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College Confidential’s “Dean,” Sally Rubenstone, put together 25 of her best tips. So far, the "25 Tips from the Dean" eBook has helped more than 10K students choose a college, get in, and pay for it. Get your free copy: http://goo.gl/9zDJTM

What are some things you wish you learned about college/college admission process?

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Replies to: What are some things you wish you learned about college/college admission process?

  • Freshmom99Freshmom99 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I agree that you should only apply to schools you like and that you should have safety schools. However, I do think it's OK to fall in love with a school. But if you do fall in love with a school, then apply early decision.

    We were told at a highly selective school that ED provides only a slight advantage in admissions, but learned when it was too late that at least at that school, a much higher percentage of ED applicants are accepted—and it's not because they are better qualified (they are not).

    I know it can be scary to apply ED because of finances, but at highly selective schools, you are likely not even to have the option of trying to afford it if you apply regular decision—because you won't get in. ED is about admission, not financials. If your child is accepted ED but the financials don't work for you, tell the school you can't afford it and you will be off the hook. Tell your child when they apply ED what you consider affordable and be prepared to stick with it.

    We were also told that if you are worried about finances, go regular decision because that will give you time to apply for merit scholarships. But most highly selective schools have lots of applicants with high merit, and very few merit-based scholarships, so that is a red herring for most families. Your child is probably not going to get that scholarship anyway.

    Don't put yourself in the position of regretting what you didn't do. If your child wants to go to a certain school or certain kind of school, let them apply ED and also have an ED2 school they can apply to if they are not accepted, and follow up with regular decision options too. Then if you child is accepted ED and it's affordable, you don't have to spend any more money on applications, sending AP scores to more schools, etc.

    Early decision is one of those situations where you have to think like a rich person to get what you want.
  • LBad96LBad96 Registered User Posts: 3,463 Senior Member
    Never trust a school that deliberately chooses to ignore an entire section of the SAT. Never.
  • loveunicornsloveunicorns Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Have not been through college app but have 3+ friends going through it last year.
    Rule #1: DO NOT PUT YOUR ENTIRE MEANING OF EXISTENCE ON ONE SINGLE COLLEGE! make yourself flexible and open-minded and not desperately in love with one univ.
  • loveunicornsloveunicorns Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Also, although every reinstated that do not get fixated on one top ranking school, but be ambitious and absolutely shoot for the stars, and there is nothing to lose (maybe that 80$ app fee)
  • loveunicornsloveunicorns Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Oh and also do not make up generic things in the why this school essay. 1. it is a giant red flag to the admission officer 2. it is more of a giant RED FLAG to the fact that you are actually not that interested/ knowledgeable about that college and you have a good chance of being miserable there even if you get accepted.
  • NedconeNedcone Registered User Posts: 362 Member
    Applying Early Action. I've been done since August 31st but didn't make one application that.
  • maxwellseqmaxwellseq Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    1. Don't fall in love with a school.
    2. Apply for scholarships. There are so many opportunities to get free money senior year - TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM.
    3. Don't apply to too many schools. It's fine to apply to more reaches (up to a certain point), but you don't need that many targets/safeties.
    4. There are schools that you can apply to for free! (If you're interested in one of them)
    5. Do what you love, not what others want to see from you.
    6. If you want to enter a competition, enter it. There's honestly nothing stopping you.
    7. If something's missing from your school, start it.
    8. Talk to kids outside of your school. There's so many smart, interesting people in the world and so many opportunities to meet them.
    9. Volunteer. You'll be happier if you helped out others, even if it's just tutoring.
    10. Don't get hung over high school drama. It's so not worth it.
    11. Don't take a hard class just to have it on your transcript. The bad grade is not worth it.
  • Tookme10minsTookme10mins Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    edited April 2016
    1.Work hard on you essays(supplements included.And try not to rush through them the day of the application deadline at 10pm.

    2. If your scores from the PSAT/PLAN/a practice test are not within range(or at least within the schools bottom 25%) STUDY! Believe me it pays off,but don't study too much,have fun.

    3. Be yourself during your college interviews.seriously. This is an opportunity for you to either learn more about the school or add more depth to your application and make you appear more human and less like a piece of paper to ADCOMs.And do your research.

    3.Don't let the stress of college applications/senioritis get in the way of your grades. They are still important.

    4.Go through the process with an open mind,ready to accept any decision that you get from a college,so,like the poster a above me said,try not to fall in love with a school,especially if it is a reach. Instead,really try to find aspects that you love about each and everyone of the schools you're applying to.
    5. Don't let the stress from applying to college and waiting on decisions affect your senior year and how you treat others.

