Applying To College

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Interviews with College Admissions Counselors: University of Bridgeport

university of bridgeport purple knights logo

Welcome to an Ongoing Series on College Admissions

If you’re starting the college admissions process you’ve probably discovered that it’s not always easy to find answers to your college admissions questions. That’s why I created a place where you can hear directly from college admission counselors about applying to college, interviewing for college, college application essay writing, and financial aid.

I developed these questions with help from families who’ve recently been through the college admissions process. Because each school answers the same set of questions, you can compare what they say.

I hope you find this a valuable resource for college admissions information. Who knows? You might even find yourself considering options you hadn’t thought of before.

University of Bridgeport admission information

With the introduction out of the way, let’s find out about the University of Bridgeport.

Originally founded in 1927 as a junior college, University of Bridgeport ranks as the 10th most racially diverse university in the nation. UB is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. According to the school’s website, the university offers career-oriented programs for motivated students who seek personal growth and professional success. For the fall 2010 semester, UB accepted 3300 students and 572 of those students enrolled.

Facts at a Glance:

  • 2,000+ undergraduates
  • Rolling admissions
  • Tuition: $24,300, Room and Board: $11,400 (2011)
  • Average SAT score: 1000 (Math and Verbal)
  • Average GPA: 2.8
  • 50% live on campus
  • 96% receive financial aid
  • 80% go on to get their masters
  • 98% find jobs before they graduate

ADMISSIONS QUESTIONS

Gretchen Camp, Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, answered the following questions during a recent interview:

Q. What percentage of applicants do you admit?

A: The University of Bridgeport accepts approximately 60% of our applicants.

Q: Does UB use its own application?

A: Yes, we have an application that’s specific to the University of Bridgeport. We are not members of the Common Application.

Applying

Q: Does applying early decision/action improve a student’s chances for admission?

A: UB operates on rolling admissions, which means that we accept applications all throughout the year. I wouldn’t necessarily say that a student has a greater chance of being admitted if they apply early on in their senior year, but it definitely makes that student stand out because they are demonstrating a strong interest in UB. Applying early also gives a student more time to build a relationship with their admissions counselor, which I believe is an important piece of the overall admissions experience.

Q: How important are extracurricular activities in admissions decisions?

A: A student’s involvement in extracurricular activities is very important. When reviewing an application, it is great to see that a student has been involved in extracurricular activities because it indicates that they have a grasp on time management and are willing to be a part of something greater than themselves.

Q: How important is taking advanced, accelerated, or honors courses?

A: When reviewing a high school transcript, it is encouraging to see these courses because it indicates that a student has chosen to challenge him or herself. It will not hurt a student if they have not chosen to take these classes because in many cases, a college preparatory or general level class is challenging for a student. We also recognize that some high schools do not offer as many advanced, accelerated, or honors courses as other high schools do, and so that is taken into consideration as well.

Q: Which teachers should write a recommendation?

A: If a student chooses to submit a letter (or letters) of recommendation, it is helpful to read letters from a guidance counselor and/or teacher who knows the student well and who can speak to the student’s character. A student should consider requesting a letter of recommendation from a high school instructor who teaches a subject that the student is interested in studying at UB. For example, if a student is applying for Health Sciences or Computer Engineering, a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher would be beneficial. A student who is interested in our Music program may want to ask their music teacher or band conductor to write a letter of recommendation.

Q: Do you look for what is not said in a recommendation?

A: If a letter of recommendation seems vague or is extremely short, two thoughts generally go through my head. 1) The person writing this letter of recommendation does not know the applicant very well and/or 2) There may be something that the counselor or teacher is omitting. In a few cases, I have had additional questions and have called a counselor to collect more information about an applicant.

Q: Is the quality of an applicant’s high school taken into consideration?

A: The quality of an applicant’s high school is taken into consideration, but it is what a student does within their school environment that really counts. We understand that a student may have different opportunities at a private high school versus a technical high school, and at a public school versus a magnet school.

Q: What is the relative importance of grades versus board scores?

