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PARENTS4PARENTS is a new initiative aimed at highlighting the vast expertise of our parents community while helping other parents better navigate the college admissions process. aggies1989 is a UC alumnus and parent of two UC college kids. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
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  • cosgirlcosgirl 73 replies15 threads Junior Member
    I'm just about to finish my first year in college. Next semester I'll be applying to universities so that I can transfer as a junior in fall 16. I have noticed that a lot of larger universities overlook smaller junior colleges and as a result the students of these schools are not well informed about opportunities and hence are not motivated enough to try to transfer to a larger university, instead most prefer taking the easy way and transfer to the local university. I think bigger universities, that seems so out of reach for many students, like UCB, UCLA, USC etc should communicate more with smaller JCs rather than their usuals. It seems like they highly underestimate smaller colleges and so do not pay attention to them.
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  • lauriejgslauriejgs 361 replies66 threads Member
    Thankfully, the flow of mail and emails from random colleges in which our DD has absolutely no interest has abated now that she's made her decision. It dismayed me how poorly ranked some of these schools were, yet they were targeting her. Where did they get her name and scores? And then she would get the odd communication from better schools....very confusing.
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  • nerdfighter23nerdfighter23 354 replies12 threads Member
    There are two things that annoyed me/frustrated me the most when I was going through the process this year.

    1. How much stress/emphasis is put on having /meaningful/ EC's that "go above and beyond". I come from an incredibly small school/town with very limited options, and the activities that I did have access to were the ones that are seen as menial and unimportant. I never got the chance or had the resources to do something above and beyond, just because things I couldn't control (like living half an hour away from school itself) didn't allow for it. I always felt like my applications were weakened by my EC's just because my situation prevented me from coming close to being comparable to those people who did have a plethora of opportunities.

    2. How much the application/financial aid process costs. Many of the schools frequently talked about on here have a COA at 60K+ a year, and yet they still charge $100 app fees, they still require you to send them financial aid forms that can cost several hundred dollars when you're applying to more than just a select few schools, and sending test scores tacks on even more. God forbid you want to visit some schools and have to travel/stay overnight somewhere, just to adequately show interest.

    While it did get a little repetitive toward the end, I did like the little brochures and postcards I got from a bunch of different schools. I didn't have to do any work to find out that they existed and get a glimpse of what they had to offer, and it made my search process easier because I was able to filter out schools I could tell I wasn't interested in. Receiving regular emails/actual mail from a few schools was actually what made me end up applying to them, because I had learned enough about them and become interested enough just from seeing stuff about them so much.
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  • ShinpachiShinpachi 76 replies19 threads Junior Member
    I liked it when they sent in the booklets occasionally, but sending me mail every week is too obsessive. I like the funny mail though, so that's okay.

    The emails from colleges are way too annoying. They keep telling me to apply, and I have to take my time to unsubscribe from them.

    The lesson learned was to never put down your email for college search help when you take tests from collegeboard/ACT. Subscribe to colleges that interest you instead.

    I feel that too much emphasis is placed on ECs, leading students to become slaved to 10 different school/community organizations. Doing some fun things is okay, but essentially, high school is for learning: not for spending 6 hours a day on beefing up a college application.
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  • OrchidBloomOrchidBloom 896 replies14 threads Member
    In terms of college communications, I liked:
    -Interviews! I loved having the opportunity to talk to alumni, and interviewing helped me to better understand what it would be like to be a student.
    -Freebies like pennants (materialistic, I know, but they were fun to collect!)
    -Personalized acceptance letters

    And I hated:
    -Spam emails from colleges I have zero interest especially if the unsubscribe button doesn't seem to work - if I haven't applied after 20 emails, I don't think the 21st is going to change that.
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  • DiffMomDiffMom 157 replies4 threads Junior Member
    College prep process, hmmm.
    Don't like:
    1-Some of the college websites were poor. Information location was not always intuitive, or one had to go thru so many steps just to get back to where you were.
    2-The continual mailing of interest letters/postcards. A single piece is enough.
    3-Different acceptance dates for the schools. It would be good if they were on the same date (or at least week), say, sometime late March. Don't stretch out the stress of acceptances.
    4- Schools that require CSS profiles should indicate if a student is accepted prior to deadline of CSS, as it is another cost.
    A lot of this is grousing. Doubt if anything would be done.
    The personalization of the acceptance letters was nice.
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  • OnMyWay2013OnMyWay2013 1304 replies34 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2015
    I'm already in college, but here's my perspective retrospectively, and also as a friend of many people who work with tours, open houses, etc.
    • I preferred mail to email, and I liked the larger booklets as opposed to the smaller pieces of paper that don't say anything important and come in droves. Swag is much appreciated.
    • Websites were a huge part of my research process. A school with an easy-to-navigate Admissions page really stood out to me over one that was more confusing. Also, there are discrepancies between actual college information, and the information you find on the school's page on College Board. That was very confusing and annoying for me.
    • If there was a way that colleges could let you request targeted information before you actually fill out the Common App, and then send you that versus all the general information, that would be nice. I didn't really enjoy sifting through all the annoying "fun facts" and accomplishments to find information about diversity (very important for many people in minority groups, and very hard to find...), financial aid, religious life, etc.
    Also, I just wish that colleges cared more about presenting honest information than increasing their applicant pool / getting our money from college applications. Acknowledge and address the concerns many students have about the culture of the school, rigor, diversity, student life, Greek life, etc. Get students' perspectives on what kind of person will thrive in this environment.

