Choose Early Decision Early Action Regular Decision Or Rolling Admissions
In August or September, you should choose an admissions plan for each university. Most students choose the regular decision process, with deadlines spanning from late November to mid-March.
Early decision and early action plans allow students to apply for and receive admissions decisions earlier than regular decisions. Some schools early decision and early action rounds are less competitive, admitting a higher percentage of students than in regular decision rounds. However, you should only choose early decision or early action if you have thoroughly researched schools and are committed to attending a particular college.
Early decision is binding: you must attend that college if accepted, unless the financial aid package is insufficient. Some universities offer two rounds of early decision deadlines , one in fall and the other in winter. The ED II round in winter gives you more time to prepare a stronger application package, research and visit colleges, and explore financial aid options.
Early action is non-binding: you have until the May 1 deadline to choose which college to attend. It also allows you to explore more financial aid packages from schools you are accepted to. Some highly selective private schools offer restrictive early action, which is also non-binding, but prevents students from applying ED/EA to other private schools.
|Around four to eight weeks after submission||Non-binding|
Students With Disabilities Under The Americans With Disabilities Act Of 1990
To be eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship, students with qualified disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act who attend less than full time must register with their college office for students with disabilities.
If you are a student with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Excelsior Scholarship program requires that you be continuously enrolled and complete the number of credits you attempted each semester to fulfill the requirement for on-time degree completion. If you have not earned credits for all courses attempted, you can catch up on missing credits if you successfully earn additional credits during a Summer and/or Winter session and get back on track for credits that were not previously completed.
For more information, visit NYS Student Financial Aid Programs and Students with Disabilities.
Myth : Being Well Rounded Is Critical For Success
One of the most pervasive myths out there about what looks good on a college application is the idea of being well rounded.
Many students assume they’ll need to have tons of extracurricular activities on their applications this, they believe, will emphasize their array of interests as well as their knowledge of a variety of fields. But all this really tells admissions committees is that you’re stretching yourself too thin and lack focus on a specific endeavor in your life.
What colleges actually want to see is a spike, that is, a single passion. This allows colleges to get a clearer feel for who you are, what you’re interested in, and what your goals are. Having a spike lets you stand out in a truly meaningful way, whereas being well rounded will make you forgettable and seem too similar to other applicants.
Spikes are especially important at highly selective colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League-level schools. You can read more about how to develop a spike in our guide to getting into the Ivy League. Alternatively, if you’re interested in pursuing education at a liberal arts school, check out our article on how to figure out what to go to college for.
If you aim for well rounded, you’ll start to look like everyone else.
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Great Words And Phrases To Use During The College Admissions Process
Founder, Director, adMISSION POSSIBLE author, speaker, adMISSION POSSIBLE: The Dare to Be Yourself Guide for Getting into the Best College for You
Who Are You? The Most Important Question in College Admissions!
At my first college admissions meetings with students, I ask parents to identify nouns, adjectives, phrases, and short stories that will help me know something about their son or daughter. Usually, one parent takes the lead, calling out a rapid-fire list of words: “Brilliant, tough as nails in sports, hard-working, a team player.” Then the other parent chimes in with more adjectives: “Caring, respectful, great with children.” I like to hear from both parents because moms and dads often have unique perspectives on their kids. To get a little deeper, I might also ask, “What was your son like when he was a little boy ?” Or, “How do you think your daughter’s friends would describe her ?”
I take notes on what the parents say, and when they are finished with their verbal offerings, I ask students if they want to add anything. After the meeting, I email the list of the words to the student and parents, so they can keep adding words.
This exercise is the beginning of a process to come up with word messages students want colleges to “get” about them as they fill-out applications, write essays and have interviews. Figuring out how to communicate about what makes you “you” is one of the most important parts of applying to college.
A Word List Starting Point
How Important Is The College Application Essay
Many schools strongly emphasize the college application essay during admissions.
Although universities consider other elements such as GPA and recommendation letters, an outstanding personal essay for college can help you stand out from other applicants. If you have a similar GPA and test scores to those of other applicants, an essay can allow you to differentiate yourself.
According to a 2018-19 study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 56.4% of admissions counselors reported that their institutions placed “considerable” or “moderate” importance on the college application essay when making admission decisions.
The report also found that private schools and more selective colleges tended to put the most weight on admissions essays.
