10 Things: Getting Into Your Dream College

Very interesting article by the NY Times on 10 Things to Know About Getting Into Your Dream College.

Admissions decisions aren’t all about you.
When colleges choose applicants, they’re juggling competing goals, like increasing diversity and bringing in more revenue. Admissions officers aren’t looking for students who fit just one description — say, those who’ve earned all A’s or won the most awards. So don’t take rejection personally.

Grades and test scores still carry the most weight.
Colleges often say they want to get to know the real you, but that’s probably true only if your academic accomplishments (and the rigor of courses you’ve taken) pass muster.

You’re more than a number.
After colleges identify a big batch of students with outstanding credentials, differences among them become more important, admissions deans say. Among some of the attributes they tell me they would like to see evidence of (in essays, extracurricular activities, recommendations) are: leadership, risk taking, emotional intelligence, fire for learning, critical thinking, curiosity, empathy, optimism, grit, perseverance and the ability to overcome obstacles.

Express your authentic self.
Overwhelmed by slick, boastful essays, colleges are eager for what they call “authentic” glimpses of applicants — their experiences, passions and goals. Some deans believe they’ll get deeper insight through alternative formats like videos, pictures, audio files or documents (an Advanced Placement English paper, maybe). A handful of prestigious schools, including Yale, the University of Chicago, Pomona College, Reed College and the University of Rochester, recently introduced this option. As with essays, too much polish is no good, deans say, so you might think twice about hiring a professional videographer. At Yale, about 400 applicants (out of nearly 33,000) for this year’s freshman class sent in something in an alternative format. In at least one case, the submission — a video showing leadership and impact on others — was, the dean told me, a “difference maker.”

Diversity counts.
Are you a first-generation or low-income student? Many colleges are trying to increase access, so it can help to emphasize your background — and how your personal story relates to your achievements — in essays and interviews.

But money does matter.
At many colleges, financial circumstances comes into play. Being able to pay all or some of the freight is a bonus. And some qualified students of limited means might get rejected for no reason other than lack of money.

Geography is (partly) destiny.
Many selective colleges want students from all over.

Legacies aren’t a shoo-in.
Legacy status certainly helps, but big-name colleges reject plenty of these applicants.

Do (real) good.
A new initiative called “Turning the Tide” urges admissions offices to reward applicants for sustained community service. And some colleges, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are taking a closer look at what applicants have done to help others, be they neighbors or family members. You don’t have to fly to Belize to do good (admissions officers are often skeptical of these fleeting trips). Showing up to tutor someone at the library each week might be even more impressive, and rewarding.

Colleges want to be your first choice.
About one in five colleges allot “considerable importance” to “demonstrated interest,” whereby applicants convey their willingness to attend the college they’re applying to. Open those emails. Connect with admissions officers. Let them know when you visit campus.

 

Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

Worth reading the NY Times article on Six Myths About Choosing a College Major. Below are the 6 myths and more is available in the full article.

Myth 1: For the big money, STEM always delivers.

Myth 2: Women want to have it all.

Myth 3: Choice of major matters more than choice of college.

Myth 4: Liberal arts majors are unemployable.

Myth 5: It’s important to choose a major early.

Myth 6: You need a major.

See the chart below for projected earnings of different career fields. If interested read the full article: Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

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Should You Apply Early Action vs Early Decision?

Today is the deadline for Early applications and several of our seniors are submitting applications today. Below is a text from Princeton Review on Early Action vs Early Decision and important things to consider.

Many colleges allow applicants to submit their materials for an early deadline (sometime in the fall) that falls before the regular deadline (usually sometime in January or February). Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages of applying early
Show You’re Serious
Applying early lets your favorite school (or schools) know that you are serious about attending. Schools track how many applicants accept their offers of admission and release those numbers to the public. A school looks good when a high percentage of accepted applicants chose to attend. So if they think you’re likely to accept their offer of admission, it may give your application a leg up.

Cut Down on Admission Stress
If you are accepted to your dream school, you won’t have to bother with the time and expense of applying elsewhere. You can put your focus back on right now instead of one year from now.

Some students and high school counselors believe that applying early decision gives them better odds of acceptance, but the truth is early acceptance rates and admissions standards vary from school to school. You can find early decision application numbers and acceptance rates for many schools in our Best Colleges book, and don’t be afraid to ask an admission counselor at your dream school directly about their early admission practices.

There is a (potential) disadvantage to applying early, however. You may not have the opportunity to compare financial aid packages offered by other schools.

Early Action vs Early Decision
Most schools allow you to apply early in one of two ways: early decision or early action.

Early decision
Early decision is binding. This means if you are accepted through early decision, you are committed to attending that school, and will withdraw any applications you may have submitted for the regular deadlines at other schools. You may not apply to more than one college under early decision. If you are not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred. Rejected applicants may not apply again that year. Deferred applicants will be reconsidered during the regular admission period, and are free to apply to other schools.

Early decision deadlines are often in November, and students are typically notified of the decision in December.

Early action
Early action is non–binding. This means you are not bound to attend if you are accepted. You may also apply early action to multiple colleges. Early action deadlines usually fall at the same time as early decision.

