You know, one thing I do want to mention that you’ll learn more about as you advance in your college application process, but I know a lot of anxiety comes to families when they’re afraid.

If their school doesn’t offer a lot of honors or AP or IB courses, I think it’s really important for families to understand that students are going to be [00:27:00] evaluated within the context of the opportunities that are available to them. So some schools have one single curriculum and that’s it, you know, so if you’ve completed the curriculum, you’ve taken the most challenging curriculum available to you.

Um, on the other end of the spectrum, you know, they, they’re a large high school with a lot of resources available, you know, we’re going to look and see. Did you challenge yourself appropriately, um, much more important to challenge yourself appropriately, meaning. Don’t take AP English, if that is not your strong point, but AP physics is, um, and you’re looking to go into a stem related field.

You know, we’re going to look to see that you are taking that level of challenge. Um, that’s uniquely appropriate for you, you know, or also, you know, you need to think about are your goals, your skills and [00:28:00] interests, a cultural fit to the school that goes back to who you talk to. Um, and the different types of, you know, the language that’s used in the marketing of that the colleges have, you know, does it resonate with you or does it turn you off?

That’s all gonna tell you. Um, if it’s one that is of interest to you or not, and talk to your guidance and college counselor, if you have that resource available. Um, and again, the college representatives. I do suggest it’s so important that you are transparent about what it is that you’re looking for. Um, and what you’re not interested in as well, ask for their feedback based on their unique perspective, but then to the day, you know, remember that it’s, it’s really what you take away from that information as to whether you decide it’s something you want to pursue further or not.[00:29:00]

So my experience, um, for looking at a school was, I will say that it advantage that I probably had is that I’m pretty introspective. Oh, he’s over evaluating to be completely honest. Um, so I had an idea of what type of environment would be most comfortable for me, for me, I knew, um, that a bigger school was, you know, not going to be the place where I would feel supported to set up for myself up for success.

Now, many very large schools have, um, you know, they have the support systems there that students need. Um, I just knew that I would feel a little bit lost in that environment. So I looked at a smaller school setting, small to medium. Um, I knew I wanted to go far away to school. So for me, it was really important that this I wouldn’t be stranded on the weekend.

So I really [00:30:00] looked at schools where there were going to be students from all different parts of the country. Or the world that were there. Um, and I also, I really grew up with practicing my faith, um, was really important. So I just actually ended up naturally gravitating toward faith-based schools at the end.

That’s what worked for me. Um, but I did research, you know, I went to and looked at some of the bigger schools. Um, I had my safety school even though ultimately I didn’t think that that was where I wanted to end up, but I knew I’d be happy, you know, if I did end up there, but at the end of the day, I truly believe my gut has never failed me any major life decision that I’ve made.

Um, and I always think college is probably the first time I really, you know, can speak to where I just listened to my gut is to where I should go. And that ultimately ended up being [00:31:00] the right decision.

Okay. What’s the best advice that I can give students beginning of school list? I don’t think at this point in my career, there are many students, um, who can say they haven’t heard me say this. Um, it’s the most successful people that I’ve met in life. And I don’t mean success by title, um, or, you know, what looks like could be in their bank accounts.

You know, it’s just success in terms of, you know, they’re happy, they’re thriving. They feel they’re contributing to something bigger than them, or they’re using their talents, um, in the way, in a way that. Really feels gratifying to them. That’s what I think of when I think of success and every one of those people, um, demonstrate thing, [00:32:00] open, open to ideas, open the opportunities, open to shifting course if necessary, um, being curious, asking questions, just wondering about, you know, the why behind how things work or what makes people tick.

Um, whatever that may be, that curiosity and the other piece is being all in, you know, whatever it is that you’re deciding that you want to pursue, that you’re giving of yourself and giving it the honest chance. Focus on you. That is not selfish when you’re looking at where you’re going to invest your time, your money, and all of your energy.

Um, over the next several years, you know, you have to really think about what place is going to give you the foundation that you’re looking [00:33:00] for as the springboard to your whole life, um, after college. Um, and I wouldn’t recommend logging your journey. Um, actually it was a college professor who has suggested, you know, that I always keep a copy of my resume any time that I changed it.

Um, it moved on to a new opportunity and it is amazing to go back and see the growth. You know, you forget a lot over time because you’re all in to whatever’s next. Um, and I would say the same is absolutely true with your college search. You know, it’s so introspective. Um, you’re really thinking through a lot there’s there are emotions involved.

It’s a great outlet. Um, it really, I believe giving yourself a gift. If you log a little bit about. You know, have a log of where you looked, what you feeling at that time, you know, what was important [00:34:00] to you? Um, it, it, I promise it’ll give you some really helpful information, um, to think about essay topics later on, into really interview and with when you’re visiting colleges and have things to talk about, you know, and really advocate for yourself.

So those are really my big three, you know, points of pieces of advice. Kind of life advice. Okay. So that is the end of our presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat so you can see them and then read them aloud.

Before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom, um, the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. If you joined from like the website, [00:35:00] it won’t allow you to use all the features.

So make sure you join in through your email and then also. Make sure to submit your questions in the actual Q and a tab and not the public chat, because it’ll get lost. I’m going to be copying and pasting your questions into the public chat. So if you don’t see your question popping up yet, just know I’m getting to it.

You don’t need to paste it into the public chat, but, um, we’ll get started. So we’ll start off with this question and I might jump between, um, the pre panel questions too. Cause there were some good ones. Let’s see. Okay. So one student asks, um, my major is quite limited to most Ivy league schools in west coast schools.

Uh, couple that with a competitive track and field program. How do I signal that? To these 15 schools as my, how do I signal these 15 schools as my interest in attending without looking desperate, thus maximizing my scholarship potential. PSIM very recruitable from an academic [00:36:00] perspective as well. Well, I have to say that.

You actually already great at branding yourself. So what’s important to you. Um, yeah. Have a good idea of what’s, you know, what you’re looking for, you know, I think it’s more emphasizing just again, you’re going to get sick of hearing me say this, but you know why these academic areas are so important to you or why you can want to pursue them.

Um, and also, you know, why the track and field talent is something that you want to continue pursuing and developing at. Um, and then connect that to the environment, you know, with the school and the culture and why that’s a personal fit to you, and really demonstrating that behind, you know, by talking deeper about your passion for those areas.

Um, What I always say, [00:37:00] particularly for any school, but really with more selective programs is when there are more spot, there are more candidates than there are spots in a class. You know, it’s really about shaping our class is how admissions professionals will talk about it. And it’s, we look at your unique talents and what you want to, you know, engage with in the community.

And we try to create is diverse, uh, community, but one that fits within the culture of that school. Um, so that everyone’s, you know, thriving and continuing to build and evolve over time. Um, so I hope that makes sense. It’s not a direct answer cause there’s not one direct answer. Um, when it’s not a one-on-one.

Session, but I would, I really believe firmly that it’s really, you know, helping to [00:38:00] connect the dots for the person, reading your avid application and advocating for admission for you to help them see, you know, all that you bring to the table. And that, that energy is absolutely an awesome fit to the community.

That’s there? Great response. So there’s like a theme with the IVs, um, and top schools in general, but, uh, people are worried about their qualifications. So if you aren’t exactly qualified for a school show, you shoot for the stars and apply anyway, or try and save time and apply places that are more realistic.

I’m going to say both. Um, with, you know, it’s really the advice that we talked about earlier in the presentation that, you know, if you have that dream school that you’ve always thought about attending to attending, you know, go through that careful process of, you know, [00:39:00] paying attention to every detail of your application and submit it.

Best application possible. And that means connecting the dots between who you are and the school that you want to go to and, you know, helping that counselor to see that match. Um, it’s really about bringing what lights you up and being able to, why that community, that you’re applying to can really foster that, bringing that out of you even more.

And, um, again, it’s that shaping a class. So. But I would say absolutely. Your matches, your safeties Easter. I would still follow that ratio. Um, you’ve got to look out for yourself first. And so you have the big dreams, but there are many, what I [00:40:00] would say is there are many characteristics that, that dream school has that other schools will have to, um, it’s not all going to be the same, but there are going to be things that you like about that school.

Look at some other schools in that safety, um, and in that match realm as well. Um, so that you feel, you know, that you’ve covered all your bases, but you gotta look out for yourself first. And again, just gonna probably two more questions on the Ivy specific, you can look at some other topics, but I’ve heard that to maximize your chances of being admitted into admitted to an Ivy league school, you should focus on one goal, such interest.

What if I have experienced in a lot of areas and not just one, will it be harder for me to brand myself? And then the other question that I was going to add was, um, how do you like looking at schools that aren’t IVs, but still have like good programs? Like how do you go through. Say that second one again.

