COLLEGE CONNECTION: Approaching New Years and not yet into college?


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If you’re a high school senior, with hopes of attending a great college in the fall, all is not lost if you have not yet applied to, or gotten accepted to, your dream college.
While the application deadline has passed for all of the Ivy League colleges, and many other elite institutions, there are more than 500 colleges whose application deadlines for the 2018-2019 academic year fall on or after January 15th.  There are also about 200 colleges that have a “rolling admissions” policy, which means they review applications until they have accepted enough students to fill their class.
While this is not the ideal time for college-bound students to begin the application process, those who find themselves in this boat – due to procrastination or any other reason – should follow a few guidelines.
1: Be selective. Don’t waste your time applying to schools that you have no interest in attending, or those whose application deadlines have already passed. Identify colleges that offer the major of your choice and meet your other requirements, such as location, cost, on-campus housing, and any other qualities of importance to you.
2: Make a list of the application requirements for each of the schools on your list, and check them off as you meet them. Most colleges accept the Common Application, which you can fill out once (online) and submit to more than 600 colleges. So do this application first. Carefully answer each question, getting help from parents on any answers you don’t know (such as the colleges your parents attended, their graduation years, name of their employers and their job titles). Advise you guidance counselor (through Naviance or whatever system is in place) of the colleges to which you are applying, as your counselor will need to submit your transcripts and recommendation letters.
3: Write a solid essay. The Common App requires one essay of 250 to 650 words, and literally allows students to write about anything as one of the essay prompts reads, “Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written….” Students should write an essay that depicts a personal quality or accomplishment of which they are particularly proud. The essay should not repeat information that appears elsewhere in the application, such as your GPA, SAT scores, or list of activities. Frequently students can use this essay even when applying to colleges that do not take the Common App.
4: Proofread and submit to colleges still seeking applicants. Ask someone you trust to proofread your applications, and then promptly submit them. Remember, there are many great schools with application deadlines on or after January 15. Those in New Jersey include: The College of New Jersey, Drew University, Monmouth University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Ramapo College and Rowan University.
Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of SAT Smart in Hillsborough that has been offering PSAT, SAT, and ACT preparation courses, as well as private tutoring by Ivy League educated instructors, for more than 25 years. Visit or call 908-369-5362.