A:  A student’s grades and standardized test scores are weighed equally when making an admissions decision. Both are also taken into consideration when a student is being evaluated for a merit scholarship. However, I understand that not all students are strong test takers because I have never been a great test taker myself. In almost all cases though, I believe that a student’s grades are a stronger indication of the type of student that they are and of the potential that they have at the college level.

Q: There’s been controversy about using tests like the SAT and ACT in the admissions process. Where does your school stand?

A: At this point in time, UB is not test-optional. However, the idea of becoming test-optional is being considered and thoroughly researched. We do understand that a test score is not always the best indicator of the type of work that a student is capable of doing, and this is why the possibility of becoming test-optional is currently being discussed.

Q: Should a student discuss or explain a poor grade or marking period(s)? If so, when?

A: If one of my students has had a difficult time in a particular class or during a specific marking period, I encourage them to make a note of it in either their personal statement or on a separate piece of paper in their application packet. Because our admissions decision is focused heavily a students’ academic history, it is very important that a student disclose information regarding a low mark (or marks.) For example, I once noticed that a student of mine had missed quite a few days of school during a school year and had struggled in several classes. I reached out to her and discovered that she had lost a close family member that school year and therefore, her grades were affected negatively. She was ultimately accepted to the university.

Interviewing

Q: Does your school offer interviews with admissions counselors? If not, why?

A: We absolutely encourage our applicants to make an appointment with their admissions counselor – not necessarily for an interview, but to sit down and allow an admissions counselor to get to know them a bit more. It’s really great to put a name with a face! In some cases, an applicant is notified that they must schedule an interview – this generally occurs when we would like to collect more information from an applicant before making an admissions decision.

Essay Writing

Q: What qualities do you look for in a well-written essay?

A: While UB doesn’t require that a student submit an essay, we strongly recommend that a student consider doing so. It is the perfect opportunity for a student to display his or herself in the best light possible and to highlight strengths and justify weaknesses (if necessary). It also gives a student the chance to tell us a story, or to describe why they feel that they are a great fit for UB. Ultimately, an essay must be well-written and well-structured. First impressions are everything and I can’t stress enough how important it is to proof-read an essay before submitting it.

Q: Is there a type of essay you would recommend against?

A: I think that it is really important that a student understands who their audience is. I give students a lot of credit for putting themselves out there and for sharing details of their lives that they may not have shared with anyone prior to writing their essay. However, there is a fine line between sharing just the right amount of information and sharing too much information. What a student talks about casually with friends is not always appropriate to share with an admissions counselor. It is important to find a balance.

Q: Can an essay make or break an admission? Please give an example.

A: In some cases, an essay can most certainly make or break an admissions decision. In a specific case, an applicant had a solid GPA and SAT scores, but her qualifications were a bit below what we were looking for in regards to Biology. She wrote a terrific essay about her childhood in Africa, her difficult transition to the United States, and how her experiences in Africa had led her to choose Biology (Pre-Med) as a major. Her essay was very well-written, it told a great story, and there was not a single grammatical error. I recommended her for admission (in part due to her essay) and she was admitted because she not only had acceptable academic qualifications, but she had also demonstrated incredible writing skills. I believe that she would have been referred to a different program had she not submitted that engaging essay.

Financial Aid

Q: How has the recession affected the admissions process and the availability of financial aid?

A: At this point in time, the recession has not affected the admissions process or availability of financial aid. UB had a very successful 2010 enrollment year and we enrolled one of the largest classes in recent history! UB was not only able to increase our merit scholarships, but our average financial aid package has also increased from $22,000/year to $25,000 per year. Roughly 96% of our students receive some type of financial aid. Currently, we are waiting on the Federal Government to make some important decisions that may or may not affect financial aid availability to students nationwide.

Q: What part of the admissions process is most misunderstood?

A: I think that the financial aid aspect of the admissions process is misunderstood often. That is why is so important for students and parents to educate themselves about Financial Aid and the options available to them. Many students and parents are confused about the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) – this is calculated after a student submits their FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) and many times a student’s EFC is 0. When an EFC is 0, many people assume that there will be no out-of-pocket expenses, but this is not the case. Oftentimes, a student (or parent) may need to take out federal or private loans to help cover the total cost of attendance. Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to do your homework when it comes to Financial Aid.

