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JazzyMom

Anyone Want to Chat About College Apps/Decisions?

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On 10/17/2018 at 12:43 PM, RootAnn said:

Mine possibly would have qualified for free tuition plus two years of 10k each for room & board at UKy. So, kind of a big deal to shrug off.

But, UAH didn't require even one essay for their app (but does require a separate app for the Honors college that requires a small one & a twitter-size blurb--neither of which she's done) and she got full tuition & a $1k fee stipend there with the possibility of more merit later. Plus, she wasn't sold sold on the huge UKy campus, so I'm not complaining too much. ?

 

DS decided not to apply for a Foundation Fellowship at UGA because of the early deadline (nov 1, I think) combined with all the essays and other hoops it would require. And it just seemed like such a crapshoot, anyway. I figure he's going to run out of steam sooner or later, so better to prioritize doing the apps with a good chance of actually amounting to something. I also pointed out that he doesn't really think he wants to go to UGA anyway, and if he actually got it (it's a full ride with lots of other nice perks, like overseas travel), it'd be awfully hard to turn it down. 

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DS finally has a draft of his common app essay that he's (fairly) satisfied with, so that will speed up the application process. He hit submit on Grinnell and Hamilton (both with no supplementals) today, and I think he's almost finished telling Knox how amazing he is so that he can submit that one. Which means I need to hurry up and get the CSS Profile done. Sigh. We're doing a road trip to visit Grinnell and Knox next month, and that will be it for college visits at least until spring when he's trying to make a decision. Planning the trip is making me realize how very far away a lot of the schools he's looking at are...it's going to be very weird not having him here next year!

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6 hours ago, kokotg said:

 

DS decided not to apply for a Foundation Fellowship at UGA because of the early deadline (nov 1, I think) combined with all the essays and other hoops it would require. And it just seemed like such a crapshoot, anyway. I figure he's going to run out of steam sooner or later, so better to prioritize doing the apps with a good chance of actually amounting to something. I also pointed out that he doesn't really think he wants to go to UGA anyway, and if he actually got it (it's a full ride with lots of other nice perks, like overseas travel), it'd be awfully hard to turn it down. 

One of the moms I am friends with on CC has a Dd (sophomore) who was awarded the Fellows. She turned down Harvard for it. She is having an absolutely amazing experience.  (she was an extremely competitive applicant who was also awarded 40 Acres plus several others.)

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21 hours ago, kokotg said:

We're doing a road trip to visit Grinnell and Knox next month, and that will be it for college visits at least until spring when he's trying to make a decision. Planning the trip is making me realize how very far away a lot of the schools he's looking at are...it's going to be very weird not having him here next year!

We are also doing a Grinnell visit next month. Two years ago we were told that an overnight visit would help DD19’s app. As she got in but ended up going elsewhere, DD17 is also going to do an overnight to hopefully push herself over the top. In addition, it will cut down on the number of visits we need to do next spring. 

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15 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

One of the moms I am friends with on CC has a Dd (sophomore) who was awarded the Fellows. She turned down Harvard for it. She is having an absolutely amazing experience.  (she was an extremely competitive applicant who was also awarded 40 Acres plus several others.)

It sounds like it would be really amazing! I remember not applying when I went to UGA because of the essay (and assuming I wouldn't get it)....I started out determined to push DS to try for it, but he's so overwhelmed with essays right now that I just can't do it. 

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2 minutes ago, Arch at Home said:

We are also doing a Grinnell visit next month. Two years ago we were told that an overnight visit would help DD19’s app. As she got in but ended up going elsewhere, DD17 is also going to do an overnight to hopefully push herself over the top. In addition, it will cut down on the number of visits we need to do next spring. 

Good to know! He has an overnight scheduled--I can use this information to encourage him not to cancel it ? . Really, his overnight at Hendrix was way less terrifying than he anticipated, so I think he's willing to go through with the one at Grinnell, too.

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I missed this thread earlier, and now I feel so far behind.  We haven't hit Submit on anything yet.  Dh, who is brilliant at marketing, is still in the throes of arguing with dd about what gets included in the counselor letter.  My course descriptions are unfinished because we aren't sure if dd is even taking this one class.  

On the bright side, dd processed some of her college recruiting brochures that have been piling up, and identified her favorite tag line:  "We put the CAT in AppliCATion."  Accompanied by a photo of a cat.  

What does that even mean?  

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26 minutes ago, daijobu said:

On the bright side, dd processed some of her college recruiting brochures that have been piling up, and identified her favorite tag line:  "We put the CAT in AppliCATion."  Accompanied by a photo of a cat.  

What does that even mean?  

