The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss and Jenna Johnson bust some of the most popular delusions about applying to college in "7 College Admission Myths" -- providing the real deal on the "sticker price" of college, recommendations from the rich and famous, and how students spend their time outside the classroom. A must-read for students and parents!
Attention, juniors! Here's your checklist as you head back to the classroom:
- If you haven't yet made a testing plan (think PSAT, PLAN, ACT, SAT, SAT IIs, AP exams...), do it now.
- Research colleges by browsing online. Enter the email addresses of any college of interest in your address book so emails get through the spam filter.
- Make sure you have a challenging, college-prep course load. If you feel your course load needs adjusting, discuss this with your advisor, counselor or principal prior to the start of the school year.
- Talk with your parents about planning a college road trip.
- Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ to begin to understand financial aid.
Attention, seniors! You will need to hit the ground running this fall:
- Just getting started with your college search? Sign up for the tests you will need to take - the SAT and/or ACT.
- If you haven't asked two teachers to write recommendations for you, make your request now.
- Narrow your list of colleges to the eight to ten schools to which you will apply.
- Decide if you will be applying under an early decision or early action plan at any schools.
- Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ so you can begin to understand what your financial aid package might look like.
Marissa Mayer gave the commencement address at Harvey Mudd College last summer and talked about how she chose among her 14 job offers after graduation - nice problem to have - to become Google's first female engineer and employee #20.
"I got together with my economist friend and we carefully weighed them all. Being a computer scientist, I love logic and data, so I created a big matrix: one row for each job with columns for salary, location, quality of life, career trajectory, and likely happiness, all rated on a scale from one to 10. We drew up charts, graphs, and equations, and it was all so incredibly focused and detailed and analytical that by midnight, I just totally lost it and collapsed into tears.
Then my friend said: 'You're approaching this as if there's one right answer. And I have to be honest, that's just not what I'm seeing here. I think you have a bunch of good options, and then there's the one that you'll pick and make great'
That's good advice for life and the college application process. Do your homework so that you have good choices, then pick the one that you will make great.