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Category: Acceptance

April is for Admissions not just April Fools Day

March was nerve wracking enough – late nights scanning forums waiting for decisions to come through, early mornings discussing results with your parents. Plus you had exams and everything else. Butnow it’s April and all your admissions decisions have finally arrived! After months of waiting, they are here! So what is next. Well, there are a few different scenarios to think through:

You’ve Been Accepted to your Top Choice!

Congratulations! We couldn’t be happier for you! Admissions is rigorous and difficult. It’s a long haul and you worked hard for it. I know you can’t wait to sign the dotted line (figuratively) but pause, breathe, plan. Remember to send thank you notes to everyone who helped you in the process. But also remember to sit down with your parents and talk about anything they might be concerned about whether concerns about paying for college, or the safety concerns your parents may have about the country of your destination. Scholarships can be negotiated, loans must be understood, and just saying “God mom / dad” won’t alleviate their concerns in a heartbeat. Make sure you’ve thought it through and talked to people.

Multiple Acceptances
The number of applications each student submits is increasing each year (we’ve seen it!). Not to mention students are diversifying applications across multiple countries! If you applied to a balanced list of schools, chances are good that you have been accepted to more than one school. Whether or not you have your top choice, we highly recommend sitting down with your parents or with a counselor to write out a list of pros and cons for each school once you’ve got all the admissions. Wait till you have all your acceptances before you begin the exercise and write down your thoughts. Its overwhelming so you need to take your time. This list should consider how strong your university is for your major, geographical location and weather, size of the university and financial aid or total cost of attendance may. If you can try to visit the colleges and see them in person though realize that you have a short timeline since schools need a decision by May 1st and you can only put a deposit to one school.

You’ve Been Waitlisted
There is a special feeling of overwhelming frustration that descends upon the students that are stuck in admissions purgatory (waitlisted). After months of waiting, you’re being asked to wait longer. First, figure out if you want to pursue the waitlist. Waitlists are difficult and we see fewer and fewer conversions off the waitlist each year. Colleges use waitlists to make sure they have a full class and use it to fill in spots. But with admissions getting more competitive, this isn’t easy. If you do decide to continue pursuing the waitlist, refer to our earlier article titled a Different Kind of Love Letter on pursuing the waitlist for Early Admissions. The rules are still the same. However warning, pun approaching. ACCEPT your situation and ACCEPT one school that you want to go to! Wait for the waitlist to move but realize, you got into college and that is pretty great.

You Were Not Admitted To Most or All of your Colleges
This is a difficult situation to be in, we sympathize. But, even though it feels like it, it’s not the end of the world. Wait for all the results before you fall down a crazy spiral of depression. If for whatever reason you didn’t hear great news from any of your colleges, there are colleges in other countries you aren’t late for, maybe even a gap year is the right thing with a more balanced list this time? You can still pursue waitlists and you can contact the admissions office and ask them about their appeal policy. However, you should not solely rely on these options. Instead, you should focus on learning more about the school or schools you were accepted to. Think about reaching out to a counselor to understand your options and engage a professional who has more knowledge in this journey. Everything will be ok in the end, and if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

When Your Friends Get In…Or Don’t
You might be incredibly excited or incredibly upset, but remember to be sensitive to others when sharing your results with your friends or on social media. Admissions are getting more competitive and not everyone gets into their top choices. Avoid writing about every school on Facebook or even on SnapChat. Not only does this rub it in, it may also annoy admissions officials who in extreme cases my rescind applications. Think about how it might feel if your dream school denied your application. At the same time try not to compare yourself with friends and classmates who have gotten into a school, where you were denied. From an outside perspective it’s nearly impossible to understand exactly why an admissions committee chooses one qualified candidate over another.Remember, whatever the decision, you worked hard, celebrate it. And things always work out even if sometimes they don’t feel like they do in the short term.

Rejected: Class of 2021

Rejection

Apr 1st, 2017. You wish someone would jump out and yell “April Fools Day!!!!” but they didn’t. #IvyDay has come and gone. Your dream school has crushed those elaborate castles of whimsy you had built in your head about your lives together. And life plain SUCKS. Like SUCKS!!

Rejection 2

They built you up with posts saying “COME TO US!” only to rip you right down to this stage.

Dealing with rejection is difficult. Most students take it personally that they were turned down. Some compare it to a break up. They feel like the “Sorry we can’t offer you a place in the Class of 2021…” really stands for “You Suck” but nothing could be further from that. And we aren’t just trying to make you feel better.

Hell, check out Frank Bruni’s awesome article on this from last year – College Admissions Shocker. 

Its not you, it really IS THEM! It becomes a game of Supply and Demand really – too many students are applying and there are only a handful of seats available.

