What aspects are the most important as part of the college application process?
Grades and standardized test scores will always remain the important part of your application. It’s important to get the highest grades and test scores you can; however, activities and essays can help distinguish you to an admissions committee. Activities and essays are an extremely important part of the application process as they are the primary ways for an applicant to be show their uniqueness. Be sure to talk about your interests and passions within your essays.
What is a good score on the SAT/ACT and when should you take it?
A "good" SAT/ACT score is dependent upon which schools you are applying to. We recommend that your score be in the 50th percentile of the scores that the admitted applicants of the school you're applying to have. You should take it whenever you feel most comfortable, making sure that you’ve given yourself enough time to prepare. Many find it relieving to get their testing over with by the end of junior year.
How important are interviews for the college process?
Interviews are a great way to demonstrate your interest in schools you are applying to. Their importance ranges from school to school. For most undergrad colleges the interview is a way for you to learn about the school. Think of it more like a conversation rather than an interview. Getting an interview at a certain undergrad school is not determined by the strength of your application, rather it is determined by the availability of interviewers in your area.
How important are interviews for the BS-BA/MD programs?
BS-BA/MD interviews are much more important than normal alumni interviews. Often times they are the deciding factor in your admission to the program, much like the traditional medical school process. BS-BA/MD programs will initially screen their applicants and then offer an interview to a select few. Then, based off of your interview performance, they will make their final admission decisions.
When should you get started on the college application process?
We recommend that you begin putting your application together and deciding on what schools you will be applying to towards the end of your junior year. You should have a working draft of your Common App essay before your senior year begins. Keep in mind that the earlier you begin, the more time you have to improve your application. Early Decision and Early Action deadlines are usually November 1, and Regular Decision deadlines are January 1. Be sure to visit the admissions website of the college that you are applying to for their deadlines.
What is the Common App Personal Insight essay?
The Common App Personal Insight essay is an essay that all applicants will complete in their college admissions process. It is one of the best ways to show a college admissions committee your personality. It’s important to make your Common App Personal Insight essay original and unique to stand out in the eyes of the admission committee. The topic does not matter as much as HOW you write and connect your essay to an overarching theme.
What is the difference between unweighted and weighted GPA?
Your unweighted GPA is your bare GPA which does not take into account the types of courses that you take. Your weighted GPA is inflated depending on the difficulty and selection of courses you took. Your school should calculate your weighted and unweighted GPA. Most universities will only ask for either your unweighted or weighted GPA to be reported rather than both.
How should I determine whether a school is a safety, match or reach school?
You should compare your grades and standardized tests to the schools average accepted applicants to determine if the school is a safety, match, or reach. Another good rule of thumb is an acceptance rate below 25% is a reach, 50% match, and above 50% safety. Although this can vary depending on the strength of your application. These numbers can be arbitrary so it is important to speak with your guidance counselor early and often.
What is a reasonable number of colleges to apply to?
We recommend most applicants narrow down their list to 10-15 colleges at the most. You should keep in mind that most schools you apply to will require supplemental essays so it may be hard to balance applying to a lot of colleges. You should note that the Common App only allows you to apply up to 20 schools. If you are planning to apply to greater than 20 schools, you should consider using the Coalition App or applying to the school directly on their admissions website.