We love back-to-school time! This year is especially notable with students being back to in-person.
We have been BUSY! Not only are we often deluged with essays to review, but we have also spent this month doing hours of webinars. We've met with Tulane University, Penn State University, and the UC schools. We also attended a presentation on The Sisters colleges, which had exceptional content, especially about the benefits of women's colleges. It was interesting to learn that only 2% of the applicant pool are interested in the women's colleges, despite being great liberal art institutions! Additionally, we attended sessions for RIT, Syracuse University, UMass with its four undergraduate campuses, 14 Liberal Arts Colleges, and another one that combined Purdue/Georgia Tech/Harvey Mudd College/Olin College of Engineering.
As always, we take lots of great notes about admit rates, what they look for in applications, and much more, and we make all these notes available in our software for our clients. We also spent time in webinars from our software provider.
The NACAC Annual Conference for admissions professionals was in Seattle this year. This translates to more college and university professionals visiting the Seattle area and visiting many high schools, as well as an opportunity for us to meet with them.
We have heard from our class of 2020 grads about their college beginnings, and all of them have landed well at their new homes-away-from-home and are enjoying the excitement of this new, transformative chapter in their lives!
And don't forget that October 1st is when FAFSA opens! This is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine if students qualify for any of the different financial aid options: federal and state grants, scholarships, Work-Study, and loans.
The Common App is open! So is the UC app! The Coalition app has updates, too! Just when you are in summer mode thinking that you have a month left to relax, hello application portals!
August is always busy with essays! However hard it is to write them in the glory days of summer, we expect seniors to get the bulk of work done before school starts so that when school does resume, their focus can be on their courses and grades.
We have also started seeing college/university fall recruitment sessions and fairs. NACAC fairs have started and we like for students in grades 10, 11, and 12 to attend.
We hope everyone had a great summer and that the new school year is successful for everyone!
July brought a great update with a new software feature to manage essays better. It has been a wonderful addition to help brainstorm content, manage activity lists, and assist with the essay revision process. The deadline feature has been so helpful to keep students on track, too. We're happy to now offer this feature!
This month, we also saw several colleges restoring their outdoor campus tours, and despite the travel challenges, we combined our virtual visits with a few in-person visits. Anu visited Reed College, University of New Mexico, and St. John's College. These experiences connect us with campuses and their physical uniqueness; it expands our learning about their 'niche', and most importantly, reflect on the fit factor for our students. The campuses differed significantly from one another - from small, quiet meditative environment to the hustle and pace of large public flagship school of the state. A conversation with the admissions office is another highlight of such visits, where we learn about their distinguishing features, impact creation, and how it translates to the vision of a prospective student. We follow up these visits with notes that articulate what's important to the school, how they differentiate themselves and the types of students who will resonate well with the campus culture.
Seniors are heavy into essay writing and solidifying their college lists so they have a solid idea of the essays they have to write. Hats of to those who have really buckled down on the essays and knocked out many! All students are busy with amazing summers that include classes, camps, projects, travel, family time, community service, volunteer work, and internships.
In June we excitedly welcomed Alyssa to our team as our Intern. Alyssa was a Running Start student and now attends WSU and is pursuing a Business degree in Marketing with a minor in Digital Technology & Culture. We have several back-end projects for her and know her contributions will be helpful and valuable.
Our seniors graduated and are heading off to so many fantastic schools! We are so proud of them! Our juniors, who are now seniors, are busy working on college lists and essays, along with so many creative and meaningful summer activities. Freshmen and sophomores also have amazing summers planned--everyone is busy and we're feeling COVID less and less.
Some of the webinars we attended this month included the Sisters Colleges; Macalester; Brandeis, Case Western, George Washington, and Rochester; Conversations with admission deans of Barnard and Stanford; and What's New With the Common App.
Common App changes include many about the data entry such as name preference, gender identity, citizenship, parent info., military info., and school discipline (removing). The problem solving essay question is being replaced with a prompt about gratitude, and there are some small updates in the testing, and courses and grades. For the Recommenders, school discipline is being removed, the ability to add an additional report will be available, preview will be available, and they can submit to multiple schools. While these changes may seem small, they reflect positive changes to keep up with current trends, but more importantly, they create more equity in the process.
Our software provider has made several updates and we participated in a webinar to review those, and also spent time digging in and becoming more familiar with the upgrades.
Lastly, many families of students in all grades continue to meet with us as they seek counseling in the college admissions process.
May is always a bittersweet time for us. The May 1st confirmation deadline starts out the month with seniors confirming the school they'll attend and we know they're headed off to great adventures. Our seniors navigated amazing offers, waitlists, and petitions with grace and they will all attend excellent schools this fall. Many will attend their first-choice schools. To say we are proud of them is an understatement! This year was more difficult than ever with admissions being more obscure with COVID. Navigating the new test-optional/test-blind landscape in addition to all the cancelled testing was uncertain, and the lack of in-person visits made confirming even more challenging. Learning about school culture and feel is difficult to do online, but thankfully our seniors feel solid in their decisions. We wish them the very best and are so thankful we got the privilege of working with them and their families.
This May Anu went to California and visited several schools as they slowly start to re-open their campuses. University of Redlands was a hidden gem with strong programs in Spatial Studies, and Communication Sciences & Disorders. We both also participated in several webinars, including Johns Hopkins, Duke, Harvard, U Penn, Georgetown and Harvard.