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The Best Recommendations For How to Succeed at College

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Where was the oh-so-wise Dr. Glenn Altschuler when I was in college? While I had not the good fortune to sit in on even one of the good professor's classes, I feel fortunate to be in the position today to channel his wisdom about bringing the best of study, personal care and time management skills to any student's university experience.  Amongst all that new independence and freedom that college students embrace, setting up for academic success in the first year sets the tone for what's to come down the road.

Dr. Altschuler, who has long been regarded as a beloved professor on the Cornell campus, presents Ten Recommendations for First-Year Undergraduates.  If I were to highlight one primary tip from his Top-10 for any budding college student, it would be to cultivate that very precious resource -- TIME -- learning how to think ahead and plan, plan, plan.  

Squeezing Into a 24-Hour Day

College life features a boatload of choices and possibilities to manage. Students benefit when they learn to operate in advance of what is coming the next day, the following week, and the month to come.  High school students who learn how to anticipate what lies ahead make the best transitions to college, earn the best grades and can dig into the wealth of offerings.  And what about self-care and time for social enjoyment?  The fun stuff counts, too. 

Learning how to "work smart" is smart.  Even without sitting in on any of Dr. A's lectures, students can still carry his good advice into their daily lives while still in high school, starting as a first-year, and beyond.

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com


2019-20 Common Application Essay Supplements

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

They are here! Rising seniors looking for a head start on individual college supplements will be delighted (well, maybe kinda glad?) that several schools have announced their updated supplementary essay prompts for the 2019-20 admissions cycle.

This gives students an extra few weeks ahead of the start of senior year to focus on what drives their interest in the colleges they plan to apply to in the fall.  Our current updates include, in alphabetical order, supplementary essay prompts for the following colleges:

  • Boston College
  • Dartmouth
  • Emory
  • Tufts
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Virginia
  • Villanova
  • Wake Forest
BOSTON COLLEGE

Choose one of four (400 words max):

1. Great art evokes a sense of wonder. It nourishes the mind and spirit. Is there a particular song, poem, speech, or novel from which you have drawn insight or inspiration?

2. When you choose a college, you will join a new community of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. What is it about your background, your experiences, or your story, that will enrich Boston College’s community?

3. Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?

4. Jesuit education considers the liberal arts a pathway to intellectual growth and character formation. What beliefs and values inform your decisions and actions today, and how will Boston College assist you in becoming a person who thinks and acts for the common good?


DARTMOUTH

Respond in 100 words or less:

While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line: “It is, Sir…a small college. And yet, there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2023, what aspects of the College’s program, community or campus environment attract your interest?


Choose one of the following prompts and respond in 250-300 words:

1. “I have no special talent,” Albert Einstein once observed. “I am only passionately curious.” Celebrate your curiosity.

2. The Hawaiian word mo’olelois often translated as “story” but it can also refer to history, legend, genealogy, and tradition. Use one of these translations to introduce yourself.

3. In the aftermath of World War II, Dartmouth President John Sloane Dickey, Class of 1929, proclaimed, “The world’s troubles are your troubles…and there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” Which of the world’s “troubles” inspires you to act? How might your course of study at Dartmouth prepare you to address it?

4. In The Painted Drum, author Louise Erdrich ‘76 wrote, “… what is beautiful that I make? What is elegant? What feeds the world?” Tell us about something beautiful you have made or hope to make.

5. “Yes, books are dangerous,” young people’s novelist Pete Hautman proclaimed. “They should be dangerous—they contain ideas.” What book or story captured your imagination through the ideas it revealed to you? Share how those ideas influenced you.

6. Labor leader Dolores Huerta is a civil rights activist who co-founded the organization now known as United Farm Workers. She said, “We criticize and separate ourselves from the process. We’ve got to jump right in there with both feet.” Speak your truth: Talk about a time when your passion became action.


EMORY

In addition to your Personal Statement, please answer two (2) of the prompts below. Choose one prompt from the “Reflections” category and one prompt from the “Tell us about you” category. Each response should be no more than 150 words.

“Reflections” Category: Respond to one of the following.

1. Share about something you want to bring from your community to the Emory University community.
2. Share about a time when you questioned something that you believed to be true.
3. Emory University’s shield is a crossed torch and trumpet representing the light of learning and the proclamation of knowledge. It symbolizes our mission to impact the world through discovery. What truth or knowledge do you want to see shared?

