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College Counseling Handbook

C& Performing Artists

The Nuts and Bolts of Applying to College We have packed in a lot of information, organized to follow the progression from the beginnings to the end of the college application process. The handbook may evolve during the year as we hope may be the case for students moving through the process of identifying best possibilities. Importantly, we know this book attempts to be comprehensive and anticipating every possibility. Of course, it cannot and will not. The human touch and good conversation, the most essential and thoughtful part of the process, remains at the center of what we do. Let's take that journey together. Finally, you should not look at this as a book to read in one sitting, cover to cover. Look ahead, consider next steps, but feel welcome to return to the handbook at appropriate milestone moments. Thumb through it. Return to it and know that both it and we are there to help through the process. Happy trails! The College Counseling Office

Chadwick International School College Counseling Handbook Table of Contents Core Values, Context, and the College Counseling Process .................................................................................... 3 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................ 5 College Calendar and Planning for the Class of 2014 .............................................................................................. 7 Section One: Getting Started .................................................................................................................................... 12 Communicating with College Counseling ............................................................................................................. 13 Myths and Realities ................................................................................................................................................ 15 Requesting Information from Colleges .................................................................................................................................... 22 Sources of Information............................................................................................................................................................. 17 Requesting Information from Colleges .................................................................................................................................... 22 Testing Agencies, Online Applications, Women’s Colleges .................................................................................................... 20

Section Two: Standardized Testing........................................................................................................................... 23 Preparing for the ACT or SAT .............................................................................................................................. 23 ACT and SAT Testing Calendar ........................................................................................................................... 28 Frequently Asked Questions regarding Score Choice .............................................................................................................. 33 Sending Scores ......................................................................................................................................................................... 34

Section Three: Continuing the College Search .......................................................................................................... 36 Visiting Colleges .................................................................................................................................................... 37 Campus, Alumni and Video/Skype Interviews ...................................................................................................... 39 Questions to Ask on a College Visit....................................................................................................................... 42 Visit Summary Report ........................................................................................................................................... 42 Section Four: The Application Process ..................................................................................................................... 43 College Applications, How many? What forms? ................................................................................................... 44 Application Essays.................................................................................................................................................. 46 Common Application and UC Essay Topics ......................................................................................................... 48 Additional Factors: Athletics, Arts, Alumni Connections ..................................................................................... 51 Chadwick Policies on Reporting Information to Colleges ..................................................................................... 53 (You’re in!) Post- Admission Decision Responsibilities ........................................................................................ 57 Section Five: Financial Aid ...................................................................................................................................... 58 Overview of programs and approaches ................................................................................................................... 59 Net Price Calculators ............................................................................................................................................. 59 Financial Aid Timeline .......................................................................................................................................... 63 Common Questions ............................................................................................................................................... 64 Section Six: Additional Information ......................................................................................................................... 69 Junior and Parent Questionnaires ........................................................................................................................... 70

CI's College Counseling Program builds from and upon the intentions of the School. The advising that begins with the CI admission program carries through the Village, Middle and Upper Schools through the efforts of the College Counseling office. The college counseling program naturally builds upon our mission: we are dedicated to academic excellence and to the development of self-confident individuals of exemplary character. CI's core values of honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, and compassion, are fostered and modeled in classrooms and co-curricular activities and in our work in the college process. Fundamentally, we build upon the core competencies in working with students and their families to bring those qualities of mind to the identification of colleges that reflect student learning styles and their community and campus interests. In our explorations with students and families, counselors will advocate for students and will encourage them to draw upon those core competencies, using higher-order, creative thinking & problem solving skills, analytically approaching what is possible and what is intellectually, socially and personally valuable. We encourage students through their investigation of colleges to represent themselves and their ideas reflecting integrity and ethical literacy. We move them to reach to explore their own adaptability, initiative and risk taking; in presenting themselves well through well-developed skills at in effective communication and by demonstrating in their activities and inclinations their valuable capacities in cultivating leadership and teamwork we hope to represent their ability to see a larger world, showing in their investigation of colleges and in their representations to colleges their ability to move through ideas, exploration, reading and experience with a developed capacity to bring a global perspective to next steps.

Context Matters Core Competencies, Core Values and the College Counseling Program A natural aim is for CI to find the right collegiate home for our graduates and to make the college exploration another powerful learning experience, developing lasting and transferrable skills for our graduates to identify and discern opportunity and cultivate self-presentation skills that may help advance careers. Counselors engage students frequently in both scheduled and unscheduled individual conferences that are designed to help students reach a greater awareness of who they are. Parents participate in group programs and individual and family meetings with counselors. With a well-articulated sense of self, students are prepared to find colleges that are good matches. Our approach is student-centered, and we believe that satisfaction with their college choices is enhanced when students are empowered to own the process and decisions. Central to support and success is open and good communication among students, parents and college counselors. Outcomes are important yet it is the process of self-discovery leading to college discovery that drives our program and addresses and enhances the core competencies of CI.

College Counseling Philosophy CI's college counseling office guides students and families through the college admissions process, helping the students select and gain admission to colleges and universities appropriate to their interests and demonstrated abilities. CI's curriculum is designed to meet or exceed the entrance requirements for the University of California and, by extension, any undergraduate liberal arts college or university in the United States. CI's curriculum prepares the conscientious student for study at the collegiate level while allowing those with special gifts and/or interests to take advanced level courses in all disciplines. The success of the college-preparatory academic program and the college counseling program is not measured by the number of students who gain admission to a particular college or list of colleges, but by the appropriateness of each placement and the high quality of the work of our students once they are in college.

College Counseling Program

The college-counseling department is available to students and parents at all levels, including presentations, workshops and individual meetings with sophomores and their families. The formal phase of the college counseling program begins in the second semester of the junior year when students begin regular meetings with the college counselor. Each and every student has the counselor's focused attention in a highly individualized college search process. At the beginning of the junior process, students receive this comprehensive college-counseling handbook. The college counselor will begin by guiding the student in creating a personal inventory of interests and aspirations. The student will be taught how to research colleges and prepare a final list, how to deal with campus visits and interviewing, essay writing, and completing an application. Throughout the process, students and families will have access to a web-based program to assist them in their exploration and planning. After an initial family meeting with the college counselor, students have a series of individual formal and informal meetings starting in the winter of the junior year and continuing through the college research and application process. Parents and students have frequent contact with the counselor as we bring clarity to milestones and individual questions and student development. CI is visited each year representatives from colleges and universities, enabling our students to learn firsthand about their colleges of interest. These visits also give the college representatives an opportunity to meet the students who might be applying to their institutions.


Embarking on the college admission process may seem daunting, but it is also filled with rewards. Making plans for your post-high school years should involve a process of reflection and self-discovery that will help prepare you for college and the years beyond. CI’s college counseling office is here to help guide you through this process in accordance with the school’s mission statement and our own, which follows:

In addition to preparation for college, CI, through the College Counseling Office, guides students and families through the college admissions process by helping each student assess and select colleges appropriate for his or her interests and demonstrated abilities. The success of the college preparatory and counseling programs at CI is not measured by the number of students who gain admission to a particular college or list of colleges, but by the appropriateness of each choice and the quality of the work our students do when in college.

As a school we do not feel that there is any one perfect college for you, but rather a variety of colleges where you could be happy and successful. We are here to help educate you (and your family) and assist you in making a complicated process as clear as possible. While we cannot offer magical powers that will guarantee your acceptance to a particular college, you do have on your side three experienced counselors who look forward to getting to know you and advising you as effectively as possible. We want this to be a “student-centered” process, and that means you, the student, must take the responsibility for your college search. It demands time, effort, and dedication, much like any class, sport, job, or activity that you pursue. The more effort you put into learning about yourself, researching your options, and taking control of your own application process, the greater the rewards at the end of the road. It is our expectation that this handbook will serve as one of many resources over the next year. It should answer many of your basic questions. Refer to it often. If you have questions that are not answered in the handbook, please see your college counselor. We look forward to working with you over the next year. It is our goal to help you realize your full potential in the college admission process and make this transition for you and your family a smooth and happy one.

CI College Counseling Program Four-Year Overview


Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Welcome to “Pathways to College” for Parents and Students

“College Matters” for Parents and Students

Orientation and College Information Program for Parents and Students

Senior College Workshop





Group meeting with college counselors

All Year: Academic advisors and college counselors talk with students about the importance of grades, challenging programs, extracurricular involvement, reading and summer activity


PSAT Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test


Group meeting with college counselors

Group meeting with Juniors to introduce Naviance Family Connection

Early Decision/Action applications due

Only SAT Reasoning

Finalize college list Only SAT Reasoning

All Year: Academic advisors and college counselors talk with students about the importance of grades, challenging programs, extracurricular involvement, reading and summer activity

PLAN (Pre-ACT) Review transcript, and appropriate extracurricular involvement including summer


Explore AP options


“Countdown to College" for Parents and Students

If appropriate Student/Parent individual meeting with member of the college counseling team


Take advantage of academic and nonacademic programs

Take advantage of academic and nonacademic programs

Read, read, read

Read, read, read

SAT Reasoning Test ACT TOEFL

Only SAT Subject/ACT (if necessary) Priority Deadlines Public Institutions

Complete all college applications Regular decision applications due (January - March) Financial Aid Deadlines

Individual Meetings with College Counselors Begin

March/April: ACT

March/April: Notification from colleges

Family college meetings begin

Senior/Parent Transition Night

April – June: Second individual college counseling meetings begin AP Exams



“The Nuts & Bolts of Applying to College” for Parents & Students Individual meetings with college counselor

May: Reasoning/ACT June: Math IIC, Foreign Language, U.S. History, Biology, Literature AP Exams

Academic / non-academic program / job Write colleges for information Visit / interview Work on college applications and essays SAT/ACT Class (if necessary)

College deposit deadline (May 1) AP Exams

COMMUNICATING WITH THE COLLEGE COUNSELING OFFICE Email Communication When addressing our college counseling office in email communication, treat this as an opportunity to practice the email etiquette you will use with college admission offices. Please use the following guidelines: v Be sure to use your email address for all communication with the office. We will not respond to email addresses we do not recognize as belonging to you. v Be sure to use formal salutations and formal language in emails you send and in emails to which you respond. Examples: Dear Mr. Levisman, I was hoping that you would be able to look over my college applications before I submit them. … or…Thank you for your last email, letting me know about the special program hosted by College X. v Make sure there is a subject line for your email. Before we open the message, we should know to what it pertains. (“Hey” would not be an acceptable subject line.) v Always reply with the original text when responding to an email sent from our office. It is important to be able to follow the email exchange. You will find that we will respond to your email in the above fashion. You can expect to hear back from us within twenty-four hours. You should not have your parents emailing us with questions that you should be asking yourself. On that note, be sure to communicate with your parents on a regular basis to let them know about things you are learning regarding college application process. These guidelines will also be helpful when communicating with college admission representatives, admissions offices or financial aid offices. Please consult Article A in this section for more information.

Open and Honest Communication Open and honest communication is an essential part of the professional relationship that students should have with their college counselor. It is for this reason we want to address a topic that parents ask us about all the time and that is about hiring outside, independent college counselors. While we don’t believe having an outside counselor is necessary for a successful college application experience, of course, it is your family’s prerogative to hire an outside counselor if you wish. In the name of having open and honest communications, though, do not be afraid to tell us if you’re using an outside person, as it is helpful for us to know. For those of you who might already be working with an outside counselor or considering it, please know that in our experience: v Students and parents who are using independent counselors do not take full advantage of my expertise. I have placed students in colleges’ worldwide close to 1,100 international students from eight different countries. v Students who are working with two counselors tend to visit my office less frequently, become confused with conflicting assignments and deadlines, and often do careless work on the forms and questionnaires we ask for and depend upon throughout the process.

vď ś Students who are spending extra time using outside counselors and not visiting my office do not give me the opportunity to get to know them as well. Having this relationship is important to me (and consequently to the student) because I am the one writing their letters of recommendation and representing them personally to the admission officers in phone and email communications. Essentially, I need to be your primary contact in this process! I sincerely look forward to getting to know you over the next year


THE SMART WAY TO BEGIN YOUR COLLEGE SEARCH Many students mistakenly think that the college search starts by looking at the colleges. This approach will leave you confused and bewildered. There are over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Where would you start? By state? By alphabetical order? If there is one point we want to make in this handbook, it is that choosing a college is an individual process that starts with YOU. Any other starting point is misguided. Therefore, Step 1 of your college search is to open your mind to the possibilities of what awaits you. So put away the U.S. News and World Report rankings and forget everything you’ve ever heard about particular colleges, good or bad. There are many persistent college myths, but remember, they are myths! The most persistent and insidious myths can easily be refuted. How easily? Read on: Myth 1: The only colleges worth looking at are those that are highly ranked in the U.S. World News and Report. Yes, the U.S. World News and Report college edition is popular. But the rank of the school will not tell you whether you will like it or that it will meet most, if not all of, your needs. The rankings are based on factors that include things like faculty salary, average spending per student, the transfer rate, the alumni giving rate, and even the opinion of college presidents. These are important variables to the colleges, but they do not tell you if you will be happy there or will receive the kind of education you are seeking. Also, keep in mind that some colleges have opted not to submit information to this publication as they have serious concerns about its negative impact on college admissions. In some cases this has resulted in those colleges being ranked lower by U.S. News and World Report. Indeed, even the admission offices of those colleges and universities ranked the most highly consider this publication biased and unreliable.

Myth 2: The selectivity (how hard it is to get into) of a college or university directly corresponds with the quality of the education and the success of the alumni. Selectivity can be influenced by many different elements, many which have nothing to do with the institutional quality. For example, the Boston area—always a fashionable destination for college students -- has in recent years exploded in popularity to the point that most colleges in that area have become dramatically more selective than colleges from other parts of the country. This has had no impact on the actual value of the education at various colleges. More importantly, recent research has indicated that where you go to college does not determine your success later in life.

Myth 3: Your second cousin’s girlfriend went to College X, and she didn’t like it very much. Just because she didn’t like the college, doesn’t mean that you won’t; she’s not you! She might have very specific reasons for disliking the school, but those are her reasons, not yours.

Myth 4: My friends/parents/parents’ friends/neighbors say College X is a “party” school, or a “nerd” school, or...etc. Most of the “cocktail party” information about particular colleges, if it holds any truth, is at least ten years old. Colleges that were once considered “party schools” often have refocused their priorities and become top institutions. Similarly, schools that were once considered “easy” to get into might have gotten popular in the last few years and, as a result, can be very selective.

Myth 5: I should not bother to visit or apply to schools that are not well known to my friends, to my parents or to me. Having such an assumption narrows down the wonderful possibilities. Many small, relatively unknown liberal arts colleges are actually some of the best colleges in the country. You would be surprised; a lot of these schools are highly regarded by graduate school admission committees and employers, just as highly as many of the colleges you

may know. Sometimes colleges are better known because of factors like a good sports team, which ultimately will not significantly impact your experience there (unless you are playing for the team) and certainly will not impact your success as a graduate. After you have emptied your mind of myths and rumors, Step 2 of the college process is to identify what is important to you, not only in school, but also in life. Once you better know your needs, your strengths, and yourself, finding a college becomes a process of matching yourself to the colleges that come closest to meeting your overall interest and aptitudes. Naviance Family Connection is a useful tool toward this end. The college search is about finding the best possible place for you, given your unique needs and talents. Here are some questions to consider:

Academics What are my strengths in school? Which subjects do I enjoy and want to continue to study in depth? In which kinds of classes do I perform best? Do I prefer discussions or lectures? Do I thrive working on group projects or am I an independent learner? Do I like getting to know my teachers on a personal basis? Do I learn better in a relaxed environment or do I need to be challenged with competition?

Activities If I am interested in an activity, will I find ways to participate by organizing a club if it doesn’t already exist, or will I wait until I hear that something is going on and then choose to participate? What kind of environment brings out the best in me? Is school spirit important to me? Do I want to attend a college or university where the “big game� is important to school life, or do I want to attend an institution where students pursue more individual activities?

Social Life What are my social strengths? Do I want an extremely social campus environment or would I rather have a balance? If I am at a new place, will I explore on my own or wait for someone to show me around? Do I want a strong unified campus community or would I rather attend a larger university with many different communities? Would I prefer a fast-paced urban environment, which provides less of a campus community and more off-campus opportunities? Would I prefer a more suburban or rural environment, which provides more community, and more chances to get to know people at the college.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION Once you have started to think about who you are and the factors important to you in choosing a college, you should begin building a preliminary college list that matches your interests, abilities and goals. This is also the time to start researching information on these colleges so that you are able to make informed decisions on where you apply. To be thorough in your investigation, we recommend using several of the resources outlined below. A mix of objective and subjective information will be useful in becoming familiar with the schools to which you may be applying. Try to keep an open mind and do not let one overly negative (or positive) experience sway your opinion too much.

1. College Counselor You should talk to your college counselor, Mr. Levisman, openly about your interests, goals and any tentative plans for a major or career. 2. College Guidebooks Keep in mind that most guidebooks take a subjective view of colleges and their ratings, or rankings of programs and institutions. They are the opinions of these particular authors or companies and are not universally accepted views. However, their more subjective format often makes them more readable and enjoyable. Examples: The Fiske Guide to Colleges – Edward B. Fiske Cool Colleges – Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press Colleges That Change Lives – Loren Pope, Penguin The Insider’s Guide to Colleges – The Yale Daily News The Best 378 Colleges – Princeton Review Our office also has many books about specific programs, such as visual and performing arts, engineering, athletic programs, and diversity on campuses. 3. Internet Chadwick’s College Counseling program uses a web-based program called Naviance Family Connection. We use this resource to help you research colleges and universities, both in terms of their selectivity and, more importantly at this point, the programs and qualities each school offers. Family Connection will allow you to research and find out information about wonderful colleges that you might not have heard of otherwise. This program also provides links to the websites of the colleges and universities so that you can explore each college in more depth. Once you have narrowed down your college list to a manageable size, we recommend going to the individual college’s website for specific information about the college, their academic programs, admission practices, and even to take a virtual tour of campus. 4. College View books and Catalogs Colleges from across the country send students information about their institution. The most reliable source of information is the catalog, which exist as a contract with their students and is less “packaged” than other material you will be sent as a prospective student. The catalogs contain information about course offerings, admission criteria, graduation requirements, etc. They often have pictures of the campus (although keep in mind these are typically carefully selected views!). While we no longer file catalogs, view books, or other information for domestic colleges and universities (because their websites are so comprehensive), we continue to stock paper versions of such information for international universities because their websites are typically not as well designed or complete 5. College Representatives

College admission representatives will often host programs in the Los Angeles area and over 100 of them visit Chadwick every fall and spring. This is a great opportunity to ask your specific questions about a college. Some of the representatives are recent graduates of the school. However, do not judge a college solely by the representative (good or bad). 6. Parents, Teachers, Friends Talk to people about the colleges they attended, but try to separate fact from opinion. A college can change a lot in the decade (or three) since your cousin’s neighbor or your advisor’s best friend’s niece graduated from there. 7. Former Chadwick Students Most former students who are now attending college are usually happy to share their experiences. The college counselors or the Alumni Office can help put you in touch with former students. There are many ways to go about investigating colleges. A successful search will include several of these available options. Finally, the best way to get to know a college is to actually visit the campus and see it yourself. More information about visiting colleges is included in Section Three.

INTERNET GUIDE There are many resources available to students conducting a college search. One of the fastest and most informative ways is via the Internet. Listed below are a few sites that you may find valuable. If you do not have Internet access at home or have questions about how to access this information, please see one of the college counselors or the computer specialists.

College Searches: The Naviance Family Connection account that is available to you via CI’s website provides access to, among other things, a comprehensive college search engine (Super Match). This engine allows you to search for colleges based on criteria that you select, including location, size, academics, majors, athletic programs, and competitiveness of admission. It will also give you direct links to the college web pages where you can go on a virtual tour, learn more about the academic and extracurricular programs, or even contact a professor or student. Another popular and reliable search site is on the College Board website. We have provided below, however, a list of Internet sites that you might also find interesting.

Specific College Groupings – You will find plenty more listed on Naviance: Art Schools Christian Colleges Historically Black Institutions Jesuit Colleges and Universities Law Schools (general info) LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges Medical Schools (general info) Nursing Programs UCAS (UK institutions) Women’s Colleges

Financial Aid: These pages will give you factual information on financial aid as well as provide you with a programmed calculator that will help you estimate your Expected Family Contribution to college tuition. College Board’s Savings Advisor Financial Aid Information Page Financial Aid Calculator Loan Information Net Price Calculator Scholarship Searches

Applying for Financial Aid:


Testing Information: Test registration, general information and study guides. ACT Web Site SAT Web Site TOEFL

Applications On-Line: Want to download the Common Application off the web or apply online? Try these sites: Common Application CSU Application UC Application UCAS (UK institutions)

Campus Groups and Organizations: The Black Collegian Hillel - Jewish Campus Life LGBTQ NCAA (Athletics)

The listings provided above are only a small sampling of the vast amount of information available on the Internet for students doing a college search.

BENEFITS OF WOMEN`S COLLEGES The hallmarks of women’s colleges include collaborative classrooms and teaching subjects in female-friendly ways as well as creating institutional climates that are healthy for women. Famous graduates of women’s colleges include Madeline Albright and Hillary Rodham Clinton, both of whom graduated from Wellesley. And the list goes on from there. Benefits of Women’s Colleges: v

Women’s college graduates are three times more likely to earn a B.A. degree in economics and 1.5 times more likely to earn a B.A. degree in sciences and mathematics.


Graduates continue towards their doctorates in math, science, and engineering at disproportionately high rates.


Students at women’s colleges more opportunities to hold leadership positions and are able to observe women functioning in top jobs (90% of the presidents and 55% of the faculty at women’s colleges are women).


Graduates report greater satisfaction than their coed counterparts with their college experience in almost all measures – academically, developmentally, and personally.


Women’s college students develop measurable higher levels of self-esteem than other achieving women in co-educational institutions.


Graduates tend to be more involved in philanthropic activity after college.

Professional Achievements of Women’s College Graduates: v

One third of women board members of Fortune 1000 companies graduated from women’s colleges.


One of every seven state cabinet members graduated from a women’s college.


Women’s college graduates make up more than 20% of the women in congress and 30% if a Business Week’s of rising women starts in corporate America.


20% of the women identified by Black Enterprise Magazine as the twenty most powerful African-American women in corporate America graduated from women’s colleges.


Graduates are more successful in careers; that is, they tend to hold higher positions, are happier, and earn more money.

Source: The Women’s College Coalition (

SAMPLE EMAIL REQUESTING INFORMATION The message below is a “bare bones” email, and you may add to it as you wish. You may send an email directly to a college from the Family Connection website by clicking on the envelope icon on the far right of each college name, then “Send an Email.” Please note that many colleges and universities also have online forms that may be used to request an application and other information. You may also find a link to those forms on Family Connection, by clicking on the envelope icon on the far right of each college name, then “Request Information” if it appears.

To the Office of Admission: I am currently a second semester junior at Chadwick International School in Songdo, South Korea. I am interested in learning more about [INSERT NAME OF COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY] and would like to receive some general information on your curriculum and campus. I am also interested in learning more about (academic interest(s), possible majors, and extracurricular interests). Please send application materials at your earliest convenience. [OPTIONAL: Please send application materials and information on financial aid and scholarships at your earliest convenience.] Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Your name Address Phone Number Email Address

If you have a specific talent, you may also want to send an email or a letter to an athletic coach, theater department chairperson, art department chairperson, etc. to request information about their program. These email addresses are frequently found on the college’s website, and you may also call the admission office for help finding this information. It is important to describe your background in that particular field in the email. Feel free to see the college counselor for guidance in writing any of these emails.


Almost all colleges and universities to which you are applying will require national standardized testing, either the SAT, or the ACT, and/or and SAT Subject Tests. These tests serve as a national standard that an admission committee can use to compare applicants from different high schools across the country. Although they are an important part of the admission process, they are not as important as students tend to think. The Cl code for the SAT and the ACT is 682171 Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) v PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Semifinalist Qualifying Test): Taken in the fall of the sophomore and junior year, this exam is a practice exam for the SAT Reasoning Test and measures analytical skills in critical reading, mathematics and writing. It is not required or used by colleges for admission purposes. When taken in the fall of the junior year, it is used as the preliminary cut-off for the National Merit Scholarship Program. v SAT exam: This exam measures analytical skills in critical reading, mathematics and writing. Most colleges require this exam or the ACT, described below. We recommend that students take this exam once in the spring of the junior year and then again in fall of the senior year. v SAT Subject Tests: These are one-hour subject-based tests. Students may take one, two, or three tests in one sitting. These tests should be taken upon the completion of the appropriate classes at Chadwick, such as Math II after your Pre-calculus course, or U.S. History after your U.S. History class. Some, but not all, colleges require these tests. Some colleges may have the student complete two subject tests for admissions purposes, as long as they are in different discipline areas. For example, a student may fulfill the requirement with Biology and U.S. History, but not Biology and Chemistry. Some specific majors may recommend particular SAT Subject tests. Always verify the SAT Subject Test requirements of all the colleges to which you are applying. v Check for additional information or to register for the exam.

American College Testing (ACT) v PLAN: Taken in the fall of the sophomore and junior year, this exam is a practice exam for the ACT exam and measures skills in English, math, reading, and science. It is not required or used by colleges for admission purposes. v ACT exam: This exam has four sections based on high school curriculum: English, math, reading, and science. There is an optional (but strongly suggested) 30-minute writing section which many colleges, including the UCs, will require. Most colleges accept either the ACT or the SAT, described above. We recommend that students take this exam once in the spring of the junior year and then again in fall of the senior year. v Check for additional information or to register for the exam. Advanced Placement Exams (APs) Students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes take these subject exams during the month of May. Depending on the college’s policy, the APs can be used towards college credit or placement with a score of 3, 4, or 5. Students register for the exam through their Chadwick instructor.

PREPARING FOR THE SAT OR THE ACT Q: What’s the best way to prepare for the SAT or the ACT? A: The best preparation is straightforward: you should work hard in the most challenging courses you can handle, and read as much as possible. College admission staffs are more impressed by an academic record that shows real effort and achievement than they are by standardized test scores. Q: What if I want to do more to prepare for the SAT? A: In the spring of 11th grade (before the March SAT exam administration), you may spend some time at the SAT Preparation Center (, which includes extensive information about the SAT, thorough interactive tutorials on different question types, and sample questions from previous tests, with explanations, and offers these services for no fee. Yes, that’s right, for free. Students who took the PSAT will have a customized study plan available for them without charge called My College Quickstart. You may consider ordering The Official SAT Online Course from the College Board website. You may also use The College Board’s own book The Official SAT Study Guide, available for purchase on the website or in your local bookstore. This book is also available for consultation in the college counseling center’s library. Q: What if I want to do more to prepare for the ACT? A: In the spring of 11th grade (before the April ACT exam administration), you may visit the “Test Prep” section of the ACT website (, which includes extensive information about the ACT, thorough tutorials on different question types, questions of the day, practice test questions. Many of these services are offered for no fee. Yes, that’s right, for free. The ACT Online Prep program is available for purchase at a reasonable fee and is valid for one year. You may also use the ACT’s own book The Real ACT Prep Guide that is available for purchase on their website or in your local bookstore. This book is also available for consultation in the college counseling center’s library. Q: What about preparation for the SAT Subject Tests? A: Your best preparation for SAT Subject Tests occurs in the classroom; however, you may use practice materials supplied by the College Board in their registration materials. You may also use the Real SAT Subject Tests book, available for purchase online or in your local bookstore. This book is also available for consultation in the college counseling center’s library. Q: Is it worthwhile to take a commercial SAT or ACT coaching course? A: Be careful to differentiate preparing from coaching. Coaching focuses on drills, tricks and memorization techniques. It can also use unrealistic testing situations, claim huge score increases, and take the form of expensive, commercial, out-of-school programs. Coaching can improve SAT or ACT test scores, but the benefit is marginal and has to be weighed against the cost both in terms of student time (which could be spent on other activities which are also appealing to colleges) and dollars. Q: But aren’t test scores the most important thing colleges really consider? A: No. You should remember that high scores alone do not guarantee admission, particularly at the most selective colleges and universities. SAT or ACT scores are only one part of an admission application, and getting into college is only the first step toward a college degree.

SAT Testing Dates Spring 2014 in Korea National Test Dates


Registration Deadlines




May 3 2014*


March 26

June 7 2014


April 30


SAT Testing Dates for 14/15 in Korea National Test Dates

October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January March May 2015 June 2015

Offered at CI

Registration Deadlines




Yes; Language Tests with Listening




NO (yes in other centers)






Yes; Subject Tests; no Listening


Notes: Language Tests with Listening are offered in November only. Only one Language Test with Listening can be taken during this testing period; a student may take another Language Test without the listening portion as an additional exam.

ACT Testing Dates Test Date

Regular Registration Offered at CI

Late Fee Required

April 12, 2014


March 8 - 22, 2014

June 14, 2014


May 10 - 23, 2014

ACT Testing Dates for Test Date

Regular Registration Offered at CI

Late Fee Required

September 2014

No (other centers)


October 2014



December 2014



February 2015

No (other centers)


April 2015



June 2015

No (other centers)



Table 1 Concordance between ACT Composite Score and Sum of SAT Critical Reading and Mathematics Scores SAT CR + M (Score Range)

ACT Composite Score

SAT CR + M (Single Score)















































































To convert your SAT CR + M score (not including Writing) into an ACT Composite Score, locate your score in the score range column on the left. Your ACT Composite Score will be next to it in the middle. To convert your ACT Composite Score into a SAT CR + M score (not including Writing), locate your score in the middle column. Your SAT CR + M score (not including Writing) will be next to it on the right.

