Tag Archives: timelines

A Few More Tips for College Visits

Families with High School juniors likely spent their Spring Break on College Visits. And your summer will likely include more College Visits. If you have read ADMISSIONS INTERVIEW & CAMPUS VISITS, you have lots of tips to make your visit successful. But here are a few more tips:

  1. Express Your Interest in a College
Is it a College or University?

Let Colleges Know You Are Actively Interested

As discussed in YIELD, College’s Admissions Offices have a difficult task. If they want to admit 500 students, how many students should they accept? How many of those who are accepted will choose to enroll – what will their yield be?

Colleges pay attention to how much time and attention you have spent on their College. The more time, the more likely you are going to enroll if you are accepted. If you have decided Acme College is THE ONE, then a) you likely decided it was THE ONE after you spent a fair amount of time on campus and b) you likely spent a lot of time on Acme’s campus because you are excited about it. While there are some students who decide a particular College is THE ONE without having even visited the College, that is certainly more rare.

Therefore, whenever you visit a College, attend and off-campus Information Session or have any outside contact with the College, make sure they know you were there – document your College Visit. Even if you can’t attend an Information Session or College Tour, stop by the Admissions Office, talk to anyone who is available and fill out the forms that express your interest. It is best if the student is the one who engages in the Admissions Office. By filing out the forms, you will be added to the mailing list and they will make note of the fact that you visited their campus. At the very least, go onto the College’s website and sign up to be on their mailing list, another way to express interest.

2. Visit a College when Classes are in Session

When Colleges are on break, the energy on the campus dies. If your student is worried a College may be too small, a visit when there is no activity on campus is another nail in the coffin…. Students are very concerned about deciding whether the students on campus are “their people”, which is difficult to determine if hardly any students are on campus when you visit.

Unrestricted Stock Graphic Calendar

Plan Your College Visits in Advance

At the beginning of Junior year, determine all of the dates that your student does not have school. Teacher Conferences, Teacher Workdays, even some Holidays. Determine if your student has any other commitments on those non-school days. Then type <XX College 20– Academic Calendar>. This should lead you to XX’s calendar for that year. Compare the calendars, and now you know the best dates for your College Visit. The alternative is to pull your Junior out of school to visit XX College, but Junior year is an important academic year and your student may be resistant to miss school to visit Colleges.

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Prepare for College – Shortcut

While I have tried hard to not overwhelm you, I know that if you are short on time, sometimes you just want a short checklist to help you prepare for College. I have resisted making a checklist, because it’s hard to sum up a complex process with a short list. Having said that, there are many resources that have prepared a list or brief article about the steps necessary to be prepared for College. Why should I re-create the wheel? Here are just a few:










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Be a Strategic College Applicant

After deciding WHERE to apply, a strategic College applicant must decide WHEN and HOW to apply to your potential Colleges.

Deadlines & Timelines helps you track what needs to happen before you can apply as well as follow deadlines. Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision, Rolling Admission and Restrictive Early Action help you determine the pros and cons of each application plan and identify which application plan may be best for your situation.

Pixabay Spreadsheet

Analysis of Application Plans Acceptance Rates

But that is a lot of information, so you need to create tools to help you evaluate how/when you will apply to each potential College – you need to be a Strategic College Applicant. For example, make a spreadsheet that breaks down acceptance rates by Application Plan for each of your potential Colleges. The spreadsheet will quickly help you identify clear advantages and disadvantages, in terms of acceptance rates.

Pixabay Sharing Information

Share Your Experience

Please leave a comment and share how you made your decision on WHEN and HOW to apply to your potential Colleges.

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Tracking Your Applications

Tracking Your Applications is important, because while Colleges will likely contact you if part of your application is missing, you never know when there will be a hard deadline that you will miss due to an incomplete application. Remember that with every interaction, you are being evaluated and that you always want to make a good impression.

Appearing to not have your act together, as demonstrated by an incomplete application, is not a good idea. Furthermore, you may have met the minimum applications requirements, but planned to add an optional piece, such as a flowing Letter of Recommendation from your Music Teacher or Coach, beyond the standard LORs. That LOR is filed by the Music Teacher or Coach directly to the Common Application, so unless you are tracking your application closely, you may not realize that they had not gotten around to filing that LOR.

A large part of stress is worry. Do I know what needs to be done? What are the deadlines? Did I get it done? Do I need to follow-up? These are the types of questions that keep us awake at night. Organizing, documenting and tracking are skills that enable busy people to fall asleep at night – they have an organized a process which determines what needs to be done when, and they document and follow that process. These are important life skills, that help you beyond this one, important process. Below is a sample spreadsheet for tracking the Application Process, by College.

Pixabay SpreadsheetApplication Checklist

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Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision, Rolling Admission

It’s time to figure out some application strategy, in terms of when and how to apply to a College. You have options for how you apply to a particular College. Those options may include Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Regular Decision and/or Rolling Admission Application Plans, depending on the College. Before we get into the details, it’s important for you to understand an important factor in the Admissions game, which is Yield.

When and how you apply to College can have a big impact on outcome.  In general, there are five ways (or plans) to apply to College:

  1. Early Decision (ED) – sometimes there is ED1 and ED2

    Applying Early Can be a Good Thing... Unless it's Not

    Applying Early Can be a Good Thing… Unless it’s Not

  2. Early Action (EA) – sometimes there is EA1 and EA2
  3. Restrictive Early Action (REA) – AKA Single-Choice Early Action
  4. Regular Decision (RD)
  5. Rolling Admission (RA)

Colleges don’t offer all of these options; typically they offer RD plus one other application plan, unless they offer RA.

A College’s policy regarding offering financial and/or merit aid for different admission plans (ED vs. RD, for example) are important considerations that should be discussed with the College’s Admission Officer. It is also important to research and discuss admission rates for the different application plans. Finally, ask about early application plans acceptance rates, adjusted for athletes and legacies.

About 450 Colleges have Early Decision or Early Action plans.  To determine which application plans are offered at a particular College, type <school name> undergraduate admissions deadlines in your search engine. Again, a College Counselor can be invaluable in navigating this complex process.

Checkout Deadlines and Timelines for related information.

Pixabay Spreadsheet

Application Plans, Deadlines by College & By Date

See the spreadsheets below for ideas on how to track application deadlines for each Application Plan they offer. You will want to track this information by College and by due date.

Application Plans, Deadlines, by College

Application Deadlines, by Date

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