Hello Seniors and Families!I
Regular readings of my blogs have read quite a few blogs the past two post on on test optional policies, college essays and all the moving parts of college applications. I’d like to refer you to a few blogs to help you manage the process and suggest you look thru the dozen or more on topic related to managing your Common Application 2020-21.
I still hear from families in my social media IM asking about when to send test scores– something I’ve written about many times. The short answer– all external items are to be submitted without delay. More importantly, do not confuse “submitting” “received” and “processed”. You need to login to each college portal after your college application is submitted and keep track of any missing external components. Read my note below please once more on how critical this point becomes to managing your applications.
It’s hard to imagine…but at that this time next year our high school seniors will be getting ready to begin studying for their first round of college final exams and will be meeting with academic advisors selecting spring 2022 courses!!!
Even more exciting, some of you will have attended your first of many campus career fairs and maybe landed a summer internship. All of my currently undergraduate advisees have an up-to-date resume and all have landed their internship or have a plan for summer 2021 to further than career and graduate school aspirations. One for example had three job offers- she’s going to Microsoft and another is working with a Congressional Rep and yet another will work on ENT certification until it’s clear whether clinical opportunities will open given the ongoing public health crisis.
Many students have submitted all their applications, and some even have acceptances. Congratulations. And if you’re a bit late to the starting line – you will catch up and you are where you are in the timeline.
To everyone- there’s still time to revisit choices of colleges and consider adding another reach (new test scores?
Better GPA) or safety (snr year not so great?) college to the mix. Please reach out if you want to reevaluate
your choices and submit additional applications. Our team is ready to help you do so!
I know you’ve all marked your calendars with college decision notification dates.
What should be doing between now and then?
MOMENTUM- while many of you are almost done- keep moving forward. I want to again remind everyone- and this applies especially for your “safeties” – the sooner you submit an application, the more seriously your application is considered for internal scholarships. There’s the potential to appear less interested in a college the later you submit in the college app season- the assumption is either you have very bad work habits, or you were rejected ED or you added a college as a last minute thought. Please keep moving forward to complete and submit the balance of your apps. .With literally tens of thousands of applicants, the chances of being identified for merit scholarship consideration and invited to apply for competitive internal merit based scholarshops are greatest for students submitting applications weeks if not months before the admissions deadline. Early submission is an indicator to admissions officers that the college is high on your list of options and not simply an afterthought (after being denied from your first choice ED school December 1).
EXTERNAL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS-
As I noted at the outset of this blog,, everyone should have sent off transcripts, test scores (if you and your GC or private college counselor have decided you need to do so), and requested teacher recs — and should be verifying and following up on any and all missing components. Review your login at each college you’ve applied- reminder- just because you requested materials to be sent and just because you sent a score, transcript or rec – doesn’t mean it’s received. You must absolutely check the college admissions portal and track receipt to your file
FINANCIAL AID— You’re invited to contact me to learn about how and when to file your FAFSA and CSS Profiles. I recently posted my 4 part blog series- and hope that was informative. I’ve spoken with many parents on unusual changes to income or family circumstances. If you have questions, please schedule with me ASAP.
MID-YEAR UPDATE LETTERs and SECONDARY MID-YEAR GRADE REPORTS—
An optional part of your applications include notifying colleges of any new accomplishments sent contemporaneously to your required mid-year grade reports in January. I can discuss with you what is a worthy update. Continued interest notes are also required /requested by any colleges deferring an ED applicant to the RD pool. This is why I encouraged EVERYONE to not only keep their grades up- but to engage in extracurriculars that confirm and strengthen your academic interests. This is VERY important. If your grades aren’t going well- we should discuss ASAP adjusting your college list perhaps and if not, explanations may be needed.
— Alumni VIRTUAL interviews– these will take plus soon. DO NOT IGNORE EMAILS you receive from alumni- again – this is why I strongly insist you check your emails daily and are immediately responsive. Just yesterday – two students informed me that they had overlooked a request to interview and a request to discuss a scholarship opportunity. Please be attentive and responsive. You and only you are accountable for your email inbox and adult-like engagement with college admissions reps.
Mid-Year Grade Reports are required for most colleges:
Unless you applied Early Decision, as you know- your grades continue to be an important part of your admissions file. First and foremost, if you are struggling with time management, difficult concepts in one or more classes or things just don’t feel right in any of your classes/schedule, please reach out to me ASAP to implement a solution. Please contact me!
