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  • Scott Hamilton

    Title: Founder

    Company: Future Stars College Counseling Center

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • How important are college rankings when choosing a college?

       

      One of the major components in US News and World Report's annual ranking is peer ratings, in which college administrators are asked to rate other colleges. Do high schools poll students for their opinions when determining class rank? Of course not, because this would be based on personal perspective and incomplete information. Understandably, an institution's effectiveness cannot be expressed through empirical data alone. But this only serves to underscore the necessity for prospective students to ask questions of a college that will lead them to discovering the best match based on individual needs and desired outcomes.

    • Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

       

      While it is unlikely that a Facebook post is going to be seen by an admissions officer, it could be in the following instances, so do not risk it. An admissions officer looks up your name on the Internet to learn more about an award you won and stumbles onto your Facebook page. Or you are being considered for a prestigious scholarship or special recognition along with your admissions, so to ensure they do not end up looking foolish the college or university does some digging. Finally, you can give ammunition to someone who has a score to settle with you that they anonymously share with admissions. Don't take the chance.

    • We don't have time or money to visit some schools I’m really interested in. What can I do?

       

      One recommendation is to visit colleges closer to home that are similar to those you are considering but cannot visit. If you are interested in Urban U. on the other side of the country, tour a city central campus in your home state first to see what you think of that environment. Also, visit virtually through websites, such as Unigo, and college guidebooks. The trick is to look for those resources, which list more than statistics and instead go behind the scenes to relay students' experiences and impressions. Then, with your college list narrowed down, apply and plan on visiting your favorites once you get accepted.

    • What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

       

      Procrastination is an application killer. Many successful students who have been able to get by with all-nighters and last minute work find themselves with less college options after approaching the admissions process the same way. Not taking the time to thoughtfully brainstorm personal and specific essay topics, and failing to do the homework needed to persuasively answer the "Why us?" question many colleges ask, can tip the scales in the wrong direction. Finally, as other electronic forms of communication have come to dominate the lives of teenagers, missing important information and deadlines due to the lack of checking email regularly has become more of an issue.

    • What are the best ways to prepare for the SAT and which study methods are worth paying for?

       

      The type of prep to do over the summer depends on what you have done up to this point and the grade you will enter next year. For a junior, it is best to use the summer to self prep. Two resources that I recommend are www.number2.com (free online test prep) and the book Princeton Review Cracking the SAT. For a senior, if they have not done so already, an SAT preparation class can do the trick (ask around locally for recommendations). If a class was taken earlier in junior year then drilling on what was learned is what is likely needed. A good source for practice tests is the book The Official SAT Study Guide by College Board.

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