I’m sorry. I [00:41:00] was thinking of, I just look like the opposite end of looking at schools that aren’t the IVs, but are still strong programs because a lot of people just see IVs or the name of the school, like finding other yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay. Okay. I’ll do my best, but if I don’t answer all of that, please keep me honest and I’ll get back to it.

Um, so I’ll go to the second one first. Um, you know, again, I would start looking at the characteristics of those Ivy league schools and see what it is that you like about it. Is it the atmosphere? Is it, you know, the type of buildings that they have? Is it the longstanding traditions that they have? Is it their, you know, the research focus that may be, they have, you know, thanks the school spirit, you know, and then start thinking about, you know, researching other schools [00:42:00] that share those characteristics as well.

There are tons of websites out there. Um, college vine, for example, and these are just ones that I, you know, am more familiar with. Um, Big future, which is part of the college board, you know, that you can start putting in characteristics that you like and start to pull up lists as well, and give them an honest shot, you know, C really be honest with yourself about what it is you like about that school.

Um, and what, you know, what, how a school, another school might represent that characteristic as well. Um, okay. Refresh me on the first part of the question again. Uh, I have heard that you can maximize your chances of being admitted to an Ivy league school. Uh, you sh oh, two maximum. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Thank you.

Thank you. So. [00:43:00] I would take it more from the perspective of what makes you uniquely you, you know, if you are someone who, you know, is just endlessly curious and you know, those three characteristics that I say are setting you up for success in life, being open, being curious, being all in, you know, if you have all these examples of deep diving into all these different interests, that’s you, that is who you are and you own that.

It’s all about owning it, not trying to be what you think the school wants you to be it’s about who you are and really giving it your all to helping that, helping the admissions team to see why you deserve a seat at their, at their campus. I think I can add to that too. I go to Cornell and I have multiple interest in like I was originally pre-med, but then I have [00:44:00] interested in policy and education.

So I use like my personal statement to write about my interest in like education and access, but then use my supplement to talk about like, when I was a public health major, I talked about that and like what I wanted to do with it. So you can show them that you have multiple inches. It’s more so you don’t want to just have a bunch of random things that you’re doing, that you’re not really committed to.

Um, they want to see that if you’re investing in a lot of things, you can talk about those things. Exactly. Exactly. We’re talking about depth at this point. I hope that helps. Um, okay. Um, I’m lost now. Okay. Uh, just to go for a quick question, um, whose decision does it matter more in the end, the parents or the, I read that question before the session and I thought, Ooh, good one.[00:45:00]

My hope and prayer truly is that everyone is supportive of each other. Um, at the end of the day, a student has got my personal belief is that this is one of the first times in life where the parents can’t necessarily control the outcome of what, what the options are going to be for a student. You know what schools are go, are going to select them.

Um, I would trust the process trust. Hopefully you’ve engaged together, you know, with whoever your support system is, is a student of family or, you know, close, you know, relatives, friends, and, you know, hopefully you’ve, you know, really been deliberate throughout the process about what you need to sex to set you up for success as a student.

[00:46:00] And at the end of the day, if all things work out, you know, financially you can afford to go to that school that, you know, it’s a place where you’re going to have the support that you need, that it has, whatever other factors you’re looking for, whether it’s, you know, the academic opportunities, you know, if you’re going to be on an athletic team, whatever it is.

That you will have that, you know, there will be pride and excitement for that student, um, wherever they ultimately feel that they should go. Um, it’s a family decision in some respects, but ultimately this is a springboard for many, the first step on their journey, um, on their own. It’s your first adult decision.

It is. Um, okay. So I’m seeing a theme coming up about like the student profiles. So one person had [00:47:00] asked on like, where do you find this information about what the typical admitted student looks like? And then another other students were asking, like, what sort of courses you should be taking? Um, what are colleges looking at?

Are they, do they care about senior year? Um, what are they looking for from a student? Okay. So the profile should really be on the admission. Website. Um, and you know, every website is different, they’re organized differently. Um, but it should have like a profile of what the last year’s class look like. So for example, you know, how many students were admitted, where did they come from?

You know, what different parts of the country or world, um, and then, you know, grade, you know, the average GPA. So it, and I think, oh yeah, test scores as well. If you don’t find that [00:48:00] on the admissions page, then, you know, call the, honestly, just call them and say, you know, where can I find the academic information?

You know, looking for a profile to just assess whether this would be a good fit for me, what that does for you too. I’m always a fan of calling. You will most likely be connected to an admissions representative. And now you’ve opened the door to start making a connection with them as well. One thing that I, that was pointed out to me, um, like a lot of people get stressed seeing like for the IVs or for big school is like, you need a 1400 or higher on the sat and stuff to get, you need like a 4.0 GPA to get in.