Finally…

Q: How can people connect with your school and your students?

A: There are several ways that interested students can connect with UB and its students. Last year, we updated our website, www.bridgeport.edu and it is full of detailed information pertaining to UB. We are on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UBridgeportAdmissions and on Zinch at http://www.zinch.com/college/bridgeport. Our Twitter page is located at http://twitter.com/UB_Admissions and we have some great videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/uofbridgeport.

Q: Please add a question (or two) specific to your school.
Question: Is your campus safe?

A: UB is located in Connecticut’s largest city, so maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff is UB’s top priority. There are security officers available to our students, faculty, and staff 24/7. Our campus is very safe and UB has won awards (i.e. the prestigious Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award) for having outstanding and innovative security measures in place.

Question: What do I do if I am not sure what to major in?
A: UB has over 50 majors that students are able to choose from. If a high school senior is still not sure what they would like to major in, they have the option to indicate on their application that they are still deciding. Many of our undecided students choose a major within their first year of study at UB.

To Contact Bridgeport University:

126 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
1-800-EXCEL-UB (392-3582)
www.bridgeport.edu

other posts in this series:
Housatonic Community College
Ithaca College
Quinnipiac University
Sacred Heart University
University of Connecticut

Sharon Epstein, FIrst Impressions College Consulting..Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting
Need help? I work with students everywhere: in-person, over the phone, and by computer. Visit my website for more info.
Connect with Me:

follow Sharon Epstein on Twitterfollow Sharon Epstein on pinterest


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Interviews with College Admissions Counselors: Sacred Heart University

sacred heart pioneers

Updated July 23, 2012

Welcome to an Ongoing Series on College Admissions

If you’re starting the college admissions process you’ve probably discovered that it’s not always easy to find answers to your college admissions questions. That’s why I created a place where you can hear directly from the college admission counselors themselves about applying to college, college interviews, college application essay writing, and financial aid.

I developed these questions with help from families who’ve recently been through the college admissions process. Because each school answers the same questions, you’ll be able to compare the information with other schools.

I hope this will be an excellent resource for anyone looking for college admissions information. Who knows? You might even find yourself considering options you hadn’t thought of before.


With the introduction out of the way, let’s find out about Sacred Heart University.

Sacred Heart University, founded in 1963 and located in Fairfield, Connecticut, is a private, co-educational Catholic university providing men and women with a comprehensive, hands-on education rooted in the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual tradition.

The university offers 45 degree programs and is listed in The Princeton Review’s 2011 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 373 Colleges.”

Fall 2009 enrollment
3,534 full-time undergraduates
658 part time undergraduates
1,871 graduate students

ADMISSIONS QUESTIONS

Ken Higgins, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, answered the following questions during a recent phone interview:

Q: What percentage of applicants does Sacred Heart admit?

A: Traditionally we offer acceptance to around 62% of all of our applicants.

Q: Does Sacred Heart have a specific mission?

A: We’re a private Catholic university but we belong to no particular order. We have our foundations in the Catholic intellectual tradition where the goal is to be educated in the liberal arts, to grow as a student and to be the best prepared for entering the work world. We’re looking for a student who is willing to grow intellectually and challenge themselves.

Applying

Q: Does applying early decision/action improve a student’s chances for admission?

A:  It does only in the sense that we’re looking for students who want to be here, and the early decision tool is a way for a student to express their high level of interest. We don’t discount the scores or the GPA, but it is something that we take into consideration when reviewing that pool of applicants.

Q: How important are extracurricular activities in admissions decisions?

A: Extracurricular activities are extremely important. We have a very active, very engaged student body. For applicants it also shows us that they have some idea of time management, which is crucial at a place like Sacred Heart. To be able to manage your time well is something that’s very, very important to us.

Q: How important is taking advanced, accelerated, or honors courses?

A: When we’re choosing in the selection process it’s helpful to see those courses. I don’t think it’s going to hurt a student to have only taken college prep or standard curriculum, but it will have a positive effect to take accelerated, honors or advanced placements. We also understand that at certain high schools there are limitations in terms of the availability of those courses, which we will take into account as well.

