So many young women tell me that they do not want to consider a women's college. I say, "Get some information before you close that door." So many women have had wonderful experiences at women's colleges. I encourage you to attend a local presentation by representatives from five women's colleges: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Wellesley. The presentation is open to students and families and will be held at Catlin Gabel School, 8825 SW Barnes Rd, on Tuesday, September 9, at 7:00pm. Find out why you might include a women's college on your list!
The Common Application (commonapp.org) is live! This allows students applying to college to fill out one application for multiple schools. The majority of colleges that use the Common Application are private schools, although a number of public colleges and universities have signed on in recent years.
August is a great time to get a lot of application work done. Once school starts, you will have homework and extracurricular activities on your schedule as well. Applications take more time than you expect and colleges can tell if you threw yours together at the last minute. I like to say that applying to college is like adding an AP or advanced course to your senior year schedule.
Take the time now to fill out demographic information (your name address, etc), and start writing some essay drafts. Many students think they can just think about an essay and it will magically come together. I have found that sitting down and writing out many of your ideas will result in essays that are more cohesive.
Also, it takes time to remember all of your activities and to describe them meaningfully in the small amount of text space provided on the application.
If you are applying to state colleges and universities, make sure you are filling out applications for the year 2015-16. Some universities do not have their application available until September. If it is not clear, please call and ask them. It's no fun to fill out the application twice.
If your family earns a lower income or if you are on the free or reduced price lunch program, talk to your school counselor about fee waivers. Fee waivers allow you to apply to colleges without paying the application fees now. Some colleges defer the fees and take them out of your financial aid award when you arrive on campus. Most counselors will be back in the office at the end of August, but will be swamped the first few weeks enrolling new students and working on schedules. Be patient!
Good luck! Enjoy August!
The Oregon admissions officer for Duke University blogs about her perspective on the holistic admissions process here. This may seem a little confusing if you are just starting the application process, so talk about it with your parents, counselor or friends. Let me know if you have any questions.
Here is an editorial written by two college admissions professionals. As a former high school counselor, I had the equivalent of 400 students on my caseload. I always had so much more information to offer than I had time. Here's the article.
The linked article below suggests that the order in which a student lists his or her college on the FAFSA could affect the admission decision or the financial aid package. For simplicity, I advise (as I have inconsistently recommended in the past) that you list your colleges alphabetically on the FAFSA. Or you can read the whole article and devise a strategy for listing colleges that could beat colleges at their own game. It is too bad that there are gaming elements involved in the admissions process. If we all ignored all the ratings, many of the gaming elements would disappear nicely.
Here's the FAFSA article.
Here is a great link that begins to show you how EXTREMELY important your supplemental essays are on the common application. Research your colleges well. What unique or rare characteristics do your colleges have that make you want to attend? Are there specific classes or combinations of classes you want to take? Is there a professor with whom you want to do research? Is the school structured in a way that matches your style? These essays are arguable the most critical part of your application. They will not admit you because you think the school has a great reputation or because it is located in a sunny climate. Read more in this Patrick O"Connor essay.
Here is an article about women's colleges. There are many positive reasons to consider them. Many of the women's colleges are part of college consortiums where you can easily take classes at other colleges nearby and those students (including men) enroll in classes at your school. Check out this article.
Kathy Garrett has been a school counselor for over 30 years, and a college counselor for well over a decade.