Kids Aren’t Committing For Four Years Anymore!

National Signing Day

Yesterday was phase II of National Signing Day, or just Signing Day as it is more commonly known. It is such a big deal in high school athletics that many schools have co-opted the tradition, letting all of their student-athletes who are embarking on a college career to have their moment in front of the cameras with pen in hand, whether it’s a Division I powerhouse or not.

There are plenty of good colleges out there, and lots of good sports being played at the Division II and Division III schools. Kids who make it to any level of college athletics should be congratulated.

But what’s changed the feel of Signing Day across the country isn’t the two-tiered process (most of the top rated kids sign early), but the Transfer Portal.

What’s changed is that kids aren’t committing for four years, they might only be committing for one, and then it’s into the transfer portal they go looking for a better opportunity, more playing time, or some other dumbfounding reason. That’s not to say some concerns aren’t totally valid.

But lost in every photo and every pen stroke on Signing Day is the fact that college is going to be an adjustment. Parents want to protect their children. I get it, I have a son who went to boarding school for five years, and who is now in college, but at some point we start doing more harm than good.

I tell parents, that they and their student-athlete have to fully commit to the school, because God forbid your athlete gets injured or they decide they don’t want to play anymore, you’re still committed to the university. So the school needs to be a good-fit both athletically and academically. A place where you will thrive. A place your proud to be attending.

To some degree, I wonder if transferring is fair. An athlete with talent, who has put in the work, should have some say in where they play and who they play for. But the transfer portal gives everyone an easy way out, maybe too easy.

DOTS Educational Consulting offers families and students 1:1 guidance and mentoring in the college, private and boarding school admission and application process.
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Applying Early Action/Early Decision To Your Dream School

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Happy New Year and CONGRATULATIONS to those high school seniors who applied early action/early decision and have successfully matched with their dream school. For those of you who may not have been as fortunate, or have been deferred for reconsideration in the spring…keep the faith! It’s not the end of the world! Hopefully, you’ve received strong guidance from your high school counselors and parents in the application process…and applied to a number of great schools that would be an even better fit for you. Consider that there are many reasons for not being admitted. One reason could simply be having submitted an incomplete application.

Yale College admitted 796 students out of a total of 5,777 early action applicants to the class of 2024 this past December. The number marks a 13.8 percent admission rate for early action. Harvard University, Brown University and Cornell University accepted 13.9, 17.5 and 23.8 percent of early action applicants respectively.

These early admissions offers are non-binding, and admitted students usually have until May 1 to reply, but double check with your particular school if you’re unsure.

For those of you who have been deferred for spring consideration…there are things you can and should do until then to strengthen your cause. One of those things is to keep the admissions office apprised of any pertinent activities and successes which will help strengthen your position. Certainly, there are other things you can do as well.

DOTS Educational Consulting is prepared to work with you 1-on-1 to provide you with the attention you deserve. We’ll advise and help you in every aspect of the college admission and application process, but don’t wait until the eleventh hour to ask for help as there’s significant strategizing and time required in developing a highly successful college application.

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Is Early Decision Really the Best College Application Option? Inside The Admissions Office!

As scores of high school seniors are beginning to receive decisions on their Early Action and Early Decision applications from many top tier colleges and universities across the country, I wanted to focus on something I have previously discussed in past blogs, as well as re-post this very timely article I received as a former Tabor Academy parent by Anna Barlow-Boesch of the Tabor Academy College Counseling Office, in Marion, MA, which sheds a bit more light on the pros and cons of the controversial Early Action and Early Decision admissions process:

It was day two of the 2019 NACAC conference in Louisville, Kentucky and I knew the session “Early Decision: Who Really Benefits” was going to be packed. I, along with my colleagues from high schools across the country, grabbed a few last chairs, eager to hear what Kirk Brennan, Director of Admission at the University of Southern California and Jeff Schiffman, Director of Admission at Tulane University were going to say about the role of Early Decision in college admission. Given that this is one of the most controversial topics in the sphere of college counseling and admission, I knew there would be some thought-provoking information to gather. I was not disappointed.

Long before the days of Early Action and Early Decision, there was only one application deadline that most colleges offered: one not-so-creatively named “Regular Decision” (RD). RD deadlines typically fall in January or February, with admission decisions being released no later than the first of April every year. But, as the college admission landscape has changed, so too have the deadlines. For a variety of reasons, there is an undeniable push to move this process earlier. In response to this, there have been an increasing number of colleges that offer both Early Action and/or Early Decision options.

