Monday, September 29, 2014

College Options

Three of the guidance counselors from Novi High School attended an informational meeting with some of the most competitive colleges in the country.  In attendance were admission representatives from Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, andUniversity of Pennsylvania  This was a great opportunity to see what these colleges, along with other competitive colleges are looking for when they are reviewing applications every year.  The presentation focused mostly on some of the myths that students and families think will help them get into the college of their dreams. 

Myth 1:  Taking a summer program at a school will give me an advantage when it comes to applying to that college.
Fact 1:  The summer programs at prestigious colleges and universities can be excellent opportunities, but only when it focuses on a student’s area of interest.  The admissions representatives said that students should find something they are passionate about and find opportunities to learn more about their passions.  This could include experiences from a part time job, volunteering in the community, or a camp or summer program.  Not one of these opportunities give a student more of an advantage.  Students should find experiences that will give them the chance to explore their interests.

Myth 2: I should get through my classes quickly so that I can go on to Dual Enrollment or online classes to advance my education.
Fact 2:  The admissions representatives all emphasized how they prefer a student to take classes in their high school if the class is offered.  Univeristies are given our school profile so they know the rigor of our school, but if a student takes a class online or through Dual Enrollment they will not always know the rigor of the program.  If a student loves math though, and is really good at math, then they may pursue the next level of math at a local college or community college.  The representatives again said if it is something you really like or are interested in pursue it, do not just take classes for the sake of taking a class.

Myth 3:  I should test out to get through my classes more quickly.
Fact 3:  Many colleges do not want to see a test out on a transcript; they prefer to see a grade.

Myth 4
:  I need to take all of the classes everyone else is taking so I can compete.
Fact 4: “Once you start competing to beat out everyone you just start to look the same.” – college admissions representative

Myth 5:  A student should keep taking ACT or SAT tests to get higher scores.
Fact 6:  One admissions representative said, “Testing is only one component.  Put your efforts into other areas.  Testing should not become and extra-curricular.”

One other tip the admissions representatives gave was to make full use of the personal statement.  Students should use all of the words allowed, and use it to speak to something they are really passionate about not just something they think the admissions representatives want to hear.
The bottom line is that it is important for students to focus on things they are interested in.  Students shouldn't just take classes or go to programs for the sake of going.  Universities want students who will contribute to their community, they want students who are passionate about something and who have taken full advantage of opportunities they are afforded to further learn about their interests.

*Please keep in mind that we do our best to take the most accurate notes.  Please check with each University for exact and most up to date information.

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