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Admitted! Now the ball is in your court

March 29th, 2022

After months of waiting for colleges to make their decisions, now you have been accepted and the ball is in your court. This certainly is a relief and calls for a celebration! As you look over your college acceptances, your final decision may be obvious.

But what if it’s not – how do you choose if you have the good fortune of multiple offers? There’s really no formula for deciding where to enroll, but the best approach is to focus on what matters most to you and choose accordingly. Sometimes going back to pen and paper and ranking your priorities is a good start. Consider whether academic and extracurricular programs line up with your own interests. Size, setting and campus life are things to take into account as well. If possible, do one more campus visit with a fresh perspective. Now that you’ve been accepted it may be easier to visualize yourself there.

Financial aid packages are a big factor for many students. These offers can vary significantly from college to college so make sure you take the time to analyze the differences, focusing on the actual net cost to your family. The article from College Raptor linked below can help you do just that.

Article referenced below from College Raptor, written by Morgan Staub, updated on June 2, 2021

How to Compare and Contrast Offer Letters from Different Colleges

Opening your first college acceptance letter will be, without a doubt, one of the most gratifying and exciting moments of your academic life. While most students have an idea of which colleges will accept them, it doesn’t feel real until you hold proof in your hand, showing that a university looked over your transcripts, letters, and overall profile and decided you fit their school. You think of Shakespeare’s line from Othello, “[they] had eyes, and chose me.” You’ve been accepted into a program of higher education, and, to top it off, they’re providing you with a generous offer letter! Now what?

While some students, specifically those who apply early decision, have decided to go to the first college that sends them an acceptance letter, a majority of students will receive multiple letters. It’s important to know how to compare and contrast these financial aid offer letters critically, closely, and make an informed decision regarding your future.

Read more at College Raptor>>

First-year files: Spotlight on women’s colleges

March 15th, 2022

The college search presents so many factors to consider! Colleges and universities within the U.S. offer diverse academic, extracurricular and social options. The vast majority of universities in the United States are co-educational, yet all-women’s or all-men’s colleges offer a unique educational experience for their students that can often be overlooked. Although not for everyone, Shrop Ed families know that I believe these colleges offer amazing opportunities. If you open your mind to the possibility, what you learn might surprise you or affirm what you were already thinking.

In today’s blog we spotlight women’s colleges. These schools are often characterized by having a great sense of community and support. The College Essay Guy recently shared this list of 7 reasons why you should apply to a women’s college. We believe each student makes their college choice based on a unique set of values and goals; maybe a women’s college or men’s college aligns with yours.

Highlighted below is an interview held recently with Anna R., a prior ShropEd advisee. Anna is a first-year student at Bryn Mawr College, a renowned women’s college outside of Philadelphia. In this open dialogue, Anna remarks on the similarities and differences between her college choice and a more common route of going co-ed.

What was the transition like, and was it different because of being at a women’s college?  I don’t think it was any different because of it being a women’s college.  Freshmen arrive a week early and we have something called Customs Week.  Sophomores and juniors gave support, showed us around campus and shared the history of the college and generally supported us, and they continue to support us as “buddies” throughout our first year.  It took me a little while to adjust and I had roommate issues, but now I’m really ready to go.  Being on the swim team helped because we began practices and the upperclassmen were really encouraging and helpful.

How much time does your sport take?  2 hours every afternoon, and 3 days a week we also have morning practice.  It’s like the schedule I had at home.  When swim season is on, lots of time for meets gets added to that.  I definitely think it’s a positive to be on the team; it keeps me involved and I’m with different people than in my dorm and classes.  I’m also the swim team’s liaison to the Athletics Council.

AcademicsI’m taking a class this term called The Pedagogies of Mathematics and Science, and I’ll be in a special ed classroom setting implementing new approaches to teaching STEM in a more effective way, with the goal of eliminating students’ reluctance to pursue STEM coursework.

First semester, I took Russian (continuing this semester), Intro to Chemistry with lab (taking second part this semester), an intro to college writing seminar – my seminar’s topic was food and identity, which was pretty interesting, and Intro to US Politics.  Three of the classes had 18-20 people in them, and my Russian class had 6.  This semester my chem class is bigger, around 40-50, and my calc class has 35-40 students.  With classes this small, there’s a lot more room for discussion and professors get to know all of us.  My professors cheer for me on the swim team!  All of the teaching is done by professors and we can see them outside of class during office hours, and my STEM classes also have teaching assistants running review sessions – they’re juniors and seniors who’ve done really well in the course and are majoring in the field.

I’m thinking of a possible chemistry major and plan to either minor or second major in Russian but I’m not totally sure yet.

How does the women’s college dimension affect daily life?  Weirdly, it just feels normal!  In the classroom, things feel calmer and more respectful … everyone helps everyone else out and it’s not competitive.  Socially, it’s easy to go over to Haverford – just take the bus and hop over – so meeting people isn’t hard.  On weekends, lots of people go into the city, which is easy because the train station is just a 10 minute walk from campus.  We go out for dinner, go to museums.  Students looking for parties go to Haverford.  The main benefit of being at a women’s college is being able to focus on your education.  If you want four years of partying, a women’s college probably isn’t for you.  But if you want a supportive environment and a place where you can focus on academics, a women’s college can be a great choice.  