But it’s good to remember that those are the average student, which means that students have higher scores that get admitted and students have lower scores than that. They get admitted. You don’t necessarily need those scores. It’s just a good way to gauge how you’re comparing. I think, you know, you use that [00:49:00] profile to help, you know, self-select, you know, what you want your safeties in your matches in your reaches to be.

And the other piece that I say, cause that’s a really awesome. You know, good point Mackenzie is that if all it was was the numbers, you wouldn’t need admissions officers to make the selections, you would run them into, you know, a computer system, the software would spit out who your top people are and we’d be done.

Um, that is not, you know, is that, are those averages helpful to look at profiles and, you know, will you be competitive? Yes. But is it the end all be all absolutely not. And they were saying that, um, your essays, letters of recommendation, what you’ve done throughout high school are the most important because those really show like who you are.

They get a good idea and it’s really like a dating pack. [00:50:00] Dating process. Like you want to find your best fit schools. Schools are looking to see how you’ll fit in with their student body, um, and comparing you. Um, they’re not trying to just outright reject you. They’re just trying to see like, will they fit in and then the scores and stuff, just see, like, and your, what courses you took in high school, just seeing like, oh, okay.

This student is like on top of their work. They’re a good student academically, but they also want to know your personality and stuff. Absolutely. Cause all of those different pieces tie together and start to become your narrative. You know, the types of classes that you’ve really challenged yourself with the activities that you’ve pursued, you know, the experiences that you’ve had that you choose to write about Erie and how, you know, the type of school that’s, you’re looking for, why you’re interested in that school.

It that’s connecting the dots. That’s what I mean by [00:51:00] putting all those pieces together, um, to really help identify the match. I really love that point. You made about asking the students for their perspective on the school to get an idea, because that’s honestly the honest way to get in there on canvas.

Like, I’m going to tell you the truth, but then of the day, like I’m paid, that’s a great, yeah, it’s a sales pitch after that. Um, there are also webinars if y’all want to check that out, because I did see some specific questions about specific schools or like looking into schools. They, we do have webinars on, um, different school panels and the series, um, for this month is about to be on different schools.

So if you want it specific question about specifics. You can watch those or look up on YouTube and stuff. Um, but another person asked on that question, the apparent question of what if your parents will only support you if you [00:52:00] choose their choice and you have no other support to go to school? Um, yeah, that’s a tough one.

Um, You know, and I think that my hope would actually be that you would have a college counselor or a, you know, at your school or a teacher, or, you know, coach someone in your network that you could talk through a little bit as well, you know, to help you distance yourself from, you know, the, what your parents want for you, because that’s a heavy load, you know, and I’m sure you want to please them as well, but you know that this is, this is your time, you know, you’d be, you’re ready, you know, to really start building your own experience, um, and move forward in life.

So, you know, that would be my hope. I would hope that you would have an [00:53:00] opportunity to eventually if you’re not yet. I have some candid conversations about helping them understand why a certain school would be, you know, a good fit for you. Um, the other piece maybe do, or don’t want to hear this, but, um, also look, take a honest look at the schools that they’re encouraging us to look at to, you know, at least giving it an honest look, try, because by doing that, it’s the only way that you’re either going to be.

Maybe feel better about the opportunities. Maybe it’s not so bad, maybe you even like certain things about it, um, and could be a great opportunity for you or if it just absolutely does not have the characteristics that you need, you know, say type of academic program type of, you know, support services.

It’s the only way you’re [00:54:00] actually going to be able to advocate against city.

Um, so truly my hope is that those that’s tough. I’m not at all going to sit here and say that that’s easy. Um, now even in the best situations, there are going to be tensions, um, because the stage of life, you know, everyone, you know, has emotions that go through this exciting growth that’s happening. It’s very bittersweet as a parent.

I really feel sensitive about that. Um, on both sides. Uh, okay. So how do you find, um, how do I find what’s a good major for me that will help me in the. So be honest with yourself about, you know, w where your strengths are. Um, I will tell you that a lot of colleges have the minute you sign that first tuition [00:55:00] bill check, um, you have access to a career and professional development center that most colleges will have.

You know, a lot of those centers have, you know, testing for students. I don’t like the word test, cause it sounds so daunting. You don’t want to be bothered, but truly they have like great assessments where you can look at where are your strengths? What type of environments are you most comfortable in? Do you like working by yourself?