It means the college recruiting departments are running out of ideas... ?

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

"We put the CAT in AppliCATion."  Accompanied by a photo of a cat.  

What does that even mean?  

I don't know, but I remember asking this same question, so I feel like DD must have gotten this one, too.

Congrats, Penguin and kokotg on submissions! (Essay fatigue is so real.)

Daijobu:  I suggest not including the class description and just adding it to the midterm update paperwork If she does take it. (Easier to add than to explain why she isn't taking it. I left off a planned class because I don't know if it will happen. The only negative is it makes second semester look lighter than it might be, but if it does go through, the midterm update foxes that concern.)

IMO, the counselor letter shouldn't be too influenced by your DD's opinion of its contents. Veto power over something, maybe, but I can't think of what that could be. I'm not sure any non-homeschooled kid even gets to see their counselor letter.

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

I missed this thread earlier, and now I feel so far behind.  We haven't hit Submit on anything yet.  Dh, who is brilliant at marketing, is still in the throes of arguing with dd about what gets included in the counselor letter.  My course descriptions are unfinished because we aren't sure if dd is even taking this one class.  

 

One of my son’s second semester courses is uncertain. He only gets to register for DE after all the regular students register. I noted the planned-but-really-TBD aspect in a sentence on my course description document.

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U Chicago!  Inside it reads:  "The cat's out of the bag!  There's no one right way to put together a great college application."  and  "Don't hesitate to reach out to admissions offices with any questions you may have--curiosity can only help this cat."

We also received a deck of playing cards from Harvey Mudd.  Each card has a fun fact about the college.  

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My DD put in the classes she thinks she is going to take. Her dual enrollment doesn’t occur until until November and there is the potential for change until classes start in January. DD19 did the same with no problems. 

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15 hours ago, kokotg said:

Good to know! He has an overnight scheduled--I can use this information to encourage him not to cancel it ? . Really, his overnight at Hendrix was way less terrifying than he anticipated, so I think he's willing to go through with the one at Grinnell, too.

My DD17 also doesn’t want to do the overnight. She doesn’t like sleepovers and does not do well in a sleeping bag on the floor and off her own schedule.

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We visited Clark University over the weekend for their Open House and she really liked it! It's a safety for her, and she can apply Early Action, so should know the admission decision by mid December. She also did her first interview while we were there, and it went well. She left feeling very excited to have found a school that she really liked AND she's likely to be admitted to.

My DD is very introverted, and hates the disruption to her schedule that college visits involved, so it's been like pulling teeth to drag her to them. It was a lot of driving over two days to do this trip, but I really wanted to get her to Clark because I thought she would like it, and I'm very glad I did. I'll post a full college visit report when I get a chance.

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52 minutes ago, kirag714 said:

We visited Clark University over the weekend for their Open House and she really liked it! It's a safety for her, and she can apply Early Action, so should know the admission decision by mid December. She also did her first interview while we were there, and it went well. She left feeling very excited to have found a school that she really liked AND she's likely to be admitted to.

My DD is very introverted, and hates the disruption to her schedule that college visits involved, so it's been like pulling teeth to drag her to them. It was a lot of driving over two days to do this trip, but I really wanted to get her to Clark because I thought she would like it, and I'm very glad I did. I'll post a full college visit report when I get a chance.

That's awesome--I hear good things about Clark! I listened to an interview with the woman who started Grown and Flown, where she said something like the best thing you can do to make application season less stressful is to help your kid find at least one school where they'll almost definitely get in, that you can afford, and where they'd really be excited to go. DS has 3 early action apps in now, and I'm hoping that will make the wait for decisions in the spring a lot more tolerable for him (and me!)

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We hit "submit" for her first Early Action school (the one without additional writing requirements :cool:)! One or two more EA schools to go with a small amount of writing are due 11/1, and the big reach school she's applying Early Decision to is due on 11/15 - and then she gets a bit of a lull until we see what happens with the ED school. If she's deferred or declined at the ED school and she doesn't want to take any of the EA options, then the next round will be due on 1/1. Fingers crossed for good news!

We are waiting on both of her recommendations. At what point do you send a "reminder" to a teacher who's agreed to write one?

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2 hours ago, kirag714 said:
2 hours ago, kirag714 said:

We hit "submit" for her first Early Action school (the one without additional writing requirements :cool:)! One or two more EA schools to go with a small amount of writing are due 11/1, and the big reach school she's applying Early Decision to is due on 11/15 - and then she gets a bit of a lull until we see what happens with the ED school. If she's deferred or declined at the ED school and she doesn't want to take any of the EA options, then the next round will be due on 1/1. Fingers crossed for good news!

