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APPLYING TO THE COLLEGES

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APPLYING TO THE COLLEGES Powered By Docstoc
					APPLYING TO THE COLLEGES
    If any of the colleges you are applying to have rolling (no specific deadlines)
    admissions, you should apply as soon as possible in the fall of your senior year,
    and, if accepted, make a prompt decision about whether or not you wish to attend.
    If the freshman class fills up before you apply or decide to accept the college's
    offer, you are out of luck, no matter how qualified you are.

EARLY NOTIFICATION PLANS

    Another reason you may want to prepare your application earlier in the fall is if
    you decide to participate in an early notification program. There are two major
    kinds, and each has significant advantages and disadvantages. For some colleges,
    these programs are a recruitment strategy, a chance to attract some of the best
    students early. For students, the programs can be an opportunity, a strait jacket or
    a disaster.

    Early decision . In this program, you apply to your first choice college either by
    November 1 or between November 1 and February 1 of your senior year, and
    make a firm commitment to attend that college if accepted. Early decision is a
    clear commitment on your part. The college notifies you of its decision either by a
    specific date or within four weeks of completion of your file. If you are accepted,
    you must withdraw all other regular admission applications you may have filed
    while waiting to hear from the early decision college. You can file only one early
    decision application.

    Most schools are unwilling to reject early decision candidates outright. If you are
    not a clear accept candidate, they will frequently inform you that your application
    has been deferred, to be reconsidered without prejudice along with the rest of the
    applicant pool. If your application is deferred, you are of course free to apply to
    other schools while you wait to hear that school's decision in the spring. Once that
    happens, you are no longer bound by early decision constraints.

    Applying early decision can reduce the stress and strain of your senior year if you
    are accepted to that one school you really want by December, rather than waiting
    until April to hear. Applying to a college on this basis can make a big difference
    to an admissions staff. As Albert Quirk of Dartmouth puts it, "Admissions
    committees are impressed when a student in effect announces that he or she wants
    that school above all others. "

    Do not apply early unless you have a clear first choice! Do not do it unless your
    junior year grades and test scores are excellent. Do not apply early just to cut
    short the often agonizingly long stretch of time between applications and
notification. You must be sure that the school you choose for early decision is the
school you want to attend in September.

One of the disadvantages of applying early decision is that you have less time to
complete your application, be cause the deadlines are earlier. Another
disadvantage is the possibility that you could change your mind about the college
you have committed yourself to attending. Please remember that you must not put
off preparing other applications while you are waiting for an earlydecision
notification. If you are rejected or deferred by your early decision choice, you will
be way behind in applying to other ones.

On the other hand, if your choice is one that tends to reject early decision
candidates rather than deferring them and reconsidering them as regular
admission applicants, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying too
early. Consider whether your midterm senior grades might make a more favorable
impression than past grades have, or whether an extracurricular honor in sports or
the arts might come your way after an early decision has been made. Remember,
too, that standards for early decision candidates are often somewhat higher than
those for the regular applicant pool. Admissions committees may feel differently
about your application after they have measured you against the rest of the
students from whom they have to choose. Is your application so strong that an ad
missions office will be sure it wants you, without having to check out the
competition?

If you are considering early decision, it might be worthwhile to check with the
admissions office or with your guidance counselor about how the school's
rejection rate will affect your chance.

Even if you are confident of your chances for acceptance, you should think very
carefully about an early decision plan. Once you have made the commitment, you
cannot back out of it. Selective schools especially, tend to be in touch with one
another and would deal very harshly with a candidate who tried to break the
earlydecision rules. If your first choice school is clearly far ahead of the others, in
your mind, then perhaps early decision is for you. But if you want the flexibility
that comes from having a choice, you may want to wait and take your chances
with the rest of the applicant pool.

If you do have a strong first choice school that you are sure you would love to
attend, and you have a truly superior record by the end of your junior year, you
may want to consider the earlydecision option.

Early action. This early notification program is used primarily by Ivy League
colleges including Yale, Brown, Princeton, Harvard, and MIT and a few other
very selective schools. As with early decision, you can apply for early action at
only one college. You must apply by November 1, and the college must notify
you of its decision by mid December. An advantage to early action is that you do
    not automatically commit yourself to that college when you apply. If you are
    accepted as an early action candidate, you still have until May to accept or decline
    the offer, and you can apply to other schools in the meantime. If the school you
    have applied to under the early action plan is clearly your first choice, please
    consider withdrawing your applications from other schools if you accept the early
    action offer of admission. "Stockpiling" acceptances is discourteous and knocks
    other people out of the running.

    The disadvantage of early action is that you may be rejected on this basis and you
    will not be reconsidered at a later date for regular admission. "When we feel
    confident that an early action candidate will be rejected in the spring, we prefer to
    make the final decision in December," says admissions dean James Rogers of
    Brown. In that sense, early action is riskier than early decision. Unless your
    grades and test scores are so outstanding by the end of your junior year, applying
    early action could actually hurt your chances of being admitted to the college of
    your choice.

    The exact terms of earlydecision and early action plans vary from college to
    college, so read the rules of each school carefully before you decide on either
    plan.

    There are a few colleges that have no early notification plans. Stanford is one of
    them. According to its policy, "The best way for a student to learn about different
    colleges is to go through the application process; the student who has several
    acceptances in hand in the spring will make the most informed choice.

HOW THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS WORKS

    Keep in mind that only a few applicants to selective colleges are accepted or
    rejected immediately. The rest the majority are reevaluated, discussed, or even
    argued about several times before a final decision is made. What often counts
    about your application is what the admissions committee sees when it takes a
    second or third look at you. It should see something special that would make you
    an asset to the college community some special ability, something about your
    background or personality, something about your imagination or the way you
    express yourself, something revealing and candid a teacher may have said about
    you in other words, anything that makes you stand out, a "hook" that gives
    someone on the admissions staff a reason to fight for you.

