Researching Colleges for Sophomores and Juniors
Are you a sophomore or junior ready to start building your college list? Gain college research strategies from a former Admissions Officer at CollegeAdvisor.com.
Former Admissions Officer Ferrell Armstrong will share his insider knowledge on how to start early to set yourself up for college admissions success, during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.
In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:
– As a sophomore, how can I start thinking about my college list?
– As a junior, how can I start to refine my list?
– What are some important factors to consider when building my list?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-11-10 – Researching Colleges for Sophomores and Juniors
Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s Webinar on Researching Colleges for Sophomores and Juniors. I’m McKenzie and I’ll be your moderator tonight. So if you have any questions related to technical issues, you can direct message me. Otherwise, all other questions would go in the um, Q&A tab and then, uh, I will be putting some additional information in the public chat.
But to, and everyone with webinar timing will start up with a presentation. Then answer your questions on live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start to your questions in the Q&A tab. Now let’s meet our panelists. Good evening everyone. My name is Ferrell Armstrong. Uh, I am a former admissions officer from both Vanderbilt University and University of Georgia.
Uh, the highlight of my career is I was the assistant director of admissions, uh, and later one of the heads of international admissions at Vanderbilt, also serving on Vanderbilt admissions Committee. It’s a pleasure to be with you this evening and I look forward to taking some of your questions later on as well.
Yes. And now we’re gonna do a quick poll. So what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th or other? Another can be if you’re a gap year student or if you’re a transfer. We’ll probably just have sophomores and juniors though. But, um, uh, real quick, Ferrell, can you tell us what is the most important thing to consider when researching schools?
For me, and you’re gonna hear me talk about it a fair amount tonight, is, is your financial situation as a family? Um, I, I tend to look at putting, you know, putting a school together, Excuse me. Putting a school together based upon a, you know, financial structure of what are you comfortable taking out of the loan or taking out in a loan that you’re gonna be potentially paying back over the next eight to 10 years, um, once you graduate.
So to me it’s looking at this from an affordability aspect, not playing the game of name and rank. Mm-hmm. So it’s looking like we have 46%, 10th, 10th graders, 51% 11th graders, 1% 12th graders, and 1% other. Uh, so you can control the slides. Wonderful. Well, you know, I, I think the biggest thing to kind of start off by talking about is there’s really never a proper time to start looking at, at building a school list.
The best time is now, um, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, um, well, if you’re a senior right now, that’s, you’re really late. So you definitely wanna be deeper in the process. But, um, if you are a ninth grade, 10th grader, 11th grader, you should go ahead and start building a school list as you see in front of you.
Though, I, I’ve kind of stated that 10th grade is early and 11th grade is late. Well, the reason I’m saying that I is that modern standards basically by what a lot of students and families are operating off of today, is they’re doing what their friends and family members have done before them and what most family members, what most friends are doing, or they’re starting the research process in 11th grade.
But I think families quickly realize just how involved, uh, the applications really are today. The amount of essays is about, you know, four essays per school now. So if you’re applying to 10 or 12 schools, it starts to add up to more like, you know, 40 to 50 essays pretty quickly. Um, and you get a lot of students that are, you know, just dead set on applying to 15 and 25 schools.
So when you have that amount of work ahead of you, you really, if at all possible, need to avoid starting your school list research in 11th grade, you’re much better off if you can, by trying to start in 10th grade. And, and the reality here is that the quicker that you get your school list in place now, everything that you’re doing, both academically and extracurricularly, extracurricularly, excuse me, can be adapted to what those particular schools are looking for, what preferences they have for certain applicants that they’re gonna target for admission.
All of that can be adjusted to those final schools that you decide to apply on. If you give yourself the time to do it. So for instance, if your school list was done by the end of sophomore year, which that’s pretty early considering what most people are told today. But if we just said that your school list was completely finalized by end of sophomore year, you essentially have the summertime after sophomore year through when you file your application, uh, with the school to be solidifying your relation to the major you’re applying for, solidifying your academics and make it directly relatable to what that particular school is looking for or those schools are looking for.
That’s a much stronger applicant right out of the gate. And so if you are an 11th grader, I’m not saying any of this to, to scare you, to upset you. My, my intention here. If you identify the fact, as I’ve said earlier, that you should expect between 40 and 50 essays and you’re just now starting your school research on what potential schools you wanna apply to it, it does give you less time to research your schools before you really do need to be deeper into your essay development.
Uh, so if you have not started that process yet as a 11th grader, uh, I would highly encourage you to do so. Now I, I think where most families struggle in this process is they have a lot of questions and they, they have a lot of concerns. And I think a lot of that, uh, goes unanswered. But the very first thing that I, I encourage every student, every family to do is you really need to sit down as a family and talk about this and, and you need to do so on a very frequent basis.
I, I think it’s important that parents and guardians and students all identify, you know, what’s important to them as they’re putting together a school list, right? Highlighting the attributes of the collegiate experience that matter more to them. Uh, making sure that everybody understands where each member of your family kind of.
Sets, if you will, and what they’re placing value and emphasis on and trying to adapt a plan, uh, that matches that lead with those kind of areas of focus and allow that to start to shape up the type of school, um, the type of environment, the location that you are looking for. Um, that being the case, I, I think one of the easiest things to do, and, and my wife gets a kick out of this because I’m a very regimented person, um, is to create a schedule.
And, uh, if you’ve been frequently a part of all of our webinars, you will hear us talk about trying to break this process up. Uh, I am a very big fan of trying to create a timeline of when you should have your schools in place, when you should start identifying, you know, the different schools, your reach schools, your target schools, your safety schools, um, obviously when you should start your essays.
So in researching college. What I try to encourage students and famous to do is create a schedule by when you want to complete your e based research, right? Your internet based research, and then when you wanna transition into cutting that list down from maybe, you know, 30, 40, 50 schools down to maybe, you know, 12 to 18, that you might want to go physically visit in person, right?
What’s the timeline that you have for that? When, when can you create a schedule, you know, to allow for your college visits? And unfortunately, as we’re all aware, uh, plane tickets are not getting any cheaper, right? So how can you, you know, be creating time that’s going to allow you to also be making as many visits in one location as possible?
I’m sorry, not one location as possible, but making as many visits close together as possible to make best use of your time. So if you can. By operating in a schedule by every four or five months, you, you’re transitioning to a next point in the process, the better off you’re gonna be. Now, I, I think the easiest thing to do really to kind of, if you’re going through this for the first time, to kind of break the ice, or, or perhaps parents, this is your fourth or fifth, even seventh time I met with a family that this is her seventh time going through the process recently and good on them.
Um, knock the rust off, right? Like, how, how do we really get the ball rolling again? Well, for me, I wanna encourage you to start close to home. I personally believe this is just a personal opinion. I personally believe that it can be awkward. It can be a little unnerving to go visit a campus for the first time and, and not really know what kind of questions to ask and, and, and not really have, you know, a better understanding of the process.
I think the easiest thing to do is to go to your local, the, the closest four year school to you, whether you have any interest in going there or not, and touring. Sit through the information session, go through the, the, uh, actual scheduled tour and understand the other questions that families are asking.
