High School 2 College

April 8, 2021

Applications are Up and Admissions are Down: What Can I Do With That Information?

Articles like the one below have been flooding my inbox this past week.    The moral seems to be that applications are up and acceptances are down — significantly down, especially among the most selective colleges.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/04/07/admit-rates-ivy-league-pandemic-test-optional/

I’m not telling you this to frighten you but rather to confront you with the reality that having colleges go “test optional” is a blessing and a curse.  A wider demographic is applying to colleges of all sorts, so you’ve got less of a chance of getting into the same school that a mere 2 years ago you might have gotten into fairly easily.

What you do with this information is up to you, but I do have some suggestions I hope you take seriously.


1.  Widen your net.  Apply to more colleges than you might have 2 years ago, and apply to a wider variety of colleges than you might have.  Include more safety schools because this year, they might not be so safe any more!  Don’t dismiss schools just because you haven’t heard of them.  The ones your friends are going to apply to aren’t the only good ones.


2.  Make sure your school grades and your SAT/ACT scores sparkle.  Now is not the time to slack off.  If 25% of students are applying and getting in without SATs or ACTs, 75% ARE submitting scores. Take a full courseload of quality classes junior and senior year to show you care about your education.


3.  Use every opportunity to demonstrate interest.  Colleges want to know that you’re not just applying to two dozen schools because you can.  They need to be able to accept only those students who might reasonably accept their offers. So fill out the “send me more information” form on EVERY college you’re even thinking of.  Then open the email they send you promptly and click on any and all links.  Email the admissions department with a thoughtful question or two.  Attend every open house you can, virtual or live.  If a college is visiting your high school – virtually or live – make it your top priority to attend.  “Like” each school’s Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media you know about.  If a school is offering live tours (many of my students have already gone on several live tours), go if you possibly can.


4.  Get creative with extra-curricular activities.  I understand that many traditional activities have been cancelled this past year, but that’s true for everyone.  You’re no worse off than every other athlete or dancer or singer.  Yet some kids have developed websites or helped seniors find vaccine appointments or sewn masks or worked at food pantries or held virtual homework sessions for neighborhood kids or knit blankets for babies or the wheelchair bound or worked remotely on political campaigns or created composite YouTube concerts with fellow singers or band members.  What have YOU done?  If the answer is “not much,”  go back to item #1 above and broaden and deepen your list of schools, because the kids getting into selective schools have done all these things and more.


For those of you who go to Yorktown High School, I’ll be speaking virtually about how testing and applications have changed over the past two years this Wednesday evening, April 14, at the request of the guidance department.  (If you don’t go to Yorktown, I’d be happy to speak to parents of your school.  All they have to do is ask!)

Let me know if you have any questions,

Wendy Segal

http://www.wendysegaltutoring.com

Blog at WordPress.com.

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