Making the Most of Virtual College Visits

Posted on March 18th, 2020 by acsrochester

 

The timing couldn’t be worse. Juniors visit college campuses during the spring in anticipation of compiling their college application lists. April is the most popular month for seniors to tour campuses where they have been admitted, eventually choosing their home for the next four years. COVID-19 has turned everything on its head, creating unprecedented challenges for families and colleges alike. How can families take advantage of online opportunities to learn about college campuses?

Here are 6 tips on making the most of virtual college visits:

 

1. Check out the Office of Admission website.

Colleges are just as bummed to be missing your in-person visit as you are. This is typically when colleges roll out the red carpet for prospective students, hoping to “yield” seniors with panel-packed open houses. Be sure to check the Office of Admission website first to review their online offerings, including tours, information sessions, and webinars. It’s also a good idea to connect with the admission counselor responsible for applications from your region.

 

2. View videos on the university’s official YouTube station.

From research and campus speakers, to updates on what’s happening on campus, the university’s official YouTube station can present a treasure trove of content. It can be a great way to see how the campus engages its local community as well. 

 

3. Supplement official videos with student-produced content.

Even though you should check out the Office of Admission website and official YouTube station, realize these could present an overly-marketed view of the college. Look for videos and content produced by students and student organizations. 

 

4. Connect with faculty.

If you have some ideas about what you’d like to major in, reach out to faculty in those departments who are doing research related to your interests. They will be excited to hear from you, as it is also in their best interests to showcase their work for prospective students. When you’re eventually allowed to visit campus, these faculty can be a great resource for you.

 

5. Leverage your high school’s alumni network.

Since you’re unable to connect with students during an in-person campus visit, now is a good time to search social media to see who from your high school is currently enrolled at the colleges on your list. These acquaintances can provide first-hand insight into  the pros and cons of the college/university as well as give you ideas about the transition from high school to their particular college. 

 

6. Stay informed.

As you research campuses from the comfort of your home, frequently check colleges’ websites for updated information about campus visits. Colleges are eager to have you visit in-person and will let you know when it is safe to do so. Plus, all of the homework you’re doing in advance will make you a savvier campus visitor!


Interested in chatting with a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection about the college admissions landscape?

Please consider Emily Nevinger a resource as you compile your college lists or decide where to enroll. Emily can set up virtual appointments to discuss what is important about your college search and offer strategic, personalized advice about your best fit. Contact Emily for details.

 

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger

Emily is Associate Director of Admissions and College Advising Consultant at Allendale Columbia School. After serving as the Interim College Advisor in Fall 2018, Emily took on a role to offer students and families outside AC with guidance in the college admissions process. Her role has since expanded to the Admissions team, where she helps prospective families learn more about AC's innovative education. Emily joined AC from Emory University where she directed the selection process for more than 20,000 freshmen candidates each year. She started working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Master of Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in College Access Counseling from Rice University.
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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

AC Senior Kasi Natarajan Commits to University of Iowa’s Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Team

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by acsrochester

On November 26th, AC senior Kasi Natarajan signed his national letter of intent to attend the University of Iowa, where he will pursue his study of business finance and compete at the Division I level as a member of the Iowa’s men’s swimming and diving team.

Kasi has been a member of the varsity boys swimming and diving team for our HAC athletics program for 6 years. He joined the team in 7th grade and during his time he has earned numerous accolades.

Last year, he finished 2nd overall in the 1-M Diving Event at both the Section V Diving Championships and Genesee Region Diving Championships, while also qualifying for the NYS Diving Championships.

As a junior and sophomore, Kasi also took 4th place at Section V’s Diving Championships. 

Kasi, throughout his diving club career, is a 5-time qualifier for AAU nationals in the 1M, 3M and 10M events, and is also a 3-Time National Qualifier for the 10M tower diving event.

Kasi has been able to achieve all this, while also balancing a rigorous academic schedule in which he’s earned honors status throughout his entire high school career at Allendale Columbia.

