Preparing for College Admissions

Preparing For College Admissions

The college admissions process can be an overwhelming experience for new students and a “wake up call” for the life changing step from high school to college. The first thing to consider is admissions requirements. Each college has different requirements for who they admit to enroll at their school. Admission requirements commonly factor in test scores, grade point average, and prep courses. It’s important to know the requirements and make sure you meet all the requirements before applying for enrollment.

The second thing to consider is the college application. You want to set yourself apart from the pack when filling out a college application. College applications often include essays, letters of recommendation, portfolios of work, and interviews. Essays are critical to your application. Essays let the decision makers at the enrollment office know why you are interested in attending their college and if you are the type of person and the type of student they want to allow in. When writing your essays be sure to include any good works you have done such as volunteer work and any clubs and extra-curricular activities in which you participate. Try to represent yourself as a very well rounded individual who is actively involved in your community.

Letters of recommendation are very important as well. You can’t control what people say about you in their letters, but you can control who you ask. Be smart when making the decision of which people to ask for letters of recommendation. Only ask those people who will help your cause and say good things about you, and make sure those people have good written communication skills and good grammar.

On campus interviews are a great opportunity to win over the decision makers of the schools. Not all colleges offer campus interviews, so if the college you are applying to does you need to take advantage of the situation. Generally speaking the campus interview is not the biggest factor, but it could be your opportunity to tip the scales in your favor. Speaking in a one-on-one environment is your chance to make a great impression and provide the interviewer additional information about yourself that may have been left out of your application. Present yourself as confident and competent as well as humble and respectful.

Why Getting Into College This Fall Is Easy

For those of you who just graduated from high school this past semester and have applied to colleges, you should be able to breathe a bit easier than you would have in years past.  Sometimes it’s best to be lucky, and for those of you with borderline acceptable college applications, you may just be in luck.  Teenage population numbers have dipped and are projected to keep dipping for the next couple of years.  This means there is a smaller pool of applicants and colleges are scrambling to fill the seats with freshmen, meaning they are ultimately lowering the bar and accepting applicants that simply would not have made the cut last year.

According to the experts, there won’t be any noticeable changes to acceptance rates at elite colleges and universities such as Ivy League schools, but smaller, less selective colleges will be doing everything they can to have full classes, even when it means lowering their standards.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is an organization that has been monitoring and tracking graduation projections for over thirty years.  They recently released a report called Knocking on the College Door which included the following observation:

Over the last two decades, colleges and universities have been able to count on an annually growing number of students graduating from the nation’s high schools. But it appears that period of abundance will soon be history.”

Even though, the number of high school graduates has risen and peaked over the past fifteen years it iis expected to decline by up to two hundred thousand this year, according to the Knocking on the College Door report.

So if you are on of those average high school students with average test scores, you still have a great chance at getting accepted at the college or university you apply to.  Don’t waste this golden opportunity.  If you’ve been procrastinating about applying for enrollment for the Fall 2014 Semester you are running out of time but you can still make it if you act now.  Apply, enroll, and start registering for classes.  You’ll be glad you took the leap.

It’s Not Too Late to Enroll in College for Fall Semester

Even though most college deadlines have passed, according to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), nearly 300 colleges have so far reported that they still have room for incoming freshman.  Many colleges are still trying to fill their classes and also tend to lose students in the final weeks before classes start.  When that happens it is referred to as “Summer Melt”.

There are a ton of colleges with very high acceptance rates that you can still apply to and get registered at the last minute.  Here are ten great options for you to consider.

New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida
St. John’s College in Annapolis
Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri
The University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
St. John’s College in Sante Fe, New Mexico
Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon
Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois
Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois
Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin
Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont

Many people who are considering enrolling in college this year feel like they have waited to long so they may as well wait until the Spring semester, but that would be a big mistake.  When you put off enrolling in school the odds go against you astronomically that you will enroll the following semester.  Most people move on with other things such as work and family.  You owe it to yourself to at least make the effort and see if you can still get registered for Fall classes at the school of your choosing.  Online courses are a great alternative as well.  Just remember, it’s still not to late to enroll!  But the clock is ticking and you need to act now.

