If you read the title of this post and got a shiver down your spine, a racing heart, or a tightness in your body, you’re not alone. Many students are afraid to approach professors, admissions officers and other personnel of the college. I totally understand your pain, but if you don’t work through the fear, you’re going to miss out on the opportunity to learn something important and to make a positive impression.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The college application process is preparation for the “real world.” The journey of preparing for and putting together your college applications should be very similar to how you would approach a job search or a career change. In a job search. you might hear the phrase, it’s not always what you know; it’s who you know. Well, guess what? This mantra this applies to college admissions too. So if you can’t make a personal connection with someone at the college, you’re...
You’re talented, we know this.Platforms for Positive College Admissions Sharing,Maybe you’re an artist, a musician, a leader, a writer, or all of these things. You want to not only be all of the things you are, and get credit for the who you are by making a portfolio for college applications. It’s an important and often-overlooked step.
*If you’re applying to a specific art or music program, you might have to go through the college directly—there’s something called Slideroom where students will submit their work.
Many students have talents, but don’t want to major in an artistic subject – still, you should find a way to display your work if the college doesn't provide a platform for you to do so.
*For art projects, singing, instrumentation or film, YouTube is the best way for admissions officers to easily see what you are...
I promised this week to help you make good use of your social media. Students and parents are rightfully concerned about how social media will or will not be used in college admissions. These concerns are even more intense with the recent story out of Harvard where several students had admissions offers revoked due to inappropriate use of memes on social media.
Let me allay your fears right away about this instance; it is the exception, not the rule. In my experience on the admissions committee, we checked social media (and used Google) only when: 1) We had a question about something an applicant wrote and wanted to see what else we could find on his/her background. For example, we would sometimes check on certain activities to see if the student’s claims could be verified. 2) We found something listed on the application fascinating and we looked it up for more information.
So will your social media be checked or not?...
Last week, I told you about the financial information you need to gather for the Net Price Calculator and the FAFSA.
Now, I’ll show you a broader view of all the ways that you can get money for college:
Scholarship search engines: e.g. this one
Institution-based merit-aid (at specific colleges): May need to search specifics on admissions office website or on financial aid website
State-based grants (programs available through state government)
e.g. NY State; Washington State: Many states invest in their students to attend college within their home state (and sometimes other places)—so check to see what your state has available for students with your background!
External organizations: Like a workplace, for-profit company, or foundation.
A “money mentor” at NextGenVest: Or someone that can help with filling out FAFSA.
As I told you previously, scholarships are often based on merit, not on need. There are many...
I’ve shown you how to narrow your school list, what to consider in choosing colleges based on money, and how to prepare for college. My goal is to help you maximize your opportunity and target your efforts strategically.
Now that you have a shorter list of colleges to work with, I’m going to show you how to use the Net Price Calculators (NPC) on the colleges’ website.
First, you need to gather financial information in advance of using these calculators. The more info you input into the NPC, the more accurate your tuition price quote will be.
Then, you can take this information back to your family to confirm their ability to help you pay for your cost of attendance, and what it might cost you personally in terms of loans after college.
To use these (and other) Net Price Calculators, gather the following information in advance:
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Today, I promised to share my method with you for learning about college costs. You can use this method as a foundational basis for forming your college list. There are several indicators that you should use to compare college costs other than the sticker price:
1) Graduation rate. On the surface, public colleges may appear to be more affordable, but if we dig into these numbers you may find that this is not the case. At some public colleges, the graduation is a little bit lower, if not much lower than private colleges. For example, at Rutgers University (considered to be a top-tier public university!) approximately 49% of students graduate in four years. That’s less than half of students graduating on-time! Even if on the surface the sticker price looks more affordable for a public college, it could actually cost more if you don’t finish on time. You don’t have to be a slacker for this to happen to you: You could change your...
Last week I told you about Naviance. Naviance is the truest way you can use to assess your admissions chances since you will be evaluated for acceptance in direct competition with other students from your high school.
You’ll also use admissions chances as a guideline for choosing your reach, match and safety schools –and you’ll need this info to narrow your school list so you’re not applying to 25, 50, 100 colleges!
A reach school is any school that has a 30% or lower acceptance rate and/or where your GPA/tests are in the lower 25th percentile of accepted students’ range.
A target school is one that accepts students whose average GPA and tests closely match yours. You are a “typical” academic candidate for this college. The college’s acceptance rate should be above 40% to be a target school....
Many students who want to work with me are business-minded: They’re driven, tech savvy, and entrepreneurial. These qualities are incredible assets when preparing for college or graduate school. It’s easy to stand out when you’re ambitious and want to do something great in this life (getting accepted to your top-choice school isn’t something you “do” that’s great, it’s something great that happens to you because you’ve already done amazing things!).
Take my student, Greg. Greg is a talented filmmaker who got a lucky internship that led to his ability to produce his own documentary film. By now, millions have watched his film. Not only has Greg’s work gotten international exposure, but Greg has received thousands of dollars in royalties from its distribution. He also has additional film production contracts in progress that will continue to assure his business thrives in the coming years.
Not surprisingly, his impressive...
College and graduate school applicants can build up business experience, leadership experience, and make a difference by starting their own non-profit.
Take my student, Aiden. Aiden launched a non-profit dedicated to helping teens develop a sense of civic and social responsibility. Her first step to launch was publishing articles and hosting an online forum where students could discuss issues related to social responsibility.
In conjunction with these efforts, she used social media and in-person events to raise awareness about the importance of teen involvement in social causes. She built her platform first by sharing her articles with some friends. Because her friends liked the content, they shared them broadly, and eventually, Aiden built a list of thousands of subscribers.
Aiden parlayed her list that into online webinars and training events. There were fits and starts along the way--challenges of building her team, retaining partnerships, and maintaining momentum....
I previously shared with you a list 3 activities that admissions officers consider to be absolutely outstanding and have NOTHING to do with what’s available at your school.
This week, I’ll share with you about how one of my students, Lucy, conducted independent academic research, and how it paid off big time.
Lucy conducted research underneath her volunteer internship at a hospital. She co-authored a paper with one of the doctors at the hospital and the paper is now published in an academic journal. Since the research was on public health, the paper that Lucy co-authored really cemented her commitment to public health in the eyes of admissions officers, and she was able to learn about health inequities in her community.
So where’d she get in? Among other places, she was accepted to and will attend Northwestern this fall (10% acceptance rate). Not bad, huh?
As long as you follow it through to the end and publish the research, is a safe bet for impressing...