Posts Tagged ‘getting into college’

First Days of the Semester

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
College girls

Students First Day

I pull up to the gate where I’ll be spending the next four years. As I turn the engine off an armada of students bearing college colors swarm the vehicle. In seconds all four doors and the boot are open and my stuff is being carried off. The thieves are smiling at me and shaking my hand as I try to gauge the situation. This is probably the most polite robbery I’ll ever experience. Then it clicks that they’re actually taking my stuff to my room and I can call off the police who are already on their way.

The first few days of college can be a lot like this. Not robbery per se, but a series of overwhelming encounters with thousands of new people, new college traditions, and, if you happen to be international like myself, a whole new culture to acquaint yourself with. Contrary to the above paragraph, moving in is generally a fairly relaxed process. People tend to lend their hands to their roommates and it’s the first time you’ll officially be meeting your new class. Settling down, however, can be a pain if you aren’t prepared.

Bringing the essentials with you is rule number one. Toiletries, laptop, writing materials and the extended director’s edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy are obvious and you probably already brought them with you. Figuring out your class schedule and buying the right books are another issue. Take time to discover which classes appeal to you most. DO NOT buy all your textbooks before arriving! If you walk into the classroom and the professor isn’t great/the workload is ridiculous/the final exam is 60% of the grade, it may not be the class for you. Try before you buy when it comes to class selection.

Attending any and all orientation events is also really useful. Not only may there be information on numbers to call for various emergencies (such as losing a room key at four in the morning which happens more often than you’d think) to contacting the student finance office, orientation is there to help you look after yourself in the best way.

Of course the main purpose of the first few days is to get you as acquainted as possible with how your college does things. But this is also the time when friendships are formed for life. Try not to tempt yourself into taking an extra few hours to sleep in and instead get out there and meet some incredibly diverse people. Sign up to a bunch of extracurricular activities you’ve never tried before and see if they’re for you. Measure the success of your first few days by how many people you’ve met and how cluttered your inbox is with bizarre extracurriculars.

The point is to really make the best use of your time over the first few weeks. They are the foundations on which your entire college career will be built. Meet people and try new things. You can’t go wrong.

Deferred from Early Decision

Thursday, January 19th, 2012



What should I do if I was deferred from Early Decision? Is there anything I can do?

It’s the moment you’ve worked so hard for. You know the mail is coming, and with it news of your college admission status at your number one choice.  Sifting through the mail you find that dreaded little envelope informing you that you’ve been deferred.

Many people feel a sense of doom at this moment. Everything is lost, all your work has come to nothing, and all you want to do is curl up in the fetal position. This is the last thing you should do and feel.  While a deferment from early decision is the not the outcome you were looking for, it’s certainly not the worst that could have happened.

Although you may feel helpless and like there is nothing for you to do to increase your chances of being accepted in regular decision, you’re wrong.  There are concrete steps you can take to help your chances in the next round.  First, of all, keep working hard.  Admissions officers love to see a strong set of grades and strong continuity in extracurricular activities in the first semester of your senior year – a time when people tend to relax and not keep up the same efforts.

Secondly, write a letter. Take the time to draft a letter to the college admissions office of your first choice school that expresses how much you want to attend. Although you may feel angry or disappointed in the school you dreamed of attending, having the conviction the courage to restate all the compelling reasons you want to attend the school of your dreams is very impressive to a college admissions officer.

Lastly, don’t forget that there are so many wonderful colleges and universities that you can attend that will help you achieve everything you want for yourself. If, in the end of the day, you don’t end up attending the college you initially thought you would, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have an incredible four years of college.

The College Admissions Wait List

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

What should I do if my college admissions letter comes back and I get wait-listed?

First of all, stay calm. The College admissions process represents an extraordinarily stressful time for everybody, one capable of forcing even the most mild mannered of parents and students into deeply uncustomary behavior. Try and stay positive: of the three possible answers you can get from an admissions office – this response ranks second best. It means that you or your child stood out amidst the crushing statistics of college acceptances. Even more importantly, you still have a shot at getting in. Bravo!

The next step: write a letter to the school’s college admissions office. In this letter, reiterate that the school remains your top choice. Inform the admissions officers of whatever great things you have been up to since being deferred. If you participated in a science fair, helped out at a charity event, or won the state championship – tell them. This shows how active you have remained in your community. Finish by telling them again what you add to your community and what you therefore hope to bring with you to the community of your school of choice.

Avoid the neighborhood gossip circle. It never ceases to amaze how much misinformation exists out there about college admissions. Trying to decipher it all guarantees nothing but madness. Everybody has a story about why someone got rejected from one school but accepted at another. More often than not, no one but the admissions officers themselves know the real reason why a student received the decision he or she did. Speculation is simply not worth the mental energy.

In the same vein, know the truth about “scholarships.” At most top schools, they don’t exist. All college admissions scholarships awarded in the Ivy League and most of the prestigious smaller colleges and universities serve as financial aid only. This financial aid has already been given out based on the initial acceptances anyway. Believe us, nobody has found some secret way through the admissions process that you don’t know about.

Finally, remain positive and proactive if you receive a “wait-list” response from a college admissions office. If you have been placed on the wait-list somewhere that you love, no doubt another fantastic school has accepted you. It may sound like a cliché, but it really is true: you’ll be happy wherever you end up. Your amazing work has gotten you where you are, and it’s best to take the ups and downs in stride and make peace with all you can’t control about the admissions process.