Write those down. Make note of that. Does that spark a light in your brain that, hey, that that matters to us as well? Um, so as you start to do that, that’s gonna build up a, a, some degree of knowledge, not only of that particular school, but the types of things that are gonna be more important to you at other schools that you start to become more and more interested in.
So in saying that, I, I think that also allows you to, when you start to visit, you know, local schools, you can then allow yourself to determine what you specifically want to visit or check off your list when you’re actually visiting schools outside of your. Right. If, if you did not see something at your, at the tour, at this first school that may be local to you that you thought might have been important for you to, to get a feel for, then you wanna make sure that you’re planning on doing that when you spend the time to go travel to op different locations.
Um, when your time is limited, obviously you’re in a hotel room or you’re, you’re driving back home maybe a three hour drive that day. So make sure you are identifying areas of, you know, interest that maybe didn’t see at one place that you wanna make sure you’re seeing at all places moving forward, because that could influence your final decision.
And, and I think the thing here is, you know, don’t hold back. It, it is, you know, I, if you’ve sat on a webinar of mine before, you hear me talk about, you know, keeping a white belt mentality. Uh, I’m a martial artist. I, I practice Brazilian jujitsu and, and for me, I, I have to remind myself now even as though I’ve been doing it almost six years, this process is, is really about, um, Remembering that you can always learn something new at any given moment.
Uh, I am, you know, far from, you know, the elite level of practitioners in Jujitsu. And the reality is, as parents, even if you’re going through this process for the seventh time, so many things have changed and especially over the last three years, that you really do need to kind of keep a, you know, white belt mentality here, but dive in.
Don’t let that, that anxiousness or that kind of, um, that fear of, you know, being uncomfortable prevent you from getting involved in this process. Cuz the longer that you wait, the more that you’re gonna have to overcome. And I think the sooner that you, you know, jump in, you’re gonna be able to start getting a quicker and, and better understanding of what you know, key terms are really kind of controlling the process.
Now, if you’re returning family or if you’re a first time family learning, you know what’s gonna be the impact point for your son or daughter for the very first. That allows you to establish a baseline though, and that first or second visit really do allow you the opportunity to kind of level up in terms of your knowledge of the process.
And then now start to have a, you know, solid list of questions that you want ask at every single school that you visit, uh, or a, you know, a list of, you know, activities or experiences that you want a school to have or, or perhaps certain amenities that you wanna go check out and explore when you’re visiting a school out of, you know, outta your local city to make sure it has the things that are gonna make you comfortable and confident if you decide to enroll there.
And I think the, the most important thing, and I started off by saying this, is ask questions. The number one thing, and you’re gonna hear me say this a lot though, uh, is you have to verify what you’re, what you’re being told. I, I find in, in our role here at CollegeAdvisor, in my role back, excuse me, in my role back at both University of Georgia and Vanderbilt, a lot of my job is correcting, um, the wrong idea, right?
Someone heard something from somebody and it, and the idea is completely, you know, skewed on, you know, how a school evaluates a certain applicant in one department versus another, or you know, how how much test scores matter. All of that is variable by school, first and foremost, and each school is looking for different things.
You should always verify through the school or through an admissions expert, what you’re hearing from friends and family members, even people that went through the process last year, and, and I’m gonna make a statement here, and it’s not meant to be rude, a lot of times you’ll get a lot of students that will act as if they know what got them.
Respectfully, until you’ve worked in admissions office as an admissions officer, no one knows how they got in. They may have had strong essays, they may have had a really well put together application narrative. Um, but at the end of the day, what was the final call? What was it that made the final call for their application?
They don’t know that cuz they haven’t sat in the room. So you’re always better off by getting your questions answered by people that do this every single day before you operate off of some advice that you’re given from a friend that went through the process four years ago. It’s a very different process now.
So I, I think one of the very first things that you should start by using are a lot of online resources. Um, now to be fair, we are biased here at CollegeAdvisor, but we definitely think that we are one of the best online resources. Um, the cool thing about CollegeAdvisor is we have a lot of great webinars, um, such as this not trying to tutor on Horn, um, but we have a lot of webinars.
We are essentially on, on our online profile. I would call us the Netflix of college admissions. And, and the reality is, is we have well over 300 webinars now focused on different aspects of the physical application from list build, like we’re talking about tonight, to essay development, even more to specific college webinars.
So you can get a deeper dive, um, into what the experience of, say a Duke or say a University of Florida or a Stanford might actually be like, and you can get that from somebody like McKenzie that’s lived it, that’s gone to that school. You know, I’m 35. They, they tell me I am like, out of touch these days.
So I, I always like to give it from the people that are, you know, still grinding through it or have just, you know, graduated till we get the, the most honest and up to date information. Um, that’s also me because I love McKenzie. She’s one of our best. So I always like to give her a little fun time jab here.
But the other thing here, You need to look at other great resources, you know, niche.com, uh, wonderful resource, a lot of great data points there that they’re constantly updating. And, and I think the old standby, and I, I feel horrible saying that cuz I’m 35 now, and this has been around since I was in high school.
Uh, is is US News and World Report, um, that is still the standard for ranking schools in the United States. If you’re gonna say that rank is important to you. US News Zone World Report is still the standard by which all schools are ranked. It’s still the standard by which, um, bond ratings are established for universities.
Uh, and believe it or not, bond ratings, uh, are affected by a school’s rank. And those institutions that are doing that are using the US News reward report Rating system. Other organizations that I won’t name, just outta respect. Um, and I think another great resource that I think a lot of people just don’t think about is YouTube.
Uh, and, and that’s a failure point on me. There’s a lot of great resources out there on YouTube. I shouldn’t say resources, but a lot of good material out there on YouTube. But once again, you need to verify what you’re seeing there. I i, I do wanna express that caveat. You do have to have that, uh, checkpoint to make sure everything you’re hearing is true.
And the final piece is LinkedIn. Um, I, I think LinkedIn is kind of like the hidden gem of the world, if I’m being honest. It’s such a great way of getting connected with, you know, like-minded individuals in an academic field, perhaps like-minded individuals in a career field that you’re interested in, and individuals that maybe currently or have recently attended schools that you’re interested in.
It’s a great way to network and, you know, kind of, you know, get some questions answered. And, and why is that important? Well, I think. You should recognize with all respect given to admissions offices today, and, um, you know, it, it’s what the majority of my career has been is working as an admissions officer.
With all respect to those admissions officers, their job is to recruit you, right? So you do need to remember and identify the fact that admissions offices are still only giving you a partial image of what that daily experience is gonna be like. I think you’re making yourself a much more knowledgeable candidate and applicant by connecting with real time students or recent graduates that can give you the ins and the outs and the vibe of what that community experience is gonna be like on a daily basis.
Um, and that’s one of the major things that we do so well here at CollegeAdvisor. Having a network of well over 350 advisors now, um, current students included, that we get to connect you with to facilitate those conversations and cut through the recruitment pitch and get down to the nitty gritty of what your daily experience can be like at that school.
