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NewlyRetired

College Admissions Questions

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I will start with a question I have.

My kid is a rising high school senior this year and we have been visiting a ton of schools.

More than a few schools we have visited have emphasized that they do not require any standardized test scores be submitted, leaving it up to the applicant to decide what to do.

 

I figure each school might treat this a little differently but does anyone know in general how these schools will treat the kids who don't send in the scores vs the kids who do?

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7 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

I will start with a question I have.

My kid is a rising high school senior this year and we have been visiting a ton of schools.

More than a few schools we have visited have emphasized that they do not require any standardized test scores be submitted, leaving it up to the applicant to decide what to do.

 

I figure each school might treat this a little differently but does anyone know in general how these schools will treat the kids who don't send in the scores vs the kids who do?

How high is your kid rising?  May want to monitor that. 

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There's a good, long-running college admissions thread in case you want to revive it:

https://forums.footballguys.com/forum/topic/622176-free-undergraduate-admissions-advice/?page=1

Test optional schools truly are test-optional. They won't downgrade your kid's application if he/she doesn't submit test scores. However, they will give them a bump for good test scores. A rule of thumb is that if your kid's score is above the college's published midpoint for accepted students, then go ahead and send them. If they're below, then don't. 

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My work buddy hired a college prep advisor (not sure what the official title is) that helps you and your kid out with everything such as sat prep, financial aid, applying for grants and scholarships, applications, choosing a major, choosing a college, preparing for interviews if applicable, etc.  A lot of it is just the advisor working with the kid such as with the choosing a major part so the kid gets information and guidance from someone that isn't the parents. This advising goes on for a few years.  I think it was a little over a grand but he thought it was immensely helpful and considering just getting a scholarship or grant alone that you would've missed could easily save you that much, it seems like a great deal.

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5 hours ago, NewlyRetired said:

I will start with a question I have.

My kid is a rising high school senior this year and we have been visiting a ton of schools.

More than a few schools we have visited have emphasized that they do not require any standardized test scores be submitted, leaving it up to the applicant to decide what to do.

 

I figure each school might treat this a little differently but does anyone know in general how these schools will treat the kids who don't send in the scores vs the kids who do?

My D is moving in as a freshman in college next week. The advice from her HS was to "visit" all schools she was interested in online, YouTube/Facebook/school sites and visit once accepted. Process worked great

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1 hour ago, wilked said:

Is 'rising senior' a pretty common term?

Yes. It can be applied to any grade. Rising 8th grader etc

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1 hour ago, wilked said:

Is 'rising senior' a pretty common term?

We have visited 13 colleges this summer and that is how every one of them referred to the class that was about to apply.

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1 hour ago, The_Man said:

Test optional schools truly are test-optional. They won't downgrade your kid's application if he/she doesn't submit test scores. However, they will give them a bump for good test scores. A rule of thumb is that if your kid's score is above the college's published midpoint for accepted students, then go ahead and send them. If they're below, then don't. 

I think this was my concern.  The only kids that send in the test scores are going to ones that are considered good scores and as such, they should have a leg up on the kids that don't send in the scores.

Thank you for the information and for the link to the other thread, I will read through that.

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I have been doing some more research on the 'test optional" schools.

The list of schools that are test optional is growing quite a bit.  Some good second tier type schools like MIddlebury, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Trinity, Wesleyan, Bates, WPI, Boston College, Colby etc have all gone this test optional route.

I have read that this is actually working out better for the colleges than for the students.  These colleges are seeing both a rise in total number of applicants (which allows them to reject more students to appear more exclusive), and have seen their average SAT scores rise significantly, since the ones that get submitted are obviously the good ones, which again makes them appear stronger.

What I have not been able to find is whether the children who are not passing in the test scores are treated the same as the kids that do during the admission process.  Many schools that speak out say they do not treat the applications any differently and yet many of the skeptics say the tests will still be used as tie breakers if needed.

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On 8/26/2016 at 2:05 PM, wilked said:

Is 'rising senior' a pretty common term?

