TeenLife 2012 Guide to College Admissions


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The guide includes advice and information on the entire process of applying to college from preparing for college tests and interviewing prospective colleges to essay writing, choosing the right college, and packing to go off to school.

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TeenLife 2012 Guide to College Admissions

  1. 1. 2 0 1 2 GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS W W W. T E E N L I F E . C O MHandy Pull-OutCollege Planning CalendarTips for a SuccessfulCollege EssayTransitioning to Campus Life A T E E N L I F E M E D I A P U B L I C AT I O N
  2. 2. Presenting TeenLife’s2012 Guide to College AdmissionsThe only free comprehensive resource of its kind. College — It’s not a Association (IECA), that run throughout the pages of this book. Independent advisors are experts big word, but it’s in educational decision-making. Their tips are definitely a big step. tremendously valuable. Preparing for tests. Selecting We also feature a detailed, “Countdown-to- schools. Filling out applications. College” Planning Calendar for juniors and seniors And setting foot on campus. It can presented by The Princeton Review. It’s right smack be very overwhelming. In fact, I too in the center of our guide (page 19) to pull out andjust went through the entire process. Both of my own post on your wall. Check off the boxes as youboys, Eric and Ben, just recently headed off to college. complete each step of your journey!TeenLife’s Guide to College Admissions would havebeen the perfect resource for me when they were The admissions process is filled with deadlinesin high school! and details, so let TeenLife steer the way! This is the second year publishing our guide —and we have added some exciting new sections. Be sure to look out for the advice andrecommendations by members from our partner, Marie Schwartz, President & Founder, TeenLife Media, LLCthe Independent Educational Consultants mschwartz@teenlife.comWHERE A GOOD START BEGINS. A successful education starts with ambition, the desire and hope of a bright future. A future where anything is possible. We’re for fueling that ambition and helping students achieve their goals. Citizens Bank supports students throughout their college experience with: • TRUFIT STUDENT LOAN® • TRUFIT GOOD CITIZEN SCHOLARSHIP TM • STUDENT BANKING For more information visit citizensbank.com/student-services or call our education specialists at 1-800-708-6684. Member FDIC. Citizens Bank is a brand name of RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania.
  3. 3. At Wasatch Academy, your child experiences cultures, ideas, and languages from over 37 countries and 26 states. 2012 Guide to After four years at Wasatch Academy, students find ways not College Admissions just to get ready for college, but to get ready for reality. Marie Schwartz, President & Founder Our campus covers the world. Academy MARKETING college preparatory boarding school for grades 7 - 12 Cara Ferragamo Murray, Vice President of Marketing & 120 S 100 W Mt. Pleasant, Utah 84647 Communications www.wasatchacademy.org 435.462.1400 Camille Heidebrecht, Director of Marketing & Managing Editor Kimberly Spector Wolf, Manager, Marketing & Communications Mary Hawkins, Manager of Search Engine Marketing SALES Dina Creiger, Director of Sales, dina@teenlife.com Lori Barthlow, Account Executive, lori@teenlife.com Jacklyn Morris, Account Executive, jackie@teenlife.com Jeanne Kelley, Account Executive, jeanne@teenlife.com Cindy Tessman, Account Executive, cindy@teenlife.com OPERATIONS Ellie Boynton, Vice President of Operations Maria Kieslich, Director of Operations Alice Vaught, Database Editor Anh-Thu Huynh, Manager of Operations & Customer Service Jesse Burns, Customer Service & Research Representative EDITORIAL James Paterson, Contributing Writer ART & PRODUCTION Kathryn Tilton, Designer PUBLISHED BY TeenLife Media, LLC 1330 Beacon St., Suite 268, Brookline, MA 02446 (617) 277-5120, info@teenlife.com www.teenlife.com Copyright © 2012 by TeenLife Media, LLC Published by TeenLife Media, LLC, Brookline, Massachusetts LIMIT OF LIABILITY TeenLife Media, LLC (TL) takes no responsibility for any of the descriptions of the various organizations listed. TL is not familiar with all of the organizations listed. We edit the descriptions only to achieve a consistent format. TL presents all descriptions without any warranty of any kind, express orBachelor of Fine Arts Admissions implied. TL is not responsible for the accuracy of any description, or for 230 The Fenway, mistakes, errors, or omissions of any kind, and is not responsible for anyDual Degree loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on the information contained Boston, MA 02115All-Studio Diploma admissions@smfa.edu in this guide. All the information contained herein is subject to changeMaster of Fine Arts without notice, and readers are advised to confirm all information about an 617-369-3626 organization before making any commitments.Master of Arts in Teaching www.smfa.eduArt Education Trademarks: TeenLife Media, LLC and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of TeenLife and/or its affiliates in the United States and may not be used without written permission.
