It’s mid January, and students here at Hudson are immersing themselves in their coursework and activities. I continue to welcome juniors to discuss their goals for college.The second semester will be here in no time at all, and these students need to leave junior year with a working list of colleges and an essay draft well established. Junior parents: send me a message if you have a question or would like to meet.
No matter where your student is in the process, it’s always helpful to keep up with the latest. So here’s some Q and A activity for the curious.
My student’s applications are in. Now we’re waiting. Is there anything else he can do between now and March?
Yes! If there’s news to share, such as receiving an award or being named team captain, a student should send an email to the admissions office, preferably the rep who is responsible for the Hudson area. Many colleges make those names available, or I can help locate the right person.
Cornell, where two of our students were admitted Early Decision, provides an online form to which students can upload additional documents. This way, a coach or mentor may still be able to write on their behalf.
You write about acceptances to Cornell. With so many applicants, how do selective colleges make their decisions?
In a given year, we never know exactly what a college is looking for, but we do know that the decisions are based on a number of factors. Cornell’s Meet Ezra feature tells prospective students what admissions officers seek:
“What they’re looking for beyond the numbers is intellectual potential, strength of character, and love of learning. They want to know about your ability, achievements, motivation, leadership, diligence, and integrity; your sense of fairness and compassion. All of this and more can be revealed in your essays and recommendations, and is reflected in your extracurricular activities, hobbies, after-school and summer jobs, and volunteer work.”
How does my student choose between colleges?
Some of our seniors students have already received multiple offers of admission, though they may not receive all responses until late March. I encourage them to join (Facebook) groups for accepted students and RSVP to accepted student days. The opportunity to walk on campus and meet prospective peers is fundamental to narrowing choices. Parents and students can also meet with financial aid offices at the right time to try to match offers.
My student is in Early. Can he finally relax?
No way! When I meet with juniors, I emphasize the importance of selecting rigorous courses that convey the message that they are college bound and not slackers. At the end of the month, I will send a midyear report to all colleges through Naviance. Caution your student to keep grades up and behavior in check.
I’ve been receiving mail for summer programs. Are they worth it?
Great question! I, too, am receiving many pieces of mail about summer programs. The current stack includes: Stevens Pre-College; GW Pre-College, credit and noncredit; Youth and Teens at Parsons, Mannes, and Lang; and Wash U Middle and High School Summer Experiences. But colleges really understand that most families don’t have the cash for these costly programs, and they can’t give students any preferential treatment for attending them. In a Washington Post article, Ray Ravaglia, former associate dean for precollegiate studies at Stanford, wrote:
“I saw parents laboring under two fundamental misconceptions – “truths” garnered from other parents and popular wisdom that drove decisions they believed would help their children “get in,” but which, instead served only to accelerate the anxiety treadmill . . . The reason such programs are so common is not because colleges are worried about empty heads, they are worried about empty beds.”
That, however, is not to say that some education locally can’t be extremely valuable. I remember my son’s trek to New York to attend day classes, first at Parsons and later at NYU and Columbia. He learned to commute by himself, find out about career options, and travel around town with students from an array of backgrounds. Or try programs now run by Ravaglia at The School of the New York Times.
Speaking of solicitations, my child’s getting lots of mail from colleges. Are they serious about her?
Colleges get names should students choose to opt-in to College Board’s Student Search Service before taking a test (e.g., PSAT). According to College Board, all solicitors are accredited colleges and universities or nonprofit educational entities. Your student might even hear from Harvard, but don’t mistake it for genuine interest. Harvard can afford the mailing costs.
I’m hearing that the Iceland trip conflicts with the April ACT. What should I do?
There are more ACT dates, including June 10. Go to Iceland!
You haven’t mentioned college visits in a while. Which college campuses are you visiting this weekend?
You’ll have to read next week’s post to find out, but here’s a hint: it’s a college mentioned in today’s College Counselor’s Corner.
I have more questions that you’re not including in this Q and A. What should I do?
Attend College Night at Hudson, Wednesday, March 15, at 7:00 pm. I’ll be there with Head of School Paul Perkinson to answer your questions.
Have a good weekend!
The Hudson School