Q: Is the quality of an applicant’s high school taken into consideration?

A: We take into account the environment in which they’ve had their high school education. We also take into account that some students don’t have a choice; they’ve grown up in a specific environment and they may not have options about where they’d like to go to high school.

Q: Which teachers should write a recommendation?

A: I like reading letters of recommendation from teachers and/or counselors that have really gotten to know the student well – maybe a teacher that has had a student two consecutive years or two consecutive classes. We’re looking for someone who can showcase the student and can tell us in detail the strength of the student in the classroom.

Q: Do you look for what is not said in a recommendation?

A: We don’t ask about or investigate things that aren’t said. But it’s always appreciated that if there’s a red flag or a concern on the student’s academic record or transcript, whoever wrote the letter of recommendation could either address it in the letter or contact us individually. In the past I’ve had letters of recommendation that say “please call me” at the end. If I see that, maybe it’s something the counselor did not want to write down, and maybe we want to explore that a little further either over the phone or in person.

Q: There’s been controversy about using tests like the SAT and ACT in the admissions process. Where does your school stand?

A: The university recently changed its policy to test-optional. The first test-optional class was the class that just enrolled for the fall of 2010. We take the GPA very, very seriously. We feel it’s a much better indicator of not only the type of student that student’s been the last four years, but more importantly the kind of student they can be the next four years at Sacred Heart.

Q: What do you say to students or parents who are uncomfortable about not submitting test scores?

A: If a student is that concerned I won’t say don’t send them in. We’ve taken a hard look at the statistics over the past 10 years of those standardized scores and we feel they’re aren’t the best indicators of the student’s capability of how well they can do here. Again, to be fair, we say if you choose not to submit your scores it will not hurt you. We always use the caveat that if we need something else we hold the right to request further information from any applicant who decides not to submit the test scores. That can be in the form of an additional essay or a graded paper, something like that from their junior year.

Q: So if someone applies test-optional you don’t automatically ask for additional material?

A: That’s correct. It’s not automatic. It’s a case-by-case basis. Otherwise it’s the same application.

Interviewing

Q: Does your school offer interviews with college admissions counselors?

A: We do, absolutely. I think it’s becoming more and more rare. We pride ourselves on our personal attention – it helps the counselor get to know each applicant that much better and really puts a face to the application. Even with the amount of information included in the application it’s still great to have a one-on-one with the student to find out why they’re interested in Sacred Heart and how they can contribute here and to the community.

Q: What college interview skills do you find are most lacking?

A: It’s the confidence. I think maybe students take the word “interview” as intimidation. It’s a very official sounding word. They can be very nervous and give one-word answers. They’re very polite but they don’t really open up, so my role as a counselor is to make it much more conversational. We’re trying to get to know the applicant, not necessarily looking for flaws or always trying to find the wrong answer.

Q: What do you say to parents who want to sit in on the interview?

A: I tell parents, “Our policy is it’s me and the student first. I’d like to meet the student and go over things with them, and then at the end of our portion of the interview you’re more than welcome to come back and we can recap what we chatted about.” I can also answer any questions the parents might have at that point.

Q: What do you suggest students think about before they come to a college interview?

A: I ask a lot of “why.” “Why are you interested in Sacred Heart, how did you first hear about Sacred Heart, why are you interested in the program that you’ve chosen?” I strongly encourage students to highlight their extracurricular activities and tell me a little bit about outside of the classroom. Oftentimes I’ll ask a student if they have any sort of resume or an activities sheet so we can go over that and discuss each bullet or topic. That gives me a sense of their extracurricular activities as well.

Q: Should a student discuss or explain a poor grade or marking period(s)?

A: Yes. I’d encourage them to identify and react to it, and provide an explanation on the application. There’s a number of ways to do that through the Common Application, whether it’s in the personal essay or in a short one-paragraph explanation. If it’s not addressed in the essay or the application as a whole I always encourage them to bring it up in the interview or in conversation with the counselor. I think reflecting on it is a good thing; they’re identifying the problem. By bringing it up they’re not shying away or hiding from it.