  4. 4. Table of Contents 4 A QUICK, COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE ABOUT TEENLIFE ENTIRE ADMISSIONS PROCESS By Jim Paterson 29 Find out more about what we offer and how to register on our site. 4 Welcome 6 Choosing the Right School 31 COLLEGE RESOURCES 9 Now Let’s Get into the Application Process 31 College Advisors 16 Paying the Bill 33 College Funding 23 What Is It Like at College? 33 College Tours 28 A Parents Role 33 Colleges 36 Private Schools COUNTDOWN-TO-COLLEGE19 PLANNING CALENDAR Pull-out timeline of the admissions 36 Publishing 36 Summer Programs 36 Tutoring & Test Prep process for juniors and seniors. SITES WE LOVE 39 Useful websites for students and parents. INDEX 40 40 Featured Listings 40 Advertisers Photography on Cover and pages 23 and 27: Taken by Joe Angeles, Director of Photographic Services at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) JOIN WWW.TEENLIFE.COM NOW! TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 3
  5. 5. A Quick, Complete Guide to the Entire College Admissions Process brought to you by TeenLife and the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) 1 WELCOME Our handy guide will take you step-by-step through the college admissions process. This useful guide has been developed by TeenLife in partnership with members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) — experts on guiding students just like you through this process to make it both efficient and successful. In this guide, we’ve presented the latest and most crucial If you ask adults about their college experience, they’ll information — the facts that are really useful to you and often say it was the best time of their life — exciting, your parents as you move into this next big stage of your challenging, interesting, and fun. But we also know you life. And we’ve tried to make it easy to read and easy to use. may be feeling quite overwhelmed even thinking about the whole process. Looking for the right college, apply- We will help you answer the nagging questions: Where do ing to a handful of schools, and making the transition to you think you want to go to school? What do you want to college life can be extremely stressful and confusing. study? But it shouldn’t be. There are ways to make getting Going to college is important. It expands the type of work into college a lot easier. you can do, offers more opportunities, and increases your earning potential down the line. By some estimates, attending four years of school will increase your income by 50% the first year after you graduate. Just remember, education makes you a more captivating person. You meet new people. You learn a tremendous amount of new information. And you acquire innovative ways of thinking. All of these aspects make you a more satisfied, happier, more knowledgeable adult. Having said that, there is something else we want you to know: don’t sweat it too much.4 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS6 | 2011 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  6. 6. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSThere is room for exploration and change in direction.Many of you will make adjustments along the way and evenwhile in college — changing majors, taking a gap year, or QUICK TIPtransferring to another school. Complete career shifts are Your high school counselor or college/not unusual. career counselor should offer you a good amount of guidance. You should talk to“The average student today changes majors slightly more them early and often throughout thethan three times during their undergraduate career,” process. But if you decide you need helpsays Mark Sklarow, executive director of the IECA. “Few beyond your school, organizations such ascomplete their degree in the major that they brought with the Independent Educational Consultantsthem to freshman orientation.” Association (www.iecaonline.com) can help you find a personal consultant inAs you approach college, we want you to think carefully your area.about this exciting new stage, get started on the right foot,and move forward with confidence. SENIOR MOMENT If you are a high school senior and you havent done much work on the process thus far, here are a list of priorities to get you back on track: • Don’t panic. You can catch up and complete • Look for immediate deadlines, the process, but you have to get organized especially for the SATs and and get started. ACTs, which offer fall test dates. • Use a timeline like the one presented by • Ask teachers, counselors, The Princeton Review on page 19 to keep employers, and personal yourself on track. friends to write recommenda- tion letters for you one month • Find a good college guidebook (like The before their due date. Fiske Guide) or a helpful website and begin to focus on at least six colleges that you might like to attend. • Visit schools as early in the year as possible to help you figure out what qualities you’re looking for in a college. • Consider colleges with rolling admissions. Also consider other options: gap year programs have become very popular in recent years and community colleges are a good place to start accumulating credit. You can always transfer credits later. TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 5
  7. 7. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2 CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOLThere are many factors to consider when selecting Don’t pick a school because an uncle or a friend went there or because it made the NCAA Final Four, but because it is the one that is right for you.your first-choice college.Start researching colleges at any time, as early as you Keep an open mind. There are 4,000 colleges andwant. Listen to what students say about the schools they universities and every one is different. “Don’t fall inattend, as well as to the opinions of your college coun- love with a single college right at the outset,” advisesselor and parents. Check out schools online. There are IECA Member Lucia Tyler from Ithaca, NY. "Just becausealso a variety of college search websites with a college you haven’t heard of a school before doesn’t mean it’smatching tool, and even virtual college fairs (see sidebar not a great match."about what to look for on a college site on page 8). Youcan also find reviews by students currently attending a Bari Norman, an educational consultant from New Yorkparticular school. and a member of IECA, put it this way: “Test your assumptions by looking at schools with which youLook at virtual tours and admissions videos and blogs. aren’t familiar. You’ll be surprised how much thereTalk to anyone willing to discuss his or her experiences. is to learn, and how many truly great schoolsYou can also participate in online chats with current there are.”students and read a college’s Facebook page.6 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  8. 8. CREATE A COLLEGE AND CAREER DATABASE • How many students commute or live very close?which you can continually update. A "commuter campus" is typically quiet on weekends and holidays.Francine Schwartz, an associate IECA member from EastLyme, CT, suggests getting organized during the summer • What is your gut feeling? How does the place – andprior to your junior year “before the hectic pace of school the people there – make you feel overall?and activities kicks in.” There are definitely an extensive number of questionsOrganize your database into three parts: to ask, but this is your future.1) Use the Pull-Out Countdown-to-College Planning You will be surprised how quickly the characteristics Calendar we’ve provided on page 19 and refer to it often. of each school start to blend together. Your database can Be sure to mark all key dates on a monthly calendar too, get very confusing. Again, file everything right away. And that you can refer to frequently. be methodical and orderly with your research. 