I can’t begin to express how I miss my students, especially as we count the remaining days of this academic year on just two hands. I miss having them come into my office, to talk, to make some tea, to hug the emotional support shark on the couch. I get a lump in my throat every time I “hang up” the little red phone icon on a Google Meet.
Every day I also wonder what college counseling will look like in the months and years to come. Certainly, the questions I will ask families to consider will evolve. Many of those questions are encapsulated in “What Is College Without the Campus?” a May 11 article in New York Magazine’s Intelligencer that considers "how the Covid-19 pandemic will reshape higher education — and not just this fall."
The article above also points out that the “softer” elements of college admissions applications will matter more than ever. Personal and supplemental essays will “tip scales” perhaps more than ever, as will letters of recommendation and thoughtful pursuit of personal passions (pursuits that are often just as well pursued at home in quiet as anywhere else). Juniors who have been talking to seniors have heard repeatedly one piece of sage advice: start your applications and especially those personal supplemental essays over the summer. Along with lists of colleges to investigate, juniors will receive the College Search Summer Syllabus 2020
The Covid-19 Edition.
Many juniors have had their standardized test dates cancelled, and are understandably wondering, “Will I have a chance to sit for the exams at all?” Compass Education Group recently published a useful infographic that shows an updated timeline that I hope juniors will put to immediate use:
Always finish on a high note. . .
I want to share a video that encapsulates the tremendous achievements of the Class of 2020 in their college searches. This tiny yet mighty class approached the college journey with a wonderful mix of intentionality, integrity, and compassion that I wish for all students as they make plans past high school. If you ask any of them why they chose to apply to the colleges they did, they will tell you specifically about what they were looking for and how the schools on their lists met those criteria. In contrast, when a student says, “I heard it was a good school,” that is always a great sign that it’s time to get to work and figure out why exactly it might (or might not) be great for you. Best of all, the members of the Class of 2020 read each others’ essays and resumes and nudged each other toward the finish lines of various deadlines. And my goodness, they spoiled me as their college counselor. Huge congratulations to all of you.
Open Letter to Juniors - A Must Read
Last week in the Washington Post, Andrew B. Palumbo, dean of admissions & financial aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, offered reassuring words to high school juniors. It offers very specific and healthy ways to focus your energies on your college search. I urge the students and families of the Class of 2021 to read it.
New SAT Date Announced!
The College Board just announced an additional test date: September 26. Students who had originally registered for the cancelled June exam will have their registration transferred to this new date. Keep an eye on the College Board’s page on SAT and PSAT-Related Coronavirus Updates for more details and future updates.
Seniors! Decision Day Friday!
This Friday marks the typical May 1 deadline for submitting your deposit to your college of choice. Note that some colleges have opted to postpone this date to June 1, but triple check which deadline is relevant to you and the schools you are considering. Feel free to visit me at office hours (TTh 1:30 - 2:30 if you’d like to talk more). Visit the Google Classroom for the Class of 2020 for the link to meet!
Pandemic has changed and continues to change our world. College admissions is no exception to this. Abbreviated at-home (and open book, open note!), AP exams, cancelled SAT and ACT sittings, and campuses closed not just to prospective students but to faculty, staff, and students themselves… all of this will certainly affect college admissions next year, but should it also flood students (and families) with panic?
The answer is no. (Well, aside from plain procrastination, no panic is ever necessary in the college search... but I digress…)
Instead, students should proactively give themselves the power of knowledge. They should check the admissions webpages of schools on their college lists. How do the schools plan to handle admissions next year? Are they among the several hundred already test optional? Or have they decided to suspend the requirement for test scores next year? Boston University, Tufts, Middlebury, Colgate, Case Western Reserve, all state universities in Oregon, and the University of California system… along with dozens of other schools have decided to make this and other changes for the next admissions season.
Three articles contextualize these changes well:
Virtual Version of the Home Room Shout Out
I've been missing all of you and our Home Room shout outs to seniors, who have been hearing back from a ton of colleges this month. So, I've made a video to share with you all their great news:
Great News for the Class of 2020’s College Bound Students!
