Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rising Senior Suggestions from the Director!

David Graves has asked that I share some pearls of wisdom with our blog readers as rising seniors begin to plan their college application process.  I have served on many panels of Admission Deans and Directors who present this type of information to students and their parents and I often gleam really good ideas from others. So, this is a summary of some of the best ideas that I have heard and some that I have shared over my many years in this role.
  • Students, summer time is a great time for travel, work, volunteering and other adventures which are likely to provide you with great material for those pesky essays that you will be writing in your applications.  Keep a journal this summer and write in it every day.  Record your thoughts, impressions, ideas, which will help jog your memory next fall when you are writing your umpteenth essay.  And, you may find that it helps your writing style, also.
  • Parents, you may find that you become fixated on your child’s college search process to the point that all you do is talk to him/her about, ‘Did you sign up for the SAT?’,’ Have you written that essay yet?’, ‘What is the deadline for getting the FASFA in?’, etc.  Pretty soon, that is all you talk to your child about.  A colleague and friend, Arlene Cash from Spelman, suggests that you establish a College-Free-Zone in your home.  This could be a location (the dinner table) or a day and time (Sunday afternoon) during which the parents and the students agree to not talk about the college application process. This way you know that you can have conversation on a regular basis about the other things in life that matter.
  • Families, as you travel this year, make an effort to swing by any colleges that you are near.  It might not be one that is on the have-to-visit list, but it may just give you some comparisons of schools.  If you are not able to get on the tour or official admissions office information session, spend a little time walking around the campus, get a soda at the student union and read the student newspaper. Make conversation with students, faculty and staff that you encounter. These are all ways to get a feel for the campus and broaden your knowledge of schools. There are over 4000 colleges and each is just a bit different from the others.
  • Students, take control of your college selection process.  If you have a question, need assistance or more information, it is often best for you to contact the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid Office or your high school counselor.  Sometimes that may not be possible, but with e-mail and cell phones, you should be able to reach the needed person around your class schedule.  Admissions staff are glad to answer questions from parents, but we really like to see a student who owns the process and has the maturity to seek assistance when needed.
  • Students, set up a free e-mail account to use with all of your college applications.  Use it for information, applications, and other correspondence. You will then have all of your communications about college in one location, not mixed in with your other e-mails.  And, make sure to use an ID on your account which is appropriate. It is surprising what we learn about students from little things like their e-mail name.  Some past ones at UGA have been sexykitten@xxx , cutiebootie@xxx, thuginluv@xxx and my favorite, bamabound@xxx.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy your time as a family as you navigate the college selection process.  It can be fun and very rewarding.  Again, with over 4000 colleges and schools available in the US, there is a place for everyone who wants to gain a college education. And you will find a good match.
          -Nancy McDuff, Associate Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management, UGA

No comments:

Post a Comment