3) Simultaneous to your college file, start a career file. COUNTDOWN-TO-COLLEGE for Juniors and Seniors This can be less systematic for now, but organized enough Presented by to be useful. Keep everything you learn about a particular JUNIOR YEAR Thinking about college starts in your junior year. career electronically or even in your top drawer. But don’t FALL Take a challenging course load and all of the WINTER Begin researching colleges. SPRING Look into summer jobs, SUMMER Request catalogs and admission just think about a potential job or industry, also think about yourself. classes you need to graduate. Look at websites, search internships, summer camps, information from your top-choice sites, online campus tours, and other career-inspiring schools if you haven’t already. Log on to PrincetonReview.com to register student reviews, and programs that will boost If you took the SAT/ACT for the PrincetonReview.com. your resume. Take a free practice test Attend college fairs in your to improve your scores, then Register for the PSAT in October. for the ACT and SAT to area. It’s a great way to take a summer prep course see which test you perform collect brochures and meet with The Princeton Review. Compete for the National Merit Scholarship better on. College Reps one-on-one. (www.nationalmerit.org). If practical, visit and tour the Sign up for a prep class Sign up for a prep course rest of the schools on your list. • Discover you: What are your strengths: reading, Use PrincetonReview.com and The Princeton if you are taking the early so that you are ready for the Brainstorm and outline a few Review’s book, The Best 376 Colleges, to spring exams. Go to May/June exams. essay ideas. begin your initial college search. PrincetonReview.com Register to take the SAT Schedule an appointment with Talk to your counselor and consider an or ACT. your counselor or independent for you. assessment test to explore potential Take the appropriate Subject consultant to discuss your writing, small groups, presentations? What are your careers you might like. Investigate scholarship and Tests (if needed) and AP college plans. Tests. The Princeton Review Create a binder to keep all of Get involved in the community, school Make a list of colleges offers courses for both. activities, and clubs. Track your volunteer hours your information and application that you might like to visit Visit the schools on your list. forms organized and neat. and add these experiences to your applications. and prepare questions for Explore the campus, its fa- Start your applications before Work on improving your vocabulary — upcoming tours. cilities, and what makes each favorite subjects? What activities do you enjoy? What is the stresses of senior year kick it will help you on the SAT! particular college unique. into full gear. PULL OUT AND HANG ON YOUR WALL TURN FOR MORE most important to you in a field of study? Ask others what they think you might like or be good at.2) Start a college file right now. Keep information and notes about colleges that you research and visit. What • Discover a career: What do different careers offer in people say, what you think, and what you discover online. terms of money, satisfaction, workload, or prestige? Is Document anything that may weigh in your decision. there a career that involves your curiosty? What are other benefits? What are the downsides? What types of people Helpful Hint: Keep track of the same qualities about each work in this field? Can you shadow someone in this job? university that are important to you, such as: • Take a test: There are a lot of interest assessment • What are its academic standards? Will it be tests that may give you some ideas about careers challenging enough — or too challenging? to explore. Many IECA members use a test called "Do What You Are." Dont be pigeon-holed by what • Does it meet any special needs you have? "youve always wanted to do" or what someone • What are its rankings in national surveys? else thinks you should do. • What are the academic majors and minors? Does it offer your major? If so, what are the facilities and instructors like? QUICK TIP • How big are the classes? “Choosing a college is a lot like dating. Let yourself explore — you might think a college • How important are sports? How big are fraternities is ‘love at first sight’ but get to know different and sororities? Does it have activities and clubs that campuses from several angles. Things are you like? not always as they appear on the surface,” • Whats the food like? Are the dorms nice? How do you remarks Sandra Clifton, an educational feel about the social life? consultant from Brooklyn and an IECA member. • Does the campus seem like a good fit in terms of size, whether it is urban or rural? TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 7
  9. 9. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSHIT THE ROAD talk to some students about the school, even if it might seem awkward. Read the student newspaper and look atYou can visit schools informally; you don’t have to wait until the bulletin boards. Take your time and just explore.the summer before your senior year. If you are visiting a col-lege town, then take the opportunity to check out the school.Just walk around. Get a feel for the campus with the idea Many IECA consultants actually recommend that you visitthat you’ll come back later for a formal tour. Even a school a few colleges that are not what you planned for. Think-you’re not currently considering may give you ideas about ing big? Visit a smaller school. Thinking public? Visitwhat you really want — and you might change your mind a private school, and so forth. The reality may be veryabout the school later. different from your assumptions.And when you want a more formal visit, go to the school From school brochures to notes you may have written onwebsite and set one up. Ask for a personal tour of any part a napkin, remember to file everything you’ve gathered inof the school that you want to see. And be prepared with your very important College and Career Database.plenty of questions. “Students need to remember that choosing a college isRemember, they will try to show you their very best side. not a trophy hunt,” says Dodge Johnson from Philadel-So take your own tour as well. See if you think you’d fit phia, an IECA member. “It’s a chance for you to figure outin. Spend some time in the student center. Visit the gym. exactly where you’d like to be over the next four years.Check out the facilities and campus amenities. Casually Do not be mesmerized by prestige.” SOME "SITE INSIGHT" PROVIDED BY THE IECA Information students should look for on college websites that others might miss. • Academic department pages. Click on “Academics” • The college library page. This gives you a sense of and go to the web pages of the departments repre- what databases are offered, special collections they senting your assumed field of study. You’ll find out possess, and background on research capabilities. about the faculty, requirements, courses, resources, • The Mission or Vision Statement. Discover whether and sometimes even information about placement a college’s philosophy matches your own. As IECA of graduates. Member Erin Avery, an educational consultant from • Course catalog and course schedules. IECA Associate Fair Haven, NJ, points out, “colleges are looking Member, Wendy Kahn, from Highland Park, IL, cautions for students that authentically demonstrate that you that sometimes all eligible courses are not listed — in- understand the culture and mission of that college.” cluding those not offered every semester, or even every • Athletics pages. They are a “must visit” for student year. To get a more accurate picture, check out the cur- athletes. Often you can get a sense of attendance rent course schedule. Sue Crump, an associate mem- for your sport, where current athletes came from ber of IECA from Glen Mills, PA, suggests that students (discerning your own ability to be recruited), back- create sample course schedules as a way to understand ground on the coaching staff, and much more. what their academic experience may be like. • Support services. Certainly for those with learning • Virtual tours, admission videos, blogs. Nothing beats differences, you may want to explore: tutoring, a real campus visit, but if you can’t get there a virtual writing centers, counseling services, plus special tour still helps give you a sense of campus. While opportunities like study abroad and service these are put together by the college’s public learning options. relations department, they still provide an idea of what the college wants to be — or is — when it puts its best foot forward.