So, the second wave of college decisions has been rolling in for senior Griffins over the last week or so, and the results have been impressive. Among accepting schools so far this year:
Adaptability = College Readiness
In this second week of remote learning during Illinois’ shelter-in-place, we are getting some practice in adaptability, independence, and time management, arguably the most key ingredients for college success. I am here to help with any questions you have. College Counseling Office Hours are from 1 - 2 pm every day. Look for a hyperlink to Google Meets in your email.
This week, the Class of 2021 and I were scheduled to meet to discuss writing personal and supplemental essays. Please check out my virtual version of my presentation and reach out with any questions:
Application Essays for Griffins.
HUGE NEWS!!! Subject Tests No Longer Required By Any College
While some super selective programs within colleges (e.g. Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering) still do require some SAT II Subject Test Scores, they have now mostly become defunct. This week, MIT announced that it would no longer even look at scores. CalTech and Harvey Mudd, two particularly strong tech and STEM schools in California, did so earlier this season. Read more in this week's article from Inside Higher Ed.
Alternatives to Cancelled Spring Campus Tours
Campuses across the country have taken the lead in physical distancing to help “flatten the curve.” This has meant a wave of cancellations for spring break college visit road trips, and a lot of disappointment for those of us with exciting plans. I count myself among you.
Students should see their email flooded with alternative waves to learn about campuses virtually. Click into the ones that intrigue you and learn all you can. The colleges measure whether you’re clicking in, with some noting your perusal as “demonstrated interest.” Most colleges also have high definition virtual tours on their websites. Many admissions offices couple that with YouTube channels. Tufts, for instance, has some helpful videos that I have linked here on this mini-site. If you have questions, reach out by email to your admissions officer at a school of interest, introduce yourself, and ask your question(s). This initiative can often start a helpful relationship throughout the admissions process.
SAT and ACT tests…
If you are registered for an upcoming SAT or ACT test, please keep a close eye out for news about postponements and alternate test dates. As our understanding and best practices for managing this epidemic change from day to day, so do the decisions from colleges, test agencies, and others involved in the college admissions process. Now more than ever I urge you to check your email regularly.
Also, please remember: the ACT and SAT do hold test dates in summer. For students applying early decision or early action in the fall, the last test date that “counts” is usually in October. For regular decision, the December test date is often the last one. One important caveat, however, about these “last chance” dates: often you will need to submit scores to colleges before you see your results. Keep in mind that most colleges look only for your best scores.
March 11, 2019
Thanks, Loyola! Thanks, Northwestern!
In anticipation of the college tours many will go on this coming spring break, the Class of 2020 has been on two college tours over the last few weeks. Seeing Northwestern and Loyola University Chicago helped our soon-to-be seniors shape their priorities in their college searches, understand how colleges tell their own stories, and see first hand the compare/contrast between two medium-sized lakefront schools just three miles from each other.
Some resources from this mini-site's "FACTS" page on campus visits:
Let’s talk about essays, resumes, and online portfolios! Our next meeting is coming up next week:
Navigating College Admissions: Session 4
Tuesday, March 18, 2018
Activity Period: 10: 16 - 10:54 am
More Early Returns…
The next couple of weeks are perhaps the biggest of the year for our seniors, many of whom have been waiting months for big news from the colleges where they have submitted applications. Most of the Class of 2019 has celebrated at least one acceptance. Among the newest early returns:
St. John’s College
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (School of Engineering)
University of Washington
A big congratulations to Iman, who is the recipient of a Milepost One full scholarship to Warren Wilson College!!!
For further reading…
Seniors and families!
For a refreshingly honest perspective and sound advice on how to handle any waitlist news you might receive, please check out “The Waitlist Still Sucks” by Rick Clark, George Tech Office of Admissions, March 6, 2019.
Early Returns for the Class of 2019
The early admissions season was an incredibly busy one for a majority of college-bound seniors. Among the colleges so far saying yes to the Class of 2019 is this partial list:
Illinois Institute of Technology
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Minnesota, School of Engineering
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
I would like to note that the students who earned ED acceptances were purposeful in their applications. Not only did they make sure they had academic credentials that complemented those of admitted students to those schools, they also did all their homework to assess and demonstrate mutual fit. They also made sure that they made their ED selections based on personal connection—visiting in person, conducting interviews, and really personalizing the “Why…” essay and other supplements. All of our students are bound to hear good news over the next few months. In the meantime, I applaud the seniors for hanging in there during a wait that can be more challenging than any answer.
