Starting Early to Stand Out: Navigating College Admissions
Are you a high school student embarking on the exciting path to college admissions? Do you want to maximize your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? It’s never too early to start preparing for the college application process! Join our webinar, “Starting Early to Stand Out: Navigating College Admissions,” and gain a head start on your journey to higher education.
This informative and dynamic webinar led by admissions expert Angela Park-Pennington, is specifically designed for high school students and their families. She will guide you through the intricacies of the college admissions process, providing valuable insights and strategies to help you distinguish yourself among the competition.
During this webinar, you will:
- Understand the importance of early preparation: Discover why starting early is crucial for building a strong foundation and setting yourself up for success in the college admissions process.
- Develop a personalized roadmap: Learn how to create a strategic plan that aligns with your interests, goals, and aspirations, ensuring you make the most of your high school years.
- Explore academic and extracurricular strategies: Gain insights into selecting the right courses, engaging in meaningful extracurricular activities, and pursuing leadership opportunities.
Starting early and strategically navigating the college admissions process can make a significant difference in your chances of gaining acceptance to your dream schools. This webinar will provide you with the knowledge, resources, and guidance necessary to stand out among applicants and embark on your college journey with confidence.
Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your college admissions journey. Join us for the “Starting Early to Stand Out: Navigating College Admissions” webinar and gain a competitive advantage in the pursuit of your higher education dreams. Register now and take the first step towards a successful and fulfilling college experience!
2023-06-19 – Starting Early to Stand Out Navigating College Admissions
Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisors Webinar, “Starting Early to Stand Out: Navigating College Admissions. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’re gonna first begin with a presentation and then we’ll have the opportunity to answer your questions and a live Q&A. Before we get into our content for this evening, let’s first introduce our panelist.
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us tonight. My name is Angela Park-Pennington. I am a former admissions officer here at CollegeAdvisor.com. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in linguistics and went on to receive my masters in international relations.
Then went on to pursue a career in higher education and for the last decade or so, have worked in various university admissions offices. And most recently I served as an associate director of admissions at USC Marshall School of Business for their undergraduate business program. I’ve also served on various admissions committees for scholarship organizations, and just over this last several years, I’ve read lots and lots of applications and, you know, made many admissions decisions. So, you know, now that I’m on the other side of the table, supporting high school students to prepare for college, you know, really make the most of their high school careers and really refine their college applications to present themselves and their stories as best as possible.
I, I really enjoy, you know, being like I said on this side of the table to help families and students navigate this process. Like through conversations like tonight. So yeah, so tonight we’ll be talking a little bit about navigating the college admissions process. How starting early can be as helpful as.
Nice, nice. Well, you all are in a treat from Angela. She is very experienced and knowledgeable. So we actually just launched our poll and we just use this as an opportunity to make sure that we’re directly speaking to our audience. So we wanted to get a sense of what grade you are in. And so I actually have the poll results now.
So Angela, we have 38% are in the 12th grade, 36% 11th grade. Followed by that. We have 13% 10th grade, 8% ninth grade, and 5% other. So I’ll turn it over to you. Okay. So it sounds like we have a fair amount of seniors in the room. I, I will say that this webinar is really designed for our younger students, but if you are a senior with a younger sibling, then perhaps you can share some helpful tips with them as well. I, I will be talking kind of in general about a bigger picture overview about college admissions in one section of the webinar. So certainly, hopefully that will be valuable to you as well. So there are, you know, a multitude of reasons where, where starting early can be very helpful to navigating this process. I think that is kind of a rule of law in when it comes to many things. Maybe that’s just how I navigate the world. But but I think, you know, the more prepared the more prepared you can be, the more informed you can be. I think the more options that you will be able to have for yourself.
And when it comes to college, really. Arming yourself with as much information as possible I think really helps you in making the best decisions for yourself. And those decisions don’t only happen during your senior year when you are deciding which school to go to or even which school to apply to.
But even further back than that, how best to make sure that, you know, you even know yourself best as well. So for, you know, there’s a number of reasons that, you know, I’ve presented here on this slide. But really, you know, when it comes to preparing your college application, there are multiple pieces.
I think that really the hallmark of the college application, especially the piece that makes a lot of students the most nervous. It’s going to be probably the essays. And I’ll say for the essays, you know, you, we will likely be working on them, you know, writing your essays the first half of your senior year.
And for our students that start a little bit early, you know, even the, the summer before senior year is really a time that we recommend our senior, our students to maximize that summer before senior year to start early on the essay. And some students can even start preparing and doing some, laying the groundwork and doing some foundational work even towards the tail end of their junior year.
However, there are multiple other pieces to the application apart from the essays. There are your activities where, you know, I think that is kind of the biggest piece where starting early on that can be really, really helpful. And I’ll talk about that even further in the later slide. There’s also going to be standardized testing where preparing early can be helpful as well.
But even when it comes down to starting high school and your freshman year, you know, having an understanding of what type of course plan you might be looking at for your full four years, or if you’re starting kind of really to think about this a little bit more seriously in your sophomore year, then to be able to plan things out.