Early Action (EA) indicates an earlier application deadline which can occur anywhere from mid-October through December. Students who apply EA typically learn their admission decision sometime between mid-December and the end of January in their senior year, but they have until the end of April to decide where they ultimately want to enroll. Early Decision (ED), on the other hand, refers to a binding early application plan, one that may follow a similar timeline in terms of application deadlines, but results in a student learning of their admission decision 4-6 weeks after submitting their application. If a student is admitted in ED, they are bound to attend the college, must withdraw all other applications, and must promptly withdraw the applications submitted to other colleges and universities and make no additional applications to any other university in any country.

It is precisely the binding nature of ED that makes this admission plan so controversial. Kirk Brennan touched on some of the reasons he believes colleges should not offer Early Decision both in his NACAC presentation and in a blog post he wrote several years ago. Offering an explanation for why the University of Southern California does not provide students with the option of applying EA or ED, he wrote “We don’t think Early Decision/Action programs promote a healthy search for a college. We think a good search for a college should be careful and deliberate, not rushed, and that early programs generally cause students to make this big decision too soon. So our policy is based on the principle of keeping the student’s best interest in mind.” Other criticisms of Early Decision programs stem from the fact that historically, these types of admission plans favor those who are most able to afford college, as applying ED leaves a student without the ability to compare financial aid packages.

Offering a different side to the debate, Jeff Schiffman presented compelling reasons for why colleges rely on Early Decision applications. Citing the growing challenges many institutions face with enrollment and successfully meeting financial budgets, he very bluntly told everyone listening that as much as we may not like to think of colleges in this way, they are businesses. He went on to remind us that admission directors answer directly to their Boards of Trustees and Presidents, many of whom respond well to favorable numbers. Early Decision helps colleges, not just from guaranteeing a certain percentage of their incoming class and protecting their admission yield rates, but in improving student retention and graduation rates as well. According to Mr. Schiffman, at Tulane, students admitted through Early Decision are happier and more likely to retain (not transfer elsewhere). Student retention and graduation rates are two key pieces of data on which institutions are evaluated by outside rankings, like US News and World Report. While this annual publication is one not held in high regard by most admission professionals and college counselors, it is a resource many families rely upon when searching for colleges. Clearly, it’s not just Boards and Presidents who place a value on numbers and that, too, is a pressure admission offices face.

As the conference session wrapped, it was clear that there is no easy answer to the debate swirling around Early Decision. What was also apparent is that this is an application option that will not go away anytime soon. According to a 2018 NACAC study, 52 percent of the most selective colleges in the country offer an Early Decision deadline. And, just this year, another school joined those ranks. Citing a desire to give students the greatest flexibility in choosing an application plan that works for their needs, the University of Virginia reintroduced Early Decision this fall, an option they had not offered for over a decade.

While it is important to understand the broader landscape, for students at Tabor, the decision over whether to apply ED should only be entertained in situations when a first-choice college is clearly identified after close consultation with their parents and college counselors. Every student’s college search and application process is unique and we stand at the ready to help.

 

*If you’d like further information on Tabor Academy (grades 9-12) or similar independent day, boarding & college prep schools, or the pros and cons of the Early Action and Early Decision application processes at particular colleges and universities around the country feel free to reach out to us at the following link:

NEED HELP WITH: EDUCATION PLANNING, FINDING THE RIGHT FIT COLLEGE OR PREP SCHOOL, COLLEGE APPLICATIONS & ESSAYS? REACH OUT TO US HERE!

 

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The College Board Top 10 ‘Parent Worry Index’ And What To Do About Them

The  asked thousands of parents from all over America to share their worries about college. Here they rank the top concerns and highlight resources to help parents face them with more confidence.

 

“I’m worried about the financial burden and that I may have to sell my house.” – Keith, parent in Texas

“It is fun to dream and plan with my daughter for her future.”– Rebecca, parent in Washington

“There is so much to do. I fear I might forget something important and miss out on an opportunity for my child.”Anita, parent in Florida

 

Even with all of this, preparing for college and the application process is still daunting and stressful for students and parents.

 

Parents and students are too busy nowadays to efficiently & effectively maneuver the college application landscape. Even with the following top 10 parent concerns, and the resources provided by the College Board, the process can still be too much to handle, and too important, to be left in the hands of a teen.

Services like ours have the experience and knowledge to help families keep the process organized and stress-free. We also provide a level of support the high school counseling office cannot provide. We work one-on-one with motivated students to plan their high school and college journeys so that they will standout in the application process. 

 

1. The Price Tag

Seeing the price tag for college can be jarring. But take a deep breath, and keep in mind that very few parents pay the full “sticker price.” You need to find out your “net price”—the price after grants, scholarships, and other financial aid. Use our Parent Financial Planning page to learn about net price, saving, managing costs, and more.

