MEET THE TEAM
Jill Ortman Director of College Guidance, New York and Beijing 212.724.6360 x213 firstname.lastname@example.org Katie Korhonen Associate Director of College Guidance, New York and Beijing 212.724.6360 x296 email@example.com Arthur Samuels Associate Director of College Guidance, New York and Social Studies Teacher 212.724.6360 x218 firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
Dwight School College Counseling Department .....................................................1 Mission Statement Letter from the Director of College Counseling Dwight College Guidance staff and contact information Counselor’s role in the College Admissions Process Students’ and families’ roles in the college admissions process Using private counselors
Getting Started ..........................................................................................................4 What colleges are looking for Some other qualities and characteristics that may help A few more notes A few things you should never do
Naviance ....................................................................................................................6 What is Naviance? How does the college counseling department use Naviance?
Planning ....................................................................................................................7 Timeline for Freshmen Timeline for Sophomores Timeline for Juniors Timeline for Seniors
Testing .....................................................................................................................13 SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP exams • SAT Reasoning • ACT • SAT Subject Tests Deciding which tests to take When to take the tests Tests for non-native English speakers - The TOEFL The IELTS Role of testing in the admissions process Studying for the tests
The College Search ..................................................................................................17 Visiting and researching colleges Beginning your search Selecting potential schools and making a college application list Academics/Types of School Attending college meetings during school hours Preparing for a school visit or college fair The college interview Interview strategies Test-optional schools
Table of Contents Cont’d
The Common Application .......................................................................................25 What is the Common Application? The Different Components of the Common Application Supplemental material • Common Application Supplemental Short Answers • Arts Supplement for non-arts majors • Mandatory Portfolios for arts majors
The Common Application Personal Essay ...............................................................26 When to Apply: Differences among Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision applications ....................................................29 Early Action Restricted Early Action (Single Choice) Early Decision Early Decision II Regular Decision Rolling Decision Gap Year
Financial Assistance and Certification of Finances .................................................31 The FAFSA and CSS Profile International Student Financial Aid Application International Student Certification of Finances
Advanced Standing and IB scores ...........................................................................33 How colleges and universities use IB exam scores Examples of university IB policies
International University Admissions .......................................................................35 Applying to schools outside of the United States UCAS system for UK applications Other European Schools
College Acceptances and Placements: Dwight School .............................................37 Appendices ...............................................................................................................38 A Guide for Students with Disabilities Glossary of College Terms
DWIGHT SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT MISSION STATEMENT Dwight Schoolâ€™s team of college counselors provides student-centered counseling throughout all four years of high school. The goal of the college counseling department is to help students achieve their full potential at Dwight and to guide them through the college selection and application process. Recognizing that each student has unique academic, social, and athletic interests, abilities and needs, we work hard to recommend colleges that qualify as good matches. By meeting individually with students and their parents, Dwight counselors help students build a list of colleges that is well-balanced and appropriate. At the same time, we strive to empower students by providing them with the tools they need to define their personal goals, prepare a time-line for standardized testing and college visits, select their schools, complete their applications and make informed choices. The wide range of colleges in which Dwight students enroll each year reflects the diversity of our student body and our attention to individual education.
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE COUNSELING On behalf of Dwight College Counseling team, I would like to welcome you to Dwight School. We look forward to working with all of you this year, or in the near future, and hope that you will take advantage of all that our school has to offer. The purpose of this handbook is to provide you with insight into how you can best prepare for college throughout your high school years, and to guide you through the college selection and application process. We hope that all of you will stop by our office from time to time to use the resources we have collected for you, to ask us any questions, and to get to know our team. Jill W. Ortman Director of College Guidance
DWIGHT COLLEGE GUIDANCE STAFF AND CONTACT INFORMATION Jill Ortman | Director of College Guidance, New York and Beijing email@example.com Katie Korhonen | Associate Director of College Guidance, New York and Beijing firstname.lastname@example.org Arthur Samuels | Associate Director of College Guidance, New York email@example.com
DWIGHT SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT COUNSELOR’S ROLE IN THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS The following list will give students and parents an idea of the responsibilities of the college counseling staff: • Keep students informed of upcoming visits to The Dwight Schools. Students should continue to update Naviance (see section six on Naviance) with schools that are of interest to them. The College Guidance department updates Naviance when schools are due to visit, and this will generate an email to all students who have designated that school as of interest to them. The College Guidance staff will also inform students of upcoming college fairs or receptions being hosted in a nearby location. • Have a series of meetings with students and families to discuss each individual student’s college plan. A holistic approach to college admission will be used, and the college counselor will use all relevant information (student’s academic interest and desired college location, high school grades and curriculum, all standardized test scores, activities/leadership, teacher recommendations) when helping students develop a reasonable list with good matches. The list of possible colleges will include some “reach” schools and some “safety” schools, to ensure that students have a solid number of schools from which to choose in April. • Send transcripts, mid-year reports, recommendations (including teacher recommendations), and the Dwight School profile to colleges. • Write a thoughtful, student-centered recommendation letter for each Dwight student applying to college. • Provide information to students and parents about the Common Application, scholarship opportunities, standardized tests, and fee waivers (if applicable). • Be a support system throughout the entire college admissions process. • Support Dwight School alumni who may decide to transfer to another college after freshman or sophomore year.
STUDENTS’ AND FAMILIES’ ROLES IN THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS Students are required to do the following: • Check their email as often as possible. College counselors will be in touch via email to schedule appointments and send updates. This will also be the primary way that students will learn about upcoming school visits and receive requests from colleges. Admissions counselors rarely reach out to college counselors for information, and they may reach out to students directly for additional information (or if they did not receive a document). It is imperative that students check the email address they put on their Common Application regularly. • Take required standardized tests for all schools to which the student will be applying, and send test scores from the College Board and ACT (if applicable). • Fill out all required applications; write essay and short answer responses. 2
DWIGHT SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT • Attend college visits at Dwight and local college fairs; visit college campuses if at all possible. • Continue to update Naviance with colleges of interest and resume information. Parents are asked to do the following: • Be available for meetings with the college counseling staff. • Fill in and return the parents’ questionnaire. • Speak with their student about potential college choices; take their student to college campuses for tours. • Help fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile, if the student will be applying for financial assistance. • Ensure that students are staying on top of the process, without being a “helicopter” parent. There is no need for parents to fill out the application for their students, nor should parents be calling or emailing admissions counselors for their students. They should allow students to take control of the process, and be there for support.
USING PRIVATE COUSELORS As a team, we are confident that our students do not need to hire private counselors to help them choose colleges and navigate the college application process. Nonetheless, each year a few families choose to work with an outside consultant. If you decide to do this, we hope that your consultant will work with us so that we can achieve the best possible outcome for you. Be careful not to rely too heavily on your consultant for editing essays; college admissions officers are able to spot essays that were not written by high school students, and they may deny admission to students who have clearly not done their own work.
GETTING STARTED WHAT COLLEGES ARE LOOKING FOR Almost all schools are looking for some basic qualifications when they review applications. Competitive students show that they have: • Taken a rigorous curriculum. Colleges want students who challenge themselves and take difficult courses. The IB Diploma Program is Dwight School’s most rigorous curriculum; certificate courses are also held in high regard. • Achieved consistently good grades with an upward trend. Schools may excuse low grades in the ninth grade as long as a student’s transcript shows that he or she has steadily improved. • Excellent standardized test scores. • Written outstanding, insightful essays. • Strong letters of recommendation. • Demonstrated leadership in and out of school. • Commitment to a few extra-curricular activities. • Participated in meaningful community service. • Shown demonstrated and genuine interest in the institutions to which they apply. Be sure to take official school tours when you visit college campuses and to attend meetings with admissions counselors who visit us at Dwight. • Academic honors and awards
SOME OTHER QUALITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAY HELP • Talent. If you are outstanding in a specific field, be sure to let the school know by sending examples of your work. • Legacy. If your parents attended the school to which you are applying, you may have a slightly higher chance of being admitted. • Diversity and demographics. Schools are looking for geographic, religious, racial, and ethnic diversity. • Ability to pay. Given the current financial situation of many institutions, some may slightly favor students who do not require any institutional assistance.
A FEW MORE NOTES • Interviews with school officials or alumni are rarely required but often available. A great interview will not ensure acceptance by a school, but never hurts. A bad interview is definitely harmful, so be sure to be prepared. • Letters of recommendation from employers, pastors, or other individuals who can offer information about you that is not evident in your school record.
GETTING STARTED A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO • Don’t harass admissions counselors. You don’t want to stalk the person who is reading your application. • Don’t send gifts to the admissions office. • Don’t send letters written by important people who clearly don’t know you. • Don’t have your parents call admissions counselors. They expect students to be self-sufficient and responsible for their own applications. • Don’t send an application that was clearly filled out by someone else, a parent or a private counselor. • Don’t wait until December 31 to complete and send your applications. Your Dwight counselors may not be available to help you on New Year’s Eve!
NAVIANCE WHAT IS NAVIANCE? Throughtout this handbook, we will often refer to Naviance, an online system that the College Counseling department at Dwight uses to aid students in the college admissions process. Naviance allows counselors to view important information about students, in order to best advise them. Students are required to keep their Naviance accounts up-to-date with information pertaining to their applications through a section of Naviance entitled “Family Connection”. All students are given a Family Connection account, and an email with their password will be sent during their first year of high school. To log onto Family Connection, students should go to: connection.naviance.com/dwightschool The College Counseling department at Dwight requires that all students continually update the section “colleges I’m thinking about” and move these schools to “colleges I’m applying to” once an application has been submitted. We also request that students fill in the online resume under the section “about me”; this will help when writing students’ letters of recommendation. Naviance allows students and families to see information on all U.S. colleges and universities, including contact information. Naviance will allow students and families to view the student’s test scores and grade point average to compare statistics to past Dwight students and their college acceptances/denials. Of course, this will not be a guarantee of an acceptance or denial, but will give students a fair idea of the likelihood of admission to a particular school or program. In the twelfth grade, as soon as you have a Common Application username and password, you should open “colleges I’m applying to” on your Family Connection page and sign the FERPA waiver. We strongly advise students to click the box that says, “I waive my rights.” Colleges will recognize that teachers wrote honest assessments in their recommendations, since by signing the waiver you will have given up the right to read their letters.
