Archive for the ‘Admissions Advice’ Category
So you think you’d like to attend community college before transferring to another college or university! Many students enjoy taking this step. Typically, students who begin their education at a community college save money, as their intro classes are completed for a lower cost than they would be at a college or university. Community college students also enjoy a less dramatic transition as they go from being a high school student to a college student. Community college also gives you the chance to feel out different major possibilities before you ultimately make the decision to declare. But just because you’re attending a community college doesn’t mean the decision on where to go is crystal clear! There might be many community colleges in your area. Check out these tips on how to pick the right one:
Get the 411 On Transfer Credits
Regardless of why you’ve chosen to attend a community college before applying to another college or university, you want your time in school to count. Before choosing a community college, learn more about which courses will transfer. If you know what school you’ll eventually want to attend, find out if your classes will transfer specifically to that school. You don’t want to have to spend more time and money repeating the same courses because your credits didn’t transfer.
Consider Your Future Plan
You might be going to community college so you can knock out your basic coursework quickly before entering a major university where you can focus solely on your program. You could be starting here because you don’t know what you’d like to do, and you don’t want to pay the cost of university tuition to find out. Maybe you think an associates degree in one area and a major in another will help you find a job. Just as if you were searching for a four-year degree program, consider the programs offered at community colleges, and how they can best suit your needs. You’ll find a variety of options, all of which can prepare you for what whatever plan you’d like to pursue!
Consider Your Future Field
While there are community colleges for general areas of study, some focus on particular fields, such as technology or business. If you know you’d like to get into a certain field, and there’s a community college that specializes in that, you’ll probably want to consider starting there!
Consider Whom From High School Will Be There
Community college can sometimes feel like high school, part two. Whether or not that’s a good thing is for you to decide! If a third of your class is attending the closest community college, and you want the opportunity to break away, you may want to try for another college up the road. If like the thought of having all of your friends from high school in the same place again, you’ll probably be very happy attending a college with a high percentage of your graduating class.
Cappex can help you search for community colleges!
As you begin your college search, you’ll find that there are thousands of colleges, and they’re all remarkably different! You’ll likely find many that could be a good fit, but narrowing them down to the few you’ll actually apply to can be difficult.
Imagine that you’re interviewing your future school for the position of providing you with the best education and college experience possible. The following is a list of questions to “ask” your future school.
Is this a two or four year institution?
Is this a large school or a small school?
What is the average number of people per class at this school?
Is this college in a suburban, urban, or rural environment?
What does the surrounding community have to offer?
What is there to do for fun?
Is this a public or private school?
Is this a same-sex or co-ed school?
Does this school have a religious affiliation?
How much does this school cost?
Does this institution offer scholarships and other financial aid programs?
How far is this school from home?
Is this school in-state or out of state?
What majors does this college offer?
What makes pursuing my major at this school different than another school?
Is this school able to give me a good education?
What benefits does this school have to offer?
What are the meal plans and food like?
Does this school offer extra-curricular activities I’m interested in?
Does this school offer a particular sport I want to play?
Does this school have a sorority, fraternity, or national honor society I want to be a part of?
What are the acceptance rates for this school?
Do I meet the acceptance criteria for this school?
Does this college offer study abroad programs?
How do students get around at this school?
Am I allowed to have a car at school?
What is the transfer rate for this school?
What is the drop out rate for this school?
What percentage of students who attend this college graduate in four years?
What are the students like at this college?
How diverse is this college?
Does this school have enough computer labs, a big library, a pool or a gym?
How many of my high school classmates plan on attending this college?
Will I live on or off campus?
How safe is the college and surrounding community?
What is living on campus like at this college?
How many people share a dorm room at this school?
How many people share a bathroom in the dorms?
Are the residence halls co-ed?
What is this school known for?
Do I like how the school looks?
Is this school up to date on their technology and equipment?
What have the professors in my field of study accomplished?
Could I feel at home here?
Choosing what colleges you’ll apply to is no easy job! There are hundreds of schools in this country, and they’re all different! You may find fifty schools that offer your major, and while you’ll narrow down your selection with questions such as “Is this school too far away?” and “Does this school cost too much?” it’s also important to consider what the chances will be that you’re accepted to these schools. You don’t want to apply to five really tough schools, and find yourself going to none of them, nor do you want to cut yourself short by applying to the places you know you’re guaranteed. You’ll want to apply to one school you’re practically guaranteed acceptance, one or two schools you have a pretty good shot at, and one school you’re taking a chance on.
