Posts Tagged ‘college selection’

Juniors, Here Is A List of What To Expect When You Are Expecting to Go To College

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Most college admission officers will tell you, from the spring semester of a student’s junior year through the fall semester of that student’s senior year, they should be heading full tilt towards college.  What does that mean?  It means this is the time for students to get serious about the college selection process.  Here is a timeline, to help you know what to expect when you are expecting to go to college.


If possible, start visiting colleges.  In order to do that, you need to speak with your guidance counselor or college adviser and craft an initial list of schools.  Possibly take the ACT for the first time, if you haven’t yet.  Register for the March SAT.  Prepare for both tests.


Most high schools begin their course selection for senior year.  Remember to take a challenging curriculum.  Register for the April ACT.  Continue studying for both tests.  College Visits!  If you want to play sports in college, start contacting coaches.


Register for the May SAT or SAT II’s.  You will need to take the SAT II Subject Tests if you are applying to some colleges.  If you are taking an AP test that correlates with an SAT II test, then I recommend you take the SAT II in May, as the May test date is right in the middle of AP Exams, and all the content will be fresh in your head.  If you have registered for it, take the ACT test.  Continue your college visits and start to narrow down your list of schools.


Take the SAT or SAT II’s, if you have registered for the test.  Register for the June SAT or SAT II, or ACT.  Study for the tests!  Get your results back from the April ACT or the May SAT.  Decide if you need to take the test again, and what you need to study.  Start studying for your final exams.  Junior year is the last full year of classes that the colleges will see.  Your grades are always the primary factor in the decision whether to admit you to college or deny you.  Start planning what you are going to do over the summer.  If you think might want to have one of your current teachers write you a letter of recommendation, ask now, so he or she can write the letter over the Summer.


Take your high school exams, if you haven’t yet.  Take the SAT or SAT II, or the ACT.  Most colleges are out of session now, so visits might not be as effective as when classes are in session.  But, it is better to visit in the Summer than to never visit at all.  Review your test results and plan which tests you need to retake in the Fall and how you are going to prepare.  Contact college coaches again to let them know which camps, tournaments, etcetera you will be attending over the Summer.


Have a little fun!  OK, now back to work.  Review your of schools and start narrowing it down to the final schools to which you are going to apply.  Start writing your personal statement or college essay.  Work a summer job, go to a summer program, or perform some community service.  Make certain to stay active.


The Common Application becomes available.  Start an account online, and start filling out your application.  Work on your college essay!  The best writing takes abundant rewriting, so be sure to give yourself enough time to write a good essay.  Get a list together of all school requirements for the schools to which you are applying (how many teacher recommendations, extra essays, interviews, et cetera).  Touch base with any teachers you have asked to write a letter of recommendation for you.  You can now provide them with the Common Application’s Teacher Evaluation form.  Visit colleges.  Interview for college.  Decide if and where you will apply Early Decision and or Early Action.  Study for standardized tests.  Register for September ACT.


Keep up your grades.  Put finishing touches on applications.  Continue college interviews.  Request teacher recommendations.  Finalize your college list.  Review the list to make sure you have at least one admission “safe” school and one financial “safe” school.  If you do not have a financial “safety”, use to find one.  Take ACT again if necessary. Register for October SAT, if necessary.  Study for standardized tests.


Take SAT and ACT if necessary.  Request transcripts from your guidance office.  Finalize and submit applications for your Early Action and Early Decision schools.  Continue visits and interviews.  Send thank you notes to anyone you had interviewed with previously.  Make certain you have requested your letters of recommendation.  Send thank you letters to teachers who have written you recommendations.  Check on financial aid deadlines to the schools to which you are applying.  Register for November SAT, if necessary.

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Avoiding the Summer Daze: Rising Seniors Use Your Summer Wisely

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Now that the school year is wrapping up (or has already been wrapped up), it is easy to just kick back, relax, and allow half the summer to go by without doing anything to get your self ready for college.  The fall of senior year can be a very stressful time, so I recommend you use the summer to get a jump on your college applications.  Here is a list of things that you need to get done this summer.