    After touring five schools (on the more selective end of the spectrum), I got the sense that every school was saying the same trite things: "We are an esteemed academic institution. Hear about all of our distinguished alumni. Look at how we are on the cutting edge of research! You will be challenged, and we'll allow your passions to flourish in our collaborative environment. But we also have so much fun; this is definitely a "work hard, play hard" kind of school. Let me list all of our quirky traditions! You'll feel right at home in our diverse student body, and engage with this beautiful city / town teeming with life and internship opportunities (also, we are so dedicated to community service, it's not even funny." Like a phoenix, you will rise from the monotony of your past life and become part of the generation of leaders and world-changers. The adventure of a lifetime starts with a single step... onto the campus of our school." That got annoying really fast.

    Whenever, my friends host students for sleepover-type open houses, we always try to give them the truth--good and bad--about our school so they can make a more informed decision. That way they aren't trying to kill themselves over a school that might not be right for them, for the sake of prestige.
    edited May 2015
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  • RandomMuseRandomMuse 113 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2015
    I always preferred mail that seemed more personal, not just some gigantic booklet. After being accepted to Northeastern (not attending), they kept mailing me every single day, and all of their mail would basically be advertisements. I understand that Northeastern is a large school and they aren't able to personalize anything, but it was really annoying. They also sent me materials telling me to look at things online that didn't exist. They sent me emails telling me to do things, and then the website wouldn't work.

    I really loved the schools that would send me mail that was actually relevant, and contained information about the college. (Not just, yay go to northeastern because no reason, just go!) I thought the appearance and ease of the website was very important. I thought any colleges with websites that were very difficult or ugly or had little information would probably be annoying to attend, since I would then be dealing with that website for the next four years.

    Many times I felt uncomfortable when the colleges would call me. I felt like I was being put on the spot, even though they just wanted to answer any questions that I might have. I really liked the colleges that were extremely accessible. That if I wanted to talk to a real person, I could be able to.

    The common app was terrible.... I felt like a liar since I was putting all of my extracurriculars and it looked like I was only doing things for college applications, when in fact, I did things because I wanted to. I also wasn't able to put all of my accomplishments on the common app, since the character space was limited. Or explain any of my activities. And I also felt that all of the stuff I had focused on in school didn't matter. None of that mattered, it just wasn't important. All that mattered were the essays and teacher recs. So I guess it's important to have good relationships with your teachers.

    My guidance counselor wasn't able to help me, since most people around where I live don't know anything about colleges out of state.

    I felt like the most important thing that I missed was organization. Many colleges had interview deadlines hidden deep within their websites that I had missed. I only learned of them months after they had passed.

    EDIT: In addition, it's very important for colleges to be organized. One of the colleges I applied to had a week delay between acceptance and financial aid information. By the time I got my aid package, I already had my heart set on another school.
    edited May 2015
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  • ReckoSkirataReckoSkirata 56 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I got overly excited as a sophomore when I started to get college mail. (The most exciting of these was a frisbee from Carleton College...) Truthfully, college mail (and especially email) has been annoying; it's nice to see it when colleges genuinely have an interest in you, and genuinely fit you, but I've gotten so many emails from colleges that I have no desire to join and that would not fit me that I've become much more close-minded on my college search-- which is both a good thing and a bad thing.

    I'm in the middle of the recruitment process (I'm a junior) for women's swimming, so my college search is a little bit complicated. I don't know where to start with a coach sometimes... I've been emailing the coaches, though, and I have one more college to email. So far.

    ... So far. I only have three colleges on my list, and I'm not sure how that will pan out, seeing as two are reaches. I just don't know where else to start, since I know I wouldn't be able to bear OU or OSU (from my state).

    I've given up on most ECs. I used to be in Key Club, and I used to want to be a Distinguished Service Graduate, but nor more. I'm in NHS, which meets once a month and has a certain amount of hours due per semester, Latin Club, and Swimming. Swimming is the real time-consumer. That said, I think ECs are overrated. Most people join them just to bolster college applications... I know that's what NHS is for me. Latin Club and Swimming, on the other hand, are ECs that I truly love, yet the ECs that will get the least attention.

