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How many schools should I apply to?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on August 17, 2022

 

8, 10,12,15, 15+ ?

I get this question more this year than ever before. Unfortunately, there is no answer that applies to all students. There is a wholesale change happening in college admissions that needs to be considered. There are so many different categories of admissions–Regular, Rolling, Early Action, Priority, Restricted Early Action, Early Decision, Early Decision 2–it is no wonder that parents and students are confused. But, more importantly is the fact that this confusion can impact a student’s admission’s chances. 

College Admissions is in a truly outrageous situation at the present time. The various admission categories have been morphing for years and when combined with the Covid/Test Optional catalyst, application growth has been explosive. This has resulted in what some may view as irrational behavior. 

For example, when parents learn that Mary didn’t get into any of the 12 schools she applied to, one conclusion that has been floated is that Mary didn’t apply to enough colleges. So, the logical next step is to apply to even more schools, maybe up to 15+. We can all understand how that will increase the volume of applications and lower admit rates. 

But what is even more disturbing is the perfect storm that has also developed for some savvy colleges. With more applications floating into the system, schools are looking for better ways to ensure that their yield is reduced–even as applications increase.  It appears that they have succeeded and nearly perfected their ability to gauge a student's true interest. Even while ignoring the increase in applications, and noting that the number of seats remains the same, some top colleges have lowered the absolute number of students that they admit.

So, what is the answer?

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, regular decision, college planning, admitted students

Summer College Visits

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 24, 2022

Summer is at its peak with the latest heat wave! A time to soak up some sunshine, enjoy dinners from the grill, and…plan college visits? Although untraditional, a summer visit to a college can be a beneficial way to see a school in its quieter off-season. If you or your student are too busy to travel during a school’s academic year, visiting a school during the summer or during a break in that school’s calendar is still a great opportunity.

Who is on campus during the summer?

There will be less students on campus, but that can also be an ideal time to get to know the people that are present: students taking summer courses or living on campus while working at an internship. Be aware that you might also find high school students on campus taking academic or sports programs and this can give you an unusual picture of campus life that may make it appear significantly younger than it will look in September. Schools may also offer summer housing opportunities to international students or those who travel a far distance to attend their chosen school (something to keep in mind in your own college decision journey). Visiting during the summer may also give you a chance to chat with professors or department heads.

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Topics: college preparation, life on campus, college tours, college open house, college visits, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, high school sophomore, holistic college admissions review, college location, college plans, college planning, summer college visits, Drexel University

Colorado Schools

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 11, 2022

Each year some of our students apply to a couple of Colorado schools. I spent some time this summer visiting 7 schools (University of Denver, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado College, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado Boulder, and Colorado State University) to see first hand what they have to offer. I came back both knowledgeable and impressed. I saw a mix of private and public universities and schools that had small, medium and large numbers of undergraduates. This Blog post will cover Colorado College, a small college with nearly 1900 students. I will cover the rest of the schools over the next month.

Overall impressions:

There is a wide range of colleges in the area. In addition to an expected Colorado based student body, there seemed to be a fair number of students from California high schools, as well as throughout the country. Some of that is attributed to the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) whereby eligible students can go to an out-of-state WUE school for 1.5 times what an in-state resident would pay. Whether you believe that Denver has 245 or 300 days of Sunshine each year, I can attest to the brightest blue sky imaginable. I found a wide range of interests from the students, depending on the school. Some came to their college because of activities like snowboarding, but most students cited academics as the reason they chose their school.

One surprise was the student union at CU Boulder that had a great outdoor pool. But I will highlight others that will best showcase their schools.

The facilities at every one of these schools were top notch. Like most schools in other locations, each Colorado school I visited was unique: an important reminder that researching a school and truly understanding its value is a more thorough process than a simple internet search. One commonality that I did find was the commitment to taking care of the student.

Look for my follow-up posts in this series where I will highlight the other schools to give you both a written and visual view of each school.

 

Colorado College

 

Colorado College is the only small liberal arts school in the Rocky Mountains. What separates this school from any other in the U.S. (to the best of my knowledge) is that a student takes one course at a time in a “block”. Each block covers 3 and 1/2 weeks. And there is a fair amount of flexibility to drop a block, take a summer block, etc. So, it will be all about that one course and as you might expect, there is little room for getting off track. Students that will do well in this environment are those that will advocate for themselves.

 

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Topics: college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college planning, small liberal arts college, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, The Block Plan, Western Undergraduate Exchange, CU Boulder, retention rate, Denver

How parents can help students prepare to leave home

Posted by Neal Schwartz on May 25, 2022

With the summer season upon us, many students are making their final decisions about where they'll be attending college in the fall. Even if it's still undecided, students can and should already start preparing for their new lives on campus. Leaving the nest can be just as difficult for students as it is for parents. Under the guise of excitement for their new independence, many students can quickly feel overwhelmed by all of the changes, no matter how small.

 

What comes to mind to most of us are the basics: first of all, have they ever done their own laundry? Start making this a regular practice if it's not already one. Being less available to the student as early as now will start training them to rely on themselves more. This is a simple adjustment that can make things a lot easier down the line. Adjusting habits now will carry over when the student is on their own and has to learn to take care of things independently.

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Topics: college counseling, high school senior, college freshmen, college planning, co-op program, time management skills, major life change, empty nester, college readiness, Separation anxiety, college roommate, independent student, college orientation

Are Colleges making students career ready?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on May 07, 2022

For all the Mothers out there, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Today's generation of students are uniquely challenged. With the reality check that COVID gave many, the shift has focused in some ways toward practicality. This means that colleges that position themselves as career-focused will be particularly attractive to prospective students.

Schools like Northeastern have long stood out because of their co-op program that emphasizes real world experience. This structure allows students to get a traditional college experience while working in a professional context, helping them develop the skills that they will need for a professional life, alongside critical thinking skills. How many other schools have followed or will follow the trend?

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Topics: term abroad, internships, college counseling, college planning, career skills, Northeastern University, career-focused, co-op program, career counseling, communication skills, career guidance, experiential skills, time management skills

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