Welcome to Boot Camp

Welcome to Boot Camp
Role Reversal
Mock Admissions Exercise:
Each group will be the admissions panel at
Lex Vegas University. Your responsibility
will be to choose one student to be a
graduate of your school in 2017.
Information provided.
College Search
Myth: As a college-bound senior, you have
to rely primarily on your parents’ and your
own knowledge and research as you wade
the difficult waters of college admissions.
College Search
Fact: There are a number of excellent
resources available to you, including your high
school counselor and independent college
counselors, as well as guides, books, and
Internet sites devoted to the complex issues
facing today’s students.
College Search
- College Counselor
- Independent College Counselor
- Guidebooks
CollegeBoard: College Handbook
Fiske Guide to Colleges
Insiders Guide to the Colleges
Choosing the Right College
- Internet – see list of providers
Planning for College
Myth: It is okay to sit around all summer
working on your tan.
Planning for College
Fact: Summer is a great time to be productive
– attend sports camp, get an internship, join a
community service organization, find a job or
even start a business. Boards of admissions
specifically look to see that you have remained
productive during your time away from school.
You may want to take a few weeks off, but use
the rest of the time wisely.
Important Terms
Common Application: Allows a student to
fill out one application form (the Common
Application) and photocopy the application
and recommendation forms for filing at more
than one college (done online as well – not
need to photocopy – just save and print).
Make sure to check with the admission office
to see if a college will accept the Common
Application and if any supplements are
Important Terms
Early Action: Students apply early and
receive a decision from the college well in
advance of the institution’s regular response
date. You can apply to more than one
school EA, even if you are applying to one
school Early Decision (ED).
Important Terms
Early Decision: Students make a
commitment to a first-choice school where, if
admitted, they definitely will enroll. The
application deadline and decision deadline
occur early. If a student and their parents
are wanting to find the best financial aid
package – ED is clearly not an option.
Students can only apply to one school ED.
Important Terms
Restrictive Early Action: Students apply to
an institution of preference and receive a
decision early. They may be restricted from
applying ED or EA or REA to other
institutions. If offered enrollment, they have
until May 1 to confirm.
Important Terms
Regular Decision: Students submit an
application by a specified date and receive a
decision in a clearly stated period of time.
Important Terms
Rolling Admission: Institutions review
applications as they are submitted and
render admission decisions throughout the
admission cycle.
Important Terms
Wait List: This is an admission decision
option utilized by institutions to protect
against shortfalls in enrollment. By placing a
student on the wait list, an institution does
not initially offer or deny admission, but
extends to a candidate the possibility of
admission in the future, before the
institution’s admission cycle is concluded.
Important Terms
Highly Selective College Admissions
Calendar: Many college admission office
timetables call for applications to be filed during
the fall or early winter of the senior year.
Supporting data (standardized test scores, high
school records and recommendations) are sent
to the college at the student’s request.
Admission committees retreat from February to
March to read applications and make decisions.
Decisions are mailed to applicants from early to
mid-April and accepted applicants are expected
to accept or decline the offer by May 1.
Important Terms
Deferred Admission: Opportunity for a
student who has been accepted to a college
to delay or defer enrollment for a year or a
semester. Students who defer cannot
attend another school during the deferment
period. Most students will work or travel
during the time off – most schools expect the
student to be able to account for the time
spent between high school and
Important Terms
Safety School: 60 – 90% chance of gaining
Good Fit School: 30 – 60% chance of gaining
Reach School: less than 30% chance of
gaining admission
Financial Aid
Myth: Only students with the best grades
qualify for financial aid.
Fact: some scholarships are merit-based,
that is they are awarded based on a
student’s academic performance…
however, most financial aid is need-based,
or awarded based on a family’s ability to pay
for college.
Financial Aid
Myth: Since my parents haven’t saved anything for
college, community college is my only option.
Fact: One way to prepare for the cost of college is
to fill out the FAFSA before the senior year. You will
get a Student Aid Report which will let you know the
EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Schools are
now required to have a financial aid calculator on
their website. This may help you and your parents
feel more comfortable about college options.**
Financial Aid
** It is important to remember that the
financial aid calculators are only an estimate
and are not what you and your family will
officially have to pay to attend that school.
