We are so excited for our seniors! They may not be ending high school as planned, but they all have so much to look forward to.
Here is a list of where our seniors are enrolled for next year. From small liberal arts colleges to big state schools, California to Maine, Midwestern towns to Manhattan, Engineering to English majors -- our seniors are headed off for some amazing experiences!
This week, several more schools have announced test-optional policies for next year (and in some cases, beyond). Here are some of the new announcements:
Updates from Colleges
Admissions offices have begun answering questions and offering reassurance about the admissions process. Here are a few good examples:
Several schools have announced this week that they will be test optional for the Class of 2021 (and in some cases beyond that). We expect that this trend may continue given all of the SAT and ACT cancellations and the uncertainty about June test dates. MIT has made the decision to no longer consider the SAT Subject Tests
AP and IB Exams
Beginning this week, the College Board is providing free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. You can find more information and a detailed schedule here.
May 2020 IB exams have been canceled
In the News
What to do NOW from Home
Here are some lists we found online with suggestions of ways to make good use of your time at home. When admissions officers review applications next year, do you think they will be more impressed by the student who spent his quarantine time watching Netflix, or the aspiring elementary school teacher who created a YouTube channel of himself teaching introductory cooking lessons to kids or the future engineer who took an online course about how bridges are built...and then built her own out of household materials?
Teen Volunteering Ideas while Sheltering in Place (created by a counselor in CA)
40 Resume-worthy Activities You Can Do From Your Living Room Sofa (created by the Mauler Institute)
Advice from Jeff Schiffman at Tulane (scroll to “I’m a junior in high school and all of my spring extracurricular activities have been canceled”)
How to College (Social) Distance Learning Series for high school students (and any interested parents and educators). Presented on Instagram Live by Lara Schwartz and Andrea Malkin Brenner from American University, co-authors of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)
We are carefully following the news and want to keep you updated on relevant changes in the college admissions world. And while we may be stuck at home, we’ve been busy participating in webinars and Zoom calls this week with other counselors and with experts including Jeff Schiffman (Director of Admission,Tulane University), Larry Alterman (Manager of East Coast Recruitment, Michigan State University), and Meredith Lombardi (Associate Director, Outreach and Education at The Common Application).
In the News:
I recently spent an afternoon at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. FSC is a small, private college of roughly 2,600 undergraduate students. The school offers more than seventy areas of study, from traditional liberal arts disciplines such as history and philosophy to pre-professional programs, including business, nursing and education. Want to study citrus science? FSC may be the place for you.
Florida Southern was founded in 1883 and is the oldest private college in Florida. Most college guides rank its campus as one of the most beautiful in the country. The campus sits adjacent to Lake Hollingsworth and features 13 buildings designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, In fact, FSC boasts the largest single-site collection of Wright-designed buildings in the country. Florida Southern's campus also includes a number of contemporary buildings that are unusually striking. I've been to hundreds of beautiful colleges over the years, but the FSC campus is in a class by itself.
The small city of Lakeland is halfway between Orlando and Tampa and is just a short ride from campus. Lakeland has a number of restaurants, from Indian-Pakistani to Creole. Lakeland's historic Polk Theater shows both current and classic movies. While I was in town, 2020 Oscar winner Parasite was playing at The Polk.
Reasons to attend Florida Southern College
With only 13,000 undergraduates and a public school price tag, Binghamton University has a lot to offer out-of-state students. Annie and Laura visited campus last week and were impressed by the engaged faculty invested in student success, strong STEM programs and facilities, a vibrant Jewish community, and the opportunity to conduct research as a freshman. As part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, students have access to a myriad of study abroad programs and other resources while also enjoying the community feel of a mid-sized student body.
Here are 9 more reasons you should consider Binghamton University:
Laura is currently serving as the interim pre-law adviser at Georgetown University's Cawley Career Education Center. Her article, "Top 3 Myths Your High School Clients Believe About Law School," was recently featured in the Independent Educational Consultants Association Newsletter. Common misconceptions about law school include:
You researched colleges, you visited campuses, you agonized over your choices and finally narrowed it down to your one chosen favorite – the lucky winner of your Early Decision (ED) application. After submitting the application in early November, you moved on – there were other applications to complete, midterms to take, and Thanksgiving break plans. But all of the sudden it is now December! You could actually hear back as early as next week from some schools (though most schools will notify applicants more towards the middle of the month).