Table 2 Concordance between ACT Combined English/Writing Score and SAT Writing Score SAT Writing (Score Range)

ACT English/Writing Score

SAT Writing (Single Score)















































































To convert your SAT Writing score into an ACT English/Writing Score, locate your score in the score range column on the left. Your ACT English/Writing will be next to it in the middle. To convert your ACT English/Writing Score into a SAT Writing score, locate your score in the middle column. Your SAT Writing score will b next to it on the right.

Table 3 Estimated Relationship between ACT Composite Score and SAT CR+M+W Score

ACT Composite Score

Estimated SAT CR + M + W

Estimated SAT CR + M + W (Score Range)

ACT Composite Score









































































































For all concordance table methodology, please consult

SENDING SAT SCORES It is your responsibility to send your scores to each college or university to which you are applying, and do so in advance of the application deadline.

SAT Score Report Colleges and universities that have SAT and SAT Subject Tests as part of their admission selection criteria will require you to have ETS (in partnership with the College Board) send an official copy of your testing record. This official copy is called a Score Report, and it includes every SAT test you have ever taken. Score Choice Information regarding the SAT Score Choice policy can be found in this section. Our recommendation is that students do not use Score Choice because most colleges and universities use the highest reported scores on your score report, usually the best score for each section (“super scoring”). To Send SAT and SAT Subject Test Scores v Please read the directions in the SAT Registration Bulletin or in the “Send Your Scores” section of the website. v If you are applying to a college under an Early Action/Early Decision/Early Notification plan, you should send your scores by mid-October or request that scores be sent to your college at the time that you register for the October test. November scores will not be available in time for the Early process unless specified by the respective college. When you register for your last SAT exam, be sure to indicate that you want your scores sent to all the colleges to which you are applying. Do not wait until you receive these scores to send them, or your scores may arrive past the college admission deadlines. v If you are applying to the UCs, you may send your score report to just one UC campus, and they will forward it to all other UC campuses. v If you are applying to the CSUs, you should list the CSU Mentor institution code [3594], so that CSU Mentor can store your scores for any CSU campus to retrieve. v You may send your scores using the phone number 866-756-7346 or via the internet at You will need to know your social security number and registration number. You may also send your scores to four schools, at no charge, each time you register for the exam. If you send your scores at any point and then take another exam at a later date, you will need to re-send your scores to the colleges to be updated. ETS will not update your record to the college automatically. For additional score reports (after the four free reports), there is a charge per college or university each time you send your scores. Sending scores will be discussed in individual college meeting.

SENDING ACT SCORES It is your responsibility to send your scores to each college or university to which you are applying, and do so in advance of the application deadline.

ACT Student Report Colleges and universities that have the ACT as part of their admission selection criteria will require you to have the ACT organization send an official copy of your testing record. This official copy is called a Student Report or Score Report, and the results from only one ACT test date are reported on a score report. To Send ACT Scores v Please read the directions in the “Send Your Scores to Others” section of the website. v You can have your ACT scores sent to colleges after you test in addition to the ones you selected when you registered or tested. Requests are processed AFTER your tests have been scored. v If you want to report more than one test date to the same college, first complete your request to report one test date and then choose “Send Your Scores” again and request a report for the other test date(s). v If you are applying to a college under an Early Action/Early Decision/Early Notification plan, you should send your scores by early October. December scores will not be available in time for the early process unless specified by the respective college. Do not wait until you receive your scores to send them; if you do so, your scores may arrive past the time your application has been reviewed by the admissions office. v If you are applying to the UCs, you may send your score report to just one UC campus, and they will forward it to all other UC campuses. v If you are applying to the CSUs, you may send your score report to just one CSU campus. Then you can use the ACT Scores Manager on the CSUMentor website to release your scores to additional CSU campuses. [Unlike for the SATs, there is no CSUMentor institution code for sending your ACT scores.] v You may send your scores via the Internet at and logging into your ACT Web account. There is a charge per test date per report. Sending scores will be discussed in individual college meetings

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING SCORE CHOICE Q: Is Score Choice available for both SAT and SAT Subject Tests score reports? A: Yes. Students can select which scores they send to colleges by test date for the SAT and by individual test for SAT Subject Tests. Q: Does using Score Choice cost more? A: No. This feature can be used on any score report sent (the four score reports available through registration or additional score reports) at no additional cost to students. Our pricing policy, with respect to additional score reports, has not changed. Q: Does Score Choice disadvantage students who don't take the test multiple times? A: No. Research shows that students generally see modest score increases upon taking the test a second time. If there are gains from further testing, they tend to be even smaller. Q: What if students do not abide by a college's or university's score-use practice? A: As a matter of integrity, students are expected to follow college admissions policies, and the same is true with respect to a student's sending of test scores to colleges. Students are responsible for complying with the admissions requirements of the colleges, universities, and scholarship programs to which they apply. Q: Is there a loophole that allows colleges to "opt out" of Score Choice? A: Colleges cannot "opt out of" or "reject" Score Choice. Score Choice is a feature available to students. Colleges set their own policies and practices regarding the use of test scores. The College Board does not release SAT test scores without student consent. This continues under Score Choice. Colleges, universities, and scholarship programs will receive the scores applicants send to them. Q: Does Score Choice affect other aspects of SAT registration and score-report timing, policies or processes? A: No. Score Choice allows students to select which scores are sent to institutions. It does not affect score-report timing or other policies and procedures that are not directly related to sending score reports. Q: Does Score Choice affect score sends? A: All test scores are automatically sent to institutions with each score report if a student does not actively choose to use Score Choice. However, if a student chooses to use Score Choice, then the College Board will send only the scores that a student selects when sending a score report. This means that colleges cannot assume that all score reports include all student scores. source: The CollegeBoard


Visiting Colleges The best

way to get a sense of a particular school is by visiting and seeing for yourself what the campus is really like. You don’t have to visit every school to which you are planning to apply, but it is strongly recommended that you visit at least several different campuses prior to filing applications. One key to a successful college search is to travel! Our sister school Chadwick Palos Verdes is located within close driving distance of several outstanding colleges and universities and you might want to start there: there are several large public universities (UC and Cal State campuses), a large private university (USC), liberal arts colleges (Occidental, Whittier, Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer), single-sex colleges (Scripps, Mt. St. Mary’s), science and engineering institutions (Harvey Mudd, Caltech), art colleges (Otis College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts) and religiously affiliated colleges (Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine). Visiting several different types of colleges will give you a better feeling of the general differences between schools. Even if you don’t plan to apply to any of the colleges listed above or even to stay in the Los Angeles area, they can be useful in guiding you to the types of schools you will like.

Planning the Visit? Let me know so I can help you plan your trip. We will also plan to offer college visits through the Interim program at CI.


Whether planning an extensive trip to visit schools or just visiting one school locally, once you have a date set aside you should call the admission office of the college to find out their schedule of tours and information sessions. v Almost every college will offer a half-hour to one-hour presentation (information session) led by an admission officer or admissions fellow and followed or preceded by a student tour. v Call at least two weeks in advance to find out the tour/information session times and make a reservation if necessary. v Plan to have a little time to walk around the campus on your own. You may want to visit a particular building or department that is not included in the official tour. You may also want to check out and even sample the dining facilities of the campus. v Some admission offices will be able to host you overnight with a current student and/or have you visit a class. v Call ahead to schedule an appointment with a coach if you are interested in playing on an intercollegiate team. v We do not recommend visiting more than two colleges per day.

When to Visit There are several options and times that are ideal. International students use the summer break to visit campuses. You can also use Spring Break or the Chuseok Holiday. It is best we discuss your plans first.

The fall of your senior year may provide other opportunities to visit campuses. Many schools are open for visits on weekends and may even offer one- or two-day prospective student programs in the fall. Some schools may offer multicultural visit programs (or “fly-in” programs) for students from multicultural, low-income, or first-generation college-bound backgrounds. Some of these programs are at little-to-no cost for the student. Again, call ahead to find out the dates and times, or check the admissions section of the college website which usually has visit information. Some students will take up to five days off from school (with the permission of the Dean of Students and teachers) to visit campuses. Plan ahead for student holidays like Columbus Day weekend as colleges get heavily booked with visitors at these times. Finally, you may plan to visit colleges once you know where you have been admitted. Many colleges will host “admitted student” programs where you can spend a night on campus and meet with faculty to help make up your mind on which college to attend.

“Must See” Stops on your Visit Every college visit should include stops at the following: q

q q

q q q


Residence Halls — This is a chance to see where students live in relation to the classrooms, the student center, the library, etc. Location and ease of access to the campus as well as the kind of student life there is actually more important than the architectural beauty of the dorm. Classrooms, Science and Computer Labs — Visiting different academic buildings can give you a sense of the average class size and structure. Are the classrooms typically lecture or seminar style? Student Center — Is there a well-maintained student center with meeting rooms, game rooms, and lounges where students can hang out? It is worth picking up a campus newspaper and reviewing bulletin boards and student announcements; these things can tell you a great deal about the student life on the campus and the issues that concern students. Library — How large is the library? Are there rooms to meet with other students, and quiet places to study away from roommates and other distractions? How many volumes of books? Research tools? Athletic Facilities — Are there facilities available for non-varsity athletes? What are the hours of operation? Cafeteria — Plan to have at least one meal on campus during your stay. Ask if students are required to be on the meal plan and whether there are multiple dining facilities on campus. Ask the students what they think of the food! These are great spots to eavesdrop and get a feel for some of the things students talk about, think about and to notice how they engage with each other. Specific Departments/Facilities — It is not always possible to include every building on the tour, so in that situation be sure to ask the tour guide to point out the building(s) that house the department(s) that you would like to investigate on your own. Sometimes you will find a professor or student that will have a moment or two to answer your questions.

Feel free to use the campus visit summary sheet at the end of this section to help you organize your visits.

Interviews Some colleges will offer interviews for prospective international students if they happen to have alumni in the area of Seoul or Incheon. We recommend that students visiting campuses request an interview if they are offered. This must be done well in advance of the visit. Realize that during any April, admitted students (seniors) are given priority in campus visits. Either an admission officer or a trained student interviewer will conduct oncampus interviews. In either case, interviews are typically informal exchanges of information. The interview can give the admission person a more in-depth understanding of the student, both academically and personally, and the student can learn more about that particular college or university. The interview process is a two-way street, and the student should see it as an opportunity to “interview” the college.


If the  college  offers  an   interview,  just  do  it.        

When should you interview? Colleges that offer interviews rarely require the submission of an application before interviewing. Don’t wait! Because of travel, some may interview as early as Spring Break of the Junior year. Our experience is that students present themselves best in interviews late in summer or through the fall of the senior year, after they have gained perspective on colleges generally and more specifically about their own needs and learning styles.

Some colleges “recommend” interviews. Some “expect” interviews. Some offer no individual interviews. Some make interview arrangements only after a student submits and application and some are happy to meet with students any time after during or after the second semester of their junior year in high school. Most those offering interviews stop interviews by January 1 for seniors because they move into selection sessions. Some only begin to offer alumni interviews in January of the senior year. How do you sort it out? Pay attention. YOU must know the rules and expectations for each college you are planning to interview and for which you will make an application. Read!!! CALL AHEAD! Most colleges offering campus interviews suggest calling at least two to three weeks in

advance to schedule an appointment. We strongly urge you to call even earlier, especially if your visit to the campus will be later in the fall semester. Many will completely fill their November or December interview schedules very early. Some may offer Saturday morning interviews and they fill most quickly, followed by Friday and Monday interviews. If you have the flexibility for mid-week visits, you may have greatest ease of scheduling and have the bonus opportunity to see a campus in its most “normal” academic state, rather than on a Friday afternoon or Saturday when classes are least likely to be held. Preparation Before arriving on campus for an interview, review information on the college. You will be much more impressive in an interview if you demonstrate some knowledge of the campus and the programs but, do not recite a view book back to your interviewer! (They wrote it, after all….) You should expect that the interviewer will know nothing about you beyond your home state or city and your high school. In most cases you will not have submitted an application before the interview so you arrive as a “blank slate”. Consider that an opportunity! But don’t be insulted if the interviewer has not read your application even if it was submitted. It gives them the opportunity to really engage you in a conversation without pre-existing notions. Note the aspects you like most about the college and write down some questions you want to ask your interviewer. You should feel comfortable to bring a notepad into the interview with your questions written down. Feel free to

take notes as well but it’s really best to do that shortly after the interview rather than during the exchange. Please set-up an appointment with your college counselor if you would like some advice on college interviews, or would like to practice. But don’t worry! You are allowed and expected to be a high school student in these interviews! In fact, if you are too rehearsed and too cautious in responses trying to tell the interviewer what you may think they want to hear, the interviewer may not feel that he or she has really had a chance to get to know you. Some Guidelines for the Interview v Be on time. It is far better to arrive early than to arrive late! v Be presentable in terms of attire. Go “appropriate.” It’s not necessary to dress formally (but shorts and tshirts are too casual, even for a California college v Be prepared to thoughtfully talk about yourself and your interests. The interviewer may have specific questions or may leave it up to you to direct the conversation. Be prepared to speak to why you are interested in applying to or attending this particular college. Remember that the interviewer is taking time to interview you, so at a minimum you should display interest and enthusiasm for what you have seen and heard about their college, as well as express enthusiasm about yourself, your passions, and your goals. v Prepare some sample questions to ask. See Section 3.3 for guidelines. v Ask for a business card at the end of the interview and follow-up with a handwritten thank you note to your interviewer. v Be prepared to thoughtfully talk about yourself and your interests. The interviewer may have specific questions or may leave it up to you to direct the conversation. Be prepared to speak to why you are interested in applying to or attending this particular college. Remember that the interviewer is taking time to interview you, so at a minimum you should display interest and enthusiasm for what you have seen and heard about their college, as well as express enthusiasm about yourself, your passions, and your goals. v Prepare some sample questions to ask. See Section 3.3 for guidelines. v Ask for a business card at the end of the interview and follow-up with a handwritten thank you note to your interviewer.

Skype, Video or Phone Interviews More frequently, colleges are offering interview alternatives for students who cannot visit the campuses. These remote interviews may be conducted by admission officers via phone or Skype appointment or may be in the form of a video submission or an asynchronous video interview platform where students are “met” through questions and spontaneous answers submitted to the sponsoring college or university. Through Naviance, CI students may take advantage of LikeLive® practice video interviews, challenging themselves with both questions and presentation in preparation for either live or video interviews. They may share the practice video for critical feedback from counselors or others with whom they may share the video. More on that technology, soon! Alumni Interviews in Korea As said earlier, alumni living in the local area conduct many colleges offer off-campus interviews to applicants, and these meetings. Alumni volunteers help provide information about the college and then submit interview reports on each student contacted. You should follow the same guidelines for these interviews as for on-campus interviews. Colleges have very different approaches to scheduling alumni interviews. Some invite you to contact them to request alumni interviews if you cannot visit their campus or are unable to schedule the interview when you visit. Some provide that opportunity BEFORE you submit an application. Some will extend the alumni interview offer only after the application was submitted. You may need to schedule those meetings with relatively little notice. As in all aspects of the admission process, it extremely important that YOU are responsible for taking the initiative to read carefully and understand the procedures for each school you are pursuing.

Questions to Ask on a College Visit Some questions  are  more  appropriate  to  ask  an  admission  officer,  and  some  of  student  tour  guides,  staff  or  faculty.  Some   should  be  explored  by  you,  the  prospective  student,  before  visiting  the  college  or  university  and  may  be  investigated   through  discussion  with  your  college  counselor  and  through  college  guidebooks  or  websites.  

Mission of the College Does your institution have a teaching or research orientation? How does that translate to the student experience? • What makes this college special? What makes it special for YOU? (the tour guide or admission officer or faculty member) • How does your college view its place in the community? In the world? • How would you define the campus climate with regards to diversity and inclusion? How do you personally experience that? Academics • How accessible are the faculty members? • Do faculty members or graduate students teach courses? Which classes do graduate students teach? • Is tutoring available from faculty? • What is the average size of an introductory class? Other classes? • Are many students shut out of classes they want or need? • Is there a required core group of courses? What is the philosophy behind the core curriculum? • When must a major be declared? How difficult is it to change a major? • Are there unusual academic or professional opportunities? Interdisciplinary majors, specializations? • Is there an academic resource center dedicated to student achievement? Make-Up of Student Body • What is the percentage of students from out-of-state? • What is the percentage of students of color? International students? • What is the percentage of students receiving financial aid? • What is the percentage of students who are first-generation college-bound? Housing • Is housing guaranteed? What are the residence hall options (single sex, co-educational, gender-neutral, etc.)? • Are there any themed residence halls, houses or dorms, such as substance free, multicultural, LGBTQ, or language specific? Activities and Student Life • What types of clubs and organizations are there? How easy is it to join? How easy is it to start a club or organization? • What cultural and recreational opportunities are available on campus? • What sort of programming do you have for special interest groups? • Are there fraternities or sororities on campus? Are they local or national? What percentage of students belongs to fraternities and sororities? Are they important to the social life? • Do most students stay on campus during the weekend? • What is the most popular event of the year? • What is the atmosphere/personality of the campus? • What are some of your college’s annual traditions? •

Does the sports program offer a genuine alternative to intercollegiate, highly competitive sports activities for people who want to play but who may be a level below the varsity level? • What are the athletic facilities like and are they available to non-varsity students? Admission and Financial Aid • Has the number of applications increased? • How many students are accepted under early decision/early action? What percentage of the class is accepted under early decision/early action? • On what criteria are students evaluated (in order of importance)? • Is financial need a factor in admission? How does your college determine financial need?

CAMPUS VISIT SUMMARY SHEET College Name: ___________________________________ Visit Date: ____________ Names, phone numbers, e-mails that may be needed later (regional admissions officer, coach, student, etc.): __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ Overall impression of this college: Outstanding




What was the best thing about this college? ______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ What was the worst thing about this college? _____________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being highest), rate the college on these factors. Remember to focus on what matters to you. Academic offerings: Student body & social life: Campus facilities: Availability of financial aid: Admission standards: Other __________________:

1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5

Overall rating:






Other observations / memorable quote: _________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________


CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE速

College Applications The fall of the senior year will arrive before you know it (trust us!), and with it comes the heart of the application process. • •

Plan ahead and stay organized.

Try to get as much work done over the summer as possible.

Filling out applications and writing essays will be as time consuming as taking an additional class—ask the Class of ‘13; they can surely attest to this. You should begin drafting some of your essays over the summer and completing some of the forms. Common Application essays certainly take time but individual Common Application supplements for colleges may be even more time intensive and important. You will be asked to bring one of these essays to the Senior College Workshop at the beginning of the school year.

Worth repeating: There is a lot of work ahead.

Be sure to keep all of your applications organized and keep track of all of your deadlines, college specific instructions and expectations. You can use the checklist in Section 4.6 to help you or may wish to create your own spreadsheet so that you and your parents may all keep on task.

How many applications? How much is too much? By the fall of your senior year you should have researched your preliminary list and narrowed it down to about a dozen schools. In the end, we strongly recommend that you apply to no more than 8 to 10 colleges. (Remember that any number of the UCs count as one choice, while any number of the CSUs may count as another choice.) Based on the experiences of present (and previous) counselors, we feel that applying to more than 10 colleges likely will have adverse effects on your senior year because: 1) it is very difficult to develop and maintain relationships with more than ten college representatives; 2) the time you spend on the additional college applications and relationships with college representatives will take time away from your class work; 3) the process will end up dictating your life rather than the other way around; 4) keeping track of multiple and varied requirements may lead to mistakes in applications or procedures and; 5) you should enjoy your last year of high school and not let the college process dominate it. Your final list should include a range of selectivity: reach, possible, and likely options. Every school on your list should be a school that you would be happy to attend. If you do not like even your “likely” schools, you have not finished constructing your list.

As in all aspects of the admission process, it is extremely important that the applicant is responsible for taking the initiative to read carefully and understand the procedures for each school of interest.

May I Apply Early Action to More than One College? Maybe. Some colleges and universities have “Single Choice Early Action” programs, explicitly limiting the student to one early action application. Some offer unrestricted early action plans permitting multiple early applications. If you apply early action to more than one college, be prepared to do most of your work over the summer before you return to school for your senior year. In the past, students who made multiple early action applications without advance preparation experienced a drop in their grades at the time of their progress reports. That’s not good because most colleges ask for mid-fall progress grades for Early Action and Early Decision students.

Be aware that early deadlines typically fall either at November 1 or November 15 and collide with SAT/ACT test dates, Chadwick’s fall theater and or music performance dates and homecoming activities in addition to mid-fall exams and due dates.

University of California (UC) Applications The filing period for these applications is November 1 - 30. The UC System has developed an excellent PowerPoint presentation that will take you step-by-step through the process. They also have a great “quick-start to applying” guide as well. We strongly recommend that you review your final application and submit it by November 15th. Remember, you will have the UC essay prompts in advance and can begin working on the essays over the summer. Contrary to popular belief, the personal statement for the UCs is read in all cases, so you will want to spend some time perfecting it. Please note that the UC application is only available online beginning October 1st at California State University (CSU) Applications The filing period for the CSU applications is October 1 to November 30. The CSU apps are only available online, Submit your apps early—preferably by October 15th—because many campuses have impacted programs. Out-of-State Public Universities Not all public universities operate like the UC and CSU systems. In fact, each state has its own specific procedures, deadlines, and requirements. Some of their deadlines may be “received by/no later than” deadlines, not only for your materials but for all of your supporting documents as well; if you miss those type of deadlines, your application will not be reviewed in most cases. You must find out the specifics for each college and stay on top of things. Private Colleges These applications can be more time consuming and require one or more essays and short-answer prompts and often include a series of supplements to the Common Application. They have varying deadlines, which include scholarship and application deadlines. Once again, it is your responsibility to stay on top of things. Most private colleges now use the Common Application. The Common Application Many colleges and universities (over 400) accept The Common Application, which is produced by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Students complete the singular application and can submit it online. Be aware, though, that colleges will often have supplemental forms to complete in addition to the Common Application. Sometimes the supplements are due at the same time as the Common App. In most cases, the supplemental essays are very important and usually the most demanding part of the application process. They add to your workload and have a way of sneaking up on you, so plan well in advance of deadlines. For more information and to create an account, visit

Common Application And University of California Essay Topics The personal statement helps colleges become acquainted with you in ways different from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. The colleges are looking for an essay that will help them know you better as a person and as a student. Essays may also help indirectly place in context the recommendation letters and transcripts. They may add when they help put the puzzle of the application together. They are, in short, an opportunity if used well. If they do not “fit” with the rest of the application (a complete reinvention of self or one heavily assisted by outside help) essay may, in fact, undermine an application. They may be compared with SAT or ACT essay writing samples to find the author’s “voice”.

Common Application Personal Essay Topic Choices and Instructions Revised for 2013-14

Essay Instructions from the Common Application: The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. (The application won’t accept a response shorter than 250 words.) v Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. v Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? v Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? v Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful to you? v Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, which marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family. Note: These are the “main essay” prompts only, and do not reflect short answer prompts or individual college application supplements, that often are extensive.

The University of California Personal Statement Questions Your personal statements are an important part of your application for admission and scholarships. Remember that the University will not review recommendations from your college counselor or teachers, so you are the only one who will be able to represent yourself. Therefore, the University uses the essays to learn more about you as an individual—your talents, experiences, achievements and points of view. Think of the personal statements as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions officers and faculty who will be evaluating your application. Unlike other college and university admission offices, the University of California does not want “creative” essays— rather they want well-written, straightforward answers to their questions. Present your information and ideas in a focused, in-depth, thoughtful, and meaningful manner. Support your ideas with specific examples. Applicants should respond to the two questions below using a total of 1,000 words. This word limit is a maximum imposed by the UCs; the online system will not allow more than a thousand words to be entered. You may allocate the word count as you wish, but the shorter essay answer should be no fewer than 250 words. The online application, via, has separate entry boxes for each question and a word counter to help applicants track the length of their responses. Remember to watch the word count carefully! Compose your essays in a plain text or Word document and paste them into the space provided in the application after you have reviewed them carefully. Prompt #1: (freshman applicants only) Describe the world you come from—for example, your family, community or school—and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. Prompt #2: (all applicants) Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Additional Factors in the Admission Process While your transcript, test scores, and college essay are all very important to the colleges considering your viability for admission, there are other factors that may make a difference in your application and may improve your chances of getting into college.

Extracurricular Activities Extracurricular activities are important because they give colleges an idea of your interests and how you spend your time when you are not studying. They also give you an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership ability, help distinguish you from other applicants, and provide valuable insight into your personality. v Participate in sports or activities because you enjoy them, not because you think they will “look good” to colleges. o There is no magic formula or checklist. o Personal activities, pursuits or hobbies may be important to include. o Summer and school time work are also important to include. o If your extracurricular commitments are limited due to distance from school or transportation or because you have family responsibilities, perhaps to younger siblings, be sure to discuss this with your college counselor for presentation in your applications. v Do not overload on extracurricular activities just to impress colleges. Admission officers are interested in the depth of your commitment to your activities. They would rather see you sincerely committed to a few activities (not just one) than spread too thinly among ten and find attractive at least some long term involvements over brief dabbling on a longer list.

Athletics If you are an athlete and your coach feels that you can play your sport at a collegiate level, you will need to fill out an NCAA eligibility form before you apply to colleges. (Ms. Sinfie Pena, our registrar, has these forms). v Please consult with Ms. Clark, our athletic director, who has helpful information surrounding athletic recruitment and will work with both coaches and college counselors so that we may most fully support you in this process.

v Information Links for Student Athletes and Their Parents Thinking of Playing Sports in College College Athletic Information PDF Video of College Athletics Night 2012 15 College Turn-offs NCAA Rules & Requirements Gr 911 NCAA Rules & Requirements Gr 12 NCAA Sponsored Sports

Other Resources National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA: Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse

NCAA: Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete

Some context and caution is always important. Realistic assessment of athletic talent and hopes is part of the selfdiscovery that will lead to good exploration of collegiate options. It is easy to be flattered by college coaches who are recruiting you, but be sure to protect yourself in the process. You should take almost everything a college coach may say with a grain of salt. Coaches may be fickle and may be working within a variety of conference or school recruiting guidelines that collide with their own sincere wishes for any given athlete. A coach may dearly want you to play for her/him when they speak to you in September of the senior year, but if ten players surface in October or November with considerable talents for the same position, you may be forgotten. College counselors and coaches want to work closely with you to make sure communications are fair, honest and to the student’s benefit. Some of the basic information requested initially by college recruiters may focus on GPA but grade trends may be ultimately much more important. The weight and role of athletics in admission processes varies tremendously, even within a college, from sport to sport or from year to year within one sport. Be mindful of promises made by college coaches because these promises are sometimes broken. College counselors and coaches, and the athletic director can only work most effectively for students when we all have the same information available, including work with coaches outside Chadwick in club sports or outside coaches.

Musical or Artistic Talents If you are a musician, performing or visual artist, applying to college can be a slightly different process. If you know that you want to apply to music, fine or performing arts programs, you will need to audition or present a portfolio to the college. If, however, you want to pursue music or arts in the context of a broad, liberal arts education, choose colleges that have academic offerings in those areas that also serve non-majors. Some colleges and universities are paired with conservatories of music that provide opportunity for double majors or dual degree programs (B.A and B.Music). Some provide opportunity for dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in the visual arts. Look to colleges and universities with active clubs or performing arts groups on campus to fit your needs. v Make sure you let the colleges know that you have a special talent or ability. v Some colleges, including Common Application participating colleges have a supplemental form with clear instructions for submission of portfolio or audition material to complete as either required or optional parts of their application.

Alumni Connections Some colleges give special consideration to close relatives (legacies) of their alumni, such as parents and grandparents. In some institutions that consideration may include siblings, while others, like the University of California, explicitly do not make any special concessions to legacies. Reality Check: Other alumni connections considered by families and students typically are much less significant to colleges. “Knowing someone” who is an alumnus and who may write a recommendation for an applicant may mean little more than that. Given the size of alumni bodies and the selectivity of many institutions of interest, the mathematical truth is that there are hugely more alumni than spaces in many of those freshman classes. Alumni influence, therefore, varies, if present at all. Unless the alumnus knows the applicant very well and may write in detail, the letter of general support may be acknowledged but not necessarily influential. At many institutions, this limited influence may even include Trustees or Alumni Council members who may follow-up on candidates but whose responsibilities may not extend to nudging the admission of a student who is not competitive.

Post Decision – Early Action and Early Decision in December (or February) Applying to a college or university under an early program comes with added responsibilities. Please consider the following guidelines before moving forward with the application process (or completing it). Inform your college counselor of any decision you receive from a college as soon as you receive it. Accept, deny, defer—we want to know, and we need to know! If you were accepted Early Decision, congratulations! All of the research, visiting, applying, and waiting has finally paid off.

Ø Please be aware that you must withdraw all applications you have submitted to other colleges or universities, including the University of California campuses, at the time you receive the decision. Keep copies of your letters of withdrawal for your records. If you were accepted Early Action, congratulations! You are going to college.

If admitted early action to one or more schools, fairness dictates that we require you in good conscience to withdraw applications from the remaining colleges on your list that you would not attend over one of your Early Action schools. It’s fair to the college or university and it is fair to make a space available to another worthy candidate.