Now we’re gonna kind of break this slide down pretty slowly and, and I wanna go through these one on one to really talk about the different factors that really should be influencing, um, your school list specifically. Uh, first and foremost, you need to be looking at this for academic opportunities. If, if you’re looking to go to college for fun first, then maybe college isn’t what you need to do.
Um, you should be going to school for an academic purpose. So what type of academic resources exist within the schools that you’re potentially exploring? Are the research opportunities, are there solid co-op or internship opportunities that are readily available to you? Or are these programs maybe pretty limited at a school that you’re exploring?
Um, those are the types of things that you’re gonna want to be, you know, trying to start this process by looking into. Now in going along with. I think one thing that matters in, uh, academic opportunities is who you’re actually going to be studying under. Uh, I do think it’s an important question to ask the frequency of how, you know, you’re, how many times or how frequently you’re gonna be in front of an actual professor versus a teaching assistant.
Um, that definitely is part of the academic, you know, opportunity because going direct and getting it from the source versus getting it through a secondary party in terms of a daily, you know, experience that there’s a difference there. And sometimes I personally would not consider that as opportunistic as.
Some might think it is. So to that end, I think it’s important to look into that, see the level of expectation you can have, um, in terms of what the daily experience is gonna be like and what resources are given to you. To that end, the number one thing you’ll hear me harp on more than anything is the overall cost of attendance.
Um, I personally subscribe to the idea that you need to be able to graduate college, either debt free, which is a, a pipe dream for almost every applicant. Um, but you need to be able to try to graduate college with limited debt. Um, if, if you’re coming outta college and you’re making a, a salary that is gonna take 35 years to pay off your school debt, what was the point of it?
Right? So you need to be building a school list. You know, effectively attainable for you in terms of cost of attendance. Now, in building this school list, one of the ways that you should be exploring this is not simply cost of attendance. You want to be looking at this based upon things like average financial aid award, right?
What is the average financial aid award at Vanderbilt versus use Chicago versus University of Texas, right? Or how, how, you know, liberal is a school of scholarship. How much scholarship does a school give out every single year? Uh, is a school need aware, is a school need blind? Um, and those are terms that we’ll talk about a little bit later in tonight’s, uh, webinar to give you some more specific focus on that.
Um, because potentially your need for financial aid could play a role in your admissions decision. Um, so this should definitely be having a, a large impact on what schools end up on your final list. So, I think the other piece becomes location, and it, it’s always funny to me because you get a lot of students that they’ll, they’ll start to go off of, um, reputation when looking at a school and they don’t give any context to the idea of, Oh, well I’ve never really experienced cold before and I’m going from 90 degree days nearly year round, to needing a, you know, North Face summit, parka, uh, certain parts of this country just to, uh, comfortably or semi comfortably get to class each day.
Um, so does the location, you know, have an impact on you based upon, you know, weather, You know, is the weather gonna be something that you can, you know, tolerate and be happy with, um, to that lo you know, peace? What about travel? Right? Location design. A cost of, you know, travel. Um, are you comfortable being somewhere that you can only fly to and, you know, and get back and forth to home at, you know, a fairly quick period of time by flight?
Or would you rather be somewhere that you could drive to, um, that should be impacting, you know, the outcome of your final list? For sure. Some parents will say, I’ve gotta be able to get to my kid within four days. Some parents will say, I’ve gotta be able to get to my kid within 24 hours. Um, that’s your prerogative as a family.
Um, but I will say that students, you need to be comfortable with the daily experience of that campus based upon whether it’s a, you know, city environment, whether it is a, um, you know, rural environment, you know, whether it’s a, you know, small school or large school as you see sizes indicated down there.
Um, I, I think that is another piece that should really impact the outcome of your school list because. I think some students do very well in a large environment. They don’t, they don’t need the, um, you know, kind of more condensed class sizes that a lot of schools tout, uh, and advertise by. However, I personally totally benefited by smaller class sizes.
Uh, I’m a massive, massive fan of smaller class sizes and personally speaking, um, I, I think it’s more impactful for you. I think you benefit from it. Um, however, some students and families, that’s, that’s not a, an area of concern for them, right? That’s just not something that they really put a lot of weight and value on, but it may be for you.
Um, what about, you know, just getting, you know, to and from, you know, campus if you’re living there? Like, when I was at Georgia, the amount of people commuting to UGAs campus every day was nearly 30,000. Right. That town is 50,000 people in schools in session. When school’s not in session in Athens, Georgia.
It’s like sub 15, I think it’s like sub 12 actually, if I remember correctly. Um, it’s gorgeous by the way. It’s beautiful. But the point is, is can you readily and easily get to and from school? Do you have to take a bus system or can you just walk to class? You know, your size of your campus really stipulates that.
Uh, and, and that can affect, you know, your happiness, right? Is it annoying to have to sit and ride a bus every day to class? Or are you happier just being able to walk 10 or 15 minutes to class and not have to worry about, you know, transitioning, you know, from one or two bus stops just to make it to campus.
Now some people are gonna have different opinion of that on, excuse me, on that. And that’s the beautiful thing about being human beings. We can all have difference of opinions and like different things, um, but it should be something that you’re making a part of the search. Now, of course, I I do wanna spend a few minutes here talking about the types of schools that are out there today.
Um, the two predominant schools that you’re gonna run into are research one institutions or, you know, liberal arts institutions. Now, when I say liberal arts institutions, I think a lot of times people think that liberal arts schools are small schools and they’re not. Uh, you know, Vanderbilt’s a great example.
You know, the School of Arts and Science serves as the liberal arts, you know, college at Vanderbilt. However, they’re also a top tier STEM program, the number two biomedical engineering program in the country, right? So, um, just because a school may be a liberal arts school doesn’t mean it’s a small school, right?
Um, a lot of large public institutions have wonderful liberal art departments, right, or liberal arts based majors. They just exist in a large community. But when you get within that particular, Focal field, it’s a much smaller environment that you’re attending classes with every day, and the style of lecture is very different.
You’ll go to a Socratic seminar versus a large scale lecture, right? So liberal arts, you know, opportunities don’t just exist at small, tiny, you know, regional schools. They exist at all different types of schools. Of course, then the caveat of public versus private comes into play. Um, one of the bigger things that this will affect is actually.
Your outcome, your likelihood of admission, um, the selectivity, in other words. So I think a lot of times students and families, um, forget that state legislatures will place outta state enrollment caps, um, on the enrollment period each year because a lot of state legislatures view their responsibility to in-state taxpayers and, and they believe that out-of-state applicants should come second to that.
Um, so, you know, schools in in California are doing this, UGA and the entire state of Georgia does this. Whereas, you know, if you’re an out-of-state applicant to UGA on paper, their acceptance rate is 46%, overall acceptance rate, 45 or 46%. McKenzie, feel free to fact check me on that. I don’t wanna be giving fake news here.
Uh, but the reality here is, As an out-of-state applicant, you have, well, less than an 18% chance of admission to getting into UGA because the state of Georgia limits out-of-state enrollment, uh, at their public institutions. So that should affect, you know, how many, you know, reach, target and safety schools.
