Frequently Asked Questions

Q: THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT COLLEAGES OUT THERE; HOW DO I FIND THE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR ME? 
Everyone is different, and there is no magic formula to selecting the right college. Before you start picking schools, however, put serious consideration into the following:
  • In which area would I like to concentrate academically? 
  • In what subject do I want to major? 
  • Would I feel more at home in a large comprehensive university or in a small liberal arts college? 
  • What are the relative merits of each? 
  • Would I like to attend college in a particular part of the country or the world? (Some students apply only to Southern schools or to California schools, for example.) 
  • Do I prefer a college in an urban environment or in a rural setting? 
  • Would I prefer the quiet suburbs of a large city or the cultural opportunities of a traditional college town? 
  • Do I have enough talent as a musician/athlete/artist/dancer/writer/etc. to receive special consideration from an admissions committee or a scholarship program? (This is always a tough question, but it is one that will come into play in the process. Consult with your coach or teacher and your college counselor. )

This is not an exhaustive list of the questions to ask yourself, but it will help you define your search and get you started in the right direction. You should also make use of the many computer programs available on your school campus. 

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR THAT COLLEAGUES LOOK AT IN MAKING ADMISSION DECISIONS? 
Colleges tell us that the single most important part of a student’s application is his or her transcript. Admission committees like to see students doing well in the most rigorous course load that he or she can handle, which is different from the most rigorous course load he or she can take. Simply put, how well you do in class matters a lot. The other big part of your application is your standardized test scores. A combination of high grades and solid SAT, ACT or TOEFL scores will put you in the driver’s seat in this process.  Colleges also look closely at your extracurricular activities, community service, personal statement or essay, and teacher and counselor recommendations to help them form a more complete picture of you.

Q: WHAT FORMS DO I NEED TO FILE FOR FINANCIAL AID? 
In addition to individual forms you may receive from specific colleges, you should be aware of the two major financial aid “clearinghouses” that colleges use. One is the federal government, which issues the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  <http://www.fafsa.ed.gov> . This form is available in the College Office in the fall but may not be filed until after January 1st.   

The other form you need to be concerned with is the CSS Financial Aid Profile. While the FAFSA is a free form, the Profile requires a processing fee. This form is available in the fall and may be filed as early as possible. Click for more financial-aid information <http://www.finaid.org>. 

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for international students to obtain financial aid.

Q: WHAT IS THE NCAA (NATIONAL COLLEGE ATHELETIC ASSOCATION) CLEARNING- HOUSE? 
The NCAA Clearinghouse < http://www.ncaa.org/mailbox/clearinghouse.html> is a body created to maintain academic standards of college athletes. The Clearinghouse form must be filed for all student athletes who plan on competing at the Division I or II level in college. The form consists of basic personal and academic information and must be sent with an official School transcript upon completion of the junior year

Q: MY PARENT WENT TO A “REALLY COMPETITIVE” UNIVERSITY; DOES THAT GIVE ME AN ADVANTAGE IN ADMISSION?
The answer to this question varies from school to school, but generally speaking, legacies do have a slight edge in the admission pool. However, if the student does not meet the normal admission criteria for a particular college, he or she probably will be denied, legacy or not.

Q: AFTER I RECEIVED ALL MY DECISIONS, WHEN DO I HAVE TO COMMIT TO ONE PARTICULAR SCHOOL? 
You must send an enrollment deposit by The National Candidate’s Reply Date of May 1ST. We hope you will have made your decision before that date, but you have until then if you are on the fence. If a college presses you to commit before May 1ST, please let your college counselor know about it.

Q: WHEN SHOULD I VISIT COLLEGES?
Colleges conduct tours and interviews on an almost year-round basis. Obviously, for their schedule and yours, summer is the best time for visits. We encourage a late-August visit when the college students have returned to campus. However, do not be sold on a school because of your tour and visit alone. You should always ‘visit’ the college’s website, which provides lots of important information.

Toward that end, seniors are allowed to make one college visit trip per term during the school year, but not after May 1st. To make the best use of this time – and to avoid missing more classes than necessary – plan your trips to coincide with weekends and holidays. You will need to coordinate your trip in consultation with your college counselor and with the approval of all of your instructors.

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