HOW DOES THE COLLEGE COUNSELING DEPARTMENT USE NAVIANCE? The system allows counselors to submit all documents (including recommendations, school profile, and transcripts) electronically to colleges, and see if they were received. The counseling staff keeps track of each student’s list of colleges, and ensures that all appropriate documents are submitted. College counselors also keep Naviance up-to-date with student’s progress on all standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, SAT II Subject tests, ACT, and TOEFL), if a student selfreports the scores or includes Dwight’s CEEB code on the registration form Dwight School in New York’s CEEB Code is: 333605 If students and families have questions on Naviance or Family Connection, they should be in touch with a member of the College Counseling department.
TIMELINE FOR FRESHMEN • Welcome to high school. We don’t want our freshmen to stress, but we do ask you to do your absolute best during your first year of high school. The grades you earn this year become a part of your transcript, which is a permanent record of your four years of high school performance. Many juniors and seniors regret having not studied harder during the ninth and tenth grades. • If you do not already play a sport, try a few this year to see which one(s) you enjoy and want to continue to play. • Join some clubs and try to find a few that interest you. • Get involved in community service both inside and outside of school. Look for one or two organizations that speak to you; have fun and make a difference in the lives of others. • Find where your passions lie, and look for your “spark of genius.” • If you qualify for extra time on tests, check with Mr. Kigel to be sure your paperwork is in order for extra time on the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. • Have fun this year. If you are new to Dwight School, become an active member of the Dwight community through participation. • Start building your résumé on Naviance. • Enjoy your summer, but try to do something that you can be proud of as well. Read as much as you can – there is no better way of expanding your vocabulary and your mind! Reading for pleasure is a painless way of beginning to study for the SAT/ACT.
TIMELINE FOR SOPHOMORES • Maintain the highest grades possible throughout the entire year. • Be sure you are taking challenging courses. Check with the Counseling Department and Dr. Gonzales if you are uncertain about which courses you need to take to be able to enter the IB Diploma program next year. • If you qualify for extra time on tests, and haven’t already done so, check with Mr. Kigel to be sure your paperwork is in order for extra time on the PSAT, SAT, ACT. • Continue to participate in extra-curricular activities. It is time to think about focusing on a few activities that are of particular interest to you. • Take the PSAT and PLAN seriously when you take them in October and November. These tests will help you identify your academic strengths and weaknesses. • If you are fluent in a language other than English that is not your native language, consider taking the SAT Subject Test in that language in November. • Prepare for the SAT U.S. History Subject Test, which you can take in May or June. You will need to register in April. Consider trying the Biology test and a foreign language or math test at the same time. • Be sure to bring your résumé up to date on Naviance. • Discuss your summer plans with a member of the Dwight Counseling Team. Use your summer vacations wisely. 7
PLANNING TIMELINE FOR JUNIORS SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER - NOVEMBER • During the first week of school, be sure to check with your counselor if you are concerned about whether your courses will meet college requirements, especially if you are considering engineering as a major. • If you qualify for extra time on tests, and haven’t already done so, check with Mr. Kigel to be sure your paperwork is in order for extra time on the PSAT, SAT, ACT. • Don’t give up your in-school and out-of-school activities. Look for ways to show leadership and true commitment, not just token involvement. Colleges like students who are serious about pursuing a few interests, not those who are minimally involved in a large number of sports, clubs, and organizations. • Make a practice of walking by the College Counseling Office on a regular basis. Check the College Counseling bulletin board, the Counseling Office door, and the monitor on the wall just before you enter the large gym for upcoming college representative meetings at Dwight. If you have a free period when a meeting is scheduled, attend it. If you are extremely interested in a school and want to attend, get a permission slip from the teacher of the class you will miss. • Read PSAT/NMSQT Student Bulletin and review your tenth-grade scores. • Take the October PSAT. This is a serious test! If you do well, you may be named a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program, and you may even qualify for this honor and award. • Study and do your best on your fall trimester exams! DECEMBER • Review your PSAT results with your parents. • Decide when you will begin your standardized testing. Talk with your parents and college counselor about the best time to take SAT I, II and/or the ACT. We recommend that every student take the SAT and/or the ACT at least once during the spring of the junior year and the SAT IIs during this year if appropriate. You may also want to talk with your teachers about which tests to take. • Complete the questionnaire you will receive at morning meeting and return it by or before the deadline established by the College Counseling Team. • Start thinking about the specific characteristics you are looking for in a college. • Bring your résumé up to date on Naviance. JANUARY - FEBRUARY - MARCH • Attend Junior Class College Night with at least one of your parents, if possible. Student attendance is mandatory. • Come prepared to the first meeting with your counselor. Before your meeting, give some thought to whether you want to study close to home, in a new part of the country, or in another country, what size school you think you’d like, and what you believe you need in a college. • Register for March/April or May SAT I or April ACT Test or May SAT II.
PLANNING • Continue to consider qualities you like in a school and begin to develop a list of schools that interest you. • Visit colleges during your spring break. Try to attend tours and information sessions. If at all possible try to see schools while they are in session. Be sure to sign in if you have not made an appointment for a tour or session. APRIL - MAY - JUNE • Register for June SAT I, II or ACT if you plan to take one of these tests. • Research schools on your list in a variety of ways (online, by talking to current students and alumni, using books and magazines, etc.) • Take the May SAT Reasoning or Subject Tests. • Talk with your parents, advisor, coaches and college counselor about ways to use your upcoming summer effectively. • If you won’t be traveling during the summer, try to get a job, internship, or apply for a study program. There are dozens of brochures in the College Counseling office that advertise a wide variety of activities. • Meet with your college counselor to talk about the schools you visited over spring break or those you have been researching. Let you counselor know what you did and did not like about the schools. • Once you know your summer schedule, make appointments for college visits and interviews. • If you think you may be able to play Division I or II sports in college, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. • Take the June SAT exam if you did not take the SAT I in May, or need to take SAT IIs and do not plan to continue with that subject in the senior year. OR • Take the June ACT. Some students take the SAT and the ACT to determine which test they prefer. Don’t try to study for both. • Study and do your best on your third trimester exams. JULY - AUGUST • If you don’t have a summer job, look for something meaningful to do in your community. • Visit as many colleges as you can. Always call ahead or check online to find out about interviews, tour times, or group information sessions. Always sign in at the admissions office. If you are an athlete hoping to play Division I or II, see if you can speak with college coaches. • Start your college essay. Your college counselors encourage you to send them your topic before you put too much time into your first draft, so they can comment on your choice. Remember that the first assignment due in September is your college essay (personal statement). • The Common Application goes online on August 1. It’s a good idea to complete a rough draft before school starts. • Read as much as you can during your summer break. This is the best way to improve your vocabulary. 9
PLANNING TIMELINE FOR SENIORS AUGUST • Register for the September ACT SEPTEMBER • Make sure you are registered on the Naviance web site (connection.naviance.com/dwightschool) This is a CRITICAL and MANDATORY part of your college application process. • Take the September ACT • Register for the October SAT/ACT • Return your Senior Questionnaire before or by the deadline established by the counseling team. • Continue working on the Common Application [www.commonapp.org]. Send your username and password to your counselor. • See your College Counselor with your parents at the appointed time. • Check the list of schools that are visiting Dwight this fall, and get permission slips signed by teachers whose classes you will miss (three are permitted). Be sure to give your counselor a completed form for schools that you are interested in but cannot get out of class for. Send a thank-you email. • Get off to a good start. This trimester is important, and colleges will receive your grades. OCTOBER • Complete the CSS Profile if you will apply for financial aid (profileonline.collegeboard.com/). • Take October SAT I or SAT Subject Tests or take the October ACT • Register for the November SAT I or SAT Subject Tests (this is the only time you can take language tests with listening). • Be sure to contact the SAT/ACT to have your scores sent if you are applying ED/EA. • Athletes should fill out NCAA forms online at http://www.ncaa.org. • Continue to add to your college list. • Visit as many colleges as you can. You may miss three school days, but must check with your teachers in advance. Be sure to take tours if possible and absolutely register in the admissions office. Send a thank-you note. • Complete your ED/EA application before the end of the month. Be sure your counselor has reviewed it before you send it. • Keep track of your usernames and passwords. Try to use the same ones whenever possible. NOVEMBER • Many EA/ED applications are due from November 1-15. Be sure to check deadlines and speak with your counselor before you hit the send button! • University of California schools have a November 30 deadline.
PLANNING • Register for the December SAT Reasoning/ Subject tests or the November ACT • Take November SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests • Update information Naviance and try to narrow your list to ten or fewer schools. Move schools from “Colleges I’m thinking about” to “Colleges I’m applying to.” DECEMBER • Take the December SAT Reasoning /Subject Tests or the ACT • EA/ED decisions arrive. Be sure to advise your Counselor as soon as you receive your results. Share good news with teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation. • If you are accepted ED, write an email to any other schools you’ve applied to and withdraw your applications. • Send your applications and any special talent documentation or extra information before the 31st. • If you have taken tests since sending your scores to schools, be sure to resend scores. JANUARY • January 1: File the FAFSA (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/) The FAFSA goes live on January 1st and should be submitted before February 15th. • Final SAT tests FEBRUARY • Check to make sure that your schools have received the FAFSA, all financial aid documents, and all relevant test scores. • Send January SAT scores to your schools. • Send new materials that might enhance your application to your schools – e.g. winter varsities, plays or other performances, any special achievements. MARCH • Some schools may notify you of their decisions. Contact your Counselor and share news with teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation. APRIL • April 1-15: Regular admissions notification. Contact your Counselor and share news with teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation. • Decide where you want to go after considering all relevant factors. Discuss your decision with your Counselor. • Accept the college of your choice. • Write promptly to the colleges to which you are accepted and but will not attend. Remember that this spot may be a wait-listed student’s first choice. 11
PLANNING • If you are waitlisted, and are interested in being taken off the list, write immediately to the college and inform them of this. If it is your first choice college, make sure to inform the admissions department that you will definitely attend if you are given the opportunity. Be sure to discuss this with your Counselor. MAY • May 1: Deadline for paying the deposit to reserve your place in college IB Exams for all. Do your best and remember that may get college credit for high scores. • Go onto Naviance and enter all of your acceptances, denials, and wait-listed schools. Be sure to identify the school that you will attend; your counselor needs this information because a final transcript must be sent. • Late May: Graduation Congratulations from the College Counseling Department!
