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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

Why high school internships are the next trend

Posted by Neal Schwartz on February 04, 2022

The word “internship” evokes a couple of associations, and one of them is “college.” College students often intern in fields related to their major to have a competitive advantage in the work force. Internship experiences vary, of course, from administrative busywork to concrete collaboration and projects. Now, high schools are catching on to the advantages of internships at an even earlier age, some even making high school internships a requirement.

In the past, high school internships were rarely even considered, college internships being the norm. In college, students are expected to be more mature and therefore more capable of thriving in a professional context. However, times are changing.

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Topics: internships, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, professional experience, college planning, entrepreneurial

How to Navigate the Merit Aid Puzzle

Posted by Neal Schwartz on January 11, 2022

When it comes to financial aid, all situations are different. There is no formula to perfectly predict what you’ll get, because a common misconception is that financial aid is the same from all schools. It isn’t. Factors that play into financial aid distribution are Early Decision, private versus public universities and school ranking.

Early Decision has always been a way for colleges to increase their student yield. When students apply early, they show their commitment to a school and a school can be sure that they will attend if accepted. As noted in our previous blogs, recent test optional policies have also increased the number of applications. However, even though this option seems uniquely beneficial on both sides, colleges with Early Decision programs are not necessarily motivated to communicate that if the aid package doesn’t suit a family, they can disengage from the binding agreement.

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Topics: early decision, Financial Aid, college counseling, high school senior, fafsa, high school junior, college finances, college financial situation, college sophomore, college plans, choosing a major, Fin Aid Calculator

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