Posts Tagged ‘how to get into college’

Who Are America’s Undergraduates?

Categories: College Life

diplomabiggerIn the midst of all that hype of how you’re going to get into college and pay for it, one very important question gets lost: Who is actually going to college?

Although pop culture spins it a certain way, most students are not focusing all their attention on trying to get into the most selective private colleges in the nation with hopes of becoming the next president of the United States, CEO of some conglomerate that secretly owns everything, or just desperate to live up their wealthy family’s noble legacy and tradition. The vast majority of students just want a college education to help them make a better living than statistics tell them they’d have otherwise.

The Chronicle recently published an article explaining that most college students are actually attending community colleges and public four-year colleges and that a huge portion of those students attend school part-time–a fact that is often overlooked. That’s definitely a tidbit that’s left out of the popular American conception of the “college experience.” In fact, the American “college experience” of Greek Life, football games, partying is not what the actual college experience is for everybody. Students that come from families with smaller annual incomes are not as likely to go to a four-year selective college that offers that kind of “typical” college culture.

To help us grasp what the undergraduate landscape is accurately like, The Chronicle crunched numbers from 2007-8 in two data sets from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Here are some of the trends they found:

  • 39.4% of undergraduates attend community college
  • 37.5% of undergraduates attend public 4-year institution
  • 16.5% of undergraduates attend private nonprofits
  • 6.6% of undergraduates attend for-profits
  • 25.1% of undergraduates annual income of parents and/or independents is less than $20,000
  • 2.1% of undergraduates annual income of parents and/or independents is more than $200,000

Here is the breakdown of colleges attended by students from families earning less than $40,000:

Public 2-year – 50.0%
Public 4-year – 6.8%
Other public 4-year- 15.9%
Nonprofit research-extensive and liberal arts colleges – 1.6%
Other private, nonprofit 4-year – 7.0%
Private for-profit – 15.3%
Others – 3.4%

Do these numbers surprise you? What’s the college experience you want or have had?

Facebook Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts for College-Bound Students

cappex facebookThe boundaries of social networking can be a bit murky. While networks like Facebook are meant to help you connect with people, should you really be open to showcasing your after-the-bell-rings life with teachers and college admissions?

As of August 28 in Missouri, the answer “is no.” The Missouri Senate Bill 54 will make it illegal for teachers and students to “friend” or accept friend requests on the network.

But what about college admissions? More and more often admissions people are looking up your online footprint, and the most powerful and frequent gems they find are photos. You’d be surprised how a photo on Facebook or MySpace or Flickr or that new network the kid genius across the street is programming can find its way through the annals of the Internet, and somehow wind up re-purposed and posted to a blog called something you don’t want associated with your name.

We know Facebook is a big part of your life, and people will post pictures of you, and you’ll post pictures of you, so just try to stick to Cappex’s Facebook etiquette Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook for college-bound students:

Don’t:

Indicate any illegal activity
So your friend who goes by BBQ because, in his own words, he ‘”loves BBQ,” had a hook up with some fake ID peeps on the other side of town and got you one. To celebrate, you had an actual BBQ and BBQ bought the beers, and Jenny, who has no filter, took a million bazillion photos of your 17 year old self drinking and posted it immediately to Facebook with the caption “Look at how much fun we can have now!!!”

This is wrong on so many levels. First off, be safe and smart. Second, if those photos wind up under the critical eye of an admissions officer, good luck. There are easy ways to stay out of situations like these: A. Update your Facebook privacy settings B. Don’t take BBQ’s advice. Seriously, we don’t want to bore you with advice that your parents and teachers have probably told you a million times over, but make smart choices. Avoid stupid things and you won’t get stupid pictures online.

Expose too much skin
Perhaps P90x has been doing glorious things for your abs, but capturing your newly toned muscles and posting it to Facebook might not make the kind of impression you want.  When you think of college admissions do the words “scantily clothed” come to mind? No. No they don’t. Think of it this way: Academia is about expanding the mind, not showing an inappropriate amount of flesh. Dress to impress. Or, at least keep your clothes on.

