Book: Competitive Colleges (29th Edition)

Understanding the College Admission Process – Ted Spencer, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Michigan (p. 2)

  • Gathering Information
    • catalogs
    • brochures
    • pamphlets
    • DVDs
    • website
    • other helpful sources
      • High School Counselors
      • Parents
      • College Day/Night/Fairs Visitation
        • 5 major areas to know:
          1. Academic preparation
          2. The admission process
          3. Financial aid
          4. Social life
          5. Job preparation
      • Alumni
      • Campus Visits
  • The Admission Process
    • Admission Criteria
      • your academic record and skills
      1. Does the college or university require standardized tests – the ACT or SAT? Do they prefer one or the other, or will they accept either?
      2. Do they require SAT Subject Tests and, if so, which ones?
      3. Are Advanced Placement scores accepted and, if so, what are the minimums needed?
      4. In terms of grades and class rank, what is the profile of typical entering student?
      • Type of admission notification:
        • rolling system – within several weeks of applying
        • deferred system – notification is generally made in the Spring
    • The Application
      • Read the application to learn the following:
        • Is there an application fee and, if so, how much is it?
        • Is there a deadline and, if so, when is it?
        • What standardized tests are required?
        • Is an essay required?
        • Is an interview required?
        • Should you send letters of recommendation?
        • How long will it take to find out the admission decision?
        • What other things can you do to improve your chances for admission?
      • Submit your application early.
    • Transcripts
      • Required Course Work
      • Challenging Courses
        • expectation of most selective colleges: 7 or more honors classes or 4 or more AP courses during their 4 years in high school
        • important that you make good grades in those courses
      • Transcript Trends
        • performance in upward or downward trend
        • develop good academic habits
        • Freshmen – you are in the college-preparatory track
        • Sophomore – choose more demanding courses; become more involved in extracurricular activities; balance your academic and extracurricular commitments – most critical and telling year
        • Junior – 2nd most important year – at the end of your junior year, many colleges will know enough about the type student you are to make their admission decision.
        • Senior – Upward and positive trend must continue – almost all selective schools review the final transcript, so your last year needs to show a strong performance to the end.
  • The Application Review Process
    • 1st reviewed by non-counseling staff to determine if your have completed the application properly.
    • Reader Review
      • each application is read by two or more admission staff members and in some cases, faculty members are also readers.
      • if all readers agree on the decision, a letter is sent.
      • if the readers do not agree, the application will be reviewed by a committee or may be forwarded to an associate dean, dean, or directory of admission for final decision.
    • Committee Review
      • a committee member is assigned a number of applications to present.
      • that person will prepare background information on each applicant and then present the file to the committee for discussion and a vote.
    • Counselor Review
      • many selective public institutions use this process
      • the counselor responsible for a particular school or geographical territory makes the final decision.
      • the same counselor is also the one who identified and recruited the student, thereby lending a more personal tone to the process.
    • Computer Generated Review
      • many large state universities use this process
      • if applicants meet the required GPA and test scores, they are immediately notified of the decision.
  • Word of Advice
    • exploring as many college opportunities as you can
    • avoid focusing on just one college or, one type of college
    • take advantage of every available resource
    • build a checklist of what you want our of the college experience and then match your list with one of the many wonderful colleges and universities

Paying for College – Don Betterton, Former Director of Financial Aid at Princeton University (p. 11)

  • Identifying Resources
    • 4 sources of funds you can use to pay for college:
      • money from your parents
      • need-based scholarships or grants from federal and/or state programs. a college, or outside organization
      • your own contribution from savings, loans, and jobs
      • other forms of assistance unrelated to demonstrated financial need
    • Parental Contribution
      • financial aid policies of most colleges are based on the assumption that parents should contribute as much as they reasonably can to the education expenses of their children.
      • rule of thumb: apply for financial aid if there is any reasonable doubt about your ability to meet college costs
      • need-blind admission – generally true that applying for financial aid does not affect a student’s chances of being admitted.
      • complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
      • many competitive colleges will require your to also file a separate application called PROFILE

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