Defer Most likely, if you've been deferred, your credentials merited that your application be reviewed with the full applicant pool. Your application will either be carried over to the Regular Decision pool, or, in rare cases, to an Early Decision II pool (if you originally applied under an Early Decision I deadline). It is appropriate to write or to email the admissions office and inform them of your desire to remain in the applicant pool. After that, you should consider updating them only once with additional grades, new leadership position in a group or team, or a new honor or award that you have received since being deferred.

Financial Aid If you have been accepted Early Decision, you typically will receive your tentative financial aid award at the same time as your admissions decision. Follow up with the FAFSA and any other recommended financial statements required. If you have been accepted under an Early Action plan, you will still need to complete CSS or FAFSA by the published deadlines. You will receive financial aid packages in the spring and that will allow you and your family to compare all financial aid offers you receive from colleges very carefully.

And finally…….. Have you remembered to thank and inform the teachers of your college acceptances? Remember that each one took time out of their busy schedule to write your letters of recommendation. Whether or not you were accepted, your teachers made an effort to assist you, and they deserve your expression of appreciation, even if there is more college news to come in the spring. In fact, a formal thank you note is always very much appreciated.

CI School Policy for Reporting Information to Colleges When requested by a college or university, the College Counseling Office will submit a School Report on the student’s behalf that will be added to her/his application for admission. The school report will contain academic, extracurricular, and/or personal information, including academic transcripts, from the College Counselor and/or the Principal of Upper School. To maintain a level of trust between CI and the college, the information sent to the college (with the exception of the transcript) will be confidential and only shared between the counselors and the college admission office. The School Report will contain the following four items: 1. School Report Form The college counselor will complete the school report form, also known as the SR on the Common App. (You may find a copy of that form on the Common Application website.) For non-Common App schools, the counselor will complete the school report form available from the individual college or from the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), which is the national association connecting colleges, universities, high schools and related professional organizations. NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice binds schools and colleges in important communications and policies.1 The SR will contain a weighted GPA*, an evaluation of the rigor of the student’s curriculum in comparison to what is offered by the school and to what other current seniors have chosen, and recommendations based on academic promise, extracurricular involvement, personal qualities and character, and an overall recommendation. The evaluation for each of these recommendations will be made by the college counselors based on interaction with the student, information submitted by the student and her/his family, written teacher comments, her/his academic record, and information from the permanent student file. The overall evaluation categories include “with reservation,” “fairly strongly,” “strongly,” and “enthusiastically.” *Grade Point Averages are calculated on a 4-point scale for grades 9-11. Pluses and minuses are not factored in. The weighted GPA allows one additional point for honors and AP classes. CI does not compute rank. Only grades from classes taken at CI are calculated into the GPA. 2. School Letter of Recommendation The school letter of recommendation is a comprehensive letter focusing on the student’s academic preparation, extracurricular activities, personal accomplishments, and character. The letter is written and reviewed by a committee consisting of the college counselor, faculty, and/or administrators chosen for their experience and knowledge of the senior class and the college admission process. While the committee will attempt to highlight the student’s most positive qualities and characteristics, it is an honest and comprehensive assessment based on personal contact, information submitted by the student and her/his family, written teacher comments, her/his academic record, and information from the permanent student file. 3. Transcript The transcript reports the student’s academic record at CI for grades 9-11 and is processed and printed by the Registrar. The transcript reports all classes taken during the academic day. Upon completion of the 7th semester (fall), the college counseling office sends out the mid-year grade report to all colleges on the student’s final list with the exception of the UC’s and the CSU campuses. 4. School Profile An updated school profile reports relevant information on the school and the senior class to assist college admission offices in understanding the CI experience and the distinct accomplishments of its students.


Full NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice, including school and student responsibilities, is available at

Reporting Student Disabilities In compliance with federal law, CI will disclose disabilities only when the student and parent authorize a release of this information. The assigned college counselor will inform the student if s/he believes it will be in the student’s best interest. Reporting Disciplinary Action Disciplinary action is defined as probation, suspension, or expulsion. On the Common Application and on many individual college applications, students are asked to self-report disciplinary actions and, in filing an application, authorize explicitly, the school to provide information about disciplinary action. The Student release on the Secondary School Report from the Common Application:

If a college or university asks a question regarding disciplinary action, CI is obligated to respond to the question, and we strongly recommend that the student respond as well. In some cases the college will require a statement from the student. If the college does not ask about such incidents, the school will not report the disciplinary action. The University of California schools, for example, do not ask about disciplinary action. Please read the following excerpt from the Upper School Handbook: NOTICATION TO COLLEGES OF DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS Disciplinary records are kept at the school in order to maintain and encourage high standards of student conduct in keeping with our Honor Code, and to further the character education of both individual students and the school community at large. While a student is in attendance at the school, these records are subject to reporting to other educational institutions in keeping with the policies set forth in the Student Handbook and the College Counseling Handbook. Once a student has received a diploma from CI, the purposes of maintaining student disciplinary records have been fulfilled, and a student's disciplinary history at the school will be expunged. As a result, neither the graduate nor the school will be obligated to report any disciplinary actions to other institutions or agencies. An exception may be made in the case of misconduct not fully known to or addressed by the Headmaster while the student attended the school. In that situation, the school may impose whatever discipline it deems appropriate. For example, the school may reveal the wrongdoing to educational institutions, revise letters of recommendation, or retroactively change a student's grade. The school will communicate this policy to any outside entity that inquires.

The following steps will take place if a student has faced disciplinary action at any time in the Upper School: Prior to submission of application q q q q q

The counselor will discuss with the student the procedure for reporting disciplinary action. The student should carefully review the applications and the wording as to whether or not the colleges ask about disciplinary action. The student should write a letter addressing the disciplinary issue and submit it to the counselor for review. The student should give the counselor a final copy of her/his letter addressing disciplinary action. If a college or university asks the question of disciplinary action on the SR form, the Dean of Students will respond to the question separately. The counselor will notify the student that the letter has been sent.

Disciplinary Action after applications have been submitted or after the student has been admitted (if the college or university asked the question originally) q q


The counselor and the student will work together to determine which colleges and universities the student has applied to, which asks the question regarding disciplinary action and respond accordingly. We believe it is important for the student to write directly to the college/university within one week after the disciplinary action has been imposed. Late disclosure has in the past tipped admission officers toward negative decisions when prompt acknowledgment would have left a candidacy moving forward. The counselor will notify the college of the disciplinary action by both a phone call and a letter. The counselor will notify the college within one week of the student grace period in order to uphold the integrity of CI.

“Double Depositing” at Colleges Double depositing is the practice of making commitments to two or more colleges on the May 1st National Candidate Reply date. This is an unethical practice and students who make commitments, monetary or otherwise, to more than one college or university risk losing their acceptances to those institutions. The only exception is for a student who had an enrollment commitment already made and subsequently was offered admission from another college waiting list. As soon as the student accepts an offer of admission from a waiting list, by making a new commitment, they are expected simultaneously to withdraw from the previous college, to permit the possibility for another student to enroll. The National Association of College Admission Counseling states in the section entitled “Statement of Student’s Rights and Responsibilities”: v You (the student), must notify each college or university that accepts you whether you are accepting or rejecting the offer. You should make these notifications as soon as you have made a final decision as to the college you wish to attend, but no later than May 1. It is understood that May 1 will be the postmark date. v You may confirm your intention to enroll and, if required, submit a deposit to only one college or university. The exception to this arises if you are put on a wait list by a college or university and are later admitted to that institution. You may accept the offer and send a deposit. However, you must immediately notify a college or university at which you previously indicated your intention to enroll. Because this is an issue of integrity with regard to CI, its students, and its college counseling office, if college counselors become aware that a student has made a commitment to more than one institution, the following action will take place: v The student’s assigned college counselor will meet with her or him to discuss the infraction, and the student will have 24 hours to withdraw her or his application from that school.

vď ś If the student cannot verify that the extra commitment(s) has (have) been withdrawn, the college counselor will contact the admission offices at all the colleges or universities involved to inform them of the infraction. vď ś The college counselor will be obligated to answer honestly any subsequent questions asked them by college admission personnel. Please note that CI will send only one official final transcript to one college the summer after the student has graduated.

SECTION FOUR: Financial Aid

Financial Aid As part of your college search process, you will probably need to talk with your family about college costs. Paying for a college education is challenging for almost every family, and fortunately, there are many types of aid available to you, should you or your family qualify. Don’t eliminate a college because you think it costs too much. Remember that financial aid serves to augment your family’s ability to pay for college not to replace the ability (or necessity) to pay. Financial aid and scholarships are designed to help you. Learn about them, plan ahead, and take advantage. Net Price Calculators, now a mandated feature for each college and university involved in disbursing federal aid, may be found on college websites. While not a guarantee of aid, they may provide a good initial picture of need based financial possibilities at schools. This is potentially an invaluable resource for sorting out what you think may be possible and what may be available. These take measure of the total charges for each college and reduce the “sticker price” by aid that may be available based upon a family’s individual circumstances. At the least, they may also be the basis for further exploration with that institution. There are two types of financial aid available—aid based on need, as determined by the College Scholarship Service, federal guidelines, or institutional policies, and aid based on no-need, merit scholarships awarded for academic excellence, athletic ability, artistic talent, leadership, or other criteria. We will explore both types in this section. Please note that the information provided here is based upon current information valid at the time of publication of this handbook. (December 2012)

I. Need-Based Financial Assistance Need-based financial aid is designed to provide access to higher education for qualified students who would otherwise be unable to pay for college. There are three types of need-based aid: Students will need to apply directly to the colleges using a variety of forms and submitting, sometimes, elaborate financial information. Please know that for international students, need-based aid is very difficult to obtain

Required Forms Individual colleges determine financial aid packages for students applying for need-based assistance based upon the information you provided on several forms:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – U.S citizens and residents 1.

v Every college and university to which you are applying for any federal or state aid (including federally based subsidized loans and work-study) requires the FAFSA. v Ask your parents to prepare their returns as early as possible—income and asset figures from your tax returns are needed to complete the FAFSA. The year a child applies to college is the one year it is important to have them done much earlier than usual. v There is no fee for the FAFSA. v Forms will be available online in December.

v The FAFSA can be filed online at [CAUTION: Do not use the site; it is a for-profit commercial site and has no affiliation with the government website. You will be charged a fee, and there is no guarantee that the analysis will be correct or sent to colleges.] v The filing period begins January 1st. The FAFSA may not be filed prior to that date. March 1st is the final deadline for filing the FAFSA—some colleges may want it earlier. v Apply for a 4-digit PIN to be used as an electronic signature. You and your parents/guardians can each apply for a PIN while completing a FAFSA on the Web application, or you can go to the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site at to apply. Using a PIN to sign your FAFSA electronically is by far the fastest and most reliable way, and it can be used for the duration of your college experience and beyond. v After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determined by the government might be higher or lower than your EFC from some colleges, because some colleges use their own guidelines for determining need, in addition to the federal guidelines. The colleges you designate will also receive this information.


College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile v Private colleges and universities often require the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA. v There is a $25 fee for the initial application and an additional $16 fee for each college to which you wish the information be sent. The fees can be paid using a credit card. Fee waivers for up to six different colleges are available for the neediest families. You will automatically be awarded a fee waiver(s) at the end of the filing process (prior to payment) if you qualify. v Register online at the College Board website. Go to The CSS Profile registration may be submitted beginning October 1. v The CSS Profile is a two-part application. The first part is a basic registration form. The second part is the actual application. It asks questions that are similar to the ones in the FAFSA; however, there are an additional thirty questions. v Upon receipt of your CSS Profile, the CSS processor will enter all of your information into a database. Your information will be sent to all the colleges you listed. Once that is completed, you will receive a CSS Acknowledgement confirming that your CSS Profile was received, processed, and sent. v After completion of the CSS Profile, the College Board requesting the filing of certain financial documents via their Institutional Documentation Service, or IDOC may contact some families. You are not required to use IDOC unless the College Board notified you that at least one of your colleges or programs participates in the IDOC Service.


International School Financial Aid Application Available from the College Board or directly from the colleges, this form will usually be required of international students applying for financial aid.


Institutional College Forms v Some colleges have their own financial aid forms to be completed in addition to the forms mentioned above. It is your responsibility to find out if a college requires an additional form and what the deadline is.

Special Circumstances Divorced or Separated Parents If your parents are divorced or separated, some colleges and universities might require financial information from both parents. Typically, the FAFSA and CSS Profile should be completed by the parent who is the custodial parent (the parent with whom you live or with whom you spend the most time). The non-custodial parent might be required to complete a Non-Custodial Parent Statement (colleges have their own forms) and submit it directly to the college. Business / Farm Supplement Parents who own a business or a farm or are otherwise self-employed must complete the Business/Farm Supplement in addition to the FAFSA and CSS Profile (when required). This form can be obtained at the financial aid office of any college or university.

II. No-Need-Based (or Merit) Scholarships Many businesses and schools offer no-need (merit) scholarships to qualified students. Although the college counseling office updates scholarship information, it would be impossible to maintain a complete list. You should inquire about scholarships within the community and at all of the schools to which you apply. Here are a few suggestions for conducting a college scholarship search: v As mentioned above, contact the schools to which you are applying about scholarship opportunities they may offer, or research their websites. v Check Family Connection for scholarship listings, and pay attention to the email scholarship alerts sent out by the college counseling office. v For athletic scholarships, you should contact the athletic office of the college to which you are applying. If you intend to play a sport at the college level, you must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse the fall of your senior year. Forms are available through Ms. Pena. [Note: Ivy League and Division III schools do not give athletic scholarships.] v Read through the books we have in our office on scholarships and financial aid. Some suggested resources include The Scholarship Book and The Financial Aid Book. v Talk to local organizations and affiliations that your parents may have. Sometimes their employers may provide a link to a scholarship. Check out the resources at your local library. Public libraries are often sent information regarding college scholarships. v Try—a legitimate scholarship search engine.

Scholarship Applications If you are applying for a local, national, or college-sponsored scholarship, then you must notify your college counselor at least one month in advance of the published deadline. For scholarship organizations, the deadline dates may be “received by” date or a “postmarked by” date. It is your responsibility to know which ones pertains to the scholarships to which you are applying. “Received by” deadlines are much more important to coordinate early. In order to coordinate the assembly of your application that may include teacher and counselor recommendations, we ask for this additional time. Due the confidentiality of your teacher and school recommendations, we ask that you provide us with your completed application and necessary documents and will be mail the entire packet for you. It is for that reason that you must turn in your application to the college counseling office at least two weeks prior to the deadline. Even if you already have applied to college, it is your responsibility to re-request a teacher recommendation and ask them directly. Many teachers prefer tailoring their letter to a specific scholarship, rather than reusing their original one. It is for this reason and for respect of confidentiality that the college counselor will not print out your teacher recommendations for scholarship submission. You are also responsible for requesting your official transcript from the Chadwick registrar. While your teachers play a role in your college application process, it is your job to inform them of that role and give them ample time to complete it. Requesting a recommendation from a teacher one week before the deadline is unfair and inconsiderate. Remember you are asking them to write you a letter of recommendation. Colleges trust your teachers and make decisions on what they have to say; therefore, giving the faculty the idea that you are thoughtless and disorganized is not a smart move. Additional Suggestions v Ask the teachers early! Ask two teachers for recommendations preferably at the end of your junior year or, at the very latest, in beginning of your senior year. Some teachers have many recommendations to write and may decline to write for you if you wait until the last minute. Ideally, you should select teachers who taught you in academic core subjects in the junior year and who know you well. Teachers from the senior year may not know you well enough to write you a recommendation, and teachers from the sophomore year may not be able to comment on your academic and personal growth since that time. Remember to talk to your college counselor about your choices, especially during your family meeting in second semester. v Ask the teachers if they can write you a favorable recommendation and allow them to say “no” if they don’t feel they can. Pick teachers who can comment on qualities like your academic scholarship, class participation, and passion for a particular subject. If they know your personal characteristics outside the classroom, that can be helpful, but is less important than their knowledge of you as a student. v Provide a cover sheet that lists all of the colleges to which your teachers are sending recommendations and the dates that they are due. v For any school that does not accept electronic submission of materials, give the Teacher Recommendation or Teacher Evaluation form to your teachers with stamped and addressed envelopes no later than one month before the earliest application due date. The mailing address for each college or university can be found on their website or via Family Connection. For the return address, use the teacher’s name with the school address: Chadwick School, 26800 S. Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274-3997. Be sure not to leave the return address blank, and do not put your personal address on the envelope. If not using the standard #10 envelope (standard business size), check with the U.S. Postal Service about size and weight, as some large envelopes may require additional postage. v By filling out the Common Application online, the top half of your electronic form will already have been

completed. For colleges that do not accept electronic submissions, complete the top half of the paper forms that ask for your name, address, date of birth and/or social security number. v On the top half of the form, be sure check the box that says yes, you will waive access to the recommendation. This will assure the college that the recommendation has been written in complete honesty, and accordingly, it will be given more credibility. v Keep your teachers updated on your progress and let them know where you were admitted. v Send “thank you” notes to your teachers within two weeks after you give them the cover sheet and recommendation forms. This not only expresses your appreciation, but it is a nice reminder for the teacher to send in your recommendations if s/he hasn’t done so. Counselor Recommendation / School Report (SR) Your college counselor will write a recommendation on your behalf that will be sent with your transcript, a school profile, and a School Report form (see Item L in this section). The recommendation will discuss academic, extracurricular, and personal achievements and talents. These letters are based on personal contact with your college counselor, information provided by teachers and coaches, and questionnaires that both you and your parents have completed. Remember: v If you are applying to any school under an Early Action/Early Decision/Early Notification plan, you must turn in your final college list of 8-10 choices (signed by you and one parent), along with any paper secondary school forms, by October 15th. Early Decision/Early Action forms must also be turned in at this time. v For all other students, your final college list of 8-10 choices must be turned in (signed by you and one parent), along with any paper SR forms by November 1st of your senior year. v By filling out the Common Application online, the top half of your electronic form will already have been completed. For colleges that do not accept electronic submissions, complete the top half of the paper forms that ask for your name, address, date of birth and/or social security number. v As with the teacher recommendations, be sure check the box that says yes, you will waive access to the recommendation. This will assure the college that the recommendation has been written in complete honesty, and accordingly, it will be given more credibility. v You do not need to submit envelopes to the College Counseling Office with your SR forms. All school reports will be mailed in CI envelopes or submitted electronically. Additional Recommendations In some cases you may consider sending an extra letter of recommendation. A letter from an employer, coach, arts or drama teacher with whom you’ve worked for many years may be submitted in addition to the teacher recommendations. Make sure, though, that this person knows you well and is saying something not covered in your application or in any of the other recommendations. If you are going to make an admissions person read an additional letter, make sure it is worth their while. Follow the same instructions for mailing teacher recommendations. Your additional recommender should send their letters directly to the college’s admissions office.

Financial Aid Timeline September - December

Explore your colleges. Check out the individual college Net Price Calculators. Then, read the guidelines provided by the colleges to determine the documentation each school requires for financial assistance. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DEADLINES!

October 1 - December 1

Go online to register for the CSS Profile at Remember that not all schools require the CSS Profile, so check the schools that are listed on the Profile’s registration form. The schools listed do require the Profile. Fill out the CSS Profile as soon as you receive it. Your parents can estimate their taxes, if they have not yet filed. In general, applicants for Early Decision must fill out their CSS Profile by November 1st.

October (date tba)

Financial Aid Workshop, Part I


Pick up the FAFSA practice form in the college counseling office or go online to for a practice form

December (date tba)

Financial Aid Workshop, Part II

January 1 – February 1

File the FAFSA at If your parents have not filed taxes, they can estimate their taxes. DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINE FOR THE FAFSA. Make sure to make a copy for your records. Colleges often require that the FAFSA be turned in before the national FAFSA deadline. Be sure to check the site of each college to which you’re applying to find out their institutional FAFSA deadline. Fill out the GPA Verification form to be eligible for the Cal Grant (if you plan to attend a school in California.) The form is available at or may be picked up in the college counseling office.

January - April

Check your Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy. If you find any errors, return to the processor for correction. File the final, corrected copy with your college information. Keep a copy for yourself. Watch for any mail or email from the financial aid offices of your colleges. Open these letters or emails immediately! Call your colleges to be certain that the financial aid office has received all the necessary forms.

April Compare your Financial Aid packages from the different colleges to which you’ve been accepted before making your final college decision. Look carefully to be sure the same vocabulary is being used by each. Hint: Make sure you can identify the difference between “grant” (actual financial aid) and “financial aid” that some colleges use to label loans or parent loans or even campus jobs.

Commonly Asked Financial Aid Questions Q: What is the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid? A: Need-based aid, while not easily obtained by international students, means that the college will help you pay your fees if you can demonstrate the need for it. Merit-based aid means that help will be given to students with outstanding achievements in diverse areas, be it academic, athletic, artistic and so on.

Q: Is need-based financial aid available only to people with low incomes? A: No. You do not have to have a low income to receive financial aid, but you do need to prove that your family needs assistance. You are eligible for financial aid equal to the difference between college costs and the amount you and your family can afford to contribute. This amount is determined by various methods of analysis based on the information you supply on various forms such as the CSS Profile, International Student Financial Aid Application and other institutional forms.

Q: Do I have to apply for financial aid every year? A: Yes. At most colleges, you must re-apply each academic year. Applying for financial aid is almost always easier the second time around because you are more familiar with the process and it is typically shorter.

Q: What if my parents/guardians and I do not receive the package we expected? A: If you receive a financial aid package that you and your parents/guardians believe is insufficient, you may appeal the decision. After discussing your situation with a financial aid officer from that college, you must put your request for an appeal in writing and send it to the financial aid officer. There is no guarantee, however, that your package will change.

Q: What if I have an unusual family circumstance, and there is no possibility of explaining it in full detail on the different forms? A: If you have a special circumstance, you and your parents/guardians should put this information in writing and send it to the Director of Financial Aid at the colleges to which you are applying. You should do this early in the process; even before completing all the financial aid forms, so that your financial aid officer has access to this information while working on your financial aid package.

Q: My neighbor and I both applied for financial aid at the same college. Why did she get more aid than me, when her family has a bigger house than ours and her parents make more money than mine? A: The federal methodology used to assess family financial strength is designed to treat families in similar circumstances equally. There are many reasons why your neighbor might have received more aid. For instance: a. Although her family has a larger house and a greater income, they might also owe substantially more money on the mortgage. If so, they would be able to contribute less to college costs and would be eligible for more aid. b. The family might have financial circumstances of which you are unaware (more family members, extraordinary medical expenses, etc.) c. She may have received merit-based aid but confused it with need-based aid. d. Her family may not want to tell you all the details of their financial circumstances, which means you most likely do not have all the information regarding her financial aid package either.

LESSON: You should not and cannot reasonably compare financial aid packages with other classmates or with other families. Personal and family circumstances inevitably differ.

United States Department of Education Financial Aid Websites For United States citizens and Green Card holders only: — Use this site for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online, also known as FAFSA on the Web. It’s a fast, free, secure and easy way for families to apply. Families can print a paper copy of the FAFSA to use as a worksheet. The FAFSA is also available online in Spanish. Remember, do not use the website It is a for-profit site, will charge you an unnecessary fee, and has no affiliation with the government web site. — This website contains Funding Your Education, The Student Guide in English and Spanish as well as links to other resources. — Students and parents/guardians can request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) on this site. The PIN is used as an electronic signature for the FAFSA on the Web, Renewal FAFSA and Corrections on the Web, and to access the National Student Loan Data System. Students and parents/guardians should each request a PIN, then keep the PIN number in a safe place so as not to forget it. Forgetting the PIN will result in a significant loss of time working on your financial aid forms. Be sure to keep this PIN in a safe place where you will remember it; it can be used to complete financial aid forms in the years to come. — SFA’s award-winning website, which connects students with U.S. government services and information, including information on careers, planning an education, and paying for college.


Chadwick International Junior Questionnaire **Please keep a copy for your records**

I. Student Name: __________________________________________________________________ Last) (First) (Middle) Name you go by _____________________________Advisor ______________________ Birth date: _____________________

Came to CI in grade: ________________

E-Mail that you check regularly:_________________________________________________ Mobile:________________ Schools most recently attended prior to CI:

Name Location Grades (or dates) ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ II. Parents Parent 1: (M / F) ___________________________________________________________ (Last) (First)


Deceased: Y / N Occupation: _________________________________________________________________ Name of business or organization: _______________________________________________ Business Phone Number: ________________________ May I call P1 at this number? Y N Cell Phone: ___________________________________ College / graduate / professional school(s) attended:

Name Year Degree (BA, MA, Etc): ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Parent 2: (M / F) ___________________________________________________________ (Last) (First) (Middle) Deceased: Y / N Occupation: _________________________________________________________________ Name of business or organization: _______________________________________________ Business Phone Number: ________________________ May I call P2 at this number? Y N Cell Phone: ___________________________________ College / graduate / professional school(s) attended:

Name Year Degree (BA, MA, Etc): ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 1

Please check if parents are: ___ divorced ___ separated ___remarried (P1 / P2 / both) With whom do you live? ______________________________ What is the primary language spoken at home? ___________________________ Is a second language also spoken? If so, what? ___________________________

III. Siblings (Please list in order of age) Name Age School / College Attended Occupation ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

IV. Additional Biographical Information Is there anything unusual about your family (cultural background, shared interests, travel, size, personal or family crises, etc.) that has had a significant impact on your own interests and concerns? Or, are there any special considerations or unusual circumstances regarding your background that should be known to help us assist you in your college selection? If so, please explain briefly below.


V. Activities Please list the activities in which you have been involved in including clubs, sports, student council, community service, etc. Please indicate specific team levels (JV, Varsity) and positions in clubs. Please also indicate the grades of participation and average hours per week spent on the activity. At CI: Activity / Organization (no abbreviations)

Position (s)

Grades (9, 10, 11)


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Out of School Activities (including community, church, volunteer, employment): Activity / Organization (no abbreviations)

Position (s)

Grades (9, 10, 11)


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please list any awards or honors (and the year) that you have won in the last three years (including CI honor roll):

What activity has been most important or meaningful to you? Why?

What hobbies or interests or leisure activities are important to you? What special talents do you have?


Summer Activities: (e.g., jobs, travel, summer school, etc.) Summer following sophomore year: __________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Summer plans following junior year: _________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

VI. College Plans and Aspirations 1. What are your general college plans and preferences for college? List as many options as you are open to considering, or indicate "undecided." a. Size? (e.g., Extra Large= over 20,000; Large= 8,000-20,000; Medium= 3,000-8,000; Small= fewer than 3,000)

b. Location? (e.g., West Coast, Northwest, Midwest, East Coast, Southeast, International, etc.)

c. Urban, suburban, or small town? (or "anywhere as long as it's an hour drive from a metro area")

2. What are the most important qualities / characteristics for you in choosing a college? (e.g., size, academic program, location, reputation, financial, social life, contact with professors, ethnic/cultural or religious communities, etc.) Be as specific as possible.

3. Any ideas about a major or special concentration of study or career? If so, are you doing anything in preparation for this educational goal?

4. What are your college choices at this time? Please list several schools under each category. Your counselor will help you evaluate whether or not the school is a reach, possible, or likely and help suggest additional schools if necessary. Likely


















Do you have any close relatives who are attending / have attended any of the above schools?

_________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 4

VII. Self-Assessment Please answer the following questions as thoroughly and honestly as possible. Remember to answer the essay question at the end of the page. 1. What are your academic strengths?

2. What are your academic weaknesses?

3. What are your personal strengths?

4. What are your personal weaknesses?

5. What has been your favorite class? Why?

6. What three things would you want a college admissions committee to know about you?

VIII. Essay Question!! Please approach the following question with seriousness and thought. It is similar to the types of questions you will be asked on your college applications. You may even be able to use this response as a draft for a college essay! Please limit your response to 500 words. Please type your response and attach to the questionnaire.

Please describe an experience (academic, intellectual, or non-academic) that has had a meaningful or significant impact on your life. What was the impact and why was it significant? This could be a class you took, a travel experience, a book you read, a tragedy in your life, an athletic competition, etc.


Parent Response Form Please return to College Counseling Office **Please keep a copy for your records**

Student's Name: ________________________________________________________________________

Home #: ________________________________________ Business # (+ Parent 1 name): _____________________________

→ ___________________

Business # (+ Parent 2 name): _____________________________

→ ___________________

Parent 1 e-mail address: ______________________________________________ Parent 2 e-mail address: ______________________________________________

Profile of college characteristics you believe would suit the needs of your son/daughter: Size and location: ________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ Level of academic challenge:

Extremely intense Challenging Moderate Relaxed

_____ _____ _____ _____

Co-ed or single sex: _____________________ Academic Program:

Liberal Arts Pre-professional

_____ _____

(e.g., business, engineering, architecture, medicine, etc.)

Non-academic offerings: (e.g., community service, art, study abroad, sports, etc.) _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ Other:


If there are specific colleges you have in mind for your child, please mention them and tell why you think they are appropriate choices for him or her: College/University














Is there anything else you can tell us about your child that might help us to know her or him better? We would particularly welcome any comments you care to make about her/his strengths, weaknesses, needs or developmental history that you feel are important. Feel free to attach additional pages to this sheet.

Do you have any specific concerns, questions or needs that you would like to discuss during our parent/student conference this spring?

As part of the college counseling process, we are asking junior parents to write their own letter of recommendation for their child. In the past, these letters have offered invaluable insights to the counselors and, on occasion, have provided information used by the Writing Committee in composing the School Letter of Recommendation. We appreciate your candor in this recommendation. Enjoy! Please attach your Parents' Student Assessment Letter to this form.