  10. 10. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 3 NOW LET’S GET INTO Each school will weigh each of these differently, so THE APPLICATION check out their websites to see if they discuss admis- sions criteria. They’ll generally give you data about PROCESS their typical freshman class, such as high school class rankings and standardized test results, for instance.The applications and admissions process is not as bad And they often will tell you specifically what types ofas people sometimes suggest. But it takes research, student they desire.patience, and time.Colleges generally review six things when they consider Remember colleges want students who want them,your application: says Kahn. “Make a campus visit, get on the mailing • Grades – your grade point average in high school list, attend a local informational session, visit during a college fair, ‘friend’ a college on Facebook, join a • Standardized Test Scores – typically the ACT or SAT blog, meet with an admissions rep who visits your high • Recommendations – from teachers and others who school, schedule an interview with an alum, and send know you well follow up notes or emails.” • Personal Responses to Essay Questions – which gives you an opportunity to use your own voice Note: Representatives from the college are probably making notes every time you contact the school — so • What you have accomplished and experienced outside make a good impression. of the classroom • An interview TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 9
  11. 11. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSTHE TESTS Students whose first language is not English should also take the TOEFL (Test of EnglishMost colleges require applicants to take one of two standardized as a Foreign Language; information attests: the SAT or the ACT. Some of the more competitive schools www.ets.org/toefl).require two or three SAT Subject Tests. The SAT focuses oncritical reading, mathematics, and writing. The ACT focuses onfour skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science and If tests are not your strength, you might wantoffers an optional writing test. Some students do better on one to consider applying to colleges that do nottest or the other. require standardized tests to apply. Check out www.fairtest.org for schools that are “test optional.”Your guidance counselor or independent college advisor can tellyou the complete testing schedule (they are offered quite often). THE RECOMMENDATIONSThey will also have a table to compare the scores on both teststo help you decide which to submit to the colleges. You should Recommendations are another way for the col-not submit both the SAT and ACT scores, just the better results. leges to learn more about you. Think about who will most definitely give them a good impression.You can find sample test questions for the SAT at A teacher, counselor, employer, or coach? Youwww.collegeboard.org and for the ACT at www.act.org. should choose someone who knows you well andIt may be worth taking both tests to compare your scores. knows your best attributes. Someone who willThere are a variety of services to prep you for each — online, take time with your recommendation. A few col-in books, and in classes. leges even accept recommendations from parents! Achieve your academic potential. Our team of former admissions officers from Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Wharton, Oberlin, Case Western, and Brown can help you get into the best school for you. Call 617 395 4160 or visit www.veritutors.com/admissions for more details.
  12. 12. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSGive this person a large manila envelope. Write the name ofeach school on the front of the envelope and the recommenda-tion deadlines. Inside provide a stamped, addressed envelopefor each school. Use your high school as the return address.Students with special talents as a top athlete or a visual artistmay need to supply additional application materials to thecollege: a portfolio or video. Athletes should definitely consultwith their coaches, who are often connected to universities.Some tips: • Ask for recommendations early, before the rush. It’s fine even if you are still in a teacher’s class. Summer is also a good time. • Ask the recommender if they need anything from you to help write the content, such as a copy of your resume. • You can gently suggest topics you might want them to cover. For instance: “I wanted you to do a recommenda- tion because I felt I did my best work on that video project on the Civil War in your class.” • Write a thank you note to each person who writes you a recommendation. Also, keep in touch with them and let them know the results of your applications and what college you plan to attend.THE ESSAYThe college essay provides an opportunity for you to sharesomething about yourself that the admissions office doesnot already know from the hard data (i.e., your GPA andtest scores).Usually you can choose from several essay topics. Pick thetopic you feel most connected to; it might help you fill in anygaps about your personality. Make sure the essay gives theschool some insight into you — as a person, student, andmember of the community. Remember, colleges want to admitthoughtful, curious people, not just students with good gradesor great test scores.Wendi Lubic, an independent educational consultant fromWashington, DC and a member of IECA, notes: “It’s hard forsome students (especially boys) to show emotions, but itreally helps the reader to connect to the applicant. By thesame token, don’t whine or be too negative or take a positionthat is controversial on a political, religious, or moral issue." TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 11
  13. 13. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSThe essay doesn’t have to be written about a majorevent. “Too many students approach the essay byfocusing on the topic, instead of using the topic as away to reveal something significant and unique aboutthemselves,” says IECA Member Carolyn Cohen fromAddison, NY.Some tips: • Make sure your essay answers the question asked and keeps within the word count with no typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors. • Be yourself. For example, don’t try to sound humorous if this approach is not natural for you. • Anecdotes that explain your topic are very helpful. • Allow time for a draft to sit. As IECA Member Dodge Johnson from Philadelphia says, “Death- less prose has a way of dying overnight. Don’t rush writing.” • Don’t get feedback from too many people; remem- ber it’s called a “personal” essay for a reason. Too often the unique sparkle of a student becomes “whitewashed” by well-meaning third parties. • Never plagiarize. No matter how tempting it may be to cut and paste or even paraphrase another’s work, it’s not worth it. • Also avoid the thesaurus. Using words you would not ordinarily use often reads as clumsy. QUICK TIP Contact each college to make sure that your application is completed correctly. If they haven’t processed your application yet, ask when you should check back. Over half of colleges say they consider a student’s “demonstrated interest” in admission decisions. Colleges want students who want them.