It's certainly better than a falling senior. 

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On August 26, 2016 at 3:08 PM, HellToupee said:

My D is moving in as a freshman in college next week. The advice from her HS was to "visit" all schools she was interested in online, YouTube/Facebook/school sites and visit once accepted. Process worked great

I have heard some schools will give you extra points for visiting several times and will give tips to those that visit and attend general application meetings in person.

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1 minute ago, Phil Elliott said:

I have heard some schools will give you extra points for visiting several times and will give tips to those that visit and attend general application meetings in person.

One of the schools we visited explained it like this:

if they have two kids with identical applications and only one spot to give, they will give it to the child that expressed the most interest in the school via visits, interview etc.   That made some sense I think.

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59 minutes ago, Phil Elliott said:

I have heard some schools will give you extra points for visiting several times and will give tips to those that visit and attend general application meetings in person.

We only visited 4 schools and it was on accepted student days . There were 3 private and 1 state university. All the privates made another money offer before the deadline and so did another we didn't visit . BTW the privates were Williams , Middlebury , Skidmore & Suffolk.

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2 hours ago, NewlyRetired said:

I have been doing some more research on the 'test optional" schools.

The list of schools that are test optional is growing quite a bit.  Some good second tier type schools like MIddlebury, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Trinity, Wesleyan, Bates, WPI, Boston College, Colby etc have all gone this test optional route.

I have read that this is actually working out better for the colleges than for the students.  These colleges are seeing both a rise in total number of applicants (which allows them to reject more students to appear more exclusive), and have seen their average SAT scores rise significantly, since the ones that get submitted are obviously the good ones, which again makes them appear stronger.

What I have not been able to find is whether the children who are not passing in the test scores are treated the same as the kids that do during the admission process.  Many schools that speak out say they do not treat the applications any differently and yet many of the skeptics say the tests will still be used as tie breakers if needed.

Being from the Boston Area myself, I have friends that went to many of those schools. Granted this was in the last century, over 25 years ago! One of my best friends from HS went to Colby. That was a great school, and there is something to be said for going to a school that's out in the middle of nowhere, you are 'forced' to focus on school because there is not much else to do. The most interesting part of going there in '88 was the fact that built in to your tuition was an Apple Mac. (The old R2D2 shaped version) This allowed the beginnings of networking at the school, and with everyone on the same machine it made it easier.

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On 8/26/2016 at 0:05 PM, wilked said:

Is 'rising senior' a pretty common term?

It is in college football and college basketball recruiting circles. Never seen it used anywhere else.

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How many schools do average seniors apply to these days?  When I was a senior I only applied to Georgia Tech.  I don't picture my kids applying to more than 2 schools, and with my daughter I'd guess it would be one.

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1 minute ago, Nugget said:

How many schools do average seniors apply to these days?  When I was a senior I only applied to Georgia Tech.  I don't picture my kids applying to more than 2 schools, and with my daughter I'd guess it would be one.

my nieces applied to somewhere around 15 each.

I think the internet applications have made things much easier in that regard... I applied to 5 schools- and that seemed like one or two more than normal back then.

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1 minute ago, El Floppo said:

my nieces applied to somewhere around 15 each.

I think the internet applications have made things much easier in that regard... I applied to 5 schools- and that seemed like one or two more than normal back then.

Can they re-use the essays?  Are the application fees reasonable?  

I think the most I recall anyone in my school applying to was 7.   Most of my buddies did an early decision route and about 80% of them were accepted.

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3 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

my nieces applied to somewhere around 15 each.

I think the internet applications have made things much easier in that regard... I applied to 5 schools- and that seemed like one or two more than normal back then.

Are there still 'fees' related to the applications? If so how much?

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sorry guys- I have no idea really.

I got the impression that the same essay was used for most of the schools. application fees... my brother isn't rich, so I don't see how they could've been too much. 

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9 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

sorry guys- I have no idea really.