So take a little time to feel upset – you worked hard for it. But then, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Accept that this may be the first big rejection but that life hasn’t come to a standstill. You may do incredibly well in the college you have been accepted to and that could set you on a path for success. You could perhaps even apply to your dream college for grad school (applications? AGAIN?) Really though, embrace the school that embraced you and move on.

In case you are stuck in Waitlist Limbo, check out our advice on working through the 5 stages of Grief.

Summer School? But its not even Spring!!

While winter is barely over, and Grade 12 students are in the midst of exams and preparation, it’s time to think of Summer Schools for students in Grade 9, 10 and 11!

You may think college applications are long off but unfortunately, time goes by faster than you think. Every year we get lots of people reaching out to discuss summer schools in May, but the time to apply is NOW. January and February are the best times to start planning for summer schools abroad.

But wait, even though, the trend of attending a summer program by high school students is really catching on in India and the BIG question is that is it really worth all the effort, time and money spent?

Is it becoming just about keeping up with that one kid in your class or is there a link between that an admissions? There is a lot to unpack in this article.

Well first thing to know is…

Q. What is a Summer School or a Summer Program?

A. Summer school is known to be a great way for students to pursue new interests, enhance existing talents, and build new contacts.

Q. Do they ACTUALLY act as a catalyst in gaining admission to a college of your choice?

A. In a simple way, we have parents each year asking, “If my child goes to Harvard Summer School, does that mean he will get into Harvard?” Here is the truth.

Attending a summer program no doubt indicates to colleges that you’re dedicated to studying and gaining knowledge. However, when you talk to admission officers they are of the opinion that these summer programs rarely give student that much of advantage when the time comes for them to apply to college. Yes, they do add great value to your resume/CV but understand that this is not your ticket to your desired college.

WAIT! Before you stop reading though… 

Q. Why should you consider pursuing a summer school/program?

– Summer program is the best way for students to fulfill their aspiration for global exploration and at the same time be committed to making the most of campus life. It’s a chance to figure out if they are ready.

– Explore new areas of interest, strengthen interest in a particular major and illustrate their readiness for the education system to admissions officers.

– Chance to experience what classes will be like and the level of work you will need to put in to succeed.

– Get hands on experience with international companies in form of internships which is inbuilt in some programs

– Possibility of incorporating your summer school experience in your essays

Q. What should I look for in a program?

– Is it the right time to dedicate to a summer program? AP exams are in the summer and sometimes Summer School overlaps with regular term for students. In some schools that means missing class and even exams.

– Is the school/program selective or does it take anyone who applies? If a selective program like Yale (YYGS), Boston Univ (PROMYS), Stanford (SuMAC), Princeton Journalism or UPenn LBW accepts you it is an indicator that 1) You are stronger than some of your peers 2) You are ready for a rigorous college curriculum

However, other programs that you can pay for and get in are less valuable in terms of being “an indicator” because even the admissions officers know they are not selective

Q. Do I have to go abroad?

A. No! Going to summer school abroad can cost as much as $10,000 for two weeks. Don’t waste your money on a non-selective program that won’t add too much value. Colleges are coming to us! Whether it’sAshoka’s High School Program, UChicago Summer School, Columbia University programs or MIT, the schools are coming to us and you should make the most of these opportunities.

Q. Should I go this year or next year?

A. Well, this is rather subjective and really depends from student to student. As per our experience we believe that you should join a summer program in the summer of your grade 10 and/or grade 11. The reason being that this time you are relatively free and have more time in hand as compared to when you are in grade 12 trying hard to balance your school life and college application work.

So going back to the big question, should I apply?

A. YES! Summer School is worth it if

– Your timing is right

– You can afford it

– If the program adds value to your application process either as a selective program that is an indicator or an exploratory program that allows you to show interest in a major

 

What should you do when deferred?

Deferred

When applying to colleges in the early round – Early Decision or Early Action, there are three possible outcomes:

– Accepted – Yay!

– Rejected – 🙁

– Deferred – ?

I think a deferral notification can feel mildly traumatic – “This must mean I won’t get accepted anywhere!” 

Deferred1

So lets explain what is going on.

Deferral means that you are neither in nor out, but the university will review your application along with the pool of regular applicants. So don’t lose hope just as yet, this is not a rejection! However, it is important to take some constructive action to tilt the balance in your favor the next time around your application file is reviewed.

Even though the university does not consider you their top choice they are reasonably impressed with your applicant credentials to review your application with the larger pool of applicants in the regular round. If they were certain of not admitting you, they would have denied you outright!

What are my chances in Regular Decision? 

Deferred 5

Once you are deferred you are automatically reconsidered in the next round. There is NO ADVANTAGE or DISADVANTAGE for being deferred. And so, believe it when I say that a deferral isn’t just a “polite rejection.” Being deferred means you’re going to get another fair shot. It’s not a denial. I promise.

Should I ask them what went wrong?

