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My Advice to the High School Class of 2015


Replies to: My Advice to the High School Class of 2015

  • masalachaimasalachai Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Dear dragonflymusic, can you tell us how your first year as a Stamps Scholar at USC has been? Any thoughts or advice?
  • bishopgurlbishopgurl Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    is it true that if you get your letter in the mail that means you got rejected and if you got it by fed ex that means you got in to the college?
  • RdtsmithRdtsmith Registered User Posts: 872 Member
    No. Acceptance letters for my son came in regular mail as well as signing into an online portal or email to sign in somewhere. He only got two rejections and they came via email.
  • SadSquirrel23SadSquirrel23 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    WOULD HAVE BEEN REAL NICE TO HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE I MADE ALL OF THESE MISTAKES. Anyways this should be more prominently placed!
  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD Registered User Posts: 3,094 Senior Member
    @bishopgurl ,

    Another data point. My daughter received 6 decisions in the mail (normal USPS) and 1 via a portal. All were acceptances. She knew the decision date only for the portal decision. The acceptance letters came at random times between November 1st and end of February. They came in different sizes from the usual business envelope to a small package.
  • lana100sflana100sf Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Wow, this a great advice thread. I'll chime in w/ three pieces of advice of my own, taken from personal experience and hearing stories:

    1. As with a lot of things in life, give the application process and the essays your 115% effort. Eventually, once you keep giving 115% of your effort to things you care about and you're passionate about, you're bound to get some return on it. Then, rejoice on all your hard work.

    2. Choose schools that are right for you; don't choose schools simply based on prestige. Yes, prestige and academics matter, but if you're the type to excel in a small liberal arts university, then APPLY. Don't let anyone stop you. If you sincerely care about a program in a reach school, then APPLY. Don't let anyone talk you out of what you want to do; don't let the "maybes" or "buts" or "probably nots" stop you from at least trying. If Mark Zuckerberg actually cared an iota about the naysayers when Facebook first started, then Facebook might not even exist, right? The lesson is, just try your best, but hedge your bets and diversify your risks so that you apply to a number of well-rounded schools.

    3. At a certain point, your grades, test scores, and other factors in the admission decision are set in stone; so, the only opportunity to excel is in the college essay. When you write it, make sure that you showcase your unique voice in writing. Tell a story and "speak" to the admission folks so that they learn more about you than just the grades and test scores. Don't underestimate the power of storytelling here! To brainstorm some good stories for your essay, check this out:

  • grinnellephant01grinnellephant01 Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    Do you actually recommend CALLING the admissions office? What questions do you recommend I ask? (Every answer is online) Should I ask about the admissions process? (I'm a rising senior trying to get into WUSTL, NU, and/or Duke).
  • dizzlebraindizzlebrain Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Cool thread. Advice I personally would add is this.

    1. Get an idea of where you want to go early on.
    -I didn't do this in enough time and I ended up not taking the right classes and it ended up annoying.

    2. Don't go to a school just to be close to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend etc.
    -The admissions process will lead you where you need to be. Don't follow someone else's path just because it's cool or whatever. Don't apply somewhere to please someone else. At the end of the day you're the one who will need to be there. Take control of where you want to be early on.

    3. Acceptance rates don't matter.
    -Don't base your future off of acceptance rates. Of course there's reach schools, level schools and safety schools but the admissions process is far more complicated than acceptance rates. Apply to every school with an open mind and you won't be disappointed. I've seen really good students get rejected by state schools for mysterious reasons.

    4. Admissions reps aren't scary.
    -If you have good questions ask them. If there are simple questions on a website I wouldn't recommend bothering them. This doesn't hurt or improve your chances but sometimes you'll be more at ease when you make a face to who exactly is reading your application.

    5. Don't feel bad about rejections.
    -Obviously this is hard to do but it's for your own good. Rejection doesn't define you. It is important that you understand this. The admission process is mostly 50% about you and 50% about the school. There's a ton that goes into a decision. I've personally read articles about anonymous admissions reps that reject people for no reason at all. Don't let a rejection belittle you. If you ever take time to notice something make sure you take time to read the "meet admissions rep" page on the school website. You will find that MOST of the admission reps aren't even alum of the school they work for. They are people just like you. To be honest, most of them wouldn't of made the cut when they were your age either. It's life. It's ironic. It's important to move on.
  • dizzlebraindizzlebrain Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    6. Try to apply to colleges. Challenge yourself.
    -I think that every senior who wants to attend college either now or the future should at least apply to one school senior year. If you're able to take the SAT, take it. If you're able to get a fee waiver for a app, get it. At least try to challenge yourself. Even if you're not sure you'll make the cut. Try. Even if it's a dream school that's off into the distance. It's only beneficial. Most schools keep your file for two years, which is roughly the amount of time people complete community college. Since you already have a file, you'll get a whole new second chance at your dream school and it may even help your chances in the future. Some schools will even take you in after a year depending on your level of interest, grades and determination.
  • dizzlebraindizzlebrain Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    -I cannot stress this enough. I had a friend who believed that the TUITION price, only tuition. Was the price for everything. Room and board, books, etc. She would go on about how cheap her school was and she never listened to me when I told her that the TUITION price did not include room and board and extra expenses. For example, if a state school says that TUITION is 8,645 then this is the tuition, not including extra expenses. This bugged me like NO other and if I could stress anything it would be that you understand how much things cost and that you don't wait until the summer before fall semester to realize that your tuition is 21,000 because you believed you'd pay ONLY 8,645. This didn't work out well for her I imagine. I also imagine that she was pretty shocked when she got her summer tuition bill form thingy before fall semester.

    PLEASE understand your numbers. My friend probably was pretty shocked when she realized school was 10,000+ more than what she expected lol.
  • KeDIX1414KeDIX1414 Registered User Posts: 380 Member
    @pkdeegan25 I wouldn't personally recommend calling the admissions office. I don't think there is much they will tell you over the phone that you can't find out on their website. And calling the school doesn't increase your chance of admission. The best way to learn about a school/admissions process is to go to an on campus tour/info session, read every piece of information on their website, and talk to current students. In fact, talking to current students might be the best way to get the most accurate information.
  • bushdynastybushdynasty Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    @KeDIX1414 what would you say is the best way to get in touch with current students at different schools to talk with them? Look up student ambassadors contact info on the college's website? look for student-run blogs? or are there other websites where you can talk to current students?
  • KeDIX1414KeDIX1414 Registered User Posts: 380 Member
    @bushdynasty It depends. It can be difficult if you don't know any students from your local high schools or hometown who go to schools you are interested. While this doesn't involve talking to students directly, you can learn a lot of information about a school by reading it's student led newspaper. You can figure out a lot about the campus's culture this way. The students are not writing these articles for prospective students, so you can get a more honest opinion of campus life by reading the newspaper. If you are interested in University of Pennsylvania, feel free to send me a message :)
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