 “Tell us about you” Category: Respond to one of the following.

1. Which book, character, song, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) represents you, and why?
2. If you could witness a historic event first-hand, what would it be, and why?
3. If asked to write a 150-word tweet to tell the world who you are, what would you say? (Yes, the actual Twitter character limit would likely be shorter than 150 words, but thanks for indulging us.)

TUFTS

Think outside the box as you answer the following questions. Take a risk and go somewhere unexpected. Be serious if the moment calls for it, but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too.

Applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer the following two questions:

1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts?’ (100-150 words)

2. Now we’d like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words):

A) From recognizing break dancing as a new Olympic sport, to representation in media, to issues of accessibility in our public transit systems, what is something that you can talk about endlessly? What do you care about and why?

B) Whether you’ve built circuit boards or written slam poetry, created a community event or designed mixed media installations, tell us: What have you designed, invented, engineered, or produced? Or what do you hope to?

C) We all have a story to tell. And with over 5,000 undergraduate students on our campus, that is over 5,000 stories to share and learn. What’s yours?

Applicants to the BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree at the SMFA at Tufts answer the following two questions:

1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)

2. Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. Whether you think of Ai Weiwei’s work reframing the refugee crisis, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald’s portraits of the Obamas reimagining portrait painting on a national scale, or Yayoi Kusama’s fanciful Infinity Mirrors rekindling our sense of wonder, it is clear that contemporary art is driven by ideas. What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work? (200-250 words)

UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO- BOULDER

At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance. (250-650 words)


UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years that you have not already shared in your application.

Choose 1 of 4 -- 300 words max:

1. UGA’s 2017 Commencement speaker Ernie Johnson (Class of ’79) told a story from his youth about what he refers to as blackberry moments. He has described these as “the sweet moments that are right there to be had but we’re just too focused on what we’re doing …, and we see things that are right there within our reach and we neglect them. Blackberry moments can be anything that makes somebody else’s day, that makes your day, that are just sweet moments that you always remember.” Tell us about one of your “blackberry moments” from the past five years.

2. What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What is the best part? What advice would you give to a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?

3. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

4. Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue.

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

1. UVA students are charged with living honorably and upholding a Community of Trust. Give us an example of a community that is important to you and how you worked to strengthen that community.

2. What's your favorite word and why?

3. We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

4. Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the UVA culture. In her fourth year at UVA, Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?

5. UVA students paint messages on Beta Bridge when they want to share information with our community. What would you paint on Beta Bridge and why is this your message?

VILLANOVA

Villanova has three new prompts for their Choose 1 of 3 supplement. (250-1000 words)

1. In the spirit of Saint Augustine, we believe that everyone in the Villanova community learns from each other. What is a lesson that you have learned in your life so far that you will share with others?

2. You may live in one of the busiest cities in all the world or come from a small town with just one traffic light. The place that you call home has probably shaped who you are in some way. Tell us about where you are from and what, from there, you will bring to Villanova.

3. Please describe a choice for change that you have made in your life that has greatly affected your life or the lives of others.


WAKE FOREST
How did you become interested in Wake Forest University and why are you applying?

Tell us how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.  (300 words max)

What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

As part of our “Voices of Our Time” series — which allows students, faculty, and staff to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers — Wake Forest has hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Eboo Patel, and Thomas Friedman. If you could choose the next series speaker, whom would you pick, and why? (150 words)

At Wake Forest, we gather our students in “Calls to Conversation,” congregating small groups around dinner tables in faculty’s and administrators’ homes to discuss topics organized around a theme, for example “arts for social change,” “gender in society,” and “leading a meaningful life.” If you could design a theme for a “Call to Conversation,” what would you choose, and why? (150 words)

We live in an age intensely interested in heroes. Professor Joseph Campbell defined “hero” as “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Describe a hero in public life and how and why, in your opinion, they meet Professor Campbell’s definition. (150 words)

We are all different, and our lived experiences — influenced by our culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion — shape our understanding of the world. How have your experiences shaped your development, and how do you plan to use those experiences to interact and engage with others who might be different from you within our Wake Forest Community? (no word limit)

OPTIONAL - 12 QUESTIONS

Give us your top ten list and theme (100 characters for each)

Have you visited the Wake Forest campus? Tell us about your visit and with whom you spoke. (150 words or fewer)

Have you ever been on probation, suspended (in or out of school) or dismissed from any high school or college? If yes, explain fully on a separate sheet.

