Helping Students Overcome Undermatch

No Comments 24 May 2017

For many high achieving, low-income students, undermatch is a real phenomenon.

Undermatch occurs when a qualified student attends a college or university that is below his or her grades, test scores and abilities. Academically promising students wind up in community college or mediocre four-year colleges. Often times, they receive less financial, academic and social support than if they attended a more competitive college.

By following these steps, academic counselors can help students avoid being undermatched in the college application process.

Be Relentlessly Respectful and Respectfully Relentless

In order to overcome undermatch, counselors need to step into some discomfort and have crucial conversations with students. Counselors should tell students they value their strengths and never doubt their potential. With that mindset and a bit of patience and persistence, we can enable students to have the best options.

Nudge Students outside of Their Comfort Zone

I worked closely with a student in the top 10 percent of her class who was a committed member of the city’s youth council and the daughter of single mother who never graduated high school. On paper, she was a very competitive applicant to the most selective universities.

In her mind, though, she had doubts about being admitted to a local state school. I told her to open her options. After weeks of constant back and forth, she finally added more colleges to her list.

Show Students They Fit at Selective Institutions

Students often think they cannot get into or afford to attend more selective colleges and universities. But, with a bit of research, counselors can show students they are qualified to attend selective colleges and universities.

The student I encouraged to apply to more colleges was admitted to seven of the 12 she had on her list. Her mom cried with happiness when she submitted her decision to attend a university she never thought she would attend.

You should create a College Greenlight profile to see what colleges and scholarships you qualify for. Continue to make sure your information is up-to-date and you will be matched with the best options for you.

This piece was contributed by Alex Serna, assistant director of Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano.

Admissions, Fly-In Focus

College Greenlight Hosts Fly-in Program Webinar

No Comments 19 May 2017

Visiting a college campus doesn’t have to be a challenge — even if a campus is across the county. Many colleges offer fly-in programs, where students are flown in for a campus tour.

College Greenlight keeps an updated list of fly-in programs all over the country. More than 70 colleges, including many of the nation’s top schools, offer these programs.

College Greenlight hosted a webinar about fly-in programs, talking with admissions officers from Williams College, Bowdoin College and Swarthmore College. Listen for tips on how to access these programs.

Fly-in facts:

  • Colleges pay for students to come to campus
  • Students stay on campus in dorms and experience what college life is like
  • Fly-in programs aren’t limited to planes. Students also can be brought to campus via buses or trains.


Top Colleges that Come to Visit You

No Comments 17 May 2017

Students from underrepresented backgrounds often are eligible for college fly-in programs, where colleges fly in students for campus visits. Some colleges, however, go an extra step and jointly travel to the students as a group.

These programs, which travel across the country and give students the opportunity to meet with campus officials from top colleges and universities, make it easier for underrepresented students to learn about selective institutions.

Here is a list of travel programs that give students opportunities they might not otherwise have:


Coast to Coast College Tour

College participants: Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, Princeton University, University of California at Berkeley, Vanderbilt University

Program dates/locations: Program runs May through June in various locations across the U.S.

About the program: Each college or university practices holistic admissions, meaning they weigh the entire applicant, not just one admissions factor.


The NUWHE Tour

College participants: Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, Washington University in St. Louis

Program dates/locations: Program runs through May in various locations across the U.S.

About the program: The universities will host a presentation and then be available to meet with students and parents afterward.


Exploring Educational Excellence

College participants: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Rice University, University of Chicago

Program dates/locations: Program runs May through June in various locations across the U.S.

About the program: Students and their parents can attend sessions that include an overview of each university, information on admissions and financial aid and meet with admissions representatives. Participants must register.


Exploring College Options

College participants: Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania

Program dates/locations: Program runs at various times and locations across the U.S. See the program website for further details.

About the program: The program visits all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. Each university will present a brief slide presentation and answer questions.


How To Pick Your Freshman Dorm

No Comments 03 May 2017

If you plan to live on campus, freshman dorm selection can be a stressful process. Just ask yourself the following questions to make sure you make the best choice for your new home away from home.

How many people do you want to live with?

There are multiple room options for freshman dorms. If you hate the idea potential roommate conflict and you love the idea of organizing your room the way you’d like, living in a single might be the best route for you. If you love the idea of having some company and a buddy to potentially tag along with you to various events, one roommate is a great option. And if you absolutely love being with people 24/7, select a triple or quad dorm.

What kind of people do you want to meet?

If you live in a traditional dorm, you will meet a variety of people with different interests who come from different backgrounds. But the best way to connect with people who share similar interests is to pick themed housing. Themes can range from a major or academic department to international students to personal interests, such as eco-friendly living.

Where on campus do you want to live?

Compare each dorm to the other buildings you will have classes in or visit frequently. Is the best dorm worth it if it’s the furthest away from the location of your classes? If your ideal dorm is far away from the spots on campus that you will be frequenting, you might have to look into alternative types of transportation, such as a bicycle. Just remember that the location of your dorm can impact your day-to-day life.

What’s included in each dorm?

Some people consider a community bathroom to be a great way to meet other people on your floor. But if that’s not your thing, look for dorms with only private bathrooms. If the ease of staying in your building for a meal or snack is important, you should look for a dorm with a dining hall and/or convenience store included.

Do you have a backup plan?

You might have your dream dorm picked out, but there’s a chance you might not get it. Many universities do a lottery system for dorm selection. That means you might end up at the bottom of the list, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Make sure to find a second-choice dorm. Odds are you will not be spending too much time in your room, so if you do not get every item on your wish list, it won’t be the end of the world.


College Decision Day is here. Now What?

No Comments 01 May 2017

May 1 is College Decision Day. Here are the next steps you should follow after formally committing to a college:

Withdraw Applications

If you have been accepted to multiple colleges, it’s important that you notify colleges that you will not be attending. Once you commit to a school, it’s common courtesy to withdraw your application from the other colleges you applied to. That way, the next-most qualified student on the college’s waitlist can take your spot. If you received any merit-based or institutional aid, this also allows those funds to be freed up for other students. Reach out to admissions offices if you have any questions about withdrawing applications.

Look for Scholarships

Just because you have made your college decision doesn’t mean you need to stop looking for scholarships. High school students aren’t the only people eligible for scholarships – students in college can apply for scholarships. College is expensive and any bit helps. Keep your College Greenlight profile up-to-date throughout college so we can continue to match you to scholarships.

Plan for Orientation

Your college will offer a student orientation this summer. Get this date on the calendar now because this will be an event you won’t want to miss. There will be a lot of useful information at orientation that will help you ease into college life. You will also get the opportunity to meet your future classmates.

Start Shopping

If you will be living on campus next year, you will need a lot of new things for your new home away from home. Stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target have special deals on dorm supplies every summer, so start keeping an eye out for these sales. If you find a store near your campus, you can order things online and arrange to pick them up when you move in.

Enjoy the Summer

The college search, application and decision process is a long and stressful journey but you’ve finally reached the end of it. Finish the school year strong and relax this summer so you can go into college feeling refreshed.

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