You have, you need to understand how each different school’s going to evaluate you in that regard. So that’s kind of the, a hidden piece of information that public schools don’t like to be, you know, made public, no pun intended, but it’s important to know it. Private schools, a lot of people avoid that, right?
They’re like, Oh, private schools are too expensive. Well, that’s funny because private schools are actually typically more liberal, more giving what their scholarship in, in. The reason for that is they’re not being affected by state legislature. They’re not controlled by a government entity. They are in direct control of their own finances.
Now, not every school, not every private school, I should say, is in the best financial position. I won’t name certain ones. Uh, but for the most part, a private school is actually as affordable as a public institution based upon your scholarship and financial aid awards. And to that degree, um, should not be off your list.
And, and one thing I’ll say here is I think a lot of people make decisions before they even have options, right? Like, Oh, we can’t do that. It’s too expensive. Well, you’re never gonna know unless you get an admissions offer and see what scholarship or financial aid they’re offering you. So don’t, don’t make up just a, a hard decision on a certain school just cuz it’s a private school and you think it’s gonna cost more than a public school.
You might be very well surprised with the financial offer that comes in the mail, or it’s not even mail anymore. I’m getting so old, uh, what comes in your email and your status portal. Um, so never just check off a box or, you know, or X outta school just because of, you know, that thought of private’s always more expensive.
More, more likely than none. You’ll be surprised to find its opposite of that. So now, campus experience, um, I, I don’t, you know, wanna speak just for myself here. I, I do try to speak for a lot of the students that I have talked to and in most every student I’ve come across that. In my almost 13 years of doing this now have told me that they wanted to be part of a lively campus.
Right? Now, when I say lively, for those parents that are here tonight, I’m not talking about partying or anything like that, they are referring to just an active community life. The ability outside of class to go be social, right? To find community, um, outside of, you know, the library outside of, you know, the research labs outside of internships, right?
How easy is it to plug in and, and do the things that you already enjoy doing as a high school student, right? Are there cultural groups that you wanna be a member of that are important to you? Are there cooking groups? And that’s a real thing? Are there cooking groups that perhaps you would find, you know, interesting and want to be a part of?
Are there political organizations that, um, you wanna be able to go and freely and actively, you know, join and support? Those are all things that I want you to know about when, when finalizing your school list, right? I, I want you to be a happy student. Being a happy student is not just based upon your academic performance.
Being a happy student is based upon you academically performing at a high level and also being happy in your social life. If one’s down, the other’s not gonna be as high as it could be. Ideally, you want both to be up, right? If you’re having good interaction, good friends, good access to, you know, activities and resources, typically you’re academically gonna perform at a higher level because of that.
Right? And if you’re performing at a higher level academically, you’re typically happier. So you’re, you know, going out and you’re investing in the community, you’re investing in your friends, and they continue to build one another up. Right? So then let’s talk about the type of environment that a school has.
I, I think this is the one that can be pretty easily missed. I will get a lot of students that will tell me that they’re dead set on going to a certain school. Um, and, and I’ll just use you Chicago, or Yeah, we’ll just go with you. Chicago. Okay. Great school. It’s one of my top favorite schools in the us. I would consider it.
My top five schools traveled extensively personally with you. Chicago reps internationally. When I still work for Vanderbilt, I have a very strong relationship with that school. Incredible. It’s also very, very competitive on a daily basis. Right? So on that, on that campus, there is a feeling of competition amongst your peers and certain and, and you need to be okay with that, right?
Um, A lot of times certain students will tell me that they’re only going to Ivy League school and I won’t go down the rabbit hole. Why? I think that’s ridiculous or they’re telling me that, um, what I will say is I’ll, I’ll, I’ll ask a question, and my question is typically regarding like, okay, well, well, how are you with the competitive nature of, of the daily experience?
And everyone will tell me they don’t have any idea what I’m referring to. And the reality here is that at certain Ivy’s, not all Ivy’s, but at certain. Just like I kinda described to you, Chicago, you are in direct competition with your neighbor, your roommate, your best friend, and, and that can wear on people.
A lot of people aren’t looking for that. Then, then you have other campuses that are more like supportive and social. And, and not to be biased here, but I used to love to describe Vanderbilt as a school for social academics, right? Vanderbilt was a place where you could come be challenged at the highest level academically, yet still have the support of your friends, your colleagues, and, and have a great ability to get involved and be invested in other things outside of that and, and not feel like you are in constant competition, um, all the time, like you will feel at other places.
That, to me, it, it feels a little bit more community focused at Vanderbilt and, and similar schools, I think, you know, UNC, uh, I think Wash U, um, all solid schools, St. Clara Pomona really have a strong community aspect to them, right? That support of student body, um, that’s important. Maybe it’s not important to you, but it’s important to some students.
Uh, and you need to understand the differences that exist at these different schools before you end up showing up at that school and hating it. Now, of course, I, I think some people roll their eyes that I even have this on, but athletics is a major point of concern for a lot of students, right? Um, I’ll, I’ll get on with a family that’s looking for some guidance, looking for some help, and they’ll say, Well, we really want that big football experience.
I’m like, Cool. Um, or they’ll say, You know what? We’re, we’re not as big about football, but we want a solid basketball school. Cool. I’m okay with that. Uh, my, my point here is that athletics may not be your, you know, primary concern. And I would argue that it’s, and I’m making a number up here, which is something I don’t like to do.
It’s probably a third. Of the students that I come into contact with, that athletics, you know, big, you know, sporting events, things like that are gonna influence where they go to school. But for a lot of families and a lot of students, that is important to them. So understanding that you also need to be okay with going to a school that may be pretty, you know, active in that manner.
Um, some students don’t actually wanna go to a school that is overly driven and recognized for athletic performance because they feel that it takes away from the experience. Um, I personally never had that feeling, but I have interacted with students that did believe that. Uh, so understanding kind of the, the backbone of a school and you know, what it’s known and recognized for and what people get excited about on that campus.
If, if it’s athletics or maybe it’s something else that should influence your decision, but athletics is something that you should not ignore. Um, if you. Looking to find the proper school list, right? Are there events for you to go support at? Um, do you even wanna be competing in athletics, right? If that is something that is on your radar, what level of competition do you wanna be at?
Do you wanna be at a D1 school? A D2, D3? Um, you know, I was recruited to swim in a D2 school and then I had shoulder surgery. Like when you do that as a swimmer, they stop calling. It’s kind of rough as 18 year olds find out the hard way. But hey, my point here is that some of you may be looking to be recruited for athletics, uh, or maybe you don’t wanna swim at the, you know, or compete at the highest levels, but you still wanna take part in it.
Okay, well, maybe you’re not gonna compete on a, as a varsity athlete, but what about intramural opportunities? What about club sports? Do these organizations, by that I mean schools, do they offer those? So athletics, as much as I describe it as about, you know, big football and basketball experiences, for many people it’s also.
For a lot of people, much like myself, it’s do I have the ability to continue being physically active and have something of a competitive environment when I’m out there doing it? Uh, but obviously not going out there and playing like SEC football. Okay. Um, you need to kind of determine if that’s important to you or not.