Have any criminal charges been brought against you? (Exclude charges which have resulted in a finding of not guilty or complete dismissal.) If yes, list and explain fully on a separate sheet.

If you have attended more than one high school, please explain reason for transfer.

300 words max:  Tell us how a work of fiction you’ve read has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.

1a. List five books you have read that intrigued you. Author. Title.

1b. (100 characters each)

As part of my high school English curriculum, I was required to read:

I would have liked to replace it with:

The required book I was most surprised I enjoyed was:

150 words max:   What piques your intellectual curiosity, and why?

150 words max:  Which of your extracurricular accomplishments has had the most meaning for you and why.

150 words max:  As part of our “Voices of Our Time” series — which allows students, faculty, and staff to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers — Wake Forest has hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Eboo Patel, and Thomas Friedman. If you could choose the next series speaker, whom would you pick, and why?

150 words max:  At Wake Forest, we gather our students in “Calls to Conversation,” congregating small groups around dinner tables in faculty’s and administrators’ homes to discuss topics organized around a theme, for example “arts for social change,” “gender in society,” and “leading a meaningful life.” If you could design a theme for a “Call to Conversation,” what would you choose, and why?

150 words max:  We live in an age intensely interested in heroes. Professor Joseph Campbell defined “hero” as “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Describe a hero in public life and how and why, in your opinion, they meet Professor Campbell’s definition.
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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com


The Top 5 Summer To-Do's for Rising Juniors & Parents

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The summer is for enjoying much-needed downtime and then making a little time for these tips that will make junior year -- and the college process -- run more smoothly:

1. Design a testing schedule for next year, including practice tests, prep calendar, etc. Students can take either the SAT, the ACT, or both. Because colleges equally accept scores from either, students are smart to test according to their personal strengths.

2. Try on something fulfilling over the summer. Jobs, travel, volunteering -- any activity that draws a student's authentic interest provides a great opportunity to grow their world and help discover strengths.

3.  Read, read, read.  (Anything that you enjoy!)

4. Visit a couple of local colleges -- or check out what's close to the family summer vacation spot -- to gain a sense of how different campuses look and feel.  Make an effort to vary campus size and location for a broader perspective ex. large vs. small; urban vs. rural. 

5. Have an open parent/student conversation about college affordability.  For students heading to college in Fall 2021, it's a smart idea for parents and students to consider financials to determine the family's expected financial contribution (EFC).  For an early estimate of financial aid eligibility, check out this planning tool.

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Do I Need to Write the Optional SAT Essay?

Sunday, June 09, 2019

THIS POSTING HAS BEEN REVISED TO REFLECT FREQUENTLY-CHANGING SAT ESSAY POLICIES.

The optional SAT essay, requiring an additional 50 minutes of test takers' time, focus and energy, is swiftly becoming an artifact.  

Like the vestigial human appendix, at one point in time this component of the standardized testing landscape had its purpose. Today, more often than not, the essay score is simply disregarded, serving no true function in evaluating applicants, so says the testing policy at the vast majority of colleges and universities.  Still, every year we grapple with the wisdom of signing up for the optional essay.  

Testing Requirements Run the Gamut

How should students approach the decision of whether or not to sit for the optional essay?  General wisdom has long suggested that the smart and safe move would be to write the essay because without it colleges that do require this component will regard the main two-part SAT score, consisting of Evidence-Based Reading and Writing plus Math, to be incomplete.

So what are the policies that colleges hold around the essay?  Schools such as Bates, NYU, Quinnipiac, Connecticut College, UConn neither require nor recommend the optional essay and will not consider its score at the time of application review.  No longer does the College of Charleston or Occidental even recommend the essay, a relatively recent change.  As of last year, Duke stopped requiring it. None of the Ivies require the essay.  So who does?   

Look West

Primarily, the University of California system institutions (ex. UCLA; UC San Diego; etc.) and Stanford still ask for the essay.  A student applying to these schools will need to submit their essay score in order to complete their application. 

Future Tense

Another possible rationale behind writing the essay is as a back-up in the event a student later decides to transfer colleges, and the destination college is one that requires the SAT essay score for admission -- including transfer admission.  Without a complete score, the SAT two-part score may be regarded as insufficient.