As it may be difficult to decipher where you’ll be accepted, Cappex can help you determine your chance of acceptance at any college or university with the “What Are My Chances” calculator. This tool will show you if your chance of acceptance is low, medium, or high. You can also look at admission trends, which will show you what kinds of students are accepted and denied to these colleges. With this information, you can make the best guess as to what schools will make the most sense for you to apply!
When choosing where to apply, here are some more questions you may want to ask yourself:
What are the average SAT and ACT scores of accepted students, and do I fall above or below that mark?
If your test scores fall in the average or above slot for this school, your chances of being accepted are better; however, just because you meet the average test score doesn’t mean you’ll be accepted, and many will find their below-average test score won’t prevent them from getting in.
What is my GPA? Is it above or below the average for accepted students?
Similarly to test scores, you’ll have a better chance of acceptance if your grades are average or above for that school; however, your GPA isn’t the only criteria admissions departments consider. If you fall below the average, you may want to apply anyway!
What is this school looking for in their students? Am I that type of student?
Just as you look for a college that will be a good fit, colleges look for students who will be a good fit.
What would I be able to offer this school? Do I have any talents, knowledge, or experience that will make this school want me?
For those students who are exceptionally great at a sport, or have won a variety of awards in a given subject, it certainly doesn’t hurt to apply to schools that value those areas.
What can this school offer me?
If you’re able to articulate why you’re choosing a particular school, you’ll have a better chance of acceptance than if you’re unsure. Also, even though some schools may be on your list of “safety schools,” don’t be dismissive of what they can offer. A “back-up” school attitude on your part during the application process may lead to a rude awakening!
Cappex has lots of resources to help students find their perfect college match.
You may be thinking about Trade school for your higher education after high school and wondering, “Is this the right choice for me?” Trade schools, also known as Vocational schools, offer students the unique opportunity to obtain a more specialized education without the supplemental classes necessary to fulfill normal college requirements. In Trade school you will learn to master your craft without all the Math, History, and Science classes you may not be interested in taking.
While some people believe that Trade school does not offer students the well-rounded education found in the standard college curriculum, if you are passionate about your craft, it is a great way to receive a comprehensive, focused education that will help prepare you for a highly-skilled profession.
Here are a few of the great aspects of Trade schools that make them a desirable option for post-secondary education:
- Trade school degrees can generally be completed in 1-2 years as opposed to the 4-5 years of study needed for most college degrees. If you don’t particularly enjoy studying and taking classes, the shorter timeframe of Trade school may suit you better than a traditional college.
- Because of this shorter period of study, your classes will be highly competitive. Educators expect a lot from their students as they try to cram a complete education into 2-4 semesters, so you will always be busy and working hard. Many students find that the increased competition serves as a strong motivation to stand out. You may see that you also excel better under pressure, allowing you to get ahead in your program and distinguish yourself among your classmates.
- Whereas colleges put an emphasis on academic education, Trade schools place a greater stress on practical education. In Trade school, you will learn the specialized skills needed for your trade and only take classes applicable to this course of study. You will receive instruction and training specific to your desired occupation, be it as a medical assistant, chef, auto technician, flight attendant, fashion buyer, or any other vocation you choose to study. There are hundreds of degrees to choose from, and you’re sure to find a program that matches your interests!
- As you go further working in your trade, you may decide that you want to take more classes and gain more skills. Trade schools are accommodating to students of all ages, often offering night or weekend classes that will fit better with your schedule. You can choose to take a single class at a time and further your education while still being able to work.
- Trade schools offer help finding a job after graduation, which is a great resource when entering the job market for the first time.
Joining the military can be a great, respectable option for students who don’t want to go to college, students who wish to postpone college for a few years, or students who are looking to enter the work force after high school. The military offers a unique experience to give back to your country, and many people are attracted to the prestige and benefits the military has to offer.