If this interview intrigued you, check out the Women’s College Coalition website highlighting facts, personal stories and resources: www.womenscolleges.org.

First-year files: the story of a successful college transfer

March 8th, 2022

While many students find their initial college placement to be a great fit, sometimes solid reasons lead students to want change: new academic interest, shift in personal priorities or family circumstances, mental or physical challenge or, as for many students over the last couple of years, pandemic-related constraints.

Image via Forbes

Transferring to a new college is a big decision that requires careful planning and consideration, and the search is highly intentional. After a few college courses under their belt, students have gained maturity and academic focus. Of course, the greatest emphasis in the transfer admission process is college coursework and achievement.

When evaluating transfer candidates, colleges also look for community involvement both on campus and off. Another important factor in the transfer application is letting schools know why you’re transferring. Applicants should convey their reasoning in a positive and compelling manner, without dwelling on negative aspects of their current college setting.

Transferring during college is not a new concept, but Covid-19 added a whole new spin on enrollment decisions for many students, including our own Sarah B`. We appreciate Sarah’s candor as she shares her transfer experience, reminding us all that “any decision can be great depending on what you make of it!”

Sarah B.’s first year experience transferring University of Kentucky to University of Wisconsin-Madison …

The onset of Covid meant making a bold decision in late summer of 2020 to withdraw from the college in a city far from Kentucky and enroll in a public university a short distance from home. I had had my heart set on a change of scenery, but decided that in a time of ambiguity, it would be best to adjust my longer-term plans. 

I chose Psychology as my major at the University of Kentucky but decided to take STEM classes that would put me on a Pre-Physician’s Assistant track. My new plan to transfer after my freshman year motivated me to work extra hard in all of my classes. Because everything was online, I had ample time to study and get ahead. The first semester was isolating, but I was able to join a few clubs and discovered helpful resources like office hours and group tutoring to connect with others. 

I began the transfer process in December over winter break by looking at a variety of schools and making a list of the ones that interested me. This list looked different from the first time I had applied to colleges because I had an idea of the schools I wanted to reapply to. I also added a few other schools that I regretted not applying to the first time. 

After assembling a list, it was time for research and setting up appointments with admission counselors at each school. The most stressful part of the process is estimating credit transfer. I asked each school if they had a system to calculate credit equivalencies before I applied. Many of them did but had a credit appeal process for credits that did not appear to have an equivalent. The appeals process was only available to students that were accepted. 

In order to maximize my credit transfer, I researched the course requirements to declare a Psychology major at each school. I also asked admission counselors to review my Spring class schedule and suggest classes I should drop or add. This was extremely helpful, but I ended up with an incredibly difficult course load trying to accommodate all the schools I was applying to. In retrospect, I should have focused on a few schools with similar course requirements. 

After hearing back from all the schools, I decided to commit to the University of Wisconsin -Madison and I could not be happier with my choice! Halfway through the first semester, I switched my major to Biology because I did not want to have to retake Psychology courses that did not transfer, but it all worked out for the best. 

At first, I was worried that navigating a big university would be difficult, but there are many resources to help connect you with what you need. Many schools offer a one-credit class for first-year students to help you get acquainted with the campus and available resources. At UK it was called UK 101 and at UW it was called The Wisconsin Experience. These classes provided an in-depth look at the resources on campus, opportunities in our community, skills for success, and the inside scoop. It’s a good way to meet other new students and set goals for the semester. 

With campus life opening up again, I was eager to get involved and the activity fair was a perfect place to start. I signed up for many clubs and this semester I have an internship with one of them! I’ve found that there are a lot of clubs, especially for pre-med and business students, that are dedicated to making sure you are prepared for the next steps and give you great connections to Alums in that field. This is another great place to meet people and there’s a good chance that you will be taking the same classes so definitely form a study group.

Meeting people as a transfer student was what I was most worried about, but there were so many people in the same boat as me. I connected with other sophomore transfer students through a Facebook page, and they are now some of my closest friends. People who post their Snap or Instagram want to connect so don’t be afraid to reach out.

There were a lot of times over the past two years when I was worried about whether I had made the right choice like choosing my major, changing schools three times, and picking my classes. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience it’s that any decision can be great depending on what you make of it! 

15 pieces of advice to help you finish the year strong

March 2nd, 2022

Your high school career is winding down and with so many exciting things ahead, it’s easy to get sidetracked. After college applications have been submitted you may be noticing that work less, play more attitude often associated with the term “senioritis.” With a little perseverance and commitment, though, graduation and academic success are in the palm of your hands.

Image via Agnes Scott

Big changes lie ahead as you receive admission decisions and make your final college choice. The article below from Agnes Scott College is a motivating piece full of great advice for seniors as they finish out the year strong.

Article referenced below from Agnes Scott College, published January 12, 2022

Let’s address the elephant in the room for high school seniors: as you begin your final semester of high school, it’s not necessarily the most relaxing time in your life. In addition to, well, finding out admission decisions, figuring out financial aid, and making your final college choice, you’re also finishing out your high school experience. Oh, and also, doing it in a resurgence of COVID-19 variants.

We can’t necessarily do anything on our little blog to make your experience more relaxing. However, we’d like to offer you a few pieces of advice: some related to the college decision, but mostly related to finishing your senior year happy, healthy and with new memories to spare.

So without further adieu, our advice:

Read more at Agnes Scott College >>