Navigating College Admissions Mini-Course is now underway!
This past Tuesday, January 29, we had our first meeting of Roycemore’s Navigating College Admissions mini-course. We discussed why the college search often begins with internal exploration… about who you are as a thinker and learner, and in what environments you tend to thrive. We listened to an NPR story about sidestepping the anxiety and hoopla of college admissions in favor of a personal adventure. We then watched “Inside Admissions,” a video from the Tufts Admissions office with advice from its staff to “love your list” from top to bottom, safety to reach. That sense of well being comes from doing your homework from the inside out, and ultimately assembling a great 8 (or 6 or 7) schools where you can thrive.
NOTE: Our next meeting is slated for Tuesday, February 12, in Room 117 during Activity Period. If you would like to request a topic to cover, please fill out the Google survey: Student Choice: Navigating College Admissions 2019!!!
Juniors and Families
Time to make individual appointments!
I am looking forward to meeting soon with all juniors and family members to begin our individual meetings! Look in your email for a message from me with a link to Sign Up Genius. Pick a time that works for you and your family. Bring any and all questions! I will have resources, answers, and resources for answers.
A REMINDER TO ALL ROYCEMORE STUDENTS!!!
You have two unique opportunities to augment your college applications!!!
SAT and ACT UPCOMING DATES
Juniors! This is the semester of standardized tests, preferably two done before school ends in June. If you’d like to see how an ACT compares to the SAT, swing by for free copies of self-paced exams of either kind. NOTE: Fewer than 20 schools require the essay portion! Check out this list to decide if you need to sit for that optional portion of the either exam.
Register for the ACT
Register for the SAT
SAT II: Subject Tests
Some of you may be wondering about SAT II: Subject Tests. Check out PrepScholar’s list of colleges that still require (only 17 do) or recommend Subject Tests (a couple of dozen do) to help you decide if you need to lock in super high marks on at least two tests. Juniors tend to take them after they’ve finished their AP exams and the content is fresh in their minds.
And we’re off! In just these first few days of school, I have enjoyed having a steady stream of seniors coming to visit to share summer stories, drafts of personal essays and resumes, and the lists of colleges they plan to apply to. I’m delighted to see and hear about how thoughtfully they’ve approached their college search this past summer.
Understandably, students and families often wonder what they should be doing when. We have a doc for that. The Recommended Timeline for the College Application Process is designed for all Upper School Griffins. Feel free to download and consult it. You can also find it on the Facts page of this site and on the Naviance Student resources pages. The timeline reflects Roycemore’s philosophy that finding one’s eventual best fit college is a process of discovery and self awareness. A best fit college is a place where, above all else, students are inspired to learn and feel connection to their community.
Over the coming weeks, we are planning a bevy of college admissions Roycemore Upper School students. Take note of which of the following apply to you and mark your calendars accordingly. More specific information will come your way closer to each date.
Three meetings are on the docket for you in the coming weeks:
SENIOR MEETING - MANDATORY
Friday, September 14
Room G01 (weather permitting)
We will cover the nuts and bolts of putting your best college applications together: Griffin etiquette for requesting letters of recommendation, sending various test scores, transcript requests and timelines, ED/EA, RD decisions, etc. etc. Bring your questions. Chances are everyone will need to know the answer.
MOCK ADMISSIONS EVENT & LUNCHEON with Beacon Academy - MANDATORY
Thursday, September 20
11:30 am to 1 pm
Multi Purpose Room (MPR)
For 90 minutes, Roycemore and Beacon Academy seniors will become college admissions officers, reviewing sample college applications to determine who earns admission to certain schools and why. We will have representatives from four great colleges and universities leading the breakout sessions and “final” decisions group discussion:
FINANCIAL AID NIGHT - for seniors AND families - OPTIONAL
Tuesday, October 3
6 - 7:30 pm
Multi Purpose Room
This year, we are adding programming for seniors and families who seek help navigating the financial aid and scholarship process. We will cover the FAFSA, the CSS, EFC calculators (no two are alike), financial aid v. merit scholarships, the good and the bad of outside scholarships, sample financial aid awards, and the hidden and true costs of college. If any acronym above is (understandably) mystifying, please attend.