Essay Writing

Q: What qualities do you look for in a well-written college application essay?

A: You said it yourself – “well-written.” I’m a sucker for the basics. Structurally it has to be a sound essay with solid introduction, body, and conclusion. Basic grammar is absolutely paramount. So is punctuation. Proofread it a number of times to make sure that it flows nicely. The essay as a whole is an opportunity for each applicant to set themselves apart from the rest of the applicant pool. It’s an outstanding opportunity to tell a story or to showcase themselves. It’s an opportunity to tell us why they’re different and may be the best fit for Sacred Heart. But again, in terms of the quality we’re looking for the basics – punctuation, grammar, and overall structure.

Q: Is there a type of essay you’d recommend against?

A: The essay I’d recommend against is anything that puts the student in a negative light. Obviously it sounds foolish to do that, but there are situations where they might bring up a situation or scenario from the past, and it doesn’t highlight them as a unique student. And the caveat is we’re always looking for original work.

Q: Can you tell when a work isn’t original?

A: We do have indicators and checks in place, and if there’s ever a question it will be investigated further to verify. We will assume and hope that it is original work. We’re not looking up every single essay.

Q: Can an essay make or break an admission?

A: In rare cases it can make or break a decision. For example, there was an applicant who wrote a very well-written essay on why they’d be a great fit for Sacred Heart University – not only Sacred Heart University but our physical therapy program as well. Structurally it was sound and throughout the whole essay it was firing on all cylinders. Then at the end it said, “Due to all the factors this is why I feel I’d be a great fit for – ” and it was another university’s name. I’m not saying that made the decision, but it certainly had an effect on the decision that was made.

Q: What your advice to students on how to handle the Common App 500 word length, and whether or not it’s okay to go over the limit?

A: Students will often inquire about the word limit for the College Essay, and how they should approach it.  My best suggestion to them is to use enough words to get your point across, and tell your story thoroughly, but yet succinctly.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but those 500 words run out relatively quickly, so typing a good draft that may go FAR over the limit, and then “trimming” could be useful.  Generally speaking, I do not worry too much about the word limit of the essay (I’ve never actually counted), however if it is exceedingly long (or too short), it may raise a (slight) red flag during the application review process.  If it takes 650 words to get the core of the story in, then so be it, just as long as it’s not 6,500 words.

Financial Aid

Q: How has the recession affected the admissions process and the availability of financial aid?

A: The admissions process has not been affected much by the recession, which I think is a great thing. As a matter of fact, the availability of financial aid is greater than ever. We’re a need-blind institution; about 90% of our student body receives some kind of aid, whether it be need-based or merit-based or institutional-based. To put it in perspective, last year we enrolled the largest class in the school’s history.

Q: Are there programs at Sacred Heart that are more difficult to get into than others?

A: There are programs that are more competitive based on space and availability. Physical therapy is a graduate program here but the students have a great opportunity to be accepted early, so there are more stringent requirements for that. Another one I’d bring up is our nursing program. It’s a highly competitive four-year bachelor of science in nursing and we have limited availability for that nursing freshman class.

Finally…

Q: What part of the admissions process is most misunderstood?

A: The standardized testing. It’s easier for us to say because we’re a test-optional school. We feel that they aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all or the best indicator of the aptitude and the ability of the student. Standardized tests aren’t a good indicator of two things: the type of student that they’ve been for the past four years at the high school level, and most importantly the type of student that they can be at the college level.

Q: How can people connect with your school and your students?
A: We have many ways for students, parents, and alumni to connect with each other and with us. We strongly encourage families to visit our website: http://www.sacredheart.edu/, which is very expansive and user-friendly. We have a twitter account: http://twitter.com/SacredHeartUniv. Our main facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/SacredHeartUniversity. We have an undergradutate admissions blog: http://sacredheartuniversity.typepad.com/shu_admissions/ and we’re on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SacredHeartUVideo.

Q: Please ask a question specific to your school.
Question: Do I need to have a major chosen coming in to Sacred Heart?
A: No. Seventeen and eighteen year olds don’t necessarily know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. That’s why we recently restructured and re-introduced our “Major in Success” program, which works very closely with the undecided students or the decided students having second thoughts about their academic interests. It’s a great guide for students, a great guide and helping hand for our career development and academic advising offices, working in tandem with students to help them point themselves in the right direction.