Long-term big picture is a lot more beneficial than only thinking about what do I wanna take? Next year, well, what do I wanna take this upcoming year? Really look almost working backwards from this is what I want my overall four year picture to look like, what I want my four year transcript to look like.
Then if I eventually wanna take, make sure you know, I have AP Calc, you know, on my transcript before senior year. Then what previous math classes do I need to make sure I’m taking in order to be able to accomplish that? This is entirely dependent on what your individual and independent goals might be.
But you know, if that’s the case, then certainly starting early talking with your guidance counselor, you know, sitting down and talking about this with your parents, about what are all the class options available at your school. That’s gonna be really, really helpful for you. And this is kind of similar to the activities piece of your application as well.
There are many opportunities. That, you know, you might only be able to take advantage of in your junior year or the summer before your senior year. Sometimes there are, there are activities and opportunities where there might be a minimum age requirement. So for those things, you know, it is certainly the case that, okay, I, I’m, I, I really do have to wait to be able to start on those things early.
But if there is some component of select activity to either a summer program or an after school activity, then you know, you wanna make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. So that starting in your freshman year, or even perhaps before that, You’ll be able to make sure that you have some of the basic required skills or knowledge levels or past experience to be able to be selected for those later programs in later years.
Okay. There are some notes that I mentioned here as well about a fully articulated candidate profile, for example. And just to kind of provide a little bit of context as to what a candidate profile is when admissions officers are reviewing an application you can kind of consider. So we would call student is the overall.
Holistic review of the, of the student’s entire application. So when we are considering an applicant or a candidate, we are thinking about their academic abilities. We’re thinking about the story that’s presented in their essays about things that are important and meaningful to them. And we’re thinking about the ways that they show up in their communities and in the group that they care about through the activities and how they spend their time outside of the classroom.
So all of that together. And of course, you know, including letters of recommendation, that certainly adds a lot of great detail to flesh out the picture, the overall picture that is drawn by the, the application itself. So those are kind of all the components that. That comprise a candidate profile for an admissions officer to really be able to understand an applicant or a candidate as somebody beyond just the numbers, somebody beyond just what’s on the transcript and, you know, different accomplishments.
Okay, so there’s probably, you know, quite a few parents who are here tonight as well. So I just wanna provide a few tips for for parents who are being, you know, as involved and helpful as possible in this process for your child. I think, you know there’s probably a lot of anxiety and you know, stress that comes along with this process.
You want the best for your child. You wanna do the best that you can to, you know, glean as much information, as much accurate and helpful information that’s possible to help propel your child forward. Sometimes the stress and anxiety comes. From, you know, the things that you might want your child to be doing versus the things that your child might be doing.
So I think, you know when you’re starting early and kind of moving along this process with your child together, it can be, it can be a lot more of a cohesive process. You know, there are gonna be a lot of pieces that you might be able to assist with and support your child. There’s gonna be a lot of pieces that the student really on their own.
So I think, you know, for for a lot of the reasons I, I kind of, you know, mentioned earlier about some of those opportunities that might be able to happen in later years in your junior year or senior year, or, or activities that are, you know conditional by age, you know, those things. Oftentimes, and I’m thinking specifically for example, about internships, about certain summer programs, about certain research opportunities, or for example, if your child is interested in.
Field of medicine than any, you know, the most. And this may vary by state, but most hospitals and clinics might have age restrictions. And, and those are some, some examples where age might play a factor. That being said, a lot of those types of opportunities, whether it is hospital volunteering or certain internship research opportunities, you, those not necessarily presented.
Somebody who has you know no resume or zero experience. And it doesn’t have to be obviously, professional or any formal experience. But any types of experience that a student can speak to that has helped them build, you know, their skill or personal character qualities, like their level of responsibility or integrity.
Reliability, those qualities that if a student can speak to those when applying to these types of more selective programs, those can be really helpful. So for, you know for parents to start, you know, looking around and doing their research a little bit. Early to seek out these opportunities. I, I think that can be really helpful.
And it, and it can sometimes, you know ease your own stress to feel like, okay, you know, college might be a few years away, but at least, you know, we feel like we’re doing something now to work on ourselves or to help, you know, move this progress forward. So there are a few components of the application that I’d like to review to maybe provide a little bit of background information in terms of.
How students are evaluated. So there are a few components and, and for the purpose of the, of today’s webinar, just for ease I’m gonna be talking more specifically about the common app, the common app for those who might be unfamiliar who are starting super early on this process. You know, it, one of the platforms, one of the.
Commonly used platforms that many, many colleges in in the country participate in. So that means that there are there’s one website on common apps that students can fill out their main profile and upload their information. They can select many universities that they wish to apply to.
And depending on if each university has additional requirements to the basic, in addition to the basic requirements of the common app, they may need to do a little bit of extra work, you know, but that’s def definitely depending on the universities. There may be many universities that participate in Common app that might not have any additional requirements, in which case, if you’re only applying to schools who are okay with just taking the basic you know, form of the common app, you know, there, there may be very minimal work in involved.