Posted in: College Advising News, Kid Kudos, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

7 Steps to Take BEFORE Submitting Your Common Application

Posted on December 9th, 2019 by acsrochester

It’s probably best not to wait until 11:56 p.m. on deadline day to submit your Common Application, but if you speak with any Director of Admission, you’ll learn that a good portion of applications actually arrive at colleges in the 11th hour. My advice: don’t be one of the last applicants to submit your Common App, as you risk running into technical issues or, if a college notes your submission time, even portraying yourself as a Last Minute Larry.

 

Here are 7 key steps to take before you submit your Common App:

 

1. Give yourself plenty of time to accurately and authentically complete your application.

The summer before your senior year is the perfect time to begin work on your college applications, as we all know how busy things can get when the school year begins. Set aside some time during the summer to write (and re-write!) your personal statement and review any college-specific application requirements.

 

 

2. Connect with family members to make sure you’re capturing the right professional and educational information.

You’ll need to know your parents’ job titles, employers, and educational background, including degree dates. If you have older siblings, you’ll need their details, too. Colleges like knowing whether there is a legacy connection, which can sometimes be a boost in the admissions process, or whether you will be the first in your family to attend college.

 

 

3. Know which standardized test scores to self-report.

With score choice and test-optional schools, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to reporting test scores. My advice is to use an SAT/ACT conversion chart to see if one score clearly trumps the other, in which case, the lower score can be omitted from your application. I also recommend only self-reporting AP scores of 4 and 5.  

 

 

4. Have a game plan for the Activities Section.

This is one of the most important sections of the Common App, as it’s the place where you can brag about your commitment and contributions to extracurricular activities. You should carefully consider the order and descriptions of your activities. The activities in which you’ve held leadership roles should be given priority, while one-year activities should be listed towards the bottom of the list.

 

 

5. Don’t draft your Personal Statement (or any other essays) in the Common App.

You’ll go through many iterations of your essays, and believe me when I tell you how devastating it can be to lose your work when you encounter an internet issue or technical glitch in Common App. Instead, draft your essays in Word or GoogleDocs. You’ll be able to save (and share) these more easily without the risk of losing hours of work!

 

 

6. Have someone thoroughly review your application.

Before you submit your application, it’s a good idea to have your college counselor or parent review your Common App for accuracy and authenticity. They’ll be able to catch spelling and grammatical errors and even let you know whether the application reflects your personality. However, if you are applying to more selective colleges, you could benefit from having a former admissions counselor review your application (see details below). 

 

 

7. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit.

This is for all of those procrastinators! Do not wait until deadline day to submit your application, as there’s a chance you’ll run into internet issues or the Common App website will be overwhelmed by user volume and crash. The safest bet is to submit your application at least one day in advance of a deadline. Plan accordingly!


Interested in having your Common Application reviewed by a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection?

As we approach application deadlines, please consider Emily Nevinger a resource and “final check” before submitting your application. During an application review, Emily will review all sections of your Common Application from the perspective of a former admissions counselor. Emily will pay close attention to your Activities, making sure you’re maximizing the order and descriptions of extracurriculars, and she will also review your Personal Statement. 

 

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger

Emily is Associate Director of Admissions and College Advising Consultant at Allendale Columbia School. After serving as the Interim College Advisor in Fall 2018, Emily took on a role to offer students and families outside AC with guidance in the college admissions process. Her role has since expanded to the Admissions team, where she helps prospective families learn more about AC's innovative education. Emily joined AC from Emory University where she directed the selection process for more than 20,000 freshmen candidates each year. She started working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Master of Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in College Access Counseling from Rice University.
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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

AC Students Spend Time Face-to-Face with Colleges from Across the Nation

Posted on November 15th, 2019 by acsrochester
AC College Advising provides students with personalized visits from colleges across the nation

Cynara Nelson ’21 and Zoe Crego ’21 meet with Garrett Manning from the University at Albany.

Throughout the fall, more than 70 college admission representatives visited with prospective students at AC. Students in grades 11 and 12 met in small groups to learn about college opportunities, get questions answered about the application process, and educate the admission representatives about their AC experience. By meeting an admission counselor face-to-face, students feel more confident reaching out to the admissions office with questions down the road.