    Scores are stressful. I get high scores in general, but that doesn't make applying or searching any less stressful, because I'm right on the edge of some averages for the colleges I want to apply to. In addition, I'm better at the ACT than the SAT, but east and west coast schools prefer the SAT. Honestly, I think the high-stakes tests are overrated. The ACT and the SAT aren't a perfect reflection of how well we do in school... just how we test.
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  • fretfulmotherfretfulmother 2641 replies51 threads Senior Member
    This is a neat thread :) Who doesn't like amazon gc?

    I'm a HS teacher and mom of a junior.

    Good things: students taking ownership of the process; students getting testing out of the way fairly early and essays asap as well; contact from schools that the student is interested in; those batch college exploration sessions so you can learn more at once and near home.

    Bad things: so much junk mail from places we wouldn't be considering (but I guess direct mail advertising must work or they wouldn't do it!); very high stress among students with focus on just a few well-known colleges when there are so many in the country to consider; one-size-fits-all approaches to finding good match colleges.
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  • HeisenbergykHeisenbergyk 258 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I got too much email spam from colleges I would never go to--- definitely a annoying thing. I liked how some schools particularly like Case Western offered free applications with no fee for everyone. Even though I'm not going to any schools that did that, it honestly made me feel much more welcomed to apply and considerably increased my sense of interest (probably bumping case in my possible top 3 choices from like the bottom) more than any other school. You kind of look of the school, say "why not, it's free" but then kind of look it up and get a more open minded impression of it than college X right in your face spamming messages like "want to know why we're awesome? Come and be a (insert mascot here and continue rant etc etc)".
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  • fallenwinterfallenwinter 255 replies12 threads Junior Member
    All colleges should have a set date for decisions! Also NPC were so inaccurate for me, I got way more money than I anticipated.
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  • OrchidBloomOrchidBloom 896 replies14 threads Member
    Just wanted to add that I really liked it when students reached out to me through email. As an international student, I was contacted by my country's student association and a senior student from my country, which was really cool and made me feel like the school really cared about me.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1624 replies46 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2015
    mom to a sr. S and jr. D.

    very thankful for this website and knowledgeable posters. Its harsh when you realize how much colleges cost, your kid is "above average" but wont bring in tons of scholarship $, and you're middle income, not urm, and wont receive aid. Yet, smallish savings and younger kids still at home puts a pressure on you all.

    if i could change 1 thing in the WHOLE process - i'd shout to all to START SAVING. years of select sports & lessons rarely translates into scholarships . . . wed have been way better off saving that money.

    It's been interesting seeing the differences between marketing of colleges between the two kids. Jr. D had a PSAT score 20 points higher than S, and the college recruitment mail has been elevated. We recycle most of it.

    the colleges are quite smooth with having EVERYTHING online. that's sure a handy change from when we were in school. so easy to find out things

    edited May 2015
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  • CaliCashCaliCash 2759 replies69 threads Senior Member
    @IBGUY101 Would it be diverse if it was 50% white, 15% black, 20% Hispanic, 15% Asian?
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  • CaliCashCaliCash 2759 replies69 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2015
    The email spam is really annoying. It's just too much. I know that it has helped some people decide to apply, but more than anything, it's just annoying. Something that bothered me in my process was USC's means of releasing decisions. They read all apps submitted by Nov 1. by early January. Instead of just rejecting you, they make you think you have a chance and then reject you two months later. In addition, USC's rejection is basically a waitlist. The have fall admits, spring admits, and then give you the option of appealing your rejection. I would prefer something concrete. I also prefer rolling admissions. It's just less stressful.
    edited May 2015
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  • CaliCashCaliCash 2759 replies69 threads Senior Member
    It's also frustrating when I click the emails and unsubscribe, and they keep sending me stuff.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11022 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2015
    Well the smartest thing we did was to create an email for college stuff and both my daughter and I had access to it. Before you register for standardized tests, do yourselves a favor by creating one.
    edited May 2015
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  • IBGuy101IBGuy101 1019 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @CaliCash No, not at all... Ethnicity does not have to do anything with diversity. If there are a vast majority of students in a certain race, I do not consider it diversity.
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  • stugacestugace 526 replies18 threads Member
    What do you like?
    -Making PERSONAL contact with me like emails that aren't replicated, non-automated phone calls, etc.
    -Informing me of upcoming events, deadlines, etc.

    What should they be doing more of?
    -Responding more often to my emails.

    What should they stop doing?
    -Spamming my college email with irrelevant information about events for upperclassmen at the college when I'm still HS seniors.
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