If you are applying to several highly universities you’re still gonna do quite a bit of legwork in addition to the, to the main common app application form. There are a few other application platforms. Notably Coalition is one of them. There are a lot of universities that are on both Coalition and Common App.
So my general recommendation is to create the Common app account because there are just simply more universities that utilize the common app. Again, depending on what schools you are applying to you know, definitely do your due diligence to make sure you are familiar with what application platform they will be using.
Just so that you’re not hit with any surprises come senior year, come, you know, application deadline week. So in terms of the different components of the common app, and they’re very well maybe quite a bit of overlap between common apps requirements and. Coalition or apply Texas or any of these other application platforms.
But demographics is one of the main things that start off your account or start off your profile. You’ll be asked to include a lot of, to share, you know, different personal information about yourself. Some of this might be about your background. Some of this might be about where you live.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that colleges are trying to get a better understanding of your environment. You know, what kind of environment did you grow up in? They will have your school profile. That is going to be an additional piece of consideration when during your evaluation, a school profile is provided by your guidance counselor, and it basically informs the admissions officer about what type of school you are attending.
How many advanced courses are available at your school, how many students attend your school. How many students go on to attend a four year university? How many students go on to attend a two year university? How many students, you know, what is the average maybe SAT score or PSAT score?
So there’s some basic information that is included in a school profile and you can actually find your own school profile. It’s oftentimes on your high school’s website. If you don’t find it there, you can ask your guidance counselor if you’re curious what school profile looks like. But this, in addition to your own personal demographics, provides the admissions officer who’s evaluating your application with some basic understanding of, you know, what type of environment that A, you were raised in, and B, you went to school in.
So for academics, you know, they’re also considering, in addition to your environment your what types of courses that you have been selecting for yourself. The school profile is helpful for, for this reason, because there are some schools out there, and you might be attending one of these schools where no students are allowed to take any advanced courses until sophomore year, until junior year.
There are other schools where you can take as many AP classes, any as many advanced courses as you want, starting from freshman year. So it wouldn’t necessarily be fair for a student who has, you know, 15 APs on their transcript because they started taking three or four, starting from their freshman year and have just increased that number every year.
Versus a student who may only have a handful or less than a handful because they happen to go to a school that maybe does not offer many AP classes to begin with, or they attend a school where students are not allowed to take AP classes until later on in, in high school. So those are, that’s, that’s one small example of why the context of your environment really matters.
And you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be judged, kind of punitively or disadvantaged by being by, by the, by the mere fact that you happen to attend a school or you happen to live in an area where, you know, some of these offerings are not equivalent to a student who is attending a school in a totally different area.
With, with different con conditions and restrictions from their school. So it goes without saying that performance is obviously a very important factor as well. So students who are shooting for, you know, high performance, you know to get A’s and Bs in their classes, that’s really what’s. What schools love to see, of course.
Basically, you know, the performance in high school is seen as a signal, as a predictor, an indication as to your performance at their potential college. If they were to admit you. So are you pushing yourself? Are you challenging yourself to really reach your potential? And, and are you then performing well in these courses where you are challenging yourself?
So I think that because, you know, some students might say, well, I really wanna graduate with straight A so that it looks really good on my college, so I’m only gonna sign classes. Classes that I know I am for sure going to do well and I don’t really wanna make, you know, take any risks here. That’s not really going to do you any favors?
So I think there are two kind of scenarios. I get a lot of these types of questions of, Hey, should I try to. You know, is it better to try to sign up for as many AP classes as possible, as many of the more difficult classes as possible, or should I not? And just, you know, try to get the easy, I think, you know, trying to assess really your capability and your capacity is, this is where that’s really important because I think somewhere in the middle of those two extremes is kind of the sweet spot, and where that middle lies is completely dependent on you as a.
Student, it’s not going to behoove you. It’s not gonna benefit you. To sign up for way too many, you know extremely difficult classes and not perform well in those classes. You know, I think you admissions offices are gonna be happy to see that you did challenge yourself and, and, you know assigned up for difficult classes, but they’re not necessarily going to be impressed if you didn’t perform well in those classes either.
So definitely, you know don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t let yourself get burnt out too early. And, you know, some of the due diligence that you can do prior to signing up for classes is to maybe speak with students who are older than you who have taken some of these more difficult classes.
Ask them what was the workload like? You know, how was it juggling multiple AP classes at once? You know you can talk to the teachers themselves to try to get that, you know, assessment as well. I think that helps to, again, make as much of an informed decision as possible. Now, with testing, standardized testing is as is optional for many universities at this point.
I, I would say that if you are a very young student right now, freshman or a sophomore I would probably. You know not rely on that entirely. There are many schools that have not made it a permanent policy for their university, and every year they are kind of refreshing that policy. So if you are a student who’s going to be applying in three years or four years to college, then it’s still an unknown right now, if some of the schools that you might be applying to who are currently test optional might still be test optional by the time it’s your turn to apply So starting early with testing, I would say that, you know, especially if testing in general is not one of your favorite activities then the testing environment for an SAT or an ACT can be extremely stressful.