    You cannot always predict what that "something" will be. All you can do is make
    sure that you present your self in the best, most interesting, most personalized,
    and most genuine way throughout your application. You just might become
    someone's "discovery" on the admissions committee, the person he or she would
    really like to see admitted.
   This strategy is most important when it comes to writing your essay and selecting
   which teachers you will ask to write recommendations for you. How you present
   yourself even in the factual sections of the application the ways in which you
   personalize the information and emphasize the parts of your background you want
   to stand out can also make a difference. Whether you follow up on this factual
   information later in your essay may determine whether the college gets a
   consistent, believable image of who you are.


BACKGROUND
   When you begin applying to colleges, it is probably too late to dramatically
   change your background. Therefore it is paramount that you express your
   background, positive or negative in an optimistic fashion.

   Take a good hard look at your academic achievements as you fill out your
   application. Will they be an asset or a liability? How can you enhance or offset
   the impression your grades will make?

   If your grades and test scores are good, you can be reasonably sure that the
   selective colleges will at least take a second look at you to see what else you have
   to offer. If they are not, you will have to create a really strong impression in some
   other area of the application to have even a fighting chance of getting in.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

   Many times your background can afford that fighting chance, if you need it.
   Colleges use the information you present here to put your achievements in
   perspective, to see what you have accomplished in relation to your background.
   Your objective is to present your background in a positive manner. If you have
   endured difficult times, be sure to state what you have learned from them; make
   yourself stand out! Some colleges may be looking for students with certain
   specific background characteristics.

   Is your racial or ethnic background rare at that college? Do you come from a
   geographic area from which the college would like to recruit more students?
   Perhaps you come from a large city, a suburb, or a rural area.Did your parents
   attend college?

   Most importantly, tell the truth. Give the colleges an indepth look at you. Tell
   them about your and tell them about your goals. Be sure to also include this type
   of information in your essay.


INDICATING A MAJOR
    On many applications there is a section for indicating what field of study you
    think you would like to major in. If you have a special interest, by all means say
    so. This does not commit you to that field, and might be another way of
    personalizing your application. If you think you might be interested in one of the
    smaller, less popular departments at the college, it is especially important to say
    so. Colleges need to keep these departments going, and faculty members
    frequently have a say in who gets accepted.

    On the other hand, don't be afraid to check undecided. Colleges expect many
    students, especially those going into the liberal arts, to be undecided at this stage
    of their lives. Being undecided could influence your chances if you are
    considering a career in engineering, business, or the sciences. Faculty members in
    these fields like to see a high degree of motivation, commitment, and achievement
    from applicants. If you indicate business or engineering as a career goal, you may
    be asked to write a short statement about why the field interests you. Take this
    request very seriously. Your comments will be carefully compared with those of
    other applicants with your interest.


EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

ACTIVITIES

    Your objective in this section is to show the colleges that you are an individual
    that is diverse. It is important to list the activities that you have done, but be
    careful to select the activities that will enhance or augment your application.

    This section of your application is important for several reasons. First of all, if
    you have done something truly different like starting a business or organizing a
    conference say it. If you've won a national musical competition or had writing
    published in a magazine or the newspaper, that fact may be of interest some to the
    admissions officer. Other activities related to leadership, community service, etc
    are also good choices.

    Be selective. List only those activities that are important and list them in order of
    your commitment to them.

    Keep in mind that your list of activities should con tribute in some way to the
    image you are establishing in your application.
    There may be a question asking you to describe what an important activity has
    meant to you. Answer it carefully. If not, consider expressing this in your essay if
    appropriate.

    What about submitting additional materials to back up your claims of
    extracurricular achievements? Many colleges invite you to send them art, papers,
    or other evidence of creative achievements. Be cautious about doing so. Some
    materials can do you more harm than good, because faculty members can be
    tough critics. Get the advice of the most talented professional person you know in
    your field before submitting anything. And, remember, quality is more important
    than quantity.


JOB EXPERIENCE

EXPERIENCE

    When completing the college application be sure to include any job experience
    that you have had ifit relates to you field of interest. If no question specifically ask
    about job experience, then consider adding it under extracurricular activities. In
    general, colleges like to see signs of initiative and independence in applicants, and
    some aspect of your work experience no matter how minute may provide a good
    topic for your essay.


IMPORTANTANCE OF
RECOMMENDATIONS

ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

    You bet they are! Especially at selective colleges. The recommendation letters of
    a student can be the determining factor whether a student is accepted.

    It is extremely important to note that a person will have a difficult time writing a
    positive recommendation, if they do not know you. Therefore, it is very important
    to get to know your teachers and counselors well. When talking with them, be
    sure to tell them about your future goals, your interest and such. It is best to start
    visiting during your Junior year and be sure to visit often!

THE COUNSELOR'S RECOMMENDATION
   The counselor is one of the people who can really pull for you. The counselor is
   almost always asked to indicate your rank in class and is also invited to write
   about your intelligence, motivation, maturity, independence, initiative, and
   enthusiasm.

TEACHER RECOMMENDATIONS

   Many competitive colleges ask for two teacher evaluations. Choose the teachers
   carefully. If either of them seems reluctant or unenthusiastic, ask someone else. A
   neutral recommendation can kill your chances at a really selective school

   The most important rule in choosing which teachers to ask is to select teachers
   that know you WELL. It is a good idea to ask teachers from two different subject
   areas. Ideally, one of them should be from the field in which you hope to major,
   especially if that field is one of the sciences.