You may be thinking about the military as part of your future plans, but before you make a definite decision, it is important to ask yourself what your real motivation for enlisting is. The military is not for everyone, and once you enlist, you’re required to serve out your term even if it doesn’t turn out to be the experience you anticipated. Serving can be a very rewarding experience both personally and professionally and allow you to have a very enriching few years. Consider the following potential motives:
• Are you looking for a job?
• Do you not know what else to do?
• Do you want to serve your country?
• Are you looking for a career with the military, or do you just want to serve a term or two?
• Are you interested in the educational benefits and money for college?
• Do you want to see the world?
• Are you looking for a way to mature?
• Does serving in the military run in your family?
• Do you need money for college?
• Are other personal motivations driving you?
Once you determine that—and why—the military is the right choice for you, you will need to determine which branch you’d like to join. The best way to gain a real perspective about what military life will be like in each of the services is to meet with recruiters and ask all the questions you have about enlisting, including how to get started, specific details about deployment and active duty, what job opportunities are available to a new recruit, and whether there are options available primarily in the United States or overseas. There are six main services that make up the military: Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and National Guard/Reserves. Once you research each of these branches and narrow down your decision, speaking to your guidance counselor or looking on the internet will help you find recruiters and recruiting offices in your area.
Making the decision to study music in college can be very exciting for students who choose to pursue their passion. Much like applying to academic programs, choosing a music program requires a lot of time and research, and a great time to start seriously narrowing down your search is at the end of your junior year. You may be wondering the best way to begin; Cappex is here to help.
Attend a Performing Arts College Fair
Twice a year, in cities all over the country, schools across America come together to put on a performing arts fair—a forum for prospective students to meet representatives from different universities and conservatories and learn about the performing arts programs they offer. These college fairs are a great way to learn more about the options you have as a potential music student and help you narrow down the programs that you’d like to apply to.
Choose Between a University Or Conservatory
As a music student, you can choose from two different types of programs: a conservatory or a university with a strong performing arts program. Each of these options have great qualities, and deciding which appeals to you will help you begin your search for the right music program. A conservatory is a smaller school that focuses exclusively on the performing arts and requires students to take core classes such as writing and music theory in addition to their principle field of study. Conservatories are highly competitive, as they attract students who are very serious about their craft and their future with it. University performing arts programs, on the other hand, will give a student the opportunity to enjoy aspects of college life—like sporting events and the Greek system—while also gaining an education in music. These programs are also known to be highly selective and competitive, and students in these programs may need to take other classes such as math and science in addition to their principle field of study to fulfill university requirements.
The Application Process
Music school applications often ask for additional information that is not required on standard university applications. In addition to essays, personal statements, and transcripts, you will need to submit a performance resume, recommendations from music teachers (either private teachers or high school teachers), and a supplemental application with questions asking about your interest in music and what you’d like to achieve. Once you’ve submitted your application, if the Admissions Office is interested in you as a prospective student, you will be asked to come audition for a selection committee. Though auditions may still seem far away, your junior year is a great time to begin thinking of, and rehearsing, potential songs or pieces you may want to perform. This will give you time to get comfortable with the music and help shake the nerves on audition day. Good luck!
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With all of the classes and prerequisites that are required to graduate, you may find that there is not enough time to finish your course load in the standard four-year time period. Taking summer classes at a school close to home, or wherever you are spending your summer, is a great way to be productive and accumulate extra credits. If this is a good option for you, you should be very careful while planning to ensure that you complete the process in keeping with your university’s guidelines. After a summer of studying, you don’t want to find out that your university won’t accept your hard-earned credits.
Find Out What is “Transferable”
Your university will have rules about what students must achieve in order for credits to transfer, which you can find out by speaking to your advisor or looking online. This may include a minimum final course grade (usually somewhere in the C+ to C- range), only taking classes at an accredited university, and taking courses that are relevant to your college requirements or your major. Universities also mandate that certain credits be taken on campus to maintain academic standards, and may limit the number of transfer credits that will be accepted on your transcript. Do your research to make sure that the courses you want to take meet these criteria and you will be able to get the credits you’re trying to fulfill.
Know All Of Your Options
You may be spending the summer in a city with more than one college or university nearby. Though you may have an idea of where you want to take classes, making a list of all schools in the area and the courses you are interested in will allow you to understand your options once you start your transfer credit inquiry. Your university may not accept all credits from all schools, so it is helpful to have a back-up plan in case your original idea does not work out how you intended.