And if you already know that about yourself then preparing for that, taking a lot of practice tests, really simulating the testing environment can, can be really helpful. Well, if you are currently, you know, entering your junior year, and I think we have quite a few students in the room, so I’ll speak to you for a moment for our, for our students who are starting junior year in the fall.
I would say that kind of the recommended testing timeline that I suggest for students I work with is to start. Start doing test prep now this summer and, you know, aim to take maybe a practice, ACT and a practice s sat and kind of determine which of the two, you know, you prefer. And see, you know, they are two different types of tests with different types of content.
And there might be one test that you perform more than the other. Or that you feel that you do better in? In which case, I would say instead of trying to prepare for two for both tests, choose one kind of early on and focus your testing and your test prep around that one test. And then, you know, come up with a really consistent.
Study schedule where over the summer you might be able to do more once school starts, you might be, you’ll probably be, you know, only able to do so much. But taking maybe, you know, the test two or three times is advisable. We don’t really see, you know, significant increase in test scores beyond. Taking it, you know, more than three or four times taking it only once.
You know, if it’s your very first time and you’re not really used to that atmosphere, then you might not perform as well for your very first time. So that’s why maybe taking it once, maybe twice more could be helpful to you. So I think a lot of students like to take, you know, doing some long-term preparation and then taking their winter break to do some more intensive preparation to take their first or to, to, yeah, well you can take your first time anytime you’d like, but to really take a, take a really serious test after the winter break senior years, or sorry, junior year, second semester, quickly gets really busy because of all the AP classes.
You probably have several AP exams in May. So timing, you know, another test around that time can be really challenging. It can be, it can make for a really, really rigorous and difficult, very exhausting, you know couple of months there. So then, you know, planning to do testing in that summer after can be helpful as well.
So you wanna space it out kinda like that. So activities. Activities, you know, those are things where you’re going to have to be involved for in doing some type of activity for more than likely your entire high school career. The types of activities you’re involved in might evolve over the course of your four years, but I think it’s really important, especially for our younger students freshman and sophomore, to really, you know try whatever.
Is interesting to you and really lean into the things that you know you are excited to do, you are interested to do. It doesn’t feel like a chore to you. It doesn’t feel like, oh, I’m just doing this for, for college. You know, I’m just doing it to make sure my application looks pretty substantial later, but I don’t really care for it.
You know, lean into the things that you actually do care about. And maybe it’s a hobby, maybe it’s something that’s something that you just like to do for fun right now, but figuring out how you can, you know, take something that you do for fun and you do just to relax and turn it into something that you know, you can have meaningful impact with, you know, through your community.
Maybe it’s sharing that, that interest or hobby with other people and, and spending time with other people doing that, you know, particular passion or interest. And, and, and, and growing it and scaling it upward that way. So I would say, you know, spend your early years of high school figuring out what is it that really floats your boat, really, you know, you find interesting.
And then during junior and senior year, those are really the times where you can think about, well, how can I, you know, help others who might share this interest with me. How can I bring this interest to. Other people might not know about it, or if it’s a group of people that you really care about, you know, what can you do to help them?
If there’s something that they’re struggling with, what can you do to help, you know, provide some kind of solution? So, You know, don’t just kind of think about the things that you can easily just join and become a member of. I think those are great for, you know, testing the waters and, and getting your foot into things.
But even if you are, you know, maybe a, a slightly older student, a junior or a senior, and you’re already kind of involved in something, think about the the impact that. Even like further develop or further grow that group club or organization that you are already involved in. I wouldn’t say you need to, you know restart or find new things quickly.
Now, I would say if you’re a junior or a senior, Find, you know, more, find, find the ways, the creative ways that you can contribute more impact, more growth, more help more creativity to the activities you’re already involved in. Let’s say you’re involved in like the Spanish club at school, but the Spanish club is honestly not that active.
You guys just kind of meet up for meetings and maybe do some activities around certain holidays but. Perhaps you can find a way to, you know get a, get a language exchange going or language practice going. Perhaps you can find a way to incorporate more cultural activities into your meetings. So if you have certain ideas, For a club or an organization that you’re already involved in, those are wonderful examples of, you know, showing how you have contributed to a group that you care about.
And those are great examples of leadership, of innovation, of creativity, of proactivity, and those are all qualities. That colleges love to see. So colleges are not necessarily just trying to find, you know the applications that have the most unique, you know, they are the most impressive and the most unique, the most you know, one of a kind types of activities or accomplishments.
They’re also trying to see the students who may have some of them more. You know, traditional activities that you’re involved in, maybe as a sport, maybe it’s a, a musical instrument or maybe whatever it might be, even if you don’t find that it’s the most unique thing in the world and you see that there’s a lot of other students doing this activity with you, but see how you can contribute your own ideas to it to help grow that as well.
And colleges really will value, you know, your, your energy and effort in that, in that way. Awards and honors are another component for how you’ve been recognized. You stand out from amongst your peers. And so this could be something that’s important for students who are applying to highly elective programs.