No. Decisions are made as a collective process in a group where students are compared to each other and discussed by a number of people. No one person can give you an answer, in fact, legally, they probably can’t.

What should I do?

– Read the deferral letter carefully, please send any additional material requested like the Mid-Year Grades, additional standardized test scores, anything else.

– Please ensure your Mid-Year grades show an upward trend over the last scores reported on your High School Transcript. Colleges do value better academic grades the most!

Deferred 4

– Send an update to the university of any achievements, academic or extra-curricular since the submission of your early application. E.g. an Excellence Award received on Founder’s Day, House Colors, a research paper published etc. This information can be sent in one well drafter letter rather than as weekly updates!

– Reach out to your interviewer to inform them of your deferral and seek their advice.

– Perhaps, an additional recommendation from someone like your Debate Coach, your Tutor in school, a research mentor can be sent only if the college is receptive of receiving additional material. You should check with the college before sending additional recommendations.

 What should I NOT do?

Deferred 2  …cry hysterically. The world has not come to an end.

…pester your parents to plan a visit to the college to show your interest.

…inundate the admissions office with multiple emails just to show you are interested. It is good to establish contact with your admissions officer but not at the cost of being labeled a stalker!Stalker

…lose hope. But do re-look at your university list. Ensure you have some Safeties on your list, otherwise add some NOW!!

College Applications: Writing about Extracurriculars

Yes, yes, we know you’re obsessing about essays and scoffing at the idea of thinking about extracurriculars at this stage (“If I haven’t done them by now, chances are I won’t…”) but READ ON.

While the posts about how to make the most of your summer stressed the importance of Extracurriculars, we realize that a lot of the time, students mess up when it comes to writing about extracurriculars.

Besides the essays, the Activity Section on the CommonApp needs the maximum attention from you. The University of California has a similar section and so does every major alternative to the CommonApp. So whether you are using this particular application or not, the rules still apply. Remember to give this plenty of time because this can’t be done in a hurry.

But first…What is The Activity Section?
A section of the CommonApp that condenses the hours of effort outside of class into 10 activities total

Out of the millions of students who use the Commonapp, how do you ensure that your application stands out?

So if you keep the super fun CommonApp essay away, the application has the regular questions that any application would, hardly intriguing if one can say that! But, if you have spent a major chunk of your high school years sweating it out on the field or actively participating in extra curricular events at every possible level, the CommonApp has a dedicated section called the Activity section, to showcase them and put forth a stronger application and personal profile that will help in setting you apart. But, the trickiest bit is to understand this section and be certain about the activities that you want to talk about and ensure you have managed to leave an impression on the reviewer.

So what are the activities that I can list out?

You can list everything that you have participated in from Grade 9 on. This includes summer activities, volunteer work, internships; both in and out of school and clubs and organizations like speech and debate, music, drama, art, sports and science. The more diverse your list is, the better it is, as you come across as an individual who is open to trying out new things and will continue doing so, if admitted.

How many activities can I list out?

There are ten spaces to fill in activities, however please remember Ten isn’t necessary! Your commitment to the activity needs to come through and not the number of activities. Signs of dedication include an activity participated in continuously or an activity where you have achieved a level of distinction, either as a founder, leader or member; made a significant contribution; or were publicly recognized or won an award.

PLEASE DON’T MAKE ACTIVITIES UP TO FILL THE BLANKS. It is better to show significant participation, leadership, and personal development in 3-4 activities than write about ten activities that you were hardly involved in.

I have more than 10 activities, what do I do?

If you have listed your top 10 and have more activities to add, or feel you want to talk more about a particular activity and were limited by the 150 character limit, then the CommonApp has an “Additional Information” section where you can list these out.

To do a good job:

1. Prioritize. There are 10 spots and they should start in the order of most important to the least. Spend some extra time figuring out which one you want where.

2. Use Space Well. You don’t have too much room so don’t waste it. Write the role and the Organization in the top box so you don’t waste characters and use bigger words. Rather than “Came up with…” say “Developed.” In short places like this, every character counts!

3. Give Quantities where you can. Instead of saying “Collected money for poor” tell us “Collected $40,000 to buy back-to-school supplies for 400 slum-children”

Note: You have a place to provide hours and years so do not repeat.

4. Provide Links. This can also come into the additional information section, but it’s always great to provide a link to something tangible – a blog, a website, a newspaper article or dropbox

5. Show Leadership.You may not be President or Head Girl, but rather than just saying “Member of Football team” tell us how you may have stepped up as a leader by saying “Led football practice and coached junior members of team”

And most of all, be honest and be specific. Don’t lie or exaggerate in an unbelievable way. Don’t over-estimate hours so that the total is actually more than 24 hours a day. We still don’t have time turners.

Hence proven the CommonApp is not just an application form. It needs you to exercise those brain cells, get creative and smart with your words and put forth the best self-brand that you can! So get typing!