  14. 14. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSTHE ACCOMPLISHMENTSDon’t be shy about bragging, but don’t embellish too much.Highlight qualities you may possess such as leadership,character, energy, resourcefulness, and endurance ratherthan just listing awards and a long list of memberships.Show them specifics about how those qualities were evident.For example, rather than stating “President of Students fora Better Environment,” instead say “I led 35 students in 15various complex projects to improve the environment inour community, gaining enthusiastic support and widepraise.” This phrasing speaks volumes about you.“Too much information will dilute your message. Usethis opportunity to reflect those things you excel at, aremost passionate about, or plan to pursue in college.”says IECA member Gay Pepper.THE INTERVIEWInterviews are perfect ways for colleges to learn moreabout you, and you to learn more about the school.Admissions staff, faculty members, and sometimesformer students conduct interviews.To what degree the interview is weighted in the actualadmissions process varies from college to college, but it iscertainly an opportunity to show your interest in a school.Think of memorable ways to introduce yourself, such asthrough anecdotes that describe who you are. And alwaysask well thought-out questions that aren’t easily answeredby the school’s materials or website.You may want to practice, especially if one-on-one meetingsare not your strength. Always be yourself, as interviewerswill know if you are just reciting answers.Some tips: • Take time to think about your answers. Interviewers • Make an appointment well in advance and arrive on are looking for introspective, not quick responses. time. • Don’t give one-word answers – but don’t ramble on. • Think about the impression you want to make. Dress • Be honest. If there are weaknesses in your tran- for success and organize your notes. script or your test scores are low, explain why. Let • Turn off your cell phone before the interview. the interviewer know how you have improved or plan to improve. Remember, you are looking for a • Make eye contact with the interviewer and give a firm match; honesty will help you find it. handshake. If this greeting is not easy for you, practice with someone beforehand. • Write a thank you note after each interview. This will show both your appreciation and interest. Mention • An interviewer will probably ask questions like: ““Why some part of the interview that was most helpful. do you want to attend our college?” Be prepared. TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 13
  15. 15. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS APPLYING YOURSELF A few recommendations when filling out your applications. • Give great care to the activities grid or list of your accomplishments. Even if attaching a resume, the grid is the primary way admissions officers gather information on your outside commitments. • Give as much serious thought, time, and effort to the short answer questions as you do to the major essays. • Answer every question. “Rather than thinking of optional questions as being unnecessary, view them as additional opportunities to make your applica- tion stand out from the crowd,” says IECA member Mandee Adler from Hollywood, FL. • Do not insert the name of a college in an essay that might go out to multiple colleges. Save all answers in a separate word document — you might be able to use it again. • Stick to word count limits. Students run the risk of having their prose cut short. • Leave the standardized test reporting section blank. Since colleges will get scores via the testing agency, this protects students applying to test-optional colleges, says IECA member Kiersten Murphy. • Preview your application before submitting it. In fact, Kristina Dooley, an IECA member from Buenos Aires, suggests printing out the Common Applica- tion before beginning work so you will know what to expect and avoid mistakes. • Remember to read directions, pay attention to word counts, deadlines, and formatting criteria. Some supplements (like art or music) have different deadlines.14 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  16. 16. Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Fine Arts drawing painting printmaking sculpture Graphic Design Illustration Fashion Photography The College of Visual Arts is accredited by the National Assoication of Schools of Art and Design and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.College of Visual ArtsAdmissions Office344 Summit AvenueSaint Paul, Minnesota55102651.757.4040admissions@cva.eduwww.cva.eduWe’re small by design, which enables us to offer a richly integrated liberal arts andstudio education in a vibrant urban setting. C V A be visual
  17. 17. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 4 PAYING THE BILL Important steps to file for financial aid. • Four-year private colleges charge an average of $28,500. • Two-year public colleges charge an average College is expensive. The price tag varies widely of $2,963. depending on the school. State schools and commu- Books and room and board also add to the cost of nity colleges tend to be less expensive, especially for college. Money, unfortunately, has to be a major students in that region. Most schools publish tuition consideration. But there is help. and fees on their website. Here is a rough yearly average of tuition and fees: There are two main kinds of financial aid: • Four-year public schools charge an average • Merit-based aid – an award determined by of $8,244 for in-state students. the college based on your performance in high • Four-year public schools charge an average school, your test scores, or a particular talent. of $12,526 for out-of-state students.16 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  18. 18. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS There is usually no formal application for this type of aid, although some schools may have specific merit-based programs that require an application. This is money that you do not need to pay back. Check with your individual college to see if merit-based aid is offered. • Need-based aid – money you receive based on your financial need, determined by specific government or college formulas. It is generally awarded in three ways: • Federal, state, or school grants – money you do not need to repay. • Federal loans – money that you must pay back, usually after you graduate or leave school. • Work study – money you earn by working part-time, usually at a job on campus. This money is paid directly to the student and can be used for books, supplies, entertainment, and other expenses.There are three forms that may be used to file forfinancial aid: • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) - this form is required by all colleges to receive any federal money. It cannot be filed until after January 1st of the year the student plans to enter college. The form must be completed each year the student is in school. The FAFSA can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. • PROFILE – This form is required by many private colleges and some scholarship programs. It originates from the College Scholarship Service (CSS), the financial aid division of The College Board, and can be found at www.collegeboard. com. After completing an initial application, PROFILE requires a more extensive application based on the schools to which you are applying. It can be completed whenever you begin the col- lege application process. There is an application fee plus an additional charge for each college or scholarship that requests this document. • Individual college forms – some schools require that you also complete a financial aid form unique to the college. TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 17
