We have busted the myths, now some facts

Admissions facts that stand the test of time. 1.      There are no guarantees. Even if you have a perfect score on the SAT or the ACT along with a 4.0 GPA–you are not guaranteed a place at your first choice institution.  Look at this example: 83% of high school valedictorians that applied to Princeton University in 2010 were rejected (see Princeton’s data here).  That is a hard fact! 2.      Critical and changing unknowns. Schools have their own agenda.  Their goal is to populate a community.  Remember, this is not just a numbers game.  Admissions is a balance of selecting students who fit the academic profile of the school and will bring to campus a rich variety of academic and co-curricular interests.  Applicants cannot possibly know what a school is looking for over time.  For example, a school might have just decided to increase biology majors or received a grant to increase the number of cellists.  As you can see the list can go on and change all the time. 3.      Competitive process. Remember all those valedictorians applying to Princeton?  Talk about competition.  Additionally, more students are applying to more schools (colleges) which increases the competition at all schools.  Many of our clients’ parents are surprised to learn how competitive the New York State system (SUNY) of colleges and universities have become.  It is not your parents SUNY any more! 4.      Costly investment–you know this.  The cost of higher education increases every year.  This is a big investment in your future.  You will spend a lot of time and money on your undergraduate education.  It makes sense to spend some time exploring your options and making good choices. Because there are many critical facts about the college selection process that applicants cannot control, we advise focusing on the things you can control.  It makes sense to spend time exploring your academic, professional, and co-curricular interests during your sophomore and junior year of high school.  Find out what you want out of your undergraduate education.  This effort will help you to focus and engage in the college selection process. 5. The pay off is priceless–if you spend time, effort, and possibly some money now during the exploration phase–you will reap the benefits of this investment when you are completing your applications. This will allow you to focus on the schools to which you will ultimately apply.  And once your hear back from schools you will be in a better position to compare your options and make the best decision for you. Let the exploration...
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College Admissions Myth #3: Success is based only on the name brand college you attend

Another College Admissions Myth Busted: Success is NOT determined by the school you attend. Many students and parents believe in this myth–that you are guaranteed success in life if you are admitted to (fill in your highly selective college or university here) or, conversely, that you will not be successful if you are  denied by a short list of certain highly selective institutions. We want to bust this myth wide open.  Success is based on so many factors (one of which is how you even define success).  The school you attend is just one variable in this equation.  We believe that success in life–in work, family, friends, community and more–is determined by  factors that will evolve and change over the course of your life. The first hurdle for a student in the college selection process is to explore options and think about the short term future (undergraduate studies) in a concrete manner.  This means focusing on the right professional and academic trajectory for you. Your success in this journey will be based on selecting the right career path, your  internal motivation, enthusiasm,  can-do/positive attitude, and  a little bit of luck as well. You can improve the odds of selecting well by taking advantage of the many opportunities available to you during your undergraduate years   This might include getting involved in co-curricular activities and work opportunities.  These experiences often guide you toward mentors and experiences which will shape your career decisions.  Summer internships and shadowing experiences offer similar opportunities. The definition of success will be different for each person and will change and expand as you learn more about yourself. In the spirit of helping students and families identify the many different definitions of success  regardless of the college or university you attend, we have compiled a list of “highly visible alumni” that you might find interesting.  Admissions 1 is a New York-based consulting practice so this list is  heavy on the SUNY system.  Our list is filled with people who started at state schools and have reached the top of their respective fields: Name Professional field &/or title Alma Mater Wolf Blitzer Journalist   SUNY Buffalo   Eileen Collins Astronaut, first woman to command a space shuttle   Corning Community College   Renee Fleming Renowned Opera Singer   SUNY Potsdam   Gregory Maguire Writer, Author of Wicked   SUNY Albany   Colin Powell Former U.S. Sec. of State   City College of...
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Senioritis

Senioritis, that age-old illness that seems to strike all high school seniors for most of the year, should be avoided at all costs! Your final year in high school is an important one.  While you have heard this before, it is worth hearing over and over again because it is critical.  Your high school transcript is the most significant piece of information that you send to colleges.  College admissions officers look for an upward trending progression on your transcript.  They want to see the degree of difficulty of courses increase as your progress through high school and they want to see your grades improve at the same time.  This is (of course) asking a lot.  But if you focus on selecting your courses well throughout your high school career and slowly but surely build effective and efficient study skills –you will have a transcript that attests to your commitment and your abilities. In your senior year it is important to stay on course for two significant reasons.  First, your grades (as noted above) will impact your college admissions opportunities.  Your first semester, trimester, or quarter reports will be sent with you initial application.  Additionally, you will be forwarding a mid-year report to most schools.  What you might not realize, is that you will also submit an end-of-year report to the school that you will attend.  If this end-of-year report shows a serious drop-off in grades (also known as a bad case of senioritis)–expect to hear from your college advisor.   Both of us have both worked with first year students who have been contacted prior to matriculation to explain their poor end of high school academic situation.   It is rare, but it has happened that students have had their admissions status rescinded. Second, students continue to prepare themselves for college courses by a strong finish to their senior year in high school.  Remember, these should be your toughest courses in high school.  Next year all of your courses will be as hard or harder.   A strong finish to the year will prepare you for a strong start to your college career. So, keep plugging away on your courses.  A strong finish will pay off in multiple...
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