Category Archives: Getting Into College

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.

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.

Local Community Colleges

For students with average GPAs it’s often difficult to know which colleges to apply to.  You don’t want to waste your time filling out applications, especially if there are fees involved, only to find out that your application for enrollment has been declined.  Here is some advice if you fall in that category of students.  Don’t bee too proud to give your local community colleges a chance!

benefits of community colleges

Local community colleges have many benefits over larger, more prestigious institutions.  Here’s a list of advantages local community colleges have over major universities:

  1. Community colleges are much cheaper than big name universities and the college credits count the same toward your degree.  So why not spend less money in the beginning and go to the local community college and then transfer your credits over to the university of your choice.
  2. Community colleges can be a stepping stone to prove yourself in the classroom.  Their acceptance rates are much higher than major universities and once you are in, you can prove you belong by making the grades.
  3. Class sizes are often smaller at community colleges.  That means you will have a lower ratio of teacher to student, which means you will get more one on one time with your professors.
  4. Parking is usually much easier at community colleges
  5. Campuses are less crowded at community colleges.
  6. There are more community colleges available, which means there is probably one closer to your residence than a major university.
  7. Community colleges tend to be slightly easier than universities.  This point is debatable; however, in my own experiences of attending a community college as well as a division I. university, I think the community college classes were much easier.

Those are just a few advantages.  The important thing to realize is there is no shame in going to a community college.  It is a practical and economical alternative that makes sense for millions of students across the country.  If you hadn’t considered it before you definitely should now!

The Easiest Colleges to Get Into Based on High Acceptance Rates

Let’s face it, most high school students are average with average grade point averages, average SAT scores and average ACT scores.  Not everybody can make the Dean’s List and flaunt a 4.0 GPA with high SAT and ACT scores to boot.  It’s easy to find good college information for the smart kids and governor scholars of the world, but for the average Joe it’s sometimes difficult to find good information.  The purpose of this blog is to focus on the average high school student and provide information about which colleges are the easiest to get into.

CUNY Staten Island has 100% acceptance rate and is one of the easiest colleges to get into in the United States.

CUNY Staten Island has 100% acceptance rate and is one of the easiest colleges to get into in the United States.

Exactly what do I mean when I say, “easiest to get into”?  By that, I mean which colleges will accept you as you are and let you enroll regardless of whether or not you have high marks.  A recent report by US News and World Report named one hundred colleges with the highest acceptance rates, meaning the colleges that accepted the most people and turned away the fewest.  According to their study, thirty-one colleges accepted everybody, one hundred percent of those who applied for enrollment.  There were also many more that accepted ninety-nine percent of applicants for enrollment (almost everybody).  With those colleges and universities instead of it being hard to get into them, it is actually hard not to get into them.  They have certainly reversed the trend.

It’s important to note that some people have complained that their report is misleading and although those colleges do “accept” everybody some of them then make each applicant go through a screening process in which some of them are denied.  However, more often than not, the report is pretty accurate.   In this blog we will be showcasing colleges and universities with very high acceptance rates that you should be able to get into very easily.

We will be previewing many of these colleges and universities, but not all of them.  Here is a list of 15 institutions that had 100% acceptance rates for the Fall Semester of 2011 in no particular order:

  • Goddard College of Plainfield Vermont
  • Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee
  • Granite State College in Concord New Hampshire
  • Baker College of Flint Michigan
  • Boston Architectural College in Boston Massachusetts
  • Dayton State College  in Dayton Beach Florida
  • Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph Missouri
  • Mountain State University in Beckley West Virginia
  • Chancellor University in Cleveland Ohio
  • CUNY-College in Staten Island New York
  • CUNY Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn New York
  • Lyndon State College in Lyndonville Vermont
  • Northwest Florida State College in Niceville Florida
  • New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas New Mexico

We will be featuring many colleges in future posts, but as I mentioned, we are focusing on colleges with the highest acceptance rates, so you will sure to receive the “congratulations” letter instead of the “sorry” letter from your perspective college in response to your application.