  19. 19. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSEligibility for financial aid is determined by need, which is aid officer will consider any unusual circumstances foressentially the cost of the school minus what you can afford additional aid.to pay. The FAFSA and the PROFILE have slightly differ-ent formulas for determining your need. Once your need is In addition many organizations, businesses, ethnic groups,determined, the college will present you with a financial aid or church affiliations offer scholarships to assist studentspackage. It is rare that a school will meet your full need. with special interests or talents.It is critical that you file any financial aid forms by February The best resource to locate scholarships is your collegeso that you are part of the initial distribution of funds. Once guidance office, but there is also a lot of information online.your aid is awarded — usually shortly after you receive your Check out various websites such as www.fastweb.com.acceptance — you can speak with the financial aid office if Word of caution: Never pay money to receive scholarshipyou believe that your package is not sufficient. The financial money. QUICK TIP Fill out the FAFSA, even if you think you may not be eligible. Even for those who don’t meet financial aid eligibility, some schools may offer additional scholarships or grants. And your family’s financial circumstances may change. File early and don’t pay to have someone do it for you. You must submit FAFSA each year of school.18 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  20. 20. COUNTDOWN-TO-COLLEGE for Juniors and Seniors Presented by JUNIOR YEAR Thinking about college starts in your junior year. FALL WINTER SPRING SUMMER Take a challenging course load and all of the Begin researching colleges. Look into summer jobs, Request catalogs and admission classes you need to graduate. Look at websites, search internships, summer camps, information from your top-choice sites, online campus tours, and other career-inspiring schools if you haven’t already. Log on to PrincetonReview.com to register student reviews, and programs that will boost If you took the SAT/ACT for the PrincetonReview.com. your resume. Take a free practice test Attend college fairs in your to improve your scores, then Register for the PSAT in October. for the ACT and SAT to area. It’s a great way to take a summer prep course see which test you perform collect brochures and meet with The Princeton Review. Compete for the National Merit Scholarship better on. College Reps one-on-one. (www.nationalmerit.org). If practical, visit and tour the Sign up for a prep class Sign up for a prep course rest of the schools on your list. Use PrincetonReview.com and The Princeton if you are taking the early so that you are ready for the Brainstorm and outline a few Review’s book, The Best 376 Colleges, to spring exams. Go to May/June exams. essay ideas. begin your initial college search. PrincetonReview.com Register to take the SAT Schedule an appointment with Talk to your counselor and consider an or ACT. your counselor or independent for you. assessment test to explore potential Take the appropriate Subject consultant to discuss your careers you might like. Investigate scholarship and Tests (if needed) and AP college plans. Tests. The Princeton Review Create a binder to keep all of Get involved in the community, school Make a list of colleges offers courses for both. activities, and clubs. Track your volunteer hours your information and application that you might like to visit Visit the schools on your list. forms organized and neat. and add these experiences to your applications. and prepare questions for Explore the campus, its fa- Start your applications before Work on improving your vocabulary — upcoming tours. cilities, and what makes each the stresses of senior year kick it will help you on the SAT! particular college unique. into full gear.PULL OUT AND HANG ON YOUR WALL TURN FOR MORE
  21. 21. SENIOR YEAR It’s your last year of school! Now’s the time to complete your college quest. SEPTEMBER APRIL Decide which colleges to apply to. Include schools that you believe will accept you, as well as some “reach” schools. If you are added to a waiting list, notify the college or university if Contact The Princeton Review to discuss the College Admissions you are still interested, and ask them if there’s anything you can Consulting program. do to better your chances of being accepted. Work on completing your college applications. Find out if your target colleges accept the Common Application or form and deposit. You’ll be off to college in the fall! Universal College Application, which can be submitted online. so they can offer Decide if you will apply for early decision to your top-choice schools. enrollment to other students. Start the framework for your college essays. Participate in a Princeton Review Financial Aid Seminar. Ask teachers, counselors, or employers to write recommendation letters. MAY Take any AP exams that you’ve registered for and make sure your scores are sent to your college. OCTOBER Write and send thank-you notes to all involved in the college Take the SAT/ACT. process including your counselor, teachers, and those who’ve written you personal recommendations. Let them know where Continue completing your applications. Submit early decisions. you will be going to school! Fine-tune your college essays. Have them proofread for content and grammar. Double check on any deadlines and last-minute paperwork necessary to attend your college of choice. Plan to attend a summer orientation at your college. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Submit your completed college applications and essays. JUNE Check to see if your recommendation letters have been mailed. . Search for scholarship opportunities. Complete any last minute paperwork required for your school. Obtain a copy of FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for your parents or guardians. Plan your transition and exciting move to campus. Look for early decision acceptance letters from schools. Graduate high school!
  22. 22. JANUARYFile for the FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1.Make sure that the colleges you applied to in December have receivedyour completed application.Ask your counselor to send your mid-year grades to the colleges oruniversities that require them. if youhaven’t submitted it yet.Check the policies on the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testsat the schools you may attend. These tests can earn you college creditsin certain subjects. FEBRUARYIf you haven’t done so already, submit your FAFSA.Deadline is February 15th.If you have submitted a FAFSA and you have not received yourStudent Aid report (SAR) within a month, speak to your counseloror contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center directly.and any initial required documents. MARCHIf you are taking any Advanced Placement courses, ask yourteacher or counselor how to prepare and when to take theAP exams.Continue searching for scholarships that will help reduce NOW... OFF TO COLLEGE!your tuition expenses.Keep an eye out for admission decisions from colleges —and any additional information schools may request. TURN FOR MORE
  23. 23. DISCOVER THEPRINCETON REVIEWTUTORING EDGE SAT AND SUBJECT TEST DATESThe Princeton Review: Application Deadline Test Date* April 6, 2012 May 5, 2012 May 8, 2012 June 2, 2012 September 7, 2012 October 6, 2012 October 5, 2012 November 3, 2012 November 2, 2012 December 1, 2012 December 28, 2012 January 26, 2013 February 8, 2013 March 9, 2013 *Actual test dates may change. ACT TEST DATES Application Deadline Test Date May 4, 2012 June 9, 2012 August 17, 2012 September 8, 2012 SPECIAL September 21, 2012 October 27, 2012 November 2, 2012 December 8, 2012 OFFER! Use code January 11, 2013 February 9, 2013 TeenLife200 to March 8, 2013 April 13, 2013 SAVE $200 on a SAT Ultimate course.It’s no wonder that over 4 out of 5 Princeton Review graduates get into one of their top-choice schools!
