Monday, June 10, 2019

Understanding College “Yield” Can Have Big Rewards

Virginia Tech, a highly regarded university most popular for its engineering programs, did an amazing job this year of successfully identifying which applicants would enroll if accepted.  It did too good of a job, in fact.  Virginia Tech is experiencing a historically high “yield rate” – which is the percent of accepted students who actually enroll.   About 8,000 students accepted offers to enroll for the fall of 2019 while the university was targeting an enrollment between 6,600 and 6,700 students. 

Virginia Tech addressed the situation by sending an email to the accepted students last week offering financial incentives to those who would agree to postpone their enrollment date.  It offered funding for community college classes, internships, gap years, and summer sessions at Virginia Tech to accepted students who would delay their arrival on campus by a semester or a year.

Monday, June 3, 2019

College Job Can Result in Long Term Financial Gain

Students who work during their college years earn, on average, $20,000 more each year for their first 15 years after graduation than do students who did not hold a job while attending college. That’s the findings of a study recently published by the Education and Employment Research Center at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.  It reportedly didn’t matter whether the student had worked part time or full time.  

There are several reasons for the wage premium, according to the report.  Some employers value on-the-job experience more than a student’s major or GPA. Also, a job in college can provide students with valuable references and networking connections.  And students who learn early to successfully balance academic and work responsibilities often have valuable time management skills to bring to their professional career.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Six Strategies for Filing Successful Applications

(Part 2 of Column Series)

In last week’s column, the first three strategies were enumerated on how to construct impressive college applications.  The advice was to write an impressive essay, personalize each application, and be sure to cover the basics (such as a solid GPA and notable SAT scores).  This week’s column continues with three additional strategies for increasing the likelihood of getting a “You’re Accepted” letter or email from your colleges of choice.

4) Start constructing a resume early in your high school years so you will have time to fill in the gaps that become evident when you put your life experiences in writing.  You’ll want to be sure to have a category for volunteer work.  Colleges offer limitless opportunities for students to engage in volunteer work, and they know that students who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to helping others during their high school years are much more likely to be altruists during their college years. It’s also ideal to have a “passion project” to highlight on your resume.  Have you launched a business, initiated a profitable charitable drive, written and published a book, hosted an art exhibition, or developed an impressive skill or talent?  Colleges are seeking a well-rounded student body comprised of students who have varying attributes.  Students who develop an impressive resume over the course of their high school years have a powerful tool to include on their college applications.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Six Strategies for Filing Successful Applications

(Part 1 of 2 Column Series)

It’s not a secret that it takes considerable time and effort to compose effective college applications, so there’s no better time than the present for college bound students to embark on the journey. Here are some tips to get started:

1) Write an impressive essay.  Most students start out with the Common Application, which is accepted by more than 700 colleges.  It requires one essay (that can be used for all of the college applications) between 250-650 words.  Students need to think of something they want to share with the college admission people that wouldn’t otherwise come across in their application.  The goal of an effective college essay is to show insight into one’s admirable character, a sense of direction for the future, and a thirst for knowledge and opportunities in the next stage of life. It has already been announced that the Common Application questions for 2019-20 will be the exact same as those offered for the current year.  So students can get to work early, writing and fine-tuning an essay that they are proud of.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Any Student Can Study with a Princeton Professor

Students who dream of taking courses with professors from the most elite universities around the world can make their dreams come true – at no cost.  The most prestigious universities in our country -- including M.I.T., Georgetown, University of Chicago, Notre Dame, and every Ivy League institution -- offer online courses for free.  So, too, do many prominent international institutions including the Sorbonne in France, Oxford in England, and the University of Hong Kong.

Two of the most notable sites for online education are edX and Coursera.  Seven years ago, was founded by Harvard University and M.I.T. as an online learning destination to offer high-quality courses from the world’s top universities. It now offers more than 1,300 courses, offered for free, and has students from every country in the world. Those seeking a certificate (to boost college applications or resumes) are charged a fee ranging from $40 to $160.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Still Time to Apply to College for Fall of 2019

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) releases a list, in early May of each year, of colleges that still have room for students seeking admission for the upcoming fall semester. May 1st is the national response deadline for most colleges in the U.S.  By that date, students must choose the college they will be attending in the fall and send in a deposit to reserve their seat (and room and board, if they are planning to live on campus).  Since most students apply to a multitude of colleges, it’s impossible for colleges to know for sure how many students will actually enroll until the reply deadline rolls around.  After May 1st, colleges that have not met their target enrollment are anxious to accept additional students in order to bring in the tuition money necessary to keep on budget. 

Often, even well-qualified students are not accepted to the colleges of their dreams.  Other times, students change their minds.  As the time to leave home for college approaches, students sometimes wish they had chosen a school closer to home.  For these reasons, and others (basic procrastination!), students may find themselves approaching high school graduation without a plan for the fall.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Summer is Ideal Time for Student Volunteerism

Volunteerism is alive and well among young people in New Jersey, which comes in very handy when it’s time to apply for college admission.  Students who have not yet become engaged in “giving back” have a perfect opportunity this summer to find an activity that suits their interests and provides a needed service. 

The Jersey Cares website features activities to suit almost any personality.  For example, “Earth Keepers” is seeking volunteers at Island Beach State Park, the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, and Liberty State Park. “NJ Seeds” offers tutoring opportunities in Martinsville, Madison, Livingston, West Orange and Morristown. Pet therapy volunteers are in need at “Care One” in Hamilton Township, Morristown, Hanover, and Wayne.

Students’ commitment to volunteerism is not only good for their communities, but it is also a great boost to their college applications.  Although SAT scores and G.P.A. are still the two most important criteria impacting college acceptances and scholarship awards, community service is of growing importance.