    6.RESEARCH your colleges thoroughly.

    7. Realize that there are various factors of this process that are out of your control. However,there are also factors you CAN control(essays,test scores,interview).

    8. Be happy and remember,that no matter what,you have accomplished a lot. :)

    9. Don't rely on result/chance me threads too much,or perhaps ignore them all together. I'm sure if I had, I would have been less stressed/obsessive.

    10. But,also know that this site has helpful threads too(e.g. On writing why this college essay,interview tips,test preparation tips(which helped me increase my score greatly and without which I probably wouldn't have all these colleges to choose from),etc.)

    11. If you really like a school,consider applying EA/ED(I wish I had).

    12. Have fun with your essays(which isn't something that I necessarily wish I'd known since I did choose to have fun with my essays,but I highly recommend it). There were several times when I would catch myself editing my essays not necessarily for ADCOMs,but for myself. Even after submitting my applications I would still read and contemplate things to add to my essays(mainly the ones that allowed me to write in narrative form) that would make it better and more enjoyable to read. In fact, writing my essays helped me realize how much I enjoy writing.
    Also,if your a musician,writer,or some other artist feel free to submit any of your work to a college,if they give you the option of course.
    13. Some SAT II exams go more in depth than what you learn in your classes for that specific subject. For example, the SAT US history is MUCH more difficult than the NYS us history regents,in fact the regents is a joke in comparison to the subject test.(I got a 98/100 on the us history regents,but a 540/800 on the us history subject test). So, you will most likely have to do some studying for these tests.



  • palm715palm715 Registered User Posts: 810 Member
    edited April 2016
    Merit aid, if you are eligible for financial aid, may not be that big of a whoop. Example: Case Western: $25,500 a year merit aid. Woohoo! Northeastern, no merit aid. Boohoo! But wait, $32,000 a year grant. NEU is the better deal. Case just replaced what we would have received in financial aid with merit.

    Pick more than one safety. Then, if all you can both get into and afford are your safeties, you can at least enjoy the feeling of choice.

    If you think you will need loans, really, really understand how that will effect your future lifestyle. Figure out the monthly payments, then create a mock budget for your first gig out of college. Will those loans make your grown-up life a pit of misery? This calculator will help you figure that out: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml

    If you can see reasons why a specific college might not pick you, that college can see it too, and the very real possibility exists that someone enough like you but without those reasons applied too. They win. We all love a Cinderella story, but what makes it such a great story is that it is rare.

    Good luck & aloha!
  • Tookme10minsTookme10mins Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    edited April 2016
    Oh and for the why this college essay, I think it's good to incorporate yourself into it too. For example, I talked about being a part of my schools orchestra and all the weird traditions we have(stuff like putting up the hunger games three fingered salute backstage before a concert) and how that makes my orchestra like a second family to me.Then said how that school's community,based on what I researched and how they organize housing, would be similar(I ended up getting wait listed,but I think perhaps including this in my essay added more depthand life to it,which kept me from being rejected. Even though some say that a wait list is a "soft rejection,I'm still happy they would still consider me if they have any spots left,especially because this school was a reach(perhaps even a big reach) for me.).Basically,don't just talk about the school in the "why this college essay",the ADCOMs already know these things,talk about yourself too. Still include aspects about the college that you like though, so they know you're serious about their school and have genuinely researched it.
  • worhexizworhexiz Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    1. DO NOT judge your chances by the elusive "acceptance rate." It is only a ball park idea of chances with divisions at below 20%(reach for EVERYONE), 20-60%( target), and 60% and above (safety). I got rejected from my dream school but still got into a school I love.
    2. Don't fall in love with a school before they accept you... It hurts getting rejected. (As point 1 states)
    3. Do what you love, and don't kill yourself because you may find in the end that it may not be worth doing stuff you don't truly enjoy.
    4. Be authentic. Can't overstate this.
    5. If you applying to over 15 schools... please chill out. I learned this the hard way. Some schools I realized after getting in that I would never go there, and I just selfishly took someone else's spot.
    6. Don't forget to have fun.
    7. Don't stress too much about standardized testing. I guarantee you that if you have a score 100 points below the lower 25%, the reason you didn't get in is not cuz your scores. That ad person could be cranky for a day or something.
    8. College acceptance/rejection does not define you. I'm still the dumb kid in my class that my friends make fun of since that's who I am. Getting into college did not change that.
    9. LOVE YOUR BUDDIES CUZ EVERYONE YOU MEET IS AMAZING <3
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