After spending three years freaking out about the college process and a month writing your college essay, college supplements are an unwelcome surprise. We think supplements are actually a good thing because it gives schools more personality data on the applicant. When you’re applying to highly competitive schools like Hamilton and Middlebury, with acceptance rates of 20.8% and 18.4% percent respectively, we really believe that you want to take advantage of every opportunity to stand out and tell them why you want to be there. The more data they have, the better they understand who you are. At least on paper.
While you don’t have to pick your lifelong career-pursuit at the age of 17, when deciding where to attend college, it helps to know what you’re interested in. The goal is to pick a college that supports that interest and will give you the best opportunities therein. But choosing the right place is a bit more complex than it might seem. In this post, we will highlight the ways in which you can hone in the right school for your interests.
The summer is upon us, which really means that it’s basically September in our minds. The summer is not a time for play, it’s a time for work. It’s a preview to the rest of your life, if you’re a student. Not to get too dark, but it’s true. Parents, while summer might be a time that you associate with vacations and relaxation, if you have a kid who is applying to colleges next year we’re going to strongly encourage you to wait to schedule vacations for winter break.
You might have read or heard about University of Chicago’s announcement that the school is dropping the ACT/SAT requirement of its application. Previously, it was required that all applicants sit for the SAT or ACT and include the scores on their application to the university. Now, University of Chicago has gone “test-optional” along with numerous other top-tier institutions.
Building a college list is one of the most challenging things that you’ll do during the college process. The good news is that it can also be quite fun. There are thousands of colleges in the U.S., so it can feel intimidating. We’ll break it down into 8 easy steps to help you start your journey. There are a few key questions that are necessary to ask yourself as you put together your list of colleges that you plan to apply to.
If you’ve worked with us, are working with us, or have read any of our sample college essays, you should know by now that we are big fans of creative writing. But if you’re thinking about majoring or minoring in creative writing in college, there are a few things that you should know first. Creative writing programs are competitive and sometimes cutthroat. Small workshops are the foundation of a positive creative writing experience, but that also means fewer seats are available - sometimes as few as 6 for a high-level course.
It’s that time of year again! The weather is cooling down, back-to-school sales are in full swing, and it’s time to really evaluate where you are in your college application process. You’re going to be back in school pretty soon, so there’s never going to be a better time than now. Let’s talk college lists!
Sometimes you just don’t want to have to mess around with supplements. We get it. If you’re applying to a specialized arts program, an honors program, or for certain scholarships, you probably won’t have a choice since supplements or portfolios are nearly universally mandatory. But if you’re applying for general admission it is quite possible to craft a college list completely devoid of supplements. Not just without optional supplements, because those aren’t really optional, but free of any supplemental essays at all.
There are thousands of schools in the United States, and they’re pretty easy to sift through if you’re looking at binary determinators. Do they have an engineering program? Do they offer a study abroad program doing fieldwork in Madagascar? Do they have a themed living community for young men and women who wanted to be wizards but, after not receiving that invite to Hogwarts, have resigned themselves to a life in chemistry? All of those are important questions (they’re important for someone, ok, don’t judge), but they are also simple questions. They have yes or no answers.
If you’re a parent of a rising senior you might feel like the walls are closing in on you and your child. There is no right way to feel at this time, but feelings of helplessness and stress are pretty common as you enter college application season. That’s why many parents decide to get help in addition to what some schools may offer, in the form of a college advisor. We understand that not everyone has access to this kind of help, so we are making some of our wisdom and knowledge available to you here. We may not be parents ourselves, but since all of us at The Koppelman Group have gone through the college admissions process ourselves within the last ten years, we are closer to the process, which gives us added perspective. We have also been helping kids get into college for years now, so we have a better sense of what parents are going through as well. We remember what our junior year in high school was like, with all the stress and pressure, not just from our parents, but from our peers as well. It was awful, and this is why we can empathize so well with our student clients, and help them avoid the pitfalls that we experienced.
