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College Talk Blog

College Prep

College interviews anyone?

Students who choose to participate in optional college admission interviews can add a slight positive impact to their admission application review. Much like taking the time to officially tour campus, students who participate in interviews are communicating their interest in a college.

Most colleges say that interviewing or not interviewing will not make the difference in getting in or not. However, interviewing does show interest and colleges want to admit students most likely to attend.

Students who decide to interview should be on time, dress appropriately and have a few questions prepared for their interviewer. They should avoid criticizing their school or teachers and focus on areas of the college that they feel are a great fit for them as well as what they bring to campus as individuals.

Don't Slack Off Senior Year!

Warning!!!!! Students whose academic records show less achievement as a senior are in danger of losing their admission offer and scholarship. Take a look at this warning on the Virginia Tech website:

Your offer of admission will be withdrawn under the following condition:
  • Your final grades are significantly lower than your previous academic record, indicating a declining academic performance in your final year or semester.

You might think this is a rare occurence. But actually, many colleges feel this way AND many students feel that they don't have to work as hard as a senior-especially if they have been admitted to a college already.

Why Some Don't Test Well

What does reading have to do with riding a bike?

One of the questions I ask students who say they want to improve their grades or standardized test scores is: "How much do you read for pleasure?" This question is often met with a downward glance and a mumbled: "not much". When we talk about why they are not reading, they often report that they do not enjoy reading for a variety of reasons: vocabulary, losing their place, becoming distracted or not having enough time.

I like to compare doing well in school and on tests to preparing for a bike race.

Seven Minutes

Seven minutes. That's the amount of time an admission officer at a recent conference said she has to review each application for admission to her college. Students who are aware of the small amount of time an admission officer, faced with thousands of applications, can spend on their application review should take note.

The implication for students is that their applications better be different.
By different, I mean complete with well-thought-out responses to ALL questions-even those that are "optional".

Kid #1 is not Kid #2

I often have the honor of getting to work with the second college-bound child in a family. A common question that parents ask is: "Should we encourage our second college bound child to take the same high school classes as our first?" 

I understand the logic of the question.
If the first child took those courses and had a good college admission result, it is a no-brainer to repeat those choices for the second child, right?  The answer depends on the academic interests, academic achievement history and college aspirations of the other college-bound children in the family.