And I purposely put this last one at the bottom of the list, and this is my own opinion, okay? This is not the official opinion of our team here at CollegeAdvisor. Um, but I have a pretty hardcore opinion on this, and that is that I think if you’re making your school as purely on rank and recognition, you’re making a big mistake.
Okay? Now, I definitely think that rank and recognition should influence your list, but I do not think it should be the primary factor, even the top two or three primary factors in your list build. And that is because half the time when I ask a student why they can’t go, why they want to go to a school, they can’t actually gimme.
So, McKenzie, I’m gonna pick on you here. You, you’ve never done this obviously, but like I, I’ll say like, Hey McKenzie, like, why do you wanna go to Dartmouth? And like, because Dartmouth, right? It’s like that arrogant kind of teenage response. And then my next question is, Okay, but really now tell me why you wanna go to Dartmouth, Cuz all you just did was rename the school.
Now most people think I’m just being a smart alec, and I am, I, I, I admit and own that immediately. My wife hates it. Uh, but my, my point here is, is that I’m also highlighting the fact that the student doesn’t have a reason to go to that school yet. They’re picking it off of name and rank. If you can’t tell me anything about that school, in fact the factors that I’ve covered tonight before, rank and recognition about that, Then you don’t know enough about that school yet to determine if it should even be a school you’re applying for.
You need to know these first bullet points before you can tell me if a school is is right for you or not. Because if you just tell me because of this, because of that, you’re doing it purely off of rank and recognition, and that is not the reason to choose a school. Okay? You choose a school because of the overall experience, the environment, the resources, you know, the opportunity for that school to position you to be where you want to be.
I, if a school can’t do that for you, you need to be focusing elsewhere, so,
Yes. And now we’re gonna do another quick pulse. So where are you in the application process? Haven’t started. I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together. Or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And I just wanted to add a few points. Um, for me and my cultures.
I go to Cornell University class of 2024. I also applied to Howard University, the number one HBCU. Um, but uh, and I got into both when I was applying to schools. I was applying to Howard because it’s Howard. Um, whereas with Cornell, I had no idea it was an Ivy League. Somebody just told me about it. I said, Okay.
I found out more about Cornell when I went to a college fair, which was my second recommendation. Attend college fairs in your, either at your school, um, or if your high school has them or attend local college fairs that they do in your city. So like, I’m from Georgia, so in Atlanta they hosted a college fair where Cornell Rice University and a few other schools that I don’t remember, um, came and spoke about their schools and I really liked Cornell from that meeting.
So that gave me a lot of good information. AOs are gonna be telling you all the highlights and the good things about the school. To find out more about specific programs, you have to go to their website and find out more about those specific programs. And in terms of finding out the vibe of the school, you either need to tour the school or ask current students.
So I got to tour Cornell before I came here. The love with the campus, even though its code, um, And got to meet some of the students. So I was able to understand like what it was like as a student and meet what different advisors and professors and stuff were. Like, got to sit in on a class to see what that was like.
So that was good. But in terms of being able to like, um, find out about the school without being able to go there, reaching out to current students, a lot of students may answer your dms through Instagram and stuff, so I’d recommend that. Or watching YouTube videos. I know I watched the day in the life of a Cornell student a lot.
So those are some good recommendations. And so it is looking like we have 36% haven’t started. 58% of research in schools, 3% are working on their essays. 1% is getting their application materials together and 1% the lucky if you are almost done and you can control the slides, you’re so efficient. I love it.
I love it. So, you know, the last couple things to go through here, you know, let’s answer some frequent questions, um, and, and go over a few things, um, that I, I think. The reality of this is that I think the lingo of college admissions gets, it’s so dramatically changed all the time that different terms are being thrown in, you know, each year.
And, and it can be confusing, uh, but the biggest thing is need blind. I wanna address that one. And I said I would, you know, at the start of our, you know, time together this evening, um, colleges that are need blind will not, and I’m gonna repeat that, will not use your financial need in influencing their admissions decision.
So if you needed $50,000 a year to go to that school, or if you needed $0 to go to that school, a need blind school need, blind school will not allow that to influence their decision. Vanderbilt is a great example. Use Chicago, Dartmouth, all the Ivy’s are. Um, and the reality here is, The, um, financial information is not a part of the committee discussion, right?
Because we’re need blind. Other schools that are perhaps not in the best financial position are need aware, and now a need aware school will use your financial need against you in the review process. Um, you know, there are schools today to throw some more terminology out there that are within the industry, they’re referred to as being tuition dependent.
In other words, if they do not hit a full enrollment and generate, you know, a certain number of dollars through their, you know, Tuition charges that school ceases to exist the following year because they won’t have enough money to keep the lights on and pay salaries. Uh, so those schools, um, do not have the ability to give as much financial aid and therefore they will use your financial aid need in your decision.
Uh, You know, in the decision making process on your particular application. Now, I think another piece here is, you know, what should you be asking a, a, a tour guide or a, you know, a current student? Um, one, I think you also need to understand the difference of who you’re talking to. A tour guide that’s paid to talk with you, right?
Um, obviously most of them are current students. Ideally, you can talk to both a, a tour guide and somebody that is not affiliated with an admissions officer, you know, or, you know, welcome department. Um, the reality here is I want you to be asking questions about what their daily life is like. You know, how, you know, what’s their schedule look like, you know, about what time do they have to, you know, if they have to drive to campus, how’s traffic, you know, how, how easy to get to and from, you know, class.
Or can I go in and, you know, to, um, a writing lab and be seen on the spot, or is that something that I’m gonna have to go get, you know, an appointment and wait a couple days to do? And, and I’ll, I’ll briefly share a. I was working with a student once before who was, um, targeting a pretty well known school, and I, I don’t wanna leave a distaste for the school, so I won’t name it, but, um, top 30 school.
And what occurred is she had asked the admissions officer what writing support existed on campus because she was kind of concerned that her writing was not up to the standard. Uh, and she just wanted to make sure she had some oversight there that she could rely upon when she was needing some additional assistance.
And essentially, the admissions officer made her feel like she was covered, right? Oh, yeah. Don’t worry about it. You’ll be well taken care of. Uh, at least that’s how she communicated it to me when she told me the story. She later got connected with a then at the time, a current student at the school. And she and her, uh, the student, the applicant and her father thought to ask the current student the same question about writing support.
And the current student responded by saying, Yeah, there’s one writing lab for 15,000 kids. You won’t find any help here. Right. So that completely changed the fact that that school was on her list, because now she didn’t, She knew she was not gonna necessarily have the support, uh, that she was looking for, but she’d been made to feel otherwise by the staff of that school.
So it’s important to ask people that are not affiliated with the admissions office. Those, you know, more direct questions because you’ll find out that you might get a different answer, and that’s important to have for sure. I, I think the other thing is talk about safety. You know, look, I’m not trying to be, you know, Dr.
Doom here, Uh, but your safety matters, right? Your security matters. Do you feel comfortable walking across this campus at nine o’clock at night? You know, do you feel that the administration has your interests at heart? Are they taking care of our students? Are they listening to students when there are, you know, smaller issues to larger issues, does the administration respond and, and back up the student body?