SAT, ACT, SAT SUBJECT TESTS, AND AP EXAMS Different universities require different standardized tests for admission. They are defined below: SAT Reasoning | http://www.collegeboard.org The SAT Reasoning exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is typically offered seven times per academic year in the U.S. and six times per year internationally. The SAT tests a student’s verbal and quantitative reasoning abilities in three subject areas: Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, areas thought to be strong indicators of a student’s preparedness for post-secondary success. Each section consists of questions worth a total of 800 points; a perfect score on the test is 2400 points. There is no maximum number of times a student can take the SAT, and many, but not all, colleges allow applicants to use Score Choice, which gives students the ability to select which scores they want to be considered for admission. Most schools super score the test scores sent to them, which means they create one composite from the best score shown for each of the three tests. It is the student’s responsibility to research each of his or her schools to determine whether the school allows Score Choice and or super-scores. ACT | http://www.act.org/ The American College Test (ACT) is offered six times per academic year in the United States and five times per year internationally. The ACT tests a student’s knowledge in four areas related to high school curricula: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Writing is also offered, and is required by most colleges that allow students to submit the ACT. Many colleges will allow students to substitute the ACT for the SAT; some others allow it in lieu of SAT subject tests. Again, it is vital that students research individual colleges to which they are applying to ensure that they are submitting the correct tests. The College Counseling department at Dwight recommends all students who take the ACT take the Writing test, as well. The ACT is scored out of 36 points. A 36 on the ACT is equivalent to a 2400 on the SAT Reasoning. SAT Subject Tests | www.collegeboard.org The SAT Subject Tests are a way for colleges to assess a student’s knowledge of specific subject areas. These tests each have a total possible 800 points. There are fifteen tests that are offered six times per academic year in the U.S. and five times per year internationally: US History World History Literature Chemistry Physics Latin Modern Hebrew French
German Italian Spanish Math Level I Math Level II Biology (Ecological) Biology (Molecular)
Language with listening tests are offered only in November: Chinese with Listening French with Listening German with Listening Spanish with Listening Japanese with Listening Korean with Listening Students can take three SAT Subject Tests at a time, but are not required to take three on a single test date. Very few colleges are interested in scores submitted in a student’s native language (i.e. if a student is Chinese, he or she should not take the Chinese with Listening test). It is extremely important that students and families work with their college counselor to ensure that they have taken the correct tests for each school to which they will apply. Some colleges require the SAT or ACT and two or three subject tests; some only require the SAT or ACT, and others are test-optional (see section on test-optional schools). For a comprehensive list of colleges and universities that require SAT II subject tests, please visit this website: http://www.compassprep.com/admissions_req_subjects.aspx?sort=requirements
DECIDING WHICH TESTS TO TAKE The College Counseling department at Dwight recommends that all students take the SAT Reasoning or ACT exam at least once. The main differences between the two tests are: • The ACT has a section that tests students’ ability to analyze data in the form of graphs and tables, to interpret the design and results of experiments, and to analyze and compare hypotheses. The SAT does not have a science section. • Math on the SAT includes algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, and data analysis; math on the ACT focuses on algebra through trigonometry. • There is a ¼ point penalty for wrong answers on the SAT. There is no such penalty on the ACT. The SAT has three sections: • Math: focuses on numbers and operation; algebra; geometry; data analysis; and probability and statistics. • Critical Reading: focuses on sentence completion and reading comprehension. • Short essay: is a 25-minute writing on a given prompt. The ACT has four sections: • English: focuses on mechanics; grammar; and rhetoric skills • Math: tests the areas of algebra through trigonometry. • Reading: focuses on arts and literature. • Science Reasoning: consists of evaluation and problem solving. The ACT also has an optional essay, which all students should take. 14
For a comparison of the SAT and ACT test formats, go to: http://www.studypoint.com/ed/act-vs-sat/ Approximate test equivalents are: ACT SAT 36 2400 34 2340 34 2260 33 2190 32 2130 31 2040 30 1980 29 1920
ACT SAT 28 1860 27 1820 26 1760 25 1700 24 1650 23 1590 22 1530 21 1500
ACT SAT 20 1410 19 1350 18 1290 17 1210 16 1140 15 1060 14 1000
WHEN TO TAKE THE TESTS At Dwight, we encourage students to take their first SAT or ACT during their junior year, as early as in January, for students who feel prepared, and no later than June, which is the final test for each academic year. Taking tests early not only gives students practice, but also provides them with the opportunity to focus on areas of weakness to be addressed over the summer, prior to retaking the test in the fall of their senior year. As described above, not all schools require SAT Subject tests, so many students will not need to take these exams, and can focus instead on receiving a high SAT/ACT and TOEFL (if applicable). If a studentâ€™s SAT/ACT score is low, the College Counseling department will discuss with the student and parent(s) whether or not the student should concentrate on test-optional schools. It is important to sign up early for the SAT as test centers in convenient locations fill up early.
TESTS FOR NON-NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS THe TOEFL | www.toefl.org If you are an international student whose native language is not English, you will probably be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or the TOEFL, for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. The test is divided into four sections: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing; each section is worth thirty points for a possible total of one hundred twenty points. Most schools have a minimum TOEFL requirement, and the score will typically be published on each schoolâ€™s website. In general, the more competitive a school is, the higher the required TOEFL score will be; a highly competitive school may require a composite score of more than 100 with minimum scores on the individual sections (such as no score lower than 25 on any section). The College Counseling department at Dwight recommends that all non-native English speakers take the TOEFL at least once during grade 11 (preferably during the first semester). The college counselors will work with individual students to determine how many times they should take the TOEFL. It is important to know that test centers fill up quickly, so students should register as far in advance as possible. 15
The TOEFL is an online test; students use earphones and a microphone for the Listening and Speaking section. Since the test is taken in a test center where there are many distractions, it is critical that students study for the test in a similar environment. Dwight counselors recommend practicing with a radio or TV on.
THe IELTS | www.ielts.org Many colleges and universities in the United States will allow students to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) in lieu of the TOEFL. The IELTS exam is scored out of nine points, and tests four sections: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The IELTS has a 9 band score system. While the IELTS is taken online like the TOEFL, it differs from the TOEFL in that the Speaking test is a conversation with an IELTS examiner. You will be asked to speak for one to two minutes on a topic, and then will be questioned by the examiner on that topic. Like the TOEFL, most colleges that allow students to submit the test results will have a minimum score, typically a 6.5 or a 7.0. To compare TOEFL and IELTS scores, use the comparison tool available at: http://www.ets.org/toefl/institutions/scores/compare/
ROLE OF TESTING IN THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS This topic has been widely discussed and debated for many years. Many people find that American colleges and universities are becoming too dependent on SAT and ACT scores when making admissions decisions. Because of this, an increasing number of schools have become test-optional, giving admissions counselors to the opportunity to assess students in a way that emphasizes both academic and personal qualities. Test-optional schools may ask students to answer additional questions or to send a graded paper or a project. That said, the majority of U.S. colleges and universities do require standardized tests. Some schools have minimum test scores required for admission, while others use tests as part of a holistic approach to the application review. Schools with a holistic review process do not have minimum scores required for admission, but most will publish their average test scores. These averages show the range of Critical Reading, Math, and Writing scores that the middle 50% of recent admitted students scored. Remember that this means that about 25% of students scored below the average and 25% scored above it. Students should consider this information when determining their chances for admission, but average test scores should not deter a student from applying to a school.
STUDYING FOR THE TESTS Many Dwight students study for standardized tests on their own. Others seek professional assistance, taking courses outside of school or hiring tutors to assist them with their preparation. Whether or not outside help is needed is a decision that you should make with your parents and college counselor. International students should begin studying for these tests during their sophomore year of high school to give ample time for preparation. 16
THE COLLEGE SEARCH
VISITING AND RESEARCHING COLLEGES Finding the right college is a collaborative effort that involves you, your parents, and your college counselor. It is important that you return your questionnaire before your first meeting with your counselor. Without the information provided in this document, counselors do not have enough data to make suggestions or recommendations. By the second meeting, at the beginning of your senior year of high school, you should have received test scores, done research, and visited a few schools, allowing you and your counselor to make a preliminary college list. Before your first formal meeting with your counselor, think about these questions: 1. What type of school or college do you think you want to attend? Liberal Arts? Business? Engineering? Music Conservatory? 2. Do you have an idea of what you might want to study? 3. Do you see yourself at a small college or a large university? 4. Is there a particular geographical area of the country where you want to study? Would you prefer to be in a city or a suburb? 5. Would you consider a single-sex institution? 6. Do you need financial aid? How much money can your family afford for college? After you have done your initial research, the College Counseling staff at Dwight will use the information youâ€™ve acquired, along with your academic record and extracurricular information to suggest additional potential post-secondary institutions.
BEGINNING YOUR SEARCH Naviance is a good place to start your college search. There is a wealth of information available in the College Research section, including information about where Dwight students have been accepted over the years and where they are currently enrolled. Once you have an idea of where you might want to study, try to visit the schools on your list. Nothing takes the place of a college visit, preferably when classes are in session. Before you visit a school, check online or call to make an appointment or schedule a tour. This is particularly important during busy seasons (like the months of March and April and throughout the summer); reserve a place well in advance. It is also important to research what types of visits different schools offer; some may allow students to stay overnight, while others may only offer an information session and campus tour. Colleges and universities typically offer Open House programs in the fall and spring, which can give students and families a different experience than a traditional campus tour. Again, it is the responsibility of the students and families to decide what time of year to visit schools, and whether to start in the eleventh grade or wait until the twelfth grade. Seniors may miss three days of class to visit colleges; we also recommend that you use school holidays for this purpose. Be sure to share your impressions of schools with your counselor. This will help him or her suggest additional institutions. Many schools will also visit each Dwight School campus. See section below on college visits during school hours. 17
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It is important that you and your parents look beyond national rankings when making a list of prospective colleges. While these rankings can be useful in finding schools for different types of programs (such as engineering, fine arts, technology, business, etc), they should not be used as a primary search agent.
SELECTING POTENTIAL SCHOOLS AND MAKING A COLLEGE APPLICATION LIST As you develop a list of schools, you’ll have many factors to consider. Try to be realistic about your chances of admissions by reviewing each school’s academic requirements to see if you have a good chance of being accepted.