Signature ___________________________________ Date_______

Please return this form and your recommendation letter to the College Counseling Office Your 'family meeting' with your counselor cannot be scheduled until we have received this form (as well as the Junior Questionnaire—completed by the student). We hope, too, that you will share your responses to these questions with your child. Thank you.

Chadwick International

Chadwick International Appendix ( Choosing a Country • US • Choosing a Major • Individualized Applications • UK • Canada • Australia • Japan • Other Countries • Gap year


Selecting Colleges • Where to start • Resources • College Representative Visits • Types of College


Naviance Family Connections Finding a Range • Likely, Possible, Reach

9 9

Admission Tests • SAT • SAT Subjects • TOEFL • NO-SAT Schools


How They Decide Application Options • Improving the Odds • Essay • Resume • Recommendations • Interviews • Admission Decisions

13 17

Applying To The UK • What to study • Research • Process • Personal Statement • Reference • Timeline



• • • •

Personal Statement UK Canadian Universities Australian Universities Japanese Universities

• • •

Financial Aid IBDP and Colleges Application Calendar

The Forms • • • • • •

Recommendation Letters Content Student recommendation Input Parent Recommendation Input Teacher Reference Request Form Sample Activities Resume Tips On College Essay Writing

The Application Procedure Glossary (US and UK)

CHOOSING A COUNTRY If you were attending a public or private school in your home country, the odds are that you would apply to universities within a couple of hours from your home. But being at CI has probably made you realize there is a world of opportunity waiting for you. In fact, you have so many choices; it’s often difficult to know where to begin. While the majority of CI graduates matriculate to the US, others go to the UK, Canada, Australia or their “home” country. The following provides a brief overview of universities in these countries. Additional information and links can be found on the CI counseling website.

admitted. Each one designs its own application, asks different questions, has a variety of deadlines, and sets its own policies. This can become rather complicated as you attempt to keep track of what each school wants. Even schools accepting the “Common Application” usually ask for individualized supplements specific to the college. US universities think the best predictor of college success is high school performance. Therefore, grades earned, high school courses taken and the rigor of these courses are the most important factors considered. Standardized test scores, if the college requires them (many don’t - a list is at, are always considered less important than your transcript.

US Universities As you may have noticed, the words “college” and “university” are used interchangeably when referring to US institutions. To be precise, college usually refers to an institution devoted primarily to undergraduate education. You are an undergraduate until you graduate with a degree (called a bachelors degree). A university, on the other hand, is usually a larger institution offering a combination of undergraduate and graduate (master’s or doctorate) degrees. Universities are frequently committed to research as well as teaching. One is not better than the other - they both offer four-year bachelors degrees.

UK Universities There are several major differences between the UK and US university systems. The majority of degree programs in the UK (except for Scotland) take three years to complete, and students focus solely on the one or two subjects they have chosen to study. Thus, there are no general education requirements as there are in the US. If you are someone who is certain of the subject you want to study in college, a UK university could be a good choice for you. Particularly if you are someone who loves one or two subjects, but doesn’t ever want to take another class in some other area, the UK system would provide you with that very specific type of education. If you are undecided about your major, be aware that in order to apply to the UK, you would have to make a decision about what to study, and that transferring to a different subject usually entails starting your degree over from the beginning. In Scotland, degrees generally take four years to complete, and can be more general – for example, a student can study humanities or social sciences in general, rather than needing to focus on a specific field such as psychology. With the recent drop in the value of the US dollar, the cost of attending university for a year in the UK now may surpass the cost in the US – although one less year is required to obtain a degree. Generally, students would only be admitted if they have earned good scores in IB exams by the end of high school. Students without these scores can apply to a one-year foundation course in order to qualify later for entry to a degree program. If you are interesting in learning more about the process of researching and applying to UK universities, additional information is available in this Guide.

Choosing a Major So you’re not sure which major to choose. No problem. A majority of students who begin college in the US do not declare a major. There is latitude to try different courses in the first year or two and choose a major later. Many students apply as “undecided,” waiting until sophomore year to declare a major. Except for certain majors—such as engineering—most students take a variety of courses during this time. General education or “core” requirements help insure all students have a breadth of knowledge when they graduate, in addition to their specialized area. The flexibility of changing majors also allows students to transfer between different institutions. If a student chooses to transfer at the end of sophomore year, for example, the new school may accept Almost all earned credits. Transfer acceptance decisions are usually based on grades earned in college. Individualized Applications In the US, colleges and universities each set their own criteria for determining who gets


Canadian Universities In Canada, there is a very real distinction between a university and a college. Institutions granting bachelors and advanced degrees are universities. Colleges only focus on vocational and technical training. To make it just a little more confusing, a school within a Canadian university (such as arts, science, or commerce) is called a faculty or a college, similar to the system in UK universities and US. Canadian universities actively welcome international students. Until recently, admission notifications were routinely not made until after students graduated from high school and submitted their final transcripts. While it is still true weaker students may not hear of their admission decision until final grades are available in June, most students hear about acceptances much earlier. Each university in Canada has a general minimum admission standard based on Canadian grading standards. These minimum GPA and course requirements vary from faculty to faculty. If you are interested in being admitted to an engineering program, you may read you’re required to earn an 80%. Since an 80% is an A- on the Canadian scale while at CI, an 80% is a B-; your grades will be reviewed with those differences in mind. If you need an A- for a particular program, Canadian universities will look for a 90% from an International school applicant. If you’re looking at Canada, it’s important to contact the university to understand submission requirements, such as transcript and SAT scores. Some schools also require SAT Subject Tests or AP results in particular subjects. For further information, check the Counseling website, speak with your counselor, and talk to visiting Canadian university representatives. Universities in Ontario use a centralized application process much like the UK, called Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC). Students submit a single application to OUAC, which is then forwarded to students’ chosen universities. The OUAC application should be fi led no later than the end of November in order to ensure it reaches the university in plenty of time for them to request supporting documentation. In all other provinces, students apply directly to the university. After applying, each university will send an email or letter acknowledging receipt of your application and requesting transcripts and other documents. That letter will contain your personal student number. Be sure to provide this number to the counseling office, because it should be written on your

transcript and any other documents to ensure these important items are fi led correctly. It may be necessary to send transcript updates at the end of third quarter senior year, and in some cases, after graduation, so be sure to keep your grades up throughout senior year! Australian Universities Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the school year begins in February except for a small mid-year intake in July. Applications are usually submitted in September, a few months after you have graduated from high school. If you are considering Australia, obviously one of the first questions to ask is how you would occupy yourself from the time you graduate until university begins. Education is big business “Down Under,” particularly in attracting international students. IBDP is fully recognized and, with a little extra work, it is possible to enter Australian universities with an American high school diploma. Contact International Development Program (IDP) Education Australia, a semiprivate company established by the Australian Schools and government, which serves as a “one stop shop for Australian education.” The mission of IDP is to recruit international students, so not all counselors can help Australian citizens. The more selective universities will only accept a student with high SAT scores and strong IB scores. Others will say, “Send us what you have (transcript, letters of recommendation, and SAT Reasoning Test scores) and we’ll take a look at it.” If your qualifications are not sufficient to gain admission, you may enroll in a six to twelve month “Foundation Year.” Success in this program usually gains entry into a university. Many courses in Australia are three years long, so taking the Foundation Year still provides a comparable four-year US experience. For further information, check Australian links on the Counseling website. With its relative close proximity to Japan and lower costs than most American colleges, Australia could be worth considering.

Other Countries If you are interested in learning about universities in other parts of the world, contact these universities directly. Most have a home page accessible via CI’s Counseling website. Since frequently the information is written in the language of the country (and since your counselor does not read all of the languages of


the world), you are pretty much on your own as far as finding out the application requirements. Of course, your counselor will help you prepare your application and gather all necessary supporting materials.

Where to Start You may have a few schools in mind as you begin to think about college. Your father wants you to go to Williams; your mother went to the University of Michigan; your brother is at Tufts; and one of your friends is at Chapman. You start by thinking about these schools. For example, if you don’t want to go to Williams, you’re going to have to give a reasonable explanation. (“Dad, my grades are just too low. Besides, Williams is too rural.”) In thinking about why you don’t want to go to Williams, you will make a lot of discoveries about where you do want to go.

Taking a Gap Year Are you ready to begin college immediately after high school? If you are not sure about going to college, doing something different for a year gives you time to think things over. Of course, this can have its downsides. You fall a year behind your classmates and you could wind up wasting the entire year (but then, you might have wasted your first year at college, too). Even if you plan to take a year off, it is recommended that you apply to college during your senior year. Take the required tests, collect recommendations, and explore college choices now. Once you have been admitted, defer the starting date for a year. Almost all colleges will allow deferral if you write a letter of explanation and give them proper notice (usually by May 1). The only stipulation is that you cannot attend another college during your year off.

Web Resources All CI students and parents have access to Family Connection (FC), a college and career information website. FC allows students to take a personality test called “Do What You Are,” complete a career interest inventory, look at specific careers, and so much more. Students can create a list of prospective colleges, look at graphs (called “scattergrams”) to predict their chances of admission, and follow the progress of submitted applications. If you are unsure how to access Family Connection, see your counselor. This customized website is rich in information about careers and the college application process. Spend time browsing pages and links. Begin on the page, “Overview,” which includes links to several college related pages. The “News and Information” page is updated weekly and includes the latest news along with media articles. When the CI counselors find a website of interest, it is added to the counseling website. It contains nearly everything you could possibly want to know about selecting and applying to college. Our website has been replicated at several other high schools around the world.

SELECTING COLLEGES Deciding where to apply can be complicated. Your decision will be heavily influenced by high school grades earned so far. It will also be influenced by personal factors and it’s completely normal to change your mind several times during this decision-making process! Some college guides and websites provide complex charts, which supposedly help determine which one school is right for you. In reality, these charts often don’t help very much. A precise step-by-step process allowing you to choose one mythical perfect college doesn’t exist. For almost every student, there are several institutions where you would be happy and successful. If the process of choosing a college seems unsystematic and haphazard—you’re right. In the end, every decision about which college to attend is subjective. Most colleges offer a great education, so keep an open mind as you begin the search. Cast you net widely as your begin; understanding that most CI students apply to about six institutions with the absolute maximum being ten. While the following topics are in no particular order and may not be the only ones important to you, give each one careful consideration.

Reference Materials The counseling reference room and the college section of the CI library contain a wealth of college information. Our reference room, near the main entrance of the counseling office, has college catalogs, brochures, applications, and other materials sent to us by colleges throughout the world. The CI high school library also has an up-to-date collection of independent college handbooks. Providing basic facts, guidebooks such as the College Handbook and the Peterson’s Guides are well researched and respected. Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges lists colleges with strong majors in particular fields. One of


the best independent guides is the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which is easy to read, interesting, and accurate. While other independent guides are also fun to read, more effort may be put into being interesting rather than accurate. Distributing surveys to students attending colleges typically develops these guides. The opinions are compiled, and a reviewer molds a description from the survey results. Don’t believe every word you read. Each year, the US News and World Report, along with several other publications, attempts to rate colleges from number 1 to number 1,600 or so. It is impossible to try to compare a school such as UC-Berkeley (with 29,000 students) to Tufts (with 6,000 students). Yet, that is exactly what these rating guides do. Just because a for-profit publishing company has assigned a rank to a school does not mean it should be believed. It is no more appropriate to rank colleges than it is to rank CI’s 240 students from best to worst. How do you compare a senior to a second grader? Use a ranking guide as a guide, not as a reliable reference.

• • • •

Admission Office Representatives Each year CI hosts many college representatives. Take advantage of these visitors. Even if you’re not particularly interested in a school, the more information gathered about different types of schools, the easier it would be to make a manageable college list. Even though admission representatives are here to “sell” their schools and recruit good students, talking with them provides the opportunity to learn about a college and to interact with a member of the admission staff. If you decide to apply, the chance to talk one-to-one might make a lasting impression, remembered during the selection process. At least, you have a contact name if you have a question about your application. Some admission officers seem to change jobs every few years. The person representing some unknown college when you were a sophomore might be the admission officer of your first choice school when you’re a senior. In short, always be nice and respectful to all Admission officers. Here are some suggestions: • As you shake hands, start off with “Hello, how are you?” or “Hi, my name is...” for a relaxed beginning to your conversation. • Try not to ask a vague question like “Tell me about your college,” since the rep

• •

• •


will have no idea where to start. That can be frustrating for the college rep and the student, because the conversation will have no direction. Be specific with questions by saying things like “Tell me about class spirit” or “Can you give me examples of some campus traditions.” These types of questions will give you a sense of the atmosphere and give the rep something specific to talk about. Ask for a list of majors that you can take with you and look over later. Ask if SAT subject tests are required or recommended. Ask if the school is an SAT/ACT test optional school. Ask about scholarships. The conversation doesn’t always get around to this in a rushed environment like a college fair. Be sure to identify if you are a US citizen or not since it can make a difference in their answer. You will want to know the admission requirements, of course, but you may also want to ask whether admissions officers make decisions on numbers, or if they really do consider activities. Find out the safety history of the campus and the surrounding town. Sometimes the campus rests in an area where high crime takes place just outside the area considered the campus. Ask how many students drop out or transfer, compared to how remain for four years and graduate. College reps may cringe at this one, because student retention is a touchy issue at many colleges. A low retention rate may be a warning sign, though. Ask: “What’s the biggest complaint from current students?” If class size is important, ask about it in a specific way such as, “In my first semester what will my class sizes likely be?” Ask for a direct email address for an admission counselor. Be sure to pick up a business card. If you are very conservative or very liberal in your thinking, ask about the political/social climate. This is one of the things that could cause a feeling of discomfort or alienation down the road. It’s not a silly question.

Campus Visits If at all possible, try to visit college campuses. This is an excellent way to help narrow your college choices. You may find an urban setting more appealing than a rural, college-town campus. Similarly, a visit to a large, public campus such as the University of Washington may help you discover your preference for a small, private college. Visits are best made early in college planning — at the end of your sophomore or junior year. Anytime you’re near a college campus during the summer, stop in and take the tour. Maps and other information can be found on the colleges website. Private organizations also arrange group college visits. Talk to your counselor about picking up an unofficial transcript to take with you on your visit.

programs (law, medicine, business administration), often find liberal arts colleges to be good preparation. The well-rounded background helps them do well on law school, medical school, or other graduate school entrance exams. The smaller class sizes allow more opportunities to get to know professors, which is helpful when they are asked to write recommendations for graduate study.

Types of Colleges Colleges can broadly be divided into either liberal arts or comprehensive research universities. A comprehensive university is usually fairly large and consists of different departments called “colleges” of which one may be a “College of Arts and Sciences.” The University of Illinois is an example of a comprehensive institution. It has a College of Law, College of Engineering, College of Business, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a College of Agriculture. Most comprehensive universities have undergraduate programs, which is where the first degree (called a Bachelors degree) is earned and graduate programs, offering advanced degrees, such as a doctorate in biology, or providing professional training in such areas as law and medicine. The mission of a liberal arts and science college is to impart general knowledge and develop students’ general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. Most majors at liberal arts colleges are general in nature (English, biology, psychology) rather than vocational (accounting, nursing, business, engineering). Liberal arts and sciences colleges help students become better thinkers, writers, and problem solvers. These students find jobs in many different fields. Students do specialize and graduate with a major, but their degree indicates that, in addition to a general core of knowledge, they also have specialized knowledge in a particular field. Students who know they will be going on to graduate

Women’s Colleges There has been a resurgence of interest in women’s colleges. These institutions are totally committed to the personal, social, and academic development of women. They also provide extensive opportunities for leadership and independence (and almost always have a college with men nearby).

Specialized Colleges There are a small number of specialized colleges offering majors in only one area. These schools are great if you’re committed to a field of study. Examples include Juilliard and Rhode Island School of Design (the arts); Babson, Bentley and Bryant (business); and Harvey Mudd and Cooper Union (engineering).

Location One way to narrow down the search is to consider location. Proximity to relatives, for example, may be important. Living away from home can be easier if there are people in the area who can help or provide a place to go for long weekends or holidays. Location has nothing to do with education, but it is not a frivolous issue — especially for overseas-based families. You are selecting a school and a place to live. Be sure you want to live there before you decide to go there. If you easily get bored when not in the hustle and bustle of a major city, would you be happy at a small rural school like Bucknell? On the other hand, would you have difficulty finding time to study at a college like New York University? As you consider different colleges, always ask yourself whether the campus area will distract from or encourage your academic pursuits. Urban Campuses Urban life in the US is very different from Songdo, and crime can limit your freedom to go out in some areas, especially late at night. Large cities do offer many options and cultural opportunities: art exhibits, drama, dance,


concerts, and sporting events. But some college students don’t have too much money to spend. What good is a city campus if you spend most of the time on or around campus, because you and your friends can’t afford to go out?

Mid-Size Colleges Colleges with 3,000 to 10,000 students are considered mid-size. These schools boast close contact with most members of the school community and offer more social and academic options than smaller colleges. Except for some introductory classes, most class sizes are reasonable. Typical mid-size colleges include Notre Dame, Brandeis, and Duke.

Suburban Campuses Suburban colleges strike a balance by being near, but not in the heart of a city. They typically have more of a campus atmosphere than do urban colleges. Although the campus is not in the center of the action, you are close enough to get to it when you’d like. Suburban schools include Pomona, Tufts, Northwestern, and Richmond.

Large Colleges Large schools have more activities, more facilities, more students, more courses, more everything. At a big school, you are expected to show more independence and take a greater responsibility for planning your own education. Because of the sheer number of students, large schools have a larger bureaucracy to navigate. Classes are often in large lecture halls and graduate student teaching assistants likely teach first-year students. Changing a course or correcting a billing error can take considerable time and patience. Large schools include UCLA, University of Colorado, and University of Michigan.

Small-town Campuses Small-town colleges are often the major focus of the community, with almost all social and cultural activities occurring on campus. The college is fairly self-contained and provides a large number of activities to keep students occupied. Typically, the campuses are beautiful and perched in natural settings with close-knit communities. Colgate, Cornell, Oberlin and Grinnell fit into this category.

Housing While the type of dormitory arrangement may not be one of the most important factors, it is worth considering. Do you require vegetarian or other special meals? Check that out. During long weekends and breaks, does the dorm remain open or will you be forced to stay at a friend’s house or a hotel? Life in virtually all freshman dormitories is similar in many respects — loud, messy, crowded, uncomfortable, and usually a lot of fun.

Size Some differences between large and small schools are exaggerated. For example, many high school students say they don’t want to go to a small school because they won’t be able to meet enough people. That’s not true. Studies show the number of friends made in college is approximately the same regard- less of size. Colleges do provide different experiences depending upon how small or large they are. When you read the number of students at a particular college, look at the entire student population, which may include graduate students. It could be larger than you expect.

Campus “Culture” Each college has a different “culture” or feel. Are most students interested in intramural sports or are they more interested in where the next party will be? Are students politically conservative or liberal? While this is often difficult to gauge without visiting campus, it is important to find out how accepting the students are towards people who are different—whether they are AfricanAmerican, Asian, gay, or Muslim. Check the Fiske Guide in the counseling office for insights on the “feel” of a campus. Many colleges are attempting to increase the number of students who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. That’s great for you as a student attending an international school. However, if 95% of the students are wealthy white kids from New York State, you should think about

Small Colleges Small colleges—those with fewer than 3,000 students—are best known for the close contact between students and faculty. Everybody knows everybody. Often class sizes are small and everyone is expected to participate. Many of the best-known liberal arts and sciences colleges, such as Williams, Amherst, and Carleton, fall into this category. These schools provide a great education, are nearly as selective as the Ivy League universities, and their graduates have amazing success being admitted to selective graduate schools.


whether you would have a hard time finding students who share your international background and interests. Through careful research, you can find colleges with almost the same level of diversity as at CI.

the importance of a university’s prestige when choosing where to get an education. While it’s true in many parts of the world a person is often hired as much for where they graduated as for what they learned, in the US, being hired or admitted to graduate school is more based on what you did, what you learned through course work and internships, and what your professors say about you. The name of the college is less important. Take a look at where students from the top law or medical schools (or IBM, General Motors, or Exxon) completed their undergraduate education. They come from a number of state universities and small liberal arts schools as well as the Ivies. The most prestigious institutions earned their reputations primarily by the strength of their graduate programs. At this point in your life, you need to be concerned with finding a school that offers a good undergraduate education. The prestigious universities often put more emphasis on research than they do on undergraduate teaching. Be certain you know why you are choosing a particular school, and be honest about the prestige factor. If attending a high-profile college is important to you, admit it. If you are not honest with yourself, you may end up at a school for all the wrong reasons, such as ego or family/peer pressure. Remember, what looks good may not fi t well. Even Gucci shoes can give you blisters!

Safety Safety is an obvious concern for everyone. In the US, colleges are required to have information available about campus crime. This information is published on a Department of Education website at In the crime statistics search area, enter the name of the college you want to look up. Campuses place a high priority on safety. In addition to it being the right thing to do, no college can afford the negative publicity resulting from a high profile crime or high crime rate. Emergency phones and 24-hour security officers are commonplace, and, at most colleges, only those students who live in a particular dormitory can enter that dorm. The most common crimes on college campuses are theft and burglary. Mobile phones, computers, bicycles and other items with a resale value are most likely to be taken, often from unlocked dorm rooms. Date rape also exists on college campuses, especially when students are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Murders, assaults and other major crimes are a rarity. If students encounter a serious problem, it’s usually due to activities occurring offcampus (and often late at night). Be safety conscious and use available on-campus escorts if you are out alone late at night.

Class Size and Quality Many guides list something labeled “average class size” or “student-faculty ratio.” Neither of these statistics means much since most colleges calculate these figures using whichever numbers put them in the best light. A more accurate figure is the percent of classes with fewer than twenty-five students in them. Course quality is much more important than class size. Huge courses taught by great teachers are more rewarding than tiny courses taught by boring lecturers. On the other hand, don’t expect to be able to talk individually with a professor whose course has an enrollment of hundreds. Some schools place a large amount of emphasis on the quality of their teachers, while others are more interested in getting the best researchers. Consider who will be teaching you. At universities with large graduate schools, many teachers will be doctoral candidates, not professors. Just because a person was smart enough to get into a doctoral program doesn’t mean the person knows how to teach.

Where Friends Go Going to college with your high school friends can be great or terrible. While it can be nervewracking at the beginning, you may be better off not going to the same place with several friends. You’ll make more new friends if you don’t have the old gang to fall back on. Feelings of freshman alienation usually don’t last beyond the first couple of weeks anyway. You may find the kind of CI people you used to hang out with are not the kind of people you hang out with at college. If you do end up at the same college with a good friend, it is better to not be roommates. Living separately increases your number of new friends. You’ll still see high school friends, but with a wider network, the college experience will be more enjoyable. Prestige Factor Many students (and parents) overemphasize


costs. Although a student may pay $20,000, the school may actually spend $30,000 or $40,000 a year to educate each student. Therefore, don’t just look at the cost of tuition. Find out the amount each college spends to educate each student. Don’t choose a school merely because it costs less—or more. A few CI families living out of the US may still remain residents of a state and qualify for instate tuition. Each of the 50 state legislatures determines what it takes to be a state resident. If you live overseas, at a minimum, you must continue to pay state taxes and have a home in that state to be considered as a state resident.

Freshman Satisfaction One statistic provided in most guidebooks is the percent of freshmen who return as sophomores. A high number indicates most freshmen were satisfied with the school and were successful, or at least didn’t flunk out; if this statistic is low, find out why. Career Services Graduate school, career opportunities, and net- working options can all play a role after graduation. Find out what percent of students actually graduate in how many years. Does it take them four, five or six years to earn a diploma? If you may want to go to law school, medical school, or graduate school, find out the percent of graduating students who were admitted. Check out the job information and career services offered.

Financial Aid and Scholarships One concern regarding college education is cost. For US citizens or permanent residents attending college in the US, federal financial aid is available if you demonstrate “financial need” as determined by a federal formula. Need-based financial aid in the form of grants, low-interest loans, and student work-study programs is available to qualified students on the basis of the information submitted on the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” or FAFSA. On the FAFSA, your parents list information about assets, income, and other data from their US income tax forms. This information will be subjected to a formula to determine the amount your family can reasonably be expected to contribute toward your education. The difference between your family’s contribution and the total college costs is your financial need. If the results from this form show financial need, the college will probably offer you a loan, grant, work-study program, or a combination of all three. It can take up to six months for the financial aid process to be completed so you must plan ahead. To apply for need-based financial aid you and your parents must complete the FAFSA after January 1st of your senior year. Since the data supplied on the form comes from your family’s US income tax return from the previous year, the earliest you can complete the form is January 1. Shortly after January 1, your parents must calculate–but they do not need to send in their US income taxes. The FAFSA form can either be completed on line (recommended) or on paper. Very few CI families qualify for need-based financial aid. If you have an “unusual circumstance” to be considered, discuss it directly with the financial aid office of the college. Some colleges also require an additional form such as the “PROFILE.” The college will provide details. By Ivy League agreement, these eight colleges

Majors Most high school students going to US colleges don’t know what they’ll major in. And a large percentage of students who think they know will change their minds. It is perfectly acceptable to begin a US college “undecided” about a major. At some schools, as many as half the students who begin with a declared major change it before they graduate. If you’re thinking of a particular area of study, make sure colleges offer that major and then assess the quality of the program. Find out the number of students majoring in the subject, the size of the faculty, and the special resources available. Rugg’s Recommendations of the Colleges, available in the counseling office, is one of the better guides. It contains lists of schools strong in particular majors. Talking to parents, teachers, or people who work in the field will also provide valuable information. Focus as much attention on the overall quality of a college as on the quality of the particular department you may now be interested in. Consider the possibility of a change in your interests. Be confident the colleges you apply to offer a solid educational foundation. Nearly all do. Cost and Quality There is little to no relationship between the tuition charged by a particular college and the quality of the education. A college that costs $40,000 per year is not two times better than one that costs $20,000. Some schools have huge endowments used to support their educational programs. Publicly supported schools use tax money to pay a portion of the


only provide need-based financial aid, as opposed to merit-based. Less selective colleges do, however, sometimes provide merit awards. These awards encourage talented students to consider attending their schools. Colleges realize talented students have a number of acceptance offers and use merit awards to attract them. Talent grants are given to students who demonstrate a particular talent in sports, the arts, leadership, social service, or academics. These grants are offered regardless of a student’s financial need and are sometimes open to non-US citizens.


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Financial Aid for non-US Citizens Not all US colleges offer financial aid to students who are not US citizens. In fact, the majority of colleges expect international students to find their own sources of money to pay for a college education. To get a visa you must prove you have sufficient financial resources to pay for college, living expenses, and a return trip to your home country. If a college doesn’t offer aid to international students you must plan to pay all of the expenses yourself. Because of the limited amount of aid available to international students, even those colleges with international student aid only offer it to the strongest applicants. If you are a non-US citizen requiring financial aid, you will need to be among a college’s top applicants in order to receive an offer of aid.

FINDING A RANGE While it’s not unusual for students to talk of their “first choice” college, it is rare that there is only one single, best college. Even if, after thorough research, you decide on a first choice, the final list should include a number of colleges, any one you’d be happy to attend if admitted. Just like you won’t find a partner in life without dating a few people, you shouldn’t think you will just stumble onto that one perfect college and instantly fall in love without doing some dating. Once your senior year begins, you’ll have to narrow your list of potential colleges down to a manageable number of five to seven and no more than ten. With this number, you can do a thorough job on each application, instead of being overextended trying to complete too many. With each application fee of approximately US$50 to $100, plus costs of sending SAT and TOEFL scores, applying to a larger number schools will quickly add up and can consume your senior year. To make certain you’re admitted to at least one, you need to make certain you apply to a range of colleges.

“Need Blind” Admission While most schools consider US citizens’ admission separately from their need for financial aid (i.e., they are “need-blind”), a few are “need-aware.” The school’s need-blind or need-aware status should be clearly stated in each school’s literature. For non-US citizens, almost all schools are need-aware. Some directly state that, if the non-US citizen can’t pay their own way, they need not apply. A school that guarantees to meet students’ “fullneed” agrees to provide sufficient financial aid to meet the need as determined by the FAFSA form. Other schools may admit students without regard of ability to pay, but may not provide sufficient financial aid to make it possible to attend


Likely, Possible, and Reach The following is a rough guideline to categorize your college choices: Apply to one to three “reach” schools – colleges that normally accept students with GPAs and test scores higher than yours; three to five “possible” schools – those that generally accept students with profiles similar to yours; and one or two “likely admit”– colleges for which you are an extremely strong candidate. Be certain your likely schools are those you wouldn’t mind attending. Just because you’re likely to be admitted doesn’t mean the college should be thought of as a “lower status” college in your mind. Also, remember what may be a likely


school for you might be a reach for one of your friends, because these categories vary for each student. You must understand only the most exceptional students are accepted at Harvard, Stanford, and the other most prestigious colleges. Harvard, for ex- ample, has approximately 2,100 slots for the more than 25,000 applicants. These kinds of schools can often fill their entire freshman class with students who earn all A’s and have SATs of 2300+. Harvard must deny thousands of valedictorians and hundreds of students with perfect SAT scores. Be realistic about your grades, test scores, and the entire application. A truly exceptional student with a realistic chance at the highly selective universities can choose to apply to more “reach” schools - as long as there are at least one or two truly likely schools. Because of the large numbers of outstanding students applying to the most selective schools, many acceptance decisions will be made based on extremely subjective distinctions. If you are an A student with top scores applying to Ivy League-type schools, you may want to complete up to the maximum of ten colleges. There are few guarantees in the admission game. Each year a few students are admitted to places where the odds seemed impossible. The opposite occasionally occurs as well. A college looked like a safe bet, but a letter of rejection arrived anyway. Using the method of applying to some likely, some possible, and some reach schools is the best way to keep from being shut out in April. So how do you decide which school is at which level?

applications are more than just grades and test scores. One student may have taken harder courses, been a student leader, or had outstanding recommendations, while another student did nothing except come to school each day and make good grades. The scattergrams help to identify which schools are reaches, possibles, and likelies based on your numbers. Once you find a college that seems to be a good match, click the “Add to List” button. That college will appear on “my colleges” list. Check the Percent Accepted If there is no information in Family Connection (FC), you can make a guess on your chances of admission by finding out how many students are usually admitted in a given year. The most selective schools only admit 10 to 20 percent of the applicants. Certainly your chances of getting into that kind of school are less than one that admits 60 to 70 percent of the students. The percent of accepted students is found in most of the published college guides. Each year there are few “hot” schools to which everyone seems to apply. As a result, they attract a huge number of applications and become much more selective than they used to be. Washington University in St. Louis and NYU, for example, are two schools that have recently become very hot. This situation creates a vicious circle. When a student hears about a hot school, the reaction is often, “Hey, I’d better apply too!” But the more people apply, the more people are rejected. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply to a hot school. It just means that even if your grades and test scores appear to make you a strong contender, you might not be admitted. If you decide to apply to a certain college because you read an interesting article about it in Time, remember several million other people will have read about it too. Some colleges accept students for mid-year (January) admission who might ordinarily be denied. If you are sold on a “reach” college, check on alternate admission seasons. Also, check if there is a greater possibility of acceptance in a second choice major. For example, computer engineering might be extremely selective, while other engineering majors could be somewhat more accessible. However, if you truly want to study science, don’t apply for a major in classics just to gain admission to a college – it’s not always possible to switch majors.

