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I’m Lost: Where to Begin in the College Admissions Process?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 @ 4:41 PM
im lost

So the time has come. It’s time for you (or your son or daughter) to start thinking about college. Most students begin this process around their junior year of high school, but some families like to start even sooner. But what do you do when the college application process totally baffles you? Here’s a quick guide to taking your very first steps in the college search.

Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now)

Before you even begin thinking about where you’ll go and what you’ll study, stop and take some time to consider who you are right now. What do you really want from your college experience? Do you dream of heading across the country? Perhaps you want a very traditional college experience with lots of fraternities and sororities? Or maybe academia is your priority and you’re aiming high with Ivy League and other top tier schools? Before you research any programs or universities, make lists of what you’d like in your higher education experience, what type of atmosphere you most desire, and perhaps even what kind of environment you think would be best for your personality and temperament.

Time for a Family Meeting

Next up is a thorough discussion between parents and student. What do your parents envision for your future? Are your dreams and goals in line? If not, how can you compromise? It is vital to talk about the college process early, to avoid arguments later on and to ensure you’re all on the same page. If you plan to study 10 states away, but your parents banked on you staying closer to home, these issues will need to be worked out, and the sooner the better. This conversation, and others, is also when you should begin addressing the financial piece. What will your parents be able to contribute to your college education? Will you need to take out loans? Are you hoping for scholarships? Talking about this early on allows you to apply to the right schools that meet your situation and needs. 

Basic Research of Schools

Now that you know a little bit of what you’re looking for and have narrowed it down at least somewhat in terms of finances, it’s time for the fun part: researching colleges. If you are firmly decided on what you want to study, you may be best seeking out institutions with solid reputations in these subjects. If you’re open to a variety of majors, however, you can be a bit more versatile in your research. There are plenty of useful college search tools on the Internet, but a great place to start is Peterson’s.

Moving Forward

As you begin to hone in on some colleges and universities that interest you, your family can begin planning visits and tours. This is the best way to see whether or not a school is the right fit for you. Keep researching, too. University websites are chock full of information. You can discover so much about a school from its website, social media accounts, and even from contacting current students.

Moving forward in the college admissions process, it’s a smart idea to work with a college consultant. A consultant can be an invaluable resource when it comes to choosing colleges, applying, and making sure you have the best chance of being admitted to the school of your choice. It is a complicated process, but with help, applying to higher education is a breeze. For the top Bay Area college planner, get in touch with Manuel today at College Planning ABC.

 

Tags: strategies for college, college planning abc, college planning, college applications, College Planning News, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college

What are Colleges Looking For?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 @ 11:12 PM
WhatCollegePhoto

It’s no surprise that colleges these days seem to be more competitive than ever. Good grades, top SAT scores, extracurricular activities. What does it take to stand out from the crowd? When you start to plan your college application process, you may find yourself wondering exactly what colleges are looking for in their potential students. As a top Bay Area college planner, I’ve discovered firsthand just what colleges seek in their incoming classes, and I’m going to share that with you today.

Students Who Challenge Themselves

Colleges love to see that students have challenged themselves academically. If you’ve maintained a rigorous course load in high school, this looks favorable to admission officers. Schools want to know that students will be able to handle the academic challenges of their institution.

Leadership Qualities and Integrity

Universities want students of character who display strength, leadership, and a good sense of values. These insights can be gleaned from your personal essay but especially from your recommendation letters. With these, admissions counselors learn how others view you, and what their assessments may be. The best recommendations come from teachers or guidance counselors who know you well and have observed you at your best.

Consistent Academic Success

Admissions committees understand that not all students will achieve stellar marks throughout all four years of high school. However, your grades should display that you’ve given a solid effort and earned the best grades possible in the vast majority of your classes. It’s okay to start out a little weaker academically, as long as your transcript displays an upward trend.

Community & School Involvement

Most schools want you to be more than just a terrific student. They want to know you’ve made your mark in your high school and your community. Being involved in sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities, particularly if you’ve played a leadership role, adds a great deal to your application. While in high school, you should also strive to make community service and volunteering a part of your routine. This looks good on applications, of course, but more importantly, helps you to grow and become a better, more mature individual.

Something Special

Your chance to shine may come in the guise of your admissions essay. This unique and revealing glimpse into your life shows more than just what’s on the page. Go beyond your resume and academic achievements. Select a topic that isn’t overdone and share your personal story. Show what makes you different than other students; what makes you an individual. Something that the admissions committee can relate to and/or find memorable goes a long way. Your essay provides a look at who you really are and what you’ll bring to the campus community.

A Good Fit

What universities look for depends a great deal on the institution itself. Some place higher importance on academics while others seek to build a well-rounded, diverse student body. It’s important, therefore, to tailor your application for each college, while still staying true to who you are and what you offer.

Getting In

With some hard work and smart approaches (as well as working with a knowledgeable and experienced college consultant), you will find the application process to be a breeze. And if you’ve got what it takes, you’re sure to shine as an outstanding potential student.

Tags: strategies for college, college planning abc, college planning, college applications, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college