ACADEMICS/TYPES OF SCHOOL Students need to first ask themselves what type of college or university they are looking for. 1. Different programs can include: • Conservatory • Art/design • Engineering/Polytechnic schools • Technical/vocational • Liberal arts • Business Also, you should decide if you want a public or private institution and a college or a university. Some schools have specific religious affiliations, while others are single-sex or historically Black. All of these aspects must be taken into consideration when putting together a list of potential schools. 2. Location: Are you looking for an urban, suburban, or rural environment? Do you want to be near a big city, or does that not matter? Is the climate an issue? Would you consider studying at an international location? What is the most important aspect of the foreign country or region within the United States? 3. Size: Are you looking for a school with a small, medium, or large student population? Most liberal arts colleges will have a significantly smaller overall student population than private or public universities. 4. Clubs/Activities/Sports: You should ask yourself what type of co-curricular life you want at college. Some colleges are known for having fraternities and sororities; others do not offer Greek life at all. Some are Division I in sports, recruiting heavily and offering significant athletic scholarships; others are Division II or III and offer no additional aid for studentathletes. Other activities should be taken into account, including religious clubs, community service, political organizations, school-specific clubs, intramural and club sports, etc. Most colleges and universities will have websites dedicated to clubs and activities, and students can investigate those sites to see if a school offers the activities they are looking for. 5. Faculty and Classroom Environment: You should decide if you want a school with small class sizes and faculty: student ratios. Many liberal arts colleges can offer small, discussionbased classes, while large universities typically offer large lecture-style classes. 18
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6. Academic Advising: Some colleges offer faculty advising with small advisor: student ratios, while others have professional advising staffs with large caseloads. Advising is an integral part of the college experience, and you should decide what type of relationship you want with your advisor. 7. Housing: Some colleges/universities don’t offer on-campus housing, while others can guarantee it all for four years. Some colleges require that students live on-campus for a certain amount of time, including all four years, while others offer housing but do not require it. Some colleges have co-ed facilities, and others are single-sex. Many schools offer housing for students with specific interests. Students can get a good idea of the type of residential experiences offered at schools by going on a campus tour. 8. Study Abroad Opportunities: You should definitely consider a school’s study abroad programs when deciding where to apply. Some colleges offer their own campuses around the world; others send their students to local colleges in foreign countries. Some schools outsource their study abroad programs through other American colleges. You should look into what type of experiences are offered, and decide if what is offered matches your needs. 9. Admissions: As previously mentioned, there are several different admissions processes during which students can apply. Students should work with the college counseling staff to determine which process is most appropriate. Different colleges have different admissions requirements. Some require the SAT and subject tests; others only require the SAT or ACT, and others are test optional. The College Counseling department at Dwight recommends that students look into testing policies for potential schools, to ensure they have completed the appropriate tests (if applicable) by the Early or Regular deadlines. This website is very helpful if families are interested in which schools require SAT II subject tests, which ones recommend them, and which ones will consider them if submitted: http://www.compassprep.com/admissions_req_subjects.aspx?sort=requirements Also, students should look at each school’s websites to see which high school courses are required for admission, and which courses are recommended. Attending information sessions and/or campus tours will answer any questions that students and families have about individual schools’ admissions processes. 10. Cost/Financial Aid: Some schools consider financial need when making admissions decisions (need aware), while others do not (need blind). If a student will need financial assistance to attend a college or university, he or she must review the school’s requirements. Some schools require the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid run by the U.S. federal government); others require the FAFSA and the CSS Profile (a financial aid application run by the College Board). Some colleges offer financial aid to international students, while others do not. Some colleges guarantee to meet an admitted student’s full need; others do not have the funding to make that guarantee. Students should absolutely take into consideration what types of financial aid are offered (merit or need-based scholarships, loans, work study and/or federal grants) when deciding to which colleges they will apply. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ International students should consult their counselors since many schools have very limited funds for international scholarships. 19
THE COLLEGE SEARCH
ATTENDING COLLEGE MEETINGS DURING SCHOOL HOURS A large number of colleges and universities will visit at Dwight School in the fall and spring (typically September/October and April) of each year. When schools travel within the United States, they usually visit high schools alone; when traveling internationally, they typically travel in groups and conduct college fairs in individual high schools (or large public college fairs in hotels or other public spaces). The College Counseling department at Dwight recommends that only students with appropriate academic credentials, and those students who are genuinely interested in the schools visiting our campuses, attend the sessions. More often than not, colleges will visit during class hours, and it is less than ideal for students to miss classes. That said, these visits can be a good alternative for traveling to college campuses. The college admissions representatives are looking to speak with students who are genuinely interested in their programs. Dwight students may miss three classes to attend college meetings. You are welcome to come to any meetings that occur during free periods, lunch, or after school. A permission slip signed by the teacher of the class that will be missed must be brought to the meeting.
PREPARING FOR A SCHOOL VISIT OR COLLEGE FAIR As previously mentioned, it is extremely important that students attending a school visit on a Dwight campus or a public college fair arrive prepared. Admissions representatives are visiting Dwight to give information on their schools and to encourage students to apply; however, they want to speak with students who have some knowledge of the school and raise good questions. These sessions are a great opportunity for you to leave a good impression in the mind of the admissions counselor, as, more often than not, that individual will be reading our students’ applications for admission. There is no better way to learn about a college or university — the faculty, facilities, atmosphere, academic environment, student values, spirit — then to visit the campus while college is in session. We know that it may not be possible to visit every college that interests you, but it is important to visit as many colleges as you can. Visiting colleges will help you choose a one that fits your needs and where you feel comfortable. You should visit colleges as many colleges as you can during the rest of your junior year, the summer, and into the fall of your senior year.
THE COLLEGE INTERVIEW Whenever possible, arrange an interview with the admissions office. Prior to the interview, you may want to practice with a college counselor. An interview gives you the opportunity to let admissions staff get to know you as an applicant. Check online to see if interviews can be scheduled and to schedule a tour. Be sure to sign in at the admissions office of every school you visit, whether you have a formal tour or not. Admissions officers are looking for students who demonstrate interest in their institutions. The Admissions Interview • An admissions officer, an alumna, alumnus, or student will conduct your admissions interviews. It is evaluative and the interviewer’s notes will become part of your application file. 20
THE COLLEGE SEARCH Call to schedule an appointment as early in the year as possible and ask for an interview with the admissions representative who evaluates New York City applicants. This person will be evaluating your application.
• Be prepared to talk about what makes you special (your “spark of genius”), your summer plans or how you spent the previous summer, and why you are interested in the specific college. • Ask your college counselor of an unofficial transcript and bring along your resume (with a photo attached if possible). • Be sure to ask the admissions representative for his/her business card and send a thank you note/email to the interviewer after the interview. You should also email this person if you have questions or concerns during the application process. Information Session You may not be able to have an interview at a college, but many schools offer students and parents the opportunity to attend information secessions so that they can learn about the college’s academic programs and admissions policies, and give students and parents a chance to ask questions. • Be sure to check online to see if you need to register in advance for these meetings. • Bring along your transcript and resume just in case you have a chance to meet one-on-one with the admissions officer who evaluates New York City applicants. Special Interest Interview Students who are focusing on art, music, dance, or intercollegiate athletics should make an effort to contact a faculty member in their field or interest or a coach. While these individuals do not evaluate applications, they may let the admissions office know that they are interested in a particular student. • Try to schedule your interview on the same day as your admissions interview, if possible. • Bring along your portfolio or a DVD in case you have the opportunity to demonstrate your talent. • Don’t forget that NCAA regulations may not allow coaches to meet with your prior to your senior year. • Be sure to ask for a business card and to thank the person who met with you. Alumni Interview Many schools ask alumni to interview students who have applied to their institutions. These meetings take place close to your home (a coffee shop, the interviewer’s office or some other neutral place), not on the college campus. While the interviewer’s notes do not carry the same weight as those of an admissions officer, they do become part of an applicant’s file, and should be taken seriously. • Bring along your transcript and resume, and be prepared to answer and ask questions. • Be sure to thank the person who you met with. 21
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INTERVIEW STRATEGIES • Arrive early. • Wear clothes that would be appropriate for school (shirts with collars, etc.) and be wellgroomed. Your interview is a chance to “put a face to a name.” • Relax and smile. • Accentuate your interest in academics before you talk about activities and sports. • Make eye contact and answer clearly. If you can’t answer a question immediately, say you need a moment to think – don’t say the first thing that comes into your head. • Do some research before your interview so that you don’t ask for information that is easy to find on the school’s website; be prepared to ask a few questions. • Know why you are applying to the school. • Know what makes you special (your “spark of genius”) and how you can contribute to the school’s community. Remember that you are representing Dwight School and future applicants as well as yourself. Some Questions You May be Asked • What is your greatest personal achievement? • Do you think you’ve achieved your academic goals? • How would your teachers/friends describe you? • What would you like the admissions committee to know about you that they won’t know from reading your application? • Which of your personal strengths would you like to develop? • What would you most like to change about yourself? • How have your activities helped you gain insight into yourself? • Can you give me an example of an experience that helped you mature? • What do you think is the biggest mistake you’ve made in high school? • Who are your heroes? • What is the most interesting book you’ve read in the last year or two? • What really makes you mad? • If you could talk to one person, who would it be? • What would be the first thing you would change in your high school if you were the new principal? • If you could take a gap year, what would you do? • If you won a million dollars, how would you spend it? • What makes you special (your “spark of genius”) • How do you deal with peer pressure? 22
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• If you couldn’t attend college, what would you do? • What subject do you enjoy most/least? • What contributions have you made to your high school? • Why are you applying to our institution? • How do you spend your summers? • What adjectives would you use to describe yourself? What would your friends use? Your parents? • If you were a pastry/an animal which would you be? • Would you be a PC or an Apple?
Some Questions You Might Ask [Be sure not to ask questions that sound aggressive or pretentious, or that can be found by spending a few minutes looking at the school’s website.] • What are your smallest/largest class sizes? • How are advisers assigned? How often do they meet with students? • Are there classes that are difficult to get in to? • Are undergrad courses taught by grad students? • Are there televised, online, or hybrid courses? • Do undergrads have opportunities to do research with professors? • How would you describe your typical student? • Is there anything you wish you could change about this school? • How are roommates chosen? What if we don’t get along? • Is it easy to get a job on campus if I’m not getting financial aid? • Is it easy to change majors? • Does the school help students get internships? • What is your career placement after graduation • What does your school pride itself on? • Is there an orientation for international students? • Will applying for financial aid impact admissions decisions? What about students who are waitlisted? • Do you have financial aid/ merit based scholarships/loans for international students? • When do you inform students about their fanatical aid packages? The College Counseling staff wants students to avoid asking these questions: • What is your average grade point average for admission? • What is the SAT score required for admission? • What is your most popular major? 23
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The three previous questions are, by far, the most popular questions asked in high school visits and college fairs. They show that a student has not prepared thoughtful, individualized questions. Students are always welcome to ask a college counselor for advice on best practices for impressing a college admissions rep.
TEST-OPTIONAL SCHOOLS All students should include a couple of “test-optional” schools on their list. Test-optional schools do not require SAT or ACT results, but will review them if a student chooses to submit them. A list of these schools can be found on www.fairtest.org. These schools put more emphasis on a student’s transcript (grades and curriculum), activities, writing samples, and recommendation letters.