   Choose a teacher you have taken courses from during your sophomore, junior, or
   senior years, one in whose classes you have worked hard. You do not have to
   select teachers who gave you As a teacher who watched you struggle with a
   difficult course and eventually succeed in getting a B can write convincingly of
   your persistence and determination

   You may be surprised to discover that some extremely complimentary
   recommendations can hurt your chances of getting into a college. Admissions
   committee members are suspicious of candidates who sound too perfect.

   The most effective recommendations focus on a few of your most important
   strengths and weaknesses and give specific examples of ways in which you have
   demonstrated positive qualities. If your recommendations are not bland, if they
   show you as an individual with specific strong points and shortcomings, you will
   stand out in the committee's memory. As in the guidance counselor's evaluation,
   the teacher will be asked to comment not only on your academic ability, but on
   specific aspects of your personality as well. You cannot tell teachers what to write
   about you, but you can tell them what you are hoping this particular college will
   find interesting about you and in what ways you are trying to stand out from the
   crowd. The better you know the teacher the easier it will be to discuss your
   application strategy.

   Keep in mind that some teachers write better recommendations than others simply
   because they are better writers and/or understand the admissions process better.
   You may want to ask your guidance counselor if there are any teachers you have
   had who write particularly good ones.

   Give your teachers several weeks to write your evaluations. Make sure they know
   the deadlines for completing them and that they have all the proper forms.
   Remind them politely of the deadline as it draws near. Please be sure to thank
    them for their effort and keep them posted as you start receiving your
    acceptances. By the way, you have the right to see everything in your admissions
    folder once you have been accepted at a college. You can waive this right, and
    many college advisers suggest that you do so, in order to encourage your teachers
    to be as candid as possible in their evaluations of you. Remember, an honest
    evaluation from a teacher who respects you is much more persuasive than a
    vague, bland one from a teacher who is afraid to say anything even vaguely
    negative.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

    Should you include other references with your application? You might consider
    including a recommendation from an employer who knows you well and can
    write in specific terms about some special quality you have demonstrated on the
    job or something special you have achieved. If you organized an after school
    gymnastics pro gram at your local daycare center or played a major role in
    helping out during a community disaster, your super visor on those jobs would
    probably write a great reference for you.

    Remember please be careful about overloading your file with extra materials.
    Quality is more important than quantity.


PREPARING FOR THE ESSAY
    Before you begin the process of writing your essay, look over your application
    carefully to see what kind of person is revealed there so far. What aspects of your
    background and achievements seem most important to you as you re view them?
    Is there anything special about your family background, your community or
    school, your achievements, or your work experience which might inspire a
    specific essay topic about which you could express your self in an interesting,
    genuine perhaps touching or amusing way? Does looking over this record of your
    life so far bring back any specific memories of happy times, sad times, difficulties
    you've overcome? Specific experiences usually make the best essay topics. The
    essay is the part of the application that seniors think over most. Just how
    important is it, what makes a good essay, and how can you get through yours
    successfully?

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ESSAY

    The essay is "one of the most carefully read and influential parts of application. "
    Your essay is your chance to really come alive in your application, to express
    your personality and character. It can be your most powerful "hook," the part that
    really attracts someone on the admissions committee. How well you organize
    your ideas and express them is just as important as what you choose to write
    about. "Prose is what makes some applications sparkle," . "Some applicants don't
    measure up to others on grades, but exceptional writing can sweep them in. " The
    most important thing to remember is to be your self. The members of admissions
    committees have read thousands of essays. They can usually spot the student who
    is telling them what he or she thinks the staff wants to hear. Let your individuality
    come through in your choice of topic and your style of writing.

CHOOSING THE TOPIC

    For some colleges, the essay topic is wide open, completely up to you. Others
    give you two or three specific topics from which to choose. The topics selected by
    the colleges can be very straightforward. Some ask you to discuss a book you
    have read, to tell them something significant about your extracurricular activities
    or work experiences, or to describe important academic goals. Other colleges ask
    questions that require more original thought on your part.

    Typically, colleges ask a general question that gives you a great deal of leeway in
    how you choose to answer. Many ask you to describe a special interest, an
    important experience, or a significant person in your life and to discuss the impact
    of this person or thing. No matter what the question, remember these three
    pointers for your essay: make it specific, make it personal, and make it interesting.

    When the topic is wide open, it is still a good idea to write something about your
    family background, an experience that has influenced you, or a person who has
    inspired you.

    The first step in getting ready to write your essay may be the most important
    narrowing the topic. Instead of trying to tell everything about yourself, zero in on
    one specific aspect of your experience and then make it come alive with vivid
    incidents and examples. You could write about how you overcame a hardship in
    your life, how you took on and completed a difficult project, what it is like
    growing up in a large family or having immigrant grandparents, or how you were
    affected by a family crisis. If you choose one of these serious topics, be open and
    personal, but do not write a sob story that makes you sound unstable or self-
    pitying. Good essays can be humorous, too. But humor can be risky, so do not
    attempt this kind of essay unless you are a naturally funny person and a good
    writer. Remember that there is a fine line between being funny and being a smart
    aleck.

    If you choose to write about a job or outside activity that has changed you in some
    way, remember the advice stated earlier: be specific. Do not just say, "Working in
    an office taught me how to cope with red tape and boredom and still motivate
    myself to do a good job. " Instead, give examples serious or humorous of things
    that happened on the job and how you coped with them. Describe the day the
    copying machine broke down and your boss came in three hours late and the
    phone would not stop ringing and how you dealt with it all. Don't just say,
    "Playing the violin has taught me the value of dedication and the necessity of
    making sacrifices in order to achieve my goals. " Instead, describe an incident in
    which you were forced to give up immediate pleasures in order to pursue long-
    range goals.