An official financial aid package will be sent
to you in the spring.
Financial Aid
Myth: Only rich kids go to elite, expensive
Fact: Studies have shown that parental
incomes of students in private colleges are, on
average, lower than incomes of students at
large state universities. Apply to the schools
YOU want to attend. Wait for financial award
letters and acceptance letters, THEN decide
which college you would like to attend.
Financial Aid
Myth: Only students from really low-income
families qualify for financial aid.
Fact: The higher the cost of the education,
the easier it is to demonstrate financial
BASIC College Admissions Process
Step 1. Complete Brag Sheet and Senior Profile.
Step 2. Approach teachers for recommendations.
Step 3. Attend school presentations in the guidance
office – visit your top schools.
Step 4. Begin a file for information (applications,
mailings, etc.) for each college
Step 5. Begin applications, essays – make sure you
understand each schools admissions deadlines
and procedures. Stay in contact with Ms. van
Step 6. Take SAT/ACT/Subject Tests and continue to
carry good grades during your senior year.
College Admissions Process
Senior Monthly College Planning Calendar
Highlight Key Notes.
Senior Profile
Hand out and complete the Senior Profile…
1. Exercise Restraint. Don’t include something you did
for only a few hours a year.
2. Every Detail Counts. Account for what you do outside
high school. Remember you are trying to “sell”
3. Be yourself. Make the application come alive so the
admissions counselors get a true sense of “you.”
4. Proofread, proofread, proofread…
Senior Profile
Brag Sheet…
If you need more room on an application – it is
useful to have a brag sheet… Your Senior
Profile can become your brag sheet. Reformat
and make it look more professional.
1. Organize by year
2. Organize by Activity, Service, Position, etc.
The Common Application
The Common App Online Demo for Students
The Common Application
What is included in a college application?
1. Official Transcript
2. Standardized Test Scores
3. The Application Form
4. Secondary School Report Form
(Counselor Report Form)
5. Mid Year Report Form
6. Teacher Recommendations
Official Transcript
Record of all the courses you have taken for
high school credit, your grades, credits
earned, GPA, class rank, standardized test
scores, courses in progress…
If you would like – you may request an
unofficial copy of your transcript to make
sure it is correct.
Standardized Test Scores
If required, you will request from College
Board or ACT that your official test scores
(SAT, ACT, Subject Tests) be sent directly to
the college’s admission office.
The Application Form
May be asked for the following:
- Personal and Educational Data
- Honors and Awards
- Extracurricular Activities
- Employment, Internships, Summer Activities
- Essays
- Disciplinary Information
- Application Fee
- Signature
- For certain majors students may be required to
audition or submit portfolio
Secondary School Report Form
Not required by all colleges, if it is required,
the high school is responsible for submitting
this form to the college. However – You
need to request that it be sent and follow the
school’s procedures.
Mid Year Report Form
This form is not required by all colleges. If it
is – it will be submitted by the high school.
Again – you must request that it be sent.
The purpose of this form is for the college to
see your grades from the first semester of
your senior year… Also very important for
students who have been waitlisted.
Teacher Recommendation Form
This form is not required by all colleges. If it is –
make sure you give teachers ample time to write a
good recommendation. You will also want to choose
wisely and find writers who know you in multiple
capacities. It is also courteous for you to waive your
right to see their recommendations. You will also
want to give them a copy of your senior profile so
they have something to work with. Be thankful…
write thank you notes. Teachers do not have to write
* If a teacher appears reluctant to write a letter –
move on. They may be politely telling you that they
would not be able to provide a supportive letter.
The Essay
Myth: These days, every college applicant
gets so much help with his or her college
essays, you’d be a fool not to consult with a
professional writing coach before submitting
your application.