THE COMMON APPLICATION WHAT IS THE COMMON APPLICATION? The Common Application is the preferred application for freshman and transfer undergraduate admission accepted at over five-hundred colleges and universities around the world (including both public and private). Colleges and universities can only be members of the Common Application if they have agreed to a “holistic” application review process, or one that includes information other than grades and standardized test scores. Thus, any schools to which students apply via the Common Application will utilize recommendation letters, personal statements, and extracurricular involvement as crucial information in the admissions process. The Common Application typically goes live on August 1 of the year prior to the year in which students will be starting college. The application must be submitted electronically on commonapp.org. Most selective college and universities require a writing supplement, as well, or a form that asks applicants school-specific questions. It is important that students pay close attention to the questions being asked on the supplements, as they will vary from one school to the next. There is no maximum number of colleges or universities to which a student can apply, but the College Counseling department encourages students to do a careful and thoughtful search with their college counselors to determine about ten to fifteen potential post-secondary institutions. This should include some “reach” schools, as well as a number of “safety” schools, in case a student is not admitted to his or her top choices. The department also encourages students to start reviewing the Common Application during the summer prior to their senior year of high school, to get an idea of the essay prompts and short answer questions. It is important to get started on these sections as early as possible, as application deadlines approach very quickly after the start of grade twelve!
THE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS OF THE COMMON APPLICATION
THE COMMON APPLICATION PERSONAL ESSAY
There are six pages to the Common Application, not including the recommendations and supplemental forms. Students are required to do the following: • Fill out the entire Common Application, including biographical, family and education information, activities, and writing samples (essay, activity short answer response, and supplemental short answer responses). • Students must request that tests be sent directly from the College Board or ACT, and can use score choice if the schools allow (see additional information on standardized tests). • Students will pay the various application fees online via credit card. • Students must ask at least one teacher to write a recommendation letter. However, some schools require two letters of recommendation, in which case, a student would need to secure two letters from teachers. There are additional requirements, which the College Counseling department at Dwight will handle. They include: • Submitting transcripts, college counselor letter of recommendation, and secondary school report. • Submitting the Dwight School profile. • Submitting all letters of recommendation from teachers. Students are not required to mail these recommendations to the colleges directly; the College Counseling department will submit all of these materials via Naviance (see section on Naviance).
SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL Common Application Supplemental Short Answers There are a number of schools that require school-specific supplements to the Common Application. Most highly competitive colleges/universities, including all Ivy League schools, require a supplement. We hope that you will begin work on your supplemental responses as early as possible. Colleges pay very close attention to these writing samples, and it is important that you convey your interest in the school and demonstrate your writing skills. Typically, the supplements are released on the Common Application website and the individual schools’ websites after August 1 of the summer prior to the year in which students will be going to college. Many colleges will ask the same question, “Why do you want to go to XYZ college?” Above and beyond that, schools may ask for an additional essay or short answer questions about aspects that make their college unique. For instance, Franklin and Marshall College, on its 2011 supplement, asked students to research the founders of the school, John Marshall and Benjamin Franklin, and write about which person they would rather have dinner with. The admissions officers were looking for knowledge of the two historical figures, as well as creativity showcased through writing. It is important to note that there is a character limit when filling out the Common Application supplements online. Colleges that give short answer prompts are looking for students who are able to be clear and concise in their responses; they do not want additional page-long essays. This will take revisions, and the college counseling staff can help you with this. 26
THE COMMON APPLICATION PERSONAL ESSAY
Arts Supplement for non-arts majors Students and families can also find the arts supplement on the Common Application. Some colleges/universities will allow students to submit in this supplement. Please note that this supplement is different from the portfolio required of students applying to arts programs (see section below). If you decide to send in the arts supplement, you should know that it asks for an additional letter of recommendation, to be filled out by an arts teacher. The supplement asks students to indicate the arts medium in which they participate (music, theatre, dance, film, or studio art). Students are then asked to send in a ten-minute CD or DVD that “demonstrates contrasting examples of expression and technique.” You will then have to write about the contents of the submission. All submissions will go through slideroom.com. There are additional requirements for the different arts mediums. Unless a school specifically states that it will consider this arts supplement for a non-arts major, there is no reason for you to send it. Colleges and universities that receive thousands of applications are especially unlikely to review these additional materials. Mandatory Portfolios for arts majors If a student is applying to an arts program, including studio art, music, drama, film, dance, photography, architecture, design, etc., he or she will most likely be required to submit an artistic portfolio. The arts supplement for the Common Application will not suffice for these mandatory portfolios; the college/university will have specific requirements that students must fulfill for admission. Typically, the artistic submission is used as 50% of the admissions decision, which could make up for light grades or standardized test scores. It is very important that students and families contact the colleges or visit the individual colleges’ websites for more information on the artistic portfolio requirements, as they will differ for each school. Also, please pay attention to the deadlines for artistic submissions; sometimes, they differ from application deadlines. The majority of Dwight students will submit the Common Application to at least one school. The Common Application Personal Essay is an important component of the application, and one which you should spend a great deal of time on. It is your chance to present colleges with an impression of you that they may not get from any other part of your application. Don’t squander this opportunity by sending a quickly written piece of writing, or one that has been so heavily edited by teachers and consultants that it no longer rings true. Pick your topic carefully and run it past a few people but remember that it is your statement. The Common Application instructions and topics are: Please write an essay (650 words maximum) on one of the options listed below. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. 1. 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. 27
THE COMMON APPLICATION PERSONAL ESSAY
2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? 3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? 4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? 5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. 6. Topic of your choice. Be sure that you: • Select a topic that provides insight into who you are and how you will contribute to the college community. It should be very personal and one that only you could write about. • Submit an essay that is well written. This means you have checked your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. College admissions officers are looking for students who are able to write at the college level. A poorly written essay does not show this. • Have a strong thesis sentence and several paragraphs that support your thesis. You should also have a strong conclusion. • Avoid clichés and quotes such as, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Admissions readers have read these over and over again and find them annoying. • Don’t overuse the thesaurus; your language should be natural. • Are memorable for the right reasons. You want to be “the student who wrote the amazing essay about his experience in the jungle,” not “the student who wants to limit freedom of expression.” • Don’t repeat the information that is in your application and on your transcript. • Follow all of the instructions, including the word limit. • Show don’t tell. Use vivid language in your essay. • Don’t whine! Your college essay is not the right place to complain about life’s injustices. You can write about misfortunes in your life that have taught you something, however.
WHEN TO APPLY: DIFFERENCES AMONG EARLY DECISION, EARLY ACTION, AND REGULAR DECISION APPLICATIONS When applying for admission, it is crucial that you work with your parents and counselor to determine the best admissions process for each school. Youâ€™ll apply regular decision to most of your schools, but there are a few other options that Dwight recommends students consider. Possible admissions options are outlined below:
EARLY ACTION The Early Action process is defined as a non-binding, early admissions process, in which students submit their applications in October or November and receive a decision sometime in December. They are admitted, deferred, or denied admission, and have until May 1st to make their final decision. Students can apply Early Action to multiple schools, in addition to applying Early Decision to one school, and Regular Decision to multiple schools. Students admitted Early Action have until May 1 of the year in which they plan to enroll in college to make a decision. Applying Early Action can relieve some of the stress of applying to college, especially if a student is admitted to his or her first choice school. If this is the case, a student can withdraw all other applications and pay a deposit as soon as he or she is ready to commit to that specific school and program.
RESTRICTED EARLY ACTION (SINGLE CHOICE) A number of schools have a process called Restricted Early Decision. The program is still non-binding, and if a student is admitted, he or she still has until May 1 to make a decision. However, the colleges or universities that are Early Action Single Choice are asking students to only apply to one school early, and the rest during the Regular Decision admissions process.
EARLY DECISION The Early Decision admissions process is similar to Early Action, except Early Decision is a binding program. Students submit an application in late October/early November, and colleges agree to send an admissions decision sometime in December. Students applying under Early Decision are signing an agreement, along with their parents and college counselor, indicating that they will enroll at that college if admitted. Thus, this is a decision that is not to be taken lightly, and a student should absolutely have a conversation (or multiple conversations) with parents and their college counselor before submitting an Early Decision application. It is also important to note that students applying under the Early Decision process are agreeing to attend a school, regardless of what a school can offer for financial aid. If a family has a great financial need, and aid packages will determine where a student attends college, it is not advisable to apply Early Decision. Upon receiving an Early Decision acceptance, students must immediately withdraw any other applications they have submitted. The College Counseling department at Dwight will recommend the Early Decision process if a student is 100% positive that a particular school is a perfect fit. The worst thing that a student can do is commit to attend a school in December, not apply to any schools Regular Decision, and then realize later in senior year that the school is not a good fit. Nonetheless, if used appropriately, Early Decision can be a great tool that alleviates a significant amount of stress during senior year. 29
WHEN TO APPLY: DIFFERENCES AMONG EARLY DECISION, EARLY ACTION, AND REGULAR DECISION APPLICATIONS Please note that schools can send one of three decisions to Early Decision candidates: admitted, denied, or deferred. If deferred, students will not receive a final decision until April or May of senior year, and the binding contract is no longer valid. If a student is admitted after being deferred, they are not required to attend.
EARLY DECISION II A number of schools offer a second round of Early Decision, or Early Decision II. This can be a good program for students denied Early Decision or Early Action from their first choice school, or for students who realize that a school is their first choice after the first ED deadline. This is still a binding program, and students applying under this program are committing to attend a particular college or university. The deadline for ED II is in mid December to mid January, and schools typically send decisions sometime in February. If admitted, a student has two to three weeks to withdraw all other applications and submit a deposit.
REGULAR DECISION Regular Decision is, by far, the most popular admissions process for students applying to U.S. colleges and universities. This is a non-binding process, with an application deadline between early January and early March. Schools will guarantee to send admissions decisions to students by April 1, and ask for admitted students to make their enrollment decision by May 1 (the national candidateâ€™s reply date).
ROLLING ADMISSION A number of school offer a rolling admission process, wherein they will accept applications by a certain deadline, but they give priority to students who apply earlier in the admissions cycle. Thus, the earlier a student submits an application, the earlier he or she will receive an admissions decision. A good example of a school with a rolling admissions process is Pennsylvania State University.