Check Your University’s Website
Your school’s website has a detailed page about how their transfer process works. Universities have a pre-set list of classes and credits that will always transfer from other schools. Many universities strictly adhere to these lists and will not make any exceptions. These schools require students to submit grades after the course is completed to obtain credits. Other universities will allow you to petition for classes that are not on the list. In this case, you will have to submit an application to pre-approve your classes explaining why you feel they are relevant to your course of study and declaring which requirements you expect to fulfill by taking these classes.
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As you begin (or continue to endure) the college search process, you’ll notice tons of statistics for each school you consider. One of these statistics is a graduation rate. A college’s graduation rate is the percentage of students who complete their degrees in the standard amount of time. According to a recent article about the rise and fall of graduation rates in The Chronicle of Higher Education, prospective students should not accept the graduation rate of a specific school at face value. In other words, your college journey is complex, so don’t give this rate too much weight when making your college decision.
There are certain factors that complicate the reliability of a school’s overall graduation rate. It’s important to understand that graduation rate statistics use 150% as “the standard amount of time” it takes a student to graduate. This translates to 6 years for a bachelor’s degree. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult for schools to collect data because so many students (about one third of the college population) transfer at least once and many switch majors at some point. Both of these factors produce statistics that might skew your view of a university’s ability to teach you what you need to know on time.
So, what can you do to make sense of that graduation rate number? According to The Chronicle article, figure out what your goals are as you enter college and look at graduation rates for your specific major. Ask yourself:
Is it really important to me that I graduate in a specific amount of time?
Is it possible to achieve my degree in only four years?
How long does it take for students in my major to complete their program?
Can I afford more than four years of schooling?
Am I set in stone attending this school or could I see myself transferring closer to/farther from home after freshman year?
Remember, the article mentions the unmeasurable factor of student intention. If you enter school with determination, drive, and devotion to learning, you will have no trouble graduating when you want to. However, set backs happen and should not completely discourage you! What is important for your career post-graduation is a degree. The knowledge and experiences you gain in college will benefit you for the rest of your life. If it takes a little longer than you expected to get there, that is okay.
If you are worried about paying for more school if you don’t graduate when you’d hoped, remember that you can find loads of scholarship opportunities on Cappex! Make your profile today to get started.
Congratulations—you just finished your junior year! After what is arguably the most important year of high school, filled with preparing for and taking standardized tests, harder exams in your classes, and new-found leadership roles, your college search can really begin. You worked hard this year, and it’s time for summer break—but not before one final meeting with your guidance counselor. Applying to college is a detailed process, and this meeting will help you get everything set up before you part ways for the summer.
Get Help Picking Schools
Once your junior year is complete and you have your grades and SAT/ACT scores, it’s time to start applying to college. Meeting with your guidance counselor will give you a chance to discuss which schools you have a good chance of getting accepted into (“strong schools”), which schools may be a reach (“reach schools”), and which schools you should apply to as a back-up where you will definitely be accepted (“safety schools”). Together, you can compile a list of schools that may be right for you; your counselor may even be able to suggest schools that meet your criteria that you didn’t know about or hadn’t been considering.
Make A Timeline
Summer break is a great time to get ahead on your college applications. Some schools begin accepting applications as early as July, leaving you lots of time to get them started before your senior year starts in the fall. When you meet with your guidance counselor and figure out which schools are right for you, look on their websites and find out when the essay topics are released, when the applications open, and the time windows of when applications will be accepted. Creating a timeline of all these dates will help you stay organized and on top of your game.
If you are looking for scholarships to help pay for school, this is also a great time to discuss different options about where to find scholarships and how to apply for them. Your guidance counselor will have information on the different merit-based, need-based, and athletic scholarships that you may qualify for, and can be a great resource in helping you get the financial aid that you need. Cappex is also a great tool to help you apply for scholarships.
Letter of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation can be a great addition to your college application. They are required by some schools and not by others, but they can help you stand out in the applicant pool and make you seem more personable to the Admissions Office. You may want to ask your guidance counselor to write one of these letters for you, as they have been helping you throughout your high school years and they know you both personally and academically.
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