College Admissions

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What to Do When Colleges ACCEPT You

March 29, 2010
By: Jeff Brenzel, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University.

The first week of April is just around the corner. For the past year, you have focused heavily on where to apply to college, and then how to win the hearts of people like me. You've been increasingly anxious about the results as the decision dates loom. Oddly, all this effort may have left you surprisingly unprepared for a task that is just as challenging as making your applications.
Here are a few thoughts based on several years of observing what happens after students get their envelopes, whether thick or thin, and they are suddenly faced with a big decision.

* If you receive some rejections, you will tend to dwell on them. It's only natural -- what we can't have suddenly seems far more valuable or interesting than what we can have. You will be tempted to revisit every step of your high school career and your application process, pondering what you might have done differently. But there is one and only one good answer to any rejection letter you receive, dream school or not: "Your loss, baby." Then move on.

* If you are like most students, the process has now delivered to you a handful of admission tickets to the greatest shows on earth. Every one of your colleges has infinitely more opportunities to offer than you could pursue in a lifetime. At one of these places you are going to take friendship to a new level, go adventuring and exploring, make your own decisions about what to do and how to do it, perhaps develop a permanent intellectual interest or a personal mission. Smell the roses. Put the acceptance letters up on your wall. Recognize how profoundly fortunate you are to live in this country and to be presented with opportunities that most of your peers around the world would give virtually anything to experience.

* Now for something practical. To the extent humanly possible, wipe out every assumption you have made up to this point about these schools. Let there be no reaches, good fits or safeties. Throw away all the ranking lists. Stop obsessing over selectivity or prestige. You now know more -- a lot more -- about colleges than you did when you first started looking. The shoe is on the other foot now -- colleges will be falling all over themselves to win your favor. Treat all of this as a brand new game, and do not be too hasty about putting any school aside. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a student say, "I wish I had looked more closely at the schools that accepted me. I wish I had actually talked to more students who attended those schools and also more students at the school I finally picked. I was blinded by what I thought I knew about my first choice school."

* Most important step: if you possibly can, visit schools that accepted you, even if you have visited them already. Let me repeat this. Go back for another visit to the schools you are seriously considering. When you arrive, act like you are just starting your search. You may be amazed at how some of the schools have changed since you first visited or differ from what you've been reading in the brochures. Why? It's because you have been changing and you are continuing to change now that you face a real decision. When you walk onto campus, try to avoid finding reasons not to like a place -- things that turn you off. Instead, try the much more useful exercise of picturing yourself there as a student, thriving and enjoying both the educational opportunities and the campus scene. This may involve picturing yourself in some new ways as well. This is a good thing.

* Do something that can be very hard: ask your mother, father and/or guardian what they truly think about the schools that have admitted you. Insist that they be specific about their impressions, and weigh what they say in the light of what you know about their good judgment. Why do this? First, they care about you and may know you in ways you don't know yourself. Second, they have often been paying close attention to the differences among colleges. Third, they are probably going to be paying or helping to pay for this. Make it clear that you would like to make up your own mind, that you view certain things differently than they do. But ask them, listen to what they have to say, and weigh it carefully against what you think. By approaching them directly, you will also save everyone the agony of communicating by subtle hints, bizarre facial expressions, comments to relatives, or desperate pleading.

* If you haven't done it already, you also need to talk with your backers about the money. I am always amazed at how many families have somehow gotten to this point without a serious discussion on who's paying for what and how much difference a difference in price is going to make to the final decision.

* If you can follow these steps and hold off the rush to judgment, you may be very surprised to find yourself strongly considering a school you did not originally put at the top of your list. And if instead, you end up confirming your first choice after all, you will do that only after giving it a very sober review in light of the competition and the finances. This is not only healthy, but it is going to make you much more knowledgeable and realistic about what to expect when you arrive on campus.
Remember above all else that no college is going to be paradise, and that all colleges have something truly outstanding to offer you. As much as the deans who admitted you hope to see you on their campuses come September, what we hope even more is that you make a wise, thoughtful and fruitful choice, one of many more to come.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More private colleges and universities cross the $50K mark for 2010-11 tuition and fees

March 23
College Admissions Examiner

Private colleges and universities are quietly announcing increases in tuition and fees crossing the $50,000 mark for the 2010-2011 academic year. Coupled with promises of increased financial aid, the boost in tuition is needed to cover continuing shortfalls in campus operating budgets.