If you’re applying to if you know that you’re on the STEM track and you know whether, you know, whatever the particular. Path might be, you know, you’re gonna wanna show that your, your quantitative skills are very strong. Is there a Science Olympiad you can join? Is there a math contest that you can join?
If you can participate in these types of, you know more competitive activities where there might be an award or an honor. Or some type of recognition that you performed really well in this space and that you have a certain skillset that does stand out from others. Those are wonderful examples of things that you would include in your awards and honors section that colleges like to see.
I spoke briefly about recommendations earlier on and the value that they can provide to your overall evaluation. Generally most universities are going to have you, you know submit a counselor recommendation. This is going to be a more general recommendation because for most students you probably don’t.
Know your guidance counselor that well, and your guidance counselor probably doesn’t know you that well. If there are many students and, you know your only senior guidance counselor maybe once a year, once or twice a year. It’s not really conducive to a close relationship where they be able to write an intimate letter of recommendation about you as an individual.
Really the guidance counselor’s recommendation is about any, any additional information they can provide about your performance in comparison to your peers. Your teacher recommendations, which you will probably need at least one, if not two, of those are going to be from your core academic classes and, you know, teachers who have seen you perform in their classroom.
Seeing you interact with your peers and seeing your work ethic and you know you know, are you a respectful person within dialogue with your peers, that type of thing. So probably have a closer understanding of your, maybe your life or you know, how you conduct yourself on the campus, in the campus community, because you see your teacher much more often than you see your guidance counselor.
So there are also additional recommendations that some schools will invite you to submit as optional letters of rec. And this can be from an athletic coach, it can be from, you know, a mentor or a supervisor, an employer if you’re working. And those can also often, you know, offer a lot of value in terms of this is another side of this student that maybe a teacher or a counselor might not be able to speak on.
But I have seen them perform, you know At a high level in a, in a different space your essays, you’ll be able to write a few essays for your applications. There’s gonna be a personal statement and there are school specific supplements as well. And those are the individual requirements. Based on the university.
And this is gonna be completely, you know, dependent on the, the prompts, the types of questions, even the length of the essay are going be very dependent and change you. Significantly from university to university. If you are a junior or a senior right now, you know, looking to prepare for your applications, then you know, if you’re, especially if you’re a rising senior, obviously, then you can start working on your applications essays this summer I would highly recommend you to do so.
And even for our juniors and for some of our younger students too, I, I always encourage my students to keep a journal. It’s not a journal that you need to write in every single day, and really the content of the journal should be less about what you did that day and things that happened to you, but more so about your reflections if there’s a challenging time, or even if it’s a really positive moment in your life.
You really wanna practice the, the muscle or the skill. Reflecting and on your feelings, on you know, on, on your responses and reactions to things that have happened to you what learnings that you might have taken away from an experience and thinking about, okay, if this were to happen again in the future, how would I wanna react to that?
How would I maybe wanna change my reaction? You know, those types of reflections are a really, really important part of your essay writing process. And sometimes that can be a very brand new experience for a lot of high school students to do that type of inner reflection. So if that’s, you know, a skill you’d like to practice a little bit early on, that’s, that’s something that will really, really be helpful for you.
Come, you know, time to write your application essays, if this is something that you have regular practice doing. So for our younger students in the room, certainly think about. You know, keeping a journal and, you know, making sure to document some of your feelings and reflections around some important times in your life.
And if you’re a junior, something that you can even start doing that in addition to the journal, is to start maybe reading some application some sample essays. You can find a lot of those examples online, you know, through Google. But there are also a lot of universities. I think Johns Hopkins does a really fantastic job of this on Johns Hopkins’s website.
On their admissions page, they not only include examples of successful applicants. Essays from the past cycle, but they also include a really helpful analysis of why that application essay stood out to the app, to the admissions officer. And what were the cir, what were the, you know, points that, you know, they really admired from this essay.
So I would recommend, you know, greeting some sample essays and, you know, practicing some narrative style writing if you haven’t done that before. I would also say too, that it does not hurt to just try your hand at writing. You can even just think of it as a writing exercise. You can easily find, you know, the common app personal statement prompts just by Googling if there are some dream schools that you already know that you will be applying to.
You can absolutely Google what those schools are asking on their supplemental questions. Just looking ahead. It’s, it’s problem, it is likely that they might change the essay prompt by the time it’s your turn to apply. Sometimes they don’t, don’t. But even if they do change the essay prompt between now and then, it doesn’t hurt to just do it as a writing exercise and and to just kind of see, you know, what types of questions do colleges ask.
What, what kinds of essays might I be needing to write in the future? So definitely, you know, consider doing that as a writing exercise as well. So in a holistic admissions review process you know, I kind of touched on a few of these points on earlier slides. But you will be evaluated within the context of your environment.
At the end of the day, you know, it’s, it’s not equitable to compare you to a student in a completely different type of environment. So admissions officers do try to be as fair as possible in terms of considering all the different factors that comprise. Your education and your, the opportunities that were available to you.