Those are questions that you wanna be asking current students. Now, I, I think the other one here that I, I wanna address is, Understanding how to build your school list. You need to initially explore 30 to 40 schools, and you wanna cut that down to a final list of ideally 12. I’m okay when families wanna apply to about 15, but I would never suggest more than that.
Um, if you aren’t starting to research schools until well after the halfway point of junior year, in my opinion, you don’t have time for 15 schools. You really need to just keep it at 10 or so at that point. And the reality is because these essays. Becoming longer and longer every year, and more and more essays being required, you’ve gotta give yourself time to effectively complete that.
In, in my experience, students that apply to 10 or 12 schools have a better outcome, a more consistent outcome at those schools and, um, than students that are applying to 20 and 25 schools because they’re able to limit and focus on a more select number of programs that they’ve made themselves unique to versus having to just essentially rush through the application essay process or all those, you know, 20 or 25 schools.
And the impact is significantly different that way. Um, so for me, you should diversify that list. And I don’t know why I said for me it’s a. Everybody should diversify that list. You need reach schools, reach schools have an acceptance rate of 30% or less. You need a target school list, and that is schools that have an acceptance rate of 55% or better.
You need safety schools. Those schools are 85%. Acceptance rates are better. I would say for the average applicant. I’m not saying your most elite applicant, I’m not saying someone that’s not doing well at all. I’m saying the average applicant, you want to have five reach schools, four target schools, and three safety schools.
That’s a solid baseline. You can plus or minus it however you want. But a solid baseline, in my personal opinion. Five reach schools, four target schools, and three safety schools. Now this last one here, I always kind of find funny, you know, college town or urban campus. That really comes down to you and your preferences, right?
You know, if it’s, if it’s a college town, college towns are not what most people think of anymore today. Um, you know, a traditional college town by what a lot of people would associate it is something like, you know, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the University of Alabama is, right? Um, it is, that is that town is around the university.
That’s all that really exists in that town. It’s hard to say it that way, but, um, it, it’s the primarily, you know, the center focus of that immediate area versus a more, you know, urban campus that has a lot going on around it. You can still consider a metropolitan area, a college town though, right?
Nashville’s a great example. We have five universities, uh, in a 15 mile radius in Nashville. Right? And it’s wildly still considered a college town. Um, so you know what’s more important? Do you want a large, you know, sprawling campus or do you want a more. You know, condensed campus. Do you want a campus at all?
Right? NYU does not have a campus that surprises a lot of people. Or do you want the traditional campus experience, uh, that you will find at a place like Michigan and Wake Forest and, you know, Columbia, Harvard? You know, there’s a difference there. And you’re typically gonna still find most campuses exist.
Um, but there are some schools out there that actually don’t have a quad and don’t have that green space for you. So that’s what I think you need to make a decision on. There’s not a right or a wrong, it’s just where you personally get, feel more comfortable and happy. That’s it. So, last couple pieces here, You need to visit schools.
You, you’ve gotta get a feel for that local community. Um, and I always talk about food in any webinar that I do, but, um, I, I think this is important. Um, it’s a known factor at certain schools that the food will get really good on big visit days. Um, then sometimes it’s really not that good in the, you know, the cafeteria.
Other points that was. Certainly the case where I went to school and I will not name where I went to school. Uh, but to that end, Um, you, you wanna get a feel for that because that’s gonna affect your daily experience. Um, for those of you that may have food related allergies, you should talk to the Food and Service Department staff, uh, upon visiting to see how re how easily they can adapt to your, your needs.
Um, that is your right for the record, and I wanna make sure that you feel, you know, safe and comfortable in that environment. Um, it, it’s important. Um, you know, at Vanderbilt we had a Hillel, which was awesome. Um, we also could very easily adapt, our food staff could very easily adapt their recipes for students that might have nut allergies, right?
So that was something that we always made a point to take care of for students that needed, you know, extra, um, areas, or I shouldn’t say extra areas of concern, but had additional areas of, of concern when it came to, you know, obtaining a proper meal for them. So, to that, I think the other piece of it is, you know, what’s the pace of the school?
Is it, you know, is it pretty aggressive in terms of delivery of the education? You know, is the, what’s the flow like of the classroom? Right? Uh, is it pretty intense, go, go, go? Or is it more open discussion? Um, is there a lot more group work? You know, do you have the opportunity to, you know, try a few different, you know, not, what am I saying here?
Not opportunities, but are, do you have the ability to try, uh, a few d. Fields, uh, before declaring a major that, that’s important. Some schools you’re directly admitted to that major and you’re aggressively pursuing that major day one freshman year. Most schools though, you’re able to come in, you’re admitted to a school but not the major, and you’re given, you know, a semester to, you know, or three, sometimes even four, before you really have to determine what your major’s gonna be.
Um, so the pace is different at certain schools and, and you need to understand what you’re walking into. Um, kind of already covered the next one, you know, you need to make sure the. Amenities that you utilize on a regular basis as a current high school student are readily available to you in college.
You know, you want, you know, access to a solid gym. Most schools have those, but maybe you wanna go to a gym off campus and are there, you know, coffee shops that you know are quiet and allow you to come study off campus or on campus? These are things that matter, right? Um, are there hiking trails? Is that something that you prefer?
Is there, is there good music venues? Right? Um, you need to be checking that off the list when you’re visiting, for sure. And already said this last one as well. Do you feel safe? Uh, you know, you should never go to a school, uh, that you might feel uneasy about. Simply put. So make sure that you’re, you know, taking the necessary steps to establish if that’s gonna be the right place for you.
Now final tips. As we already said, start now. You know, if, if you’re not starting after this call tonight, then I have failed you. Okay? You need to make sure that you’re taking the steps necessary, uh, to weaponize your time and get work for you. But don’t forget to, you know, properly pace yourself so that you don’t burn out and overwhelm yourself.
Cause that is pretty easy to do. I, I think the other thing, you know, just to go back through it, make sure that you’re talking with those current students in recent graduates. Don’t place your decision making or base your decision making off of someone that graduated 12 or 15 years ago from a school.
It’s a completely different community and environment now, um, again, you need to verify everything. You know, if you’re being told by your friend that, Hey, early actions the best way to apply to that school, it may actually not be. You need to verify that every school’s looking for different things at different times.
So anything that you. Don’t just trust it from the person that you heard trust but verify, right? You need to double check and make sure you’re not missing something. And then of course, be a family about this. Try not to, you know, focus on the negatives that you know, one person has. Try to have collective conversations about this and, and come to a collective decision as a family, as to where you know the best, you know, what the best decision for you will be as a student and for you as a family.
Um, the more that you can talk about it, the better. The quicker that you can have the financial conversation, the easier those conversations go. Don’t put the financial aid conversation to the last, It should be the very first thing you talk about as a family. Uh, and that will, you know, alleviate a lot of the problems and a lot of the.