I got the impression that the same essay was used for most of the schools. application fees... my brother isn't rich, so I don't see how they could've been too much. 

I suppose having everything done electronically makes things easier for the schools.

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35 minutes ago, Nugget said:

Can they re-use the essays?  Are the application fees reasonable?  

I think the most I recall anyone in my school applying to was 7.   Most of my buddies did an early decision route and about 80% of them were accepted.

There is the common app essay and that goes to every school that accepts the common app.

After that, each school can choose to ask supplemental questions/essays that the student has to fill out for said school.  These vary from school to school and some schools do not require anything beyond the common app essay.

The applications fees appear to be around $65 for the schools my daughter is looking at (that is per school).  Also note that you have to pay a separate fee to get the SAT/ACT scores sent to the college.

Edited by NewlyRetired

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Most schools seem to have a regular decision deadline date of January 1 for a fall entry student.

There are SAT tests that are offered in early December and the scores will be available to be sent by Dec 23rd this year.

But I am unsure if that is too late for most schools to consider as part of the Jan 1st deadline.

I called a couple on my daughters list and one school said those would not be considered and one school said they would be considered.  I guess I am just going to have to call each school separately.

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38 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

my nieces applied to somewhere around 15 each.

I think the internet applications have made things much easier in that regard... I applied to 5 schools- and that seemed like one or two more than normal back then.

15!?!

That is a lot. 

 

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55 minutes ago, Nugget said:

How many schools do average seniors apply to these days?  When I was a senior I only applied to Georgia Tech.  I don't picture my kids applying to more than 2 schools, and with my daughter I'd guess it would be one.

It really depends on the type of schools the child wants to go to.

If the schools are only safety schools, then the number can be limited.

If the child wants to focus on target schools (schools they look appropriate for but might not get in) the number needs to grow.

If the child has some reach schools, then the number has to grow even bigger.

Naviance is a nice tool for when the time comes.  It will show you how children from your child's school have done when applying to specific schools based on their GPA and Test Scores.  These charts are always interesting because you will see students that look like they should have gotten in, being rejected and vice versa.

My daughter has identified 4 she wants to apply to but 2 of these are reach schools (two Ivy leagues) and as such we need to add a few more to her list.  Yay! More college visits :(

Edited by NewlyRetired

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10 minutes ago, RedmondLonghorn said:

15!?!

That is a lot.

15 does seem overkill but some parents seem to go crazy with this stuff.  I am pretty sure one of my nieces did over 20 because it was nearly a full time job for her mom who wanted to pit as many schools against each other as possible for financial aid etc.  Twas too crazy for my tastes.

 

2 safeties, 3 targets and maybe 1-2 reach schools seems like a good balance to me but everyone is different.

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9 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

It really ranges on the type of schools the child wants to go to.

If the schools are only safety schools, then the number can be limited.

If the child wants to focus on target schools (schools they look appropriate for but might not get in) the number needs to grow.

If the child has some reach schools, then the number has to grow even bigger.

Naviance is a nice tool for when the time comes.  It will show you how children from your child's school have done when applying to specific schools based on their GPA and Test Scores.  These charts are always interesting because you will see students that look like they should have gotten in, being rejected and vice versa.

My daughter has identified 4 she wants to apply to but 2 of these are reach schools (two Ivy leagues) and as such we need to add a few more to her list.  Yay! More college visits :(

This. 

I applied to 5 colleges but only one law school.  I knew I was getting in to Kansas and that's where i wanted to attend so there wasn't any need to apply to others. 

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4 hours ago, Nugget said:

How many schools do average seniors apply to these days?  When I was a senior I only applied to Georgia Tech.  I don't picture my kids applying to more than 2 schools, and with my daughter I'd guess it would be one.

My oldest daughter, now a junior at Bowdoin College, applied to 8 or 9.  Two highly exclusive/"reach" schools, 3-4 upper tier small liberals, and 2-3 safety schools.  Seems like 5-10 is typical, based on the criteria NewlyRetired listed.