This year’s college visits to campus included:

Alfred University
Allegheny College
American University
Bard College
Boston College
Boston University
Bucknell University
Canisius College
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
Champlain College
Clarkson University
Cleveland Institute of Art
Colgate University
Davidson College
Denison University
Dickinson College
Drexel University
Fairfield University
Furman University
Gettysburg College
Hamilton College
High Point University
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Ithaca College
Johns Hopkins University
Kenyon College
Keuka College
Le Moyne College
Marist College
Maryland Institute College of Art
Muhlenberg College
New York University
Niagara University
Northeastern University
Pennsylvania State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rochester Institute of Technology
Saint Joseph’s University
Salve Regina University
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Southeastern University
St. Bonaventure University
St. John Fisher College
St. John’s College
St. Lawrence University
Stonehill College
SUNY Albany
SUNY College at Brockport
SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill
SUNY New Paltz
Syracuse University
The College of Saint Rose
The New School
The University of Alabama
The University of Tampa
Trinity College
Trinity College Dublin
Union College
University at Buffalo The State University of New York
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Rochester
University of St Andrews
University of Vermont
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Wentworth Institute of Technology

Learn more about AC’s College Advising Program

DID YOU KNOW AC College Consulting serves non-AC students? Learn more 

 

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Posted in: College Advising News, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

How to Get the Most Out of Teacher Recommendation Letters

Posted on October 15th, 2019 by acsrochester

The applications of five students with similar grades, test scores, and extracurriculars landed on my desk. “Emily, we can add two more Biology students,” the Dean of Admission shared. “Would you mind presenting these applications in Admission Committee and helping decide which students are the right fit?”

Throughout application review season, I faced the same dilemma: how would we make fine distinctions between students with similar academic qualifications? The students would have strong grades in rigorous curriculums and test scores that fell into our published ranges. They all took advantage of the clubs, sports, and volunteer opportunities at their schools.

More often than not, the key to finding students who were the right fit for the college was the detailed information found in teacher recommendation letters.

(more…)

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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Paying for College: The Expensive Elephant in the Room

Posted on September 22nd, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

 

Take a guess. How much are families currently investing in a college education? 

Including tuition, room and board, and other expenses, families will spend an average of $92,304 for four years at a public in-state college; for private colleges, it jumps to an average of $169,732 for four years (NCES 2017-18). With the cost of higher education seemingly reaching no limit, families are feeling stuck.

Is it better to save for college as soon as a child is born, or will limiting assets benefit your student in the college financial aid process?

Where can you turn when you have questions about paying for college?

(more…)

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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

College Admission Committee: What Happens Behind Closed Doors?

Posted on August 20th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School


Ten stern-looking men and women, stacks of college applications surrounding them, gather around a conference table, where they are poised and ready to dash the dreams of thousands of high school seniors. Is this what you picture when you think of college admission committee?  Having spent fifteen years in selective college admissions, I can promise you that image is not entirely accurate. Sure, there may be admission counselors sitting in a meeting room, but they’re looking bleary-eyed because they’ve spent the past 5 months reviewing seemingly endless files of transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays. They’re not excited about sending bad news to anyone, let alone you.  

(more…)

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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

College Essays: Choosing a Topic That’s Uniquely YOU

Posted on May 30th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

By Emily Nevinger 

Photo: writing college essay

Emily Nevinger will be leading the workshop
Finding your Voice: Personal Statement, Supplemental Essays, and Common Application

Sunday, June 2nd
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Allendale Columbia School
What makes a college application essay stand out from the thousands of others? This event is open to to the public at a cost of $50/student. If you choose to partner with AC College Consulting after attending the workshop, you will receive a $50 credit towards your college advising package. Register here!

I’ve read about 15,000 college essays, so believe me when I tell you I’ve seen every topic under the sun. There are the essays I wish I could unread, too crude to even mention here, and essays from my early days as an admissions counselor that still stick with me today. There have been hilarious anecdotes, emotional tell-alls, and countless stories about making the winning goal as the game clock expired. I always appreciated the essays that would transport me from my neverending application reading days to the blissful land of high school seniors on the verge of greatness. From smiles and tears to questions about judgement, college essays have the potential to resonate with college admission counselors and impact your admission decision. (more…)

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Posted in: College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School