2 or 4 Year College?

Seniors, why not consider looking into community colleges as you put together your list of colleges and universities to research and apply. Perhaps you’re not ready to commit to a four year program or you’re looking to stay close to home. These local schools offer a different pathway to earning a bachelor’s degree. An added benefit is the reduced tuition cost.

Community colleges offer many programs in a variety of fields to train students, allowing them to earn an associates degree and pursue a career in their chosen field.

For students hoping to achieve a bachelors degree, many colleges and universities have formal programs which provide a way for qualified community college students to transfer. These four year schools have expanded their outreach and support to help applicants navigate the application process. They also offer generous scholarships to help with tuition. Students may often transfer with little or no loss of academic credit. Many community colleges have partnerships with four year schools that allow their students access to programs in nursing, technology, business and science. Talk to your guidance counselor to determine if community college makes sense for you.

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Registration Reminder

Today is the late registration deadline for the December 10th ACT exam. 

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College Interviews

College interviews offer you the chance to introduce yourself to Admissions and share something that isn’t revealed in your application. Interviews are also a great opportunity for you to get to know more about the school. Although they are a small piece of the application process, what you share in your conversation may give your interviewer a reason to support your application.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Confirm with each school whether interviews with Admissions are required. If so, schedule your interview as soon as possible, as slots fill up quickly. 
  • Many schools also offer or even require alumni interviews which can be confirmed on school websites or with Admissions. Don’t miss a chance to interview— confirm whether an alum will reach out or if you are responsible for scheduling the interview.
  • Your interviewer will have reviewed your transcript and activities resume prior to your meeting. This is an opportunity to share your interests and why you want to join the campus community to help them build a well-rounded entering class of qualified students.
  • Prepare for your interviews. Start by looking through the website to learn more about the school. Be prepared to talk about yourself: share what you do in your free time, explain why you’d like to attend, and talk about what you hope to achieve at that particular school.  
  • This is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what’s unique about the school and what it has to offer. It’s a good idea to have some questions ready. Just make sure that they are not questions that can easily be answered online. 
  • Practice by role playing with a parent, sibling or friend. 
  • This is also an opportunity to bring up anything that needs explaining, like a temporary drop in grades.
  • First impressions are important. Make sure to be on time, dress appropriately, pick a quiet spot if your interview is virtual and be confident. Most important, be authentic.

After the interview, don’t forget to send a thank you note and respond to any requests for information promptly.

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Registration Reminder

Today is the registration deadline for the December 10th ACT exam. 

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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s SAT

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s SAT.

To minimize your stress tomorrow morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. The last thing you need on test morning is a desperate scramble. These are some of the things you can do tonight to get your big day off to a great start:

First, check with your parents to make sure they know when and where you’re scheduled to take the test, and arrange how you’ll get to the test center. Next, gather and pack all the things you’ll need to take with you. Some of the things on this check list are “must-have” items, while others are optional.

REQUIRED: Don’t forget any of the following items or it will be a long ride home!

  • An approved calculator
  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • An acceptable form of photo ID
  • Your admission or standby ticket

SUGGESTED:

  • Water
  • Snack
  • Sweater
  • Back-up calculator
  • Extra batteries for your calculator
  • Watch (to keep track of time)
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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the December 3rd SAT.

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Get Involved

Whether you’re a freshman just starting out or a senior making plans for college, there are many reasons to get involved in extracurricular activities, both in and out of school. Although it’s easiest to gravitate towards things that come easily to you, this is the time to try new things in order to give yourself experiences that will enable you to learn more about yourself. Activities outside the classroom give you the chance to figure out what you like doing and also give you the opportunity to gain new skills. 

A great way to get started is to think about what you enjoy doing. If there is an activities fair at your school, be sure to attend. Go through the list of clubs and extracurriculars offered at your school and find the ones that sound fun. Also, challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone and try something completely new. Maybe it’s even something you’ve had in the back of your mind to do.

If you’ve already found something you enjoy, now’s the time to build on it. Consider expanding your role by seeking out a leadership position. Do something in the summer that you can build on in the coming year and during the next summer as well. Commit to something and stick with it. Think about starting a new club to get others to join in an activity you’re interested in. Also, you can give back to your community by volunteering.

The more you try, the more you’ll find out about yourself. College admissions reps will be interested in understanding who you are as an individual beyond your academic accomplishments, what you really care about and how you’ve chosen to spend your time outside the classroom. You may find yourself in situations that help you develop leadership capabilities, gain confidence in public speaking and also learn teamwork.

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Know Your Deadlines

There are many deadline options to choose from when submitting your college applications. You’ll want to know not only the due dates for each school on your list but also the protocols and dos and don’ts associated with each. Remember, deadlines vary not only from school to school, but also within a school for different programs. Stay organized by making yourself a chart to keep track of all of your due dates and please read on to become aware of the different choices in front of you so you can prepare in advance.

