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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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Give Your Input on the College Preparation Process & Win a FREE Amazon Gift Card!

CCadmin_SorinCCadmin_Sorin 2836 replies337 threads Community Manager
From time to time we like to check in with our members to see how the college preparation process is going ... Tell us about the communications you're receiving from colleges. What do you like? What should they be doing more of? What should they stop doing? We'll randomly choose a member who replies to this post to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
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Replies to: Give Your Input on the College Preparation Process & Win a FREE Amazon Gift Card!

  • deesthingsdeesthings 11 replies0 threads New Member
    This will be my first post, so here it goes... My daughter is a freshman in high school and is very driven. She wants to go to college. My husband and I have never gone to college and are very clueless. We have gone to college nights to get information and are involved in the ACE program to also get information. We have managed to go on a couple of college visits. My biggest complaint is that I can count on one hand the number of colleges that will even acknowledge us when they find out that she is on ninth grade. Why won't colleges even give us information this early?
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  • DominicBayerDominicBayer 350 replies25 threads Member
    Too much attention is given to EC's. Many people are unable to participate in EC's due to many reasons, yet many colleges fail to comprehend this.
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1749 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Like - the Net Price Calculators - they were more accurate for D than they were for my S a few years before.

    We also are big fans of likely letters, as they help eliminate stress senior year.

    We like the improvements to school's websites - there is more and more meaningful information on them each year.

    Opportunities -

    College tours - hire more tour guides - the sessions can mean a lot more when there are max 35-40 kids as opposed to 150+ students.

    Pre-admit interviews - I know they like to keep alumni involved, but these are more helpful to applicants when the interviewer is not 30-40 years removed from the college.

    Information sessions - some schools can really improve here by keeping the information about what the student should do to help themselves gain admission, and less about information that is covered again and again on the tours.
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  • seal16seal16 837 replies144 threads Member
    Do not rely on your HS GC for information. Do you own research. CC is the best thing to find information. Visit colleges after your get accepted, not before. Try to make you HS junior to start testing in the beginning of junior year, so hopefully they will be done before the senior year.
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  • WhataProcessWhataProcess 564 replies16 threads Member
    The information available on colleges is generally outstanding. We like to do our own research, so looking at each school's Common Data set can be a helpful tool. However, it seems there are many schools that provide no really useful information in the CDS regarding the high school achievement level of their students (helpful to understand the makeup of a school's students).

    We all know that MIT students have high test scores, and high HS grades. But as more and more schools do not REQUIRE standardized test scores, there seem to be many CDSs with essentially no legitimate data in this regard. Schools should be providing at least ONE of the data categories (SAT/ACT scores, HS rank, or HS GPA) for 100% of its students. If only 35% of students submitted SAT/ACT scores because the school doesn't require them for admission, and only 26% of the students reported HS rank, the data is certainly biased and possibly worthless. When these schools then fail to provide HS GPA information (they all require a HS transcript for admission, don't they?), we're left wondering if it's data the school doesn't want to publish.

    Unfortunately, regardless of what percentage of students a school's SAT score range is based on (20%, 30%, 40%, 90%) that data is repeated over and over by the school and other 'college data' sites as being a true characteristic of that school's student body, and something that can be compared school-to-school. It may very well be neither.
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  • UniversalSnipUniversalSnip 141 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2015
    I genuinely have not received promotional material from a single college I've applied to... everything started showing up after they admitted me. Most of my knowledge has come from google and word of mouth.
    edited May 2015
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  • scholarmescholarme 2674 replies79 threads Senior Member
    I would like it if colleges sent out info about scholarship opportunity specific to them.
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  • DrGoogleDrGoogle 11022 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Free application gets my interest. Here is one for the win.
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  • ErenYeagerErenYeager 528 replies9 threads Member
    My main qualm with the admission process is with ECs. They stress leadership positions, so at my school every year maybe 3-4 "Help send money to ______" clubs pop up. They last a couple months and don't donate much money. Kids participate them just to look good for schools and don't really care about the cause. Similarly, kids with no intention of helping out with the club seek leadership positions when the more active club members should really be winning because they would help out.
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  • HeliMom74HeliMom74 550 replies32 threads Member
    I second not relying solely on guidance counselors, who may only be focused on just getting everyone over the finish line.