  24. 24. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 5 WHAT IS IT LIKE AT COLLEGE?You’ll enjoy both independence and self-reliance different buildings. You have to register for classes and can choose, somewhat, how your schedule fits together.for the first time. In your freshman year, dont worry about choosingEvery college is different, but generally you will your major, dual major, or minor (a less demandinghave more of two things: responsibility and freedom. secondary course of study) right off the bat. What youThe two often go hand-in-hand. You will have a great want to study will be clearer later. Many universi-deal of flexibility with your schedule, social life, and ties actually encourage you to explore a variety ofadult responsibilities, but you will be accountable for courses, so they may not require that you declarehandling everything at once. You must get to class, a major as a freshman anyway.do your work, and completely live on your own.That’s big. SOCIAL FREEDOM You will also have freedom for more activities andACADEMIC RESPONSIBILITY social gatherings, which is pretty cool. Again, thisOften college professors don’t monitor a student’s comes with responsibility. You’ll be responsiblework apart from giving them the final grade. You’ll for everything from your money and discretionaryhave to study, stay organized, and manage your time spending, to the choices you make about friendswell. Classes will meet at all different times and in and what you do for fun. TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 23
  25. 25. COLLEGE ADMISSIONSFINALLY SOMEONE IS INFORMING PARENTSWHAT COLLEGES WON’T BE TELLING THEM! Most likely you will live in a dorm with other fresh- men with some supervision from an adult or upper class student. Not only will you have access to regular meals and privileges for other food and entertainment, but you will also have access to the student center, gym, and other recreational facilities. The same things you have in high school, but bigger and better. Take advantage of all that campus life has to offer socially. Join activities. Meet tons of new people. And have fun. QUICK TIP Although there are plenty of opportunities “This is an indispensable handbook for any for socialization, down time is encouraged. parent facing the college years, whether its Part of being a happy and healthy student the first year or even the last—the advice is is recognizing when you also need time to relax or exercise to take a breather from valuable for each year the student is enrolled” your studies and friends. —AMY C. REA ForeWord Magazine DID YOU KNOW: • Your child may not be registered for classes if you fail to pay “invisible” tuition fees? • Medical health proxies Winner of are a MUST ? 25 additional • You can save thousands of dollars by opting out of a mandatory university charge? awards By Marie Pinak Carr and her 3 college daughters (who learned by experience)
  26. 26. TRANSITIONING TO CAMPUS More things to think about as a freshmanFINDING YOUR NICHE Respect is huge in a successful living situation. Make sure to respect and understand yourAccording to Karen Eckman-Baur, an indepen- roommate’s sleep and work schedule. You maydent educational consultant, this means getting need to make changes to your routine in order toinvolved in and committed to a few activities accommodate his/her schedule.of interest. “This helps to develop a circle offriends with similar interests. Being happy in Talk about problems. It is important to be vocal andyour new environment has been identified as let your roommate know when something is botheringthe most important piece of successfully con- you. If you do not say anything, the problem will mostnecting to your college life. But also remember, likely get worse. If you can’t resolve the issue together,you have four years… there’s no need to do use the resources available in your residence hall.everything as soon as you hit campus.” RA’s are trained to help with roommate conflicts.ESTABLISHING A RELATIONSHIP MAKING FRIENDSWITH YOUR ROOMMATE Early on, ask your counselor for names of studentsHaving a roommate is a new experience for from your school who are attending your college. Havemost. We suggest writing a contract or agree- lunch before you leave to get some helpful suggestionsment with your roommate: quiet hours, visitors, about how to manage your first few days, plan yourborrowing, etc. How will you handle cleaning? schedule, and meet other students.What are the rules for neatness? How do youfeel about having overnight guests? How will In addition to freshmen orientation, many collegesyou handle food if you have a kitchen area? sponsor programs just before school begins to helpEstablish responsibility for everyone in the you get to know other members of your class. Theseroom. Remember, most people won’t become may be outdoor adventures, community service activi-best friends with their roommate, but you do ties, or leadership training initiatives. Sometimesneed to learn to live together. these programs cost additional money, but they are very helpful in connecting with the college and class-Do things together to help develop the mates early on.relationship. For example, if you have accessto a kitchen, cook together. Join an intramural Once you arrive on campus, take advantage of the ac-sports team. It is great to have activities that tivities planned for freshmen even if they seem point-you share but make sure to do some activities less. You will meet people, hear about upcoming socialindependently. gatherings, and feel more connected to student life. Continued on next page TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS 2012 | 25
  27. 27. Talk to the people who sit next to you in class. If you need help, sure, reach out to your professors. Get to know them. These individuals may become But also get to know them on a personal level, friends or perhaps study partners. When in your especially those in your major or in classes you room, leave your door open so people know you are particularly enjoy. amenable to visitors, and meeting new classmates. You will be surprised how much they appreciate Be open to developing new friendships. meeting you as their new student. ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS Take advantage of all college resources. Find out Attend all of your classes and understand what about the centers that are available on campus. Look is required of you. Take advantage of optional for advising programs, writing and tutoring locations, seminars and tutorials, which are complementary mental health support, and more. It is comforting to class. Always complete assignments (including to know that you can easily access the help you may reading) and stay focused on your academics. need at any given time in your college career. For academic success, make your own schedule. Think about what time of day you work best. Schedule classes with this time in mind.26 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