How can you stay calm while waiting for what feels like the most important decision of your life?
Focus on the great schools you have already been accepted to. This time last year, one of our clients applying ED to Cornell had already received a generous scholarship to Tulane University. Another had been accepted to the Honors program at the University of Pittsburgh. A client who applied Early Decision to Bates College had been offered a substantial merit award from Clark University, and a student applying ED to Tufts was excited to have already been offered a spot at his dad’s alma mater, Indiana University. We encourage all of our clients to apply to at least one school with rolling decisions or early notification. That first acceptance does wonders for students’ stress levels!
Stay off of social media. If your school is one of the later ones to release decisions, or if you didn’t get the news you were hoping for, do you really want to see pictures of your friend Johnny sporting all of his new Duke gear?
Make sure all of your other applications are in. I know it is tempting to let your regular decision applications sit – after all, they aren’t due until January, and you may get good news from your Early Decision school in mid-December. But what if you don’t? Then you’re in a bad mood, it is Winter Break, and you’re doing a sloppy rushed job on your remaining applications instead of enjoying the holidays. Plus Murphy’s Law says that if you invest a lot of time on the other applications, you’ll end up getting into your Early Decision school, right? And at that point, you’ll be so happy you won’t care about the wasted time or application fees.
Focus on your grades. Senior grades matter. A LOT. Particularly for regular decision schools, and any Early Decision or Early Action schools where you are deferred to the regular pool. These schools will all be waiting for your fall transcript, and these are the grades that tell them the most about the student you will be when you get to their campus. And if you are admitted Early Decision or Early Action, schools will still want to see your final transcript before you officially enroll. Last year I had a client who was questioned about her dramatic drop in grades second semester, and she had a rocky 48 hours in June where she wasn’t sure if the school was going to revoke her acceptance.
Spend time with your family and friends. After all, in about nine months, you’ll be moving away – possibly to the next town, or possibly across the country. Cherish the time you have with your family and friends while you can. Have your mom teach you how to do laundry and boil and egg.
Remember that there is more than one “perfect” school. You have a variety of schools on your list for a reason. They all have something to offer and if you put together a thoughtful list then they should all be schools where you know you can be happy and successful. Every one of my clients who did not get in to his or her ED school has ultimately been excited about his or her options.
Continue doing the things you love. Hopefully all of those activities weren’t just for college applications. So keep volunteering at the soup kitchen, training for the half-marathon, or teaching kids to play piano. Hobbies are one of the best ways to relieve stress. I hear that some people find baking brownies to be very calming – if this is you, I can send you my address!
Good luck making it through the waiting game of the next several weeks and/or months. For two great New York Times articles on coping with the stress of college admissions decisions, check out: College Advice for the Cost of a Single Post-it Noteand How to Survive the College Admissions Madness. And just remember Frank Bruni’s sage advice in his best-selling book title, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.”
Denison is a liberal arts college in Granville, Ohio with about 2,300 undergraduate students. Currently two former Vinik EPS clients are happily attending – one is a freshman studying Political Science and the other is a junior studying Exercise Science. Today Annie and Laura met with Ryan Motevalli-Oliner, a Senior Assistant Director of Admission, and we learned about several exciting new updates.
THREE new majors
TWO new academic concentrations
ONE new performing arts building
The Michael D. Eisner Performing Arts Building is scheduled to open in early 2019 and will provide a new home for the Departments of Music, Dance, and Theatre. Michael Eisner was a member of the Denison University Class of 1964.
We enjoyed our visit yesterday to Juniata College in the small town of Huntingdon, PA. Juniata is about 3.5 hours from Washington, DC and is located halfway between Altoona, PA and State College, PA. With about 1,600 undergraduates, Juniata offers a close-knit community at a liberal arts college known as one of the "Colleges that Change Lives" (www.ctcl.org). Here are some pictures from our visit and some interesting facts we learned after a campus tour and a meeting with our local admissions representative, Steven Simons.
If you are looking for a small liberal arts experience and don't mind the rural location, consider adding Juniata to your list!