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College Planning: Focus on Admissions
HCAM News is pleased to announce our newest monthly news segment designed to provide our viewers with college planning advice. Each month, Ron Foisy of College Planning Strategies, will discuss a different topic related to the the college application process.
Below is Foisy's first session; Focus on Admissions:
The back to school season is an exciting time, and it can also be a very stressful time because of college applications.
The deadlines for college applications depend on how you apply. According to the 2012-2013 Common Application (https://www.commonapp.org/), there are six ways to apply:
1. ED – Early Decision
2. EDII – Early Decision (Second Round)
3. EA – Early Action
4. EAII – Early Action (Second Round)
5. REA – Restrictive Early Action
6. RD/Rolling – Regular Decision/Rolling Admissions
Early Decision is the most restrictive way to apply. Early Decision (ED) is the application process in which students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll. While pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other institutions, but may have only on Early Decision application pending at any time.
Early Action is not restrictive at all. Students will apply early, and will receive a decision from the school early. However, the student is not required to attend if accepted. A large number of EA deadlines is November 1st, and most schools will notify the applicants by the end of December. Last year, UMass Amherst had 32,564 applicants and admitted 21,373, somewhat selective at 66%. 10,680 applied early action, and 8,102 were admitted. Contrast that with Boston College, with 32,974 applicants. Only 9,227 were admitted, which is very selective. 6,210 students applied early action, and 2,712 were admitted, almost 44%, a much higher percentage than the overall numbers. This is one reason more students are deciding to apply early, seeking every admissions advantage to which they are entitled.
It is important to manage a variety of deadlines, in addition to applications. The SAT and ACT tests are offered in the fall, with the next available SAT on November 3rd, with a registration deadline of October 4th. The October 27th ACT can still be available if you register (late fee applies) by October 5th. Hopkinton High School is offering the PSAT and PLAN on October 20th, and you can sign up now in the counseling office. PSAT is recommended for Juniors, and the PLAN is recommended for Sophomores.
Class of 2014, 2015 and 2016 students have a variety of college admission tasks that they can begin now. Juniors should be visiting schools, attending college fairs, and communicating frequently with their top choice schools. Many admission’s departments factor in indications of interest as part of their decision process. This is decidedly less important than grades and strength of schedule, but can tip the scales between otherwise comparable candidates.
Sophomore and Freshmen students have begun to tell their story, even though they will not write their story for a few years. Focus your activities on clubs, community service, work, or travel that may increase your value to the school of your dreams. Visits can be more casual, getting a feel for the size of school, location (urban/rural), proximity, climate, etc. You have time to determine if the schools have the kind of major you want later on. Just get a general feel at this time.
Next month we will discuss the challenge of paying for school.
College Planning Strategies, Inc.
Phone: (800) 863-9440
NOTE: Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, several colleges and universities have extended the application deadlines.
See the links below for more information: