Today at The Hudson School, we’re celebrating Halloween. Unfortunately, the college process is more often associated with tricks (i.e, preferential treatment in admissions, nasty testing) than treats. So this Early Decision witch is here to share knowledge to get you the desired treat: a happy ending.
What’s going on with SAT Subject Tests, once a great measure of ability in a subject (and often recommended by this college counselor)? Inside Higher Edprovides insight into why the subject-specific tests have declined in popularity, pointing out that only the most quantitative colleges (e.g., Harvey Mudd) or programs (e.g., Cornell Engineering) require the tests. Other elite colleges tell applicants that they will consider Subject Test results. Why? Many institutions feel that students face too many tests, thus too many test fees.
What’s an applicant to do? If your student has a particular academic strength, have him or her take the tests and submit results if they’re stellar. The article quotes an admissions official from Georgetown, which used to require three Subject Tests, as stating that those scores are still helpful in assessing candidates. But here’s a trick: Subject Tests are still subject to a guessing penalty, eliminated on the SAT.
No Fee? What a Treat!
This week, Huff Post reminds us that some colleges don’t charge fees to apply. States advisor Greg Kaplan,“Many colleges across the country offer free college applications to entice applicants to apply to their establishment. Many of these same schools offer generous merit and need-based financial aid as well.” Colleges that would appeal to Hudson students include Grinnell, Tulane, Colby, Smith and Reed. What a treat!
Smith will treat students to a free application. But is the college haunted?
Supplemental Essays: No Time Like the Present
Hudson senior trick-or-treaters didn’t get candy when they came to school. Instead, they got a pdf with sample supplemental essays. The essays may have seemed tricky at first glance, but when students learn to analyze a prompt and link their responses to the target colleges, the essays come to life. Students applying Early received a warning from the Early Decision witch: Share the essays before November 1!
Program Treats for Ambitious Applicants
The 3/2 Program
This week, Drew University came to address the high school assembly. Drew, a liberal arts college, allows STEM students to achieve multiple goals with its 3/2 programs, which result in both a bachelor of arts from Drew and a bachelor of science from Columbia. Similarly, Bard has programs with Columbia and Dartmouth. You get the idea. If your student strives for an elite degree but is somehow reluctant or just not ready, it could be the way to go.
Stevens: Seeking Prospective Engineers
Stevens has announced a program for underrepresented students, including first-generation scholars: Clark Scholars. According to an announcement, “Clark Scholars will be selected annually based on financial need, academic achievement and community involvement. The program seeks students with leadership skills and a keen interest in the engineering profession.”
Post-Graduation Tricks and Treats
This week, the Wall Street Journal asked a question that’s on many of your minds: Which colleges give you the most for your money? The answer: It “depends on how you measure it.” We’re told that many studies used to cite elite institutions, but that has shifted because the “choice of a major can outweigh academic prestige in shaping future income.” The honor for highest salary ten years post-graduation belongs to Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science.
Financial treats go to grads of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Social Media: Use it if You Dare!
In a recent Huff Post article, Kat Cohen, a leading college advisor and fellow Brunonian, states, “Don’t be afraid to post online . . . Show off the things that matter to you and have shaped your interests and goals.” She echoes what I advise our students: “follow” colleges. (It’s also a great way to prep for interviews.) Parents and students seeking advice on how to effectively use social media should get in touch with Social Assurity and take advantage of ZeeMee, a visual platform designed with the student (and admissions officer) in mind.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Treats for International Students
I often post information on scholarship sources, but they may be limited to U.S. students. This week, I head about 100+ Scholarships for International Students (2017-18). Take a look if it applies to your student.
Start Planning in Sophomore Year (Is this Some Kind of Trick?)
“To Maximize College Financial Aid, Timing is Key” appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Since the base year used by the FAFSA for the high school Class of 2020 will be 2018, the Journal tells parents, “The fall term of 10th grade is a key time to make changes that can put a family in the optimal position to get financial aid.”
Haunted be the College Process? Don’t Visit these Colleges!
Remember Reader’s Digest? I was frightened to learn that their “10 Most Haunted Colleges in America” included some favorites of Hudson and New Jersey students. At Smith and Drew, for example, it’s said that ghosts roam select buildings. At Bennington, instruments are said to play themselves in the music building, while people are rumored to have disappeared within Bennington Triangle.
Spirits at beautiful Bennington?
Haunted (Sorry, Open) Houses and College Events
Manhattan College: October 29
International College Options NYC Event featuring 33 colleges around the world:
National Portfolio Day (NYC): November 12
Seton Hall: November 19, February 18, April 22
Enjoy the weekend, and be sure to email me if things get tricky.