Look at “ Family Connection” You have access to data on the acceptances and rejections of CI students who applied to colleges all over the world. This data is in Family Connection and generates scattergrams, which list acceptance and denial information by college. The chart plots the CI seventh semester cumulative GPA, best SAT (or IB) score, and (most importantly) whether the applicant was admitted or denied. The name of the student is not provided. If previous CI students have applied to a school you are interested in, by using the scattergrams, you can see how a student with similar grades and scores fared with his or her application. Although the data is sometimes contradictory (i.e., students with lower grades or scores were sometimes admitted while students with higher numbers were denied), it can approximate your chances of admission. Contradictions occur mainly because

Compare SAT Scores Most colleges now provide SAT scores in


middle fifty percentile bands. If a school reports their freshman class had Critical Reading SAT scores from 550-640, it means half of the admitted students had scores within that range. Twenty-five percent of the students had scores below 550 and twenty-five percent of the students had scores over 640. You may be tempted to automatically eliminate schools if you do not have scores in that middle fifty percent band. That is a mistake. Don’t do it. If you are not far off the bottom of the range and have grades that are ok, go for it. A problem with SAT averages is colleges use their own techniques for determining average scores. They may manipulate the numbers to make them look better than they perhaps are, because most colleges want to look selective and improve their US News rating. Sometimes this is done by eliminating the scores of minorities or athletes, who, as a group, do worse on admissions tests than others. It may be easier to get into a school than the scores suggest, depending upon whether and how the school has manipulated the scores. They don’t lie, but they stretch things sometimes. If you’ve only taken the PSAT so far, comparing your scores with SAT averages can be misleading— and disappointing since most students’ SAT scores are higher than their PSAT scores. Non-native English speakers are also not expected to have the same level of verbal SAT scores. Look broadly at the SAT averages. Certainly you should never discount a college based on scores alone. Your grades are still the most important factor.

ask the counselor how many applications the student has completed, or how likely the student is to attend their school. If you’ve applied to more than ten colleges, your counselor will not be able to give the inquiring college the answer they want. Finally, colleges monitor their “yield” from each high school. Since you can attend only one college, students who apply to large numbers cause the “yield” from CI to go down. Colleges notice this and may be less likely to accept future CI applicants. In the end, it is in the best interest of both you and future CI students that we limit the number of applications to ten. You have benefited from past students who abided by this limit and your reasonable number of applications wills benefit future CI seniors. ADMISSION TESTS When applying to college, test scores may be what first comes that comes to mind (even though they are rarely the first thing that an admission officer will look at). As explained earlier, test scores are the primary acceptance factor for European universities. For students applying to the US, however, the answer to “How important are the SATs?” is a complex one. If you ask an admissions officer from a selective university if SAT scores are the most important part of an application, the answer will be “no.” Instead, you hear, “SATs are one factor, but grades and the strength of course work are more important.” “Spend more time making good grades and being involved in extracurricular and community activities than worrying about your SAT scores.” “SATs are overemphasized.” However, when that same admissions officer begins wading through stacks of applications to decide which fifty percent to admit or reject, test scores do become important. Many applicants will have roughly the same grades, the same positive recommendations, and the same well-written essays. In these cases, SAT scores can break the ties. Regardless of what an admission officer may say, most think SAT predicts how smart the applicant is. While many believe there are better ways to measure college preparation (which there are), they still see the SAT as a measure of predicted ability. The more selective the university, the more important the SAT scores seem to become. Therefore, SATs are probably more important than admission officers say, but less important than you think. The following is an explanation of the major entrance exams.

Maximum Number of Applications CI limits applications to a maximum of ten. If you present your counselor with more than ten, you will be asked to reduce it. This policy, which is common among college preparatory schools in the US and overseas, is designed to maximize the admission chances for all of our students. Applying to more than ten colleges suggests you haven’t done your research well. Using the scattergrams in FC and discussing options with your counselor should help you choose a reasonable number. Secondly, it is difficult and very time-consuming to complete too many applications. Students can rarely do a good job both filling out college applications and keeping up with school work/extracurricular activities. It’s much better to do an excellent job on a reasonable number of applications than to do a slapdash job on more. Third, it’s expensive applying to colleges. Fourth, when it comes near to decision-making time, universities sometimes


SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests Originally, SAT was an acronym for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. In 1993, the test was renamed the SAT I: Reasoning Test. At the same time, the former Achievement Tests were renamed the SAT II: Subject Tests. SAT has now become a simple way of referring to the SAT Reasoning Test.

Types: Reading comprehension, sentence completions, and paragraph-length critical reading. Score: 200-800. The critical reading section, formerly known as the verbal section, includes short reading passages along with the existing long reading passages. Analogies have been eliminated, but sentence-completion questions and passage-based reading questions remain. Mathematics Time: 70 min. (two 25-min. sections and one 20-min. section. Content: Number and operations; algebra and functions; geometry; statistics, probability, and data analysis). Item Types: Five-choice multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses. Score: 200-800 The SAT includes expanded math topics, such as exponential growth, absolute value, and functional notation, and place greater emphasis on such other topics as linear functions, manipulations with exponents, and properties of tangent lines. Important skills formerly measured in the quantitative comparison format, such as estimation and number sense, will continue to be measured through the multiple choice and student response (grid-in) questions. Calculator use permitted but not required.

Most students take the SAT Reasoning test in the spring of their junior year and in the fall of their senior year of high school. Most students take Subject Tests toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year. Because Subject Tests are directly related to course work, it's helpful to take tests such as Math, Biology, Chemistry, or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject, even as a freshman or sophomore, while the material is still fresh in your mind. You'll do better on other tests like languages after at least two years of study.

SAT Reasoning Test The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills you'll need for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well you analyze and solve problems—skills you learned in school that you'll need in college. High school juniors and seniors typically take the SAT. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200—800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice and the essay. It is administered seven times a year in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories, and six times a year overseas. Many colleges and universities use the SAT as one indicator among others -- high school GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essay, and teacher recommendations -- of a student's readiness to do college-level work. SAT scores are compared with the scores of other applicants, and the accepted scores at an institution, and can be used as a basis for awarding merit-based financial aid.

Writing Time: 60 minutes Content: Grammar, usage, and word choice. Item Types: Multiple choice questions (35 min.) and student-written essay (25 min.) Score: 200-800. The writing section includes both multiple-choice questions and a direct writing measure in the form of an essay.

SAT Question Types The SAT includes a Critical Reading, Math and Writing section, with a specific number of questions related to content.

Short Essay The short essay measures your ability to: 1. Organize and express ideas clearly 2. Develop and support the main idea 3. Use appropriate word choice and sentence structure You'll be asked to develop a point of view on an issue, using reasoning and evidence —

Critical Reading Time: 70 min. (two 25-min. sections and one 20-min section. Content: Critical reading and sentence-level reading. Item


based on your own experiences, readings, or observations — to support your ideas. Trained high school and college teachers will score the essay. Each reader will give the essay a score from 1 to 6 (6 is the highest score) based on the overall quality of the essay and your demonstration of writing competence.

expense of students' other high school experiences. These concerns, along with awareness that test scores add little to an understanding of a student's capabilities, have led a growing number of colleges and universities to go "test-score optional." Schools that have dropped or sharply restricted their use of standardized admissions tests are widely pleased with the results. Regardless of size or selectivity, these institutions have seen substantial benefits, including increased student diversity, more and better-prepared applicants, and positive reactions from alumni, students, guidance counselors, and the public. Go to for a list of colleges and universities that admit a substantial number of applicants without regard to test scores.

SAT Subject Tests Subject Tests, one-hour, mostly multiplechoice tests, measure how much students know about a particular academic subject and how well they can apply that knowledge. The 21 Subject Tests include: Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math Level IC, Math Level IIC, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, French Reading, French Reading with Listening, German Reading, German Reading with Listening, Spanish Reading, Spanish Reading with Listening, Italian Reading, Japanese Reading with Listening, the English Language Proficiency Test, and several others.

HOW THEY DECIDE How does a college or university decide who gets admitted? For UK universities, the decision is based primarily on exam scores. For US institutions, however, it’s much more complicated. Each college asks for a different set of information and each one weighs application components differently. Below is a list of most schools’ decision-making criteria. No single factor is considered in isolation. All documents and forms are put into one big folder and reviewed together.

Many colleges require or recommend one or more of the Subject Tests for admission or placement. Used in combination with other background information, they provide a dependable measure of your academic achievement and are a good predictor of future performance. (For more information on the above, go to Make the TOEFL Minimum If you are a non-native English speaker and were asked to submit TOEFL scores, find out the minimum score required for admission. The minimum is often listed as 550 or 600 (the old scale from the paper version of the test) which is equivalent to 213 to 250 on the computer based exam and 80 to 100 on the new TOEFL. Those not earning the minimum score probably shouldn’t even apply, but that is rarely an issue for a CI student. For a conversion chart that shows the paper, computer- based and internet-based scores, go to the testing section of the counseling website.

Your Grades and Transcript Admission officers are interested in many things, but they’re most interested making sure the freshmen they admit won’t flunk out. All colleges want to fill their classes with students capable of doing the work. No college wants to traumatize its freshmen by having them in a situation they aren’t equipped to handle. The best indication colleges have of how well you’ll do in college is how well you’ve done in high school. High school grades are the best predictors of college success, even better than SAT scores. As a result, US colleges pay attention to grades earned since ninth grade. The more academically successful you’ve been in high school, the better your chances of admission will be. As your transcript is examined, each year will be seen as more important than the previous one. Colleges look for steadily improving grades—unless of course you’ve earned straight As each year. Grades from the junior and the first half of the senior

FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing advocates for the abolishment of SAT testing for admission purposes. Many university leaders are realizing that the preoccupation with test scores hinders educational equity and has come at the


year are most important. If you really messed up your freshman year, don’t despair. Admission officers are pretty good about discounting isolated problems, as long as they happened early in high school. If you blew off your entire ninth grade year but then pull yourself together for the rest of high school, most admission officers won’t be overly concerned. Some schools— especially those in California—don’t consider your freshman year grades when making an admission decision. The GPA calculated by CI might not be the GPA used by a college reviewing your application. Since each high school uses a different set of grade weightings, most colleges recalculate each student’s GPA. They may drop the weightings, eliminate PE and art classes, or discount freshman grades completely. Rather than focusing on GPA, most admission officers review an entire transcript to see the overall number of As, Bs and Cs, while carefully considering the course load.

Higher Level Physics course is never impressive. Top college candidates successfully complete courses such as IB English, math, chemistry, biology, foreign language and so on. Senior Grades Count Although you apply to college in the fall of senior year (before your first semester grades are available), almost all colleges require an updated seventh semester transcript be sent in the middle of senior year. If you slack off during the first semester senior year or drop hard courses midyear, you can ruin the chances of being admitted to a selective college. Colleges really do care about senior grades, and require a final year-end transcript for all students planning to attend. There have been cases of students having acceptances withdrawn due to poor senior grades or for failing to obtain IB grades that did not match predicted grades. It has happened! How good is the High School? You are undoubtedly aware that different teachers hand out grades in different ways. Much the same is true of different high schools. An A from CI is usually perceived by admission officers to be worth a lot more than an A from a typical US public high school. Your counselors know college admission officers and familiarize them with CI. Most are impressed with the quality of our school, which helps your chances as they take a look at your transcript. When admission officers review the stacks of applications received, they have to decide how impressed to be with each high school. CI, like most college preparatory schools, sends our “profile” with each transcript, which helps the admission officer understand our school, our grading system, and the quality of our student body. A copy of our school profile can be downloaded from the counseling website.

Courses you’ve taken “Is there anything wrong with the courses I’ve been taking?” you ask. Probably not, but the A earned in PE is not as impressive as the A earned in IB Chemistry. All As are not created equal. Anybody can inflate a GPA by taking easy electives that don’t require much academic work. You (and your parents) may enjoy seeing As on your report card, but don’t expect college admission officers to be as impressed with an easy course load. The names of the courses are printed next to the grades earned. College admission officers and high school counselors are always asked, “Is a B in a hard course better than an A in an easy course?” Here’s what Harvard Dean once said: “Be careful not to assume that the world is divided between students who take difficult courses and get Bs and the students who take easy courses and get As. Most of our applicants are able to take difficult courses and receive As.” Of course, most students can’t make all As. But the general principle still applies. If you can handle the work in advanced courses, take them. If your transcript reveals you are taking a lighter load than you can handle, admission officers will wonder about your motivation. They will be especially concerned if the difficulty of your course load drops off noticeably senior year. On the other hand, continuing to make good grades in five or six solid academic courses is more impressive than a mediocre performance in seven. Don’t get in over your head, because earning a D in a

Your SAT Scores Most universities are interested in standardized test scores. The more selective the institution, the more interest there seems to be in your scores. At the most selective schools, almost all applicants have top grades, so test scores can help to distinguish one applicant from the other. An admissions officer does not look at SAT scores in isolation. They make up one part of your entire application packet. If your SAT scores are weak, the question the admission officer will ask is, “Why?” Perhaps you didn’t begin learning English until late in your school career. That could help explain


why your grades are high, but your SAT critical reading or writing score is low. The admission officer will take your lower scores into consideration and probably give you the benefit of the doubt. A good TOEFL score will help, but it will not completely counterbalance low SAT critical reading and writing scores. There is no getting around the fact you need a certain level of verbal ability to sit in a college lecture hall and understand what is going on. College admissions officers don’t want to admit someone who can’t academically keep up.

know what makes you unique and interesting. Do not write what you think the college wants to hear or what they already know about their institution. There is no perfect or correct essay. Essay topics are purposely chosen to result in many different responses, so the admissions staff won’t have to read the same thing over and over. Therefore, spend time to make yours stamped uniquely by you. The most effective essays seize a topic with confidence and imagination. Relax and try not to guess what the admissions committee wants to read. An honest, personal essay built with an illustrative story or two is much more effective than an essay that recites a list of high school achievements (which are already listed elsewhere on the application anyway). A good topic is one you want to write about, that comes from your heart; not one you think you ought to write about. Please note, when an essay topic asks to describe an experience, person, or book that has influenced you, the admission reader is interested in what the influence has been. Spend at least half of the essay, not just the last sentence, discussing this impact.

Relationship between SATs and Grades Since it is easier to make As at some high schools than at others, test scores serve to level the field. Once an admission officer has reviewed a student’s courses and grades, test scores confirm the earned GPA. If something seems out of line, the question becomes, “What’s going on?” For example, if a young man has 2100+ SATs, but B and C grades, a flag is raised. Comments regarding motivation are looked for in the recommendation letters. The word “lazy” will probably come to mind, and evidence to support or discount this “laziness theory” will be reviewed. On the other hand, a student with very low scores and high grades will also come under scrutiny. An admissions officer will wonder why that happened. Do the high schools inflate grades resulting in many undeserving students earning As? Again, the question is why the grades and scores don’t seem to match.

Extracurricular Involvement A college’s interest is not only confined to what you do in class. They are also looking for students who are members of a learning community and who contribute outside the classroom. Extracurricular activities play a big part in distinguishing you. Quality and commitment are much more important than quantity. Colleges are pleased to see you’re committed to a few activities for which you have an aptitude/passion and in which you plan to remain involved. Leadership positions demonstrate commitment, so, just as upward grade trends are important, so are increasing levels of responsibility in your chosen activities. It is better to take three years of French than to take one year each of French, Mandarin, and Japanese; and it is better to spend three years rising to a position of importance on the student council than it is to join a dozen organizations the school has to offer. Johns Hopkins University says: “A common misconception is that university admissions officers are looking for each student to be ‘well-rounded,’ whereas we are looking for a well-rounded fresh- man class, depth being valued over breadth. A combination of both is ideal.” Involvement in high school activities tells the admission officer how much you’ll contribute to their school. Extracurricular activities can only do so much to make up for

How interesting are you? Admission officers look for more than just students capable of earning good grades. They want engaging students who bring a spark to a class discussion, take initiative on campus, to sing in an A Capella group, or to make the residence hall a better place to live. An admission officer once said, “When I’m considering an applicant, I try to decide whether this is the kind of student I would want as my son or daughter’s roommate.” Obviously being a good roommate is not something that can be determined by looking only at a transcript. Most schools realize GPA does not make up the total student. Essay/Personal Statement Colleges use the essay to determine who you are, how you write, and what distinguishes you. What kind of person are you? What is something significant about your experience? What is important to you? Colleges want to


less than stellar grades. Students highly involved with extracurricular activities may find their grades suffer as a result. No list of activities will make up for mediocre grades. If you want to attend a top school, understand many high school students demonstrate leadership and also make As. Don’t overextend yourself to the point your grades suffer.

accomplished oboist or trumpet player could also an example of performing arts “hook.” Other students, not Olympic swimmers or oboe players, also match a college’s admissions priorities. Almost every college is interested in its cultural and ethnic diversity. If you have a passport from a country not already represented in a student body, your chances of admission may be increased. If you have a common passport (American, Chinese, Indian, Korean), colleges are still interested because they’re trying to increase their overall percentage of international students. American students who have experienced life in another country are also thought to bring a helpful perspective to the life of the college.

Awards and Honors If you have been an impressive student, you may have won an award or two. Almost all applications contain a section to list academic awards and honors. Most students don’t have too much to add here. Summer School Going to Harvard during the summer of junior year does not equal admission later. Since summer college sessions are not as rigorous as regular sessions, surviving Harvard summer school will not convince an admissions officer you’re capable of doing Harvard work. Therefore, don’t sign up for summer school because you think it will impress an admission officer — it won’t. However, being on a college campus for the summer can be a great experience, giving you the chance to see what college life is like and helping you decide if it’s the kind of school you’d like to attend. Other valuable summer activities include internships or jobs, volunteer work, or vigorously pursuing a hobby that has always fascinated you. Reading all summer while traveling to see relatives or remaining in Songdo is also great. The idea is that you need to do something rather than sit on the couch playing computer games or watching TV.

Undersubscribed Majors It sometimes seems most seniors plan to major in business, engineering, or pre-med. These hot majors mean colleges may have difficulty keeping their humanities programs viable. Since they need students in these areas as well, at some colleges, applicants, who list humanities as an intended major, may be more appealing. Before playing this “game,” find out what a humanities major is. Also, understand some universities make it difficult to transfer between a major in one college (College of Liberal Arts) and another (College of Engineering), since they are aware students try to pull this trick. Entering as Undecided is perfectly acceptable if the college doesn’t require declaring a specific major upon application. It’s especially good if you think you may declare a pre-med or pre-law major. You won’t be lying. Instead, you’ll decide later based upon your college GPA. Some colleges prefer applicants who haven’t made up their minds on their majors or careers.

Are you Recommended? Teacher and counselor recommendations have an impact on your chance of admission. To increase the chances of a roundly positive, helpful recommendation, be responsible and take your job of “student” seriously. Teachers find it easier to write about a student who is polite, involved, and motivated to learn.

Keeping Alumni Happy Most colleges hold in high regard their successful and wealthy graduates. When it’s time to build a new building, they are the ones to receive letters asking for donations. Most schools ask if you have relatives who attended the same school. Children of alumni and other “legacies” usually have an admission advantage. Parents and siblings are the important ones to mention, but when completing the application, don’t leave anybody out. At schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, legacies are given an advantage only as early decision applicants. Ask your counselor or the admission officer if a school you are interested in gives an advantage to legacies.

What the College Needs Diversity Many colleges look for students whose characteristics or accomplishments match their “institutional priorities.” For example, being an unusually talented athlete won’t guarantee admission, but can be the “hook” to help admissions officers distinguish among a number of equally qualified applicants. The


Full Paying Students As college expenses go up each year, many institutions are having difficulty staying within their budgets. Most US colleges and universities have a high percentage of students who require some amount of financial aid. A few US colleges are “need aware,” which means a school will ascertain if you can pay your own way or not, awarding financial aid to those whose financial statements clearly show they cannot pay. Need aware schools should openly state their policy. Financial need awareness plays an admissions-decision role for those students just barely admissible. In the case of a tie, the admit decision will often go to the student who can pay. For non-US citizens, many colleges clearly state, if the applicant can’t fund college expenses, don’t apply. Colleges are not trying to discriminate, but, because the majority of financial aid funds come from the US government, US taxpayers would not be happy spending tax dollars on international students when many US students do not get their needed financial aid. International CI students, do not request financial aid until you discuss it with your counselor first.

body. Decision Making Process Different colleges have different systems for deciding who gets admitted and who gets rejected. Only at large state universities where a small admission staff reviews thousands of applications are acceptance decisions made by a computer on the basis of GPAs and SATs alone. At most US schools, decisions are made either individually by a small group of professional admission officers or democratically by an admission committee. At selective schools, an application folder is read by one or two admission officers who give each applicant a personal and academic rating. A score from 1 to 4 in each category may be used with 1 being the best score. The academic rating is based on grades, course work, and test scores. The personal rating is based on extracurricular activities, recommendations, and essays. If a combined rating is 4 or less, the student is assigned a “likely admit;” 6 or more is an “unlikely admit;” and a 5 is a “possible admit.” A second reader may review the file, too, and add his or her ratings. If the ratings are similar, the score may determine the admission decision. At other schools, the first reader may present “your case” to a committee where the majority rules. Once you’ve sent the application, it is out of your hands. So, now sit back, relax, do your homework and keep your grades up. If you carefully selected your schools, did the best job possible on your applications, and met all of the deadlines, you successfully maximized your chances of admission.

Show Interest Because colleges want to admit students who are likely to enroll, many admissions offices take into account how well informed and serious a candidate is. When a choice has to be made between two equally-qualified applicants, demonstrated interest can provide the necessary edge. How can you show your interest? Admissions officers won’t welcome a flood of pointless emails, but they might keep track of thoughtful questions about academics, housing options, extra-curricular activities, and campus life. Be sure to visit the campus and definitely make the effort to talk with an admission officer who visits CI – it’s easier for the admissions officer to send a rejection letter to someone they haven’t met than to someone they have.

APPLICATION OPTIONS Once your list is made of where to apply, visit each website to get on the school’s mailing list. Feel free to contact more schools than you will apply to. Receiving materials or an application doesn’t mean you have to actually apply. While you will probably not apply to more than six schools, it is perfectly acceptable to contact ten or more schools. There are several different versions of US application plans, each with own set of deadlines, procedures and obligations.

Demographics There are several things the applicant has no control over during the application process. Basic demographics can play a role. Admissions officers may be under pressure to round out the freshman class with particular applicants, such as student publications editors or women mathematicians. Colleges do look for well-rounded people. But more importantly, they admit a well-rounded freshman class to have a well-rounded student

Regular Decision Most students complete the “Regular Decision” application, with a set deadline for application submission and a standard date of


acceptance/rejection notification, usually April 1. Some schools, primarily large state universities, have rolling admissions, which means they tell you the admissions decision a few weeks after the application is sent. Admission officers keep accepting and rejecting students until the freshman class is filled. It is beneficial to get your application in early, because the longer you wait, the harder it is to get admitted. Applications for large state universities are brief, since they process thousands of applications. They may also emphasize numbers (GPA and SAT scores) in their decision process.

admission than those who apply regular decision. If you are not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred. Some schools (e.g., Stanford and Northwestern) admit or deny the majority of ED applicants, deferring very few. Those students who still have a chance of being admitted—or who didn’t get SAT scores sent in time but appear to be admissible—are usually deferred. Deferred students are reconsidered in the spring with the regular decision applicants. A disadvantage to ED is the limited time to review all options, since you are committing to a school early in senior year. Also, if you have strong first semester grades, ED schools will not see them. Some colleges now offer two rounds of Early Decision, with the first round due date in November and the second round due date in early to mid-January. It is recommended for students who feel their first semester senior year grades should be included in their applications. If you are rejected as an ED candidate, your application will not be reconsidered in the second-round or regular decision pools.

Priority or Early Response Deadline Some colleges, such as the University of Illinois and University of Michigan, offer an early or priority deadline to seniors. For students whose completed applications are postmarked by November 1, these colleges guarantee that a decision will be released in December. Students whose applications are complete after the Early Response deadline receive decisions on a rolling basis. If a college offers a way to find out decisions early, students should certainly use that option.

Early Action Early Action (EA) schools allow you to apply early and receive early notification, but do not require you to withdraw other applications. Applications are usually due on November 1 and notification is made in mid-December. Accepted students don’t have to decide to accept until the regular May 1 reply date.

Early Decision Early Decision (ED), an option offered by less than twenty percent of colleges, is an application program in which you specify that a college is your absolute first choice. The deadline for ED may be as early as October 15. Students who choose ED are usually notified about their acceptance around December 15. If you are accepted, you must withdraw all other applications and agree to attend the Early Decision College. CI counselors are ethically required to hold you to your early decision and will not submit transcripts or applications to other schools if you are admitted ED. Only apply ED if you have an absolute first choice school. If you choose to apply to a binding ED college or university, you are indicating that this institution is your first choice for further study for all universities worldwide. No matter where else you may have applied, whether in the US or other countries, if you are admitted ED you must withdraw all other applications and enroll. CI will not process additional requests for transcripts. One ED advantage is that admission committees feel positive about a student who has clearly designated their college as the first choice. Students who apply ED may have a slightly better chance of

Restricted Early Action Some Early Action (EA) schools (Yale and Stanford, for example) state REA applicants may not apply to any other early action or decision program, although they are allowed to apply to (and accept) other colleges in the regular decision period. This is called “Restricted Early Action.” If you are applying to an REA school, read the rules carefully. Methods of Applying On-Line Applications Nearly all college and university applications are now submitted online. This has been a major improvement for students living overseas. When you apply online, the information is imported directly into the college’s computer system, speeds up everything, and reduces the chances of error. Online applications can be tracked by both the student and the school, and checked for missing items through your account on the


college’s website.

IMPROVING THE ODDS Your completed application is the way an admissions officer knows you. Remember, filling out a college application is not the same as sending a friend an SMS message. Always use proper punctuation, grammar and capitalization rules. Answer all of the application questions, and when you have finished, go back to double check you’ve answered the questions properly. Misspellings make you look really lazy—especially if you misspell the college’s name! Inappropriate email addresses must also be changed. Addresses such as or do not impress anyone. If you’re using an immature e-mail address, including any with angel, devil, luv, nerd, chick, or baby, get a new one. An address with your name or initials is definitely more appropriate. Some students establish a new email account just for college-related matters. If you do this, make certain you change your data in Family Connection. Most importantly, make sure you check it regularly!

specific to a particular college. Before beginning an online application, you will create an account with a user name and password. Different colleges require different numbers of characters and letter-number combinations, so you probably won’t be able use the same user name and password for all your applications. Keep a list with the user name and pass- word for each college, your College Board account information, your social security number, and the CI CEEB code (682171). All of this information is needed repeatedly to complete applications. Complete your online applications in advance of the due date. In the week prior to application due dates, so many students are using the website that the system sometimes becomes overloaded which causes slowdowns and other technical problems. The University of California system applications must be completed in November. As you work on your online applications, save from time to time. Most applications require you to save at the end of each section, but for those that don’t, save often so you don’t lose your work. Essay questions should be completed offline as Word documents. When you are fully satisfied with what you have written, you will usually cut and paste the essay into your application. Before clicking the “Submit” button, have someone whose eye for detail you trust to review what you have entered. Once the application has been submitted, there’s no way to re-do it, so be sure everything is spelled correctly and the short answers as well as the essay are all intelligently written BEFORE you send the application. Speaking of clicking the “Submit” button, make sure you do so! For the Common Application, you must submit both the application and any required supplements. Every year, someone forgets that important step. In April, when we try to find out why a decision hasn’t arrived, the most common reply is that the application was never submitted. However, NEVER submit an online application and also send a paper copy as a “backup.” This will cause two files to be set up under your name, and most likely, both will be incomplete. You’ll then receive two denials. The best “backup” is to save a paper copy of your application at home or on your hard drive.

