The College-Bound Student’s Early Bird MenuWritten by Reecy Aresty
Many parents and students I counsel confuse Early Admission, Early Read, Early Decision, Early Action and Early Notification. How these and other admission strategies listed below are used, will determine course of student’s college years. Understanding them is an absolute must!
Early Admission: Typically, student applies to college at beginning of junior year and simply goes through process earlier. However, Early Admission is seldom used as it only applies to most exceptional students who complete all high school requirements prior to 12th grade, or even earlier. Although it is not binding, I strongly recommend that student demonstrate a college level of social and emotional maturity before implementing this strategy. Schools often get into a bidding contest to recruit truly exceptional student, some offering full scholarships for privilege of having such an accomplished student on their campus! Nonetheless, use with extreme caution!
Early Read: A number of colleges will offer to calculate a family’s EFC, (the expected family contribution; minimum amount determined by federal government that a family will pay at any college for each student). This is done without obligating student to apply to their school. Simply send them all your financial information at beginning of 12th grade! Sounds like a good deal, right? Wrong! Wherever possible, keep schools and federal government out of your wallet! If student eventually decides to apply to that school, aid offer has already been predetermined. Surely, you wouldn’t feel comfortable having IRS calculate your taxes, so why would you have a college determine your EFC? Avoid this at all costs! Failure to heed this advice will result in paying thousands more than you had to for a college education!
Early Decision: This is a program with earlier deadlines and notification dates than regular decision process. Students who apply for an Early Decision program commit to attending that school and only that school. This is a binding contract restricting student to that one school. Once accepted, student must notify all other schools applied to and request that their application be withdrawn. There is however, an upside. If money is not an issue, and family will not be applying for financial aid, Early Decision is highly recommended, because it will give student a decisive advantage in admissions process! On other hand, if financial aid is an issue, danger is that student must attend that college regardless of financial aid offered! While Early Decision adds some leverage to being accepted, financial consequences can be devastating because student must accept school’s financial aid package no matter how inadequate it might be! I only recommend Early Decision under very specific circumstances. Also, if you change your mind, rescinding an Early Decision acceptance doesn’t sit well with schools. This option should only be used with extreme caution.
Tips On College SelectionWritten by Reecy Aresty
It is highly recommended that early in college selection process, parents and student(s) visit some schools to determine if they’ll be suitable. The criteria that must be considered before any college is applied to include:
•Average GPA, SAT I, class rank for acceptance •The school should offer enough choices in event student changes their major •Size, location, Greeks, religious affiliation •Percentage of freshmen that return for year two •Percentage of freshmen that graduate in four years •Percentage of financial need met •Percentage of gift aid/self-help awarded •On or off campus job opportunities •Meal plans and dietary situations met •Name recognition •Student/teacher ratio •Average class size, semester or trimester •Percentage of professors who teach and percentage of teaching assistants •2 or 4-year college or university •Co-ed dorms •Freshman cars permitted •Handicap accessibility •Cost of sheepskin
It is also recommended that you determine if school uses a need-blind or need-sensitive admissions policy. Need-blind is a practice where student is evaluated without any regard to family income or assets. Need-sensitive is a shameful policy used by a host of elite schools such as Duke, Emory and Stanford. These schools will admit a less than qualified rich kid in anticipation of a large contribution to their own endowment funds. In essence, wealthy family has bought an admission ticket to a school where their student might never have otherwise been accepted!
It’s anyone’s guess how many other schools enrich their coffers in this deceitful, unprincipled manner. Duke has even been brazenly open about this policy, and I find it curious that shortly after reaching their $2 billion fund raising goal in 2003, they reduced their freshman acceptance percentage from 7.5% to 4%. The words of Former U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) come to mind here, “When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”
Parents and student(s) should make official unofficial visit to potential schools no later than 10th grade. Colleges are always impressed when a 9th or 10th grader pays a visit. By keeping in touch with officials you’ve met, in essence, you will have added points to both your GPA and SAT I scores by establishing a rapport. When time comes, administrators will be able to associate a face with your application. This helps a merely qualified student become a far more acceptable one.