Month: August 2011

Welcome Class of 2015!

Welcome Class of 2015!

New Student Convocation is an annual Loyola tradition where incoming freshmen are formally welcomed as a part of the Loyola community. This past Friday afternoon, students, faculty, and staff gathered at the East Quad right in front of the Information Commons. Music played as students showed their excitement for the start of the academic year and enjoyed meeting new friends, while faculty and staff celebrated along with them.

I love this moment. It is so exciting to see many of the familiar faces that my staff and I have come to know over the course of the past year of campus visits and open houses. Now, these students are back on campus as freshmen starting their four-year journey, beginning with an exciting Welcome Week of activities.

I had the privilege of kicking things off at the New Student Convocation by sharing some information about the diversity of the class. Students in the Class of 2015 come from 41 states and 18 foreign countries. They have earned impressive academic achievements, with a 3.7 average GPA and average ACT score of 27. I recognized students for their contributions of service and leadership in hopes that they continue down the same path at Loyola. Students then heard from Dr. Rob Kelly, our Vice President of Student Development, and our Unified Student Government President, Mr. Sean Vera. Soon after the initial welcoming speeches, we transitioned into a ceremonial walk across campus where students were cheered on by many Loyola faculty and staff members. Back on the lawn of the East Quad, students heard from our Provost, Dr. John Pelissero, and our President, Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.

The highlight of the New Student Convocation is the guest speaker, who is the author of the shared First-Year Text, which all new students read over the summer before arriving on campus. This year’s speaker was Dr. Colin Beaven, whose book, No Impact Man, was discussed later in small break-out groups with faculty and students over dinner. Colin challenged the students to think about what their individual talents and passions are and how they can contribute to making society better. He asked them to think about all the ways they are alike instead of different. It certainly coincides with our Jesuit identity.

With today being the first day of classes at Loyola, things well are underway for the Class of 2015. Good luck!

Meeting College Admission Deadlines

Meeting College Admission Deadlines

With the start of senior year comes the discussion about where students will apply to college and when they should apply. Prior to knocking on the college counselor’s door, I would like to offer a little bit of background on how deadlines work at the majority of colleges and universities within the U.S. This information is clearly outlined by sources like the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

There are essentially five types of college admission decision plans.

  1. Early Decision (ED): Many seniors probably jump at the mention of Early Decision. Yes, many schools with this process will have deadlines set in October with students hearing typically by mid-December. Under ED, a student makes a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, the student will enroll. Students complete one ED application only. Students can certainly apply to other schools while the ED application process is still pending but note, some schools may restrict an applicant from applying via another “early admission” program. (Schools are asked to be up-front about their policy.)

    If offered ED admission, a student will typically see what financial aid is available very soon after they are admitted. Commitments are required well in advance of the May 1 deadline and students can be released from this contract only if their financial aid does not secure attendance. In such cases, the student can ask to be released from the ED commitment. One piece of advice on ED—BE CERTAIN that this is the #1 best fit/top choice school for you and that you absolutely plan to go there if you are admitted.

  2. Restrictive Early Action (REA): This plan allows a student to apply early to an institution and hear about admission much earlier. The institutions participating place restrictions on applicants, as they are not allowed to apply to other early admission programs. The key here is that students are not obligated to attend this institution or make a deposit prior to May 1.
  3. Early Action (EA): This plan allows students to apply much earlier than the institution’s regular deadline, so they hear about a decision much earlier. It is non-binding and the student does not have to accept the offer of admission or make a deposit by May 1. Students can also apply to multiple other colleges if they choose to apply to an EA school.
  4. Rolling Admission: This plan allows students to submit application materials and have their file reviewed on a rolling basis, which can average anywhere between 3–6 weeks for most institutions. Students may apply to any other schools and they don’t have to accept the admission offer or make a deposit prior to May 1.

    *Note that sometimes Rolling Admission schools set priority deadlines—much like if a student is applying to Loyola. Students are asked to apply by December 1 as it takes 4–6 weeks for a completed file to be reviewed. This deadline is important as students not only hear about admission but also because merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission. Similarly, students put themselves in the best position for additional scholarship consideration.

  5. Regular Decision: This plan allows a student to submit an application by a specified date with the response following within a set timeframe clearly established by the institution. There are no restrictions with students applying to other schools under Regular Decision. Students may see that they need to apply by January 1 to receive notification by April 1.

Students: as you prepare to meet college admission deadlines, set a plan of action and get organized. Set aside some time to think about and explore the individual Web sites of the colleges that you may want to apply to for any of the early plans. These are the schools you want to make sure your college counselor knows you are considering so all deadlines are met. Add to the discussion any of the other colleges that you may be considering and look at those deadlines as well.

Remember that many schools still expect that you will be applying this fall and submitting the required materials. And be sure to follow through—you never know which school might come out as your #1 choice!