EARLY DECISION (ED)

  • Application deadlines tend to be early to mid-November with decisions coming in mid-December.
  • If accepted, early decision admission is binding.  Make sure this is the school you want to attend. Have you looked into all aspects of the school, including academic programs, extracurricular activities and opportunities? Given you haven’t been able to visit the campus and explore the surrounding neighborhood, or meet admissions reps face-to-face, do your homework to be sure this is a school you’re sure you’d like to commit to.
  • Research the availability of financial aid and keep in mind  aid may be impacted by current circumstances since more students are applying and schools may have less funds to distribute. Discuss affordability with your family.
  • An early decision application does convey your eagerness to attend. Admission rates for early decision candidates are generally higher than for students who apply regular decision. During the 2008 recession many schools increased the percentage of students admitted as ED applicants in order to secure a greater percentage of their incoming class. Many experts believe it is very likely that this pattern will be repeated in response to the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. So, if you’re a strong candidate, and you’re confident this is the school for you, this willingness to commit may improve your odds.
  • Many schools also offer a binding Early Decision II (EDII) deadline of around January 1st, with decisions generally coming in mid-February.
  • You can only choose one school to apply ED.

EARLY ACTION (EA)

  • As an Early Action candidate, you typically need to submit applications by early to mid-November and will then receive a decision by mid-December.
  • EA allows you to demonstrate your interest to be admitted without the binding commitment that ED requires. If your family really can’t make a financial commitment prior to the spring, EA could be a good option.
  • Restrictive EA schools do not allow applicants to apply EA or ED elsewhere, while non-restrictive EA schools do allow students to apply EA or ED. Check schools’ websites to confirm their policies.

ROLLING ADMISSIONS

  • Some colleges cycle on an ongoing basis where the application process typically opens early fall and may continue as late as summer or as long as spaces are available.
  • Applicants are notified of their outcome as applications are processed, so applying as early as possible may improve your chances of acceptance.
  • While there may be no application deadline, there typically are deadlines for scholarships, financial aid and housing.

REGULAR DECISON

  • The deadline for Regular Decision varies from school to school, but is usually between January 1 and mid-February. Decisions are typically received mid-March through early April.
  • Please be aware of different deadlines for special programs and scholarships.

OPEN DECISION

  • Community colleges and many online school programs offer open enrollment to most high school graduates and GED certificate holders.

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How To Get The Most Out Of College Fairs

Get acquainted with many colleges and universities under one roof by attending a college fair.  Learn more about schools you’re interested in, get introduced to ones that are new to you and meet with admissions representatives.

 Get the most out of college fairs:

  1. Look online at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) fall schedule. NACAC also offers a schedule for students interested in the performing and visual arts and another one for those students wanting to learn aboutSTEM programs. The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation also maintains a college fair calendar and agencies in your state may do the same.  Check with your guidance counselor for a complete schedule of fairs in your school district.
  2. Save time when you arrive by signing up in advance.  Complete the NACAC online registration form, print your barcode and take it to the fair. By scanning your code, college reps will have your information and so you won’t need to fill out individual info cards at each booth. They’ll also have your information if they want to reach out to you.
  3. Decide which reps you’d like to visit with and which events you’d like to attend by reviewing the list of participating schools ahead of time. Think about what type of school may be the best for you and have a few talking points ready.  Ask reps questions that are school specific and can’t easily be answered by looking at their website. Don’t forget to ask for business cards after your conversations.
  4. Pick up a map when you arrive and begin visiting with the schools at the top of your list.  As you walk through the aisles stop in to look at a variety of schools and chat with their reps.  Collect brochures and course catalogs to review when you’re back home.
  5.  If you have any questions once you are home, reach out with an email.  If you felt you had a meaningful conversation with any particular rep you may also want to send an email or a thank you note.
  6. Sort through all the brochures and other materials  you collected and save the ones you’re interested in. Go online, research the schools you liked and create a preliminary list of schools you’re interested in.

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Start Your FAFSA Now

If you want to get a head start on financial aid for the 2023-24 school year, open your FAFSA (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid) now.

Most public state universities and private colleges and universities use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for financial aid. Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible because aid is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis until funds run out. So, apply early to give yourself the best chance to receive the funds your family will need to pay for college.

The FAFSA may seem overwhelming, but help is available. Start by looking at the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet to see what’s required. Gather the information and documents required to apply for financial aid. Reach out to your guidance or college counselor with any questions— they will get you started by either guiding you themselves or directing you to any number of free resources availabl

The most important thing is to apply so you don’t miss out on any opportunity. Even if you’re not sure you’ll qualify, apply.

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