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Sincere Specific And Well
The personal statement is an important part of your college application as it’s one of the only areas where you can really showcase your personality.
According to the 2019 NACAC survey, 56% of schools consider application essays moderately or considerably important. While some colleges don’t require essays, those that do usually place at least moderate importance on them.
So how can you ensure your essay will impress the admissions committee? Generally, colleges are looking for three main qualities in a personal essay:
- Honesty: What you write about should have actually happened to you and should be how you actually feel. Exaggerating details and outright lying are big no-noes here!
- Specificity: Using concrete details to effectively convey your thoughts, view, and experiences will make your essay a lot more memorable, personable, andmost importantlyunique.
- Eloquence: Don’t expect to get accepted anywhere if your essay is poorly written and full of grammar and spelling errors. A great personal statement has a sensible organization, tells a compelling story, and is completely free of technical errors.
Below are some steps you can take to guarantee that your essay will have all three qualities.
Step 1: Brainstorm Significant Moments From Your Life
What you write about for your college essay will vary depending on the prompt you’re given from your school or the prompt you choose .
In general, you’ll want to pick a topic that meets the following criteria:
A Note About Gpas In The College Application Process
Its important to not stress out about reporting your GPA on your college applications. Even if your GPA is lower than you would want, all you have to do is report it accurately and move on to other parts of your application.
Its also important to note that while you should report your GPA accurately, it wont be the number that colleges ultimately consider. Most colleges re-weight students GPAs based on their own internal grading scale which assigns more or fewer points depending on the types of classes that you took .
Lastly, you need to make sure that you send in the latest and most accurate version of your high school transcript along with your GPA and the rest of your application. This way, colleges can look at your reported GPA in context of what classes you were taking and what classes were available to you. Especially if you took a lot of advanced courses, your transcript can often help you in the college admissions process.
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How To Put The Finishing Touches On Your College Applications
A majority of regular decision college applications are due on January 1st. If you havent submitted yours just yet, dont delay! Turning in late applications could result in declined applications. Here are some tips for putting the finishing touches on your college applications in the final days.
What Is An Academic Honor Or Award
First things first, what counts as an academic honor or award?
Generally speaking, an academic honor or award is any major achievement youve made and been recognized for in some way. The form of recognition can range from an actual object, such as a trophy or plaque, to prize money, a title, or verbal recognition.
Typically, an academic honor will fall into one of the following categories:
- Distinction, honor, or honorable mention for which you wont usually receive a physical object or awardjust the title
- A diploma or certificate indicating the completion of a program or recognizing an accomplishment in a program or other activity
- Prize or award won from a contest, competition, or tournament
- Scholarship given in recognition of an outstanding accomplishment
- Membership in a highly selective and competitive group or society
If youve won any awards for specific activities such as a sport you play or a club youre part of, its better to list these in the extracurricular activities section of your application instead of in a separate awards section.
So what are some honors and awards to put on a college application? Up next, we’ll take a look at more than 70 academic honors examples.
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Reveal Something Unique About Yourself
A student should write a college application essay that distinguishes them from other applicants. For example, writing about playing a niche instrument or winning an Olympic medal can help students stand out from other applicants. Doing so also demonstrates how your distinctive qualities will add to campus life.
What Looks Good On College Applications
It may sometimes feel as though you need to be an oboe-playing, straight-A-earning, multilingual All-American athlete to get into your dream collegeand that you should hire a quartet of musicians to deliver your college application via musical telegram.
First things first: Do not submit your college application in an unconventional format !
Now, were going to let you in on two of the worst-kept secrets in college admissions. Number 1: Colleges tend to have similar criteria for admission . Number 2: Even still, there are ways you can stand out!
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Include A Section For Your Qualifications
After your name and contact information, create a section where you’ll essentially write a resume summary or objective. This part of your resume should state who you are, your intention with the resume and any relevant skills that set you apart from other candidates. This section should outline your goals and essentially work as a tagline for your resume.
Caring About Seeing The Team Succeed
Its not enough in the professional world to do your job from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and then go home. In order to receive good performance reviews and earn promotions, you need to show you are invested in your team/companys projects and are genuinely interested in seeing everyone succeed. Its that team player attitude that bosses really like and colleges want to see in their students.
Being a team player is a soft skill that you should convey on both your resume and on your college applications. Your college essays are a prime opportunity for you to do that. For instance, if one of your essay topics involves group work of any kind, you should communicate a sense of caring about the success of your team.