 

2. College Match

Parents are less worried about their child getting into a college and more about them getting into the college that is the right fit. Many factors go into fit, from location to size to price. Start the process early by building a college list. And later when you’ve narrowed your list, plan a campus visit to colleges you’re considering to get an even better feel. Our BigFuture™  website helps you search for colleges, make lists, plan visits, and more.

 

3. Finding Scholarships

Two out of three parents help their child find scholarships. The good news is there are more opportunities out there than ever before and many free resources to help your search, from apps like Scholly to our own Scholarship Search tool. And every parent should check out our College Board Opportunity Scholarships, a new program that guides your child through the college planning process with a chance to earn scholarships along the way. 

 

4. Student Loan Debt

Nearly 7 out of 10 college graduates in 2018 took out loans. So if you’re considering loans, you’re not alone. Our Loans page can help you make a more informed decision by guiding you through the types of loans, how the process works, and repayment options. It’s also important to remember that while loans are a big financial commitment, it’s an investment that pays off with college grads earning 66% more than high school grads on average over the course of their lives. 

 

5. The SAT & ACT

About 67% of parents help their children with test prep for their college admission tests. And with the high cost of test prep, it’s something that is particularly stressful for parents. To help, we created Official SAT Practice. It’s the best way to practice for the SAT and it’s 100% free.  

 

6. Campus Safety

People are thinking about more factors than just academics when choosing a college. It’s great to ask schools tough questions, like “what’s your approach to campus safety?” And the earlier you start the better. A campus visit is the perfect opportunity to ask these questions. See our Campus Visit Checklist to help you make a plan.

     

7. Admissions Options

Parents are worried about their child getting into their first choice. Nearly 70% of all high schoolers today go to college, making admissions more competitive than ever. Yet with more than 4,000 colleges in the U.S., there might be many schools you’ve never considered before that are right for your child. Our Applying 101 page can help you navigate the process.

8. Newfound Independence

While many parents are not concerned about things like getting homesick or adjusting socially at college, many are concerned about how their child might deal with their new freedom and responsibilities. Our What to Expect page can help with the transition from high school to college. 

9. Application Process

Applying for colleges can be challenging for parents to navigate since most colleges have different requirements and deadlines. However, there are resources to make it a little easier. Check out our College Application Process page for helpful tools and information.

10. Financial Aid

Aid plays a big role in college affordability, but the process for applying for it can feel overwhelming. Start by focusing on the most important step: the FAFSA, the online application for Federal Student Aid. Millions of students who are eligible for financial aid simply never file the FAFSA. Don’t miss out. Complete it in early October of your child’s senior year to maximize your opportunities for aid.

NEED HELP WITH: EDUCATION PLANNING, FINDING THE RIGHT FIT COLLEGE OR PREP SCHOOL, COLLEGE APPLICATIONS & ESSAYS? REACH OUT TO US HERE!

 

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A Powerful College Admissions Essay Can Make All The Difference!

Why Get Essay Help?According to admissions officers 80% of college essays DON’T HELP the applicant. The Dreaded Essay. The Reality!

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Which colleges or independent private (boarding) schools you apply to will be determined by your academic prowess. Referred to in many cases as Academic Qualities: grades, test scores, and rigor of curriculum. And, while your hard work has earned you the right to apply to selective, and in some cases highly selective universities and private high schools, most everyone in those applicant pools have very similar academic qualities. So guess what, your academic achievements ARE NOT what’s going to get you admitted to the school of your dreams.

What will?

The personal qualities you reveal in your essays!

And, don’t make the mistake of believing your essay should be the same as an English or research paper, a test of your vocabulary, or a recap of your transcript and resume.

Each year admissions officers read thousands of student applications, and every year the number of applications keep growing. You can imagine, after a while most applications begin to look and sound the same. The role of your essay, when done well, is to maximize your college and private school options.

Admissions to colleges and selective independent high schools are increasingly competitive and students need every possible advantage to stand out from peers with similar scores, grades and interests. Your essay can be the difference maker!

DOTS Educational Consulting can help you create an essay that engages your voice, your passions, and your experiences. Our guided process can help you create and complete an “admissions-committee-stopping” essay that jumps off the page.

 

NEED HELP WITH: EDUCATION PLANNING, FINDING THE RIGHT FIT COLLEGE OR PREP SCHOOL, COLLEGE APPLICATIONS & ESSAYS? REACH OUT TO US HERE!

Please feel free to share or retweet our blogs, visit our website: https://dotsedu.xyz and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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