GETTING STARTED

    How do you get started? You might consider starting a journal during your junior
    and senior years, a place to jot down memories and impressions. Early in your
    senior year sit down and make a list of topics or experiences that might be
    interesting to write about and read about. Look at your list a few days later and
    choose the two or three topics that seem most appealing. Then make an outline for
    each of them, detailing specific points or incidents you would write about. If it
    helps you to "bounce" ideas with other people, or express them out loud, by all
    means do so. Just make sure the final idea that emerges is your own.

    Choose the topic that seems to have the most potential and let it simmer for a few
    days, giving yourself time to jot down random thoughts related to the idea without
    feeling any pressure.

WRITING THE ESSAY

    Your essay will not be written in one sitting. Think of it as a process extending
    over several weeks. The finished product should be 200 to 500 words or one to
    two typed pages. Once you have your topic and have jotted down some ideas
    about it, make a more detailed outline than the first one you did. Try to organize
    all the material you have in a way that makes sense. Then start writing. Do not be
    too critical of your work at first. Just let your ideas flow. Spend a few days
    writing, putting the essay away, then coming back to reread and rewrite.

    Once you have a draft you feel comfortable with, have one or two people whose
    judgment you trust read it over. These readers should have some idea of what
    admissions committees are looking for, and you may need to educate them about
    that. But what you really need to know at this point is how interesting and
    readable the essay is. Ask your readers to keep these questions in mind: Is it
    interesting? Does it have enough specific details to make it lively? . Is it well
    organized? Do the ideas make sense? Is there a natural flow from one idea to the
    next? Are there good transitions from one paragraph to the next? Do you come
    across as an intelligent, interesting person? Do you sound genuine and honest? Or
    do you sound conceited and egotistical? Preachy and pompous? Stiff and
    impersonal? Is your vocabulary conversational but correct? Have you used
    sentences of varying lengths and structures? Are there grammatical problems in
    the essay? Spelling errors? (Do not worry too much about proofreading now,
    though. )
     Carefully consider the comments made by your readers and spend a few days
     rewriting your essay. When you have completed the final draft, have at least two
     people (including your English teacher, if you like), proofread it for errors in
     spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Then type or print the essay on the form
     provided. Make several copies of the essay form first and practice printing or
     typing your essay on the copies before you put the final, final draft on the original
     form.


TIMING YOUR APPLICATIONS

GENERAL TIPS FOR FILLING OUT APPLICATIONS

        Apply early. For many highly competitive colleges, the deadline for
     applications is January 1. If you are applying early action or early decision, it is
     even earlier. For others, the deadline is February 1 or before.

        Know the exact application deadline for each college you plan to apply to and
     have your application completed several weeks earlier than that date.

        Some high schools prefer that you turn your application into the guidance
     office, where the other necessary forms (transcripts, recommendations, etc. ) will
     be attached and the entire package mailed at the same time. Please find out
     exactly what the policy is at your school, and be sure to give your completed
     application to the guidance office several weeks in advance of the school's
     specified date.

         Read all directions on the application thoroughly before you even think about
     filling it out.

        Make one or two copies of each application form before you fill it out.

     Practice filling out these copies first and save the original copy for your final
     draft.

        Keep an application checklist for each college you are applying to.

        Don't throw anything away instructions, correspondence, test results,
     addresses, etc. Losing an important piece of paper could ruin all your careful
     planning.

        Fill out the application neatly, accurately, and thoroughly. Type your
     application or print it neatly if you have good handwriting. Remember, the point
    of your whole application is to create the best possible impression, and a sloppily
    filled out form may be taken as a lack of respect or commitment or interest.

       Make copies of the completed applications and any other important forms
    before you mail them to the colleges or turn them in to your guidance office,
    whichever is the case.

       Send your application by certified mail if possible so you will be automatically
    notified as soon as it is received. You might include a stamped, self addressed
    postcard for the college to mail back to you when they receive the application. In
    any case, if you do not receive confirmation that the application has been
    received, write or phone the college to make sure the form has not been lost.

       Remember to file financial aid forms by the dead line they are due.

TIMING YOUR APPLICATION

    Most students applying to competitive colleges mail in their applications in
    November, December, and January of their senior year. Admissions folders at
    these colleges are usually evaluated between February and late March. The
    colleges send out their acceptance, wait list, or rejection letters on or about April
    15, and students are required to select the college they will attend by May 1. Not
    all colleges follow this calendar, however. At schools with rolling admissions,
    applicants are accepted or rejected within three to six weeks of completion of
    their files. A complete file contains the application, official transcript, and any
    other documents required by the school (such as teacher recommendations and
    official test scores). The admissions committees at these schools make a decision
    on each application immediately rather than waiting until all applications have
    been received and compared.


APPLICATION CHECKLIST

    [ ] I have carefully read all the instructions and questions on this application
    before beginning to fill it out.

    [ ] I have made arrangements for the college to receive a transcript of my grades.
    According to the instructions on the application, I have done one of the following:

    [ ] Taken the transcript form that came with the application and given it to my
    guidance counselor to fill out and mail.

    [ ] Given my guidance counselor a written request to send my transcript to the
    college.
    [ ] Informed the guidance office that the college will be writing to ask for a
    transcript. completed my entire application and turned it in to the guidance office
    so that the counselor can attach my transcript and mail in the complete package to
    the college.

    [ ] I have requested that the College Entrance Examination Board report my SAT
    and achievement test re sults to this college (and/or made arrangements for ACT
    scores to be reported).

    [ ] I submitted a counselor recommendation form to my guidance counselor on the
    following date: date: ___________________

    [ ] I have submitted requests for recommendations to the following teachers:
    name: _____________________

    [ ] I have typed or printed all factual information required on the application. I
    have done so honestly, thoroughly, and neatly.

    [ ] I have completed a rough draft of the essay required for this application.