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High Grade Point Average
Dont be afraid to show off a high, grade point average, this is the time to do it.
If you maintained a consistently high GPA over your high school career, thats great. You can set and hold a high standard for yourself, which demonstrates focus and commitment.
However, if freshman year was tough but over the remaining three years you improved your GPA significantly, admissions officers will pay even more attention.
They want to see your potential for growth. The more you can show, the more theyll be interested in you.
Your Grades Test Scores And Academic Achievements
Successful college essays typically include information that does not appear anywhere else in the application. When reviewing other submission documents, admissions officers can learn about students’ grades, previous courses, and scholarly achievements. As such, the essay should not focus on these kinds of details.
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Make Your College List
Begin compiling a college list the summer before your junior year. Start researching schools based on their academic programs, financial aid packages, clubs and activities, and geographical location.
You should have a final list of your top schools by the second semester of your junior year, so you can plan for college visits that same semester. To maximize your options, aim to apply for eight schools:
- Two reach schools where it might be difficult for you to get accepted
- Four match schools where you have a good chance of getting accepted
- Two safety schools where you feel confident youll get accepted
How To Stand Out In Your College Application
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Its Relevant To Your Academic Interests And Strengths
Another academic award or honor that’s great to include on your college application is one thats relevant to your academic interests and strengths. These are typically subject- or field-specific awards, such as English or writing awards, math awards, etc.
For example, if youre planning to major in engineering, you’d want to detail any awards you might have won in science, math, or engineering contests.
Relevant awards indicate to the admissions committee not only that youre truly committed to the field you want to study, but also that youre one of the most promising students in your field.
Academic Honors Examples of Relevant Awards
- AP award
- Writing award or publication
- STEM award
- Model UN
It Highlights Your Leadership Potential
An impressive academic honor or award will also emphasize your leadership potential. These are typically awards that involve group or collaborative work. So if you ever led others to successas a captain or president, for instancethis kind of honor would look great to potential colleges.
Just make sure that you explain on your application what kind of role you had and how your leadership specifically led your team to success.
Academic Honors Examples of Leadership/Group Awards
- Volunteer awards
- Girl Scouts or Eagle Scouts awards
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Check Your Social Media
Your social media presence can have more impact on your applications than you think. College admissions officers often browse applicants’ social media accounts and use their findings to inform decisions. Inside Higher Ed recently reported that 36% of admissions officers check prospective students’ social media profiles up 25% since 2019. In some cases, high-profile schools have even rescinded admissions offers based on social media content.
Social media platforms are, essentially, public interfacing tools. They can allow you to put your best foot forward or to make public blunders. Maintaining a professional and appropriate social media presence can help your applications along.
Indigenous Land Use Statement
We acknowledge the land which we occupy at American River College as the traditional home of the Nisenan, Maidu, and Miwok tribal nations. These sovereign people have been the caretakers of this land since time immemorial. Despite centuries of genocide and occupation the Nisenan, Maidu, and Miwok continue as vibrant and resilient tribes and bands, both Federally recognized and unrecognized. We take this opportunity to acknowledge the generations that have gone before as well as the present-day Nisenan, Maidu, and Miwok people.
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Tip : Open With Your Most Impressive Awards
Admissions officers dont usually spend a lot of time with each application they get, so you want to make sure that youre catching their eyes right away by starting with your most impressive honors and awards. These will generally beawards that are highly competitive and required a lot of work and commitment on your end.
Create Accounts On College Application Portals
After creating a prospective college list, create accounts on their respective application portals in the summer before your senior year.
The Common Application, with over 900 member universities, is the most popular. The Coalition Application, with more than 150 member universities, offers resources to help all students gain access to college.
Some schools, such as the University of California system, MIT, and Georgetown University, have their own application portals.
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Choose The Right Standardized Test
Students should take standardized tests as early as possible, allowing themselves time to prepare, complete the test, and send out the results. Candidates generally take the American College Testing exam or the Scholastic Assessment Test during their junior year of high school. Most schools accept either test, but some prefer one over the other, so check with your target schools for details.
These exams both assess college readiness, but they cater to different skill sets. The ACT provides more opportunity for students who excel in language arts, while the SAT focuses more on quantitative reasoning and command of evidence. Many students take both exams and use the higher score in their application materials.