 

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1 hour ago, The Dreaded Marco said:

 

My oldest daughter, now a junior at Bowdoin College, applied to 8 or 9.  Two highly exclusive/"reach" schools, 3-4 upper tier small liberals, and 2-3 safety schools.  Seems like 5-10 is typical, based on the criteria NewlyRetired listed.

 

Bowdoin got a lot of press lately based on their excellent dining options and attacks by Malcolm Gladwell.  

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My kid did 9 last year - 3 reach, 3 match, 3 safety (and a couple of those were financial safeties that we knew we could afford if none of the others worked out with the $)

Got into 6, got shut out at Harvard, Yale, Princeton 

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1 hour ago, Nugget said:

Bowdoin got a lot of press lately based on their excellent dining options and attacks by Malcolm Gladwell.  

Yeah, I heard a lot about that from my daughter. 

The food is great at Bowdoin.  Much better than anything I ever had in college.

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can you guys who have been through this hectic process talk a bit about college interviews?  

I am unsure if they should be scheduled before you apply or after.  Things are so busy I am hoping it can be done in January but don't know if that is too late.  

Am I correct in telling my daughter that these tend to be casual low pressure type of interviews?  She is a bit nervous about them but I think they just want to see some interest from the student.

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Students definitely make too much of these in their own minds. At highly selective schools, where you do the interview with an alum, the interviews are really more about alumni relations than they are about admissions. These kinds of interviews take place off campus and aren't even scheduled until your application is submitted.

Going to interview with the Admissions Office is still pretty low-key - the admissions people are nice, they like kids, and they want you to apply and feel good about their school. For schools that track demonstrated interest, just making the effort to go to campus and have the interview is the key thing, not so much what happens at the interview itself.

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1 minute ago, The_Man said:

Students definitely make too much of these in their own minds. At highly selective schools, where you do the interview with an alum, the interviews are really more about alumni relations than they are about admissions. These kinds of interviews take place off campus and aren't even scheduled until your application is submitted.

Going to interview with the Admissions Office is still pretty low-key - the admissions people are nice, they like kids, and they want you to apply and feel good about their school. For schools that track demonstrated interest, just making the effort to go to campus and have the interview is the key thing, not so much what happens at the interview itself.

thanks.  For the interviews at the office, do you know if that should be done before the application is submitted?  Or is it best to just call each school and ask?

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9 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

thanks.  For the interviews at the office, do you know if that should be done before the application is submitted?  Or is it best to just call each school and ask?

I think it varies from school to school. Pretty sure you can find this info on the Admissions sections of most schools' websites, or just call and ask.

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2 minutes ago, The_Man said:

I think it varies from school to school. Pretty sure you can find this info on the Admissions sections of most schools' websites, or just call and ask.

I made the call rounds last week trying to figure out what the last SAT date would be accepted for regular decision so I will just make the same round of calls again :)

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On 9/22/2016 at 0:16 PM, NewlyRetired said:

It really depends on the type of schools the child wants to go to.

If the schools are only safety schools, then the number can be limited.

If the child wants to focus on target schools (schools they look appropriate for but might not get in) the number needs to grow.

If the child has some reach schools, then the number has to grow even bigger.

Naviance is a nice tool for when the time comes.  It will show you how children from your child's school have done when applying to specific schools based on their GPA and Test Scores.  These charts are always interesting because you will see students that look like they should have gotten in, being rejected and vice versa.

My daughter has identified 4 she wants to apply to but 2 of these are reach schools (two Ivy leagues) and as such we need to add a few more to her list.  Yay! More college visits :(

This thing is impressive and really does help your kid zero in and whether the school is a safe, maybe, or reach.  And it is kind of weird how people get in and don't get in with widely disparate scores. 

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21 minutes ago, James Daulton said:

This thing is impressive and really does help your kid zero in and whether the school is a safe, maybe, or reach.  And it is kind of weird how people get in and don't get in with widely disparate scores. 

I love that part of it.  I figure the kids who get in who don't look like they should have, must have some strong connections to the school likely through immediate family members working at the school.