Colleges with 100 Percent Acceptance Rates in 2014

enrolling in college

Here’s a partial list of colleges and universities that had 100% acceptance rates at least one semester over the past two years:

  • Everest University Online
  • Everglades University
  • Tougaloo College
  • Academy of Art University
  • American Public University System
  • Baker College of Flint
  • Boston Architectural College
  • College of St. Thomas More
  • Chancellor University
  • Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Pikeville
  • Washburn University

We will be adding more colleges and universities to this list as more reports on acceptance rates and admissions become available.

2014 Easiest Colleges to Get Into

With 2014 looming just around the corner, many students are scrambling to get accepted into college.  Many of these students were denied admission because of low test scores and not meeting other requirements of the colleges and universities to which they applied.  The clock is ticking and opportunities to retake the SAT and ACT tests are dwindling.  As we have discussed on this site repeatedly low GPAs and low test scores often keep students from being able to get into the colleges of their choice.  When that happens, it’s time to look for alternative solutions.

easiest colleges to get into 2014

There are numerous colleges and universities around the country that have extremely high, if not 100% acceptance rates.  Many of them do not care what your grade point average was in high school and they do not require a minimum ACT or SAT score to get accepted into their institutions.  Looking into these colleges is a good idea.  The best approach is to see which colleges are the most likely to accept you and then factor in all the other variables such as location, cost, major, etc.

Here is a partial list of schools that had 100% acceptance rates in the past couple years.  That means they didn’t refuse or deny anybody who applied to their institution.  That makes them extremely likely to accept a very high percentage of applicants in 2014.

30 Colleges with High Acceptance Rates (100%) for Students to Enroll in for 2014

colleges with high acceptance 2014

Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California
Baker College of Flint in Michigan
Boston Architectural College in Massachusetts
Chancellor University in Ohio
College of Saints John Fish and Thomas More in Texas
College of Staten Island in New York
Medgar Evers College in New York
Daytona State College in Florida
Everglades University in Florida
Fisk University in Tennessee
Granite State College in New Hampshire
Jarvis Christian College in Texas
Missouri Western State University in Missouri
New Mexico Highlands University in New Mexico
Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma
Potomac College in DC
Santa Fe University of Art and Design in New Mexico
St. Catharine College in Kentucky
St. Paul’s College in Virginia
University of Maryland
University of Pikeville in Kentucky
University of Texas-Brownsville in Texas
Utah Valley University in Utah
Wayne State College in Nebraska
Weber State University in Utah
Western New Mexico University

All the above colleges have had 100% acceptance rates in the past.  The ones below were over 99% acceptance rates.
Wilmington University in Delaware
University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) in Texas
Cameron University in Oklahoma
Herzing University in Wisconsin
University of Arkansas Little Rock

If any of the colleges and universities listed above peak your interest you should act right now.  Go to their websites and you can find the additional information needed to send in your application.  They all have different processes and timeframes for applicants so be diligent and make sure you send off all the required information accurately and quickly so you will get accepted in time to enroll in classes before the next semester starts.

Getting into College with Low SAT Scores

Just because you have low SAT scores or low ACT scores doesn’t mean you can’t get into college.  In fact, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to know that many colleges and universities don’t even require an SAT or ACT test for admission.  There are many reasons why these tests are optional but not mandatory.  Below are a few of reasons.

The ACT and SAT, although good for measuring skills across the board, don’t necessarily serve a good purpose of measuring skills for specific types of schools such as technical schools, art schools, and music schools.  So many of those types of institutions don’t require them.

Some colleges and universities feel like an unfair advantage is given to wealthy families who can afford prep classes for the SAT test and ACT test whereas less fortunate families can’t take the prep classes and consequently the students score lower on the tests.

Colleges or universities with strong religious affiliations often don’t require SAT and ACT scores either.

In summary, if you are a student with low test scores, don’t lose hope.  Seek out “test-optional” colleges that don’t require high scores or don’t require the tests at all.  Another option is to retake the SAT or ACT.  Most people score considerably higher the second or third time around because they are more familiar with what to expect.  The best option, if you can afford it, is to take prep classes for the SAT or ACT and then retake the exams.  You are sure to score higher with more preparation.   I hope this information has been helpful.  Soon I hope to post a list of colleges that have test-optional admissions policies so please check back soon for updates.