We are waiting on both of her recommendations. At what point do you send a "reminder" to a teacher who's agreed to write one?

 

We are waiting on a couple recommendation letters too!  I did send a reminder to one today.  We have some due Nov 1.  If it's due by Nov 1, I'd send mail.  I'm getting ready to get out my loud voice about it!  Yikes teachers - you've known for months!  Just do it!  If my kid can crank out 20 essays you can crank out couple paragraphs.  

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Speaking of recommendations, you sparked me to look. What does it look like on the Common App when the teacher rec is done? What's the wording on either the student portal or the counselor portal? DD has one that says, "Downloaded." Does that mean done & the college has it now?

The other says, "Started." (Where's the old toe tap emoji when you need it?) I'll probably have her send a reminder a week before it is due...

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Yes - on the common app "Downloaded" or "Submitted" is good.  Downloaded means the school has it.  Submitted means the teacher has it in the system.

 "Invited" or "Started" is bad news.

Grrr ... ready to start whacking people!  ??

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Yeah! Thanks, FuzzyCatz.

DD submitted all her apps before any rec letters were done. Looks like the schools will download them once they are submitted. ?

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4 hours ago, kirag714 said:

We are waiting on both of her recommendations. At what point do you send a "reminder" to a teacher who's agreed to write one?

DH is a high school teacher, so he does a ton of recommendations. He says he very much appreciates it when people remind him and is never offended. He says 2 weeks before it's due is a good time for a reminder. We got lucky and DS's recommenders were very prompt (not like my husband apparently!)....although one of them missed the final "submit" button on the common app so that it was showing up as started but not finished, and DS had to e-mail him to ask him what was up.

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It was three years ago but my ds had a guidance counselor with his umbrella school write a recommendation. She missed the final submit page so it just showed as “started” yet she thought she had finished it so when we asked she said it was done. We had to convince her it wasn’t. She had to call Common App to figure it out as it had changed from the year before. She was gracious but it was awkward to have to tell her that it really wasn’t done even though she was sure she did it.

Same thing happened with a de teacher who refused to go back and finish it. So we had a recommender flake on us. 

So if it just says “started” you might need to follow up. Neither of our recommenders realized they had not completed it and they needed our prompting. Luckily we had someone else willing to write one to make up for the one that didn’t follow through. 

(Really not trying to scare people about their recommenders flaking out. I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone else).

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11 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

It was three years ago but my ds had a guidance counselor with his umbrella school write a recommendation. She missed the final submit page so it just showed as “started” yet she thought she had finished it so when we asked she said it was done. We had to convince her it wasn’t. She had to call Common App to figure it out as it had changed from the year before. She was gracious but it was awkward to have to tell her that it really wasn’t done even though she was sure she did it.

Same thing happened with a de teacher who refused to go back and finish it. So we had a recommender flake on us. 

So if it just says “started” you might need to follow up. Neither of our recommenders realized they had not completed it and they needed our prompting. Luckily we had someone else willing to write one to make up for the one that didn’t follow through. 

(Really not trying to scare people about their recommenders flaking out. I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone else).

 

Yeah, that's what happened with us....my husband says it's fairly common; the submit button is, I guess, in a non-intuitive location and it's not at all unusual for people not familiar with the common app not to find it easily. DS's recommender was a college professor, so probably didn't deal with the common app very often. Fortunately, he found his mistake easily and took care of it quickly.

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On 10/21/2018 at 10:03 AM, RootAnn said:

 

IMO, the counselor letter shouldn't be too influenced by your DD's opinion of its contents. Veto power over something, maybe, but I can't think of what that could be. I'm not sure any non-homeschooled kid even gets to see their counselor letter.

 

I was going to say just this.  I think that a senior has enough things he/she is trying to make decisions on.  The contents of the counselor letter doesn't need to be one of them, unless there is the need to discuss how much of an issue to disclose (such as a learning disability).

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1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

It was three years ago but my ds had a guidance counselor with his umbrella school write a recommendation. She missed the final submit page so it just showed as “started” yet she thought she had finished it so when we asked she said it was done. We had to convince her it wasn’t. She had to call Common App to figure it out as it had changed from the year before. She was gracious but it was awkward to have to tell her that it really wasn’t done even though she was sure she did it.

Same thing happened with a de teacher who refused to go back and finish it. So we had a recommender flake on us. 

So if it just says “started” you might need to follow up. Neither of our recommenders realized they had not completed it and they needed our prompting. Luckily we had someone else willing to write one to make up for the one that didn’t follow through. 

(Really not trying to scare people about their recommenders flaking out. I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone else).