So the important thing is to make sure that you understand what opportunities are available to you and making sure that you are taking advantage of them. So if students within your school, within your area, within your district are finding out about these opportunities and taking advantage of them, but you not taking advantage of them, those are the students that you’re gonna be compared.
Do try to do your due diligence there as well. They’ll also try to understand how your environment has shaped you. That’s really what they’re trying to get at the to the core of, at the root of with your essay. They’re trying to understand, you know, what were the formative experiences in your life.
That made you who you are today and you know, how are you able to articulate how these experiences impacted you? Are you mature enough to understand how you were able to grow and develop from these experiences? That’s a great indicator and predictor for how you might continue to grow and develop and mature if you are a student at their college.
So you know, I, I did try to make a point to underline as well that admissions officers are looking for reasons to admit you. They’re not looking for reasons to deny or, or reject you. I think that you know, that that might be one common misconception that, oh my goodness, if I have this fee on my transcript, and that’s gonna totally ruin my chances for getting into college.
You know, only am a member of these clubs and I don’t have a single leadership title that, you know, they’re just gonna immediately say that I don’t have any titles in there that’s, and they’re gonna immediately deny me. I think rather than that, admissions officers are really trying to look for the reasons why you might have a search and spark, or why you might have something that differentiates you from others.
They are really trying to seek out those reasons to include. To admit you. So I will say for that reason, you know, try to make their job a little bit easier and identify those reasons for them. You know, don’t be afraid to you know, amplify your own best qualities, the things that you love about yourself, the things that you’re most proud of about yourself, and to emphasize those on your applications.
So during that application review process, you know something that’s kind of an additional factor that students really as an applicant don’t have a lot of control over, that’s going to be, you know, in. Internal policies and things that are happening within the university that students will really not even be privy to, let alone be able to, you know, try to control or, or manipulate in their application.
And, for example, that could be, you know, for, for some reason this year. We received a lot of applications to our psych major or to our forensic science major, and we really don’t have the capacity. We don’t have enough faculty. We don’t have enough classrooms to admit all of these students who applied to this major this year.
So this year, for some reason, because this major was more, more, you know, popular or because for some reason we’re having a staff shortage for this particular major, we’re gonna have to like this. This major’s gonna be a little bit more selective this year. So, you know that’s, that’s one kind of small example.
There are a plethora of other things that could be going on. But I do like to share that with families just so that, you know, especially if we have some seniors in the room who might be getting their admissions decisions, you know, seven, eight months from now I know that can be a really tumultuous time.
And you know, so they’re oftentimes, you know, if you are not admitted to university, that that’s more often than not. Really not a reflection of your application and of your strengths and qualities, but it’s often more of a reflection of just the applicant pool and maybe different things that were going on during the time that you happen to apply.
We have a few myths here about the college. Application process as well. I’m not gonna go through all of them, but I will say one thing I do wanna kind of point out especially since we do have a high amount of seniors, of rising seniors in the room is number. Early decision will always yield a higher chance of admission than applying regular decision and should be used strategically for that purpose.
It’s not false that the admission rates for early application deadlines, whether it’s early decision or early application you know you know, or sorry, early action. These early app applications, kind of deadline rounds. Statistically do have a higher admit rate. There are some schools that don’t necessarily that, that that statistic doesn’t necessarily apply to those schools before.
You know, for the most part, schools that offer an early admission round and early application round generally those have a statistically higher chance of admission. That’s not necessarily gonna be the right path for everyone. First, for example, I’ve worked with students in the past where, you know, maybe during their senior year they’re working on an amazing project.
They’ve had a phenomenal opportunity to maybe do some research with a faculty member at a university. Maybe they have a great job, a part-time job that they’re working on right now, and maybe they just started it at the top of the year, so maybe having an additional month or two to be able to. You know develop some of those experiences to be able to mention those experiences and the growth as a result of those experiences.
That might be a really, really great thing to include on your application Essays. That might be a great tidbit to include on your activity section. Maybe you have an amazing award that you’re going to be receiving in November or December, but the early decision or the early application rounds might be happening in October and early November, so you wouldn’t be able to include some of those crucial pieces if you do apply early.
And sometimes those can make or break, you know, that those can be the things that really make your application as strong as possible. Generally for regular decision, even if the application, the application deadline for regular decision generally are at the end of December and early January, there are some schools that go into February, but for the most part, you’re looking at.
The new year kind of being your, your, your, your deadline time. For most students, you’re not gonna have your first semester grades yet. That being said, many universities will require you to send a midyear transcript, so that means you, while you do submit the rest of your application, by the date of the deadline, you are also required to submit your midyear transcript.
If it’s not available by the time of your deadline, you can submit that later. For some students, having the performance of your first, first semester of your senior year can really boost your app, the strength of your application, especially if you did not do as well as you would’ve hoped in your junior year.
Then having that extra boost of your senior year performance, at least the first half can be really, really helpful. So death not breath is one of the most important things that I’m constantly repeating to my students. And you know, that means basically don’t overburden yourself. Don’t stretch yourself too thin.