Application Form Since not all colleges are using the Common, you may have to complete an application

Essay The college essay can be a procrastinator’s nightmare. Don’t put it off waiting for

The Common Application The Common Application was developed several years ago to allow students to fill out one application form and use it to apply to several colleges at the same time. More than 300 colleges and universities now accept the Common Application, and it is one of the easiest ways that a student can apply. Even though many schools require a supplemental form unique to their school that may ask specific questions about legacy connections or choice of major, the Common Application makes applying to college much easier than it used to be. To use the Common Application a student must create an ac- count via the website. Electronic Submission of Transcripts CI is proud to be a school able to submit transcripts and recommendations online to the Common Application. This process makes it easier and faster to transmit all needed application documents. Students are encouraged to use the common application whenever possible.


lightning to strike you with brilliance. Regrettably, the lightning never strikes and, with the deadline looming, you dash off a less than stellar essay. Don’t do this, write the essay early. While specific directions vary from college to college, all will ask you to “tell us about yourself” in a well-written essay. You may have the choice of a variety of questions. Trust your instincts and choose one that feels right. With the essay, you want to show you are a decent writer and an interesting, mature person. A well-written essay can help to tip an “admit’ decision in your favor. A dull, poorly written, “This is what I think they want to hear” essay can keep out an otherwise admissible student. The same essay can be used for different applications if it fits the question. Make absolutely certain, if you mention a particular college’s name, you don’t send the wrong essay. It’s not impressive to tell Pitzer College you’d be a great addition to Pepperdine University. And, this really happens each year.

college prospect, such as how you hate to study.

Your relationship with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Your religious beliefs—unless you’re applying to a college with a strong religious orientation.

The evils of drugs. They are evil, but essays tend to sound contrived.

Your SAT scores. Never ever mention your scores no matter how good or bad they are.

Any topic that doesn’t appeal to you, but you think will appeal to an admission officer. They have built in phoniness alarms.

Anything to make the reader, who might be a grandmotherly type, blush or be embarrassed.

Anything to reveal you are a poor

Any topic drawing attention to your academic weaknesses.

How you saw very poor but very happy people on an Interim trip and realized how “lucky” they are. How you helped win the big game.

How you caused the big game to be lost.

Anything that makes it sound like you’re going to college for the sole purpose of learning how to make a lot of money.

Any topic specifically mentioned as a great essay topic in a how-to-get-into college book. Several thousand other students read the same book and will write on the same topic.

Keep It Brief Each admission officer has a huge number of applications to read (often 1,000 or more) and will only spend a few minutes reading each essay, which is not fair considering the amount of time you put into writing it. The essay should not be longer than requested (never more than two pages) and it should be in a normal 10 or 12-point font. Single spaced text with a double space between paragraphs looks best. Even if you have spoken or met in person, the essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions officer. Since the admissions office is crafting the freshman class, they will want to know whom they are accepting. Tell them about yourself. What kind of student are you? How did you learn to think? What do you do out of school? What was a special time in your life? Is there anything unusual about your family? What has been a success or disappointment and why? Who has influenced your life and how has that impacted YOU? What do you do for others? Remember with each of these topics, relate it to you, your character, and your personality, who you are.

Your political views.

Generalities about how you will help/save the world. Stick with details.

Topics to Avoid Some topics should definitely be avoided. Some are inappropriate topics for college applications, while others are too popular, having been written and read a thousand times before. Do not write about:

Avoid Generalities Since admissions officers read an unbelievable


number of similarly written, not-memorable essays, write about something specific rather than general. Narrow your focus; write about something particular incident during a particular activity. Details stick in a reader’s mind. Don’t try to pack everything you’ve ever done into the essay. Do not write, “I’m a leader at my school. I’m in the band, student council, and make good grades. I also play sports. During the summer I travel. I am considered to be very responsible.” This is BORING. Remember, most students applying could say the same thing. Besides, this information is included in other sections of the application. Ordinary experiences in your life can be illustrative when well elucidated from your unique perspective. What have you done with your experiences? Have they changed you? Why was the experience special to you, and what have you learned from it? How is it relevant to your personal development or to your college and career plans? In your life, you have surely had some failures. Colleges would be interested in how you handled the failure. Did you whine? Blame the teacher? Was it a learning experience, or impetus to change? When you are explaining what you learned, don’t just say, “I learned a lot.” Be specific and tell exactly what you learned. Show the college you have learned and grown, just as you plan to do in college.

rather than one they have to read. Admission officers understand you’ll have asked others to review your essay. Ask trusted friends and family to read your essay and comment on it. Asking for feedback isn’t cheating; getting someone else to write it is. Like with your application, get a detail-orientated person to proof it before submitting. Giving your essay a title is usually an instructive exercise. If it’s hard to put a title on what you wrote, chances are that it has too little focus. The title should interest or provoke, launching the reader into your essay with a curiosity to see where you are going with it. Short Answer Questions In addition to an essay, most applications have one or more short answer questions. Whatever the questions, be specific and interesting with your answers. Broad, vague answers are dull and have been read by the admissions officers time and time again. Make certain your answers are well written. If you have written an outstanding essay, but your short answer questions are poorly written, the admissions officer may rightly wonder whether the essay was actually your own work.

The “Anything Else” Question On the Common Application and often on other applications as well, there is an optional section asking if there is any additional information you wish to add. Use this if, after looking at the entire application, there is something absent which should be added. Does your completed application accurately and positively reflect who you are? If you find something has not been included somewhere else, put it here. Examples include explaining how an illness kept you out of school for a significant length of time, or other unusual situation in your life. Speak to your counselor for details if you’re unsure what might be appropriate for this section.

Writing Style Teachers have been telling you how to write for years. Now’s your chance to use those skills. Your prose should be clear and direct. Don’t use a thesaurus to plug in big, impressive SAT-type words. Doing this is always obvious and never impressive. Reread your essay; stop at every adjective or adverb and ask if it is necessary. Too many adjectives and adverbs make writing seem contrived. Concentrate on nouns and verbs. Don’t use exclamation points. Ever! One of the worst things a student essay can contain is a lot of sentences that begin, “as Shakespeare said…” Admission officers will know you found these lines in a book of quotations—not your memory. Also don’t begin your essay with a little quotation. And don’t ever quote the lyrics of a rock song. Many essays have tedious introductions and conclusions announcing and repeating whatever is written in between. Start instead where you consider the middle of your essay to be – that’s the best part anyway. And, be concise. Think simple, true to you language. A successful essay is one someone wants to read

Extracurricular Activities It is not necessary to mention each out-ofschool activity on your application. Nor is it important to fill up every space. Concentrate on your important activities and list them in order of most-involved to least involved. Leave out extraneous or trivial activities. Also, add up the total hours spent to see if it seems logical. Sixty hours per week on three different activities is not logical.


Summer Activities and Employment Remember, most students applying to a US college grew up in the States and may not have traveled extensively. Admission officers enjoy students who have seen a bit of the world, but don’t gush over every single trip. Make a list of jobs you’ve held. Some non-traditional jobs may need an explanation if they aren’t jobs also done in the US. Be specific when describing what you’ve done. Don’t forget to include jobs such as tutoring, baby-sitting, modeling, etc. Summer school is often put in this section. If you attended a college summer program, you may be asked to submit your transcript. If you have a copy, bring it to your counselor so it can be sent with your application. If you earned poor grades, however, you may not want to list this.

Impressive Activities and Awards Some extracurricular activities are seen as more important than others. Here are some of the more impressive ones:

• •

Student government, especially Executive Council or class president. Yearbook editor.

Choir, band, or drama; especially soloist or leading role.

Varsity sports, particularly captain or all- star.

Leadership positions with substantial time commitment (Scouts or church), or com- munity service activities.

• •

Your Recommendations Choosing whom to ask to write recommendations is important and is one of the things you will discuss with your counselor. At CI, teachers will only agree to write a recommendation if they can truthfully say something positive. These are academic recommendations in which teachers address what they have seen in class and how that predicts future college success. Some colleges give you specific instructors to ask. The form may ask for a recommendation from an English, math or science teacher, or someone who has taught you in the last year. If there are no specific instructions, consult with your counselor. If you know you will be majoring in a particular area, ask a teacher in that subject area to write for you. It is best to ask teachers you have had in your junior year, but it’s not necessary to choose teachers in courses where you earned As. In fact, it’s often those courses in which you earned Bs and Cs that admission officers wonder about and can be explained by the recommendation writer. Ask teachers who know you, respect you, and will write positive things. If you feel a teacher has little to say other than the grades you earned (or something negative), pick someone else. Also, ask the teacher in a way that he or she can politely decline. You might add, “I don’t want to put you on the spot, if you’d prefer not to.” If your teacher replies, “I’d like to help you, but maybe someone else knows you better,” take the hint and ask someone else. Do not ask several teachers to write recommendations and expect your counselor to “choose the best one.” Teachers are too busy to spend time writing recommendations that will never be used.

Meaningful engagements that require time and effort Math and science awards.

Remember to Include Some things CI students seem to overlook in their applications include: • Band and choir—they may be courses, but also activities. • Officiating coaching.




• Private music lessons. • Hobbies such as karate • Specific service activities. Don’t use acronyms or words (such as Chowa) unfamiliar to people outside CI. Instead, describe what these activities are and how they are unique to you. Things to Avoid Mentioning The words “World of Warcraft,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” or other computer game clubs, especially role-playing clubs. Any fundamentalist religious group (due to the strong emphasis on the separation of church and state) unless you are applying to a religiously affiliated school.


Most students need one, and some students need two teacher recommendations in addition to the counselor recommendation.

do not need to complete it. Really! Like most college prep schools, CI has its own form we use for teacher recommendations. In most cases, the form will be uploaded and sent online along with your official transcript and other application documents. Letters of recommendation are kept on file in the Counseling office for five years. If you decide to transfer to another college, your recommendation letter can be easily sent. Although a copy will be in the counseling office, you will not be allowed to read any of the recommendations kept there.

Be Prompt Teachers have a lot to do without also writing recommendations. Some teachers who teach only juniors and seniors may be asked to write recommendations for twenty or more students. Because writing these letters takes a lot of time, give teachers plenty of advance notice and be sure to request one recommendation in your junior year. The earlier you ask and provide the required background form, the less likely teachers will already be swamped with requests Recommendations written early in the fall are usually better than those written in December. If you ask a teacher to write a recommendation one day before the deadline (this really does happen), don’t expect the teacher to write positively about organizational skills—if he or she is willing to write it all.

Counselor Recommendation Over the years, CI counselors have met many admission officers. The admission officers take into account what counselors say since they know we can’t lose credibility by writing an inaccurate recommendation. If a counselor says “this student is brilliant and will do great,” but flunks out after one semester, future recommendations will be suspect. Therefore, expect your recommendation to be positive, yet honest. Most applications have something called a “Secondary School Report” or “Counselor’s Report.” Your counselor is usually asked for an assessment of your motivation, academic promise, and integrity. An official copy of your transcript, along with a profile describing CI, will also be sent to the college. On Family Connection you must complete the “my counselor rec” form. This document includes a set of questions you must answer to help your counselor write your recommendation and insures that nothing important is left out. It also makes the recommendation accurate and easier to write. For example, many recommendations ask the counselor to write the first three words that come to mind when thinking about you. Having you list three words to describe yourself can be very helpful when your counselor has writer’s block and can only think of words like “spoiled whiny senior” (just kidding). Except in unusual circumstances, a counselor recommendation is included with each application. Even if one is not requested, a letter explaining CI as a college preparatory international school can be helpful. The counselor’s recommendation can be used to explain weaknesses in your application, to highlight your strengths, and to explain any situations that negatively affected your grades. If you’ve been involved in a serious discipline problem at school, the counselors use a “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy. In other words, if a college does not ask about

Waive Your Rights In the US, you have the legal right to read what colleges have in their fi les about you. Virtually all recommendation forms request you waive this right by signing your name. You must waive your rights. If you don’t, a CI teacher or counselor won’t write a letter and a college won’t pay as much attention to recommendations if they think the people who wrote them were worried you’d read them. On Family Connection all students must click a box indicating they waive their rights to read the letter. Remember, we are your advocates. Both counselors and teachers seek to paint an accurate picture of you that puts you in the best light possible. The Process CI has a system to help teachers write recommendations. Answer the questions found on the “Teacher Recommendation Form” downloadable from the Counseling website each time you ask a teacher for a recommendation. This form asks questions about career plans, subject interests, activities, grades, etc. While not everything you write will be used in a recommendation, the information helps a teacher to recall specifics about you. Add anything to help the teacher write a better letter, which will be used for each of your applications. If you put little thought or effort into the questionnaire, you are not helping your recommender to write the best letter possible. If your college has provided a specific recommendation form you


suspensions or disciplinary issues, we assume they don’t want to know and do not volunteer the information. If a college does ask, we answer the question honestly. Understand that a mistake, even a fairly serious one, is often seen as a learning experience and may have no negative impact on your admission decision. If you are concerned, discuss any past disciplinary issues with your counselor. The Common Application and some other college forms require the counselor to check a box if a student was involved in any serious disciplinary issues that resulted in an out-of-school suspension. If you were suspended in high school make certain you speak with your counselor and let him or her know what you’ve disclosed.

someone who knows you well and can contribute something not yet included in other parts of your application. If you can’t think of a person to ask, see your counselor for suggestions. UK Reference The above information primarily applies to US institutions. Since you apply for a particular course of study when applying to UK universities, the academic reference is written differently for UCAS. Your counselor will write the reference page and should specifically concentrate on whether you would be successful in the proposed course of study. Predicted exam results are also critical. CI will be asked to predict how what scores you will likely earn on your IB exams. The UCAS instructions also specifically ask whether or not the candidate would be successful if admitted to the particular course of study. Talk to your counselor for individual advice if you are completing the UCAS form. Full details about UK applications will be discussed later on.

Extra Recommendations Some students and parents incorrectly think they can influence the admission process by sending additional recommendations. Somehow they believe a letter from someone famous or otherwise known to the school is the ticket to an acceptance. There is an old saying among admission officers: “The thicker the application file, the thicker the student.” The more stuff added to an application to impress the admissions officer, the more likely they are to think the student is unimpressive. Asking someone famous, wealthy, or connected to write a letter of recommendation rarely pays off, because they’re typically shallow, causing the admissions officer to wonder why the student doesn’t think he or she is good enough to get in on his or her merits alone. Only submit extra recommendations from people who know you well and are in a position to add information not already told. This does not include your girlfriend or boyfriend, but rather a letter from the supervisor where you were a camp counselor or your boss at your internship/summer job. A good recommendation has examples and anecdotes instead of empty adjectives. A few colleges (e.g., Dartmouth) ask for a “peer” recommendation. The most important thing about this recommendation is to make sure the person writing it writes well. With peer recommendations, there is no rule saying you can’t see it or help the person decide what to write. But, writing the letter for your friend is against the rules and crosses an ethical line. Some colleges, such as Brigham Young University, ask for a recommendation from a “non-school” person such as a church leader. This person should not be a relative, but

Thanking your Teachers A week or two before you send the application, check with the teacher about your recommendation. This is especially important as application deadlines approach. Remember, teachers who write recommendations get no extra compensation for their work, other than the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with doing a good deed. They’re nice people doing this personal favor to help you. Send teachers a thank-you note or do something to let them know your appreciation. Names and Numbers If you are a US citizen, many US colleges still ask for your social security number. If you do plan to use it, be sure to use the correct one. Ask your parents what yours is and copy it correctly onto your application. Students who do not have or do not use a social security number will be assigned an ID number by each college. Applications also ask for CI’s College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) code. Chadwick International’s CEEB code number is 682171. This is the same number you are asked to put on your SAT and ACT registration forms. Some CI students use two different names. Make certain you always use the same name on all of your applications, SAT and other test scores. If you are not a US citizen, use your passport name on college applications, since the college will need to


match the name on your transcript and if admitted, will issue your visa form in that name. If you use one name to register for the SAT and another name on college applications, your SAT scores can’t be matched with your application, and your SAT scores will be listed as missing.

entire section blank. Should I Lie? Lying is a bad idea (even if you do it without getting caught), because, well, because it’s just a bad thing to do and eventually it backfires. If the application asks if you were ever suspended and you were, answer honestly, because the same question may be asked of your teachers and counselor, who won’t lie. But there is nothing wrong with not answering questions that haven’t been asked.

International or US Applicant? Seniors wonder if they should apply as an international or US student. Usually, there is no choice. A US passport means you are a US citizen. At some colleges, such as the University of Pennsylvania, all students educated outside the US are considered “international” regardless of what their passport says. If you have a US and a second passport, list both countries when asked about citizenship. If you need a visa to enter the US, a certificate of finances must be submitted showing sufficient financial resources to support your studies in the States (see section below). If you are not a US citizen, fill out the international application form.

Signing and Keeping a Copy Some online applications require you to print out a signature page, especially if you’re applying Early Decision. When applying to such colleges, sign the form and turn it in to your counselor with your document request form. Always keep a copy of each online application and the confirmation message you receive when submitting an application. While technology is very good, it pays to be safe. Fees and Finances Most US colleges require an application fee (ranging between US $50 to $100) before considering your application. Application fees are almost always paid by credit card, and you need to enter payment information before your application is fully submitted.

Major Most colleges ask you to state a probable major. Think about what this answer says about you. Be certain the college offers your intended major. If you are considering a career in law or medicine, you do not need to select pre-law or pre-med as a major. “Pre-med” is actually a group of courses required for admission to medical school, and in many colleges, it is not listed as a major. If you are a foreign student, it may be a disadvantage to list pre-med as a major, since it is exceedingly difficult for international students to be admitted to US medical schools. Don’t declare a physics or math major if your SAT math scores are mediocre. If your science grades are low, don’t declare biology major. Stick with “undecided.”

Financial Certification: U.S. Visa US passport holders applying to a US college do not need to submit a financial statement (even if you mistakenly see a form asking you to). Non-US students are required to obtain a visa from the US Department of Immigration before travelling to the US to attend college. To be eligible for a visa, you must have sufficient funds to pay for your expenses while in the US. Submit a financial statement or letter from your bank listing the people (probably your parents) paying for your education. You also have to provide a recent bank statement certifying available funds. Most colleges require this information as part of the application, but a few ask for it at a later date. Since many bank officials are naturally leery of signing forms, they may not want to certify the form provided by the college. Instead, ask for several official copies of the financial account statement or letter (written in English) indicating sufficient funds are available to support your college expenses, and attach it to the form provided by the college. That approach is perfectly acceptable to almost

Other Places You’ve Applied You may be asked to list the other colleges to which you are applying. This question helps the college determine how serious you are about attending and gives them a sense of whom they’re competing against for your admission. The most selective college on your list will know your realistic first choice is someplace else and that you aren’t counting on being admitted. How you answer this question is not a big deal, but you never know what will stick in the admissions officer’s mind. If you’re applying to ten schools, don’t list them all. Just list four or five schools—or maybe leave the


all colleges and banks are familiar with this kind of arrangement.

recommendation, if necessary, and still have the application arrive before the deadline. It is always better to get your application completed earlier rather than later. Early in the application process, admission officers tend to be more forgiving of borderline applications than they are later in the process. Toward the end of the admissions cycle, the people reading fi les tend to get ruthless. All applications due on or before February 1 must be turned in to your counselor no later than December 1. This allows time to get everything mailed before the school shuts down for the holiday.

Sending it off The CI counseling office has developed efficient procedures to send all the finished applications. Since more than 300 applications are sent each year, these procedures make sure everything gets out in an accurate and timely fashion. The College Application Tracking Form (CAT-FORM), which can be downloaded from the Counseling website or picked up in the office, keeps track of what forms and documents need to be sent with each application. A sample document request form is included in the appendix of this guide. If you are submitting an application on-line, bring the CATFORM and all other documents (such as a financial statement) that need to be sent to the college into the Counseling office and we will send them along with your transcript. If you have completed a paper application, make a copy of everything for your records and then bring your application (and all of the assorted pieces that go along with it) to the counseling office along with a completed document request form. We keep the DRF in the counseling office and refer to it, checking that your documents were sent with your application. The counseling office also completes a final check to make certain all of the items you’ve indicated to be sent were up-loaded and submitted online or were mailed. This information is also listed on Family Connection. Common Application documents are submitted on- line as are many other colleges. If the college does not accept online documents, CI pays the regular airmail postage. If you prefer to send materials by courier service, you are responsible for that cost. Admissions offices prefer receiving all application documents packaged together. For paper documents, it makes sense to enclose all materials in the same envelope. Using this application packaging method insures that when an admission office receives your application, they will also receive all other supporting documents. Also, since some CI students do not have US social security numbers (the primary way applications are tracked), this method improves the odds that all your application components will be placed in your fi le rather than someone else’s. You must turn in any paper forms and your document request form to the Counseling Office at least two weeks before the college’s deadline. This allows the counseling office time to prod a teacher to finish a

INTERVIEWS Few schools in the US require interviews for admittance. Many no longer offer them at all. Others have elaborate networks of alumni (graduates of the college) who interview applicants. There are a number of alumni interviewers in Songdo. A local alum interviewer may contact you once your application has been received. Some UK universities - notably Oxford and Cambridge, all medical programs, and some art programs require you to have an interview. A few UK universities may send representatives to Songdo to interview you here. If you are on a college campus during the summer and an interview is offered, take advantage of it. Also, if someone calls you representing a college you applied to, if possible, try to meet with them. Most interviews are not as important as students generally assume. If you have an interview, you should realize that the impression you make on the interviewer will make it into your application folder. Rarely have students been admitted simply because they had great interviews or rejected because they had a bad one. When you go to an interview, follow these guidelines: Do Your Homework Don’t ask questions easily found in the school’s brochure or website. Review this information on the day of the interview and go in prepared. If there is a popular, but negative, conception of the school (it’s a party school), don’t ask about it. Since the interviewer will have heard the same question several times before, you will come across as just another typical, predictable applicant. Also, don’t ask a question if you have no interest in the answer. Before you go to an interview, think about how you’ll answer several stock questions if asked. Some questions include: Why do you want to go here? What made you decide to


apply? What do you want to major in? What do you want to do with your life? Most students have a hard time answering questions like these, because they force you to think specifically about things you may not have examined very carefully. Thinking about them is helpful and necessary. If you can come up with an intelligent and convincing reason why you want to attend a school, your interview will go smoothly.

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How to Look and Act Comb your hair. Don’t chew gum. Brush your teeth. Dress in the neatest, nicest version of “you.” Poise, politeness and friendliness have little to do with how good a student you are but a lot to do with how your interview goes. You want to appear bright, interested, mature, and at ease. The more comfortable the interviewer feels at your interview, the better impression you’ll make. If the conversation lags, ask a question. Forget about the length of the interview. Many colleges and alumni interviewers schedule interviews tightly. Don’t worry if your interview lasts or doesn’t last exactly as long as you were told it would. And don’t try to stretch out the end of your interview by suddenly asking a lot of questions you don’t care about.

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Leave Your Parents Somewhere Your parents should not accompany you into an on-campus interview. Admission officers don’t like having your mom or dad in the room any more than you do. Most will tell parents to wait in the waiting room (if there is one). If possible, leave your parents outside the admissions office entrance. Not having your parents with you only applies to the interview. It is perfectly acceptable for your parents to accompany you on the campus tour or to any group presentation. The exception to the noparent-at-the-interview rule occurs if you are a woman and a male inter-viewer asks you to come to his home for an alumni interview. It would be better to agree to meet him in a coffee shop, work place, or at CI. If that were not agreeable, it would be appropriate for your parent to accompany you. Although no CI student has ever reported a safety problem during an interview, it pays to be cautious.

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Save the Best for Last If you have more than one interview, schedule your first interviews at schools you care about least, because you get better at interviewing with practice. Send a Thank-You Note Sending a thank-you note is always a good idea. Your note can be quite short, but it should sound personal. As with any good thank-you note, mention a specific. ADMISSION DECISIONS Once the college has reviewed your application, they will notify you about your acceptance. Colleges using “rolling admissions” usually notify applicants six to eight weeks from the time they have a completed application folder (with your test scores). Students applying in September sometimes

Typical Questions

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What are your strengths and talents? How would your friends describe you? Describe a major accomplishment and why you’re proud of it. What do you like best and the least about high school? Which courses have challenged you the most and why? How do you respond to academic demands and pressure? Tell me about a teacher who has had a large influence on you. What has been your most challenging leadership experience? What has been your biggest disappointment in high school? Tell me about your work and/or community service experiences. What is your favorite activity outside of school? What activities do you plan to continue in college and why? Why are you interested in this college? What major are you considering? Why? How does your high school course load compare to your peers? What did you do last summer? Describe the most difficult situation you’ve been in. How did you handle it? How do you spend a typical day after school? Have you ever thought about not going to college? What would you do instead? What questions do you have for me?

Tell me about yourself. How long have you lived in Korea? Where is home?


hear in October. Colleges using a notification date (approximately April 1st ) send out decision letters on or about the same date.

Rank these characteristics in order of importance to you and see how well each college matches up.

Acceptance It used to be that thick envelopes were a sure sign of an acceptance. These days you are much more likely to receive your decision online, either through an email or through your account on the college’s website. Since email decisions are sent in batches, it’s entirely possible that a decision email ends up in your spam folder. Around decision time, get into the habit of looking in your spam folder before you automatically delete all of the messages. Some colleges still send decisions in the regular mail. Thin envelopes are generally rejection letters, since it only takes one piece of paper to say, “Thanks for applying. We are unable to offer you a place in our freshman class.” Don’t throw the letter away without reading it thoroughly, though. Some colleges send thin acceptance letters saying, “Congratulations! More materials will be sent in a separate packet.”

Compare Colleges Use College Search (go to for US colleges) to compare three of your colleges side by side. See differences -- from distance to cost -- at a glance.

Get Advice from People You Trust It's up to you to choose the college you want to attend. Although this decision is ultimately a personal one, it never hurts to ask for advice from people who know you well and care about your future. Talk to Your Parents Find out how each school's costs will impact the family's finances. Be patient with your parents -- picking a college can be an emotional process. Consult Your Advisers Ask your teachers, coaches, mentors, and religious leaders about their college experiences. Find out what they liked best and least about their college years -- you might gain a new perspective on what to expect of the next three or four years.

Making Up Your Mind So more than one university has accepted you. Now what? The following advice may help make that very important decision – where to go. If you've been accepted by more than one college, congratulations! Now YOU get to do the choosing. Here are some tips to help you make up your mind.

Don't Forget Your Counselor Meet with your counselor. Your counselor knows you well and has years of experience helping students with college decisions.

Rank College Characteristics Do some soul-searching to figure out which of your colleges would provide the best "fit" for you. Which one offers the educational and social experiences you are seeking? Here is a list of factors you might want to think about:

Talk to Current Students Get first-hand knowledge about what it's really like to attend a particular college from current students. Don't be afraid to ask frank questions -- your future college will be home, school, and work to you for the next four years.

Location: Urban, suburban, or rural campus? How far from home? Size: How big is the student population? What about class size? Mix of Students: Is the college coed? Are there students from all over the country, with different backgrounds and experiences? Academics: Does the college offer programs of study that interest you? Extracurricular Activities: Does the college have the types and ranges of extracurricular activities you are interested in? Facilities: Will you have access to labs, computing centers, and music, theater, or athletic facilities?

Your counselor may be able to put you in touch with former high school students who are now attending your colleges. College admission offices can also give you contact information for current students, advisers, and professors. Visit Campuses Visiting a college's campus can help break a deadlock if you can't decide between two or more colleges. At this point, a campus visit is


less about facts and figures than intuition and whether or not you "click" with a school. Ask yourself, "Will I be happy on this campus? Can I really picture myself here?" Get a good feel for the school by talking to students, sitting in on a class, and eating in a dining hall. Don't be afraid to trust your instincts.

semester senior grades, or because the admissions office is unsure of the strength of the rest of the applicants. A deferral is not necessarily a terrible thing. Some students who are deferred are admitted later. If you are deferred, you are released from any binding commitment. You can apply, be admitted, and choose to go to any college that accepts you.

Compare Your Financial Aid Awards If you receive offers of financial aid from more than one college (USA), use the Compare Your Aid Awards

Denial Unfortunately, not everyone can be admitted everywhere. Admissions decisions have little to do with you personally and more to do with the other students who applied that year. You can do everything right, and still not get in. If you happen to be denied admission to a college you especially wanted to attend, never call the admission office to vent your anger. If you are contemplating transferring a year later, you don’t want to have had a bitter encounter with the admissions office. Only in extraordinary circumstances is an “appeal” possible. Appeals are rarely successful unless the college has made an honest mistake—perhaps they were unable to locate a part of your application and denied you for that reason. If you think something like that has occurred, your counselor is the one who should intervene.

( ls/calculator_tool.htm) tool to compare: *The total amount of aid awarded; *The family share of costs; and *The percentage of gift aid (grants and scholarships) vs. self-help aid (work-study and loans) for up to four schools side by side. Don't Rush Your Decision Many colleges expect your final decision by May 1st (US colleges), so you have about one month to make up your mind. It's understandable if you're tempted to make a snap decision, just to end the uncertainty and get the whole process over with. However, try to keep your options open in case circumstances change (e.g. your parents decide to appeal your financial aid package or you decide to change your intended major).

