How to Manage During College Admissions Season

It's been four years since COVID has impacted every facet of our lives. We are amazed by the resiliency of our clients--they have risen to every challenge and have flourished during a time defined by uncertainty. As we continue to see acceptances roll in, just remember, there is always a light at the end of a tunnel. Although challenging, the key is how to stay calm when March also brings the standard worries about admissions for many high school seniors. Here are some tips for how to manage this particular time:

1. STAY FLEXIBLE:  Flexibility applies to how you’ll gather information about schools and how to be open to all your options. For seniors, you can speak with current students, watch university videos, plan visits, and reach out to faculty with any lingering questions to help you decide.
2. REASSESS YOUR OWN NEEDS: Nobody could have predicted COVID, but every year there is something that catches colleges and their communities off guard. Think about what's important to you. Do you want to be far away from home or closer to home? What is the best environment for you to thrive? Have your academic interests remained the same? Do you want to be close to a major hospital?
3. EVALUATE: Think about how your prospective schools responded to the past three years: are they communicating clearly and frequently with students and families? How has their reaction aligned with your needs? Did they create opportunities for community engagement? Has the school culture changed?
4. PRACTICE RESILIENCY: Once admissions decisions come in, even if they are not what you had hoped for or anticipated, be grateful for your options. Look for the positive in your acceptances and realize that life is filled with ups and downs, much of which you can't control. But you do have control over how you respond and make the best of each situation.
5. CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS:  You’ve worked hard over the past four years, adapted to a new normal, and should celebrate getting to this milestone!
Testing News

Last March, Columbia and Barnard announced that they were permanently becoming test-optional universities. Now, a year later, Dartmouth, Brown, and UT Austin have all announced they are now back to requiring test scores, and Yale is test flexible. Will other colleges follow suit? We, too, are eager to see how this news trends.

The Washington Post sheds light on how these recent decisions are impacting everyone:

The SAT is coming back at some colleges. It’s stressing everyone out.

FairTest has recently updated its master database of schools that do not require all or many applicants to submit ACT/SAT scores before admissions decisions are made to include many more fall 2024 policies. We encourage you to check this list frequently as schools are making these announcements daily, and many schools have yet to post their fall 2024 testing protocols.

Click Here for a Recently Updated List

Study Challenges and How to Tackle Them

Our own Rebecca Bleich shares helpful advice on common study challenges our students face.

How Will I Contribute?

At the end of February, Lisa and Stefanie led a webinar about understanding how to contribute to your college communities during the application process. You can watch below!

What's on Our Minds
Rick Clark, the Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech, explains why IP (Institutional Priorities) are the two most important letters in college admissions.

Waitlist: Now What?

Waitlists or alternative acceptances can be frustrating and curious depending on whether or not you considered the school a "likely" or "safety." The key for this time of year is to focus on the positive and not take the denials personally. (I know, easier said than done). You should be proud of your efforts and accomplishments and put your energy into making a final decision among your acceptances.

Here is another interesting blog post from Rick Clark on waitlists:

Admitted Students Day:

Be on the lookout for and check in with the colleges you have been accepted to so far for Admitted Students Day--a wonderful resource that helps you dive deeper into the schools that excite you.

College Financial Aid: Time to Have the "Talk"

A few years ago, I was helping one of my seniors understand his financial aid and make his final decision about his college choices. He had narrowed it down to Northeastern and the University of Pittsburgh. During the course of our discussion, he asked me, 

"Is Northeastern worth the extra money?"

A Guide to Virtual and In-Person Visits

In-person tours are filling up quickly, so we encourage you to sign up now and book early! And if you can't find an opening, don't let this discourage you, as there are many ways to explore a college campus--self-guided tours are also an option, and there will always be friendly faces excited to answer all of your questions and share insider info. Additionally, some schools have waitlists for their tours, so this is something to inquire about if a tour appears to be full.

High school seniors will be making final decisions on which college to attend next fall, and high school juniors also want to make the most of their upcoming spring breaks by planning college visits. 

Here are some resources to help plan trips in-person or virtually:

Individual College Websites and Social Media Accounts: 

CLICK HERE for an example from Tulane, which includes in-person visits, virtual information, and opportunities to chat with admissions staff. And CLICK HERE for a fun example of how UVA is asking its student guides to post tours on TikTok.

And even more helpful links:

College Tour Bot

Comprehensive Database of College Virtual and In-Person Tours

A Virtual Hub of Over 600 Virtual College Visits

The College T

What We're Reading

The Parents in My

Classroom: How my students stay tethered, via FaceTime an email, to their homes.

What's Next

Reality Check
You are in the driver's seat, so use this opportunity to look at schools with much more precision and focus. Your needs should be very clear by now, and you will know what lingering questions still need to be answered. If possible, focus again on the key areas specific to your needs.

Hang in there. You're more than halfway through junior year. Make sure to take notes and photos on your college visits so we can refer back to them later if you are still able to visit campus. Please register for your ACT/SATs early.

If we haven't already, let's meet to plan your courses and activities for the summer and next year. 

All Students:
We are eager to hear about all of your college research and acceptances!

You bring your friends, we provide the info. If anyone is interested in setting up a free interactive workshop on how to maximize students’ high school years leading up to college, please reach out to [email protected]
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