  28. 28. BOSTON Talking to Your Teen ge About Colle e Choosing th PUB LIS HED BY can right school for be stressful ens parents & te INTRODUCING From the impact of social media to dealing with bullying, our latest publication is packed with advice on the challenges and joys of parenting teens. Youll also find a valuable directory of local, national, and international programs for families with teens. www.teenlife.com/magazine
  29. 29. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS QUICK TIP Think of it this way. The college admissions process is similar to the process you went through to teach your child to drive: it was scary yielding the driver’s seat to your child, but it was necessary to ensure they learned. • Get to know the guidance counselor or independent educational consultant, but take a back seat: questions, work and deadlines flow between the counselor and the student. Remember, you are there as back up! IECA Member Robin Abedon adds that a critical but difficult challenge for many parents is “being realistic about their children’s abilities — a tall order for many parents.” • Provide support but do not take over. Let your children discover their own way. As IECA Member Bari Norman says “Yes, the process is about finding the right match and getting in, but also about teaching a high schooler to transition to adulthood, since he/she will be away 6 at college on his/her own.” A PARENTS • Have a sense of humor. There are many “firsts” in this process, so mistakes will be made. It is critical ROLE to remember that this is a two-year path and keeping things light (after a terrible campus interview or a poorHow involved parents should be in the admissions first draft of an essay) can keep communication openprocess. and upbeat.Having a son or daughter leave for college is both happy • Maintain open communication. Teens may be waryand sad. It is a major transition for everyone involved. But of topics like: financial responsibility, leaving home,it is extremely important to have your child take the lead living with strangers, relationships, etc. Make it clearin each step of the journey. This search is about finding that any topic is fine to discuss. An open dialogue isthe appropriate match for your son or daughter. By important.taking a step back, you will be helping your child gain • Make sure your child understands the family’sindependence and self-advocacy. During the entire financial resources. Help your son or daughtercollege application process, parents should: establish a monthly or semester budget that will cover necessities and practical expenses. • Listen to your child. Work hard at not projecting • Hang up the phone! Parents should not be calling the your own aspirations; listen to what your son or office of admissions to set up appointments, plan visits, daughter wants from their own college experience. or check on the status of the application. These are all IECA member Sandra Moore puts it this way: the student’s responsibility. When mom or dad calls “By actively listening to your teens and showing the admissions officer, the message received is that genuine respect and acceptance of their opinions, the student is not mature enough to handle his or you help them feel valued and understood. By her own affairs. championing them without dominating them — you are empowering them.”28 | 2012 TEENLIFE GUIDE TO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS Jim Paterson has been a writer and editor for 25 years. He also is the head of the counseling department at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  30. 30. About TeenLife Join now for free access to all we have to offer—www.TeenLife.com/Join BECOME A MEMBER Information is offered online at www.teenlife.com and through monthly e-newsletters, email Students at a recent communications, and printed and digital guides in a TEENLIFE number of categories. Families and their teens can EVENT. also explore opportunities at live events, school and student fairs, and corporate meetings. Students, parents, and educators are encouraged to register online to take advantage of our comprehensive resources! Go to www.teenlife.com/join. For more information about TeenLife, email info@teenlife.com or call (617) 277-5120. Programs, schools, service providers, and other organizations who want to be listed on our site should contact listings@teenlife.com.WHO WE ARETeenLife is the "go to” resource for parents, teens,and educators actively looking for meaningful learningexperiences — regionally, nationally, and internationally —forstudents. Our award-winning site, handy guides, and face- INTRODUCING BOSTON SUMMERto-face events feature an extensive number of opportunities, LIFE WITH TEENSprograms, and services that "bring out the best” in teens. A NEW QUARTERLY MAGAZINE BYWHAT WE DO TEENLIFE MEDIA! Talking toFew students, parents, and educators have the time, Your Teen From the impact of social media About Collegeresources, or knowledge to research interesting, learning Choosing the to dealing with bullying, our latest right school can PUBLISHED BY publication is packed with adviceexperiences for teens. So, we do it for them. TeenLife be stressful for parents & teens on the challenges and joys ofscours the Internet and teen resources for new information parenting teens. Youll also find aand ideas on a continual basis. Our proprietary database valuable directory of local, national, and international programs forcontaining thousands of listings for teens is unmatched families with teens.by any other source. RESERVE YOUR FREE COPY JOIN AT WWW.TEENLIFE.COM NOW! www.teenlife.com/magazine
  31. 31. Create YOUR FUTURE. While working in sales for the Miami Heat and then-Florida Marlins, Christina Martinez found herself alongside many alumni of BARRY UNIVERSITY. So when it came time for her to pursue her degree, deciding where to attend was simple. “I had no trouble understanding that BARRY would not only promise me a great future, but also provide a community made up of exceptional faculty, highly intelligent peers, and supportive friends.” www.barry.edu/TeenLife CHRISTINA MARTINEZ Sport Management, 2012 Main campus in Miami Shores, Florida, offering degree programs in: AMERICA’S Arts and Sciences • Business • Education • Health Sciences • Human Performance and Leisure Sciences • Law • Podiatric Medicine • BEST COLLEGES Public Administration • Social Work • Online programs available 2011Main Campus: 11300 NE Second Avenue • Miami Shores, Florida 33161-6695 • 800-695-2279 *Not all programs offered at all locations