Applying To College in an Electronic Age
When I applied to college in the mid-eighties, I filled out my application on a typewriter, put it in an envelope, and mailed it to my prospective colleges. My guidance counselor gathered my letters of recommendation, transcripts, and SAT scores, put them into a manila envelope, and mailed them to the schools. Then, I waited and assumed that the post office would deliver my applications in good faith.

For current high school seniors, those same pieces still need to get to the colleges, but with the transition to electronic applications, score choice, digital portfolios, and eDocs. The process has become in some ways, easier but in many other ways, more confusing.

I often get asked if you can submit your application before the letters of recommendation are sent, and the answer is YES! Students submit all the pieces under their control by the deadline, and the other aspects, e.g. letters of recommendation, official test scores (if needed), transcripts, etc. get added to your application once they arrive.
What's on our Minds
How will enrollment for last year impact the class of 2023?

The past two admissions cycles were arguably among the most uncertain years, given so many changes thrust not only on admission but on the world. As a result, we saw longer admissions cycles, including deferrals that turned into admissions and increased waitlists that lingered and then disappeared. 

This year, colleges have a much better handle on reading applications without test scores or typical extracurricular activities that were impacted by COVID. Students' transcripts, e.g. rigor, trends, performance, and letters of recommendation help colleges put students in context and determine how they compare to others within their high school. 

They will continue to use enrollment management to shape the class and data analytics to determine "yieldability" of students. They also will continue to put more emphasis on character and how students engage with the world and community.

Regarding the test-optional trend, most college admission counselors have said that they've gotten really good at reading applications without tests, but they will still consider them if it helps the student. 

Lastly, the big question for seniors right now: should I send my scores? 

Bischoff from Case Western Reserve University says don't just consider whether the composite ACT or total SAT score is within the 50% range, consider whether the subscores support the preparation of their major. Colleges are not as concerned if an engineering applicant has a lower than 50% English score as long as their math/science score is strong; similarly, if an art major has a lower math score, it's not as important. While this may not be true at all schools, it's something else students can weigh when deciding to use or not to use their scores this year. 
Latest Admissions Trends
Recently, Lisa and Abby led a conversation about College Admissions Trends, how they have impacted applicants, and what to expect in the upcoming application cycle. The video is below and on our YouTube channel.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Standardized Testing
Here is a list of other frequently asked questions regarding standardized testing:

  • Is it better to take the SAT or the ACT?
  • Do I have to report all of my scores?
  • Will I be penalized for taking the ACT or SAT multiple times?
  • Do schools superscore the ACT?
  • Do schools consider non-required test results, such as AP Exams? 
Self-Reporting Test Scores
There has been a recent movement where some colleges are allowing students to self-report test scores during the application process and only require sending official score reports when the student enrolls.

Please check college-specific policies detailed in a blog post from Compass Education Group:
Sending Your Official Test Scores
In most cases, if you must send official test scores to colleges, your application isn't considered complete until received. While most schools allow leeway for the scores to arrive after your application has been submitted, some, such as The University of Michigan, require that everything be in the office by the deadline. Therefore, we recommend sending test scores NOW.

Below are videos showing how to do it.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Financial Aid for ED/EA Applicants
Requirements vary, and it is very important that you check and follow the policy set by each individual school. The FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE applications opened on October 1st.
If you cannot find the information on the school website (Admissions page, Tuition and Fees, or Financial Aid page), call the Financial Aid office directly..
Special Circumstances for Financial Aid
When applying for financial aid, the FAFSA and CSS Profile for the academic year 2023-24 use tax data from the calendar year 2021. If you have special circumstances for 2022, you will have to contact colleges to let them know that you have a lower family income than reflected in 2021 tax returns. Here's a great, free nonprofit resource for doing that: 
Inviting Other Recommenders To the Common App
College Visits!
Yes, it's about time we are bringing this section back!
We are excited to be back visiting schools!

Last Friday morning, Lisa and Stefanie attended a CACHET (College Admissions Collaborative Highlighting Engineering & Technology) mentor and counselor event at Rutgers University to learn more about STEM-focused programs throughout the country. We had informative, helpful, and personal conversations with admissions counselors from all 15 schools.
What's Happening Now
You are doing a great job--keep up the momentum until applications are submitted. You are so close to the first hurdle!
We would like to meet after your first marking period to do a personal needs assessment meeting and work on your preliminary lists. Click here to schedule a "College List PNA" under the "College" dropdown.

Sophomores and Freshmen:  
Keep up your grades and decide which activities you want to delve deeper into.

Follow the journeys of eleven students as they navigate the college application process and search for the right fit schools. Getting into their heads as they make decisions about which extracurricular activities to pursue, which schools to apply to, and which topics to choose for their essays will help you think about your own process in a more strategic way. Order Here.