Hamilton Gregg is the founder of International Educational Consulting and has worked in education since 1985. He helps students and their families understand their personal and educational needs and find the right school to meet their requirements. If you are a student or parent who would like to ask Gregg a question on our blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the time of the year when there is a great deal of anxiety in the air. If you have applied to boarding school or university, you are impatiently waiting to see if your hard work has paid off. With decisions right around the corner, over the next month or so, the suspense can be tough to take!
Those starting to think about applying to school for 2015 are no doubt excited and anxious as well. So many choices, so many voices telling you what to do and where you should consider. It is a daunting task to move through it. But we’ll return to that later.
For those of you waiting for replies, there’s not much you can do at this stage. Monitor your schools portal to make sure there is nothing missing from your application. If you receive an email asking for SSAT, SAT, TOEFL or other documents, be sure that you act immediately. Contact the testing company to see why they have not sent your scores. If the school is missing school related documents, tell your school official, typically the counselor, and see if they can find the most expedient way of getting documents to the school(s). Do not delay in telling the appropriate person that documents are missing – this will adversely affect their ability to get the materials to the school in time for the admission committee.
I often get telephone calls from parents at this time about making financial contributions to a particular school or schools. This is always an awkward conversation. It is too late and inappropriate. There are many rumors about how parent X made a major contribution to school Y and got their kid in, essentially, what that buying a place for their child. It is ethically inappropriate and it’s not going to work in this day and age. Calling the school to say that a contribution is on the way seems desperate and will almost certainly have a negative affect.
Keep working hard at school. Make sure you update schools with new information about you since you sent your application. Colleges want to know what you have been up to the last several months, particularly if you have improved your grades, started or completed an interesting project or had a significant adventure over the holiday.
Let’s move on to the students who are just beginning to think about the application process. Now is the best time to get moving. Don’t be daunted; dive in. While you’re at it, take some time to do something really important. Clean up your social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter, QQ, WeChat or whatever you use. Make sure there are no inappropriate pictures or language. Schools look at how you present yourself publicly. Even comments and pictures on Skype are open for people to see. So clean it up!
Take the time to plan ahead. Go to college fairs, or conduct schools visits. Do appropriate research on schools; don’t just rely on what a magazine says or what your third-cousin thinks. This is your time to choose where you will apply and ultimately attend. Own the process. Think about the summer ahead. It is a good idea to attend some form of summer program, and build in time to visit schools. Plan on taking tests – SAT, SAT II, SSAT, TOEFL and/or TOEFL Jr.
For those of you in limbo – good luck! For those of you planning; get cracking! No matter where you are in the process, don’t worry and always remember there is a world of possibilities.
Photo courtesy of flickr.