    [ ] I have had teachers, parents, and/or friends read my essay, make suggestions,
    and proofread it for any errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

    [ ] I have neatly typed or printed the final version of my essay on the application
    form.

    [ ] I have enclosed a check for the application fee.

    [ ] I have included my return address and correct postage on the envelope.

    [ ] I have sent the application by certified mail or in eluded a stamped, self-
    addressed postcard for the college to mail to me as acknowledgment that the
    application was received.

    [ ] Completed application was mailed on _______________

    [ ] Deadline for financial aid forms is _______________

    [ ] Forms mailed on _______________

    [ ] Acceptances will be mailed by _______________

    [ ] I must accept offer by _______________

MAIL THE APPLICATION AND CROSS YOUR FINGERS
    Now that you have reviewed and completed the checklist above, get the
    completed application into the mail as soon as possible. All you need to do now is
    focus on graduating and wait to see what comes in the mail in the next few
    months. Good luck! Be sure to make a copy of the application and the form you
    completed above for each college you apply to and attach it to the folder for that
    college.


THE INTERVIEW: HOW IMPORTANT
IS IT?
    The importance of having an interview with someone from the admissions staff
    varies from college to college. Admissions directors at competitive schools
    usually say that the interview is rarely a deciding factor in whether someone is
    admitted, that it only tends to confirm the overall impression they have obtained
    from grades, test scores, teacher recommendations, and essays.

    Still, the general attitude among students who want to get into the most
    competitive schools seems to be that it can’t hurt. They want to take advantage of
    any oppor tunity to make a personal impression on the admissions staff, to show
    that they are more than just a set of test scores, that they have something special
    to offer. You may feel this way yourself.

    However, if you really freeze up in such situations, you may want to consider
    skipping the interview rather than taking the chance of making a bad impression,
    which the interviewer is likely to remember. If you do decide to have an
    interview, be sure to prepare for it.

PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW

    Most colleges consider the interview merely an oppor tunity to exchange
    information with you. Even if you think you already have a pretty good picture of
    the col lege, you should probably have one or two intelligent questions prepared
    ones that are not covered in the cata log. You should also be prepared to talk
    intelligently about your grades, test scores, and extracurricular ac tivitieswhen
    asked.

    In some cases the interviewer will be more interested in evaluating you,
    comparing you with the kinds of stu dents the college likes to accept. He or she
    may want to know how your interests, abilities, personality, and goals match up
    with the college’s goals. The interviewer may be looking for that something
    special that you have to offer.
The following questions are among those often asked by college interviewers.
Read them over and think of what your general approach would be to answering
them. Some suggestions as to how to think about each question are included.
Don’t have pat answers prepared; be ready for anything!

What kinds of self growth would you like to see in your self in the next four
years. You might talk about learning to set goals, taking responsibility for
yourself, learning about yourself as an individual and as a member of society,
gain ing historical perspective about today’s world (if you’re terested in history),
improving your communication trying out new ways of being and new ideas,
learn ing to relate to people with different backgrounds, learning to take risks, or
overcoming high school stereotypes starting over (or building on your past).
Choose one or two specific goals and really think about them so that you speak
honestly and intelligently about what you want expect.

If I visited your high school, what might I find as your in the community? This
question gives the interviewer sense of what special qualities you could contribute
to college community. Are you a person who simply to be a top student and
doesn’t tend to get involved other activities? Do you like to focus your energy on
one extracurricular activity, or do you participate in a of activities that represent
different sides of you. Do you spend a great deal of time and energy on social
activities? Are you a leader or a follower? Have afterschool jobs taken up much of
your time? Have you been actively involved in student government?

What might your teachers say is your greatest strength as a person and as a
student, and what are your weaknesses in each area? Be prepared to talk about
your weaknesses as well as your strengths, but you might also mention how you
have worked or hope to work to overcome such short comings. Are you a leader
who sparks classroom discus sions? Or do you have ideas that you hesitate to
express? Do you investigate subjects independently or do you stop at just
completing your homework? Are you too indepen dent sometimes? Are you
organized and disciplined? Do you tend to procrastinate or do you plan ahead?
Try to remember both the positive and somewhat negative things that people have
said about you, and be prepared to talk about changes and hopedfor changes.

What books or articles have you read in the last year that have had special
meaning for you’ Never pretend to have read something you have not or claim
that some thing was important to you if it was not. The best way to prepare for
this question is to read and search for books and articles that really touch you in
some way, that make you think about yourself and the world. See the reading list
for suggestions.

What events or experiences in your life have been most crucial to you. ’ Do some
serious thinking about an event or experience that has really changed your way of
thinking. It might be something you did on your own or something you did with
other people. It might be something in which you were actively involved or
    something you observed as a bystander. It might be a fleeting experience or one
    that has developed over a long period of time. It might be an intense interest of
    yours, a sudden recognition about someone or something familiar in your life,
    something that did not turn out the way you expected, a family crisis, an
    experience that tested you in new ways anything that has truly made a difference
    in your life. Try to be as spe cific as possible in your memories and to focus on
    how the experience influenced you.

    What do you see as the good life for you twenty years from now? The interviewer
    wants to know about your goals and values, who you would like to become. What
    is your idea of success? Is having a home and family impor tant to you? Making a
    lot of money? Where would you like to live? How would you like to invest your
    time and en ergy? Do you see yourself behind a desk, climbing moun tains,
    working with people, working alone? Are change and variety more important to
    you than stability? If you could reach for a telephone and call anyone, dead or
    alive, who would it be and why? Do you have a hero or heroine you admire? An
    author? Would you call a friend, an enemy:, A world leader? A great musician?
    Why? This question is another way at getting at what is most impor tant to you.

