College Counseling: FAQs
Some things are obvious. Go on the campus tour. Sit through the information session, if there is one. If you can, schedule an overnight visit and pretend to be a student. Go to classes. Eat in the dining halls. Read in the library. Sample the cultural and social opportunities outside of the classroom. If you have a special interest in a department, sport or activity, try to meet with someone in that area.
You may want to bring a portfolio, or a resume to discuss. Be thorough. Recognize first impressions but look beyond the surface stereotypes.
We encourage any student who wants an interview to seek an interview. An interview is one way to fully inject life into an application, to take it out of the realm of paper and numbers. Students who feel that their extracurricular records or special talents can be highlighted through an interview (for example some students bring slides or clippings) should pursue interviews. We suggest an interview if one is applying early or to a first choice. We also suggest interviews at small colleges where the personal approach to education predominates.
Please note: Many large state universities and some selective private universities no longer offer interviews. Some colleges and universities offer them as a courtesy. Others assign them to their alumni. Still others send admission officers to host regional interview sessions. These visits are announced, but you should call your schools just to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity.
Tutoring is a good step for some people, but contrary to popular belief, it is not required. You can do a lot of good on your own if you’re disciplined and willing to put in the time. Familiarity and comfort with the test are two key factors in improvement and so go find a relatively inexpensive book like The Official SAT Study Guide, Real SAT-IIs and the Princeton Review’s resource books Cracking the SAT Code and 10 Cracking the ACT Code or an ACT prep book with sample tests and get to work.
Early Decision (E.D.) is a binding agreement between you and the college, by which you agree that you will attend the college should you be accepted. At many schools, E.D. applications are due by November 1 or 15, but the dates and E.D. plans do vary, so read the applications closely. Normally, decisions are mailed before the Christmas holiday. If accepted under an Early Decision plan, you must withdraw your applications at all other colleges.
Early Action (E.A.) follows the same timetable as Early Decision, but it is not a binding agreement. If accepted to a college under an Early Action policy, you may still attend another college if you so choose.