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Starting College in the Spring

Monday, February 03, 2020

A growing number of students are receiving admissions to sought-after colleges -- just not in the fall.

For years some northeastern elite colleges, including Middlebury and Hamilton, have engaged in an admissions practice offering a selection of students second semester admission.  Midd "Febbers" and Hamilton "Jans" share a mid-year enrollment calendar with a number of other highly-selective colleges and universities.

Same College, Alternative Path In

Today, students applying to a handful of schools on both coasts might see their admission offers contingent on an unanticipated timeline.  A sampling of schools and programs potentially offering a later start include:  

The Spring Difference 

Top-of-mind questions for second semester admits concerns the impact of a spring start on forging solid social connections. What will campus life be like for the new group joining established classmates who have been living and learning together on campus since fall orientation?

Students who begin college via the second semester option tend to report that their smaller cohort provides them with a more intimate, bonded social experience at their start of college. A strong January campus orientation program can serve to support those connections.  

Sometimes a later start incorporates a first semester international experience, the destination country compatible with the student's intended major. Participants bring these closer connections back with them to campus in January.

An organized program, such as the University of Maryland - College Park's Freshman Connection, offers spring admits an optional opportunity for a fall start, living on campus while choosing from selected classes. In contrast, other schools may leave the choice of fall programming entirely up to the student, potentially involving employment, volunteerism, or community college classes for credit. 

Cornell University's First Year Spring Admit (FYSA) program admits up to 50 students as "January freshmen," while recommending pursuit of enriching extramural involvements prior to arriving in Ithaca for spring semester.

The University of Southern California offers students the opportunity to pursue classes at affiliated American universities located in Europe where they may pursue classes for credit with students from around the world.

Regardless of the entry date, the premise supporting a January start is enrichment for the student prior to the start of college, bringing even greater anticipation and readiness for their educational experience.

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Getting Into College

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

10 Things to Know About Getting Into Your Dream College


While one size never fits all in the world of college admissions, this article from The New York Times explores a broad range of factors that come into play. Diversity... legacy... ability to pay... unique interests... .  In the admissions office, these all are fair game at the time of application review.

In today's landscape, obvious academic credentials as evidenced by grades in a rigorous curriculum supported by solid standardized test scores typically lay the foundation for a student's application.  But on top of these, admissions offices at competitive colleges may look for evidence of character traits or habits of mind viewed via commitment; giving to others; resilience; curiosity; motivation; leadership.  

Ideally, a student's application communicates a story about who that teen is today and how she or he is likely to "show up" on campus during the course of the undergraduate career.  Expect to see students evaluated holistically and in keeping with the mission of any particular institution. 

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Why Colleges Pay Attention to Applicant Interest

Thursday, October 05, 2017

A Lehigh study points to the significance of campus visits in the admissions process.

According to a study by Lehigh University faculty, when higher-achieving prospective applicants make actual campus visits, doing so is strongly correlated with their probability of attendance and, therefore, a higher likelihood of admission. The recently-published study, named Signaling Interest in College Admissions, points to the factors that drive enrollment management in today's competitive college admissions landscape.

It is common knowledge that selective colleges adhere to an enrollment mission of offering acceptance to students who have achieved higher grades and standardized test scores within a rigorous academic program.  The Lehigh study finds students who invest the time to visit campus signal a stronger interest in the school and therefore a greater likelihood of attendance in comparison to students who limit college contacts to within their local communities.  

Colleges may use this behavioral factor in combination with a student's higher-bracket test results to determine which students are most likely to attend if admitted.  In other words, a higher-achieving student in combination with a perceived interest in attending a college may be more attractive as a candidate.   As students apply to greater numbers of schools and colleges grow more and more cognizant of their yield percentages, accepting likely attendees steadily becomes more of a focus in the admissions office.

The Lehigh study refers to the common reality that students and parents often may face limits of time or financial resources for trekking out for distant campus visits, thereby implicating issues of cost and affordability in the college process.  Still, it will be worth noting how schools that value demonstrated student interest will continue to evaluate this element in students' applications.
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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com


The New Way Colleges Read Applications

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

More and more competitive colleges are moving to an initial "committee-read" system in reviewing applications.  This method pulls file readers out of their former silos, allowing them to compare their evaluations more or less simultaneously in a joint review.  The University of Pennsylvania, one of the Ivies, initiated this approach back in 2013.  Most recently, other colleges that have successfully adopted this system report that they can manage more applications in less time.  

Potentially, this is a win-win method for both applicants as well as admissions departments that find themselves inundated with application files, whether real or virtual....  READ MORE

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com



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