• Why is it important to visit colleges?

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    Visiting college campuses is a great way to learn more about what you do and do not want in a college. Visiting a college is one way to show "demonstrated interested," which can be an important aspect in the application evaluation process. Colleges track candidates who schedule tours and information sessions at their school. Other ways to demonstrate interest include requesting information, attending information sessions in your area, and meeting with college representatives who visit WA and College Fairs.

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  • When do college reps visit WA and how can students meet with them?

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    Each fall a number of public and private college representatives will visit WA to meet with interested students. This is a great way for students to learn more about a school that they may be interested in. It is also a great way for the student to make a face-to-face connection with the representative. College rep visits are posted on the Naviance home page and under the "Colleges." Students must sign up on Naviance in order to meet with college reps. Teacher permission is requested to leave a class to attend the visit.

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  • How do students with busy schedules manage to visit colleges?

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    When possible, students are encouraged to visit colleges when they are in session. February and April vacations are excellent times to visit schools. WA students are allowed 3 excused absences; student's are required to have the College Visit form completed and submitted to the attendance secretary prior to the visit. You can find the form on this page above and in the counseling office. Colleges offer tours and information sessions on Saturdays and throughout the summer as well. Students should consult college admission offices or websites in advance to arrange visits.

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  • What is the Common Application?

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    The Common Application is an admission application that is accepted by 456 colleges and universities. It simplifies the college admission process by allowing students to complete an online application that can be duplicated and sent to multiple schools. All member schools fully support its use and give equal consideration to the Common Application and their own forms (when also an option). The Common Application can be accessed at www.commonapp.org.

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  • Are there special forms that must be completed for college?

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    Most colleges have specific supplements that must be completed in addition to the main Common Application. The supplements may include additional questions, short answers, or essays.

    Please check out our Guide to completing the Common Application located on the "Application Process" page above.

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  • What recommendations do students need for college?

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    Most colleges want one or two letters of recommendation from teachers and often an additional counselor recommendation. Students need to check each college’s requirement for recommendations. Sometimes colleges request recommendations from a specific academic area.

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  • Will I need to interview for college admission?

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    Not every college offers interviews, and the emphasis on them has decreased during the past several years. The general rule is that the smaller the college, the more important an interview is going to be. Most schools have one of the following policies:

    No interviews – group information sessions only (the majority of schools);
    Alumni interviews only – off-campus;
    Interviews are optional (informational only);
    Interviews are encouraged and evaluative.

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  • Are there reasons for interviews?

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    Sometimes college or local scholarship committees schedule interviews with candidates. Admission to some college programs or majors may also require an interview.

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  • What if I want to play an intercollegiate sport in college?

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    There are three NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) divisions. Most Division I and II schools offer scholarships to recruited athletes. In all divisions, being recruited as an athlete may help students’ chances of being admitted to a school. Athletes are encouraged to talk to their coaches and the Athletic Director to discuss whether they have the ability to compete in college at some level. Athletes may also be contacted directly by college coaches. All students with an interest in Division I or II programs must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse at www.eligibilitycenter.org by the end of junior year. Athletes should visit the college athletic department’s web page for information about programs and to fill out the questionnaire that informs coaches of their interest. Remember that admissions committees make final admissions decisions, not coaches.

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  • What help is available for students with special needs?

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    Counselors and special education teachers are prepared to advise special needs students about programs and application procedures.  All colleges must provide support services for students with physical and learning challenges and assist with the transition to college.  Some colleges are known for their programs for special needs students.

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  • What is Naviance?

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    Naviance is a web-based tool with dozens of features for post-high school planning. This program contains data on colleges throughout the country and keeps track of WA college applications, student statistics, and admission decisions. Naviance also contains a career interest inventory called the “Career Interest Profiler” and the “Do What You Are Self-Discovery Personality Type” assessment. These programs help students learn about careers and college majors that match their interests and personality. Students will use Naviance to post a list of the colleges they are planning to apply to under the "colleges" tab and under "colleges I am thinking about." Student MUST add the colleges in Naviance before WA counseling can send their materials to colleges. WA counselors and the WA registrar will use Naviance to submit the student's transcript and recommendations. To log into Naviance, click here.

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  • What if I have a special talent in music, art, theater, or another area?

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    Students with special talents often must complete additional application requirements, such as portfolios or auditions. WA teachers in these subject areas are experienced in guiding students’ preparation. Students should check all college requirements and deadlines for these programs and apply early to meet audition/portfolio deadlines.

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  • What is the difference between being deferred and being wait listed?

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    Students who apply either Early Decision or Early Action may receive a deferral rather than an acceptance or denial. A deferral means that the student’s application has been moved into the regular decision pool and will be reviewed for admission at a later date with the regular applicants. Students should not be too discouraged by a deferral, as there is still a possibility of acceptance in the spring. Deferred students should continue to send updated grades and other pertinent information to the admissions office to increase their chances for an acceptance. A letter or email to admissions emphasizing their continuing desire to attend the school is helpful as well.