How to Choose the College that’s Right for You

What College is Right for You?

choosing the right college

Choosing the right college for you is one of the biggest decisions of your life.

People are different.  We all have different goals, different dreams, and different skill levels.  We excel in some areas while we struggle in others.  We are highly interested in some topics and others bore us to sleep.  So when it comes to choosing which college is best for you, your answer should be unique.  Just because your brother or sister or parents attended one college doesn’t necessarily mean that same college is the right choice for you.

5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right College

  1. Ask yourself these questions. “Why am I going to college?  What are my goals?  What am I good at?  What am I interested in?  What do I truly want out of life?”   The answers to those questions can shift your college decision tremendously.  Are you a highly motivated individual that can tackle college on your own, or are you someone who will rely heavily on family support?  Size up who you are and what your needs are. Explore your strengths and weaknesses and assess your needs.
  2. The size of the college or university you choose is very important.  Maybe you want to be a part of something huge?  Or maybe you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.  Small colleges give you a better chance to get to know all of the key people in your field and do some inner exploration, whereas  large colleges and universities may offer more things and have different opportunities based on shear numbers.  It’s typically easier to get one on one time with your professors at small colleges.
  3. Depending on your unique situation, the distance your college is from your loved ones can make a difference.  If you’re just starting college you’ve likely never been out on your own before.  Believe it or not, it’s very easy to become homesick and depressed when your culture changes drastically and you are no longer around people you know and are comfortable with.  If you are somebody who wants to spend the holidays with family consider colleges a bit closer to home.
  4. Choose a college or university that makes financial sense.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to a big name brand university, possibly out of state.  The tuition is enormously higher for out of state students.  Consider the financial benefits of choosing an in-state school.  You should also consider attending a community college the first couple years to knock out all of your common classes.  There’s no reason to put an unnecessary financial burden on your back if you don’t have to.
  5. Do your research before selecting a college or university.  Look for schools that specialize in the industries you are interested in.  Start by making a large list of colleges you are considering attending.  Then continue to narrow down your list.  Visit the websites of each college, read as much info as you can, look at all the pictures and videos available.  Visit each campus.  Check out not only what each college has to offer but what the area has to offer as well.  Think about where you’ll be eating, hanging out, shopping, etc.  and factor all of those things in to your decision.

College doesn’t have to be strictly a chore; it can be the most exciting and fun time of your life.  But it all depends on which college you choose.  Other than your major, choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your adult life.  Choose wisely, go forth, and prosper.

10 Tips to Get Into College

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Get Into College

  1. Take high school seriously from start to finish.  Schedule classes that will challenge you but that are still easy enough for you to get an A or a B.
  2. Make sure you have a good cumulative Grade Point Average over the life of your high school career.  If you goofed off your freshman year and had a C average then you need to dig deep and make up for it the rest of the time you have left.  Some colleges screen applicants based on a four year GPA in high school.
  3. Get good references.  Only ask for recommendation letters from teachers and school officials that you are certain will give you a good recommendation.  A single negative recommendation can blow it for you, so choose wisely.
  4. Volunteer.  Volunteering looks great on a college application, especially if you are volunteering with academic related activities such as tutoring.
  5. Run for leadership positions within your school.  Any titles are good ones, but student council is great and class president will earn you big bonus points.
  6. Narrow down your future career field.  Focus on what you like and what you are good at.  Think about jobs you would like to do for the next 25 years.  Anticipate how those job fields may evolve in the future.  Don’t pick something you will get burnt out with a few years down the road.  Once you’ve made your choice start focusing on that field.  Take classes related to that career field and volunteer within the school and community in that field as well.
  7. Make a great resume.  It’s important to have good grammar throughout.  Be professional and don’t leave anything to chance.  Impress them with every opportunity.
  8. Prepare and study hard for the ACT and SAT exams.  Take the SAT multiple times if you need to, to get the highest score possible.  Take prep classes to prepare for the SAT.  It will be time well spent.
  9. When writing essays put a lot of thought into them.  Have strong opening paragraphs and strong closing paragraphs.  Let the admissions officer know you mean business.  As we mentioned above, make sure your grammar is good and there are no typos. Proofread, edit, and double check everything.
  10. Prepare yourself for your face to face interview with the college admissions officer.  Anticipate what they may ask you and practice answering their questions.  Remain calm and relaxed.  Be sharp, but poised.  Dress nice and be well groomed.  Make the best impression you can.

