Colleges typically require academic recommendations, which are recommendations from your teachers in high school, and some don't let you submit any others. But other colleges also give you the opportunity to submit "other" (non-academic) recommendations from people who aren't your teachers.
Wise words from the dean of admissions at Smith College:
Students have many options. Focusing on the narrow list of so-called top colleges ignores the rich diversity of the nation’s higher education choices — including community colleges, online courses, residential colleges and large research universities.
Are you a non-traditional (read: older) student planning on taking the new SAT (aka rSAT) this weekend? If so, our friends at ArborBridge test prep are reminding us that there are special rules you need to be aware of, and might need to work around asap:
All of us adults who registered to take the March SAT this weekend so we could see the new test received an email from the CB [College Board] today telling us we had been booted to May instead.
Are you struggling with math? There is hope for you, and "hope" is the key word here.
I came across a great post on the Education Week blog that summarizes the findings of a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a big international organization that tracks things like math performance country by country.
Were you under the impression that the College Board and the ACT are primarily in the business of making and administering those standardized tests that drive you batty?
Actually, their real bread and butter is mining students' personal information and selling it for a lot of money.
If you're a high school student (or the parent of a high school student), you probably thought that the ACT is just in the business of creating and administering the ACT test, right?
Actually, they do quite a bit more, and one of their "side" businesses can affect your college applications without you even knowing it. Please read the following advice carefully:
In order to increase its profitability and market share, the ACT has been developing other "predictor" tools to sell to colleges.
As you may already know, there were problems with the June 6, 2015, SAT Reasoning test because of misprints in the instructions on some of the test booklets. It took a little time for the dust to settle and for the College Board to decide how it was going to respond. As of now, the College Board has decided to do the following:
- Score the tests without including the scores from the affected sections (the affected sections were the last reading or math section – you might have had reading last or you might have had math last, but neither will be scored).
Juniors, have you been on pins and needles wondering what the essay topics will be for next year? If so, your agony is over. The Common Application released the 5 essay topics that will appear on next year's Common Application today. They are:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.
If you are a planner by nature and like to avoid last minute rushes, there’s some foundational prep work your 11th grader can be working on now before crunch time hits in the fall of 12th grade. One of the foundational exercises we go through with rising seniors is to have them create an old-fashioned resume.
That might sound strange at first.
Back in the olden days, there was a standard school day, a singular college prep curriculum and very limited “electives.” It made the decisions about what courses to take pretty simple and there weren't many ways to go wrong.
Not so in the 21st century.
This SAT is just a few days away. Here are a few suggestions to put you into the test zone so you can do your best :) .
1. Get good sleep — that means a good 7-8 hours per night for 4 nights before the test! (Teenage brains perform best on tests with 7.5 hours of sleep, and your brain registers as "sleep deprived" for at least 3 days after you shortchange yourself.)
If your child is testing low on the SSAT, PSAT, PLAN, or Achievement Tests in grades 7-10, that’s a sign to start thinking about adding a test prep protocol, or reevaluating one you might already have in place. That’s also a sign to do a full battery of learning disability testing to figure out the underlying cognitive issue.
The goal isn’t necessarily to get accommodations for standardized tests, because not every kid with learning problems has those kinds of learning disabilities.
If you've already submitted your best and most compelling application — your standout application — is an application postscript ever be warranted? Yes! In three cases:
1. When you have significant updates to your application
2. When you have been deferred
3. When you have been waitlisted
This week, we're focusing on the deferral scenario.
If you've applied early to one or more colleges, the decision letter might not actually contain a final decision.
The school report and its subsequent updates — midyear report, final report, optional report — are prepared and submitted by your high school counselor or another high school official. We talked more about school reports in Week 15, which you can read here.
At this point in the admissions cycle, it's time to pay attention to your midyear report.
You may have heard that the SAT is in the process of being overhauled. If you're a 10th grader now, what does that mean for you?
The first administration of the NEW SAT will be in March of 2016.
This week we're giving tips about how to follow up on the Regular Decision applications you've already submitted.
Week 29 To-Dos
- Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary.
- Update your parents about what you’re doing.
I'm pre-ordering this book, VERY excited to read it:
Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
The title alone is a great reminder not to conflate your whole identity with where you do or don't get into college (or grad school for that matter). My immediate reaction is this, and it's something I've been mulling over for some time now:
One of the real downsides to the current "holistic" approach to elite university admissions in the United States is that the schools give the impression that they're evaluating you (judging you) *as a human being*.
Sometimes, even under the best of circumstances, you find an error in your applications after you've submitted them.
We know you're human.
If you put together a good action plan this week, you won't be caught flat-footed the day your applications are due. Natural disasters and man-made catastrophes tend to happen exactly when you can least afford them. You can and should plan ahead, because the universe has a funny way of messing with us when we're rushing to meet important deadlines. We've been there!
Week 27 To-Dos
- Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college.