    Last year we had ten thousand applicants and were able to accept only two
    thousand. Why should we accept you? This question can really hit you hard if you
    are not expect ing it. The interviewer is not trying to insult you, so do not take it
    personally. He or she is simply stating the facts and allowing you to make the best
    case you can for why you have something special to offer the college. What sets
    you apart from others? Do you have a special talent or inter est? Are you good
    with people? Are you a leader? Have you overcome a major handicap? Are you
    very independent? Have you assumed an unusual amount of responsibility for
    someone your age? Have you shown great initiative in setting up new activities or
    in setting up your own busi ness? Are you an athlete? Are you especially
    persistent? Loyal? Think hard about what you have to offer the col lege
    community.

    Other similar questions: Have you ever thought of not goals to college and of
    what you might choose to do instead? Ifl asked your best friend to describe you,
    what would I hear? Describe your best friend. How do YOU see the role ofthe
    sttldent on campus and in the commtinity? What, in your opinion, is a college
    edtlcation?

SURVIVING THE INTERVIEW

    Contrary to some students’ expectations, most admissions interviewers are not
    going to try to put you on the hot seat just to see you squirm. They may ask you
    some tough questions, but if you have thought about these in advance, you will be
    prepared.
      Admissions directors say the most important thing to do in an interview is to be
      yourself. Remember, you will be interviewing the college at the same time the
      college is interviewing you. Some colleges actually use the inter view as a
      recruiting tool, a chance to persuade you to accept them. But be careful not to
      judge the school by how charming or obnoxious the interviewer is. Remember,
      even if you get into the school, you will probably never have any contact with the
      admissions department again, so do not let the interviewer change your overall
      positive or negative impression of a college.

      Do not try to monopolize the conversation or have a “script in mind so that you
      are constantly manipulating the interviewer to talk about the topics you have re
      hearsed. Be prepared to talk about your accomplishments if asked, but do not
      rattle on and on about them. In gen eral, it is not a good idea to make lots of
      excuses for a poor record, but if there was some major handicap that held you
      back, now is the time to bring it up. Never lie about or exaggerate your
      accomplishments in an interview, but do know how to present yourself in the best
      possible way. Finally, if you ave seriously interested in the school, make sure
      your enthusiasm comes across, especially if the college is your first or second
      choice. Colleges like to accept students who are likely to accept their offer of
      admis sion.

AFTER THE VISIT: RATING THE COLLEGES AND MAKING YOUR
FINAL CHOICES

      After you have visited the schools on your list, rate them on the following factors.
      Use a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 as the top grade. Add up the points for each college.
      Do the final scores reflect your gut impression of which are the best bets? If you
      are applying to six schools, pick out the two reaches, the two reasonables, and the
      two safeties that scored the highest. If you are applying to only three schools,
      choose the topscoring school in each category. Discuss the results with your
      parents and your college counselor. Are there any colleges on your final list that
      your parents oppose? Are there any not on your list that they would like to see on
      it? Is a compromise possible? If you will need financial aid, are the prospects for
      receiving it good at the top colleges on your list? Is one of your “safety” schools
      affordable without much financial aid? Put some time and effort into compiling
      your final list. Applying to colleges is an expensive, energy draining, time
      consuming process, so make sure the schools on your final list are ones that are
      really worth the effort ones you really want to get into and attend. Then take a few
      days off to relax before you take the plunge and start filling out your applications.


College Planning Calendar

SEPTEMBER
        Narrow your choices to the top three or so colleges in which you are most
     interested.
        Contact admissions offices to schedule campus visits.
        If not already begun, start your search for private scholarships.

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

        Apply for admissions to the colleges in which you are most interested and
     arrange for a campus visit.
        Obtain financial aid information from those schools, make sure the information
     explains available aid, application procedures and deadline dates.
        Continue your search for private scholarships.
        Attend college fairs and financial aid information nights. Check with you high
     school counselor for details.

DECEMBER / JANUARY

         Continue applying for admission to the colleges in which you are most
     interested and arrange for a campus visit.
         If not already begun, start your search for private scholarships, you're running
     late!
         Attend college fairs and financial aid information nights.
         Obtain the Free Application For Federal Student Aid from your high school
     counselor or financial aid office(s), but do not complete it until after Jan. 1.
         Collect family W-2's and initiate completion of federal tax returns used to
     complete financial aid.

FEBRUARY / MARCH

        If not already done, obtain the Free Application For Federal Student Aid from
     your high school counselor or financial aid office(s).
        If not already done, collect family W-2's and initiate completion of federal tax
     returns used to complete financial aid appications.
        Check to see if any of your potential colleges have financial aid application
     deadlines for these months
        Promptly respond to any requests for information from college admissions and
     financial aid offices.

APRIL / MAY

        Make your final decision on college attendance and notify the appropriate
     admission office (if not done already). Notify those other schools to which you
     applied for admission and financial aid that you don't plan to attend.
        Promptly respond to any request for information from college admission and
     financial aid office at the school which you have chosen.
          Check to see if your school has its financial aid application deadline these
        months.

JUNE / JULY / AUGUST

            Make sure final high school transcripts are sent to the college you plan to
        attend.
            Promptly respond to any request for information from college admission and
        financial aid office at the school which you have chosen.
            Call admissions office to verify all information is complete.
            Attend orientation whenever offered.
            Pick out your college wardrobe!
            Finalize your budget for the academic year
            Final preparation, it's the time you've been waiting for.


Common Essay Mistakes
While editing essays look for these common mistakes:


       Not answering the question. Many applicants write quality essays but don't actually address
        the question.
       Not having a thesis. There should be a main idea or the essay will appear disorganized and
        rambling.
       Topic that is too broad. A common mistake is to try to cover too much in the limited amount of
        space. The essay should be focused and specific.
       Mechanical errors. Admissions officers view spelling and grammatical errors as indicative that
        applicants are not serious about their college applications.
       Not revealing something about the author. Regardless of what the essay is about it needs to
        reveal something about the author beyond what can be found in the application.
       Being too ordinary. To stand out from the pile, encourage your child to write about a unique
        topic or to approach a common topic in an original way.


