Frequently Asked Questions
How important are grades and rigorous course choices such as honors and advanced placement classes?
Students should take courses where they can be successful and do well with an appropriate level of effort. Some colleges care that you have a strong GPA in a college preparatory curriculum and are less concerned about course levels. Others expect students to have honors and a few AP courses on their transcript for serious consideration. They would prefer to see students challenge themselves rather than pursuing an easier A. Students who have had a setback in high school that negatively affected their GPA will find that there are many colleges that will focus on their progress and view grades in the context of all their strengths and involvements. The good news is that there are many excellent colleges for a wide range of students studying at all levels.
I have a very difficult time taking standardized tests. Will this affect my college admissions chances?
Standardized tests are just part of what colleges look at when considering an application. Although test scores can make a difference with some colleges, there are number of schools that do not require standardized tests for admissions. While there might be additional materials you will need to submit, such as graded writing samples or extra essays, this option gives you the chance to highlight your strengths without feeling pressured to get your scores up to a certain level. Visit FairTest) to explore some SAT/ACT optional four-year colleges.
How important are extracurricular activities in the college admissions process?
Colleges want students who are involved and who pursue interests that are important to them, not students who seem to jump on every extracurricular bandwagon in an attempt to pad their resume. Instead of being a passive member of dozens of clubs, it is better for you to be an active, engaged participant in activities that you find fun and meaningful. Also, your participation is not limited to school-sanctioned clubs. Activities through the community, summer work, and activities you do on your own are also things you should take into consideration when thinking about your extracurricular commitments.
What if I don’t get into any colleges?
Given the media coverage of how competitive college admissions has become, not getting admitted to any college is a common yet unfounded fear for students starting their college search. It is important to know that there are more open seats for college students in this country than there are applicants. The reason for all the talk about competition is because the media and many families focus on a small subset of the most competitive colleges. At Educational Advocates, we will help you identify a range of colleges with varying levels of selectivity that meet your academic and social needs. This ensures that you apply to a few colleges where you have a high chance of acceptance so that you have some viable options when the decisions are in.
I’m undecided about what major I want to pursue. Is this a problem when applying for college?
Although some students might have an idea about their intended major before they start college, many students enter undecided. Being undecided when you apply is not a mark against you because schools know that part of the reason you want to attend college is to learn more about yourself and explore your options. During the college planning process, we will help you research a range of academic disciplines and related careers while also providing a list of colleges in line with your emerging interests.
How will I know which colleges can best provide me with support for my learning disability?
The first thing we will do is make sure you understand what your learning disability is and how to explain it. We will review your evaluations so you understand their meaning. Together, we’ll review your strengths and prepare a profile that includes the accommodations and services that you will request in college. Based on that profile, we will match you with the colleges that not only meet your learning needs, but also your personal and social interests. You will then continue researching those colleges. When you visit those colleges in which you are interested, we highly recommend that you make an appointment with the director of the disability support service.
How common is it for students to transfer?
It is estimated that one out of three college students graduate from a different college than the one at which they started. The reasons vary from dissatisfaction with the initial college of choice to changes in financial or family circumstances. Other students begin their college careers at a community college or other two-year college and seek a place where they can continue their education.
How do you assist transfer students?
We help students reflect on the reasons for transferring and what they are seeking in their new college experience. Then we discuss cost, affordability and financial aid and generate a list of colleges in line with the student’s interests and academic profile. If necessary, we will assist as needed with the application, personal statement and logistics of the transfer process and discuss housing options and the transition to the new college.
May I contract for just a few hours of service for transfer assistance?
The needs of transfer students vary so we individualize our services, which are offered on an hourly rate basis. We do require a minimum of four hours of service.