I can't figure out though what happens to the poor kid in the upper right side of the chart who did not get in.  It has to be something like a messed up application or an unexpected poor recommendation...

Our counselor did warn us though that some schools are changing rapidly.  Schools like Northeastern are becoming harder and harder to get into and some of the older data on Naviance might give the wrong impression of a kids ability to get in.

Edited by NewlyRetired

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Just now, NewlyRetired said:

I love that part of it.  I figure the kids who get in who don't look like they should have some strong connections to the school likely through immediate family members working at the school.

I can't figure out though what happens to the poor kid in the upper right side of the chart who did not get in.  It has to be something like a messed up application or an unexpected poor recommendation...

Our counselor did warn us though that some schools are changing rapidly.  Schools like Northeastern are becoming harder and harder to get into and some of the older data on Naviance might give the wrong impression of a kids ability to get in.

There really is so much pressure on kids these days.  My kid's not at the level as a lot of your kids it seems, but even saying that she 4.0 with 1260 SATs and we're not even looking at tier two schools.  In order to get into the level below Ivy's (like Northwestern for example), it seems like you can't have a single blemish on your record.  My kid has played in the band, two varsity sports, and a decent amount of volunteering her high school career.  I wonder how the admissions office weighs this versus someone who played no sports but got say 1320 on the SATs?

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1 minute ago, James Daulton said:

There really is so much pressure on kids these days.  My kid's not at the level as a lot of your kids it seems, but even saying that she 4.0 with 1260 SATs and we're not even looking at tier two schools.  In order to get into the level below Ivy's (like Northwestern for example), it seems like you can't have a single blemish on your record.  My kid has played in the band, two varsity sports, and a decent amount of volunteering her high school career.  I wonder how the admissions office weighs this versus someone who played no sports but got say 1320 on the SATs?

my daughter and your daughter sound very similar.

my daughter has an unweighted GPA of 3.97 (one A- is the blemish) in all AP and honors courses but low SAT scores in the 1200's.  She is going to take them two more times but we are planning on not much improvement.

We are targetting schools that are test optional in case there is no improvement.

I think it varies tremendously school to school how much weight they put on the tests.  Some do a lot, some less.  

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2 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

my daughter and your daughter sound very similar.

my daughter has an unweighted GPA of 3.97 (one A- is the blemish) in all AP and honors courses but low SAT scores in the 1200's.  She is going to take them two more times but we are planning on not much improvement.

We are targetting schools that are test optional in case there is no improvement.

I think it varies tremendously school to school how much weight they put on the tests.  Some do a lot, some less.  

Really think you guys are over worrying. My D who is a fresh at Williams did horrendous her 1st 2 years in high school. Really bad . A strong junior yr and only 1 app class , which she got a 4 on the apt test , and she got in everywhere but 1 school. Relax , it's a buyers market. 

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1 minute ago, HellToupee said:

Really think you guys are over worrying. My D who is a fresh at Williams did horrendous her 1st 2 years in high school. Really bad . A strong junior yr and only 1 app class , which she got a 4 on the apt test , and she got in everywhere but 1 school. Relax , it's a buyers market. 

wow, this is the exact opposite of what I am being told when I research this stuff.  I would consider Williams a reach school for my daughter.  How was your daughters SAT's/ACT's?  That piece is killing my daughter.  

Our counselor told us Northeastern was a reach for her even though she had a higher GPA than any student from our school system to previously get in that college.

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16 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

my daughter and your daughter sound very similar.

my daughter has an unweighted GPA of 3.97 (one A- is the blemish) in all AP and honors courses but low SAT scores in the 1200's.  She is going to take them two more times but we are planning on not much improvement.

We are targetting schools that are test optional in case there is no improvement.

I think it varies tremendously school to school how much weight they put on the tests.  Some do a lot, some less.  

We're so consumed by high scores that we think this.  1200 is still the 70th percentile of the test.  So on average only 3 people out of 10 did better.

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