This week, Harvard University announced that undergraduate tuition and fees for next year will total $50,724, an increase of 3.8 percent. According to a Harvard press release, financial aid for undergraduates will be increased by 9 percent, to a record $158 million for the upcoming academic year. “Harvard remains committed to a fully need-blind admissions policy that will enable us to continue attracting the most talented students, regardless of their economic circumstances,” said Michael D. Smith dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Harvard’s tuition increases remain roughly in line with other Ivies, including Yale, which announced tuition and fees totaling $49,800 or an increase of 4.8 percent; Princeton, which went up by 3.3 percent to $48,580; Brown at $51,360 or 4.5 percent over last year; Penn at $51,944—3.9 percent more; Dartmouth to $52,275, up by 4.6 percent; and Cornell, which will increase by 4.4 percent for the university’s endowed colleges to $52,316.

Other private colleges and universities crossing the $50,000 threshold for the next academic year include Boston University at $51,120 (+3.7%), Carnegie Mellon University at $52,250 (+2.98%), Notre Dame at $50,785 (+3.8%), Washington University in St. Louis (+4.2%), and Stanford University at $50,576 (+3.5%). 

Both George Washington University and Georgetown have been over $50,000 for the past two years. This year, Georgetown tuition will go up by 3 percent and room and board will increase 2 percent for a grand total of $52,443. GW will remain true to tuition commitments leveling a 3 percent tuition increase only on incoming students leaving tuition and fees the same for all others.

 While tuition increases at private colleges are not good news, they don’t approach the projections for public institutions. Florida college students could face 15 percent tuition increases for several years, and University of Illinois students will pay at least 9 percent more next year. Georgia’s 35 colleges and universities are planning a 35 percent tuition increase on top of a raise in student fees according to the Huffington Post online. The University of Washington will charge 14 percent more at its flagship campus, and in California, tuition increases of over 30 percent have sparked protests. 

A four-year freeze on college tuition in Maryland is expected to end this year, but the increase is likely to be only in the range of 3 percent. Virginia schools so far remain mum on the subject, but increases are all but inevitable.

By Nancy Griesemer

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Transitioning Into College Life

College Survival Tips

•Don't overpack when you go to college and pack for the climate that you are in.

•Remember that ironing can become tiring and is not the most exciting college activity. Dry cleaning bills do add up also. Consider packing clothes that wrinkle less and clothes that don't need dry cleaning.

•Meet as many fellow students as you can during orientation. It's a great time to meet everyone. Sometimes the people you meet during orientation become your best friends.

•Get well acquainted with your campus and explore the campus, the buildings, and its history. Go into buildings that you would otherwise not go into.

•Walk around campus before your classes begin and get familiar with where you are going and what times your classes are.

• Have a schedule that you can handle and vary your courses. Don't enroll in more than three reading intensive courses.

•Find out who the best professors are from your friends and take their classes. The professor can make the course better than the actual subject if they are really good.

•Try to fulfill your core requirements and get them out of the way early on in college.

•Seek advice from older students and of course your advisor. They are experienced with many of the things you will go through and they can help. Don't wait for them to come to you, go to them.

•Don't decide on your major right away. Take some time to think about it and then decide what interests you most. Remember that majors are not geared for careers or entering the "real working world." If majors were geared only to prepare you for a job and career, then many companies wouldn't have training programs.

•Take courses just for fun and ones that you know you will enjoy. By taking these "fun courses" you become well rounded.

•When registering for classes try not to schedule classes that are back to back. If you do, you won't have time to study right before or after class and it also can wear you out.

•Try not to drop classes too early. Go to few of the classes and then decide if you should drop it. --Don't give up on a class if it seems too difficult. You could do well in a difficult class that you find to be challenging with help from a tutor or a peer.

•Don't always believe the professor on the first day of class because they always talk about how much work they will give throughout the semester. Remember the professor has to grade this work too.

•Don't attempt to write down everything that a professor says. This is very hard to do and in turn will make you more bored in the class. If you absolutely have to hear everything, invest in a mini recording device.

•Don't be scared to talk to or ask your professors or teaching assistants questions. Remember they are there to help you. That's why they hold office hours. Go to their office hours regularly or when needed and don't wait till the last minute to ask them questions.

•Remember your professors are human too and make mistakes. It's a good idea to correct them because it may save the whole class from having to do something that they weren't supposed to do.

•Ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Your question may be one that others may have, but just haven't asked.

•If you can't make it to all the office hours, then go to review sessions before exams. You will see how helpful these may be when you are pressed for time to study a lot.

•When studying, study in groups for review sessions, but it is also important to study alone. You may learn better by studying alone depending on your learning style.

•Use the resources at your school. The library is always a great place to study.

•Attend class. Even if attendance is not taken, attendance keeps you on top of things.

•Keep track of your schedule in a day planner or on a calendar. If you have a personal digital assistant, then that's great too just as long as you are organized.

•Avoid procrastination. Waiting till the last day to work on a paper is not a good idea. Break your work up into chunks. Just think if you started it when it was assigned. You could always have fun and relax after.

By Eric Leebow, Yahbooks Publishing, LLC.

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