Thank you to all who came to our Junior/Parent College Night last week. With new representatives from Case Western Reserve University, Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan joining Terence, our longtime rep from MSU, I believe they learned as much from our Roeper parents and students as we learned from them. Establishing those relationships is very important in the overall college admissions process.
For those who were unable to come, we have packets of the information sheets for students to pick up when we meet.
Once I’ve held the individual junior interviews, I’ve given students copies of the Student and Parent Questionnaires. Don’t forget to get those filled out and schedule your Family College Conference. I’ve met with quite a few juniors and am looking forward to meeting with all of you; and have begun the family conferences—I love getting to know you. The year will start to fly by, especially as the weather begins to change. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you!
Here are highlights of what was said:
Why do colleges love Roeper? The national reputation, the focus on the learning process and critical thinking, the challenge teachers give to push students to the edge of their comfort zones and think “out of the box,” the fact that students have learned to make connections between subjects and concepts. The rigor of the curriculum, the global perspective and the diversity. Roeper is well-known nationally, and Roeper grads have done a great job of paving the way for current students by being successful—we currently have Roeper students attending all four of these colleges!
Take advantage of what Roeper has to offer. Colleges want to know that students have 1) taken advantage of the opportunities they have been given 2) that they are likely to take advantage of the opportunities at the college and 3) are likely to make positive contributions to campus life
Send all of your test scores. If your take both the ACT and SAT and retake any of them, their advice is to send all of your scores. 1) You can send 4 for “free” when you register or for about a week after taking the test (you can see how you feel about it) 2) You can make sure they have at least one test score before the deadline—your file will not be complete without at least one test score. You can always retest and they will consider the new score, even if it is past the deadline. 3) While not all colleges “superscore” by creating a new composite from the best subscores, all colleges look at the subscores and may “superscore” informally. In fact, while U of M does not have a computer that recalculates the composite score, they do look at each individual score and “unofficially” superscore!
None of these colleges has a preference for the ACT vs. the SAT–they will accept any and all score and will NOT penalize you for a lower composite score if they receive a higher one. This is generally true of all colleges and universities.
Your essay needs to be a unique story that only you can tell. They receive thousands of applications. Your essay is the best way for you to become a “real” person beyond your factual information—grades and test scores. You want your voice to come through. The Common App essays are the same as last year’s so if you want to look ahead and be thinking about what you want to write, you can start to do that. (My experience is that essays are better written [or rewritten] in the fall, as a lot of personal growth and insight takes place over the summer and early fall of the senior year). MSU’s essays are unique—make sure you are answering the questions for each colleges!!
Visit the campus! Visit any campus! The best way for you to really get a feel for a college is to get on the campus. Moreover, come for an overnight or sit in on a class. Most students report that they chose the college they loved because it just “felt right.” You can attend general info sessions and campus tours, as well as specific program. Sometimes you can schedule an interview during your campus visit. (Word to the wise: If you are offered an interview at any college—TAKE IT!”)
What Role Does having a Legacy Play in College Admissions? With many thousands of alumni, having a legacy is less significant than it perhaps once was—with a big exception: it does have the effect of increasing the likelihood of attendance in the minds of the admissions team. In other words, colleges know that students are applying to multiple colleges and is harder to predict their yield. Having parents or even siblings who have attended or are attending can be helpful in predicting an applicant’s likeliness to attend—which may make them more likely to be admitted.
The #1 thing that colleges are looking for in a student is “Will this student succeed here?’’
Now, this can mean, will the student fit in, will they take advantage of the opportunities we offer, will they actually be able to pass the classes so they can take advantage of these opportunities? While showing interest in a college will not make up for “no” answers to these questions, a lack of interest surely has a negative impact on a student’s admissions chances.
No college is going to expect that students are going to all have the means to fly across the country to visit every college to which they apply. But if a student lives within a reasonable drive, or participates in a local college fair, or if the college rep goes out of their way to visit the high school, there is a reasonable expectation that the student will make some effort—for example, stopping by to introduce yourself to the colleges reps that visit Roeper, even if you don’t have time to stay for the presentation. Moreover, colleges can tell if a student bothers to open the emails they send. Before you apply to a college, you should make sure you haven’t been ignoring their attempts to reach out to you. Colleges refer to these students as “Ghost Applicants” or “Stealth Applicants” and students have to be pretty amazing for colleges to seriously consider these applications.
The final advice from the reps was for students to “own” the admissions process. For the most part they will be bonafide adults when they begin college, and they of course, will be the ones attending, so the sooner they take responsibility, the more successful they will be when they hit their college campus.
Each college has its own admissions practices:
Our new U of M rep is Mr. Kelly Cox. He is a highly respected admissions officer, and “inherited” our former rep, Sally’s schools.
U of M is a large Carnegie I Research Institution with about 26,000 undergraduate students and 6600 Freshmen. They received a new record of over 64,000 applications this year—over 37,700 by the Early Action Deadline of November 1. Twelve years ago they received a total of 26,000 applications! U of M is on the Common App. You will answer the “large” Common App question and two other questions unique to Michigan—this year they had one having to do with the “community” you belong to—this can be a very broad definition of community, and one that answers “why Michigan and why this program.” It is important to show you really know Michigan and are not just quoting from then website. There are 14 undergraduate programs of study; you will apply to the School or College that has the major you want—Engineering, Music, Theater and Dance, LS&A etc. If you are undecided or want the Residential College you would apply to LS&A (75-80% of all applicants are for LSA) The Ross School of Business now admits 80% of their students as incoming Freshmen. Students apply to both Ross and LS&A and if admitted are guaranteed a spot at Ross beginning in the Sophomore year.