College campuses differ in every way imaginable, from location and size to age, grandeur, and access to cities or nature. It’s hard to make a choice about what matters. In that vein, we wanted to provide a roundup of the top 10 schools that we consider the best for those students who want an academic challenge and also seek easy access to the outdoors. The following is a list of academically selective schools that also offer a range of outdoor activities and opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. If your priorities are academic rigor and fresh air, then these schools are a great place to start.
Building a balanced list is about research and knowing what you want. The first component has to do with identifying the school’s numerical range that you’re interested in--the average SAT/ACT scores are available on the schools’ websites, and from there you compare your own score. If your scores are above, it’s a safety, if they’re around the same, a target, and if you fall below numerically, then the school is a reach. Before we delve into building your list, make sure that you read up on the difference between reaches, targets, and safety schools in our blog post on the topic. This post builds on that knowledge.
University of Michigan is a wonderful school with a lot of attributes that our students often look for in a college. We’ve noticed over the last few application cycles it’s increased in popularity. Our students love Michigan because of the culture and academic rigor, but as a highly competitive school, it isn’t an automatic “yes” for most people.
The word “introvert” has a lot of connotations and can be tough to define for people who define themselves as extroverts. There are a lot of misconceptions about the behaviors of an introvert, namely that all introverts are quiet or shy. This is not the case, nor is it the case that all quiet or shy people are introverts. Introversion and extroversion have to do with gaining energy and exhausting--extroverts gain energy at parties because they are fueled by being surrounded by other people, whereas some introverts are drained by parties and restore their energy by being alone. All of that being said, if your student is feeling like the college environment might be a bit daunting for whatever reason, it’s important to take note of that and consider these personality traits when selecting a college.
“If I apply to eleven schools, chances are I’ll get into one of them!” says almost everyone applying to college. If you’re talking about eleven reach schools, you’re probably wrong.
It excites our students to find out that a school they’re applying to doesn’t have a supplement. Although supplements serve a very important purpose, they can be tedious to write because of the time and research involved in making them unique. We went through the top 100+ schools on the US News and World ranking and found all the schools that don’t have supplements. If you’re on the fence about applying to a certain school on this list, then this might be the factor that makes you apply. However, we don’t recommend applying to a school simply because it is supplement-free.
Most people don’t remember when they learned about Harvard for the first time. Harvard looks and feels like “college.” With its red brick buildings and green quad, Harvard the movie magic, picture perfect image of a college. No matter who you are or what your various connections to the school may be, Harvard is a reach for almost everyone. A reach school is a school where a student falls towards the lower end of the indicated range, or any school that admits less than 20% of applicants who apply. Reach schools are incredibly well known and sought after—think Ivy League+ schools. In order to get in, you need something special. We can’t give you an exact formula for getting into Harvard, but we have developed unique strategies for helping students get to their reach schools.
As we mentioned last week, many colleges are moving towards becoming test optional. Liberal arts schools are definitely leading this trend, but some top universities have hopped on board. Here is a list of the top test optional national universities.
Over the past few years, standardized testing has become a heavily contested subject. Although some argue that it is an important data point and equalizer, more and more schools are moving towards becoming test optional. Test optional means students can choose to submit their test scores, and a lack of submissions won’t affect their chances. Here is a list of the top test optional liberal arts schools.
We hope you get into your dream reach school, and we plan on giving you all the advice to make your dream come true. But the reality is that you need to have a solid backup plan just incase. In the beginning of the college application process, most of our students have the wrong attitude towards safety schools because they assume they will get into at least a few of their target and reach schools. Safety schools are never to be looked down upon. We find that students who do that end up picking their safeties at random. A safety should be a school a little below your target range that you still would love to attend. Although we’ve never had a student who hasn’t gotten into at least one of their reach schools, we want to ensure you’re prepared for that possibility.