To Contact Sacred Heart University:

5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT  06825
203-371-7999
www.sacredheart.edu

other posts in this series:
Housatonic Community College
Ithaca College
Quinnipiac University
University of Bridgeport
University of Connecticut

Sharon Epstein, FIrst Impressions College Consulting..Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting
Need help? I work with students everywhere: in-person, over the phone, and by computer. Visit my website for more info.
Connect with Me:

follow Sharon Epstein on Twitterfollow Sharon Epstein on pinterest


5 Comments

Interviews with College Admissions Counselors: Ithaca College

Welcome to an Ongoing Series on College Admissions.

Updated June 21, 2012

If you’re starting the college admissions process you’ve probably discovered that it’s not always easy to find answers to your college admissions questions. That’s why I created a place where you can hear directly from college admission counselors about applying to college, college interviews, college application essay writing, and financial aid.

I developed these questions with help from families who’ve recently been through the college admissions process. Because each school answers the same questions you’ll be able to compare information with other schools.

I hope this will be an excellent resource for anyone looking for college admissions information. Who knows? You might even find yourself considering options you hadn’t thought of before.

With the introduction out of the way, let’s find out about Ithaca College.

Ithaca College, founded in 1892, located in Ithaca, New York, is a private, coeducational college offering undergraduate and graduate programs in business, communications, health sciences and human performance, humanities and sciences, music, and interdisciplinary studies. U.S News and World Report ranks the school #11 of regional universities (north).

As of Fall 2010 Ithaca College had 6,442 undergraduates and 6,949 total students.

Admissions statistics: Class of 2014

Number of applicants (freshmen): 13,191
Number of admitted students (freshmen): 9,096
Number enrolled fall 2010 (first-time, full-time freshmen): 1,617
Average SAT score: 1726
2012 – 2013 Undergraduate Cost of Attendance:  Tuition and Fees $37,000; Room $7,200;  Board $6,200; Optional Health and Accident Insurance $1,110

ADMISSIONS QUESTIONS

Ithaca College Director of Admission, Gerard Turbide, answered the following questions for us:

Applying

Q: What percentage of applicants does Ithaca College admit?

A: Typically we offer admission to two-thirds of our applicants.

Q: Does applying early decision/action improve a student’s chances for admission?

A: Ithaca College is a selective institution, and as a result, we cannot offer admission to all qualified students.  We also want to admit students who are excited about Ithaca College, will contribute positively to our community, and are willing to make that commitment early.  The accelerated time line allows us to admit all qualified candidates who apply through Early Decision, and our most interested applicants know much earlier.  It’s a win-win.

Starting fall 2012, Ithaca College will offer the option to apply by December 1 under a non-binding Early Action deadline to receive an admissions decision by February 1.

Q:  How important are extracurricular activities in admissions decisions?

A: Students who do well at Ithaca College are usually individuals who want to be actively engaged in their education.  A student’s participation in extracurricular activities is one indication of that quality.  Each year, more than 700 prospective students apply for Ithaca College’s Leadership Scholarship, and each candidate’s activities in their community are carefully considered for this competitive award.

Q: How important is taking advanced, accelerated, or honors courses?

A: In our selection process, we are very focused on the extent to which an applicant has challenged him- or herself academically.  We assess each applicant’s strength of curriculum in light of the offerings available at that high school.

Q: Which teachers should write a college recommendation?

A: Selecting recommenders is a personal decision.  I would encourage students to seek teachers who know them well, and can write in detail about their relative strengths in the classroom.

Q: Do you look for what is not said in a college recommendation?

A: I would not say that we speculate on omissions in letters of recommendation.  I would say that, in cases where there are inconsistencies in a student’s academic record, it is helpful when the guidance counselor addresses that issue.

Q: Is the quality of an applicant’s high school taken into consideration?

A: We take into account the context of the student’s learning environment.

Q: What is the relative importance of grades versus board scores?

