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How to Tour Colleges in the Age of Coronavirus

Tyler.Virtual College Tours.Reduced.hands typing 2With college campuses shutting down nationwide due to concerns about coronavirus, the annual spring break college tours have fallen by the wayside.

Juniors who were hoping to visit colleges this spring, however, now have ample time on their hands — with most high schools closed — to investigate the schools they’re interested in online. Students can gain a wealth of information by researching colleges from home and may end up learning exactly what they would have heard if they had attended an information session on campus.

Here are some ways students can explore colleges without stepping foot on campus:

1. Take a tour on the college website. Many colleges offer virtual tours that highlight the key buildings on campus — the same landmarks students would see on a college tour. Some schools, including Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon and University of Rochester, are also offering virtual information sessions. Students should look at the web pages of the departments they’re interested in majoring in and check out any blogs current students have written on the college’s website.

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Understanding the Logic Behind Those Rejection Letters

Tyler.College Rejections.Reduced.2nd photo.Use this photoBy the end of March, your high school senior will either have received that coveted acceptance email to his or her top-choice college or the dreaded rejection letter in your mailbox.

If your child is a straight-A student who plays varsity sports, wins state music competitions, serves as president of the senior class, and volunteers at the local animal shelter, it may be hard to understand why he or she was rejected from any college.

It is especially difficult for students applying to the most selective schools to figure out why they didn’t make the cut, especially if their SAT or ACT scores were within the colleges’ acceptable range.

Yet many colleges do not look at your child as an individual with all the exceptional qualities he or she may have. They are reviewing a large pool of applicants and selecting students who may meet certain criteria they are looking for in the next freshman class.

Here are five ways to help you understand the logic behind the college admissions process:

1. It’s beyond the student’s control. There are certain things that students can control: their test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities and a well-written application. But there are many factors beyond their influence. Your child’s dream school, for example, may be looking for players for the varsity lacrosse team or for applicants from the West Coast. Students also can’t control who reads their applications, which may affect whether they are accepted or not.

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Top Eight Tips Students Need for Making Summer Plans

Tyler.Photo.Summer Jobs Story.Reduced for website.George Mason Crab Crawl 006 002When students apply to college, they often need to choose a major before they’ve even stepped foot on campus.

Whether they want to become an engineer, an architect or an accountant can seem like a daunting decision. Yet what can help students make an informed choice is to spend the summers after sophomore and junior year exploring potential careers.

Using summers to look into different careers can also provide an advantage on college applications. Admissions officers notice when applicants try to expand their horizons by taking on new opportunities during summer vacation.

Here are some ideas for summer activities that can help high school students explore their career options. Given the coronavirus outbreak, not all may be available this summer.

1. Volunteer in the community. Students can volunteer their time to learn more about a particular career. If they’re interested in medicine, for example, they can volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home. Students who want to major in education can work at a summer camp.

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Top Ten Tips for Getting College Financial Aid

Tyler.Finaid.Albany and Crab Crawl 024.Resized 1Attending college is a big investment. The cost of a private four-year college, including room and board, has climbed to an average of $49,000 a year, while the annual price tag for a public four-year public college is $21,000, according to the College Board.

Yet if you are worried that college is unaffordable, keep in mind that you will not pay the sticker price advertised on a college’s website. With a strategic plan for applying for financial aid, you can offset the cost with a combination of grants and scholarships offered by the school that are based on need.

Applying for financial aid is a key part of the college admissions process. Yet many parents have misconceptions about how to apply, or even if they should apply, for need-based aid.

Here is a list of ten tips that will help you get the most financial aid you can:

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Newfield Student Finds the Perfect College in Elizabethtown

elizatown 19reduced2Tommy Gerow wasn’t sure what type of college he was looking for when he started his junior year at Newfield High School. He enjoyed science and technology, but he didn’t know what he wanted to study in college.

To help him start his college search, his parents contacted Lucia Tyler, owner of Tyler Admissions Consulting. After meeting with Tommy four times, Tyler created a list of seven colleges that would fit his needs, and the family began visiting schools in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

“That made a big difference, just feeling what it would be like being there,” said Jean Gerow, Tommy’s mother. “We went to the open houses, and seeing the classrooms and seeing the kids walking around and trying the food — that was very helpful.”

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When to Take the SAT or ACT

Tyler.High School Students Taking the ACT2A critical part of the college planning process is deciding when and how often you should take either the SAT or ACT.

Both tests are offered seven times each school year, beginning in late August for the SAT and early September for the ACT. To determine which test is right for you, take some practice SAT and ACT tests to see whether you score better on one or the other.

Getting your best score on either test will ultimately depend on two factors: whether you give yourself enough time to take the test at least twice, and whether you commit yourself to prepare.

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How to Get the Most out of Your College Visit

DickinsonsmallThe college of your dreams may offer a virtual tour of its campus, but that is not a good substitute for visiting the school, walking around the quads, and meeting students who can give you first-hand information about campus life.

Visiting a college campus will give you the best picture of what it would be like to attend that school. You’ll be able to ask students questions, sample the food at the dining hall, and hopefully see what a dorm room looks like.

Spring vacation is one of the best times to see the colleges that are at the top of your list. And if you’re interested in several schools in one region, you can cluster your visits together to save time and money.

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