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Answering Your College Admissions Questions

Today I’m answering your college admissions questions.  I’d also like to encourage you to ask questions on my Facebook page or via email.  Starting in January I’m moving to a new once a week email newsletter format and I will be answering one question a week in additional to a full length article.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

What are the strongest ballet departments?

The answer to this question depends on your goals.  Ballet dancers, especially women, have a fairly short window of time to move from training into a company which is why many serious dancers actually delay college and train in a professional company like School of American Ballet (SAB), Joffrey, or Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).  Following this type of performance training program isn’t exactly a well-rounded education, but there will always be time for that later.  Some students want college programs in a conservatory setting.  Schools such as Juilliard or Boston Conservatory are well recognized, but the curriculum will include a lot of modern dance in addition to ballet.  Finally, you may want a more well-rounded education found in a liberal arts college or traditional university setting.  You will find many well regarded programs; your goal is to match the program to your goals and ability.

 

Are there things a student should never say during a college interview?

Whether interviewing with a university’s employee or an alumni, remember that they love their school!  Nothing sinks an interview faster than a lack of interest. “I’m applying here as a backup” or “because my dad made me” indicates you are unlikely to attend, even if admitted. Lack of interest also shows if you ask questions that easily would have been answered by looking at the school’s website before your interview. Finally, “Do I really need to study?” and “Yeah, I’ve got an easy senior schedule,” are comments that speak volumes about your lack of interest in higher education overall.

 

How can a student figure out which standardized tests to take, when, and how many times?

At a minimum, juniors should take the ACT and SAT once, but many students re-test multiple times to achieve their personal best scores. If you want to re-test, focus on whichever standardized test best highlights your academic strengths. You can retake both the SAT and ACT senior year, but pay attention to application deadlines—some fall test dates may be too late. Students applying to highly selective schools also may be required to take SAT Subject Tests, and international students may need additional tests such as the TOEFL. Specific details on which tests you need and when you need to complete them will depend on where you choose to apply.  Check with each college and university to make sure you satisfy all testing requirements.

 

How can parents help students with the college search and application process?

Parents should emphasize academic achievement and extracurricular involvement starting when their children are in elementary school. Offering encouragement and guidance throughout the school years will help ensure students take challenging classes, earn the best grades possible, seek out extra help in academic problem areas, and participate in meaningful extracurriculars. From freshman year on, parents can encourage students to explore colleges, make college visits, and compare top choices. When the real application process starts, though, it’s important that parents step back, offer advice and encouragement but allow the student to do the work.

 

Send me your questions.  I’m happy to help.  

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