By Dr. Marianna Marchese, College Counselor
The competitive environment encompassing the college admissions process has intensified as a result of the increases in the number of seniors applying for college and the applications each of them submit. Constantly changing admissions requirements have introduced significant confusion to that process. Add to this the academic, curricular, aesthetic and social differences between colleges and universities, and you have a process that can become quite onerous and stressful.
The college admissions process is a time of reflection, decision and action. It is a journey to take with insight and clarity. It is important to take a personal assessment of what is really important to the student and then make the sometimes difficult choices needed to convert these desires into reality.
Because the process of selecting a college is very personal, it begins with self-reflection. You must consider many things about yourself: your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for going to college. Then, consider the many criteria you will use in choosing which colleges to explore.
During this time of increased competitiveness and selectivity among colleges and universities, it is necessary for parents and students to investigate institutions with a well-planned method of data collection and analysis.
The implications of the decisions required during the college admissions process are myriad. For example, what colleges can you afford to send your child to … where does he or she fit the best academically or socially … will his or her colleges of choice provide the best path to post-graduate study or employment opportunities.
Parents and students need to research the various colleges and universities that they are interested in to find the best fit for the student. Finding that match is paramount in the process. Visiting the various schools is a must. What better way to find the perfect match than by visiting and talking to students, professors, and university staff?
One question that should always be kept in mind - What do I want to do when I grow up? Do seventeen year olds know? Sometimes there are students that know what they want to pursue from early childhood. Others do not know, so a liberal arts education is sometimes the best choice for them. If the student knows he/she wants to pursue a career in medicine, engineering, architecture, graphics, then colleges or universities that have that major should be on the visitation list.
Some of the things to be considered and acted upon? What high school courses should I take to make my transcript the best it can be … what extracurricular activities should I participate in to make me a more attractive candidate … which colleges should I apply to … how do I complete the college application … should I go Early Decision or Early Action … what topic should I choose for my essay and what should I say … what do I need to do to prepare for college visits and interviews. The list goes on and on.
For parents interested in learning more about College Planning I will be conducting a free seminar in conjunction with TigerTutor on February 23rd in Livingston at 4pm.
In order to attend you must register at www.tigertutor.net under the College Seminar Registration page.