    Don't, DO NOT wait until senior year to begin essays, student resumes, search for/requests of recommenders. Have that stuff locked down the summer after junior year.

    As tempting as it may be for parents to "run" the show, we must not. If the kid has ownership, they will be more invested in the literal and metaphorical sense.

    TALK NUMBERS EARLY AND OFTEN. What is affordable, what is not. Actual, hard numbers of what parents can contribute, not a hazy "we'll make it work".

    Take breaks from the process where the words "college" "application" etc. are banned. Talk about anything else.

    Don't let your child (and don't you) be seduced by what other kids are doing, or where they're applying. It's a one-way ticket to heartbreak and stress.

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  • BurgerMan1BurgerMan1 290 replies41 threads Member
    I like it when schools send shirts or puzzles or toys. Just adds a human touch to the college admissions process that seems to be cutthroat and nerve-racking as can be. Even making an illusion of humanness in the process does a lot to ameliorate stress.

    I hate when top universities and rather useless expensive programs begin spamming. For example, one of my friends keeps on getting stuff from a Top 20 school and they're wasting application money thinking they're guaranteed a full scholarship to the Harvard University at Yale Medical School of Law and Aeronautics when his stats just aren't that good. It's like they're taking taxing high hopes and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It's like one of those salesmen at Best Buy who keeps on pushing some expensive gadget in your face.
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  • IBGuy101IBGuy101 1019 replies24 threads Senior Member
    The fact that affirmative action is banned in California and schools like UCI are saying they have "diversity". The school has like 50% Asians... you call that diversity? There should be greater measures taken for the UC system to ensure that every individual, minority or not, gets an equal amount of representation.
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  • dulikkiteedulikkitee 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I want to win the gift card ;)

    In all seriousness though, i just finished applying to colleges and honestly this has been one of the MOST stressful periods of my life so far. My guidance counselor was ABSOLUTELY NO HELP whatsoever. My parents have never been to college nor do I have an older sibling so basically during this entire process I had to do everything myself, which was the worst since I had no clue what I was doing (I did everything, resumes, applications, essays, scholarships, etc., last minute and was so so late on my financial aid deadlines). I wished that there had been some sort of guidance to help me with the process that would have elevated some of the stress. DO NOT DO EVERYTHING LAST MINUTE AND ACTUALLY DO RESEARCH.

    I also agree with the ECs stuff early posters have mentioned. I barely had any ECs that I was even interested in and didn't have any notable leadership positions. I have friends who were in a club and ran for leadership positions just so that they could put it on their resumes even though they had never actually participated in club activities beforehand. Everyone became obsessed with improving their resumes and ECs that even I (a pretty big underachiever in terms of ECs) started to worry about it too. On the same note, this applies to most of the courses I took in high school too, most of them being of no interest to me. I wanted to drop down to a lower level English but my guidance counselor advised me not too because it "would look too weird on my application" (I really hate English).

    Also, why is applying so god damn expensive? You have the application fees then you have to pay to send SAT/ACT scores and pay for the CSS profile (the irony). The amount of money I've spent just applying is ridiculous.

    Unrelated but I hate how EVERYBODY just won't SHUT UP about colleges during this time period. The last few months I've only heard "where did you apply to", "what are you majoring in", "did you hear back from any colleges yet", and "where are you going." It literally became everyone's default topic of conversation and I was so sick of talking about colleges. Everyone is just so OBSESSED with colleges.

    Colleges also need to stop emailing me. I don't care if you've extended the application deadline or increased your scholarship money. STOP EMAILING ME.