    Colleges assign a significant number of students every year to a wait list because they are not certain exactly how many students will accept their offers of admission. They maintain a wait list to complete their freshman class. In recent years, colleges have increased the number of students they have placed on wait lists, because it has become harder for them to predict their yield. The hard truth is that there is a low acceptance rate for most wait lists. If wait listed, students must place a deposit at a school where they have been accepted. If students wish to remain on a college’s wait list, they must follow the college’s instructions on how to respond to indicate their intent. Students should also reaffirm in writing their desire to attend the school. Should an offer of admission be extended after May 1st, students will lose the deposit made at the previous school. Students should also ask about financial aid, as sometimes schools do not have the same funds to offer their wait list admits as they do for their regular admits. Accept a waitlist spot only if there is a strong possibility you will attend that college if admitted.

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  • When should I request recommendations?

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    Juniors are urged to request recommendations by June to provide adequate time for teachers and counselors to compose thoughtful, personal, and well written recommendations. If students wait until the fall of their senior year, they should give teachers a minimum of two weeks to provide a recommendation.

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  • Can I use the same essay for different colleges?

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    Often the main college essay (or personal statement) can be used for different schools, unless the college has a unique essay prompt. If the college has supplemental essays or short answer sections, it is important to write original responses for them. Students should be aware that short answer questions and supplemental essays are just as important as the main essay.

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  • What kind of help is available for writing a college essay?

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    Counselors, teachers, parents, and friends can be helpful in brainstorming ideas or proofreading final copies. Many guides and websites offer examples of successful college essays. It is essential, however, that the personal essay is always the students’ own original work and showcases their authentic voice. Check out helpful essay writing tips on our "Links" page, or visit the Writing Centaur in the Bracken Library for help peer-reviewing!

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  • What is the difference between an informational and evaluative interview?

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    Informational interviews are usually conducted by college alumni or current students. Their purpose is to answer student questions and for the school to tell its story to the prospective student. They do not have an impact on admission decisions.

    Evaluative interviews are an opportunity for a school to hear a student’s story and afford an admission officer a glimpse of the student as a real person. Evaluative interviews do have an impact on admission decisions. Some interviews may contain elements of both.

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  • What are colleges looking for in student essays?

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    The essay is an opportunity to tell colleges who you are and what you care about and to differentiate yourself from other applicants with similar academic records. They are looking for a thoughtful, well written essay that gives them a glimpse into a student’s beliefs, aspirations, values, or passions.

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  • What about the cost of college visits?

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    Students and their families should visit the colleges that are close by. Admissions officers realize that students often cannot visit every college they are applying to in the fall. Many families wait to see if a student is admitted before visiting a college far away. If students cannot visit, it is important to try to make contact with colleges at college fairs, at WA, and by making sure they are on the schools’ mailing list. Many colleges send representatives to WA, and juniors and seniors may sign up to meet with reps through Naviance, these visits take place from September - November. Video campus tours are sometimes available on college websites or at www.campustours.com and www.collegechoice.com.

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  • What are the options for applying to college?

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    Colleges offer several different options for applying, so it is important to know the choices available at the schools on the student’s list. These are the most common types:

    Regular Decision (RD) – Applications must be received by a fixed date for admission consideration.

    Rolling Admission – Applications are reviewed as they arrive. It is an advantage to apply as early as possible because programs may close once places have been filled.

    Early Action (EA) – Applications are due by an early date (usually Oct. 15-Dec.15), and candidates receive notification of their status by January 1. An acceptance is non-binding, and students have until May 1 (the universal candidate reply date) to decide whether to accept the offer of admission.

    Restricted Early Action – Candidates may only apply to one early action school, but there is no restriction on regular decision applications to other schools.

    Early Decision (ED) – Applications are due by an early date, and candidates receive notification of their admission decision by January 1. Unlike EA, students are expected to matriculate at the college, as ED is a binding agreement. In rare cases due to financial or other extenuating circumstances, students may be released from this commitment. If students are deferred under ED, they may apply to other colleges without obligation to the ED school.

    Early Decision II – A second round of ED in January, which allows students who were denied or deferred at their first choice school to apply in a second round ED plan.

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  • Who should apply Early Decision?

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    A great deal of controversy has surrounded Early Decision plans. Critics complain that it forces seniors to commit to a college too early in the process and limits financial aid opportunities. Proponents cite the advantage of choosing ED because many colleges select a significant percentage of their freshman class from the ED pool of applicants. Students should only apply ED if they are certain that a school is their first choice and if financial aid is not a critical factor in the decision. By applying to several schools, students have the opportunity to compare financial aid packages before committing to a school by May 1.

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  • What help is available for first generation college students?

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    Colleges actively seek students who are the first in their family to go to college.  Parents and students should identify themselves as first generation to colleges.  WA counselors can assist students and their families who are new to the college planning process.

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  • How do I use Naviance?

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    Students receive their own personal account in Naviance, which they can sign on to from any computer with web access. In the freshmen year WA counselors will introduce students to Naviance, an internet-based user-friendly program. In the freshmen year students complete the Interest Survey which links a student's interests to careers and colleges. In the Sophomore year counselors will introduce students to the "Do What You Are" program which determines a student's personality type and links it to careers and colleges. In the junior year counselors will demonstrate to students how they can utilize the college search feature of the program and begin to develop a college list. In the senior year students will begin to refine their college list in Naviance and explore scholarships listed on the site. Students are also encouraged to explore Naviance's many features on their own. Parents can access Naviance through their student’s account, log in as a guest in Family Connection (password: centaur) or request a parent account be set up for them by the school counselor.

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