Don’t try to sign up for all of the activities. Don’t, don’t join all the clubs that your high school offers. Don’t extend yourself too far on the common app. You’re only going to have 10 slots where you’ll be able to include activities that you’ve done all throughout your four years of high school.
For some students, you might have much, you know, beyond that. Some students you might have less and that that’s totally fine if you have fewer than 10. But if you’re the type of student who is going above and beyond and you know, having, you know, a, a ton of different activities that you’re doing, then just remember that you’re only gonna be able to highlight 10 of those on your application anyhow.
So really figure out what it is that’s most important to you, the, the handful of things that are most important to you, and invest your time and energy and effort into those things. If you’re spread too thin because you’re, you’re a member of so many things, there’s only so much of yourself that you can give.
And a superficial, or, you know a more basic or minimal involvement in many things is not viewed highly. I would say, you know, depth, deep involvement, meaningful commitment and, and, you know, effort to just a few things is, is viewed much more positively.
So, so there’s a lot of information on these slides and I, I’m trying to be cognizant of the time. But there are, you know these slides are going to be shared with you. So I will just kind of skim through these. But for your student responsibilities, I would say, you know, doing a lot of the preparatory work that I mentioned, you know, earlier on in this presentation, that’s really going to help you out.
I would say the other thing that you and your family can do together to start early is doing college visits. You know, if you are a freshman in the room tonight then even think about, you know, college might seem really far away and you might have zero idea about where you wanna go or what you wanna study.
Start with the colleges that are close to home. Just, you know you know, go for a weekend visit. You know, especially during the summer, colleges are offering campus tours almost around the clock. So, you know, it’s a great time to just pop over to your local university and go on a campus tour. Definitely register in advance so that you can be a part of the larger campus, the, the larger tour where they take you all around campus and tell you lots of stories about what’s the cool things that are going on and the amazing things that their students are doing.
These tours will often also include a departmental information session where if you specify, Hey, I’m really interested in business, they can send you off to the business. Session where they’ll tell you in more detail about what the business program can offer you. So start with your local university just to kind of get a feel for what a college tour, what a campus tour is like.
You can also start hearing stories, absorbing information about what college students are, are up to, and the cool thing that they’re doing and working on. And this might inform you like, oh, that’s so, that’s such a cool project that that student’s doing with their teacher or with their professor. I didn’t know that that was even a possible major to do.
I didn’t know that you could make a career out of that and that might spark something within you to then go home and do some more research on whatever that major or whatever that field or industry might be. So for our younger students in the room, I would definitely say over the next few years, whether it’s summer break, winter break, if you’re ever going out of town with your family to visit fellowships or something, then think, you know, maybe there’s a college that’s nearby there that we can kind of, you know, fit that into the schedule.
But that’s always really, really helpful. A lot of this is really intertwined with, you know, what parents can be doing as well. I think through this process there’s a lot that parents want to, you know insert. Their support in and, and you know, your child best. I think for some, sometimes that can be really, really helpful.
Sometimes it can be necessary if your student, if your child is really struggling to find the momentum to start moving forward on some of these action items. But for the most part, I think, you know like I mentioned earlier, especially in your, your earlier years of high school, your freshman and sophomore years, where really it’s kind of the exploration and discovery phase.
Really trusting your child. Maybe presenting them with the opportunities and information, but really trusting them to make. You know decisions that are helpful to themselves because they’re pursuing their true passions. I think that sometimes can be a little bit difficult especially if you feel strongly about a certain feel that you think is a good, excuse me, is a good fit for your child.
But for the most part, I would say, you know Parents, you have great intentions and you often have really, really good advice. And I think, you know, the more conversation that you can have with your child, the more open communication you can have about, you know, what really motivates your, your child’s interests and passions.
I think those can be really conducive to these conversations.
So again, there’s, there’s a lot of information here and you will be receiving these slides the information here. But I will say that some of the things that I guess the more applicable advice that I want might wanna share in addition to starting early, is to stay as organized as possible.
There’s gonna be a lot of information thrown your way, especially once you start sharing your email address. To universities or different summer programs or doing different websites and, you know, there’s gonna be a lot of information coming your way. And, and, you know, staying as organized as possible.
I really recommend my students to actually. And you might wanna do this as a family, is to create a different email address for college related things because there’s a lot of important information that might come your way. But if you’re getting bombarded by emails from your, your friends, from your, you know, your homework assignments from school, from your different activities you’re involved in, sometimes you know, you might miss an email that could be a little bit important.
So creating a different email address simply that you would, that you would use simply for college could be really helpful. But at the end of the day, you’re probably still going to feel overwhelmed and that is completely normal. I think staying organized can, can help a little bit with that. But but especially if you are kind of an earlier on in your process and you aren’t certain about what track or what direction you wanna pursue yet, if you’re in the process right in the stage right now where you’re trying a lot of different things, It really can feel overwhelming.
And I just wanna remind students too and families that taking this one step at a time and, you know you know, while today I am really emphasizing kind of the importance and value of starting early. There is not, you know a perfect time to start if you are a junior, and I know there’s a lot of juniors and seniors here tonight too, so I definitely wanna speak to you when I see this.