Find out how to begin researching possible college options.

    1. Application Fee: The required nonrefundable $50.00 application fee (payable to
       the University of Connecticut) should be mailed to the Office of Undergraduate
       Admissions with your social security number written on the check or money
       order. The University of Connecticut accepts the College Board fee waiver.

    2. High School Transcript(s): Your official high school transcript(s) should be sent
       by your school directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The high
       school transcript(s) should include your class rank, senior classes, and latest
       grades completed; and for transfers, date of graduation.

    3. Standardized Testing Results: You must submit official results of the SAT I or
       ACT. These scores are not required of students who are 25 years or older or who
       have completed 45 credits of college work at the time of application.

    4. Recommendations: Optional letters of recommendation should be mailed to the
       Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
5. College Transcript(s): All post-secondary official transcript(s) must be sent
   directly from each institution attended to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
   whether or not credit is desired.

6. State High School Equivalency Diploma (GED): Submit a copy of the diploma
   and complete set of scores and official transcript(s) of any work completed in
   high schoolto the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

7. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): All international applicants
   whose first language is not English must submit official results of the TOEFL. For
   those U.S. citizens or permanent residents for whom English has not been the
   primary language, the TOEFL can be a valuable supplement to the student's
   application.

8. Financial Aid Applicants: File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
   (FAFSA). To meet UConn's "on-time" deadline, the FAFSA must be received at
   the federal processing center by March 1. UConn's Federal school code is 001417.
   Financial aid is not available for international students.

9. Music, Acting, Design/Technical Theatre and Puppetry Requirements:
   Auditions are required for all Music, Puppetry and Acting applicants. To schedule
   a Music Audition, call (860) 486-3728; to schedule a Puppetry Audition, call
   (860) 486-4568; to schedule an Acting Audition, call (860) 486-4025. Acting
   auditions are scheduled from December through early April. Admission decisions
   for all programs will not be made until the results of the audition are submitted to
   the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by the appropriate department.
   Design/Technical Theatre applicants must participate in an interview process that
   needs to be completed by March 1st. Please call (860) 486-4844 for details.

10. Art Majors: Applicants for the Art program are required to submit an art
    portfolio by March 1. Upon receipt of their admission application, candidates will
    be notified in writing of specific portfolio requirements by the Art Department.
    Admission decisions for the Art program will not be made until the results of the
    portfolio assessment are submitted by the Art Department to the Office of
    Undergraduate Admissions.

11. Residency: Each applicant shall be classified as a Connecticut resident or
    nonresident for the purpose of assessing tuition. This classification is determined
    by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions based on the information provided in
    the Tuition Residency Affidavit. Failure to complete the residency information
    will result in a nonresident classification.

12. If you were previously admitted and enrolled at any campus of the University of
    Connecticut as a degree student, do not submit this application. You should
    contact Readmissions, Dean of Students Office, at (860) 486-3426.

13. Signature Explanation: By pressing the SUBMIT button, I certify that all items
    on this application are answered correctly. I understand that incomplete
         information, the withholding of information or incorrect information may
         disqualify me for admission to the University of Connecticut or may later be the
         basis for my withdrawal or dismissal. NOTE: After submitting this application, it
         is the applicant's responsibility to advise the Admissions Office in writing of any
         new information related to this application.

GENERAL TIPS FOR FILLING OUT APPLICATIONS
1. Apply early. For many highly competitive colleges, the deadline for applications is January 1. If you are
applying early action or early decision, it is even earlier. For others, the deadline is February 1 or before.
2. Know the exact application deadline for each college you plan to apply to and have your application
completed several weeks earlier than that date.
3. Some high schools prefer that you turn your application into the guidance office, where the other
necessary forms (transcripts, recommendations, etc. ) will be attached and the entire package mailed at the
same time. Please find out exactly what the policy is at your school, and be sure to give your completed
application to the guidance office several weeks in advance of the school's specified date.
4. Read all directions on the application thoroughly before you even think about filling it out.
5. Make one or two copies of each application form before you fill it out.
6.Practice filling out these copies first and save the original copy for your final draft.
7. Keep an application checklist for each college you are applying to.
8. Don't throw anything away instructions, correspondence, test results, addresses, etc. Losing an important
piece of paper could ruin all your careful planning.
9. Fill out the application neatly, accurately, and thoroughly. Type your application or print it neatly if you
have good handwriting. Remember, the point of your whole application is to create the best possible
impression, and a sloppily filled out form may be taken as a lack of respect or commitment or interest.
10. Make copies of the completed applications and any other important forms before you mail them to the
colleges or turn them in to your guidance office, whichever is the case.
11. Send your application by certified mail if possible so you will be automatically notified as soon as it is
received. You might include a stamped, self addressed postcard for the college to mail back to you when
they receive the application. In any case, if you do not receive confirmation that the application has been
received, write or phone the college to make sure the form has not been lost.
     12. Remember to file financial aid forms by the dead line they are due.