If you want to live in one of their Living Learning programs other than the RA, you will choose that when you apply for housing. U of M does not have any magic formula—they have been known to turn away 4.0/36 students.
Engineering wants a high math test score, physics and chemistry. MT&D require auditions, Art and Architecture require portfolios.
U of M’s application should go live on August 1 and you need to apply by November 1 Early Action deadline for priority consideration—including having RECEIVED test scores by that date. Aim for mid-October for your U of M apps. Students who apply after November 1 will be considered on a rolling basis after all Early Action decisions have been made. Final application deadline for U of M is February 1.
Our rep for Case Western Reserve University is Marguerite McClain. She is the Case rep for the entire state of Michigan, and was recently in the admissions office of K-College, so she knows us well
Case (or CWRU) resides in the heart of the cultural center—University Circle—of Cleveland, Ohio, conveniently located just three hours from the Oakland County area. Nearby are Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Museums of Art, Music and Natural History. Case students are able to take classes at the Cleveland Institutes of Art and Music.
Case is also on the Common App, and you also apply directly to one of their programs: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Nursing or School of Management. Pre-professional programs such as Architecture, Education, Management and Law prepare students for admission to their professional graduate programs—and student may even be able to “fast track” these programs, sometimes earning a Master’s in four or five years! Their highly competitive Pre-Professional Scholars program may allow students the bypass the admissions testing for direct admission into their Medical or Dental Schools.
Case has multiple, specific deadlines: Early Action—November 1 (similar to U of M—apply with just the junior year transcript and receive early notification—usually within about one month. This is NOT binding), Early Decision IS BINDING—meaning you agree to withdraw all other applications if admitted). There are two Early Decision deadlines: November 1 and January 15. Students applying to the Pre-Professional Scholars program must apply by December 1. Finally, all other students will apply by the Regular Decision deadline of January 15. Your decision will be made by the first week in April, and will require your 1st semester senior year grades before a decision is made.
Our rep for Kalamazoo College is Erin Kelley, and this is her second year with us. She is a regional rep, which means she lives in our area, so she is highly accessible.
K College is also on the Common App, with similar deadlines of November 1 for both Early Action (Non-binding) and Early Decision (Binding). Their Regular Decision deadline is January 15.
Students who need some time to think (or are not admitted to another ED school) can apply to the (binding) Early Decision II as late as February 1.
Although Kalamazoo is a very selective college, they use a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they go well beyond the traditional measures of grades and test scores and are very interested in “fit.” In fact students who do not wish to submit their ACT or SAT scores are welcome to omit those as K is TEST OPTIONAL. “Since we never administer timed, standardized test to K students, we don’t care how students do on them.”
Kalamazoo occupies a lovely campus across the state the great college town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, also home to Western Michigan University. As a liberal arts college, K is similar to the LS@A college at U of M or the CAS at Case, or the RCAH at MSU. Students do not apply to specific majors—once a K student, you may study any major that interests you! With its open curriculum, there is no required core curriculum; Known for its signature K-Plan, Kalamazoo is a liberal arts college with a practical side. Many students double major, or major with one or more minors. 80% of students participate in an internship or externship and 85% study abroad for 3, 6 or 9 months (K’s Study Abroad program has been the gold standard for over fifty years) and every senior does an individual project similar to a master’s thesis.
Terence Brown has been our MSU rep for over ten years (he also attended high school with Charlie Sutton’s dad!) MSU is a very large Carnegie I Research Institution with just over 50,000 students and 7900 Freshmen, with a focus on its 39,000 undergraduates. MSU is NOT on the Common App. They have their own application and are also part of the new Coalition Application (which also includes filling out the MSU app anyway—see Patti if you are thinking about using the Coalition App). They are mostly concerned with your transcript (grades and rigor of coursework) your grade trend (consistent or upward) and your personal statement. They will recalculate all applicants’ grades to an unweighted 4.0 scale, using only academic courses (English, math, science, social studies, world language). Note: their essay is similar but not identical to others. Make sure you are addressing the question as they have written it! MSU does not require letters of recommendation. They encourage you to send your ACT score early and they highly encourage a visit—MSU’s campus is the 3rd largest physical campus in the US, and they have their own arboretum! They have one of the trees Johnny Appleseed planted! They also sell delicious ice cream at their very own dairy!
MSU does not have a firm final deadline—although their programs can fill up. They take applications and admit students on a rolling basis. To apply to one of their Living Learning programs (Lyman Briggs for natural science, James Madison for social sciences, RCAH for arts and humanities) you apply to it as your major. They are NOT more selective than the college in general, but they may fill up—especially Lyman Briggs. Moreover, the later you apply the longer they may take to reply (the average is 12 weeks) so you might want to aim for October 1 for MSU.
Patricia Bostwick, MA, LPC
Director of College Counseling