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College Admissions: FACTS Every High School Student Should Know

I just returned from a whirlwind visit to NYC. I met with a myriad of schools and admissions officers, and came back with some interesting information I thought I would share. Some of it may be new news, some simply reminders of what is already known.  But, it’s all very current and helpful to keep in mind as we embark on the college admissions process:

Fact: Due to the collection of email addresses via the PSAT and PLAN, schools are able to reach out to more and more potential applicants via email.

Rationale:  Schools want to sell YOU too! What you should do:  RESPOND to emails if they ask you to.  Show interest and get involved.  It will help you learn about the school, and keeps you on the radar.

Fact: A key deciding factor for many admissions reps is how well you can communicate the “Why xxx school question.”

Rationale: Schools want to know that you’ve done your homework, and they are simply not another checkmark on the common app.

What you should do:  When you visit schools or explore schools via the web, be sure to keep an eye out for programs, professors or clubs that interest YOU in particular.  Take notes (so you don’t forget), and don’t forget to communicate your knowledge in essays and interviews

:  Schools are very focused on “increasing access” to minority groups, first generation students going to college, international students, etc.

Rationale:  Schools are looking for diverse classes- not just diverse students What you should do: If you are identified with a minority group, be sure to include it on your application. Also, get involved with something that reflects a connection to the minority group you are claiming to belong to (ie Latino Association, African Association, etc.)

Fact: The SAT scores are often judged in “bands,” especially when combined with a top transcript.  So, for example, Penn considers 1400-1600 a “band.” Below that 1400 and you are in a different category, but anywhere within the 1400-1600 is considered a strong score.

Rationale: Give or take a few points, a 1400 is still a good score, most especially when it is combined with a strong GPA What you should do: Don’t stress about getting 10 more SAT points, focus on your classes and your career direction. Your transcript means the most!
Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors www.internationalcollegecounselors.com