The Essay
Fact: Colleges want to hear from you. They
want to get to know your dreams, desires,
triumphs, and failures expressed in your own
voice. Chances are a hired gun won’t care as
much about your application as you do and has
a different voice than you anyway. If “you”
emerge in a thoughtful essay that addresses
both your strengths and your weaknesses in
clear yet creative manner, you will already have
a huge leg up on the competition.
The Essay
Transforms the applicant from a series of numbers and statistics to a
living, breathing human being.
Don’t use gimmicks
For example:
1. don’t write your essay backwards in order to convey how
“different” you are.
2. don’t write about intimate subjects – first sexual
experience, sexual abuse, fantasies.
3. don’t write about a sob story – puppies getting hit by a car.
4. don’t write in the third person.
5. don’t write about someone else tragedy and how that you
were supportive in a time of need.
6. don’t write in another language .
The College Application Essay
Write a Story…
Avoid just listing all your brag sheet
activities. Tell a personal story about a
moment and what was meaningful to you.
How did it change you? What did you
learn? How is it so you?
The College Application Essay
Show, don’t tell.
Try to evoke your personality and character
without actually stating your specific
The College Application Essay
Do not delay…
Begin writing at least a month before the
application is due. Write multiple drafts and
edit them carefully.
The College Application Essay
Double-space your first draft, even if it is
handwritten. This will allow room for
The College Application Essay
Share your work…
Read your draft out loud to someone and
make sure each sentence is clearly written
and properly punctuated. Put your draft
aside for twenty-four hours and then read
The College Application Essay
Make an appointment with your English
teacher for proofreading. Allow him or her to
edit for typographical errors that you might
have missed.
The College Application Essay
Present tense…
Even if you are writing about a past
experience, try using the present tense,
which will make your readers witnesses of
the action.
The College Application Essay
Beware of humor…
Only use humor if you are truly funny.
There’s nothing worse than being the only
one who laughs at your own jokes. Your
brand of humor may not be the same brand
as your reader.
The College Application Essay
Keep it short…
Admissions officers are at times advised to
spend no more than twenty minutes on an
entire application folder.
The College Application Essay
Follow directions…
If an application allows for one extra sheet of
paper beyond the given space, make sure
you attach only one page. In addition to
everything else, the application is a test of
your ability to complete an application.
Follow directions and pass the test.
NACAC’s Top 10
Tips for writing a college essay:
1. Start early.
2. Be yourself.
3. Be honest.
4. Take a risk.
5. Keep in focus.
6. Write and rewrite.
7. Get a second opinion.
8. Proofread.
9. Don’t confuse applying online with sending e-mail.
10. Don’t expect too much from an essay.
Common Application Essay Topics
Which essay topics would you choose?
Whatever essay topic you choose, your
purpose is to tell the admission committee
something important about who you are.
Complete the Getting Started Activity
College Application Essay
Sample essays.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Common Application Essay
Essay #1
This essay does not work because it lacks
depth. The writer just skims the surface and
gives the reader vague details about the
coach. She doesn’t tell HOW her coach
influences her life. The writer needed to
take this essay to the next level. The writing
also lacks sophistication. The word choice
and sentence structure are very simplistic.
Common Application Essay
Essay #2
This is a good short answer response
because it is a very specific topic and shares
a personal experience. The writer uses
clear details and writes well. This brief
answer response also shows that the writer
is open minded, curious, and motivated to
work with others.
Common Application Essay
Essay #3
Even though this is a short answer
response, the writer needed to go into more
depth. The topic is too broad as presented
and doesn’t allow the writer to talk about the
details. The writer also did not proofread
carefully; there are words missing and other
grammatical errors.
Common Application Essay
Essay #4
This essay is an excellent example of how
concrete details can create a vivid story.
The writer’s strong observation skills and
sensitivity to her family hold the reader’s
attention. Her reflections at the end are well
supported by the story. The writer uses
language well and shows a sense of style.
College Application Essay
For the next 30 minutes – write on one of the
common application essays…
We will then pair up and you will be able to
read a portion of your partner’s essay.
Talk about what was good about it, what can be
done to improve it? Were gimmicks used? Did
the voice of the writer come out? Did you learn
something new about the author?
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