College Interview Preparation

College Interview Preparation

Interviews can be a stressful part of the college admission process. Some universities require the interview as part of your admission, while some require an interview for certain scholarships. Still other universities use the interview as an opportunity to get to know a student and his or her interests better.

Whether the interview is conducted on campus, at your high school, or in a nearby town, it should be an equal exchange of information between you and the admission representative. You have the opportunity to present personal qualities that may not initially stand out in your application. You also have the chance to learn more about the university or college to see if this might be your “best fit” choice.

As you prepare, it is pretty easy to think of questions that may be asked of you. Then again, some of them might be things you haven’t thought about. But rest assured, they are not trick questions. The idea is to foster a conversation so that the university representative can learn more about you and your interests. Here are some sample questions:

  • What factors are most important to you in your college selection process?
  • Given those factors, why are you interested in University X?
  • How would others describe you? Your teachers? Your peers?
  • What is your favorite book/film? Why?
  • What are you interested in studying and why? Who or what influenced you to explore this area(s)?
  • What activities are you involved with in your school or community?
  • Do you have a leadership role? Do you plan to continue any of these in college? Beyond college?
  • Given the years spent in high school, can you point to one experience that changed you? How were you transformed?
  • When you graduate from University X, other than your degree, what is important for you to take away from the college experience?

Again, these are just a few examples. Remember that you should prepare your own questions too. Here are a few ideas:

  • What are the hot topics on campus?
  • What is the make-up of the student body?
  • What majors are most popular/least popular?
  • How has the type of student enrolling at University X changed in the past five years?
  • What do you offer freshmen to help make the transition to college?
  • What do your graduates tend to do immediately following graduation?
  • Is this a commuter campus where students go home on the weekends?
  • What clubs/organizations are popular?
  • Are there any special traditions?
  • Why is this school a good match for me?

Good luck!

Secrets to Successful Campus Visits…Part II

Secrets to Successful Campus Visits…Part II

I promised a follow-up to last week’s entry about what makes the actual campus visit successful. But before we go any further, keep in mind that in order to have a good visit, it has to be “successful” for the prospective student and the university. I say this because college selection is a two-way street. Other than applying to the college or university of your choice and being admitted, the campus visit is the best way for all parties to gauge if a particular school is “a good fit” for you.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you prepare for a truly successful campus visit.

Top Five Tips for Success in Visiting a College Campus:

  1. Be on time. This is essential. Of course, there are things that happen unexpectedly, and admission counselors will understand if you have to call and cancel. But what I am really referring to is making sure that you do your homework before your visit. Ask yourself these questions ahead of time to help ensure that you arrive on time.

    -How far is the campus, in traffic, from where you are staying?
    -Where will you park?
    -Are you going to take a train or bus? If so, do they run on time for the most part?

    Show up 10–15 minutes ahead of schedule so the staff can check you in for your appointments and make sure you get the appropriate materials for review. You might also have the chance to mingle with students and admission staff prior to your campus tour or information session. Universities work with numerous visiting students and we are excited to do so, but we also work within the guidelines of a current student’s academic schedule and the changing of classes. Tours must leave and return on time to make it work for you and for any other appointments you may have scheduled.

  2. Come prepared. So, you’ve scheduled your visit and you’re ready to meet with an Admission Counselor, but you don’t have any questions. Are you sure? If you have done your research and have an idea of what you are looking for in a college experience, be prepared to ask questions about things that are important to you (i.e. major offerings, size of classes, faculty interaction, school spirit, outcomes).
  3. Be courteous. You will most likely have different types of interactions on different campuses, whether you schedule an interview, meet with a faculty member, attend an information session, go on a campus tour, etc. Ensure you pay attention and respect anyone you may be meeting with at the time. Stop texting. Turn off your cell phone. Try to avoid side conversations when sitting through a presentation.
  4. Engage those around you. Prepare to talk with people outside of the presentation and/or interview. Tour guides are usually current students. See what they think about activities, Greek life, or the neighborhood. Try to work in an on-campus lunch to sample the food in the dining hall. Listen to the conversations taking place and see if you think you “fit” in the student body. Do you feel comfortable? Are there current students you can talk to about why they chose the school and what they think now? Do you know someone from your high school who attends? Chat with a faculty member if you had the chance to sit in on a class. Ask a staff member what he or she thinks about the community feel on campus.

    Everyone you see is a part of the community you are considering. Their opinions should matter to you.

  5. Provide feedback. If the Admission Office asks you to fill out an evaluation about the tour, the tour guide, or the information session, please do so. Your opinion and insights really help us to improve and/or change a process. If someone was very helpful during your visit, share their name. Universities know it takes everyone in the community to assist with a campus visit, so we do like to thank individuals and recognize those who might be able to assist future visitors.

    Also, take a few minutes and jot down some notes for yourself. What will you remember? What stood out? Will you apply? What is important feedback to give your parents at this time?