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Demonstrate interest!

September 28th, 2021

Demonstrated interest is a concept thrown around in the college admissions world that can be difficult to embrace. Believe it or not, your level of enthusiasm for and engagement with a school may matter, and will be tracked by SOME colleges or universities (not all). I used to view it cynically, akin to Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, but now see that benefits accrue not only to colleges but to students, as well.

Image via College Data

Many colleges work hard to determine the level of interest a student has for their school. This helps colleges predict their yield (% of accepted students who will enroll), which is important for them to protect.

Pre-COVID, there was no better way to demonstrate interest than visiting campus. The pandemic has certainly changed the way some colleges approach face to face contact, making it easier to connect virtually through online tours and information sessions.

Ethan Sawyer, The College Essay Guy, has published a fantastic list of ways to demonstrate interest to your top choice schools. When reading his article below, keep in mind that as you engage you’re also developing a better sense of optimal fit and, ultimately, optimal enrollment choice, goals that we at Shrop Ed hold for all students. The article referenced below is from a site we view as a phenomenal resource for college applicants.

This practical How-To Guide was written by Ethan Sawyer, published on The College Essay Website

What is Demonstrated Interest? A Practical How-To Guide

This blog post was inspired by podcast Episode 108 with Monica James, in which we discuss everything from how to find out which colleges track demonstrated interest to whether you should or shouldn’t like a college’s Facebook page. You can find that episode here.

Spoiler alert: In this blog post I’ll share with you a list of potential Action Items that involve (among other things) attending college fairs, speaking with admission reps, and maybe even opening a few of those emails that colleges send you—things that might stress you out. And why, you might wonder, would the “ease, purpose and joy” guy ask you to do things that mostly bring you anxiety?

Why are we talking about demonstrated interest in the first place?
Demonstrated interest (which I’ll explain in a moment) has become an important factor that some (keyword: some!) colleges consider when deciding whether to admit students or not. In fact, take a look at this NACAC survey from 2019 asking colleges which factors most influenced admission decisions:

Read more at College Essay Guy>>

Character counts in the boarding school and college admission process

September 14th, 2021

What do schools want? This million dollar question is asked time and time again by students applying to boarding schools and colleges. Many of you have heard me say that we shouldn’t allow that question to lead us; we don’t want the tail to wag the dog. Instead, we want you to find ways to develop into the strongest version of you possible, to make the greatest possible impact on the world around you. That, in itself, will make you a more compelling applicant.

Admissions committees in both settings are looking for a candidate who has depth and will offer value to their school community. Evaluations, of course, begin with academic transcripts, activities, teacher recommendations and standardized test scores (although scores are increasingly considered optional).

Image via Niche

Schools are also looking for evidence of personal qualities that foster cooperation, community and compassion. In order to accomplish this kind of evaluation, many boarding schools ask applicants to complete the Character Skills Snapshot, which helps admission officers get a sense of seven key character skills in students. College admission officers must read between the lines to develop a comparable sense of each applicant’s character.

Overall, colleges and boarding schools are trying to understand you as a whole person and before you can adequately reveal this on paper, it is important for you to get to know yourself. What are your passions, interests and talents? What motivates you? How are you impacting those around you? How do you demonstrate resilience, persistence, grit?

I’ve always believed that self-discovery and reflection will lead you down the path of finding the right fit for college, boarding school and life in general. When you are your true, authentic self you can really deepen your impact all around.

The lowdown on college honors programs

August 31st, 2021

As the college application season rolls on, you may be considering whether to apply to an honors program. These programs give eligible students a chance to participate in what is typically an intimate and more rigorous educational environment. We encourage highly motivated students to explore carefully, as honors programs can be rewarding but are not the only option if you are looking to benefit from an advanced academic track.

The process for applying can vary: some colleges expect students to seek out the honors program at the time of application while others, upon admission, will identify and invite a select group of high achieving students.

Image via shutterstock/Dean Drobot

As with any important college decision, there are advantages and disadvantages to understand and weigh carefully. The article we share today gives a more detailed look at college honors programs, and explains the process most schools follow for acceptance. If you think you meet the academic profile of an honors student, we hope this information helps generate the right questions to ask yourself and discuss with your parents as you assess your own fit for an honors program.

Article referenced by Studentcaffe Blog, written by Katelyn Brush, published on March 27, 2016

An Inside Look at College Honors Programs: Pros and Cons

Honors programs are designed to give excellent students additional educational opportunities. These programs are challenging on purpose. They encourage students to push themselves academically and personally. Students in an honors program often form small communities on campus. They may live together in an honors dorm or take special classes together.  

If you are a prospective college student interested in applying to a specific honors program, study the fine print first. The curriculum and requirements of honors programs will vary college to college. In your search, you will find that most honors programs genuinely want to support high achieving students. Up for a challenge? By all means, proceed.

To read more go to StudentCaffe blog>>

Experience exploration: Some colleges see benefit in waiting to decide on a major

August 17th, 2021

Deciding your career path right after high school can seem like a tall order. It may appear as if most of your peers know exactly what they want to study and where this will lead them after college graduation. While true for some, many students benefit from time to explore options in order to find their best fit.

Image via The Hechinger Report

Universities with multiple academic divisions still need students to choose a starting home base, such as liberal arts, business, engineering, etc. However, a trend is on the rise where some schools are creating programs to help students navigate the process and are easing up on the push to make a decision early on. University of Colorado Boulder offers a Program in Exploratory Studies, which gives students the resources and guidance to feel confident in their academic and career journey. The article referenced below from The Hechinger Report highlights several schools now encouraging more time to explore before selecting your major.

Article referenced below from The Hechinger Report, written by Jon Marcus, published on July 23, 2021

Some colleges ease up on pushing undergrads into picking majors right away

BOULDER, Colo. — Ingrid Dominguez can’t remember why, when she was applying to college, she decided she would major in business.

“I don’t really know, honestly,” Dominguez said. “Senior year in high school was just, like, ‘You have to decide what you want to do right now.’ ” And picking business “is what everybody else was doing.”

But Dominguez wasn’t chosen for the highly competitive business track when she was accepted to the University of Colorado Boulder — “a blessing in disguise,” she said, because it gave her the chance to take courses in science and health. And she enjoyed those so much she’s now majoring in integrative physiology with plans to open a chain of protein cafés.

Read more at The Hechinger Report>>