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  • James Montoya

    Title: Vice President of Higher Education
    Company: The College Board

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • What extracurriculars are most important?


    • How important are college rankings when choosing a college?


      The college search process should begin with what's important to you. Develop your own set of criteria and use that as a basis to evaluate the relevance of the many college rankings that are out there today. College rankings are not inherently a bad thing, but they are limited in scope and are all too often driven by prestige, selectivity and resources rather than high quality teaching and learning. Again, know what's important to you.

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


      One of the important things to keep in mind about selective college admission is that those evaluating applications are real people – often under 30 years old and often Facebook users themselves. Though the evaluation process typically focuses on what is required of applicants – your completed application, transcript, SAT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation – there are no standard professional guidelines that discourage admission officers from viewing an applicant's Facebook page. So why risk having something posted on your Facebook page that reflects poorly on you? A personal quality that colleges like to see in ALL applicants is good common sense. Use it in all your interactions with public websites.

    • What trends have you noticed in admissions?


    • How do I understand my financial aid package and which tips and tricks can maximize my aid?


      You're not alone. The reason most students (and parents) find the financial aid process complex is because it is complex! But don't let that stop you from investing the time in better understanding the process and the terminology you'll find in financial aid awards. You have two great resources at hand. First, the College Board Website has a free and easy to use on-line tool that allows you to compare financial aid awards and demystifies the challenging terminology. Second, there are the financial aid officers at the colleges you are considering, and you shouldn't hesitate to call them with your questions. Take control of the financial aid process, and you'll find yourself at a clear advantage for your entire college career.

    • To find scholarships, where should I look, what's needed of me, and which ones seem craziest?


      There are many scams out there charging for scholarship information that is available for FREE on the internet. Avoid companies that claim they will do all the work for you, or those that guarantee scholarship money, or those who claim to have exclusive information. Instead go to a reliable source, like the College Board Website. It offers tons of free information about scholarships, loans and other ways to pay for college---www.collegeboard.org. Also, check with your parents to see if their employers offer scholarships to employee children, and with your counselor to learn about local scholarships. This all takes some effort, but it can definitely payoff.

    • Is every college essay read? How many admissions officers read them?


    • What are some tips regarding video essays?


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