  • Finalize Your College List
    —Narrow list down to 8 to 10 schools
    —Revisit your original criteria, has anything changed?
    —Check application requirements at your list of schools
    —Have you met testing requirements?
    —Do you have teachers lined up for letters of recommendation?
    —When are the deadlines?
  • Visit Colleges Again
    —This will help you narrow down the list and come up with your own ranking of the schools
    —Demonstrated interest is becoming more important in the admission process. This is one of the best ways to show interest.
    —If possible, interview when on campus.
  • Prepare for Fall Standardized Tests
    Take practice SAT or ACT tests
    Review performance results from your spring tests, and study up on areas where you are weak
    Consider tutoring, a course, or a book to help you improve
  • Start Your Applications!
    —The Common Application accounts open on August 1, but you can print a draft and get started earlier
    —Write a resume
    —Start your essay!
    —The Common Application has reinstated the 500 word limit on the long essay.
    Work on the Common Application short answer
    Make certain you know your school’s policy regarding transcript requests
  • Develop a List of Financial Aid Deadlines
    —When are the filing deadlines?
    —What forms are required?
    —Do you have a financial safety school?

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Juniors, Don’t Wait Till Senior Year for the College Onslaught

Monday, February 14th, 2011

It is hard to believe, but we are already in the middle of February.  Most college admission officers will tell juniors that from now on they should be completely focused on college.  But, what does that mean?  First, you need to prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, and SAT II if required by target colleges).  Ideally you would have all standardized tests completed by the end of junior year, so you can devote the summer to drafting your essays and completing applications. 

Second, continue to compile a transcript with rigorous courses and participate in meaningful activities.  The most important piece of the college admission puzzle is your transcript.  So, keep getting good grades and make sure to choose your classes wisely for next year.  Colleges do not want to see you taking it easy in your senior year.  In fact, a recent study corroborated what guidance counselors have been telling students for years: taking harder classes improves your chances of getting in more than improving your grades or your SAT/ACT scores. 

Third, visit target colleges to create “demonstrated interest” and learn about schools.  This is invaluable.  You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, so you shouldn’t attend a college without thoroughly evaluating it.  In additon to visiting the campus to show demonstrated interest, you can also find local college fairs that the colleges youa re interested in will be attending.  The NACAC college fairs are great, as you get a large number of colleges in one place, and typically they are attended by members of the college’s admission staff and not just local alumni recruiters.

Finally, as we near the end of the year start to approach teachers who know you best to request letters of recommendation. If they seem excited, get contact information so you can send the recommendation forms when they become available in July.

Buckle up, you are in for a wild ride.  But, if you take the time to plan carefully, you will have a number of great options and it will all be worth it in the end.

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The college fair has always had its share of flaws. It’s loud; it’s crowded; the booths run out of brochures; all of the presentations happen at the same time; only local universities attend; the most popular colleges leave too early; it’s too far away from home. However, the next generation of college fair has arrived. At, students have convenient, online access to virtual college fairs that include over 200 colleges and universities from across the world.

Virtual fairs are usually held once every few months, and each lasts about two days. They feature live Q&A sessions with admissions representatives, digital college brochures, keynote presentations on topics ranging from financial aid to standardized testing, and many other interactive events. Additionally, the website frequently hosts regional fairs, such as the upcoming “Texas Day,” and presentations by individual colleges. Unlike the videos on other college admissions websites, most of’s presentations utilize a videoconference-type format that allows viewers to interact directly with the presenters. The website also keeps a temporary archive of all of its events for students who are unable to view them live. Access to both live presentations and archives is free, and the site has minimal technical requirements (the interface is an Adobe Flash application that can operate on almost any web browser). The registration process also allows students to opt-into receiving news and scholarship offers from College Week Live’s partner college admission websites.

With more than 25,000 students attending its last virtual fair, is a fast-growing source of college admissions information. It is a convenient way for prospective students to either discover new colleges or narrow their existing list of schools before making campus visits.

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Smart Planning Helps Save On College Costs

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Increasing college and university costs make decision-making more and more pertinent for younger students.