The obvious advantage of early action over early decision is the opportunity it gives you to apply to, and ultimately compare financial aid packages from several schools. If you are accepted early decision, you risk missing the admission deadlines of other schools while you wait for your award package to arrive. If that award is lackluster, your options are fewer.

Our Advice
If you’re sure that you’ve found your best-fit school, you know it’s one you want to attend, you’re a strong candidate for admission, and you know that you can afford the tuition, go ahead and apply early decision.

That is a whole lot of research and comparison to have done by fall of your senior year, though, and if you’re uncertain about any of those factors, you’re not alone! Keep your options open by applying early action, or by the regular deadline.

MIT at Band – October 9

Do you want to know more about MIT? Come to the event next Monday, October 9th from 1-3pm in room A11.

You will learn strategies to become part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a top university in areas such as Science, Technology and Engineering. You will learn more about undergraduate admissions at MIT and hear some inspirational stories about notable professors and young Brazilians who attend MIT.

The event will be hosted by Dr. Elaine Lizeo, in her role as Brazilian Chair – MIT Educational Council and coordinator of the Brazilian team of interviewers as well as Mr. Fernando Carvalho who has been working for over a decade at promoting MIT’s educational opportunities in Brazil. From 1997 to 2006, Dr. Elaine Lizeo concluded her Masters Degree at MIT and conducted research for her Masters, Doctorate and Post-Doctorate theses at MIT.

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10 Universities Where International Students Receive Aid

According to data submitted to U.S. News in an annual survey, among the 419 ranked schools where at least 50 international students were awarded aid during 2016-2017, the average amounted to $20,470. But the average was significantly higher among the 10 schools where those students were given the most aid, at $60,576.

Topping the list is the University of Chicago, ranked in a tie at No. 3 among National Universities. Also on the list: the Ivy League Harvard University and Yale University, along with Williams College, the No. 1 ranked National Liberal Arts College. Columbia University, which is second on the list after the University of Chicago, is also the private school with the highest tuition and fees – $57,208 – for the 2017-2018 school year.

Other schools on the list include: Skidmore College, Trinity College, Stanford University, Amherst College, Wesleyan University.

To see the table with details from the 10 universities go to: US News 10 Universities Where International Students Receive Aid

 

Browsing a College Course Catalog

When thinking about what university you may want to apply to or even thinking about a potential major, one tool that can be very helpful is to browse through some course catalogs.

Most universities now have their course catalogs online and you can see classes offered, pre-requisites by major, etc.

Some examples include:

University of Chicago The College Catalog

Boston University Courses Search

UCLA Catalog

So start browsing and learn more about what your day-to-day classes at these universities would actually be like!

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Top 10 universities for producing Nobel prizewinners

Princeton University has topped a list of institutions with the most Nobel laureates this century, while the US dominates a top 10 based on the nationality of the winners.

The Ivy League institution overtakes Stanford University, Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, after the announcements of this year’s prizes to reach the summit of the table, which is dominated by US universities and was drawn up by Times Higher Education.

Read more: Top 10 universities for producing Nobel prizewinners 2016

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World University Rankings 2018

Times Higher Education released their 2018 World University Rankings. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 list the top 1,000 universities in the world, making it the biggest international league table to date.

It is the only global university performance table to judge research-intensive universities across all of their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. THE uses 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

University of Oxford is number 1, followed by University of Cambridge at number 2. California Institute of Technology and Stanford are tied for third place. MIT is number 5, while Harvard University sits at number 6 on the list. Princeton University is number 7, Imperial College London is number 8 and University of Chicago is number 9. To finish the top 10, ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and University of Pennsylvania are tied at number 10. Yale, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, UCLA, University College London, Duke, UC Berkeley, Cornell and Northwestern rank among the top 20.

View the full ranking and the methodology here: THE 2018 World University Rankings

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Stars Who Are Also College Students!

Did you know Brooklyn Beckham is heading to the Parsons School of Design in New York City to study photography?

And that Malia Obama is continuing in her parents’ Ivy League footsteps by attending Harvard University this fall after taking part in a gap year?

Meanwhile, Modern Family siblings Ariel Winter and Nolan Gould will go to rival California schools in the near future — University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, respectively.

Read more in this ET article: Stars Who Are Also College Students!

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Tips for starting a college admission search

Very interesting article by the Washington Post on Starting a college admission search? Here are a professor’s tips.

Some highlights from the article:

Selecting a college with your child is an agonizing ordeal. Triply agonizing, in fact. First, choosing the right school from among dozens of viable options is anxiety-inducing. Second, there’s the ignominy of actually having to listen to your teenager’s peculiar ideas as to what’s in his or her best interest. Finally, there’s the trauma of tuition. The cost of a college education, after all, can easily exceed a quarter-million dollars.

In hopes of somewhat alleviating your agony, I offer the following tips as you begin searching for a dream school. Having taught college for a quarter century, having sat on admissions committees, and having recently published a tell-all about American professors, permit me to make some helpful, and occasionally unorthodox, suggestions.

Read the 7 tips in the article including:

  • Ignore the rankings
  • Professors are important
  • Class size
  • Don’t trust, verify