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The Early Decision App is In. Now What?

Yesterday, I heard from a wonderful applicant. She had checked her Penn State portal, and there it was: her first acceptance! The student didn’t expect to hear anything so soon and was wondering whether it was the real deal. Hopefully, this very early acceptance shows that a strong applicant who meets deadlines and checks portals regularly will be rewarded.

When will your student be notified?  I’m so glad to learn that Penn State is responding already with rolling decisions; some large public research universities do. In a recent email to counselors, the Georgia Dawgs shared that they would release decisions on November 19. However, private universities that are popular with my students won’t release decisions until 2022, for example, Northeastern (February 1 notification), the University of Miami (late January-Early February), or Tulane (January 15).

Penn State: On a Roll

That Penn State decision was the earliest reported by my cohort and reinforces an important message: Your student should set aside a regular time to check portals. They may be asked to do anything range from self-reporting scores to uploading a graded report.

What About Interviews? unCommon students love getting the confetti when their Common App submissions go through. However, those submissions may also trigger an invitation to interview. Preparation is key, as it is for all interviews throughout college and career. (See my article in College Confidential, which focuses on asking the interviewer questions.) Confused by all this interview talk? Set up a mock interview for your student or check out my ebook, Mastering the College Interview, which I just revised. It’s available through my website as a pdf or through Apple Books.

Test-Optional Admissions: Who’s the Victim Now? For years, parents have covered fees for SATs, ACTs, and APs. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, however, “America’s standardized testing giants are losing money fast.” ACT revenue is down $100 million for the year ended August 31, 2020, while College Board revenue dropped $286 million. Remember, unlike the Dawgs, most U.S. colleges are test-optional for the foreseeable future, while the California system is test-blind. That hurts the testing agencies.

Legacy Admissions: Don’t Count on It Historically, 11 percent of each class at Amherst has consisted of legacies. Now, the elite liberal arts college is ending the longstanding policy of giving admissions preferences to children of alumni, using its announcement as a way of telling the market that access reigns. In fact, Amherst is need-blind for both domestic and international applicants.

Amherst accepted 8% of applicants last year.

Burnout: Students and Counselors, Too? Good for Ursinus College for surveying students and counselors about the impact of the pandemic. No shock: the responses point to burnout associated with pandemic learning, the uncertainties associated with the present application process and stress around the college experience. Of counselors surveyed, some 57 percent said students applied to the same number of colleges as they would have pre-pandemic, while 65 percent said students applied to more colleges closer to home. Some eighty percent of counselors encouraged students to keep the same number of applications.

Three-Years, You’re Out! What if your child could save you time and money yet still enjoy a three-year college experience? Robert Zemsky, a popular Penn professor of higher education and Lori Carrell, Chancellor at U Minnesota, posed the question to over a dozen colleges. As explained in Inside Higher Ed, “as the cost of college continues to climb and more adult, nontraditional and career-focused students look to higher education to get ahead, a three-year degree option could be just what the industry needs right now.” Zemsky and Carrell will serve as guides to faculty and students in their project, to be called College in 3.

Apparently, past attempts at shorter degrees were not met with success for a variety of reasons, from social to study abroad. This college counselor is liking the discussion about what’s best for higher ed

Progress and Nostalgia at Brown Last Friday, I stopped in to surprise Barrett Hazeltine, legendary dean and professor and the best advisor a Brunonian could ask for. He still teaches two classes – and just turned 90! While on the birthday visit, I checked out some of the campus improvements, including the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship and the very new Sternlicht Commons and Brown Health & Wellness Center, which houses not only students but also “numerous programs and services instrumental to students’ physical and emotional well-being, including Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Brown Emergency Medical Services and BWell, the University’s health promotion program.” It’s feels good knowing that Brown is investing in its students’ well-being.

Here’s to all our Early and Regular applicants. As we move through the admissions season, be sure to get in touch with questions or to set up a meeting.


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