Let's demystify this process. Our FAQs are a great place to start.
Question: When should my family begin the search for a college counselor?
Answer: It really depends on your specific needs. If you work closely with a college counselor beginning in Sophomore (or even Freshman) year, we can assist with course selection, testing strategies and summer planning. High school should show a progression of both academic rigor and extracurricular activities. Partnering at this early stage can prove to be beneficial in making choices that will position your student to stand out during the application process. Junior year is also an ideal time to begin working together. Starting anywhere from January through May of your teen's junior year will give you enough time to generate a plan of action for a successful result. Some students even start in the fall of senior year! This is what we call "crunch time" and we have worked with many students who have successfully navigated this process within this narrow window.
Question: What if we need help with athletic recruitment or assistance with the performing arts process?
Answer: AdmissionSavvy can provide assistance with any special circumstances in the admissions process, from athletics and the arts, to evaluations and guidance with pre-professional programs. Drawing upon an extensive network of experts and advisors, your needs will be fully met. We recognize that every situation is unique and we will ensure that your family receives the support you need to ensure a successful outcome.
What is the difference between a college and a university?
Answer: In general, colleges are smaller in enrollment and class size, and usually only offer undergraduate degree programs. The faculty at colleges often have more time to devote to developing relationships with students, since their only focuses are their teaching and research, and not other degree programs. Universities, on the other hand, often have much larger enrollment and class sizes, and offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs. This often translates into larger focus and funding on research within the student and faculty bodies. There are pro's and con's to both options, so at AdmissionSavvy, we recommend that students take the time to explore both as they are considering their ideal college experience.
Who would provide the best Letters of Recommendation?
Answer: Most importantly, high school students should ask for recommendations from junior year teachers who know them well and can speak to both their academic and interpersonal strengths. The teacher should know the student well enough to be able to comment on their activities inside and outside of the classroom, give specific anecdotes about the student's abilities and character, and be willing to identify which qualities set the student apart from others. It is also recommended that you choose to receive recommendations from both STEM and non-STEM teachers, even if your intended major choice lies with one or the other. This is to show that you are a well-rounded student who has strengths in multiple disciplines, since our world is becoming more and more interdisciplinary! Many colleges require two recommendations, but a third recommendation (typically from a person who is not a teacher) can be added if it introduces a new perspective on you and your application. This third recommendation can be from a coach, a mentor, an alumni, an art teacher, or someone else.
How should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
Answer: To ask for a recommendation, it is best to contact your recommender via email, and include the following information:
1. An introduction that describes the relationship that you have with the teacher, including length of time that you have known each other, the classes you have taken with them, projects you have worked on together (if applicable)
2. The schools on your list, why you are interested in them, and what your intended area of study is.
3. Your resume or activities list, for their reference.
4. A request for a meeting to discuss the recommendation further in person, if you think the teacher would be open to it! It is always helpful to touch base in person so the teacher has an opportunity to know you better outside of the classroom, and also to let them know if there is anything specific that you hope they will highlight in the recommendation.
These items will be really helpful to the recommender, because it gives them a lot of resources and examples to draw upon to write a more personalized recommendation to you and your qualifications for entering a college's academic and social communities.
How many colleges should I have on my list?
While the final number is up to you, we recommend applying to 10-15 colleges, with a healthy balance of target, safety, stretch, and lottery options.
What factors do colleges consider while reviewing my application?
High School Grades
Rigor of High School Curriculum
Ranking and/or GPA
Demographics (gender, race, citizenship)
Disability Status (cannot be used to deny students, but can provide context for test scores and grades)
First Generation to College
SAT II Scores
Honors and Awards
Sports Involvement (if recruiting)
Family Relationship to Institution
Early Application Submission (ED, EDII, EA, Priority)
Level of Displayed Interest in School
Campus Visit or Info Session Attendance
Portfolio (if arts, music, architecture)
Knowledge or Experience in Intended Field
Recommendations from teachers and counselors