“Grades and test scores used to be enough to get you in,” said Jill Madenberg, an independent admissions consultant for more than two decades. “Now, grades and test scores are just enough to get you read for further consideration.” The Two Most Important College-Admissions Criteria Now Mean Less, Jeff Selingo, The Atlantic
While books like “Chosen” and “The Price of Admission” can lead students and families to think that admission is all about legacy, money and “who you know,” students have many opportunities to take control of their admission outcome and should not be dissuaded from driving their college search and application process. It is true that admission rates are dropping for some schools, but it’s not all bad news, and it’s difficult to point to one contributing factor. Jeff Selingo’s "What Vanderbilt, Northwestern and other elite colleges don’t say about acceptance rates " article calls for colleges to be more transparent in the admissions process, but until that happens, there is much that a student can do to ensure a successful college search experience. Self-assessment of strengths and interests, research, investing in and using reliable resources, establishing realistic expectations, and building in the necessary time are all key factors in creating a successful college search experience. These are all things within a student’s control and are all completely achievable. With good planning, seeing the road ahead and focusing on schools that match their strengths and goals, students can create their own success.
5 Tips for a Successful College Search
1. Build a College List that aligns with your Strengths and Interests.
2. Research, Research, and Research that allows you enough time to prepare and optimize your abilities. Assess whether testing makes sense for you and if you should include Test-Optional schools on your College List.
3. Make a Test Plan that allows you enough time to prepare and optimize your abilities. Assess whether testing makes sense for you and if you should include Test-Optional schools on your College List.
4. Develop a Timeline that works for you. The college search and application process takes time. Consider your schedule and time commitments to build in plenty of time to accomplish tasks and meet deadlines.
5. Assess what kind of support you need to manage all aspects of your college search. Having the right tools and resources often includes someone with expertise and familiarity with the college search and application process. Working with your high school counselor, a college counselor, or a representative from a Community Based Organization (CBO) can help you answer questions you don't even know to ask and assist in the development of a successful strategy and plan.
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