GAP YEAR A growing number of Dwight students are asking colleges to which they have been accepted to allow them to take a gap year before they begin their studies. This allows students to take a break in their education in order to do community service, work, travel, learn another language, or use the year for some specified purpose. It is rare for a college to deny this request, as long as a student can explain how he or she will use the year. While the counseling team feels this is an appropriate decision for many students, we do ask that all students apply to college during their senior year. We like our students to take a year off with the knowledge that they are already accepted to begin college the following school year.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND CERTIFICATION OF FINANCES
THE FAFSA AND CSS PROFILE FAFSA The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, operated by the U.S. Federal Government. This form can be submitted electronically at fafsa.ed.gov. Almost all U.S. schools require the FAFSA for students seeking need-based financial aid. Students must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents with a social security number to be eligible to file the FAFSA, as the aid awarded is government-funded. The FAFSA generates a figure called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount of money that the government believes a family can contribute to a student’s education per year. This figure is then sent to the financial aid office of the schools designated on the form, and the individual schools and colleges use the information when putting a student’s need-based (not institutional or merit-based) financial aid package. Need-based financial aid can include federal student loans (including the PLUS loan, subsidized loan, and unsubsidized loan), federal work-study (which requires that students get a job on-campus to earn a specified amount of money), and federal, state and local grants (such as the TAP, or Tuition Assistance Program, grant for New York State residents). Submission of the FAFSA does not guarantee that a student will receive all of the afore-mentioned types of financial aid, but all students will, regardless of financial need, receive an unsubsidized federal student loan. Please remember that this does not include institutional financial aid (need or merit-based scholarships). Schools and colleges have their own processes by which they award institutional aid, and the amount given will vary significantly from one school to the next. Generally speaking, parents/guardians should file their taxes as early as possible after the new year (of the year in which the student will be starting college), so as to file the FAFSA shortly thereafter (most schools need the FAFSA to be filed by mid-February to give students full consideration for federal financial aid). If your family is able to file taxes before the February 15th FAFSA deadline, tax return information will be automatically inserted into the FAFSA, which will make the process easier. As the name would imply, it is free to file the FAFSA, but students will only be able to submit it to a certain number of schools (usually ten).
CSS Profile The CSS Profile is an online application, run by the College Board (the same company that administers the SAT, SAT II subject tests, and the AP exams). It costs families $25 to send the first CSS Profile to a college/university, then another $16 per college/university thereafter. The application can be found here: https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp This application is required by some U.S. colleges and universities and students should ensure that they only send it to the schools that need it. It is used to determine institutional financial aid, not federal aid, which generally includes need and merit-based scholarships. It takes into account factors that the FAFSA may not consider, such as home equity and retirement accounts when calculating a family’s expected family contribution. Many colleges/universities that award financial aid to international students will require the CSS Profile (as these students are not eligible to file the FAFSA). 31
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND CERTIFICATION OF FINANCES
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION A number of U.S. colleges and universities that allocate financial aid to international students will ask students and families to submit the International Student Financial Aid Application. Like the CSS Profile, it is also offered by the College Board. It can be found at: https://finaidonline.collegeboard.com/ Some schools also require international students to complete the CSS Profile. For international students, it is important to note that many American colleges/universities are need-aware (they take into account a student’s ability to pay tuition and fees). In this case, students applying for need-based financial aid are in a more competitive applicant pool than those not applying for financial aid, as there are more spots generally available for students who can afford to pay without aid. International students who can afford to pay full tuition and fees without financial aid generally should not apply for financial aid.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CERTIFICATION OF FINANCES American colleges and universities that are need-aware require a certification of finances for international (non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents) student applicants. A general certification of finances can be found here: https://finaidonline.collegeboard.com/ Not all colleges and universities require the above-mentioned form. Many have their own form, that can typically be found on their school’s international students admissions website. Students will have to take the form to their local bank and have a representative certify that the family can afford the first year’s tuition and fees at the respective institution. Many students mistakenly think that the certification of finances requires proof that a family can afford fees for four years of college; again, this form is only for the first year. The college counselors will help international students ensure that the correct financial forms are sent to the correct institutions. Some colleges do not consider an application to be complete until the financial forms have been received, so you should be sure to have your parents take care of this as early in your senior year as possible.
ADVANCED STANDING AND IB SCORES
HOW COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES USE IB EXAM SCORES In the early part of a studentâ€™s senior year of high school, IB instructors are asked to predict how they expect their students will score on the IB exams administered at the end of the year. A number of UK and Canadian colleges/universities will use these predicted IB scores for purposes of admission. In these systems, if a student does not ultimately meet or exceed their predicted IB exam results, his or her admission could be rescinded over the summer before college begins. In the United States, some colleges/universities will consider predicted IB scores, if available during the admissions process; however, it is rare that they would rescind admission if a student does not receive the predicted scores on the exams. The majority of American universities use final IB exam scores in a similar way as AP scores: as a course placement tool or for advanced standing credit. Generally speaking, American colleges and universities will award credit for 5, 6, or 7 on the Higher Level IB exams. Some schools award credit for Standard Level exams.
EXAMPLES OF UNIVERSITY IB POLICIES To determine how a specific college or university awards credit for IB results, go to ibo.org and enter the institutions name in the search bar. The following are some examples: Brown University Brown University was one of the first colleges to accord credit for IB work. Brown recognizes that the IB represents achievement beyond most standard high school programs; advanced placement and standing is therefore regularly granted. Three higher level courses can be assigned six course credits at Brown. With departmental approval, a standard level course with a superior mark may be counted for one credit. Accreditation falls within the providence of the Dean of the College. Princeton University Princeton University recognizes the IB and uses examination results for advanced placement purposes only. A score of 6 or 7 on the higher level examinations is normally accorded advanced placement recognition. You can use advanced placement in three ways: 1. to enter upper-level courses; 2. to fulfill the foreign language requirement; 3. to become eligible for graduation in three or three and one-half years (advanced standing). A score of 7 on the IB (higher level) examinations is considered the equivalent of a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement test in most subjects; an IB score of 6 is generally considered equivalent to a score of 4 on the Advanced Placement test. The International Baccalaureate in higher-level math will earn you two units of AP credit provided you have a score of 7; one unit of AP credit will be granted for a score of 6. 33
ADVANCED STANDING AND IB SCORES
Boston College Beginning with the class of 2011, Boston Collegeâ€™s IB policy is that we will grant advanced placement only for Higher level exam scores of 6 or 7 only. We do not grant credit or exemptions for any Standard level exams. Please refer to our web site for details on which exams place students out of which requirements in Boston Colleges Core curiculum. Students who score a 6 or 7 on three HL exams and a B or better on TOK may apply for advanced standing at the end of their first year at BC. Students who are accepted for advanced standing must graduate in three years.
INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
APPLYING TO SCHOOLS OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES Dwight School’s College Counseling Department works in conjunction with the college offices at Dwight School London and Dwight School Canada. The various offices will help students applying to schools around the world, including schools throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.
UCAS SYSTEM FOR UK APPLICATIONS Students interested in applying to schools in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland) must use a system called UCAS to apply. The application website can be found here: http://ucas.com/students/apply/ A total of 304 universities offering 40,000 courses throughout the UK use UCAS for purposes of admission. When applying through UCAS, students must apply to specific universities and courses; they cannot apply undecided, as most U.S. universities allow. Students applying to UK schools are only allowed to apply to a maximum of five courses within the UK; of course, this does not include any schools to which they are applying outside of the UK. Students should remember a couple of restrictions: • Students cannot apply to both Oxford University and Cambridge University. They must pick one or the other. • If students are applying to medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine, they can only apply to four medical or dental courses. If a student applies to four programs within these categories, they can then apply to another non-medical program within the UCAS system. You should be aware of the fact that there are limits placed on the number of international students allowed to study medicine in the UK, and competition is fierce. The deadlines for UK programs are different than those for U.S. programs. They are: • By September 15: students applying from outside of the UK must request an overseas interview. • October 15: for Oxford, Cambridge, and all medicine, dentistry, and veterinary programs. • Early November: admissions tests are administered at registered schools. Dwight School in New York is a registered center. • January 15: main deadline for all other programs throughout UCAS. Students may continue to apply until June 30. • March 24: Deadline for some art and design programs that require a portfolio. • After June 30: students may continue to apply for admission, but cannot designate their top five choices. They will only be considered for admission to programs that are still available. This process is called “clearing.” Given the early deadlines, if you are applying to UK universities you must get started early. The College Counseling department recommends that all students applying to these programs write their personal statement and select universities and courses over the summer before grade 12. 35
INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
If you apply to five programs and are not admitted to any of them (and you still want to go to university in the UK), you can apply through UCAS Extra. You will then be considered for admission to programs that still have availability. This process begins in late April/early May, and generally speaking, all courses at highly competitive universities are not included. You can see which courses are participating in Extra by going to course search on UCAS. Students applying to UK programs will need to submit a different personal statement than the one required for the Common Application. Admissions tutors in the UK are looking for four things in the personal statement: 1. Ability to succeed in the program 2. Benefit that would be received by taking part in the program 3. Commitment to the field 4. Discernment (or understanding of what the course entails) UK universities will accept American testing results (SAT, AP, TOEFL, IELTS, etc), but predicted IB results for Dwight students in New York, London, and Vancouver will be the primary basis for admission. When students apply with predicted IB results, UK universities will give conditional acceptances; in this case, students must meet or exceed the scores in their offer to matriculate. Students applying after graduating from Dwight (with final IB scores), will either be accepted or denied entrance to UK schools. If you are thinking of applying to UK universities you must notify your college counselors as early as possible, so as to give him or her plenty of time to counsel you through the process and order appropriate admissions tests. The process is quite different from the American university admissions process, and students and counselors will work closely to ensure that everything is ready on time.
OTHER EUROPEAN SCHOOLS Each country has its own regulations, but virtually all will require that official IB scores be sent. Many also ask for a letter of recommendation from either your counselor, a teacher who has taught you in the field in which you wish to study. Your counselor will help you identify what needs to be done.