Tuition outpaces the rate of inflation and has for more than 30 years. With most colleges and universities releasing data that indicates increases at 5 percent to 6 percent in tuition and fees, most students need to stick with a four-year plan of attack. Students unsure of majors can cost themselves or their parents for a fifth year of college. In today’s money, for tuition alone, a fifth year of college at a private institution will cost $35,636 (including room and board) and at a public institution, $15,213 (including room and board at an in-state rates).

While there seems to be no end in sight for increasing college costs, being better prepared when entering those college or university doors may mean big savings. According to founder Dr. Fritz Grupe, failing to get started on time with a highly structured major such as engineering or computer science, may make an extra year of studies necessary, costing not only an extra year of tuition, but also books, lodging and meals, lost wages and a delay in beginning “real” life.

Grupe says about 80 percent of incoming first-year students lack focus and that indecision can be expensive. To help undecided students, especially those finishing the last couple of years in high school, Grupe created an interactive Web site that unites school experience and personal values to recommend majors. The majors are for consideration and direction, plus the site features other information about coursework and the jobs they could lead to and other resources to find success in those specific majors.

Grupe says most students can be helped, including those who fall into categories like “naïve,” “indecisives,” and “the clueless.” These are students that think they know what career they would like, but careers and majors are not the same things. Perhaps they cannot see how to make the transition from the career they want to a major that will get them there. Maybe they simply do not know what majors are available. Or they are students who waffle on all decisions and are overwhelmed under the weight of so much data. Still others lack direction.

The Web site may just be that resource designed to aid students and to recommend majors that appear to be good ones based on the student’s high school experience and personal values. In providing direction, Grupe’s creation may provide tangible savings for the student and parents.

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Reducing College Costs Through Regional State Programs

Monday, November 16th, 2009

In the last year, many families have decided that they would allow allow their children to apply to in-state state schools.  As I have often said, this needlessly limits options, because many private schools offer scholarships that bring their net-cost in line with that of a state school, despite the fact that their sticker price is much higher.  In addition to researching merit scholarships, students in some states have the option of taking place in a regional state program.  In these programs, if a major is not offered in the student’s home state, but is offered at a state school in another state within the program, the student can attend for a reduced rate.  The tuition depends on the program but typically ranges from in-state tuition to 1.5 times in state tuition.  Here is a summary of the different regional state programs available in the United States.

New England Board of Higher Education Regional States Program

If a major isn’t offered in your home state, but is offered at a school in another state, you are eligible for reduced tuition.  Typically it is 1.5 times in-state tuition.  One thing to watch out for is if you change your major to a major that is not offered in the program, you need to pay back the difference in tuition.  You can check the various majors that are available on the website,  The only schools that participate are state schools.  They offer Associates and Bachelors degrees through the program.

Participating States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Southern Regional Education Board Academic Common Market

This is the most generous of the programs, as participants pay in-state tuition at participating institutions.  Also, if you end up changing your major, the tuition change will be effective for the semester when you make the change, but you might not need to pay back retro-active tuition savings.  To learn about the schools and majors available through this program visit,

Participating States: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware,Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

Note: Florida, North Carolina, and Texas only participate for graduate programs.

Midwest Student Exchange Program

The Midwest Student Exchange Program operates on the same premise as the other programs, that is if a major is not offered at one of your in-state state schools you qualify for a reduced tuition at another participating state school.  Unlike the other programs, the MSEP includes some private schools as well.  Students qualify for 1.5 times in-state tuition at the state schools and for a 10% tuition reduction at participating private schools.  Learn more about the program at

Participating States: Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin

Western Undergraduate Exchange

This program consists of state schools, and like the other programs if a major is not offered at one of the state schools in your home state, but is offered at another participating institution, you are eligible for reduced the tuition.  The tuition in this program is 1.5 times in-state tuition.  Learn more about the program at

Participating States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.

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9 Things You Need To Know About College Planning: Lesson #1

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

In this video James Maroney, founder of First Choice College Placement and, talks about college as a valuable lesson in the decision making process.  He covers the factors students should use to help choose a school as well as the sources they should use to evaluate the colleges.