Take these ten tips seriously and you will be well on your way to getting accepted to the college of your choice.


Avoiding Red Flags on Your College Application

Avoiding Red Flags

We’ve already talked about things college admission offices consider when reviewing applicants for enrollment.  Now let’s talk about how to avoid red flags on your application.  At many colleges and universities the admissions officers are only going to accept a small percentage of applicants and there are certain “red flags” that can get your application denied before they even finish reviewing it.

avoid red flags

Five Tips to Avoid Red Flags on your College Application

  1. Bad Grammar – If your college application is full of typos, bad grammar, and misspelled words that sends the admissions officer a red flag that you are not on the college level.  Be sure to use the proper word for common misuses such as to, two, and too as well as your and you’re.  Getting those wrong can get your application denied in a hurry.  On the flip side, a nice clean application with good grammar will get you headed in the right direction.  It’s also important to use good penmanship.  It gives off a vibe of professionalism and dignity.
  2. Exaggerated Extracurricular Activities – As we mentioned in the previous post, listing all of the organizations, clubs, community programs, etc. you belong to is a great idea, but make sure you are telling the truth.  Many colleges and universities will do their due diligence and check out your list.  If they find out you exaggerated and you are not as involved as you claim to be, your application could get denied based on honesty alone.
  3. Negative Social Media – If you have a Facebook account, Twitter account, etc. make sure your pages and pictures are clean.  If the admissions officer looks you up and sees a lot of foul language or pictures of your partying all the time they will take that into consideration.  On the flip side you can make yourself look good with clean, respectable accounts and pictures of you doing community service, going to church, etc.
  4. Bad References – When you list references on your college application you need to make sure that the people you list actually know you and that they will actually give you a good recommendation if they are called upon.  If a college admissions officer calls one of your references and they say they don’t know who you are, or if they say something negative about your character, you can consider your application denied immediately.  There is no bigger red flag than that.
  5. Incomplete Application – Make sure you fill out your college application completely.  Take the time to answer every question and spend an ample amount of time on any essay questions asked.  If you fly through the application and skip questions or give short, simple answers the admissions officer won’t take you seriously.

There are certainly other red flags, but these are the major ones you should easily be able to avoid just by taking your time and using common sense.  I hope this helps when you’re filling out your next application for enrollment.  Good luck!

What Colleges Look for in an Applicant

We’ve already been telling you which colleges are the easiest to get into, so now let’s take a close look at what colleges actually look for in applicants.  Here are the main things most colleges will consider when you apply for enrollment:

what colleges look for

  1. Your test scores – most colleges take a good hard look at your standardized test scores such as the ACT and SAT tests.  If you are hoping for a scholarship your scores need to be on the high end.  If you are just hoping to get into the college then your scores need to be in the middle of the pack or higher.  If your scores are toward the bottom you’d better hope the admissions office likes other things on your application and those other factors carry enough weight to get you in.
  2. Your grades – much like your standardized test scores, college admissions decision makers will look at your grade point average as a good indicator of your future success at the college level.
  3. Your high school classes – the admissions office will look at which classes you took in high school.  A lot can be determined based off of your class schedule strength.  For example, were you taking easy classes or AP (advanced placement classes) and how well did you perform in those classes?  It definitely matters, and it matters a lot more today than it did 10 or 15 years ago.
  4. Community Involvement – are you a leader?  Did you do any volunteering?  Showing community service is a great way to show character and attitude and give you an edge on a college application.
  5. Extracurricular Activities – do you play sports, are you in any clubs?  Showing you are well rounded will also give you an edge with the decision makers at the admissions office.
  6. References – If you can get letters of recommendation from your teachers, councelors, principal, community leaders, or professionals in your field of study that can also go a long way in providing you with an edge.
  7. Your application itself – You should present yourself well, by making sure you answer everything asked and you have good grammar and good punctuation.  Showcase a good vocabulary.  If you have to come in for an interview dress nice, be well groomed, and always smile.  Those things can go a long way.

I hope these tips help.  Being educated on what colleges are looking for will give you an edge on getting accepted.