Full Steam Ahead!

We’re just over a month into the school year, and the college application process is well underway. Her school provides plenty of support for both the students and parents throughout this journey, which is nice. At the beginning of the year, they held a meeting for us to lay out exactly what’s expected of the student and parents along the way, and what the college guidance office’s role would be. Obviously, most of the work is on the students, but the college guidance office provides some crucial advice as well.

One prime example of that: We decided to go in and meet with the head of college guidance two weeks ago just to clarify a couple of things. Our daughter has met with him a couple of times, including meeting with him on the first day of school because of how excited she was about what she learned on the college visits, and while she did discuss her conversation with us, we just wanted to get his take directly, and looking back, I’m glad we did.In that meeting, our primary focus was asking the following:

  1. We wanted to get his honest assessment of her choices. Mainly, did he think she had a shot at getting in to any of them based on all of her data, or should she be adding another school or two as safety schools.
  2. Should she be considering applying early to any of them?

Question number 2 was a key one for me. She and I had talked about applying early to a couple of them, and she was adamant that she shouldn’t, that it wasn’t beneficial, etc. From what I gathered, she was thinking of the “early decision” (ED) application process, while I was thinking more along the lines of “early action” (EA). For those new to the process, be sure to look up both so that you understand the implications of each. This is a good starting point:

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/guidance/applications/early

While we’re all for her choosing to submit for EA at the top schools on her list, another concern was whether or not a decline would mean the end of her pursuit there. One of the things her college guidance counselor mentioned to us is that there may be a risk at some schools that if you’re declined during the EA process, that decline is the final answer and you’re done, while other schools will move you to the general application pool upon decline so you get a second look. Her college guidance advisor wasn’t sure if any of the schools on her list were a one-shot deal, so he offered to check that out for us, as he was headed to a conference that weekend which he thought the admissions people from each of the schools we were talking about would be at. That, or he was going to call them the following week (last week) to discuss the options.

Fast forward to now, and we have a plan. My daughter followed up with him yesterday, and found that we’ll be fine to pursue EA at two of the three we were discussing, without the risk of an EA denial being the end of the process. While I was happy to hear that, it also means she’s got some work to do. Both of the schools use the Common App, and while she’s finished a large portion of it already (which I was honestly unaware of until yesterday, so she’s definitely taking the initiative to get this done 🙂 ), she still has to complete the essay portion, fill in some of our info, and one of the schools also has their own supplement. That school has an EA deadline of 11/1 (the other is 11/15), so it looks like October is going to be a busy month for her. Between her competitive cheer schedule, existing school work, and now completing the Common App, her schedule should be pretty full this month.

If she’s fortunate enough to be accepted via the EA process to either or both schools, it’ll be interesting to see how she handles it. Obviously, accepting right away would mean the end of the process, and less stress on her, but while both of the schools are up at the top of her list, there’s one more that she’s not doing EA for that’s also right at the top, which might throw a wrench into the decision.

We’ll see how it plays out. Regardless, the pressure is definitely on 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Full Steam Ahead!

  1. I would say this, unless, she a) is absolutely in love with a school and b) you have the money to foot the bill (because you won’t know the financial aid package yet), don’t do ED. Early action is the best best if she doesn’t want to be bound to a decision. ED is tricky. It’s easier to get in under ED, but you’ve got to be able to afford it. Make sense?

  2. Yea, sorry if I wasn’t clear. I couldn’t agree more, and we’re not targeting ED anywhere. The last thing we want is to be locked in to a school before we know what (if any) financial aid package is included (as you mentioned). EA’s definitely what we’re targeting for the first two schools. Much more flexibility that way 🙂

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