Do you like working collaboratively? Like all these different characteristics that make you, you, um, and from there you have a professional to talk through that with you and really start exploring what majors that school has. That could be a good fit to that. And then what pro or, um, jobs or careers or internships could be available for you to explore that further?

Um, a [00:56:00] lot of people think career centers are mostly for seniors or juniors. And I will tell you personally, I love when the underclassmen come in, because again, just like. Starting a college search a little earlier. You’ve got the luxury of time, you know, to check some things out. So that’s one way to go about it and talk to people in your life, you know, talk to them about, you know, what they see in you, and really be honest with yourself about where you feel happiest and, you know, start looking, you know, ask people what they do, you know, who share similar interests.

Uh, so I’m going to do a quick, uh, offer right now. Let me send the pop up. Okay. Um, once we work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers sign up for a free consultation with us, by going to and clicking the green [00:57:00] chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us.

Now I’m now back to the Q and a, and it’s almost coming up to time so we can answer a few more questions. Um, there was going on that note of, um, finding a good major. Um, there was a question of, um, do I need to, um, do I need Jesus? Do I need to know what I want to major in to start looking up colleges? And then another one is, um, what if you get there and realize that it’s not what you want to study with?

Um, the short answer, it’s a short answer, cause there’s always a caveat, but the answer would be now you don’t necessarily have to know right away what you want to do. Now, if there’s something really specific or you know, that you want to do, [00:58:00] um, it’s better sooner than later to know, for example, if you know that you want to, you know, go into a certain area or go to medical school, you know, you’re going to want to take some of those science classes in the very beginning, because there are going to be different qualifications that build on each other from semester to semester.

Um, That’s a really vague answer. Um, but the point is, you know, either something as specific area you’re looking into, it’s good to at least take some classes that relate to that area. Um, can you repeat for me that next question? I’m sorry. Oh yeah. What do I do if I arrive at a college and I decide the major I want, um, isn’t some is something that we don’t have and then also, or if you want to switch.

So, you know, if they, [00:59:00] a lot of times in professions, again, there are some that are really specific that you have to have really, you know, specialized training and follow a lot of time that specialized training comes from either experiences from internships or co-ops or, um, you know, or graduate school.

What I think is generally most important is to look at the academic foundation that you need. So if it’s more of a stem field, you know, more of the quantitative type of classes, more of the, you know, science and the math, um, You know, if it’s more of a communications area or marketing, you know, take some of the liberal more, some business classes along with some, you know, English type, you know, humanities types of classes, but [01:00:00] you know, that curiosity I’m gonna, you know, go back to what I talked about earlier that openness to exploring, um, you’re going to find information that you’re going to be able to build upon, um, to help you whittle down what you like, what you don’t and what options are going to be there.

Every experience is going to make you better. Um, and you can apply something that you learned to anything. I feel like that’s really vague. I almost don’t want to end on that note, but, um, my point is usually unless it’s really niche area, Keep challenging yourself, be intentional about where you’re exploring.

Um, and it’ll come together. You’ll have people to advise you as well when you’re there, I guess, just to end it off. Cause we are coming up on time. Any final [01:01:00] tips or, um, suggestions about picking a school or like finding schools, looking at schools, anything I’m going to tell you to breathe? Um, it’s it’s a daunting process.

Um, please try to enjoy. Um, more than anything, I just wish everyone luck. Um, because this is a time in your life, unlike any other, where you’re looking at so many different opportunities, um, and a huge spring forward for yourself is the world is open to you and it feels bigger than ever, um, with the opportunities.

So I just wish you luck in navigating all of that and embrace it. Embrace the opportunities to learn about yourself and connect with your loved ones, um, who are supporting you along the way. Okay. [01:02:00] Um, so thank you to our panelists, Rachel, that is the end of the webinar. I just wanted to point out for the rest of our August series.

Again, we are doing different, um, school panels coming up and then also, um, different panels on the actual application. Since a lot of people may be unsure of how like the common apps and other platforms work. So there were, there will be some more, um, panels on that. And then also on like different admissions requirements.

And then if you’re a know, a lot of people on the webinar were athletes, so there is going to be one on the twin. Um, one coming up for that. Um, which McCall it was I going to say? Uh, so make sure to join in for that. There were a lot of questions in the chat that we didn’t get to, um, on specific admissions requirements.

So I think those would be great for that. Um, thank you again for coming out and, um, we hope to see you in the next one. Hi, everyone.[01:03:00]