International applicants whose language of instruction is not English may consider writing the essay to lend another perspective to their TOEFL or IELTS score.

In the present timeframe, if a student feels that they will likely have remaining mental focus to satisfactorily write the essay after completing the main SAT sections, then they might just pay the extra $15 fee and register for the essay.  And after once completing the essay and if satisfied with the two-part score, the student may not need to write the essay again in future testing scenarios.  In other words, when it comes to the essay more often than not it's "one and done."    

If a student wants to learn more about the essay section (highly-recommended prior to test day), click here to learn more about the approach to writing the essay and the skills assessed.

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

What Is An "Adversity" Score?

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Since the College Board recently announced the gradual rollout of their new contextual index, dubbed the "adversity score," numerous parents have inquired about this latest quantitative measurement and how it might impact the perception of their student in the Admissions Office.  "Will my child be regarded more or less favorably?  Will living in a more highly-resourced community make my child look indulged -- or even 'spoiled'? If I move to a different neighborhood, how will it affect my high schooler and younger kids?" What influence will this numerical value have on admissions outcomes for the majority of students taking the SAT?

For most students the index, formally referred to as the Environmental Context Dashboard will, on its own, likely not have a major impact and, like all elements that go into a holistic reading of a college application, will be reviewed in broader context. 

The Stated Intention

In recent years the College Board, along with other major players in the sphere of higher education, has begun to publicly comment on the reality of how socio-economic advantage directly contributes to higher standardized test scores as well as a likelihood of admission to more selective institutions.  For the many students who either live and/or attend high school in less resourced or socially-challenged cities or neighborhoods, the "adversity score" aims to shed light on the environment many of our students have had to manage, thereby allowing greater insight to the context in which these peers live and learn.  

The index aims to quantify a student's neighborhood, family, and high school educational environment while excluding considerations of race.  The numerical value comes from an analysis of census data along with information the College Board collects.

Students do not see their dashboard score, adding to the opacity of this number and its impact on admissions.

Bottom Line

In my view the College Board, referencing their strength in student data collection, is attempting to repurpose the copious amounts of student data they collect via each test registration.  My sense is that this rollout is more about monetization of data on behalf of the College Board rather than a substantive element that will significantly impact how the vast majority of colleges will evaluate admissions files.  The College Board appears to be attempting an approach of quantifying students' living and learning environment.  But ask anyone how their living and learning experience could effectively be boiled down to a number?

Beyond quantifying elements too nuanced to be calculated, most important is that all students receive a fair and contextual evaluation of their applications and are reviewed in view their potential to succeed at any institution.  In sum, every individual, professional and institution dedicated to the mission of higher education should be vigilant that all students are awarded the opportunity to attain their potential to study, learn and engage.

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Oh, Canada!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Interested in learning more about Canadian colleges and universities? More and more, families are expressing interest in the world of higher education beyond our northern border.  In view of escalating costs at domestic institutions, increased competition, advancing levels of selectivity, and the currently strong US dollar, many are considering the value proposition of quality higher education at a lower price point.

Canadian universities offer students a four-year education taught in English, precluding language barriers for students for whom English is their language of choice.  

Note that while US colleges and universities employ a holistic admissions process in which applicants are evaluated across a spectrum of criteria in addition to GPA and test scores, Canadian universities typically focus on applicants' numbers and don't bother to evaluate factors such as recommendations and demonstration of interest.

The Maclean's University Guide offers a robust resource as an overview of what programs stand out for undergrads and graduate students alike.  Attending "university" in Canada might be an attractive and compelling possibility.  Oh, Canada!

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

National Merit Cutoffs for Class of '20 Announced

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The folks who create and score the PSAT, also know as the National Merit Qualifying Score Test (NMQST) have announced the cutoff score for Commended status.  The qualifying score, also known as the Selection Index, remains the same as last year:  212.

Students of US citizenship scoring in the top 50,000 of test takers nationally qualify for official Commended status.  Of this group, approximately 16,000 test takers who later sit for the SAT go on to achieve "confirmation scores" that place them in top tier of scorers will likely advance to the Semifinalist level.