Parade your PDA
Love is a beautiful thing. From the inside. From the outside, it’s kinda annoying to watch. Keep your kisses off the Internet for the sake of humans as well as for your chances of getting into your dream school. It’s not simply that your public display of affection is annoying to watch, it’s also that a lot of PDA photos can show admissions people your lack of judgment on what you choose to display about yourself not just fleetingly in public, but permanently online.

Be overly negative
Nobody likes a sourpuss. Having pictures with negative comments about other people or ideas just shines more brightly on your intolerance. College life is about expanding your worldview, so too much negativity in your photos might dissuade admissions counselors from rooting for you.

Do’s:

Post accomplishments
Humbly displaying the pictures that your mom took of you accepting the award for Student of the Year is a great thing for an admissions person to stumble upon. It could really bring to life that little line in your application where you wrote “Student of the Year”.

Share your travels
Your backpacking trip through Europe demonstrates how you’re an explorer and student of the world. The fact that you’ve traveled illustrates to admissions officers that you are open to new experiences and ideas.

Display your passions
Just like travel photos, photos of your paintings, dancing, acting, athletics or musical ability adds to your application by showing you as a well-rounded, passionate student. Any activity takes time and practice–both of which are great qualities in a student.

Show your service
A picture of the before and after of that house you helped construct for a family in need or you canning for a good cause illustrates that you are willing to give your time to others in need.

So those are the Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook etiquette for college-bound students. But just keep in mind, you don’t need photos of yourself doing good things, winning awards, or walking across the Great Wall of China to get into college. This is just advice for those who are stuck on having pictures online that people, such as admissions counselors, could come across.  If you want to be 100% sure that a college is making a choice about you based on your application and your application alone, clean up your online footprint.

What’s your experience with Facebook and applying to colleges? Share your feedback and thoughts by leaving a comment below.

What Does Your College SAT Score Mean?

Categories: Admissions Advice

SATToday, the students who took the March SAT will finally be able to refresh the CollegeBoard website and see their scores.

But now everybody’s wondering, “What does my score mean?”

According to College BoardSAT scores are on a scale from 200-800, with additional subscores for the essay (ranging from 2-12) and for multiple-choice writing questions (on a 20-80 scale). You probably knew that already, though.

So what you really want to know is what these scores mean to college admissions?

Here’s what CollegeBoard.com says about your score:

Your SAT scores tell college admissions how you did compared with other students who took the test. For example, if you scored close to the mean or average — about 500 on SAT critical reading and 500 on SAT mathematics — admissions staff would know that you scored as well as about half of the students who took the test nationally.

But this is also probably old news to you–of course your SAT score will help admissions officers see where you stand among your peers.  You want to know what your SAT score means for your college search: Where can you get in? What’s a safety school? What’s a reach school?

While an SAT score can help you navigate your college options, it’s not the end-all be-all of your college career.  If you score kinda low the first time, don’t get down on yourself, tear out all of your hair and announce to the world that you’re never going to get into college. Just don’t.

Do, however, take time going over your exam.  Use your resources at school and online to see what you can improve. If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Find the option that fits your goals and financial capabilities. There are SAT tutors, classes, books and even very helpful online products to help you increase your score. Then, take the test again.

So after you get a score you’re content with, what can you do with it?

Option #1: Tape your score to the wall beside your bed so you have something beautiful to wake up to every morning.

Option #2: Apply to college.

Since most of you will probably opt for #2, you should find where you score fits into different colleges.  Every college has a different average of accepted students’ SAT scores, so it can get pretty confusing. Making a Cappex profile will make this process super simple by showing you your chances at each school based on historical data.

And now that you found that colleges you want to apply to, your’e probably asking, “but how much of admissions in based on the SAT score?”

Again, for each college it varies.  One college might value the SAT dramatically more than another. If you’re super curious, speaking with college admissions departments will give you a better idea about what they’re looking for.

While it’s difficult to speak for all schools, we’re gonna go ahead and put an umbrella statement out there because the questions about SAT scores are pouring down on us: There’s more to your college application than your SAT score.  A score can show aspects of your intelligence, but it barely cuts the surface of a student’s personality, wisdom or drive.