I’ve joked many times- but truly remind you again to secure your Senioritis Vaccine ASAP (I can do that for you!)
GUESS WHAT—FINAL GRADE REPORTS are also relevant—and admissions decisions can be retracted or you can be placed on academic probation is there is a significant decline in your GPA.
Regardless of whether things are going as expected or whether there are some “bumps”, please reach out to problem solve or simply to share good news!
- DAILY e-mail Check!! Please check check and recheck all emails received from colleges to ensure your file is complete and to avoid overlooking any time sensitive requests.
Each college has its own unique features. Once you’ve applied, you should receive a confirmation email and information on how to check to ensure all supporting materials have been received. Don’t overlook transcripts, test scores and recommendations. You are responsible for ensuring information was received.
If you haven’t received confirmation and/or your file is incomplete– contact admissions by phone to clarify and send a follow-up email to an actual person.
You will also receive login information on where to check your admissions decisions on a specific date. Mark your calendar!
Read all emails from all colleges as you may be notified of selection for an internal scholarship that requires additional essays and other supporting materials.
Review the admissions and financial aid website to locate and apply for any competitive scholarships for which you are a solid candidate. Contact me to strategize essay content. Nearly every college has “competitive” scholarships.
For example – Here are a range of colleges offering highly competitive merit based scholarships unrelated to financial aid
CLICK: Vanderbilt Internal Merit Based Scholarship
CLICK Boston University Merit Based Scholarships
CLICK WUSTL Merit Based Scholarships
CLICK EMORY Scholars Program
CLICK Drexel Merit Based Scholarships
CLICK University of Maryland Presidential Scholarship
- Alumni Interview invites:
Timely response is required-24 hours! Some alumni interviewers can email you with very short notice. It’s absolutely acceptable to ask to reschedule if you simply cannot make the suggested appointment. Please contact me for suggested language on accepting, rescheduling and thanking your interviewer.
Please at no time should you cancel other commitments to fit an alumni into the picture- how you handle yourself is indicative of your maturity and confidence. Please let me see your emails before you send them – or ask a parent for advice. Don’t do this cold!!
- Last Minute College Choices
Some of you may be concerned about choices and becoming stressed about the process and the wait. My first advice is to distance yourself from conversations taking place at school and avoid making comparisons to other students.
That said, as noted above, if you want to revisit your list of colleges and discuss adding another 1-2 safety colleges, please reach out to me. Any college on your list – safety or reach must be one you would be thrilled to attend. Don’t settle for the wrong “fit” in either academics or social opportunity. We can still add colleges and I am guide you to revisiting the process of college choice even at this late date.
Please ensure you are still maxing out your high school GPA. A significant decline can result in being admitted on academic probation as a freshman! (I’m sure none of my students needs this warning!!).
- AP EXAMS: Reminder, if you haven’t already been engaged in regular practice for the AP exams, let me motivate you further: ED applicants are typically accepted to very competitive colleges for which only a “5” will be accepted for credit. What does that mean? If you don’t earn the needed AP score- you’ll repeat Calculus and/or Chemistry, etc.
It’s also more fun to place out of freshman writing (AP Lang or AP Literature are accepted nearly everywhere as substitutes for Freshman Writing) and be able to take a more interesting English elective of your choosing. Even if you earn a “5” you might decide to retake the class at your college and we will discuss the merits of retaking some STEM classes sometime prior to your freshman advising later this summer. So get a booster shot for your senioritis vaccine about January- and start thinking about how to focus your time- with an eye towards how your fall freshman classes will look. You and I meet in July for our final meeting to select fall classes.
- Thanksgiving holidays and then winter holidays– and I know how crazy our world has become- a pandemic that has hit the third wave and the post- election drama. Teens- keep your focus on your future- your dreams and all that is possible. 2020 is odd – sad- but also a time to be the most amazingly adaptive and strong person — but it’s also a time to know when to reach out for help if things are too overwhelming. Kindness to others also cannot be overrated– look around you- peers, family, community- who can you help? !
- Have a wonderful day- stay on target, be happy and find time to do something you truly enjoy- every day!
- Bonnie Rabin, PhD
Bonnie Rabin, PhD
Best wishes for an absolutely meaningful and enriching balance of our school year and a Happy & HEALTHY Holiday Season.
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. Educational & College Admissions Consultant email@example.com
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