CALCULATING THE SELECTION INDEX

In order to calculate one's Selection Index, the student needs to refer to their PSAT for the two test sections:  the Reading and Writing section and the Math section.  Index calculation is as follows:

* Remove the zero after each section

ex. A section score of 700 converts to 70

* Multiply the Reading and Writing section score by 2; then add the Math section score

ex.  Reading and Writing section score is 720           Math section score is 700

(72 x 2) + 70 = 214

Since this result is higher than the cutoff of 212, this student's test score is qualifies for National Merit Commendation.

For more information on how students advance into upper rankings of National Merit recognition, including state-by-state cutoffs for Semifinalist status, click to READ MORE

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Tips for the ACT Reading Section

Monday, March 04, 2019

The ACT is commonly known at the "sprint" test: Test takers need to move quickly and steadily to make it through the race. Of the four required sections of the ACT, including Math, Reading, English and Science plus the optional essay, the Reading section typically challenges students' pacing and focus.  With 35 minutes available to answer 40 supporting-evidence questions across several passages, test takers need to rely on their skills in efficient and active reading to achieve solid performance in this section.

Thanks to the generosity of the good folks at Method Test Prep, a standardized test preparation tutoring service, AchieveCoach College Consulting blog readers can access here highly helpful tips and suggestions for effectively managing the Reading section of the ACT.

Even if the ACT is not their thing, students can still put to use these tips relating to organization and focus whether sitting for the SAT or actively reading short or long essays as part of school-related assignments.  Through these helpful suggestions, readers and learners of all ages could benefit from the pacing and strategy suggestions in The ACT Reading Quick-Tip Guide.
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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Appealing a College Rejection

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Like it or not, letters of rejection come with the college application territory. While it's rare for colleges to revisit their admissions decisions, students who have significant new information to share may potentially find an ear.

While it's never pleasant or easy to open a letter of rejection, a disappointing college admissions decision should never be considered an indication of a student's worth or potential.  With record numbers of applications at all selectivity tiers of colleges and universities, there can be minute differences between two applicants, one of whom receives a "yes" and the other a "thank-you-for-applying" response.  

Numerous factors go into an application review, some of which are objective, like grades and test scores, and others that are purely subjective, such as community impact or letters of recommendation.   On top of all the mystery is the part that is completely opaque: the pool of other applicants and their application stories. 

The best approach after receiving a rejection notification is to calmly acknowledge the decision, even if it is surprising or feels "unfair." Assuming the student had applied to a reasonable list of colleges and had already received acceptances, then it's time to appreciate those "you're in!!" notifications and how much those schools value the applicant and what they would bring to the college's community.  

Unlike reconsideration after a deferral, a denial is typically a final decision and rarely overturned. Still, if an applicant has a signficant or material information to share with Admissions that never was included in the original application, it may be worth a "Hail Mary" for the student to contact their regional admissions representative.  First step: Find out if a re-read is even possible.  Suggested approaches for when it would be reasonable -- and not desperate -- to contact Admissions are all about being positive and specific.  

What not to do includes:
  • telling the college that they made a mistake
  • demanding an additional review
  • making excuses around poor past academic performance
  • submitting additional recommendation letters or essays
But doing these could support the student's case:
  • pointing out factual errors in the application that were discovered following submission
  • explaining extenuating circumstances that would present the student in a more positive light
  • informing Admissions of significant recent accomplishments or awards
  • clarifying strong interest in the school and a (truthful) commitment to attend if admitted
________________________________________________________________
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Bucknell University Pilots A Test-Optional Policy

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bucknell University has announced a five-year pilot test-optional admissions policy beginning with the entering freshman class of 2020.

Bucknell's new policy will allow most applicants the choice of whether or not to submit standardized test scores at the time of application.  As a result, other application elements will receive greater focus within a holistic review, including grades in academic classes, rigor of curriculum, fit with intended major, extracurricular involvements and achievements, and more.  

Students still required to submit standardized test scores at the time of application include recruited varsity athletes, international applicants and homeschooled students.

Most colleges offering a test optional approach will yet require test scores from matriculating students in order to support institutional research on the relationship between test scores and college success.  Happily, the option to include or exclude SAT or ACT scores at the time of application could widen opportunity for students who shine in other areas that better reflect their strengths. 

Bowdoin now joins the growing group of over 1000 test optional colleges, according to FairTest.org, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Freas Hall is home to Bucknell University's Office of Admissions. Photo by Chris Shipley

________________________________________________________________
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

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