Applying to College
Our first Counselor of the Month for 2012 is Patricia Cleary of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. Stuyvesant, known as "Stuy," is a public high school with a twist. Run by the New York City Department of Education, it is one of seven specialized schools where admission is determined by a competitive exam. With an enrollment of 3,317 students, its mission is to develop students' talent in mathematics, science, and technology. Ms. Cleary's mission is to help guide approximately 800 Stuy students through the college application process every year.
Our inaugural dean answering five questions for us in 2012 is Douglas Christiansen, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt is a private research university with an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students, including almost 6,800 undergraduates. Christiansen oversees the selection and enrollment of each year's incoming freshman class -- about 1,600 students -- as well as the offices of Student Financial Aid and Honors Scholarships. Join him here to learn more about the kind of student that thrives at Vanderbilt, how the Admissions office makes decisions, why he believes the school's two rounds of Early Decision are a good idea, and how the future is shaping up on the 330-acre campus, part of which is a registered National Historic Landmark.
Happy 2012! We're excited to be back. In this new year, we pledge to continue to provide students and families with our expert advice about applying to college, bolstered with the insights and contributions of deans of admission and high school college counselors from across the country. We'll be candid and straightforward about what the process requires, but at the same time, we really believe it's important to bring a sense of humor to it -- and sometimes even an appreciation of the absurd (some of those headlines!).
In the next few months, we'll be talking about stress, senioritis, and decisions for seniors, providing you with some sound bites for handling conversations with your peers and other parents. For juniors, we'll be talking researching schools and campus visits -- and we'll be adding to the Gourmet Guide so you'll know where to find the best burgers, coffee, or haute cuisine as you take part in this rite of passage.
For those of you who haven't yet finished submitting applications -- and your parents -- here's some great guidance from one of our favorite deans: Jeannine Lalonde of University of Virginia. We couldn't agree more with her recent post on Notes from Peabody. Check it out here. And, FYI, we have extensive and detailed commentary on the Common Application in our book, Chapter 14, The Application Form.
We're taking some time off for the holidays. We suggest you do, too -- as soon as you hit Send for any applications you haven't yet finished. We'll be back in 2012 with more expert advice, conversation, and comic relief to help you get from application to acceptance, step by step, including lots of our signature input from deans of admission, college counselors, and other experts. So relax, enjoy your break, and we'll see you next year...
If you applied under an early decision, early action or restrictive early action plan, don't miss our series of posts on the next steps if you were accepted, deferred, or denied. And don't miss our advice on doing the right thing here.
And if you did not jump on the early bandwagon and opted for applying under a regular decision plan, don't miss our debunking of the media madness headlines that you're seeing lately. All the seats at the schools on your list have not been taken by early admits. No need to panic. We explain and do the math here.
We have three terrific experts featured here this month and we wanted to take one more opportunity to bring them to your attention! In case you missed them, take the time to read our Q & A's with Kenyon Dean of Admissions Jennifer Delahunty and Pine Crest School college counselor Marcia Hunt, as well as the post featuring Vanderbilt Admissions Dean Doug Christiansen on the role of volunteer work in an admission decision. These are consummate experts with advice helpful to all students and families going through the application process.
Before we exit the subject of early admission this week, we'd like to leave you with a final thought in this excerpt from our book: Students: Do the Right Thing! You have applied under early action, rolling admission, or restrictive early action and you’re in. Congratulations. We now encourage you to do the right thing. If you know you will not enroll at some of the other colleges on your list, don’t apply to them. Go back through that original list and cross off those schools. Or, if you’ve already sent in your applications, let those colleges know your plans. Don’t collect trophies in the form of admission letters from colleges you will never attend. There are some exceptions to this rule. Some colleges very much want to make their case to you even if you have been admitted to another college under rolling admission, early action, or restrictive early action. If there are schools on your list you can still imagine you might attend, feel welcome to keep your options alive provided you are open to the case those colleges will make. And if you need to compare financial aid or merit scholarship awards, you will definitely want to proceed with applications to the other schools on your list. As you can see, this isn’t simple. But matters of integrity rarely are.
What can students do if they are denied admission under early decision, early action, or restrictive early action? If you are denied under ED, EA, or REA, this decision is final and you will not be reconsidered. You cannot reapply for consideration under a regular decision plan. A denial under an early plan may seem harsh, coming at this time of year, right around the holidays. But accept it as valuable guidance. The school is sending you a strong signal early on that you’re not in the running and will be best served by placing your attention elsewhere— on your applications to the other wonderful schools on your list. So, first and foremost, proceed with completing your applications to the other schools on your list. Move on and let yourself get excited about these other schools! Remember, too, as we cautioned yesterday, to be in close touch with your teachers and counselors who are writing your recommendations before the winter break. Be sure all your recommenders are prepared to send out more letters to the remaining schools on your list before school lets out for the holidays. A further note: We are sometimes asked whether a student who has been denied ED and has another school high on their list that offers two rounds of ED may apply for that second round.