Parents and students alike ask these questions.
- What are colleges looking for in an applicant?
- How can I present a strong application?
Marinanne Nordhorn addresses these frequently asked questions on FOX35 Good Day. Additional financial aid FAQs are addressed below.
While grades and test scores are both important factors, the current trend is to place more emphasis on grades. Not just any grades, but grades in rigorous classes. In fact, colleges tell us that the first thing they look for in a student’s application is strength of curriculum. Admissions officers consider students in the context of their high school environments. If your school’s AP curriculum is the strongest, (most difficult), level offered and you are taking AP classes, you will receive their highest consideration. Colleges want students who challenge themselves with the hardest classes in which they can do well. A grade of B in a high-level course is preferable to an A in a standard class. Don’t panic – you’re not locked into taking AP or IB level classes in every subject – most students are more comfortable with either the English/History or Math/Science area. You can be strategic in choosing your tough classes!
Since every high school’s curriculum and grading system are unique, colleges have long relied on test scores from the SAT and ACT to measure student ability. However, studies have raised serious issues. Students with learning differences often have difficulty with standardized assessments and low-income, first-generation students often lack access to the test prep services that enable more affluent students to raise their scores. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing maintains a database of over 1,000 four-year colleges and universities which do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial numbers of bachelor-degree applicants. Policies vary between schools, with some requesting a graded writing paper or portfolio of assignments for evaluation. In Florida, both Stetson University and Rollins College are test-optional, joining Wake Forest, University of Chicago, George Washington University, Skidmore College and Temple University, to name just a few.
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing
The astounding amount of personal information available on the web renders social media a powerful force! Don’t ditch it, but make sure yours is squeaky clean and enhances your application by showcasing honors, achievements, and especially any activities that show how you are helping your community.
While colleges like all kinds of extracurricular activities and want well-rounded students, don’t think that you have to join a million clubs to be considered! Instead of a “laundry list” of memberships, concentrate on “depth of involvement” in a few areas of your own interest. Colleges appreciate students who have effected positive change in their communities, particularly in situations where the student has identified a need and taken the initiative to address it. Leadership roles are valued in any activity.
Applying for college involves a lot of research. Acceptance rates are going down, and the trends are constantly changing. If you have time to do the research, you can find the right school and craft a quality application. However, if you simply don't have the time, we will do the research for you and help your student find the right fit: academically, socially, and financially.
Many of our families have busy schedules during the week and need to meet on short notice or during non-business hours.
We communicate through e-mail, phone, and most often video chat via Zoom. This flexibility allows our families to benefit from our responsiveness and unique knowledge set fully.