Difficult conversations that families have late in the process. And finally, first and foremost, I should have said this at the start of our call this evening, or excuse me, our webinar this evening is you need to eat some ice cream. Okay? Uh, the reality here is that eating ice cream is known to, uh, relax you, to kind of make you sit back and take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.
And, um, if you’re not making time for things like that, whether it’s ice cream, a cup of coffee, some tea, um, it doesn’t matter. The reality here is that you should sit back and relax and, and make time for yourself. And I’m actually getting to write messages now from people that are actually allergic to ice cream.
So yes, my own wife is lactose intolerant. I’m not trying to be insensitive when I’m saying here is I use ice cream to make the joke up. Make time for yourself. Make sure that you’re taking some time away to enjoy the fall leaf, You know, changing colors right now to, you know, smell the air around. Don’t make this a business.
Make this just one extra step on your daily life, but don’t lose track of the fact that you’re still a 16, 17 year old student. You’ve got friends to hang out with. You’ve got families members to hang out with. Enjoy those moments too. Don’t forget about them.
Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember, again, you can download the slide from the link in the handouts tab. And this webinar is being recorded if you would like to view it again later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com/webinars.
Moving on to live Q&A. I’ll read your questions you submitted in the Q&A tab and submit them, um, and read them aloud before our panelist gives you an answer. As a heads up, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join through the, um, the custom link sent to your email and not from the website or else you won’t get all the features of big markers.
So just make sure you join through that custom link. Okay. And real quick, I just wanna go through some clarifying questions that popped up through the webinar. If you wanna find out if the school is need blind or need aware, it will say it on the. A page of their website. So just check out on the fine print.
It’ll usually be in bold letters. Schools are very proud about that when they’re need blind. Uh, and it’ll also say if they are no loan or if they do loans. Um, so that’s also something to consider. Uh, in terms of graduation rate, most graduation rates are based off of a six year graduation rate rather than a typical four year, because a lot of people tend to.
Be in school longer for different reasons, either because finances or because they, um, uh, switched majors. So, and also graduation rates. If you see that a school has a low graduation rate, that could be an indicator that their program suck, but it also could be an indicator that their financial aid sucks because a lot, most people drop outta school because they can no longer afford it.
So that is something to consider. And also every Ivy League inflates their grades. So having that high graduation rate does not mean it’s the best school necessarily and from someone that goes to an Ivy. Okay. And then also if you wanna know, if a school is urban, suburban, a rural look up, Just Google that.
Um, you’ll be able to find out what the area is like and then also look at campus tours online. You can see what or look at day in the lives. Um, you can figure out what the area, surrounding area is like, and then the school’s website will usually like describe how beautiful and great and wonderful and resourceful the area is.
So yeah, those are some clarifying questions, but moving on to Q&A. Is it okay if we go over a bit on the webinar cuz we are coming up on time? Yeah, we’re good. We can go five over. I’m fine with that. Cool. Okay. So the first question I saw, how do I search for a college when I don’t even know what I wanna do?
So I, I, I think the thing is, is you need to start identifying what’s important to you, first and foremost, right? Are, are you looking for what type of environment are you gonna feel comfortable at? Are you wanting to go to a school that is pretty niche oriented and focused on the few specific things? And are you looking to go to an opportunity for a school that is gonna provide you with a lot of different options to kind of be able to bounce between and figure it out?
Um, that’s one way to start establishing this. The other thing is it’s, you know, it’s difficult. I understand that as a 16 or 17 year old to, to know exactly what you wanna do. Um, I, I get it. However, you need to start looking at, you know, student life. What, you know, what are the resources that students use frequently at a school?
Is that something that you could see yourself using? Um, that’s another way to start, you know, identifying a school that might be the right place for you, but you still, as much as possible, wanna try to evaluate a school based upon what you could see yourself going to school for. Uh, the next question I saw was a student asking if they’re interested in engineering.
And I’ll brought in this to stem in general, should they be looking at liberal arts schools? I mean, again, it it’s, there are liberal arts schools that have engineering departments. There are, you know, research one schools that have liberal art departments. Right. So it it, it’s vi it’s, you can go either way.
What I’m gonna tell you, you should focus on the department specifically, right? When I say the department, your major, right. You know, do, does the school have, you know, quality resources for students interested in biosciences? Right? If they don’t, then don’t go to that school. Don’t even apply to that school.
Cause if you’re wanting to go into biosciences, that’s a problem. If you’re wanna do biomedical engineering and that school doesn’t have research opportunities, Well, no. Like that, that’s not a school that you should target if biomedical engineering is what you’re wanting to do because in that field research is, is imperative and it really helpful in getting you that, you know, next job position once you graduate.
Um, so base it on. Resources for the program that you’re interested in? Yes. Uh, just to clarify, when people say apply to schools early, that does not mean that you’ll be applying your 10th or 11th grade year, you’re applying your senior year, but just earlier in your senior year, so like October, November of your senior year instead of the traditional January through February for regular decision.
We have other webinars on that. Uh, going up to the next question a student is asking, uh, okay, if you see any questions that you’re interested in, um, please do. But a student is asking, Can I start looking for scholarship opportunities as a sophomore? Uh, Okay. Um, yes, you can. I, I, personal opinion here, I think that you should be more focused on getting yourself involved extracurricularly and starting to build a school list before you start focusing on scholarships.
No disrespect is intended here, but if you’re looking at this as a sophomore, you don’t really, in most cases, have a, a resume, a CV built up enough yet to even be competitive for a lot of those. So it’s in your better interest, I think, to be focused on building your extracurriculars, leadership connections, things of that nature, um, and building up your school list during the sophomore year, more so than focusing on scholarships.
Mm-hmm. uh, there are some scholarships available. Junior year. One I know of is Thrive Scholars, which I am a part of, so just Google that. We have other webinars on scholarship opportunities for students. Another question is, what are flying programs and when can I start attending them? So flying programs are, you know, they’re all throughout the year and, and some schools do ’em in the, in the summertime.
I actually, uh, was the director of Vanderbilt, what was called preview, um, Pre Vanderbilt University. Um, and that is where 500 people came in for a one day visiting experience. You know, you listen from the deans of the different schools. You got lunch on campus, took a tour, you had a, you know, a one-on-one conversation with the director of admissions.
Um, these are what a lot of flying programs include, and some schools do them throughout the year. Um, and some schools will do ’em both throughout the year and during the summertime. Um, typically you can start going to those as a freshman. There’s, there’s typically not a lot of restrictions put upon those.
So you can start going to them whenever you would. Hmm. Uh, when should students start touring colleges and how can they, um, maximize their visits? You can start visiting colleges the day you were born, so you should start going now, especially if you’re in high school. Um, and the way that you maximize your visits is, to me, maximizing your visits is going through and, and trying to get as much detail about the, the student experience.
Um, not just the, the high success of their graduates, not just the, um, you know, all the, you know, immediate, you know, activities that you have on campus. Um, you know, the, I should say not activities, but amenities, um, and not the beautiful new dorms. What is the daily student experience gonna be like? Are you going to enjoy being in a classroom there?