Two important meetings are on the docket for you this month:
JUNIOR MEETING - MANDATORY
Tuesday, September 18
BRING YOUR LAPTOPS!!! You will all receive your Naviance Student accounts and I will give you a tour of all the college admissions resources you can find there.
COLLEGE NIGHT - MANDATORY - for students AND families
Thursday, September 27
Multi Purpose Room
Drum roll. Gulp. The time has come for the Class of 2020 to begin activities related to college selection and application. We will take an online tour of Naviance Student, discuss what has to be done between now and graduation in June of 2019, and review pertinent resources and essential facts about college choice, application procedures and strategies, and testing. NOTE: PLEASE BRING YOUR QUESTIONS AND A PHONE OR LAPTOP!!! We will be playing Kahoot!
SOPHOMORES AND FRESHMEN!!!
I'm thinking about you, too!
SOPHOMORE MEETING - MANDATORY
Monday, September 24
Room G01 (weather permitting)
BRING YOUR LAPTOPS!!! You will all receive your Naviance Student accounts and I will give you a tour of all the college admissions resources you can find there. We will also discuss ways that I can support you, “even if” you’re “only a sophomore.”
FRESHMAN MEETING - MANDATORY
Friday, September 28
We will discuss the steps you can take to make your freshman year a meaningful part of your college journey. NOTE: You do not have to know the college of your dreams or the major that will shape the remainder of your life. We will just talk about what is truly worth spending your energy on in your first year of high school.
THIS WEEK IN COLLEGE REP VISITS…
We have seven colleges coming to meet our juniors and seniors in person.
Tuesday, September 11
Wednesday, September 12
Friday, September 14
JUNIORS and SENIORS, if you have interest in any of the above, please reserve your spot through Naviance Student or by sending a quick email to me. Remember: you must also make prior arrangements with your teacher if you are missing class. Show your “demonstrated interest,” which matters for many college decisions. Note: the representatives visiting are usually the ones reading your applications later!!!
To see the MANY, MANY other colleges visiting over the next couple of months, check out the College home page in Naviance Student.
SAT and ACT UPCOMING DATES
Register for the ACT
Register for the SAT
Last month, Bates College published “COLLEGE SEARCH ADVICE, PRACTICAL AND HEARTENING, FROM BATES ADMISSION EXPERTS,” an illuminating insider’s guide for families on the college search. The advice it offers rings true to Roycemore’s college counseling mission.
The Common App is now open for Fall 2018 business!
If you have not started populating the Common App, now is a great time to start filling in its many boxes. Do it during summer down time and save yourself hours of busy work when school gets back into full swing. If you have already started (hurray!), then know that all your information has been saved and transferred to the new academic year.
A timely article to help you with your personal essay
Summer is also the time to start working on your personal essay. But that's often easier said than done. Do you feel dread at the prospect of lauding yourself in the first person? Welcome to the rite of passage for thousands of college-bound seniors across the country. The good news is that you don’t have to try to brag about yourself in a less-than-obnoxious fashion. Instead, tell a personal story that is meaningful to you. Brennan Barnard just published "The Perfectionist's Guide to the College Essay" in Forbes two days ago.
Barnard's advice will sound uncannily familiar to those of you who attended the Navigating College Admissions mini-course last spring. For other resources, remember you can access a wealth of sample essays and helpful articles in the footer of your Naviance Student account.
JUNIORS & SENIORS!!!
The Colleges that Change Lives Fair is coming to town!
And you should go!
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Lincolnshire Marriott Resort
10 Marriott Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Chicago – Downers Grove
Maple, Oak, Sycamore, Cypress, Elm, and Hawthorne Rooms
2111 Butterfield Rd
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Each session features a 30-minute information session followed immediately by a college fair lasting approximately 1.5 hours. The programs are identical and offered to the public free of charge.
NOTE: This fair includes the 40+ schools that make of the consortium of Colleges that Change Lives. These small liberal arts colleges are known for having excellent, often rigorous, undergraduate programs with great post-graduation outcomes. They are also known for admitting students with both A and B averages and "outside the box" individual strengths and learning styles. I know from that many of you also already have many of these schools on your own application radar. This is a great opportunity to meet admissions representatives, ask the questions that are vital to you, and perhaps learn about schools that will surprise you.