A: Our research has shown that grades – specifically, a student’s grade-point average in academic course work – is a much better predictor of success at Ithaca College.

Q: There’s been controversy about using tests like the SAT and ACT in the college admissions process. Where does your school stand?

A: Starting fall 2012 applicants will  have the option of not submitting SAT or ACT scores. 

Interviewing

Q: Does your school offer interviews with college admissions counselors? If not, why?

A: Yes we do. We believe it’s important for any student considering Ithaca College to visit our campus. We offer individual appointments with counselors, small group information sessions, and open house programs in which our campus community happily greets our visitors to provide an inside look at Ithaca College.

Q: Should a student discuss or explain a poor grade or marking period(s)? If so, when?

A: If there is something significant that impacted a student’s academic performance (e.g., illness, injury, family hardships, etc.), the student can share that information within the application.

Essay Writing

Q: What qualities do you look for in a well-written college application essay?

A: We want to hear the student’s voice, and learn something about that student. This is a key opportunity for an applicant to create a distinct impression. Careful attention to grammar, proof reading, and spell checking are all important.

Q: Is there a type of college application essay you would recommend against?

A: I would recommend against statements that would cast doubt on the student’s ability to contribute positively to our campus community.  Of course, each student’s essay should be their own work.

Q: Can a college application essay make or break an admission?

A: In some cases, an essay can make the difference one way or the other.  A sincerely written essay that provides insight into a student’s character can help counterbalance an academic concern, especially when recommendations support that student’s potential to meet challenges head-on.

Q: Where do you stand on the 500 word limit on the Common Application’s personal statement? Can a student go over the Common Application’s 500 word limit?

A: I would advise students to start by writing a first draft without thinking about length.  Choose a topic you care about, and write with your own “voice”.  Once you have your ideas assembled, you can refine and edit.  For each applicant, I’m interested in reading a compelling statement that effectively conveys something about that studentI’ve never counted the words used.

Financial Aid

Q: How has the recession affected the admissions process and the availability of financial aid?

A: Every year, families express increased interest in financial aid, and most must weigh the cost of attendance as part of their decision-making.  Last year Ithaca College made available over $165 million in grants and loans. We view an Ithaca College education as an investment made in partnership with our students and their families.  And we believe that the rewards of that education will be well worth it. (editor’s note: Ithaca College lists tuition, fees, room and board at $45,944. The most recent stats show 1,497 out of 2,027 full-time freshmen were offered aid. The average financial aid package was $29,600.)

Finally…

Q: What part of the college admissions process is most misunderstood?

A: I think many people believe that standardized tests play a much larger role than they do.  They can be a helpful piece of information, but nothing tells us more than a student’s academic record reflecting their course work.

Q: How can people connect with your school and your students?

A: We have a well-developed presence on the web, including a specific social networking site for applicants.  The best way to connect with Ithaca College, our students, and our faculty, is to visit campus.  We offer several open house programs in the fall, tours and information sessions throughout the summer, and we have an open house for high school juniors on Saturday, April 30th.

Our social networking site for applicants is IC Peers — it’s part of our myIthaca portal. We encourage any student considering Ithaca College to register at my.ithaca.edu. There are interesting articles that can help with the college search process, and as you progress with your application to Ithaca College, you can keep track of your status, register for one of our open house programs, and meet other interested students online.

Q: Please add a question specific to your school.
Question:  Is it important to pick a major now?

A: Ithaca College offers over 100 degree programs in the humanities and sciences, business, communications, the health sciences, and music.  Our Exploratory Program is a great option if –like most students — you’re not yet sure what you want to study.  Whatever your plans are for the future, we most likely have the program of study that will prepare you for the challenges ahead.

To Contact Ithaca College:

http://www.ithaca.edu

Office of Admission
953 Danby Road
admission@ithaca.edu
(607) 274-3124 |  (800) 429-4274

other posts in this series:

Housatonic Community College
Quinnipiac University
Sacred Heart University
University of Bridgeport

University of Connecticut

related links:
Will More Prominent Colleges Abandon the SAT?

Sharon Epstein, FIrst Impressions College Consulting..Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting
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