Wait List All colleges admit more students than they have room for in a freshman class, because they realize not all students they admit will choose to enroll. Hard to believe, perhaps, but even Harvard only gets approximately 75% of accepted students to enroll. Guessing the “yield” is a difficult task— especially as more students apply to more schools each year. If a school underestimates the number of accepted candidates who enroll, there will be holes in the incoming freshman class, which are filled from the wait list. Even so, the wait list is usually a long shot. Final notification may not come until well into the summer so, for safety’s sake, accept an offer of admission from another school, even if it means sending in a nonrefundable deposit. Only choose to remain on a waitlist if you really plan to attend should you be admitted later. Some colleges waitlist almost as many students as they admit, so the chances of being admitted off the waitlist at these institutions is minimal.

Decide and Reply Once you've made a decision, send in your acceptance letter. Don't forget to inform all of the schools that offered you admission of your final choice. You're holding onto someone else's spot. A simple letter, thanking them for their consideration, but declining their offer, will do.

Remember that there shouldn't be pressure to find the "perfect" college. Any number of schools can be good fits and make you happy.

Deferral Students who apply Early Decision or Early Action sometimes get a letter of deferral, which means the college will wait until later to decide whether or not to accept you. Deferrals can be due to the need to see your first

May 1st Reply Date Once you have your acceptance letters, you must decide where to go. T he US candidate reply date is May 1st. If you don’t tell schools


by then that you’re coming in the fall, they can, and often do, withdraw your acceptance. Notify all other schools that accepted you of your decision not to attend. An email is a great way to do this. If you’re sure you won’t be attending, notify the college promptly so they might be able to open up other slots for other (possibly CI) students. Once you’ve made your choice, pay the nonrefundable enrollment deposit, which tells the school you are showing up in the fall. Also, check on housing arrangements. Read the materials you received with the acceptance letter to see how you should take care of these matters. Thank all those who proofread your essays and wrote letters of recommendation. Teachers asked to write recommendations feel hurt when seniors forget to say thank you or fail to tell them the outcome of the colleges’ decisions.

Senior Slump After the college decisions have been announced, seniors often go through a “senior slump.” You have been accepted and you feel high school performance is no longer important. Beware! The fine print on the acceptance letter will probably say that your acceptance is contingent upon continued progress during your senior year. Each year, some students have acceptances revoked or are put on probation in college due to final semester grades. Don’t let this happen to you. Do you want to go through all of this work again next year? Beyond Graduation Once you’ve made your college decision and graduated from high school it seems like you should finally be able to take it easy. Not so fast.

UCAS Offers Each time a UK university makes a decision on one of your applications, UCAS will notify you of the offer details. You will be asked to code all of your offers (you could have as many as five) as “Firm,” “Insurance” or “Decline.” Choose one firm and one insurance offer; all others must be declined. Since most offers are conditional upon examination scores and you won’t have received the exam results, this can be a difficult decision. If you are confused about any offers, check with your counselor before submitting your offer. Once you have made a commitment to particular courses you cannot change your mind. Ask your counselor for advice regarding which offers to accept. UCAS asks for prompt replies, but you do have until early May to make your decision. If you did not receive any offers, you can participate in a process called “Extra” in which you can apply one at a time to additional courses until you receive an offer. See your counselor for help with this process.

Housing Contract Housing information is usually included in the acceptance packet. Send this form in early to better your chance of getting good housing. In the housing contract, there is a form asking about your likes and dislikes. This information is used to match you up with a compatible roommate. You may be asked to comment (honestly) on areas such as neatness, study habits, smoking habits, and taste in music. A college won’t guarantee to match you up with a perfect roommate, but they’ll try. Once you find out who your roommate will be (usually in July), contact him or her. Several colleges now have online roommate selection. You are able to post information about yourself and see information about others. Roommates are then able to mutually choose each other.

Address Changes If you leave Songdo right after graduation and return to your home country for the summer, file an address change with your college in late May. Otherwise, you might miss some important mailings, such as information about orientation programs, course registration, roommate assignment, and housing.

Canadian University Decisions Some universities in Canada have coordinated their decision period to coincide with the US. However, it is still common for others to not make decisions until after receiving final senior year grades, especially if a candidate is on the borderline between admit and deny. Final quarter of senior year is no time for “senioritis” if you are waiting to hear from Canadian universities. If you don’t get a reply by late April, email or phone the admissions offices to check if all required documents were received.

Getting a Visa If you are an international student going to college in the US, you will need a visa. You should receive a “Form I-20” from the college’s international student office with your acceptance letter. The US Embassy requires


this form when you apply for your visa. You can’t enter a foreign country for university study unless you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or have an appropriate student visa stamped in your passport. Similar procedures are in place for most countries. Do not go to study with a tourist visa!

in the UK can be completed in three years, whereas in Scotland, the usual length is four years. What to Study? If you are applying in the UK, you are required to indicate your course of study at the time you apply. Unlike the US, where students can apply without having decided about their major, there is no such thing as “undecided” at UK universities. If you like the idea of studying in the UK, you must be prepared to launch into a quite specific course of study, and to stay with it for three years until you complete your degree. The word “course” is used to describe the subject of study, including all the specific classes that a student will take over the three or four years of enrollment. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the course of study is usually quite specific, for example, “Psychology” at the University of Durham, or a joint course such as “Business Management with French” at Queen Mary University. Once your studies begin, all courses relate to that subject area, or two subject areas in a joint degree. If you change your mind about your course, you have to reapply to a different course, and unless it’s a closely related field, you would have to begin your degree over from the beginning. For this reason, students who are not certain of their interests are not a good match for studying in the UK.

Health Documents You will receive health forms, which need to be completed by a physician. You will also be asked to include an official copy of your immunization history. You will not be able to begin classes unless this form is completed. If your family does not have a record of your immunization, you should contact the CI nurse before the end of the school year. . Transferring It is possible to transfer from one school to another in the US. Generally speaking, the more prestigious a school is, the harder it is to transfer into later, because there aren’t a lot of students who leave these schools, and, if they don’t leave, there isn’t room for you to enter. The easiest schools to transfer into are the ones with the highest attrition rates. You need to ask yourself why you would want to transfer into a school where a large number of students keep transferring out. If you do think you might want to transfer to a “better” school, it is sometimes possible. Transfers most often occur after the second year. By that time, you will have demonstrated you can do college work. Usually decisions are made in late spring. Colleges often expect transfer applicants to have a good reason for wanting to switch schools. Simply being unhappy at your present school isn’t enough. The best reason is you’ve decided on a major that your old school doesn’t have. Your case has to be convincing. If you come across as the type of student who would be unhappy anywhere, you’re not the type of student most colleges would want.

Researching Courses and Universities The UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website is the best place to begin the research process. Go to the UCAS website at and click on “Course Search.” You can then search by course or by university. As you find courses of interest, you will notice the letters “EP” listed after many course titles. These initials indicate the university has registered an entry profile on the website, and by clicking on the course title, you will be able to view the profile. Entry profiles contain information about why one would study a course, what are the key skills and qualities sought in applicants (which is important as you write your personal statement!), where to obtain more information, what academic qualifications are needed, and a great deal of information about the course itself. You will be able to see exactly what classes you will be required to take during each year of the course, which will help you decide if this subject is realistic for you. Entry profiles are a great place to start the research process. Once you’ve decided on a course, you should consult

APPLYING TO THE UK The United Kingdom (UK) is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Universities in all four of these lands are subject to the same government regulations and processes, but the system of education in Scotland is different from that in the other parts of the UK. Thus the application process is consistent throughout Great Britain, but what you experience as a student would be different, depending on whether you enroll in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. Most degrees


“Unistats,” a website that allows you to compare a particular course, for example, advertising, at all universities in the UK that offer it. On UCAS you will find data about IB entry requirements and possible combinations of prerequisites. You also have access to student satisfaction data, based on a survey of students in their final year of the course. Finally, Unistats also report the percentage of graduates who are employed or enrolled in post-graduate degree courses within six months of graduation. There is a link to this and other UK related sites on the Family Connections. There are numerous other resources available for investigating courses. Many students have found the Higher Education League Tables, published by the major British newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian to be very helpful. All these links can be found on Family Connections on Naviance . Application Process UCAS serves as the central clearinghouse for university applications in the UK. Applicants fill out a single online form, a reference is added, and once the form is submitted, UCAS forwards the application to the universities that the student has indicated. Each university then makes a decision about the application, forwards that information to UCAS, and it is then posted in the student’s UCAS account. The UCAS application limits you to a maximum of five (5) courses, or four choices in clinical areas such as medicine or dentistry. These course choices could be at five different universities, or two courses could be chosen at the same university (e.g., one course called Psychology and another called Social Psychology at University of Kent would make up two course choices).

form. After submission, your counselor checks and approves the data you entered and adds the reference letter, which will be written by your counselor with input from teachers you have had in subjects related to your intended field of study. Your counselor then submits the form to UCAS, which forwards it to your chosen universities. An admissions tutor determines whether your background, ability, and examination scores suggest success in your intended course of study. Since the UCAS application deadline is January 15th, your completed application must be submitted online no later than December 1st, so the reference can be added and the form submitted before school closes for the winter holiday. You may read in some places that the deadline for international student applications is June 30th. In fact, any application received after January 15th is considered a late application and is processed only after all other applications have been considered. CI enforces a December 1st deadline to ensure that you have you best chance of admission. There are earlier deadlines for specific universities and courses. Students applying to Oxford or Cambridge must submit the UCAS form plus a supplemental paper application by midSeptember in order to be eligible for the required interviews and exams. If you think you might apply to Oxford or Cambridge, you must discuss this with your counselor in the spring of grade 11 in order to begin planning for submission of the work samples that are often required by those two institutions. Students applying for medical, dental, or veterinary courses must submit applications to their counselor by October 1st in order for the form to reach UCAS by the October 15th deadline. Interviews are almost always required for these clinical courses.

Starting the Application All CI students, including current seniors and graduates considering a transfer, apply through our school’s section of the UCAS website at To make the process go as smooth as possible, it is important that you register and apply as a CI student (a buzzword will be given to you by CI Counseling Office). Once you have set up an account, you can begin completing the UCAS form. It requests demographic information, a list of courses to which you are applying, a report of completed and anticipated examinations (such as IGCSE and IB) and a one page personal statement which is described below. You pay the application fee online when you submit your

Personal Statement Your personal statement is your chance to make a convincing case for your admission. The personal statement can be no longer than 47 lines or 4000 characters, including spaces, and should focus on why you have chosen to study the courses you have listed, and what interests you about your subject. Details about what you have studied, read, or experienced in relation to your course will help the admissions tutors assess your suitability for admission. This is not a place to show off every last extracurricular activity that you have joined, but rather to discuss how any particular activity might have helped to prepare you to study your subject. UCAS is very serious about detecting


plagiarized personal statements. Each incoming personal statement is checked against a library of personal statements from previously submitted applications and sample statements on websites and in paper publications. After your application is processed, your personal statement will also become part of the library of statements. Any statements showing a potential level of similarity of 10% or greater will be reviewed closely. Readers will be carefully considering your level of motivation to study your chosen course.

universities will make an offer contingent upon exam scores in particular subjects. For example, if you apply for a chemistry course, you would need to be taking IB Chemistry and IB Math at the higher level and earn particular scores on both exams. Each time a UK university makes a decision on one of your applications, UCAS will post the offer in your Track account, including all the details. You will also eventually receive a formal offer in the mail. Because of the way UK admissions decisions are made, the CI transcript is of less importance than exam scores. Once you’ve been assigned a UCAS number, if you wish, you can have your transcripts sent directly to the university admission tutor, especially if you’ve done well. The transcript may not carry a lot of weight, but a record showing you did well in high school will never hurt. Don’t respond to any offers until you get the last one. When the last decision is posted, speak with your counselor and then use your Track account to reply to your offers. You will be asked to code all of your offers (you could have as many as five) as “Firm,” “Insurance” or “Decline.” Choose one firm and one insurance offer; all others must be declined. Since most offers are conditional upon examination scores and you won’t have received the exam results, this can be a difficult decision, so speak with your counselor. Once you have made a commitment to particular courses, you cannot change your mind. If you did not receive any offers, you can participate in a process called “Extra” in which you can apply one at a time to additional courses until you receive an offer. See your counselor for help with this process. Students who receive offers, but do not make the scores required by their firm or insurance offer can enter a process called “Clearing” in which they can compete for available places based on their actual IB scores. For further information about UK universities, take a look at materials in CI’s Counseling Office, see your counselor, and check the links on the Counseling website.

Reference Since you apply for a particular course of study at UK universities, the UCAS reference is very different from a recommendation letter to a US university. The reference should specifically concentrate on your suitability for the proposed course of study, and will include predicted IB exam results as reported by your teachers. Don’t even think of suggesting to your teacher that your prediction be increased a bit – because your offer will reflect that higher prediction and you will then have to achieve that score – or lose your chance to attend that university. Your counselor will write your UCAS reference, and will include content or quotations from one or more relevant teachers. The document must discuss how you are suited to study the course for which you are applying. In order to do that well, your counselor and teachers will need information from you about this. Students who have decided to apply to UK universities are therefore required to complete the “UCAS Teacher Reference Questionnaire” (available on the Counseling website) for each relevant teacher. After Applying After your application has been reviewed, you will be informed of your admission decisions through a section of the UCAS website called “Track” at Instead of an outright acceptance, UK universities give “offers” of admission which are usually contingent upon meeting specific conditions. A typical offer requires certain IB predicted grades. The more popular the course of study, the higher examination scores needed. Outright denial occurs if you do not complete the specifically-required exams or if your exam scores to date are weak. On the other hand, a particularly well-qualified student may receive an unconditional offer, which is an outright offer of admission. Some

UK Timeline June 1 UK Reference Request form due to teachers and counselor August 1 Online application form available September 15 UCAS application processing begins. October 15 closing date for all medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine courses at all universities


December 1 CI deadline for submitting all UCAS applications. Although the UCAS cutoff is

decisions by this date May 5 Indicate your firm, insurance, and declined choices on the Track website by this date.

January 15, due to winter holidays, you must finish your UCAS application by December 1 and notify your counselor that it has been completed. March 31 Universities expected to have sent all


Tips on Writing the Personal Statement (UK)

This is your chance to tell the universities and colleges you have chosen why you are applying, and why they should want you as a student. Admissions officers will want to know why you are interested in the courses that you have applied for and what you hope to do after your studies. A good personal statement is important - it could help to persuade an admissions officer to offer you a place. In many cases, applicants are not interviewed, so this may be your only chance to make the case for your admission. Consider carefully the information you give to support your application and the best way to present it effectively. Remember that you must be truthful and accurate in what you write. It is up to you how you write your statement but we suggest you include some or all of the following points: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Why you have chosen the courses you have listed. This is perhaps the most important area to stress when writing the Personal Statement. Remember that, although each university or college that you have applied to cannot see your other choices, they will all see the personal statement. What interests you about your chosen subject? Include details of what you have read about the subject. What career plans you have for when you complete your course. Any job, work experience, placement or voluntary work you have done, particularly if it is relevant to your subject. You may want to give the skills and experience you have gained from these activities. Any involvement in widening participation schemes such as summer schools or mentoring activities. Involvement in master classes or other Gifted and Talented programs. Your future plans. Any subjects you are studying that do not have a formal assessment. Any sponsorship or placements you have or have applied for. If you are planning to take a year out, your reasons why. Your social, sports or leisure interests. If you want to send more information, perhaps a CV, send it directly to your chosen universities or colleges after you receive your acknowledgement letter and application number. Do not send it to UCAS. If you are an international student, also try to answer these questions: Why do you want to study in the UK? What evidence do you have to show that you can complete a higher education course that is taught in English? Please say if some of your studies have been assessed in English. Have you had a position of authority or used your communication skills in any activity?


More Tips: • In your personal statement you should try to include the following: • Your reasons for choosing the course. • Do you enjoy the subject and why? • What aspects of the course you enjoy? • Do you look forward to studying the subject in more depth? • Do you look forward to putting your theory into practice? • Do you possess certain skills needed for the course? Which ones? • Any work experience you have, and any skills you gained while doing it? For example: • Working to deadlines / Diplomacy / Problem solving / • Using initiative / Communication skills When you write your personal statement remember the following: • • • • • • • • •

Organize your material so it is an informative and interesting read. Write clearly and try not to pack in too much information. Only write things that you are prepared to talk about at an interview. Don't repeat material already on the application form. Think about the impression you want to give. Don't describe what courses you are doing now. Don't ramble or fill in space with irrelevant information. Don't say that you prefer one university to another. Don't forget to sound interesting.

Canadian Universities If you are more familiar with universities in the US and the UK, you may find the admissions criteria and application process of Canadian universities a little confusing to begin with. The following are some differences between Canadian universities and those in the US and UK. Virtually all Canadian universities are public institutions. In terms of the application process, Canadian universities are generally thought to place a greater emphasis on a student’s academic record. They don't request personal statements and they don't hold interviews, so grades are the primary factor upon which they base their decisions. Scholarships are typically awarded on the basis of academic success, and there are far fewer opportunities for financial aid in Canada. Athletes are not awarded the same status in Canada, either, and athletic scholarships do not exist at most Canadian institutions. Applications for schools in Canada are usually due much later than US/UK applications, and admissions decisions are consequently delivered much later. For further information on the above, visit the following site: To help you decide on a program of study at a particular Canadian institution, start by checking the Internet. An excellent source of information on Canadian universities including links to Canadian university web sites is the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Their home page is at: An alphabetical index of Canadian universities and colleges, by province and territory, can be found at: The provinces of British Columbia and Alberta have International Education Centers that can assist you in your searches about post-secondary institutions in these provinces. The British Columbia Centre for International Education (BCCIE) is at and you can find the Alberta Centre for International Education (ACIE) web site at


Ten Reasons to Study in Canada •

First Class

Canadian universities offer an internationally renowned education that attracts students from around the world. •

Two Official Languages

Canada is a bilingual country. You may choose to study in either French or English or at a bilingual university. •

A Cultural Mosaic

Canada is a multicultural country. Regardless of your ethnic origin, you will feel at home in Canada. •

Four Seasons

In summer, enjoy our many freshwater lakes and rivers. Autumn leaves offer a stunning array of colors. Winter invites you to ski down a snow-covered mountain. And in spring, join your friends at one of the many sidewalk cafés in our bustling cities. •

Safe and Clean

You’ll find our campuses safe and clean. According to the World Bank, many of our cities rank amongst the best places in the world to live, work and study. •


Tuition and the cost of living in Canada are lower than in other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. •

High Quality

You’ll find excellent professors, reputable scientists, and world-renowned artists and writers as part of the faculty at Canadian universities.

Outstanding Facilities

First class libraries and sports facilities, museums and art galleries, theatres and concert halls: our campuses have it all, including radio stations, newspapers and stores that are run by students. •


Looking for the latest in computer labs, wired classrooms and Internet access from campus? You’ll find a world of technology at your fingertips when you enroll at a Canadian university. •

An Excellent Option

Ninety-three universities in Canada; it is a country that offers a high quality of life. Information for International Students (Canadian Universities) What is the difference between a university and a college?


Universities are educational institutions attended after at least 12 years of school, or after secondary school, for studies leading to a degree and research. All 93 member universities of AUCC (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) offer three or four year bachelor degree programs; most offer one to two year master's degrees and a number also offer doctoral or Ph.D. programs. Some universities are called colleges, and a few are called institutes, university colleges, or schools. Community colleges are two-year institutions that offer technical or vocational courses, or courses for transfer to a university, leading to a certificate or diploma. Community colleges do not generally offer degree programs.

For more information on Canadian community colleges, contact the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, 1223 Michael St. N., Suite 200, Ottawa ON K1J 7T2 Canada. Tel: 613-7462222, Fax: 613-746-6721, or visit ACCC’s Web site (

How do I apply? To study at a Canadian university, you must first be accepted in a program of study by a recognized Canadian university. Once you have determined which universities meet your needs, contact the registrar’s office at each institution to obtain an application for a bachelor’s program. It is important to apply early. Generally, international students should apply to a Canadian university up to eight months in advance. Some universities have application deadlines as late as June for a September start date. Typical entry points for international students are the September and January semesters. However, many universities have adopted a procedure of "rolling-admissions" which means that they consider international students’ applications as they come in throughout the year. Calendars with course descriptions, admission requirements and procedures, costs and scholarships are available from the registrar at each university and are usually also accessible through the university’s Web site. Engineering, optometry, medicine, veterinary medicine, law, and dentistry are fields where the first professional degree is considered an undergraduate program. There is a great deal of academic competition for these spaces and most universities have limits or quotas on the number of qualified applicants admitted each year. A high level of academic achievement is required for admission. Often at least two years of undergraduate study in a related field are required before you can be admitted to the first professional degree program. Check the university calendar to identify tests such as LSAT (law) or DAT (dentistry) that may also be required. You can also contact the university of your choice directly. The majority accepts applications via e-mail. Go to the university Web sites.

Am I eligible to study in Canada? Each university has its own entrance requirements and will assess you on an individual basis. The university will determine the equivalency of your academic credentials. There is no nationwide set of entrance exams. For more details about this or any other part of the application process, contact the registrar at the university you wish to attend.


* If you are an international student wishing to attend school or university in the province of Quebec, you will have to obtain additional approval from the province. This will apply after you have met the requirements of the Canadian Government. The Ministère de l''éducation in Quebec is the principal point of contact for international students planning to study in Quebec. Foreign students are obliged to obtain a Quebec Certificate of Acceptance prior to their arrival in Quebec. The certificate is issued by the Ministère des affaires Internationales, de l''immigration et des communautés de Québec. Where can I find information on academic programs? A comprehensive database is available that provides over 10,000 listings of undergraduate, master's or Ph.D. programs. Rather than browsing through all the Web sites of Canadian universities, you can access all universities and programs within a single database. Start your search at:

Is financial aid possible? Contact the Ministry of Education in your home country for information on Canadian scholarships. You can also get scholarship information from the financial aid offices at the university where you wish to study. Visit the Awards section of the Canadian Bureau for International Education Web site ( Other useful sites:

Studying in Canada / Overview: Studying in Canada / A Guide for Foreign Students: Other: How to Pay for University in Canada (Canadian Citizens) The cost of a university education goes well beyond tuition fees to include housing, transportation, books, fees, laundry, food, and other expenses. It's never too early to begin your homework on the financial assistance available to you. If you're looking for help in covering the costs of your university education, the news is good: there's more scholarship money available today than ever before. In fact, funding for scholarships, bursaries and prizes by Canadian universities has quadrupled in the last 20 years, rising to about $468 million in 1999 - 2000.

Types of Financial Assistance Scholarships Scholarships are awarded based on academic merit - usually your marks in your final year of high school - although sometimes extracurricular, leadership or volunteer activities are also taken into account. Scholarships range in value from $100 a year up to more than $10,000, and in some cases, they are renewable for up to four years of study, depending on the marks you get in university. Bursaries Bursaries, on the other hand, are based largely on financial need, although sometimes other factors such as community work or athletics are considered. Some bursaries are also set aside for students with disabilities, those who are single parents or those who are from a particular ethnic or cultural background. Grants Government financial assistance is also available to help offset the cost of a university education for


Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Generally, government programs are in the form of loans that you will need to repay, although some non-repayable government grants are available. These awards are available under the Canada Study Grants program and you can learn more about them directly from the universities you want to attend. Work Placements Many campuses also offer special work/study programs, where students who need financial assistance are given preference for jobs on campus. Co-op education, which alternates terms of study with terms in the workplace, is also a good source of additional funding for your studies. Savings and Earnings In addition to scholarships, bursaries and grants, sources can include your own savings, employment income and contributions from your parents and other family members. Loans Government loans come from the federal and provincial or territorial governments, and you must apply by filling out an application in your home province. Canada and provincial student loans are based on financial need, and are interest-free while you are in university. Full-time students don't need to start paying them back until six months after graduation. Lines of Credit Many banks and financial institutions offer line of credit products to students with special interest rates and repayment options to make university education more accessible to some who can handle the responsibility. There may be an annual maximum and a total load assigned to the line of credit. Unlike a government loan, which does not require any payments until six months after graduation, a line of credit holder is responsible for at least some payment toward the balance every month. Who is eligible for scholarships? Eligibility for company scholarships usually has minimum grade average that students need to achieve. However, more and more, companies are looking for well-rounded individuals who are active in their communities and who display leadership qualities. When you are looking for scholarships you should make sure your résumé is up to date and that it highlights all of your experiences (volunteering, work, membership in a club or sports team) - not just academic achievement. How do I apply for financial assistance? In many cases, you'll automatically be considered for scholarships and bursaries when you apply to university. A number of universities across the country, for example, provide automatic entrance scholarships for students with high school averages above 80 percent, and the amount available is often calculated on a sliding scale depending on your marks. In other cases, you'll need to fill out special application forms. (Above information from: site)

Australian Universities Background The first universities in Australia were established in four of the original colonies, the University of Sydney in 1850 in New South Wales, the University of Melbourne in 1853 in Victoria, the University of Adelaide in 1874 in South Australia and the University of Tasmania in 1890. Following the creation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, the University of Queensland was established in 1909 and the University of Western Australia in 1911. Between the two World Wars, two university colleges were established, Canberra University College in 1930 in the Australian Capital Territory which later joined the Australian National University in the 1960s, and the New England University College in 1938 in northern New South Wales which became the University of New England in 1954. The post war period saw the establishment of the Australian National University in 1946 and several more new universities until by the late 1970s the number of universities had risen to nineteen. The 1960s also saw the development of a binary system of higher education, consisting of the universities on the one hand and a large group of advanced education institutions on the other. Eventually there were about 70 institutions or colleges of advanced education (CAEs) which included many long established institutions such as the large central institutes of technology, regional colleges, colleges specializing in teacher education and a number of small colleges specializing in other fields such as agriculture. The advanced education institutions initially offered sub-degree level awards and later offered award mainly at the pass Bachelor degree level but did not offer Honors Bachelor degrees.


With a few exceptions, they were not funded for research and did not offer postgraduate awards. By 1990 this binary system had been replaced by a unitary system of higher education institutions made up of universities and non-university public and private higher education institutions. The emphasis of the Australian higher education system is on quality, diversity, access and equity. Links between higher education and the other education and training sectors have been strengthened, partially through the introduction of the Australian Qualifications Framework. The flexible delivery of programs and the expansion of external modes of study have been enhanced by advances in educational technology and have become important features of the Australian higher education sector. The expansion of Australia’s higher education system over the past fifty years has been accompanied by substantial structural and funding changes. During World War II and in the following years the Federal Government began to play a more prominent role in public higher education funding and policy, assuming full funding responsibility for higher education in 1974 and abolishing tuition fees in the same year. Initiatives such as the Higher Education Contribution Scheme have subsequently been introduced to help finance the higher education system. The last decade has also seen the expansion of fee-paying places for domestic and overseas students. Australian universities are generally comprehensive institutions offering a wide range of programs. They vary significantly in size ranging from the largest with around 40,000 students down to the smallest at around 2,000 students. Most range between 10,000 to 20,000 students. Many universities are located in the major cities but there is a significant number located in smaller regional centers. The larger universities usually have a number of campuses. Types of Degrees

Bachelor Degrees Bachelor degrees in Australia can be divided into four types: ordinary or pass Bachelor degrees, Honors degrees and Bachelor degrees with Honors, Combined Bachelor degrees, and [Post] Graduate Bachelor degrees. The Bachelor degree is the initial qualification in the arts and sciences. Most first professional qualifications are also Bachelor degrees, although they are sometimes offered in a ‘postgraduate’ mode, see [Post] Graduate Bachelor Degrees below. Programs are designed to introduce students to a body of knowledge relevant to the discipline studied and develop students’ analytical skills so that they can assimilate and interpret new information and ideas and continue to apply and extend such techniques after graduation. A Bachelor degree program normally includes a significant amount of specialization, with a major subject or subject area studied in depth. This normally involves a progressive development of both the knowledge base and the required analytical skills and problem-solving techniques to a level that provides a basis for postgraduate study.

Basic or Pass Bachelor Degrees The basic Bachelor degree, often referred to as an Ordinary or Pass Bachelor degree, requires three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. Some examples of such degrees are Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBusAdmin). A number of Bachelor degree courses are four or more years in duration. Apart from Honors degrees (described below) this is most common in professional education, where additional time may be required to prepare students to operate in a professional context. For example, Bachelor degrees in law (LLB), engineering (BEng) and agriculture (BAgSc) normally require four years of full-time study; Bachelor degrees in architecture (BArch), dentistry (BDSc) and veterinary science (BVSc/BVS) normally require five years of study. The medical degree (MB BS) is six years in duration. Some universities offer three-year Bachelor degrees in professional fields, such as technology [engineering] (BTech), jurisprudence (BJuris) and architectural studies (BAppSc-ArchSc), which provide professionally oriented education different from that of the four-year BEng and LLB and the five-year BArch. See also the section [Post] Graduate Bachelor Degrees below.

Honors Degrees and Degrees with Honors Bachelor degrees awarded with Honors fall into two distinct categories, an informal distinction sometimes being made between Honors degrees and degrees with Honors. The term Honors degree is usually used to distinguish it from a basic three-year Ordinary or Pass degree. Where the basic degree course requires three years of study, the Honors degree requires four years of study, with students being selected on the basis of outstanding academic achievement in the


Ordinary or Pass degree. The additional year normally involves specialized study and research, and the submission of a thesis. Depending on the university and faculty concerned, the Honors program may consist of either an Honors year, undertaken on completion of a three-year degree, or an integrated program of study to which selected students may be admitted at the beginning of their second or third year. Honors degrees involve specialization in one subject, or in two for a Combined Honors degree. Students undertaking an integrated Honors degree specialize from the time they enter the Honors course, while students seeking admission to an Honors year must have completed an approved major in the three-year degree and have demonstrated a superior level of academic achievement. Honors degrees of this type used to be available only in arts, science, and commerce and economics. They are now offered in a number of professional areas, such as pharmacy and radiography, where the first degree was previously three years in duration. A degree with Honors may be awarded to students completing a regular Bachelor degree course of four or more years, for example, in engineering or law, with a record of outstanding academic achievement. Honors are often awarded solely on merit, but in some cases additional work is required, usually in the final year. Generally this involves an increased course load or short thesis rather than a longer course but occasionally an additional year's study is required. Degrees with Honors are awarded in most, but not all, professional fields, depending on the awarding university and faculty. When a degree is awarded with Honors of either type, the abbreviation ‘Hons’ is used, for example, BA (Hons), LLB (Hons). Honors graduates with Honors in the First Class or in the Second Class (Upper Division) may be permitted to proceed directly to a Doctoral program.