Roycemore graduates also tend to gravitate to many of CTCL schools:
CTCL acceptances 2014-18 (* now attending)
College of Wooster*
Evergreen State University*
New College of Florida
Ohio Wesleyan University*
St. Olaf College
University of Puget Sound*
A SECOND NOTE: One the best books for learning about college admissions and about these schools in particular is Loren Pope’s Colleges that Change Lives. You may also want to check it out.
SENIORS, JUNIORS, and interested SOPHOMORES!!!
College Representative Visits!!!
Soon, Naviance Student will have a growing list of college visits to Roycemore right on your personal home page. You will be able to see dates and times and to RSVP to attend. These visits are usually made by the very people who read applications from Roycemore students. Meeting them in person, asking vital questions to your search, and showing “demonstrated interest” can be a significant factor in the answer you receive later. The message here: ATTEND these visits. Come with curiosity and questions!
Among those we have on the Fall calendar so far:
St. Edward’s University (Austin TX)*
University of San Francisco
University of Oklahoma
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
You’ll recognize many of these names because many have accepted Roycemore students, and in some cases (noted with an asterisk*), we have Roycemore alumni attending these schools.
If you do not know your Naviance Student login information, please reach out with an email and I’ll be happy to help: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Standardized Tests
Test Date: September 8 Registration: August 10
Test Date: October 27 Registration: September 28
Test Date: August 25 Late Registration: August 7
Test Date: October 6 Registration: September 7
Seniors!!! If you want to aim for a higher score before an Early Decision or Early Action deadline (usually around November 1), you will need to make sure you take one of these tests in order to see your score before you submit it.
Juniors!!! Please remember that you’ll want to have taken some combination of two of the SAT and/or ACT before the school year ends. Waiting till summer or fall can add to the workload and stress of culling a strong application. As your college counselor, I know you’ll have bigger--and far more delicious--fish to fry in mid-July. Hey, that rhymed!
Admissions Season 2018 - A Snapshot
Roycemore seniors have enjoyed a banner season this year, with all college applicants earning acceptances and over 90% earning at least one merit scholarship. All told, the Class of 2018 has earned acceptances from over 70 colleges and over $4.4 million in merit scholarships, and two have earned full scholarships to their top choice schools. Where are students are choosing to go reflects the diversity and individuality of the class itself. Among the destinations of next year’s class:
Others are still choosing among many great options, including:
Congratulations to our stellar Class of 2018!
For further reading…
To help students and families with their decision, I recently offered an article that sums up nicely the important personal factors to consider when assessing the best fit school to attend. “Selecting a College: Advice from a parents and university president” is by Adam Weinberg, the parent of college aid children and president of Denison University (LinkedIn). I pass it along here, because it is not only a useful read in Spring for seniors, but one also valuable to rising seniors just starting their college lists.
Navigating College Admissions - A Mini-Course
This past Friday, all juniors and I gathered together for the first of five mini-course meetings on Navigating College Admissions. Students received their Naviance Student accounts and started thinking not only about where they might want to go, but what they enjoy learning and doing. The remaining four sessions of this spring mini-course, all held during Activity Period, will focus on:
Creating your College List. Assessing fit - an ongoing quest...
Friday, April 20 (LS Music Rm)
Designing (and Strategizing) Your Application - from timing to testing to essay writing
Wednesday, April 25 (G01)
Resume and Essay Writing
Friday, May 4 (LS Music Rm)
A Syllabus for Making Summer Count
Wednesday, May 23 (G01)
Juniors!!! Once you have done your preliminary search and have added 5+ schools to your Colleges I’m Thinking About list in Naviance Student, let’s talk! Swing by and make an appointment and we’ll start tailoring your list and plan even more.
SENIORS and ALUMNI: Save the Date!
What to Know Before You Go 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
3 - 4:30 pm
This year, we have asked your friends and former Griffins to come back to campus to give you their stories and best advice about surviving and thriving at college. Members of the Class of 2017 will run the show. We will begin by taking a quick group photo in your college swag and then shut the doors so you can ask the questions that matter most to you. Afterward, we will have fancy ice cream bars and other treats to enjoy. All seniors and alumni are invited.
Note: this is also the same night as Spring Show, so please stay for music, tumbling and more Roycemore tradition.
Director of College Counseling for Roycemore School in Evanston, IL.