It’s not too late. Even if you’re just starting now and you’re a senior, or you’re a rising senior, it’s okay. It’s not too late. Being able to take account of the experiences that you’ve had to date and be able to leave a story that’s your challenge from here. You know, for our younger students, you know, because they’re starting a little bit earlier.
On this process, you can try to make those decisions a little bit more intentionally so that later on when you are, when it is time for you to tell your story, you might have a more cohesive story to tell. But if you’re a senior now and you’re looking back on your past, you know, three years of high school and the different experiences you’ve had, It might not be the most, you know, straight and narrow path, and it might not be the most cohesive story.
It might be a pretty wavy path, but it’s still the path that you went down. And those are the experiences that amount to who you are today. So I think the most important thing that you can apply for yourself now is to think about how you can reflect on those experiences and tell that story. But it’s, it’s, it’s not too late.
Yeah, so I, I think, you know, we are kind of approaching the end of our time, Lonnie, so I think you might have. I do. I do, I do. But we have, we have time for just like a couple of questions that I saw come in. And it may be you kind of emphasizing some areas you already went over. So our first question that we’ll ask is for teacher recommendations, do they have to be from core, core classes?
Like could a recommendation come from a marketing teacher? Mm. So I would recommend you to if discussions coming from a, from an older student, from a senior, I should say, who already, you know, what schools you’re applying to. Then look at specific requirements of your university. Some of some universities are quite specific and say, we need two letters of rec.
Both of them need to come from at core academic teachers who taught you in high school, and one needs to come from a math STEM teacher and one needs to come from humanities teacher. There are schools, schools. We’ll take any letter of break as long as it’s from, you know, a person who knows you. So it, it really runs a spectrum.
So it’s one of those things where you do have to look at the individual requirements, the universities.
Okay. So I wanna share more about the work that we do within CollegeAdvisor for those who are in the room who aren’t already working with us. We know how overwhelming the admission process can be, especially for competitive applicants like yourselves. Our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family navigate all in one-on-one advising sessions.
Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free consultation using the QR code on your screen. During the consultation, a member of our team will review your. Current extracurriculars list, discuss high, align with your college goals, and help you find opportunities for growth and leadership.
After scanning the QR code, you’ll be able to select a date and time for a phone conversation with a member from our team. Okay, so our final question that we’ll ask. Ask, let’s see.
Any suggestions for rising juniors who may be transferring to a new high school in terms of having less time to make an impact in a club or to build a relationship with teachers? I. Yeah. That, that’s a great question. If possible, I would certainly, you know recommend students to stay in touch with teachers from their previous school.
But that being said, if you’re a rising junior, then you know, you only spent your freshman and sophomore year at the former high school and the letter of rac, you know your. Your teacher might be writing that in your senior year. So I would say that you still have plenty of opportunity to start building relationships with your new teachers at your new high school if possible come time for seniors.
And this is advice that kind of applies to everybody in the room. But letters of rec that are written by teachers who have known you for a longer period of time. That is helpful. So if you as a senior now have a teacher who, who is teaching you now or maybe taught you in last year, but they also taught you in a class before so they, you know, may have had you twice then that’s a great person to speak to your growth over time that they, that they have observed closely.
So to the, to the person who, who asked that question, if it’s possible. Sometimes I know it’s totally not possible with how course schedules work out but if your child has a teacher in junior year and senior year, that could be a great person to ask for letter of break later on. But that being said, you know, plenty of tea students are requesting, you know, their recommenders.
Who have only taught them in senior year or who have only taught them in junior year. So they didn’t have a formal relationship with them freshman and sophomore year. So I definitely wouldn’t be concerned about the letters of rec front in terms of the transferring. In terms of the activities, I would say, you know again, you still have two years of high school left, or a year and a half that’s gonna be showing up on your application.
So it’s certainly not too late to start applying. Or sorry to start, you know, getting involved in things that are, you know, offered at your new community. And then think about things that once you arrive at your new high school, I would say to try to like have a, have a very thoughtful and.
Mindful approach. Hopefully you have an idea of what your interests are so you can identify the clubs and, and organizations that you wanna join right away. And if you’re finding that your new high school doesn’t have those things, then it’s the perfect opportunity for you to start those clubs. Or organizations that you, that you know, that you have a heart for?
So, so I, I would say that you know if you, if you see some things that you were already involved in, in your former high school that also exist at your new high school, you can start, you know building up from, from there as well. So it would, it would appear continuous to your college application.
Thank you Angela. And thank you for this really in depth presentation. We got a lot of positive feedback from our audience in regards to the information that you were sharing. So I hope you have some time to look over the comments that are in the Q&A tab. And thank you to everyone for joining us this evening.
Just a heads up. We do have some additional webinars that we will be hosting for this month. All of our webinars are geared towards supporting you through the college application process. So we do hope to see you in a future webinar. And with that, this concludes the end of our webinar. Can I, everyone can I, Angela.
Thank you. Bye everyone. Bye.