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October 14, 2009 edition of carnival of college admission

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Choosing the Right College

Now that summer has officially ended we are in the midst of many of the annual rites of fall: changing colors of the leaves; college football; and college applications.  For many, the debate rages over whether or not they should apply Early Decision.  Todd Johnson tells you what you need to think about before applying early decision to a college in his post Is Early Decision Right For You? at College Admissions Counseling.  Another hotly debated issue is that of college rankings. Admissions expert Brady Norvall shares his perspective on whether you should consider us college rankings when choosing a college in his post Ranking the US College Rankings posted at myUsearch blog.   Also, as students stare at their college applications they are often faced with the question of “What do you want to do after college?”  Nissim Ziv presents What Career is Right For Me? Finding the Right Career Path posted at Job Interview Guide.  Just as there are many new career paths, there are also many new majors available at universities.  Saying, “Some of the hottest new college majors need some decoding — learn what subjects like sustainability and health informatics are all about,” Dawn Papandrea does just that in Decoding Emerging College Majors posted at CollegeSurfing Insider.

Deidre Laverriere presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Directories posted at Online University Rankings.

Dickon Ervin presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes for Teachers posted at Masters in Health Education.

Wikholm Nelida presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes About Science posted at masters in health science.

Susie Cortez presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes About Criminal Justice posted at Online Masters in Criminal Justice.

Nancee Dietrick presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes about Career Management posted at Masters of Nursing.

Lisa Taylor presents 100 Best iPhone Apps for Academic Types posted at Accredited Online Degrees.

Shannon Wills presents 100 iPhone Apps to Seriously Boost Your Brainpower posted at Online Bible Colleges.

Chris presents Distance Learning Colleges and Universities posted at MJJ Party, saying, “Distance learning colleges and universities offer unique solutions to unique situations, and may be worth looking into for many.”

Ulysses Erwin presents How to Choose the Best Medical Billing School for You? posted at online medical billing courses.

JoeDale presents Accelerated College Degrees Online posted at Online Accelerated Degree Colleges, saying, “Are you interested in Accelerated College Degree Programs that allow you to earn an accredited degree at an accelerated pace? Compare universities offering accelerated classes and programs now.”

JoeDale presents Top Christian Universities | Online Christian Colleges and Universities – Christian Counseling Degree posted at Online Christian Colleges and Universities – Christian Counseling Degree, saying, “Christian Colleges and Universities finds, reviews, and discusses accredited universities offering accredited Christian Universities offering degrees online.”

Sandra Lopez presents 100 Educational Twitter Feeds for Med Students posted at RN Central.

College Life

While most students are focused on what they hope to do in the new semester, Brett J Callahan presents Five Back-to-School Do NOT’s posted at 2East: The College Living Blog.  Also, back on campus many students are feeling a financial pinch and might be tempted to look for credit cards.  For these students, Jim presents Best Student Credit Cards posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.  In order to save money, many students are considering moving off campus.  Across the country, many new students are just tussling with their first college exams and term papers.  Don’t worry freshman,Carolyn Friedman gives you useful web tools that will help you earn the grades your parent’s will be proud of while you are secretly having the time of your life as a freshman at 75 + Useful Web Tools for Your First Year of College posted at Online Christian Colleges, Tom Tessin gives tips you can use if you’re looking to find an apartment around the college campus in Apartments for College Students ? Finding One posted at FCC Student Blog.  With the recession, many non-traditional students are heading back to school as well.  Read about going back to school at age 40 when softmelon presents Back to School posted at The Den of Psychosis.  Here are some other resources:

Linda Jones presents 100 Educational, Entertaining Twitter Feeds Everyone Should Read posted at

Carol Brown presents 100 Awesome Bookhacks for Students & Bibilophiles posted at online

Anne Simone presents 100 Best Blogs for Econ Students posted at Online Universities Weblog.

Gene Desrosiers presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes about Healthcare Policy posted at Masters in Health Administration.

Mayra Forbes presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes About Statistics posted at Masters in Health Informatics.

