Last-minute college decision tips
RELEASED: April 13, 2006
[Note: With the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date a few short weeks away, we thought we'd share the insights of Emma Rankin, a Centre College admission counselor and a 2003 graduate of the College, about the important issues and questions to consider in these crucial last few weeks before "The Date."]
Dear prospective student :
"April" in college admission-speak translates to "college decision time!"
After many months of contemplation and evaluation, everything now comes together: all the research and comparisons, visits, conversations --with admissions counselors, guidance counselors, parents and friends--as well as the awarding of scholarships.
By now, all prospective students know what it will actually cost to attend each of the schools where they've been admitted. For some, your decisions are made and colleges await your arrival this fall. Congratulations. For many others, decisions are nearly made as May 1st, The National Candidates Reply Date, quickly approaches. Certainly this is an exciting and important few weeks, for college admission offices and high school seniors alike.
As "The Date" approaches, colleges expect that applicants have completed the steps necessary to making the decision. Visiting colleges, meeting with admission folks, speaking with students, walking across campus, attending classes, staying overnight and envisioning yourself as a student--all of that is very important. If there's still a school you haven't yet visited, there's still time to do so. Typically, admissions offices will accommodate a last minute request--so schedule that visit right away.
Another helpful way to get an insider's perspective is to contact an enrolled student, whether it's someone you know personally or someone you're connected with through an admission office. Write or call the enrolled student with whatever questions and concerns you many have.
Key questions include:
- How will the career center help me prepare for internships and future job opportunities?
- What is the acceptance rate for graduates who go on to graduate, medical and law schools?
- What tutoring is available?
- Will I need a computer and what technology is available on campus?
- What class size and individual attention can I expect?
- What are my extracurricular involvement opportunities?
- What about athletics? Intramurals?
- What are my fine arts opportunities?
- What is the atmosphere on campus?
- What are the faculty like?
- Will all of my classes be taught by professors?
The Centre Admission Office is excited and engaged by enthused communication with our admitted students. We're in the process of receiving our returned Candidates' Reply Forms--whether they indicate your commitment to attend Centre or that you've decided to attend college elsewhere. We congratulate all students who know where they will be this fall.
For our admitted applicants who haven't decided, a great part of our decision deadline efforts are emails and phone calls with students who ask for advice and guidance with coming to a final decision. An example of such correspondence, "Hi, I'm considering coming to Centre College next year and as I continue to try and figure out where I want to go, I was wondering if you have any words of wisdom about how I should go about deciding where I want to go. It would be really helpful."
My reply, "As an admission counselor, my words of wisdom about your college decision are simple and come from my own personal experience and observations of Centre applicants. Go to the school where you feel most at home, where you feel the professors, staff and fellow students will take a genuine interest in you as an individual, and where you feel you will gain future success from your educational investment. Go where you imagine you will succeed academically while maintaining a balance of your intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical aspirations. Strongly consider applying for financial aid. Remember that the benefit of investing in a quality undergraduate education continues long after you have received your diploma."
As what are my words of wisdom about my own college decision? "I was most attracted to the academics and close community at Centre. This college offers exceptional opportunities for involvement, personal growth and leadership. My experience and that of my peers at Centre was engaging and positive. As we move on to further education and careers, we're thankful for the many great people from this place--fellow students and professors alike--and know that we have benefited immeasurably from our four years at Centre."
Choosing a college is a major life decision. It's very important to consider the various expectations and goals of these four years. There's no formula to indicate the perfect college fit for everyone. Ultimately, trusting your instincts and feelings will likely ensure a college choice that will best fulfill personal, academic, social, and professional goals--and help you achieve a healthy and happy four years of college.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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Danville, KY 40422
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