Right? Does that float with you? Um, I think that’s what you should be focusing on now, getting the most out of it. Also, if you can, you know, getting the most outta your visits trying to do, you know, A group of visits over a two or three day period, so you’re not, you know, making multiple, multiple trips trying to be efficient with the schools that you’re visiting when you’re in a certain area.
Yes. And another student is asking how can you get in contact with students, especially if you don’t know. Um, I just, DM people on Instagram when I was going through this search. Um, you can try reaching out to people from your high school if you’re still in contact with them, if they’ve already got into schools.
Another option is joining our webinars where we’ll have different, um, school panels with current and former students where you can find out more information as well as. Signing up for CollegeAdvisor because we know that the admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike, especially when trying to figure out if a school is gonna be a good fit for you.
Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts who are attending have attended or have gotten into the schools that you’re interested in, are here to help you navigate it on one-on-one advising sessions. Um, in these meetings you really get to know your advisor. They really get to know you, uh, and they can help you with figuring out what schools are gonna fit your learning style, your interest, your career goals.
I know with my students, I really like to get an idea of what type of person they’re trying to be. So like one of my students is interested in becoming a lawyer in social justice specifically. So we were looking at different programs that would give her that social justice lens rather than, Because I saw a student asking about, um, pre-law, uh, if you’re looking to be like the top lawyer that’s getting a lot of money, you may wanna go to like the school that’s all about numbers and getting you and like the school.
That’s kind like the show how to get away with murder. Whereas if you’re looking for a more social justice lens, you may wanna look into schools that are talking about diversity, inclusion of these programs focus on social justice and stuff. And so working with CollegeAdvisor, your advisor can really help with honing in on those niche details about schools, cuz that can be a bit difficult for students.
Um, what I like to tell mine is, um, when you’re looking up schools really look into like how their courses are set up, what their key things about their programs are. Are they focused on getting you field experience or are they more focused on getting you, uh, a great LSAT or MCAT score? Um, and different schools will.
One thing to go along with that specifically, since I was a pre-law student, um, believe it or not, a lot of the top law schools, a lot of the people that actually go to top law schools don’t actually end up practicing law, which is a funny thing. They’re using it more for a resume builder to maybe transition to government work or something like that.
So, so, uh, you can find out more about our rates and packages by scanning the QR code on the screen where it will take you to another form and you can sign up for a free strategy session with an admissions expert to, again, find out more information about CollegeAdvisor, what resources we offer and et cetera.
So now back to the Q&A, uh, going. Oh my goodness. Okay. If you see any. That you want. Yeah. So I’ll handle a few of these really quickly, um, in, in terms of meeting with us here at CollegeAdvisor. Um, I would encourage you to sign up for it. It would, you know, sign you up for a meeting with somebody like me here, uh, to kind of go through and address your specific areas of need.
It’ll allow you to understand, you know, where you sit, and then we can talk about how we can continue to support you at CollegeAdvisor and facilitate some support to those areas of need. Um, SATs. In terms of importance, they definitely help. Um, only a few school systems are still need blind and most schools are actually going back to acquiring SAT or ACT scores.
So as long as you do well, it will help you. If you do not do well, then maybe consider not submitting it, um, to that end. Uh, you should not submit FSA until your senior year. That will go live October the first of your senior year. Um, you can always do the, um, need or not the need. You can always do the, uh, net price calculator on a school’s website to give you an idea of what the cost of attendance will be at that school.
Um, and then I think there was something else I saw here, um, our summer college program’s worth applying to. Yes. But it also depends upon what you’re wanting to go to school for. Uh, certain programs are more notable than others and that also depends upon what school you’re applying to. And I’m not gonna go into detail right now cuz that’s a can of worms in and of itself.
Um, so that is something that we could speak more in detail on, uh, in a call with one of our team members. Um, to that end is, there’s another one on here. McKenzie is how can we, as was, how do we know how campus environment of college talking with students to learn about the college experience, the campus experience.
You’ve got to talk with current students. So if you’re not making that a part of your process, You’re not gonna give yourself enough information to make a decision on. Um, and do smaller schools have less active extracurriculars? Not at all, no. Um, in my experience, smaller schools have, you know, you know, per capita, you know, an equal amount of activities and opportunities, um, you know, for students.
So I actually went to a smaller school and had just as much to do and was actually doing, um, more organized events and activities than some of my friends at, uh, some pretty large campuses. So, no, just because a school smaller doesn’t mean it’s gonna have a lack of those, uh, opportunities for you. Um, and then the last thing that I saw really quickly was, would you consider Naviance a good college research resource?
I, I, I think, I think fan’s put too much emphasis on that because that’s what your school counselor has direct access to at your high school, and that’s how they submit your transcripts to a school. I think there’s a lot greater information out there with a lot more detail than what, Um, only one.
Resource can provide. I think Naviance is great, but I think it’s only one resource out of many that you should be exploring and utilizing. And then the last one, um, do schools track demonstrated interest? If so, how do you, uh, all that? Uh, certain schools will track demonstrated interest, other schools will not.
And, um, you should ask, and so I, if a school counselor, if you ask that to a school counselor, they’ll be upfront and they’ll tell you. Um, and then one of the ways that you do that is, you know, you respond, you know, you take the tour, you respond to an email or two, but don’t be the student that feels like you have to respond to every single email, uh, that admissions counselor sends you.
Uh, or that you have to respond to every reply for admissions counselor. Um, as long as you take, you know, a tour, you know, do a webinar, you know, take an information session, you know, have one or two emails with the, you know, college, you know, admissions officer at a school that actually tracks that you’ve done more than enough at that point to consider yourself having demonstrated enough interest.
That’s what I saw, McKenzie. Yes. Okay. So the webinar is coming to a close and I’m gonna just get this one. Uh, how do you find students to talk to? Um, you can, most students at schools, especially current freshmen, will put in the name of their school in their bio. So you can just type that in. You can type in day in the life of, uh, whatever college you’re interested in, student, and then maybe even DM or message that YouTuber.
Um, Um, Campus Reals is a good place to look. Um, going to the actual school to tour is probably gonna be the easiest way to get access to current students. Some schools even have like different, I wanna call them pure programs, where like, current students will, um, talk with students interested in a program or interested in the college.
Um, similar to how admissions officers will talk to you, but it’ll be a current student instead. Not every school does that. You can typically Google or like look on the school’s website to see if they have some sort of program of that nature, um, under their admissions page. Like it’ll, it might say like, talk to a current student and then they’ll connect you through email.
Yep. Okay. But that is the end of our webinar. Um, so, uh, thank you everyone for coming out tonight and thank you for all this wonderful information. Um, Ferrell, um, uh, here’s our upcoming November series, but we’ll have other webinars including a college panel on Yale on this. Oh, that already passed. We had a college webinar and
And then we’ll have an upcoming one on Harvard supplemental essays. These are all in supplementals. We’re in a different time in the admissions process, but, um, you can check out our past, um, webinars to find out more information about, um, the admissions process, about different schools, about how to build a college list, about how to understand what’s a target research or, um, target, reach, or safety school is, uh, on our website, again at app.CollegeAdvisor.com.
But thanks again everyone for coming out.