What's your admissions IQ?

1. Earning a scholarship from an external organization can reduce the financial aid award I receive from the university I attend?

a)True
b) False

2. What is the minimum Advanced Placement score required to earn college credit for AP classes taken while in high school?

a) Each college determines the acceptable score
b) 3
c) 4
d) 5
e) All Advanced Placement credit taken in high school earns college credits

3. The Common Application informs each college of all other colleges I am applying to on the Common Application portal?

a)True
b) False

4. How many teacher recommendations are required by most universities utilizing the Common Application?

a) 0
b) 1
c) 2
d) 3

5. Which of the following demonstrates “informed interest” during the college admissions process?

a) Sending a box of homemade cookies to an admissions officer
b) Wearing a school t-shirt at an alumni or on-campus interview
c) Making note of degree requirements and specific classes
d) Visiting a campus

 6. My undergraduate admissions offer can be rescinded?

a)True
b) False

7. If I’m unable to attend due to illness or a personal family emergency on a scheduled AP exam day, I should:

a) Plan to take the exam the following May
b) Arrive at my test taking center and take the exam while ill
c) Contact my school as soon as possible and arrange to take the exam during the College Board’s designated make-up week later in May
d) Since it was an emergency, the College Board will automatically post a passing grade in my file

8.  Which of the following is NOT a STEM major?

a) Game Design
b) Marketing
c) Computational Finance
d) Information Systems

 9. With the exception of performing and fine arts, which of the following is the most heavily weighted factor in the review of your college admissions application?

a) Your standardized test scores on either the SAT or ACT score
b) Your personal essay
c) Your high school transcript
d) Your teacher recommendations

10. What is the definition of need-blind admissions?

a) Students from historically underrepresented groups are reviewed more favorably
b) Students with learning disabilities, including being legally blind are reviewed more favorably
c) An applicant’s financial need is not a factor in determining admissions
d) Student’s with greater financial need are denied admissions

The questions in our quick “Admissions Savvy” quiz are just a sample of the vast amount of information you’ll need to know to set and realize your strategic plan for success in high school and your college admissions and common application process.   Setting and realizing educational and career goals involves planning tactical steps where having access to expert knowledge is an advantage.

Students and parents navigate somewhat complicated curriculum choices in taking the steps through high school leading to the college admissions and common application process. The single most important determinant of your success in college admissions is your transcript, including enrolling in and succeeding in challenging coursework. When you begin high school you’ll have the opportunity to select appropriate challenging classes and become involved in extracurricular and leadership activities that you enjoy and that provide you with fulfilling ways to develop your interests and talents. Some of these activities may ultimately be connected to your educational interests and others may things you’re passionate about unrelated to your potential area of study.

Being involved in extracurricular activities may provide connections to local or national organizations whereupon you become eligible to apply for external scholarships.   Being awarded a scholarship can offset some of the institutional grants you receive in the form of financial aid awards. As noted, while in high school, for most students, your transcript is the most heavily weighted factor in your admissions portfolio. Although don’t get too confident, as your admissions acceptance can be rescinded under certain conditions, including criminal activity, school suspension or a significantly declining GPA during your senior year.

Your advanced placement exams provide opportunities for earning college credit which can shorten your undergraduate education or free up space for a double-major. The acceptable scores are determined by colleges and even within one institution, scores can vary by major. You may need to miss your senior spring trip as you’ll possibly be taking a make-up later in May. Making connections to your AP teachers is highly encouraged as you’ll need two required teacher recommendations in addition to a guidance counselor recommendation as part of the common application process for many institutions. Don’t start baking just yet, as gratuities won’t land you a spot at your college of your choice. To a lesser extent, visiting a campus was once considered demonstration of interest. Nowadays, with record breaking number of applicants, you’ll be expected to demonstrate “informed interest” by doing some research on areas of study or research opportunities. And yes, colleges may elect to ask you where else you’ve applied as part of the revised common application. It’s a roll of the dice in terms of where you’ll be accepted and colleges have an equally vested interest in ensuring they make offers to students who will accept offers of admissions and scholarships.   Most schools still abide by need-blind admissions meaning that the admissions decision is in fact unrelated to your financial need.