COLLEGE ACCEPTANCES AND PLACEMENTS: DWIGHT SCHOOL
DWIGHT SCHOOL (CLASS OF 2014) MATRICULATED AT THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS: Barnard College Bentley University (2) Boston University Brandeis University Brown University (2) Carnegie Mellon University Cheshire Academy (post-graduate year) Colby College Colgate University College of William and Mary Columbia University Cooper Union Curry College Duke University Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland Elon University Ithaca College Johnson and Wales University Krabbesholm Hojskole, Denmark Lehigh University Maryland Institute College of Art
Mount Holyoke College New York University (8) Northeastern University (2) Parsons The New School for Design (2) Spelman College Syracuse University (6) Trinity College Tulane University University of Arizona University of Connecticut (2) University of Edinburgh (UK) University of Florida University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Pennsylvania University of St. Andrews, UK University of Vermont Wake Forest University (2) Waseda University, Japan Washington University in St. Louis
Students were admitted to the following additional schools: Bard College, Barnard College, Baruch College, Bentley University, Boston University, Brown University (2), Case Western Reserve University, Chapman University, Clark University, College of Charleston, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, DePaul University, DePauw University, Drew University, Drexel University, Duke University, Elon University, Emerson College, Fairfield University, Fordham University, George Mason University, Grinnell College, Ithaca College, Johns Hopkins University, Johnson and Wales University, Lesley University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Maryland, Mitchell College, Mount Saint Maryâ€™s University, New York University, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pace University, Parsons School of Design, Pennsylvania State University, Providence College, Purdue University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, St. Johnâ€™s University Queens, Stony Brook University, SUNY Cortland, Syracuse University, Tulane University, University of California Berkeley, University of Charleston, University of Delaware, University of Edinburgh *UK), University of Exeter (UK), University of Florida, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Indiana Bloomington, University of Maine, University of Miami, University of New Hampshire, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of St. Andrews (UK), University of Vermont, University of York (UK), Vassar College, Waseda University (Japan), Washington University in St. Louis, Wesleyan College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 37
A GUIDE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Grossmont College, Disabled Student Programs and Staff http://www.grossmont.edu
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN K-12 EDUCATION AND COLLEGE • Laws that Protect the Rights of Adults with Disabilities • Educational Options After High School • Transition Goal Checklist • Verification of Disability
• Self-Advocacy • Helpful Hints • Glossary • Community Resources • Helpful Websites
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN K-12 EDUCATION AND COLLEGE K-12 IDEA ’04
K-12 504 Plan
College 504, ADA, and FERPA
Student records are accessible to student and parents
Student records are accessible to student and parents
Any enrolled college student’s records are only accessible to the student (not the parents)
Special consideration for behavior problem
Must follow high school behavior code
Must follow college code of conduct; no special consideration
District identifies disability
Parent provides documentation of disability
Student responsibility to provide documentation of disability and need for accommodation
Success more of a right
No guarantee for student success
No guarantee; student responsible for own success
Special education classes
Regular class curriculum with modification
No special education classes; disability support office’s role is to accommodate student in college level classes
Free evaluation of disability
District develops Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Services determined by Plan
Student initiates requests for accommodation needs
District ensures that the IEP is implemented
Student responsible for own progress
Entitled to services identified on IEP
Services determined by Plan
College services not automatic; each college determines eligibility and services
Fundamental modifications to program of study permitted as identified on IEP
Fundamental modifications to program of study permitted as identified on 504 Plan
No fundamental modifications allowed: Accommodations may not alter fundamental nature of course or impose an undue burden on an institution
Student advocates for self
Personal services: e.g., transportation, personal attendant, nurse
No personal services provided
No personal services provided
LAWS THAT PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES Anti-Discrimination TITLE VI (CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964) Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all employment situations involving programs or activities aided by federal financing. TITLE VII (CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964) Prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in all employment. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990 Extends universal civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities covering public and private sector employment, public accommodations, transportation, and telephone communication. Educational Access SECTION 504 (REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973) “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance...” SECTION 508 (THE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 AMENDMENT TO THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973) Section 508 requires federal agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic technology to provide to federal employees with disabilities comparable access to that technology and information that federal employees without disabilities are afforded. Confidentiality FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA) OF 1974 All students over the age of 18 are free to access their own student records, request changes to their student records, and “to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records.” Parents of children over the age of 18 are not permitted to access their child’s student records, as protected under FERPA.
TRANSITION GOALS CHECKLIST The following activities are organized in a checklist format and can be used in planning transition goals during the IEP process or when writing 504 Plans. Use the Glossary at the back to help you understand the special disability vocabulary you need to learn. Middle School Transition Goals Checklist: Find Out More about Your Disability 1. Name your disability and describe how it affects your learning. 2. Identify your strengths in learning; these will help you in school. 39
APPENDICES 3. Identify learning strategies a. Identify accommodations for learning, e.g., use of tape recorder, note taking assistance, test accommodations, and assistive technology. b. Develop and use memory strategies to remember information. c. Learn to work with classmates, contact them with questions that you have and form study groups. d. Identify test-taking strategies for multiple choice, fill-in, and essay tests.
Learn How to Advocate for Yourself 1. Attend all your education planning meetings, e.g., IEP, 504 Plan, and Transition Plan. 2. Ask questions when you donâ€™t understand something. 3. Develop problem solving strategies a. Identify possible social problems you have in school and possible solutions. b. Identify possible educational problems in school and possible solutions. c. Develop a list of people who can help you solve these problems. Develop a Personal Information File Be aware of where your educational records, social security card, and birth certificate are kept at home. Investigate Possible Careers Identify possible career interests and education needed for them.
HIGH SCHOOL TRANSITION GOALS CHECKLIST FRESHMAN/SOPHOMORE During the first two years of high school... 1. Continue to learn how to advocate for yourself. 2. Learn more about your disability and what it takes for you to succeed. 3. Start learning about laws that affect and support students with disabilities e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504. 4. Think about possible colleges you may want to attend. Prepare for College Entrance Examination (Four-year colleges only) 1. Identify what test(s) need to be taken. 2. Study for the entrance exam (PSAT, SAT, ACT). Use the study guides and/or enroll in SAT or ACT preparatory program(s) if possible. 3. Find out what accommodations are available for entrance exams. 40
JUNIOR Increase Your Knowledge About Your Disability 1. Review the goals of your transition plan in your IEP or your 504 Plan. 2. Use your self advocacy skills during your IEP meeting. Take the College Entrance Examination (Four-year colleges only) 1. Ask your high school counselor about preparations for college entrance examinations. Apply early and request academic accommodations on application(s) for tests. 2. Begin taking exams as early as possible. This gives you time to retake exams, if permitted. Select the College(s) You Are Interested in Attending 1. Plan to visit college(s). Include disability and other support services in your visitation. 2. Learn about the types of services and accommodations that may be available to you. 3. Based on your investigation, pick the college(s) you feel have the academic programs that match your interests and will provide the services you need to be successful. 4. If you cannot visit in person, visit the college’s website or contact the college by phone. SENIOR Select the College(s) To Which You Will Apply (Do this in the Fall Semester) 1. Request an application from the college(s) or visit the college(s) website and apply online. Submit all applications and forms by due dates. 2. Identify the written verification you will need to request services and accommodations in college. If you have a learning disability and you are at least 17 years old, you may request adult testing from your high school using the WAIS III or the WJ-III Cognitive. Apply For Financial Aid 1. In January, pick up a financial aid packet from your high school counselor’s office. Complete the application and turn it in or visit: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ 2. Contact the college or university you want to attend, local service clubs, state and national organizations, and search the local library and Internet for more information on scholarships. You’ve Been Accepted to College 1. Apply to the college disability support office to request services. Bring your most recent IEP to the office. 2. Provide current written verification of your disability signed by an appropriate professional. This must include the name of your disability, functional limitations and academic accommodations you have received in the past. 41
APPENDICES 3. Some college placement exams may be offered at your high school or at the college. Request accommodations on the placement exam. 4. Make an appointment to meet with a staff member from the disability support office to discuss accommodations and campus procedures to obtain such services. 5. Arrange for other support not provided by college (e.g., housing, attendant care, equipment repair and transportation). 6. Investigate community agencies that provide support to persons with disabilities (e.g., Department of Rehabilitation, The Regional Center). 7. Be aware that you need to purchase your textbooks. Visit the campus bookstore or college website for specific prices. If the Department of Rehabilitation pays for your books, contact your DR counselor for the correct form and procedure. Inquire about online resources to purchase discounted text books.
Check in with the Disability Support Office 1. Inquire about an orientation for disability support services. 2. Plan classes with an academic advisor/counselor. Review your selections with the disability support office. It is advisable to buy a current college catalog or view online to review campus procedures. 3. Register as early as possible, especially if you need assistive technology or interpreting/ Real Time captioning services. If you need your materials in alternate format (enlarged print, e-text, audio, Braille) request them as soon as possible from the disability support office. 4. Ask the disability support office to help you learn more about other support services offered on campus, e.g., tutoring, writing lab, computer lab, and/or counseling center Verification of Disability Verification is written proof that an individual has a current disability. Verification of the disability is the responsibility of each student seeking accommodations and services. The verification must be provided by a licensed professional in a disability-related field. Once your disability is verified, you may request accommodations. Application Process to Receive Disability Support Services High school students frequently think they are automatically eligible for disability related accommodations at college. It is important to understand that this is not true. Under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, you must complete the following steps: 1. Apply for services at disability support office. 2. Provide current written verification from an appropriate professional that: a. names the disability. b. identifies educational limitations that the disability causes. c. identifies reasonable accommodations. 42
According to federal laws, you must identify the reasonable accommodations you want from the college: Self-Advocacy Take some time to think about explaining your disability and accommodations to a professor or counselor. What would you say? Use the following sample Academic Accommodations Dialogue: Student: My name is __________. I have a verified disability. Here is my paperwork, which verifies my disability, and shows my authorized academic accommodations. My disability causes the following problems in learning: __________. Student: Iâ€™d like to discuss some academic accommodations that I need: __________. (Include only those that apply to you. See the list below.) 1. Getting a note taker: I need your help in finding a student who takes good notes in this class. The disability support office will provide paper for the note taker to use. Would you help me find someone who takes good notes? 2. Tape recording a lecture: I am authorized to have a tape recorder to record your lecture. I will only use it for my personal study purposes. 3. Extended Test Times: I would like to discuss the accommodation of extended time on exams. The disability support office offers someone to oversee or proctor tests in their offices. I can arrange to take the tests through their office, or we can work out extra time or alternate arrangements. How would you like to organize this? 4. Quiet Environment: Because I am easily distracted, I need to take tests/quizzes in a quiet environment. I can use the disability support office or we can work out alternate arrangements. * To the Student: Practice what you are going to say to your instructors; BE POLITE. You should discuss and work out the accommodations together. If instructors do not agree with your accommodations, then politely thank them for their time and leave. Then contact your disability support office or your 504/ADA Coordinators for help in resolving disability related accommodations. Helpful Hints 1. Obtain a college catalog and class schedule to use and reference throughout your entire college career. 2. Balance your schedule: â€˘ Plan a study schedule. 1 hour in class = 2 to 3 hours of study time outside of class. 43
APPENDICES • If you are employed, make sure you have enough hours to balance both work and study time. • Do not overload your schedule with too many classes. Remember, if you are taking 12 units you are considered a full-time student. • Plan your classes with an academic counselor. It is important to have a written plan of the classes you are going to take in the coming semesters. • It is important to take classes you are interested in as well as classes you are required to take. For example, you may want to take an Art class along with your Math and English courses so that you have a balanced schedule. Bring this up when you are planning your classes with an academic counselor.