ONLINE REGISTRATION
Logout after each session. To help ensure the security of your
application, you must logout after each session. It is also highly
recommended that you close your browser after logging out.Read the
instructions pages first before starting work on your application.Double
check your work.Treat the online application just like you would a
paper application. Think carefully about each question, take your time
completing the application forms, and don't wait until the last minute to
begin.If your program requires the electronic submission of an
essay, you are encouraged to work on it beforehand in a word
processing program. Once you have reworked and revised it, copy and
paste the completed essay into your online application or upload the entire
essay as a document.To protect your application responses, please save
your work often. At the top and bottom of each form page are two buttons-
-"save" and "save & continue"--which, when pressed, store your responses to
the questions on that page in our database. The next time you visit the form,
your saved responses will appear. You are free to change your responses as
many times as you like until you have finally submitted your
application.When you submit your online application, it's like sealing the
envelope and dropping the package in a post office mailbox. At that point,
your information is en route to the institution. Thus, after submission, you
cannot change your application in any way through the online system
including the addition of letter of recommendation providers or deciding to
pay your application fee with a credit card (if available).Contact the
institution, not technical support, for application-related questions
concerning deadlines, academic programs, financial aid, and/or housing.
                 Best of luck in the application process!




Filling Out Applications

After you have received your applications:

   1. Read each application and accompanying instructions carefully.
   2. Xerox each application first so that you will have a practice copy from which to
      work when you fill out the actual application.
   3. Bring applications to Mr. Moss or to your college advisor for advice or help if
      you need it before you actually fill them out.
   4. Working from your practice copy, fill out each application; print or type neatly
      and legibly. Remember that colleges form their initial impression of you from
      your application - and their impressions can affect their decision. Be neat! The
      colleges and universities want to see how you follow instructions, answer
      questions, and pay attention to detail.
   5. Write your name in pencil on every part of the application, especially on
      recommendation forms and mid-year report forms.
   6. Make a copy of any essays that you write on an application in case they are lost or
      in case you need to do a similar essay for another college. Keep a copy of your
      completed application!
   7. Many applications will include teacher recommendation forms in addition to
      the School or Counselor's recommendation form. Give to your college advisor
      the xeroxed copy of the forms marked "Counselor or Principal," "College
      Advisor," "School Official," or "Secondary School Report". If there is only one
      recommendation form, it is to be filled out by your college advisor rather than
      one of your other teachers. Fill out the top part of each recommendation form
      with your name, address, social security number, signature and/or whatever other
      information is required and, then xerox each form. Give the originals to Mrs.
      Dellinger in Mr. Moss' office! Tell her which teacher you intend to give each
      form to, and then give the xeroxed copies of the teacher recommendation forms
      to those teachers who you feel can write you a strong recommendation. Be sure
      that your name is on each form. Politely ask your teachers to write these
      recommendations for you, and be sure to give them plenty of notice. Do not
      expect them to do these for you at the last minute. If you wish for a teacher to
       write several recommendations for you, give him/her all of the forms together at
       one time. If you decide not to apply to a particular college after all, let the
       teachers know before they have spent hours writing recommendations that will
       not be needed. Be sure to ask your teachers to turn in all recommendations to
       Mr. Moss' office for typing and mailing with your transcripts.
   8. If the application requires your parent's or guardian's signature, be sure to get it
       before you submit the application. Boarding students may have Mr. Neville sign
       if a parent signature is not available.
   9. It is your responsibility to provide checks or money orders in the amounts
       stipulated by the colleges and universities. These may not be charged to the
       parents' account, and most institutions request that you not send cash.
   10. After you have completed your application, take it to Mrs. Dellinger in Mr.
       Moss' office with the necessary application fee - a check or money order payable
       to the college or university. Mrs. Dellinger will check your application and send it
       and the fee to the college or university, along with a preliminary transcript,
       recommendations, and supporting documents. Don't mail it yourself and don't
       let your parents do it. If you or they mail it, then the School has no record of
       when and where you have applied and, consequently, doesn't send your transcript
       or other supporting materials. As a result, the whole application process is slowed
       down.
   11. When you turn in your application, you will sign a release form authorizing
       Darlington to release your transcript and any other documents or information
       about you requested by the colleges to which you apply.
   12. If you choose to apply online, print a copy of your application (if you are able to
       do so) and turn it to Mrs. Dellinger, just as you would a paper application. If you
       are not able to print a copy, please see Mrs. Dellinger to fill in Darlington's
       required form. In order to generate Darlington's paperwork for your application,
       whether a paper application or an on-line application, you must fill in
       Darlington's application information form and sign the transcript release form
       before Darlington will process your application or any paperwork related to it.
       This must be done by the School's deadline.
   13. Once a release has been authorized, Mr. Moss will send your transcript and
       supporting materials with your application to the colleges and universities you
       have chosen. If you wish or need to have a supplementary transcript or update
       sent at any time later in the year, give your request to Mr. Moss in writing. Also,
       turn in the end-of-year and mid-year report forms which many colleges require.
   14. All applications for state university systems are due to Mr. Moss' office by
       September 29.
   15. All Early Decision applications are due in to Moss' office by October 15.
   16. By late October, you should have turned in at least one application.
   17. All of your applications should be turned in by the day that you return from
       Christmas break.

College application forms are as different as the institutions that require
them. Some application forms are as simple as both sides of one piece of
paper. Others look like a small book, with many pages. I have seen some
college applications that are 23 pages long, requiring six written statements
from the student as well as the usual teacher recommendations and other
details. The answer to your question, then, is that it takes anywhere from 30
minutes to a week or so of evenings (or longer) to fill out college
applications.
As with resumes and job application letters, neatness is a very important
factor of your application. The majority of colleges will have no problem with
a hand-written application as long as it's readable and free from smudges
and erasures. Typing is always a sure way to make a good impression. If you
have a computer with a laser or bubble-jet printer--and you know how to use
it--you can make an extremely strong impression by formatting your
application pages for computer printing.
One of the most important--and most frequently underestimated--is the
letter of recommendation.
Some colleges only require one. Others may require two from teachers and
one from your counselor. Keeping track of all these administrative details can
make the submission of a complex application a very challenging
undertaking.

				
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