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Happy Holidays! And for deferred and denied students . . .

For college applicants, November started with Early Decision (ED) and ended with the filing for the University of California (UC). Now that it's December, parents and college counselors are pulling for our applicants, hoping they hear good things before the new year while also making sure there's contingency planning. Early Decision Notification: Check the Portal! There's nothing like an acceptance to make the holidays special. If you're the parent of an anxious senior who is waiting on an ED I choice, here are the three usual* outcomes come mid-December:

  • Your student is accepted. They must withdraw all other apps since their commitment is binding. (Somehow, every year an applicant forgets to do this. Not good.)

  • Your student is denied. They get to select an ED II - or just proceed as a Regular Decision applicant. If this happens to your applicant, give them some time to process (though these denials are often harder on the parents than the students).

  • Your student is deferred to the Regular Decision Pool, which means no more binding legal agreement. They may opt for an ED II or be a Regular Decision candidate.

*Sometimes, a student is offered an alternative such as Northeastern's, which is not binding unless it's the student's top choice of programs.

It is rare though not impossible to be accepted once deferred. Think of the student who is deferred by Dartmouth. Who is in that Regular pool alongside them? The students who didn't get admitted to Princeton, Dartmouth, or Penn or Cornell . . . You get the idea. Say your student decides on an ED II. While we don't have precise statistics for most colleges' second round, we do know that admissions has added ED II for a reason: to fill seats as soon and with as much confidence as possible. So the odds for ED II versus Regular Decision are in the student's favor. If your student is deferred, they should send admissions an upbeat email affirming their interest. Questions about Early Decision responses and ED II options? Send me a message!

Georgia on My Mind (It Notifies Early) Last week, the University of Georgia accepted about 32 percent of its pool, reporting that volume was up 21 percent over 2021. While it does not provide a separate stat for out-of-staters, Georgia Admissions reminds us that "With a larger applicant pool, we need to be slightly more cautious in EA as we do not know what the entire applicant pool (EA and RD) will look like." Fortunately, Georgia is delightfully clear about some of the criteria used to select future Dawgs:

  • It recalculates applicants' GPAs around five subject areas (English, Math, Science, Social Sciences, and Foreign Language, noting that applicants' "AP Art and Music Theory courses will also be calculated into the GPA for students completing those courses.")

  • It considers academic performance and rigor to be more important than standardized tests.

  • While in-state and out-of-state students are reviewed in much the same manner, out-of-staters may only constitute 20 percent of the incoming class.

"We expect students to take advantage of the most challenging courses offered at their high schools." - Georgia Admissions

Georgia's results come pleasantly early. Here are some notification dates for colleges popular with my students:

  • Penn State: late December

  • Villanova (EA), U Maryland, UNC Chapel Hill: late January

  • UVA (EA): mid-February

  • Tulane is often a delightful exception that may release Early Action decisions in late December.

As I pull together this blog post, I'm learning that a College Application Deadline Hotline, "free and open to all, from College Guidance Network, and NACAC," was used last month. Will there be a New Year edition? NYU Invests in Brooklyn (Again) Just yesterday, NYU elaborated on its plans to once again expand in Brooklyn. With additional space at MetroTech Center and renovations to its existing campus, NYU's $1 billion investment will "enable expansion of new interdisciplinary, collaborative lab and research spaces for robotics, biomedical engineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, and nanofabrication as well as space to accommodate large growth in experiential learning opportunities." Andrew Hamilton, NYU's president, believes that a dynamic Tandon has helped fuel a 170 percent increase in undergraduate applications over the past five years. We know test-optional admissions didn't hurt, either. Rebranding Cal Last month, you read that University of South Carolina has rebranded - back to USC. Apparently, branding experts are now in a quandary about whether to have a single name for UC Berkeley. After all, some hear UC Berkeley and think research and stellar academics, while sports fans know it as Cal. As reported in the SF Chronicle, UC Chancellor Carol Christ has put together a task force to figure out what to do. States Patrick Holmes, executive director of UC Berkeley’s communications and marketing department, “We hope to find ways to make it clearer that Berkeley and Cal are the same university while respecting the traditions that both names represent.”

The sportsy side (Think Aaron Rodgers)

Public Research Giants Took to the Gridiron. What Happened?

It had been 22 years since the mighty Wolverines from Michigan defeated rival Ohio State Buckeyes in two consecutive years. But it happened again last Saturday with a resounding 45-23 Michigan victory in Columbus. Both U-M and OSU are considered in the Top Three of the Big 10. According to the Wall Street Journal, "It was Michigan’s first road win in Columbus since 2000 and finally filled in one of the most glaring gaps in coach Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines resume since taking over in 2015." No doubt there will be calls for Harbaugh's return to the NFL.

On (to), Wisconsin? Fewer Will Get the Chance

After over-enrolling this year, U Wisconsin-Madison is going to cut the size of the next freshman class by 500 students. Apparently, these's been a squeeze on the market for both on-campus and off-campus housing.

Prospective Badgers have until February to apply.

The SAT of the Future: Smart Business or Desperation?

If you haven't heard, the SAT is going digital over the next two years. In a webinar by provider Applerouth, I heard the latest on the roll-out of the new test, which doesn't look or feel like anything of old. It's shorter (2 hours, 24 minutes) and section-adaptive (meaning that for both Reading and Math, the second of two sections changes to a different level of difficulty depending on how the student does once submitting the first half), yet the scoring remains at 1600. The reading passages will be shorter; there will be words in context but less grammar. The Math section will contain less statistics and more trig, and students will have access to a built-in graphing calculator. Students will take the test on their own or on school-issued devices and receive scores in a matter of days. The curious may download Bluebook to practice.

Don't worry. College Board will get the bugs out its own test with international students in the new year. The PSAT will change over in October 2023 as well.

Recently, New York Magazine asked What Does an SAT Score Mean Anymore? The article contrasts the old environment (a "flashing red light" for students with a lower number versus a "vote of confidence" for those having the big numbers) with today's largely test-optional climate. We are told, ". . . the statistics generally reveal that students who submitted test scores got accepted at a higher rate." They cite data collected by Compass Education Group singling out Boston College, Notre Dame, and Amherst for having an acceptance rate twice as high for students reporting scores as opposed to those going test-optional.

What to advise? The school counselor at high-flying Stuyvesant High School in New York "anticipates that students and their families will eventually reset their expectations and cast a wider net in their college search."

The College Counselor Goes Global

What happens after Early Decision? College counselors leave town! My recent getaway included a stop at the incredible University of Cambridge, established in 1209. Along with its friendly rival Oxford (that's why the term Oxbridge is sometimes used, even though students can't apply to both in the same year), this world-class university is considered the finest in the UK, with an acceptance rate of 12 percent, according to Crimson Education. The admissions process is holistic and extensive: "Ultimately, all admissions decisions are based on academic criteria – ability and potential – and excellence in an extra-curricular activity will never ‘compensate’ for lower academic potential."

At one of the 31 colleges that comprise the university.

Hey, Nina

My UCs are done and submitted! I will start the next set of essays in a few days. After that, which colleges do you think should be priorities if my ED doesn't work out?

If you have an applicant, make sure there's a backup plan. I can help! Make your holidays brighter - or at least less stressed - and set up a meeting today!


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