Admit it: Many high school juniors and seniors have already started the college admissions process. As these students and their families navigate the ever-changing and complicated process of college admissions, they often neglect critical information in the search and application process. Crisp Consulting + Coaching offers a few often neglected considerations to assist you in achieving admissions success and realizing your college dreams.
Consider the test policy. Most selective colleges require admissions testing, and many of them require additional subject tests beyond the SAT. Colleges such as Columbia University, Duke University, Rice University, Pomona College and Yale University will accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests. Since many applicants experience significant anxiety around testing, this policy could work to their benefit as it delimits the amount of time spent taking tests. This is especially true for high school juniors who spend an ample amount of time with college admissions testing. A good counselor and consultant can help you to determine which tests are needed, and will also help you create a time-line for admissions testing.
Consider not taking the test. Some students who perform well in courses do not perform well on the SAT or ACT. For these students, a test-optional admissions policy is ideal. There are over 800 schools in the United States that do not use standardized testing in their admissions decisions. Top caliber schools such as American University, Bard College, Furman University, Goucher College, Knox College, Pitzer College, The University of the South and Wake Forest University offer test-optional admissions. A complete list of schools can be found at Fair Test, and a consultant can assist you in identifying test-optional schools.
Consider the curricula. College is no longer one-size-fits-all and many schools represent a range of educational philosophies and practices. Consider a single-gender education found at Agnes Scott College or Hampden-Sydney College. There are seven unique work colleges in the United States including Berea College and Warren Wilson College. Work colleges provide innovative curricula that integrate work and service in the community. Deep Springs College provides a nontraditional curriculum, where students assist in shaping the direction of learning, and schools such as Antioch College, Bennington College and Reed College no longer utilize a traditional grading system. Finding the school that best fits your social and academic needs will lead to a successful education.
Consider the unique programs. There are many schools that offer a combined program with early entry into graduate and professional schools. These programs are often competitive, but delimit the stress of applying to medical school or an MBA program. The Early Medical School Acceptance Program at the University of Alabama, and the Mt. Sinai Humanities and Medicine Early Acceptance Programoffers undergraduates a spot in medical school without the need for great MCAT scores.
Consider quality guidance. Regular meetings with your guidance counselor and/or independent educational consultant are essential. These professionals are versed in the arena of college admissions and can assist you in understanding college fit and the application process. Working with a consultant can be critical in the competitive and complex admissions process. Consult the Higher Education Consultants Association and the Independent Educational Consultants Association for advice on how to choose the best consultant for your family.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit for admissions success. As a former professor, administrator and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.