3. Attend all of your class meetings. In college, missing one class meeting can put you behind for an entire week. If you must be absent, ask a classmate if you can copy his/her notes and talk to your instructor about any missed work. Refer to your class syllabi for more information regarding your instructors’ late policy. 4. Maintain academic progress: a “C” average or a 2.0 grade point average. Students who have GPA’s lower than a 2.0 can be placed on academic probation, disqualified, or may not be eligible for certain scholarships, financial aid, transferring and/or graduation. 5. Use the tutoring centers and take advantage of specialized classes and workshops. 6. Keep a calendar of all appointments, exams, and assignment due dates. DO NOT SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS DURING CLASS. 7. Use campus resources and student services.
GLOSSARY OF COLLEGE TERMS Definitions are largely from: http://www.schoolguides.com/collegepreparation/ http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/plan/getting-ready/ Accreditation: This is official recognition that a college or trade school has met the standards of a regional or national accrediting organization. ACT or SAT: The ACT and the SAT are the examinations most frequently recommended or required for college admission or placement. Many colleges also require one or more SAT Subject Tests. Advanced Placement (AP): College-level courses offered in high schools for which students pay a fee to take the exam. (Grades on a scale of 1 to 5). Scores of 3 and above may be eligible for credit and advanced standing at many colleges. Articulation Agreement: An articulation agreement is designed to make it easier for a student at a two-year college to transfer to a four-year college, based on an agreement between the colleges about accepting course credits. Articulation agreements spell out which courses are eligible for degree credit at the four-year college, and the grades that must have been earned. 44
Arts and Sciences: This is a college course of study that includes the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, foreign languages and fine arts. Associate Degree: The associate degree is awarded by a college after satisfactory completion of a program of study. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years. Award Letter: This is a document sent to admitted students describing the terms of the financial aid that the college is offering them, including the types and amounts of aid offered, the conditions that govern the awards, and a deadline for accepting the awards. Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s degrees are awarded by a college, typically after satisfactory completion of a four- or five-year, full-time program of study. Bursar: The bursar is the college official responsible for handling billing and payments for tuition, fees, housing, and other related expenses. Candidates Reply Date Agreement (CRDA): The CRDA requires participating colleges to give admitted students until May 1 to accept or decline an offer of admission. This agreement gives students time to get responses from most of the colleges they have applied to before deciding on one. Calendar Plan: Describes the number and length of terms per year: semester (two terms), trimester (three terms), quarter (four terms, one is a summer session), and various plans such as “4-1-4” (a four-month term, followed by a one-month term, followed by another four-month term), etc. College Board: A not-for-profit membership association responsible for administering SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, AP, and CLEP tests. College: This is a generic term for an institution of higher learning (that is, education after high school) leading to an associate or bachelor’s degree. It is also a term used to designate divisions within a university (such as the college of engineering or the college of liberal arts). College Credit: When a college grants credit for a course, that means that successful completion of the course counts toward a degree. Colleges may also grant degree credit for scores on exams. College Work-Study Programs: The program providing part-time jobs to assist students who need help to pay college costs. A maximum of 10 to 15 hours of work per week is recommended. Jobs are arranged through the school’s financial aid office. Common Application: This standard application form is accepted by all colleges that are subscribers to the Common Application Group. Applicants need to fill out the form only once (online or in print), and can then submit it to any number of the participating colleges. www.commonapp.org Consortium: A consortium is group of colleges that offer joint programs that allow students to share facilities and course offerings at member campuses. Consortiums are generally made up of neighboring schools. Cooperative Education (Co-0p): A co-op is a career-oriented degree program in which students alternate between class attendance and related employment in business, industry or government. As a result, the bachelor’s-degree program usually takes an extra year to complete. Cost of Attendance: The cost of attendance is the sum of the total amount of money spent while attending college. It includes money spent on tuition and fees, books and supplies, 45
and living expenses. The cost of attendance is compared with the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) to determine the student’s need for financial aid. CSS/Financial Aid Profile®: This is a financial aid application and service offered by the College Board and used by some colleges and private scholarship programs to award their own private financial aid funds. profileonline.collegeboard.com/index.jsp Deferment: A policy by which a college will allow you to defer your enrollment for one year if you notify them accordingly, reserve a space with a tuition deposit, and do not use the year for academic study elsewhere. Dependent Students: Those who are at least partially dependent on their parents for financial support. Parents of a dependent student must submit parental information on the FAFSA for the student to be considered for financial aid. Dependent Students: Those who are at least partially dependent on their parents for financial support. Parents of a dependent student must submit parental information on the FAFSA for the student to be considered for financial aid. Demonstrated Need: The difference between the amount of money a family is expected to pay for college (the expected family contribution, or EFC) and the total cost of attending a particular college. Early Action (EA): EA is a nonbinding program in which a student can receive an early admission decision from several colleges, but is not required to accept an admission offer before May 1. Application deadlines are usually in November or December with a mid-to-late-December notification date. Early Decision (ED): Students who apply under early decision make a commitment to enroll at the college if admitted and offered a satisfactory financial aid package. Application deadlines are usually in November or December with a mid-to-late-December notification date. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount, determined by a formula established by the U.S. Congress, a student and family are expected to contribute toward the student’s education. The EFC is used to determine student’s financial need and aid eligibility. FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the only application used by the federal government for awarding federal student financial aid. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Information is available at www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FEDAID. Hearing impaired: call 1-800-730-8913. Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program: A Federal program whereby subsidized or unsubsidized low interest loans are provided by private lenders. Federal Pell Grant: Financial assistance from the Federal government, based on the Expected Family Contribution as demonstrated on the FAFSA. Award is either paid directly to the student from the school or credited to tuition. Federal Perkins Loans: Loans funded by the Federal government and processed by the educational institution. The loans have low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time. Federal Stafford Student Loan: A loan whereby the Federal government pays the interest while the student is in school. The student assumes the responsibility for repayment of the loan six months after leaving school. 46
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Federal funds available through institutions to a limited number of undergraduate students with Grade Point Average (GPA): The GPA indicates a student’s overall academic performance. It is computed by assigning a point value to each grade. Grant: A form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Greek System: This term refers to fraternities and sororities on campus, whose names originate from letters in the Greek alphabet. Humanities: The humanities are courses focusing on human culture, including philosophy, foreign languages, religion, art, music and literature. Independent Study: This program allows a student to earn credit through self-designed course work, which is usually planned and evaluated by a faculty member Interview: Recommended but not required part of the admission process. Gives students an opportunity to exchange information with an admissions officer. Legacy: A legacy is an applicant whose parents or grandparents are graduates of the college that the student is applying to. Liberal Arts: A liberal arts course of study includes humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. Major: An area of concentration in a particular field of study. Usually students specialize in their majors during their junior and senior years at college. Minor: Students may minor in a subject different from the one they major in. They take course work that is not as extensive as that in a major, but provides some specialized knowledge of a second field. Need-Based Financial Aid: This means financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans and workstudy opportunities) that is awarded on the basis of a family’s inability to pay the full cost of attending a particular college. Need-Blind Admission: This is a policy in which colleges make admission decisions without taking into account an applicant’s financial circumstances. Colleges that subscribe to this policy do not necessarily offer aid sufficient to meet an applicant’s full need. Net Price Calculator: This is an online tool that gives students a personalized estimate of what it would cost them to attend a specific college. As of October 29, 2011, most colleges are required by law to post a net price calculator on their website: http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ Open Admission: This refers to a policy in which colleges accept any high school graduate, regardless of grades, until all spaces are filled. Almost all two-year community colleges have an open admission policy. Parent Loan to Undergraduate Students (PLUS): A loan made to parents of financially dependent undergraduate or vocational school students. The parents assume the responsibility for repaying the loan. Priority Date: This is the date by which an application, whether for admission, housing or financial aid, must be received in order to be given the strongest possible consideration. After this date, applicants are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. 47
PSAT: A test available at high schools to give students preparation for the SAT. Test score results determine National Merit Award finalists. Must be taken junior year for National Merit consideration. Quarter System: This system divides the nine-month academic calendar into three equal parts of approximately 12 weeks each. Summer sessions, if any, are usually the same length. Recommendation: Evaluations by teachers, counselors, headmasters, etc., which are an important part of the admission decision. Registrar: This is the college official who registers students and collects fees. The registrar may also be responsible for keeping permanent records, maintaining student files and forwarding copies of students’ transcripts to employers, other colleges and graduate schools. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC): ROTC combines military education with college study leading to the bachelor’s degree. For students who commit themselves to future service in the Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines, there is usually an offer of financial aid. Not all colleges offer ROTC. Residency Requirements: This is the length of time that students must spend at a college taking courses to be eligible for a diploma from that college. Some colleges also require certain students to live on campus for a specific length of time. The term also refers to time families or students must reside in a state before being considered eligible for state aid. Rolling Admission: Colleges with this type of admission procedure consider each student’s application as soon as all the required credentials have been received (e.g., high school record, test scores). The college usually notifies applicants of its decision without delay. Semester System: This system divides the academic year into two equal segments of approximately 18 weeks each. Summer sessions, if any, are shorter, but require more intensive study. Sophomore Standing: This term means that a student is being considered a sophomore for academic purposes such as registering for classes. A college may grant sophomore standing to incoming freshmen if they have enough credits from AP or IB exams. Student Aid Report (SAR): This is a report sent to families in response to their submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It indicates the expected family contribution (EFC). TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language. Required of foreign students who are overseas at the time they apply. Transcript: This is the official record of a student’s course work at a school or college. A high school transcript is generally required as part of the college application process. Transfer Program: An education program offered by a two-year college for students who plan to continue their studies at a four-year college. Transfer Student: A student who enrolls in a college after having attended another college. Trimester System: This is an academic calendar that is divided into three equal terms or trimesters. Undergraduate: A college student working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. University: An institution of higher education that is divided into several colleges, schools or institutes. When applying to a university, students typically have to apply for admission to a specific college, which may have its own admission requirements. 48
Wait List: A list of candidates who do not receive an initial offer of admission but who may be admitted later, after initial acceptances have been received by the college. Work-Study: In this federally funded program, students take campus jobs as part of their financial aid package. To participate in a work-study program, students must complete the FAFSA. Yield: This is the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll at a college.
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