Ayomide Astley presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes About Nutrition posted at Online Masters in Health.

Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid deadlines are just around the corner, but there is no time like the present to start researching scholarships.  Chris presents All About the Tylenol Scholarship posted at MJJ Party.  One of the keys to financing a college education is to start saving early.   Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Open New Ohio 529 Account to Get $200 in Bonuses posted at Cash Money Life, saying, “The Ohio 529 College Savings Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is offering a generous sign up bonus for new accounts. You can easily earn a couple hundred dollars to go toward your college savings.”

Getting Admitted

To ED or not to ED, that is the question.  Mark Montgomery tackles this question in his post Early Decision or Regular Decision in College Admission–Which is Better? posted at Great College Advice, saying, “Students and parents are often confused about whether to use early decision as a strategy for admission. This post clears up that confusion.”  There is a lot of talk about the growing gender gap at America’s college campuses.  Andrew Syrios tackles this issue in Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: The Female-Male College Gap | posted at

Susan White presents 100 Incredible, Cutting-Edge Lectures for Medical Professionals posted at RN Central.

Alex Filley presents Top 10 Free Open Courseware Classes About Health Care posted at Masters in Health Care.

Stacie Young presents 100 Best Blogs for Your Liberal Arts Education posted at Online Schools.

Linda Jones presents 100 Awesome iTunes Feeds for Every Kind of Teacher posted at

Graduate Schools

Unfortunately, not every application has a happy ending.  Adam Markus presents A Happy Story of HBS Rejection posted at Adam Markus: Graduate Admissions Guru, saying, “A MBA admissions consultant reflects on The Snowball by Alice Schroeder”

Kawi presents Nazi Pogroms at University of Kassel, Germany posted at Neo-Nazi Global Labour University (GLU), Germany, saying, “There have been rape attempts on international students at Kassel University, Germany; yet the government of Germany has never wanted to take notice of these ongoing complaints. Hence, students have been warned against applying there.”

Sidney Phipps presents Top 10 Free Resources for Digital Learners posted at Online University Reviews.

Akilah Honanie presents How to Choose the Forensic Science Degree for You posted at Best forensic science schools.

Jess Viengxay presents 7 Excellent Career Tips for Criminal Justice Professionals posted at Best masters in healthcare.

Farias Andrew presents 7 Excellent Career Tips for Work-at-Home Moms posted at Best ultrasound schools.

Watches Jacob presents How to Choose the Best MHA Degree Program for You? posted at online MHA degree.

Edwin Campton presents How to Choose the Best Online University for You? posted at Best online university reviews.

Lara Bailey presents How to Choose the Best Medical Coding Program for You posted at online medical billing careers.

Shanon Hofmann presents 7 Excellent Twitter Tools for Lawyers posted at Best masters in criminal justice.

Other Cool Stuff

Candice Arnold presents AIESEC Internships Foster Understanding and Improve Students’ Marketability : Insights by Internship Experts Blog posted at  Lynn Mattoon presents Gearing Up for the Careers of Tomorrow posted at My College Admissions Blog –, saying, “Today’s college students may be preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet!”

Kathy Wilson presents 100 Best Blogs for Photography Students posted at online

Diane Steward presents 25 Excellent “Dot Gov” Tools to Research Any Online School posted at Online University Data, saying, “From search tools to financial aid resources and more, these 25 Web resources from the government will help you in your quest to earn any degree.”

Kathy Wilson presents 10 U.S. Presidents Who Got Their Start in Teaching posted at Online Schools.

OnlineCollege presents The Top 100 Colleges on Twitter posted at Universities and Colleges.

Jacqueline Gharibian presents Top 10 Education Apps|iPhone Application for Students posted at Ipod Instructions-Ipod 101.

Rose King presents 100 Free Tools to Tutor Yourself in Anything posted at online

Hannah DeMilta presents Thinking in A Foreign Language | Al Jamiat Magazine posted at Al Jamiat Magazine.

Mai Melvin presents 7 Excellent Twitter Tools for Nurses posted at Masters in nursing.

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