    Sorry this was so long and slightly unrelated. I just wanted to rant about the admissions process tbh.
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  • SpringAwake15SpringAwake15 217 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hmm. I agree with the sentiment that it's nice for colleges to somehow personalize acceptance letters. One of the schools that I got into included a comment on my acceptance letter about my essay, and I thought that was a really nice touch. It's small, but it made me feel like I was more than a statistic to them (regardless of if that impression was really accurate or not).

    That being said, I also had several colleges call me (some multiple times) after being admitted to ask if I had questions, and that was kind of uncomfortable. I appreciate the sentiment of reaching out to students, but it felt pushy. That also might be because I just don't like phone calls. Who knows.

    I liked receiving viewbooks in the mail; I found them fun to look at, even if I had no interest in the school. Random letters and all got recycled almost immediately. Most emails I deleted right away. It's kind of annoying that I'm still receiving them from places I haven't even applied to.
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  • EatwillBAux-KEatwillBAux-K 4777 replies349 threads Senior Member
    1) Do you own research unless it's a very specific question
    2) PLEASE look up individual colleges' website for basic information
    3) don't waste time on chancing others
    4) Make sure to discuss about money issues with your parents
    5) If your counselor proves to be very not helping, then you are on your own.
    6) Make your own EC if possible.
    7) Take tests at least by Junior year.

    For international students, please don't rely on your immigrant community for the "information"They tend to be inaccurate/outdated and/or completely the opposite of the truth. Seek help from professionals(like certain posters in CC) and strategically plan for colleges. Don't expect colleges to give you money. Make back up plans. Don't pursue prestige because of your friends/families or you will end up nowhere.

    For colleges, stop spamming with your "you are what we seek!" mails. You are giving false hopes to kids who aren't that good, and you are wasting good amount of trees!
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  • stvincentstvincent 13 replies0 threads New Member
    The spam email and letters are ridiculous. And then I get letters from all the way from Wisconsin colleges I'm not even considering... Worse yet, there's not an unsubscribe option to check off on letters. When I'm signing up for more info from colleges, there should be a mandatory "I prefer to be contacted by phone or email" option.

    I like how some colleges offer refunds on new student conferences if you're not attending. They're all in the hundred ranges and it hurts if you're still torn between choosing colleges and you have to reserve before you get booted.

    The ideal: colleges digitize the paperwork. All of it. Save trees.

    And for the application process itself, it was tough keeping track of what college wanted what. And the shelling out extra money for application fees and sending SAT scores... hated that. I hear that you DON'T play those fees in Europe. My jaw dropped. I didn't even try doing my CSS because I stuck with the state public unis. Look for fee waivers. Seriously. Use your SAT waivers. Use the comm app waivers.

    Don't feel inferior that you're going to a local unis while others are going out of state. Focus on what you have. It takes a world of stress off.

    I wish I had wrote my essays early on in the year. I could then finesse it to my liking during the rest of the school year. It doesn't need to be a complete concept, just a rough working. Never ever ever ever ever do anything at the last second. Not only does it make it hard for you, it takes a toll on your guidance counselor too.

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  • CatmatmcCatmatmc 103 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I became a big fan of two of my D15's schools' admissions blogs. Great information and a peek behind the admissions curtain, so to speak. Rarely did a question in the comments go more than a few hours without a response from the admins.

    A big impression on D over the other options that did not have that kind of social presence. I do think the connection she had with them via the blog postings had something to do with why they came down to top 2.
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  • MarkinovRulesMarkinovRules 46 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Colleges tend to not send as much promotional stuff during senior year as they did in junior year -- which is actually confusing...
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  • profparentprofparent 331 replies0 threads Member
    Kudos to the AP English teacher who used the Common App. essay prompts as an early fall class assignment. It prevented the procrastination problem and made the application process less stressful.

    Gap year: best decision DS ever made.

    Applying to fewer schools, but ones that he had visited, loved, were strong in his major, and good fits for merit aid: second best decision DS ever made.
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