Guide To Getting In

THE GOODS ON GETTING IN
Knowing how the system works is the first step in finding
the best school

When Charles Dickens named his classic Great Expectations, he wasn’t thinking about getting Pip, his hero, into college. But he could have been. Nowadays, there’s so much hype surrounding college admissions –- whether it’s marketing by the colleges themselves or reporting by the media –- that parents and students expect the process to be overwhelming. But it needn’t be if you have the right expectations beforehand…

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COUNTDOWN TO NOVEMBER
Find out if you should apply under an early application plan

For some high school seniors, time is running out.

The November early application deadline is fast approaching. Students have heard that large numbers of college freshmen are selected “early,” usually receiving decisions from the colleges in mid-December, and they want to jump on the bandwagon, too.

If you aren’t familiar with the “early” college application options, here they are in a nutshell…

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THE WRITE STUFF
Essay-writing essentials

What is it about the college essay that strikes fear into so many hearts? The difficulty in imagining that a high school senior, with such limited life experiences, can actually have something to say? The fear that a teen’s future rests on the strength of 500 or 650 well-written and poignant words?

Well, yes — and no…

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ACING THE INTERVIEW
Preparation ensures success

Good morning. It’s 8 a.m., and your interview with McDreamy College is only an hour away. Better take inventory before you go:

  • Are you a mini-expert on the college?
  • Do you have a list of intelligent questions to ask at the interview?
  • Did you ditch your New York Giants Sweatshirt and your Ben Folds T-shirt for the morning?
  • Have you left enough time to get to the interview early?…

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BY THE NUMBERS
The basics about financial aid

If you’re a lucky parent, your child has finished applying to college and even may have a few acceptances in hand. Now it’s your turn to fill out forms – that is, if you’re applying for financial aid. Read on to learn what to do and how to do it…

How do we figure out how much a particular college will cost?

The term of art is Cost of Attendance or COA…

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FINANCIAL AID FINE POINTS
What questions to ask and how to compare financial aid awards

Each college has its own financial aid policies — information that may or may not appear on the college’s website. While you probably can find a school’s estimated cost of attendance (COA) online, and you can run an individual college’s net price calculator, what you can’t find merits a phone call to a financial aid officer. And you can do it if even though your child hasn’t yet heard from the admissions office. Here’s what you should ask…

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MARCH MADNESS
How more and more colleges are easing the anxiety over college admissions testing

“Sweet 16.” “Elite 8.” “Final Four.” If you’re a hoops fan, these words will ring loudly this month, as the madness that is college basketball rises to a frenzy in the annual sports rite known as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. This article isn’t about that March Madness. It’s about the March Madness that takes place in early March for high school juniors. That day is SAT Saturday, traditionally the first foray into taking the SAT for many students…

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THE WAITING GAME
What to do when you’re placed on a wait list

Congratulations on your college acceptances! April will be a whirlwind month. If you haven’t as yet decided which college offer of admission to accept, chances are you’ll be on the road again looking at schools. If you’ve received a wait list letter, read it carefully…

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A YEAR (OR SIX MONTHS) IN THE LIFE
A gap-year journey abroad

The idea of taking time off between college and high school is starting to take hold in the U.S. Even Malia Obama is getting on board, delaying her entrance into Harvard for one year. It works like this:  A high school senior applies to college and accepts an offer of admission, but instead of showing up on campus a few months later, he or she defers freshman year for a while. That interim period, popularly referred to as a “gap year,” produces a confident and mature young adult who has enjoyed a dynamic experience engaged in studying, service and/or travel…

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SAFE AND SOUND ON CAMPUS
Expert advice about security at college

Walk any campus on a college tour, and you will probably hear the tour guide talk about “the blue light system,” highly visible emergency lights scattered around campus that also contain emergency telephones, and a Safe Ride program in which students can call security any time of day or night for a ride. Campus security is an important concern, whether the school is in a rural, suburban or urban location, but there are more questions to ask beyond finding out whether the school has a safe ride program or blue light emergency call boxes…

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SPECIAL ADVICE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
Services vary from school to school

Does your college-bound teen have a learning difference? That’s right – a learning difference, not a learning disability. There’s something about the word, “disability,” that suggests that an LD student is not as capable as a student who doesn’t have a learning issue. Colleges know that’s not the case — that LD students are often bright, inquisitive and excellent students. They just learn a little differently, so what they really have are learning differences…

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