Combined Degrees Bachelor degrees may be taken in a variety of combinations. Law degrees, for example, are often undertaken with arts, science or commerce degrees. An LLB/BA or LLB/BCom normally requires five years of full-time study (six years for Honors). A number of universities provide for medical, dental or veterinary science degrees to be taken in combination with a Bachelor degree in an associated field, for example, BMedSc, BScDent, and BVBiol. These combined degrees usually involve an additional year of study during the MB BS, BDS/BDSc or BVSc. [Post] Graduate Bachelor Degrees A few Australian universities offer Bachelor degrees that cannot be entered directly by Year 12 entrants. The majority of these degrees are professional qualifications in fields like architecture and building, law, education, medicine and, occasionally, social welfare. For example, the five-year BArch is sometimes offered as a two-year, full-time course following a designated three-year degree. In a few universities law cannot be studied on its own, but must be undertaken either in a combined course, or as a three-year full-time course following a Bachelor degree. The Juris Doctor (JD) offered by at least one Australian university is a two-year full-time program and is directed towards mature graduates with a good Bachelor degree from a field other than law. A few Australian universities have now introduced a postgraduate Bachelor degree in medicine (BMed/BSurg). This is four years in length following a first degree and a special entrance examination. In education, the postgraduate BEd is different from the three or four-year undergraduate Bed The Postgraduate Bed, Bed Studies or BSpecEd is a specialized professional qualification, requiring between one and two years of study beyond a four-year Bed or a BA/BSc DipEd. See Teacher Education earlier in this Profile for more information about degrees in education. A few universities offer a Bachelor of Letters (BLitt or LittB), requiring between one and two years beyond a three-year arts degree, and which, depending on the program, may be undertaken as a Master's qualifying program.

Structure of Bachelor Degree Programs of Study The structure of the Australian Bachelor degree depends on the subject area studied and on the department and/or faculty concerned. Professional education courses such as medicine normally involve a high proportion of compulsory core subjects, with relatively few choices as regards specialization and/or free electives in the course. In other areas, such as law, students may have more opportunities for professional specialization. Engineering is unusual in that students specialize in a branch of engineering from an early stage in their undergraduate courses. Bachelor degrees in commerce and business normally require completion of a range of core courses, with students having the option of


specializing in a subject or subject area, particularly at third year level. Bachelor degrees in arts and science vary considerably in structure, according to individual faculty regulations. Universities normally require completion of at least one major sequence that is studied over three years. Many students undertake two majors, and some students study three subjects for three years. Most universities/faculties have regulations concerning the minimum and maximum numbers of subjects to be completed at first, second and third year levels. The way in which programs are described varies between universities, and sometimes between faculties within universities. Some universities describe degree requirements in terms of courses, normally between nine and twelve, which correspond to subjects requiring one year to complete. Other universities use points or credits, but there is no uniformity: requirements may be based on 20-24 points, 68-72 points, 100-144 points, 240 points, 300 points or 1080 points or credits. Formal instruction at the undergraduate level consists of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and, depending on the program, laboratory work, fieldwork and supervised practical work. The number of class contact hours per week varies according to the nature of the program of study. The emphasis at university level is on developing a critical approach to ideas and materials and on undertaking independent intellectual activity. Assessment often involves examinations, but other factors are normally taken into account, such as performance in tutorials, seminars and laboratory work, completion of assignments, field or practical work, and individual or group research work. Source:

Fees and Charges Higher education students in Australia are subject to a range of fees and charges. In addition to the fees and charges described below, institutions sometimes make an additional charge to cover other costs associated with being a student such as student organization membership, library and laboratory costs, and sports facility costs. Some courses make specific charges for excursions, books, stationary and other essential materials.

Higher Education Contribution Scheme The Federal Government introduced the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) in 1989 in order to recover from students some of the cost of higher education studies. HECS represents about 35 per cent of average tuition costs. The Federal Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs administer HECS. The HECS contribution applies to Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens enrolled in a higher education course that has been funded by the Federal Government. Exemptions from paying HECS are available for those who are charged tuition fees by their institution, overseas students, holders of Merit-Based Equity Scholarships, and postgraduate students with a Research HECS Exemption.

Tuition Fees Legislation regarding the ability of universities to charge fees has been progressively liberalized since the mid 1980s. In 1985, institutions began to charge fees for overseas students. This was expanded to include some postgraduate courses in 1988. Since 1998 universities have also been able to offer some undergraduate places on a fee-paying basis subject to provisions of the Federal Government. Private higher education institutions set their own fees.

Undergraduate Fees In 1996, the relevant legislation was amended to allow universities to offer undergraduate places to domestic students on a fee-paying basis from 1998. Under this legislation universities are not permitted to substitute fee-paying places for HECS-liable places. The Federal Government sets the provisions for the numbers of fee-paying places universities may offer. Award courses that lead to provisional registration as a medical practitioner by Federal, State or Territory authorities may not offer fee-paying places to domestic students.


Fees for Students from Outside Australia Students coming from outside Australia to study at Australian institutions are usually referred to as overseas students. The Federal Government introduced a full-fee program for overseas students in 1985, alongside the existing program for partly subsidized overseas students. Since January 1990, all new overseas students have been charged full tuition fees. The Australian Education International website indicates that current fees for higher education range from A$12,000 to A$18,000 per year.

Source: Admission Requirements (Australian Universities) For Australian students living in Australia, admission to a higher education course is normally based on completion of full secondary education. There is a keen demand for places and quotas apply for most programs. The student’s tertiary entrance score, rank or index normally determines entry. For Australian citizens living abroad, as well as international students, contact each university for their admission requirements.

Financial Aid and Scholarships If you plan to apply for financial aid and/or a scholarship, you and your parent/s should begin researching the different possibilities as soon as you begin the college search/application process.

USA The following is an excerpt from - How Financial Aid Works. For more information on financial aid for US-bound students, go to the following site for a good introduction to the subject: Financial aid is intended to make up the difference between what your family can afford to pay and what college costs. Over half of the students currently enrolled in college receive some sort of financial aid to help pay college costs. In a Nutshell The financial aid system is based on the goal of equal access -- that anyone should be able to attend college, regardless of financial circumstances. Here's how the system works: Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they're able. If a family is unable to contribute the entire cost, financial aid is available to bridge the gap. Who Decides How Much my Family is Able to Contribute? The amount your family is able to contribute is frequently referred to as the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. The figure is determined by whomever is awarding the aid -- usually the federal government or individual colleges and universities. The federal government and financial aid offices use "need formulas" that analyze your family's financial circumstances (things like income, assets, and family size) and compare them proportionally with other families' financial circumstances. What the EFC Figure Means for Most Families First, most families can't just pay the EFC out of current income alone. But, not to worry -- the formulas assume that families will meet their contribution through a combination of savings, current income, and borrowing. Second, financial aid is limited. The formulas therefore measure a particular family's ability to pay against other families' ability to pay.


Three Main Types of Financial Aid Financial aid is any type of assistance used to pay college costs that is based on financial need.

Grants and Scholarships Also called gift aid, grants don't have to be repaid and you don't need to work to earn them. Grant aid comes from federal and state governments and from individual colleges. Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit.

Loans Most financial aid comes in the form of loans, aid that must be repaid. Most loans that are awarded based on financial need are low-interest loans sponsored by the federal government. The government subsidizes these loans so no interest accrues until you begin repayment after you graduate.

Work Student employment and work-study aid helps students pay for education costs such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. Work-study is a federal program that provides students with part-time employment to help meet their financial needs and gives them work experience while serving their campuses and surrounding communities. Don't Rule Out Colleges with Higher Costs Say your EFC is $5,000. At a college with a total cost of $8,000, you'd be eligible for up to $3,000 in financial aid. At a college with a total cost of $25,000, you'd be eligible for up to $20,000 in aid. In other words, your family would be asked to contribute the same amount at both colleges. Financial Aid In general, you'll be eligible for financial aid equal to the difference between your family share and the "sticker price" of the college you want to attend.

The following are good sites for information on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): Search for scholarships at:

To calculate what your family will most likely have to pay (financial aid advice), go to: If you are not a US citizen but would like to learn more about scholarships, the following are good sites to begin with:

UK Citizens of the UK and EU nations should refer to each university’s prospectus or web site for information on tuition. Please note, however, that it is quite possible (and usually the case) that UK citizens applying from abroad will not be considered “residents of the UK” by the majority of universities in the UK.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK The Commission was set up under the Commonwealth Scholarship Act 1959, as the body responsible for the United Kingdom's participation in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan,


established in 1959. The Plan was designed as a system of awards to men and women from all Commonwealth countries chosen for their high intellectual promise and their capacity to return to make a significant contribution to life in their own countries. One of its guiding principles is that it be based upon mutual co-operation and the sharing of educational experience among all countries of the Commonwealth. Funds for awards tenable in the United Kingdom come from two Government Sources: the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which provides an annual budget of around £2 million to support scholars from Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and the Department for International Development which provides an annual budget of some £10 million to support award holders from the remainder of the Commonwealth.

Marshall Scholarships Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. They are funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC) in the UK, for which the ACU provides the Secretariat. For full information on applying for a scholarship and the MACC please visit

For more information on UK scholarships, you may be interested in looking at the following sites: Funding for International Students

British Council Course Search and Scholarship Search

Canada Unfortunately, there is very little financial assistance available for international undergraduate or graduate students. Contact the Financial Aid Office of the university or college you wish to attend to obtain information on scholarships and other awards or visit the Internet site Employment opportunities are also limited by student visas which only allow international students to undertake jobs on campus. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) may provide you with other financial assistance options. ( For further information, go to:

Australia Earning a degree at one of the universities in Australia or New Zealand universities is a rewarding experience. Particularly for Americans, it can be significantly cheaper than staying in the U.S. or going to Europe. But remember that you are considered an international student by the universities and thus you are “full fee paying.” That means you are expected to finance the entire cost of your education. Both U.S. and Canadian citizens or residents can subsidize their degree programs in Australia and New Zealand by obtaining educational loans through their respective governments.

Financial Aid for U.S. Students The U.S. Federal Government has allowed many of the Australian and New Zealand universities to distribute the Federal Stafford Loan application for U.S. students undertaking a full degree in Australia. This means that you may be eligible to apply for a Stafford Loan for your degree in Australia/New Zealand and be liable for the benefits and re-payment schemes of that loan program. Amount of Aid Available for Undergraduate Study for U.S StudentsThe amount of aid you can receive will depend upon the cost of the educational program you wish to attend, the amount of previous loans you still have outstanding, and the amount of aid normally available to undergraduate students. The maximum amount of aid you can receive includes $2625 subsidized loans and $4000 unsubsidized


loans as a freshman, $3500 subsidized loans and $4000 unsubsidized loans as a sophomore, and $5500 subsidized loans and $5000 unsubsidized as a junior and senior. Unsubsidized loans require you to pay the interest of the loan regularly starting from the issue day. Subsidized loans allow deferment of the loan and interest until graduation. Financial aid for Canadian studentsFor Canadian students, the Canada Student Loan Program provides a Master List of Designated Educational Institutions of Australian and New Zealand universities where students are eligible to receive Canada Student Loans. All provinces, with the exception of the Northwest Territories and the province of Quebec, participate in the Canada Student Loans Program. Under the Canada Student Loans Act a designated educational institution means an institution of learning designated by an appropriate authority within the province that includes specified educational institutions within or outside the province that offers courses at a post-secondary level. Scholarships While all of the Australian universities, and most of the New Zealand universities, offer scholarships to international students, be aware that there are few available, and all are extremely competitive. While we encourage you to apply to any that are applicable to you, students should not plan on receiving any type of scholarship or funding beyond financial aid. Scholarships typically are rarely available for all undergraduate degree programs and most coursework master’s degree and graduate/postgraduate diploma programs. For more information on the above scholarships and financial aid, go to:

University Scholarships for IB Diploma Holders The following universities offer scholarships for recipients of the IB diploma. They are listed by country. Keep in mind the following: • The scholarships vary in size. Some are modest; others are substantial. Please check universities’ web sites and contact university officials for more detailed information about a particular scholarship. • The IB diploma is recognized by 1,709 universities worldwide. These universities, including those that do not offer scholarships for IB students, often look favorably on applications from IB graduates. They may offer other types of scholarships for which IB graduates are encouraged to apply. • In many cases, universities with low tuition fees do not offer scholarships of any type because financial assistance is unnecessary. However, they may recognize the IB diploma and even be particularly interested in IB students. • The following list is not exhaustive and is regularly revised as new information is received from universities. • The IBO does not in any way endorse the universities listed below. Universities that offer scholarships to IB diploma holders:

Canada Acadia University, NS Bishop's University, QC Brandon University, MB Brock University, ON Carleton University, ON Concordia University College of Alberta, AB Dalhousie, NS Laurentian University, ON McMaster University, ON

Memorial University of Newfoundland, NF Mount Allison University, NB Mount Saint Vincent University, NS Ontario College of Art & Design, ON Simon Fraser University, BC St. Fancis Xavier, NS St. Thomas University, NB Trent University, ON Université de Moncton, NB Université de Montréal QC 46  

University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB University of British Columbia, BC University of Calgary, AB University of Guelph, ON University of Manitoba, MB University of New Brunswick (St. John), NB University of Ottawa, ON

University of Prince Edward Island, PE University of Toronto, ON University of Victoria, BC University of Waterloo, ON University of Western Ontario, ON University of Winnipeg, SK York University, ON

International College, FL Jacksonville University, FL Lynn University, FL Meredith College, SC Mesa State College, CO Michigan Technological University, MI Midwestern State University, TX New College of Florida, FL New College of Florida, FL New England College, ME Notre Dame de Namur University, CA Nova Southeastern University, FL Oregon State University, OR Oregon State University, OR Palm Beach Atlantic College, FL Ringling School of Art & Design, FL Rollins College, FL Saint Mary's University, NS Southeastern College, FL Southern Methodist University, TX St Mary's University of Texas, TX St. Leo University, FL St. Thomas University, FL Stetson University, FL University of Central Florida, FL University of Florida, FL (for IB diploma holders from United World Colleges) University of Miami, FL University of North Florida, FL University of Rochester, NY University of South Florida, FL University of Tampa, FL University of Tulsa, OK University of West Florida, FL Wabash College, IN Warner Southern College, FL Webber International University, FL

Germany International University of Bremen France American University of Paris United Kingdom Richmond - the American International University, London University of Bath University of Buckingham University of Reading University of Sheffield United States Albertson College of Idaho, ID American University of Paris, FR Barry University, FL Beacon College, FL Bethune-Cookman College, FL Clearwater Christian College, FL College of Notre Dame, CA Defiance College, IN Drury University, MO Eckerd College, FL Edward Waters College, FL Embry Riddle Aeronautical College, FL Flagler College, FL Florida Agricultural & Mechanical, FL Florida Atlantic University, FL Florida College, FL Florida Gulf Coast University, FL Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences, FL Florida Institute of Technology, FL Florida International University, FL Florida Memorial College, FL Florida Southern College, FL





CALENDAR • • • • • •

Second Semester Junior Year Come prepared to your scheduled college meeting with your counselor. Check your transcript and GPA for accuracy. Register and take the SAT’s, ACT, or TOEFL as necessary. Politely ask one junior year teacher to write you a letter of recommendation, complete a “Teacher Recommendation Information” Form - have it signed by your counselor, and give it to the teacher. Make arrangements for college visits during the summer.

Summer • Visit campuses, research schools of interest, write drafts of required essays, check out the CI • Counseling website, attend a summer program. August of Senior Year Update your list of prospective colleges on Family Connection. Come to your counselor meeting with a list of colleges. Review your sixth semester transcript for accuracy. Register for the SAT’s you would like to take in October, November, or December, along with the TOEFL if necessary. Explore admissions websites for the schools you are considering. Check requirements. Determine if you will apply via Common Application or other online site. • Complete the Personal Data Sheet for counselor recommendation • • • • • •

September • Watch the daily bulletin and counseling website to see if schools that interest you will be on campus. Attend these sessions and college fairs. If they are on your Family Connection list, you will receive an email reminder. • Periodically stop by and say hello to your counselor. • If a second teacher recommendation is required (in addition to the one you requested at the end of your junior year) politely ask one junior year teacher to write you a letter of recommendation, complete a “Teacher Recommendation Information” form, have it signed by your counselor, and give it to the teacher. • Begin completing the applications, especially if an application is for Early Decision, Early Action, or if a college has a priority deadline or sends out decisions on a “rolling” basis. • If you will be applying to Oxford, Cambridge, or medical/dental programs in the UK, submit your UCAS application and supplements this month. • If you will need a student visa to attend college in the US, download the financial certification form from each college website and ask your parents to start obtaining the required documents from their bank. • Take the October SAT. • Your first application should be completed this month. • Early Action/Early Decision applications must be finished this month and Document Request Forms must be turned in at least two weeks before their deadlines. • Continue to meet college representatives and your counselor. November • All applications with deadlines in December and January must be finished and submitted to the counseling office by the end of this month. If you will be waiting to hear the results of an Early Decision application, see your counselor. • Take the November SAT if necessary. This is the only month that the SAT Language with Listening tests are offered. • Complete a “Document Request Form” for each application so we will know what documents (e.g., transcripts, recommendations) to send to each college. December • Applications that need to be sent before we leave for the Christmas holiday are due by December


• The UK’s UCAS application is also due on December 1. Earlier is better. • If you have not already done so, make certain you have the testing agency send your official SAT and/or TOEFL scores directly to the colleges. • Midyear transcripts will automatically be sent to all colleges in late December. • Login to Family Connection and make certain the colleges you’ve applied to are all listed. January and February • Go to the college’s web page to see if you can check the status of your application. Check that all supporting documents have been received. • If you do not receive confirmation that your application was received, contact the college. • Complete the FAFSA financial aid form if you are a US citizen and will be requesting financial aid. Your parents must figure their US taxes (but they do not need to fi le their taxes) to complete this form. February, March, and April • Acceptances begin to arrive depending on the schedule used by each college. As you receive each decision, please notify your counselor so that Family Connection can be updated. • You have until May 1 to make your final decision (except in the case of Early Decision applications). Prior to May 1, you must pay the enrollment deposit to hold your acceptance. Otherwise your acceptance can be withdrawn. • If you are placed on a “waitlist” see your counselor to review your options. • Once you’ve made your decision, notify other schools you will not be enrolling.

• Keep your grades up. Your acceptance is contingent upon you completing your senior year satisfactorily. If your grades drop, your acceptance can and will be withdrawn.

When Asking for a Recommendation Letter Even the best writers need help writing recommendation letters. When asking a teacher to write you a recommendation letter, please provide them with the following information, when applicable, IN THE SPACE PROVIDED ON NAVIANCE!!

Academic Info • • • • •

Schools attended, if other than CI GPA Extracurricular activities Awards Publications

Work Experience • •

Internships, part-time jobs Duties and responsibilities

Personal • • •

Career goals Strengths (academic and otherwise) Weaknesses (academic and otherwise)

Other • • •

Hobbies Volunteer work Memberships

Specific to Writing Recommendation Letters •

Which institution is this being written for


• • • •

Specific instructions if any Deadline Word count and other editorial requirements Any specific matter that you want to be included

For UCAS references, add the following: • Your proposed course of study • Why you would be successful in this course • What skills do you now have that relate to this course • What specific achievements have you demonstrated that relate to success in this • Proposed course


Self Inventory Before beginning your college search, answer these questions to get a better understanding of what you are looking for in a college. This form must be completed before your individual conference can be scheduled. Answer the questions that you find relevant to you:


I enjoy city life and lots of things to do.


I would like to be surrounded by thousands of busy people.


It is important for me to know my professors and for them to know me.


Privacy and being anonymous is important to me.


I prefer small classes with more discussion and fewer lectures.


I would like learning in large lecture halls with more than 100 students in many of my classes.


It is important to me that I meet students and faculty from a wide variety of backgrounds.


I am interested in sorority or fraternity life.


Nearly everyone in my family has attended the same college. I, too, want to be part of the family tradition.


It is important to me that I attend a school with the “right” prestigious name.


When in class, I mostly sit and listen, generally not entering into the discussion.


I want to participate and share my ideas with classmates.


I like classes where I can become actively involved in more than just listening and talking—classes with hands-on participation (biology labs, photography, art, theatre, etc.).


I enjoy the outdoors and want to be near mountains or beaches or hiking and camping areas.


School spirit is important to me; I want a college where students cheer for sports teams, attend seminars together, support one another’s extracurricular endeavors, etc.


I enjoy working independently. I learn best when teachers simply lecture, give the allotted homework and expect things turned in at a certain time.


I’m thinking about more than just college. I need a place that will provide the necessary coursework and connections for solid internships and career placement.


Being near family and/or friends is important to me.


I would enjoy a large state/public university.


I want to continue with an activity I enjoy now (sports, theatre, choir, debate, etc.).


How much a college costs is a big factor in where I decide to go.


I enjoy the arts and want to attend a school with top-notch facilities and connections to fine arts venues.


I don’t want a “suitcase” campus. I need an active campus life both during the week and on weekends.


I prefer to live at home while attending college.



My faith is an important aspect of who I am. I want a school affiliated with my religion; a place where I can meet others who share similar beliefs.


Where did your siblings go to college and when did/will they graduate? ___________________________ __________________________ ___________________________ __________________________ ___________________________ __________________________


Where did your parents go to college? ___________________________ __________________________ ___________________________ __________________________

Other factors important to me: q q q *Keep a copy of this form for your personal records!

Activities & Personal Information Form Part of your college application process will involve creating your own activities resume. To help you remember the information to include on your resume and the activities in which you’ve been involved during high school, complete the worksheet below. Name___________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail___________________________________________________Telephone Number____________________________ Cell #:____________________________________Number of Years at CI______________________ Country of Birth ______________________________________________________________________________________ First language, if other than English________________________

Language spoken at home______________________


Citizenship: ______________________________________

In-School and Out-of-School Extracurricular Activities and Leadership Positions Activity

Office Held

Participated in:

9 10 11 12

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________



Awards, Honors and Special Recognition Year Received 9 10 11 12 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Community Service Participated in:

9 10 11 12

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ Work Experience Participated in:

9 10 11 12

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Travel, Hobbies, Special Interests Participated in: 9 10 11 12 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ In an effort to help your college counselor get to know you a little better: Which of these activities that you listed means the most to you and why? What are you most passionate about? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________

Describe the most important day in your life, so far. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________


Describe a situation where you have demonstrated leadership. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Choose five adjectives to describe yourself and comment on them briefly. 1)_________________________________________ Comment 2)_________________________________________ Comment 3)_________________________________________ Comment 4)_________________________________________ Comment 5)_________________________________________ Comment What would your best friend say that your greatest attributes are? Why? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________ What would your best friend say that your weaknesses are? Why? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________

What do you value most in your life? Why? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Write your philosophy of life in one phrase. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ What is your career plans? It’s perfectly ok to be undecided! ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Briefly describe why you think a university will benefit from your enrollment. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________ If you were writing a letter of recommendation for yourself, what would YOU highlight? Any special circumstances you would like to point out? These are the things WE, your college counselors, want to highlight, too! ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________

Thank you! *Keep a copy of these forms for your personal records!


Parent Response Form Student Name: Dear Parent: We are seeking your thoughts and feelings about your child. Please help us by responding to the questions below. Be funny; be serious; be honest; be proud. The more we know, the better our ability to help guide your son or daughter through the college process. We hope that you will share your responses with your child. If you do not find these particular questions helpful, then write us a letter. Your anecdotes and background information are extremely helpful to us in writing college recommendations. This form must be completed before your individual college conference can be scheduled.

1. Describe one or two major events that you see as turning points in your daughter’s/son’s development, and explain why you view them as such.


His/Her high school career has been pleasurable/painful because:


His/her greatest strength/greatest weakness is:


We are proud of our child because___________________________. (Specific anecdotes are particularly welcome).



Something you need to know about my/our son/daughter:


If there are any particular colleges you would like your son or daughter to consider, please feel free to list them below.


Will financial aid be a factor in your child’s decision?


Is there anything you wish to add which would help us in writing the School Report (e.g. educational background, special family situation, special medical history, personal achievements, etc.)?


ACTIVITIES RESUME – what to include? Awards, Honors and/or Special Recognition • • • • • • • •

High School Departmental Awards Community Service Awards Athletic, art, music Awards Local, Regional or State Competitions & Awards (Congressional Award, Regional Essay Contest, etc.) Awards given by your church or other community organizations College Book Awards National Merit List the years in which you received the awards (9,10,11,12), list the awards in reverse chronological order and/or in order of prestige, and put titles in BOLD

Examples: • National Merit Semi-Finalist (11) • Nominee, Name of Award (11) • Award of Excellence in Mathematics (10, 11) • Recipient, North Miami Community Leaders Award (9)

Activities 1. In-school and out-of-school activities 2. BOLD leadership positions held (president/vice president club, leads in theater, soloist in choir, captain of a sport, etc.) 3. List all leadership positions for one activity together 4. Rank activities in order of importance to you 5. List years in which you’ve participated (ONLY high school or lifelong activities) 6. Some applications may ask you to list the number of hours/week you participate 7. Explain activities that people outside of CI or Japan might not understand, Consider italicizing this information. Examples: 8. Student Body Vice President, Student Government (12) 9. Lead roles in three CI Theatre productions (9, 10, 11): Annie, “Annie Get Your Gun” Vera, “Mame” Wendy, “Peter Pan” 10. Co-Editor-in-Chief (12), Sports Section Editor (11); Yearbook ( 11. Secretary, Name Club (10, 11) A community service club that engages in a variety of projects, including collecting canned food for the homeless, visiting nursing homes, and collecting personal items for women’s crisis centers. 12. Member, Math Team (10, 11) 13. Piano lessons and recitals (from 3rd grade to 11th)

Community Service 14. List in order or importance to you 15. Don’t list the same activity in both “activities” and “community service” sections; list an activity only once Examples: 16. Volunteer, Name of organization (11) 17. 10K run participant, Kids Running for Kids (10) Raised $2,500 for kids with cancer


Work Experience and/or Summer Activities Examples: 18. Boston University Summer Program for high school students (11) 19. Waitress, Name of restaurant (11) 20. Summer Camp Counselor, Camp Wannagothere in Berkshire, MA (10)

Hobbies, Travel and/or Special Interests Examples: 21. Baking, cooking, rock climbing, water skiing 22. Travel throughout Europe and Asia (Israel, China, Germany, France, Italy) 23. Languages you know


Tips on Writing the College Essay 1. Be honest! 2. Read the topic question/s carefully and be sure to respond to the question/s asked. 3.

Be yourself. Do not try to figure out what the admission officers want to read. Write what you know about and care about. Write about something that is important to you.

4. Do not attempt to use words or ideas that are unfamiliar to you. It usually shows. 1.

Write about the specific rather than the general, the concrete rather than the abstract. Avoid vagueness, blandness, and banality. Be specific, colorful, and descriptive. Be clear, give details, and make your verbs active and interesting.


Be as concise as you can. Polish your writing but don’t lose the informal touch. These essays are personal statements, not formal writing exercises.


Use anecdotes and stories to vitalize your essays. Actual incidents, conversations, colorful characters, and dialogue add zest to your writing and hold the interest of your readers.


Avoid writing a list of accomplishments. That information is already available elsewhere in your application


Make your opening and closing paragraphs the strongest part of your essays.


Prepare a rough draft of your essays and let the draft “cool off” for a few days and then go back and re-read your work to see if it really says what you want it to say.


Before submitting your final draft, have someone else proofread it. Choose someone who is a good writer, knows something about the college admission process and is willing to tell you what they really think.

If you still don’t know what to write about, read a book on Writing the College Essay. There are several to choose from in the library and counseling office. So you’ve read these pointers and still have no idea what to write about? No idea how to start? Don’t worry. Try the following technique and you’re bound to come up with great ideas for your essay. First, sit and think for a while. You shouldn’t be writing anything down at this point. Think—what will the admissions officers learn from your application package? What will they miss if they only know your grades, test scores, and activities? How can you convey other aspects of yourself? What about your creativity, your determination, your analytic mind, or your ability as a leader? What have you done outside school that makes you an interesting person?


Once you have a sense of what to write (a claim about yourself and an idea that will strengthen the reader’s sense of who you are), you can begin thinking about what strategy, information, or events from your life might enrich your essay. Try finishing this sentence: “If you could have seen how I handled ____________, you’d understand what a _____________ person I am.” If you can write several different versions of this sentence, you will have begun the process of considering both the YOU in your essay and the specific material you are going to write about. Remember that the essay is your chance to tell YOUR STORY to the admissions committee. Be honest, but don’t hesitate to promote yourself, either! The most important thing to remember is— Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Don’t let yours be the essay that ended, “and from that day forward, David was my best fried.


(Parts adapted from Dale Ford SAS by permission)


College counseling handbook