 

DS2 had a critical math instructor decide that the recommendations took too much time and that he wasn't willing to submit anymore for him.  It was aggravating and probably contributed to at least one turn down, since DS's other math instructor would not submit a recommendation until the end of the semester (quite logically, but a painful wait anyway).

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12 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Yes - on the common app "Downloaded" or "Submitted" is good.  Downloaded means the school has it.  Submitted means the teacher has it in the system.

 "Invited" or "Started" is bad news.

Grrr ... ready to start whacking people!  ??

Does "incomplete" mean that they have started it but it's not completed or submitted?

My DD does need the recommendation for 2 of her EA schools by 11/1, so it may be time for a reminder. I just want to get a sense what the status of it is likely to be.

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So, checking in a month later... I'm the one with DS#1 returning for a second Bachelor degree via transferring credits he is currently taking at the community college, and shooting for rolling admissions acceptance into the spring 2019 semester.

Now into the nail-biting stage, as registration for classes at the university starts in just 2 weeks, and DS still does not yet have a formal admission notice. Apparently, the school was waiting on him to provide official transcripts from his 2 past schools, and he hadn't checked his student portal since first applying. ::insert mom shrieking to self emoji::

To be fair, when he was applying he *did* check the box that gave the college permission to request his transcripts directly / electronically from his past 2 schools, and knowing DS, he assumed that meant everything was done. He has not dealt with enough paperwork in his life to know that *he* has to follow up on everything. He did finally see the notice in his student portal that the college needed official transcripts, and he did get those in last week. And yesterday he got an email that he now has an admissions advisor name to contact if he has any further questions. So, that sounds like he is a step closer to being accepted.

Now I'm keeping fingers crossed that the registrar's office will move swiftly on determining which credits will transfer toward the degree, and give him the stamp of admission in time for being able to register for classes as soon as that opens up. And continuing to work on biting my tongue and let him "own" the process. (:D

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My kid didn't even get to look at the counselor letter I wrote for him.  He didn't ask and I didn't tell.  

My counselor letter is mainly specific examples of his work ethic and ability to collaborate that I thought might be mentioned/backed up in other letters from recommenders.  I hope his academics speak for themselves for the most part.  

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Just completed the FAFSA and CSS profile! 

I had delegated the FAFSA to dh so I could have a break, but he asked me for answers to most of the questions anyway and submitted it with a mistake so I had to go back and amend it.  I called one of the schools, and they will get the updated FAFSA, but said we'd probably be selected for verification.  I should have just done it myself!

Anyway, back to the good news...  FAFSA and CSS are DONE!

Ds finished the last of the scholarship apps that are due this fall. So many essays!  Only 2 scholarship apps left to do, but they don't open until January, so I think we are done until then!

So tired and truly over it all.  Hoping and praying for good results with scholarships!

Oh, and dh took ds to a day long visit at U of Texas at Dallas, and surprisingly, ds LOVED it!!!  He said he liked the atmosphere and the diversity on campus, and said he can see himself there.  This school is his safety, y'all.  *happy dance*  He already received enough scholarship money for us to afford it if he lives at home, and he has applied for a few more scholarships there that he seems to have the stats for.  So there's a good chance he'll be able to live on campus.  YAY!!!  So thankful!

Still tired, though.  LOL! 

Told my family I don't want to hear the word college again until all financials are in, and it's time to make a decision.

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4 minutes ago, JazzyMom said:

Still tired, though.  LOL! 

Told my family I don't want to hear the word college again until all financials are in, and it's time to make a decision.

Yay on CSS/FAFSA being done! Great about your ds liking UTD! It is always exciting when they like a school you can afford.

You'll still talk "college" stuff with us Hive people, though, right?  

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1 hour ago, JazzyMom said:

 

Oh, and dh took ds to a day long visit at U of Texas at Dallas, and surprisingly, ds LOVED it!!!  He said he liked the atmosphere and the diversity on campus, and said he can see himself there.  This school is his safety, y'all.  *happy dance*  He already received enough scholarship money for us to afford it if he lives at home, and he has applied for a few more scholarships there that he seems to have the stats for.  So there's a good chance he'll be able to live on campus.  YAY!!!  So thankful!

 

That is an awesome development! A few of our local kids have ended up at UTD. It really is a great school.

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4 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 

That is an awesome development! A few of our local kids have ended up at UTD. It really is a great school.

 

This is good to know.  UTD is high on our list but it's so far (we live in northern OH).  

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I don’t know what is going on with my phone and the crazy posts!  Sorry!!!

Edited by JazzyMom

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@RootAnn, of course I’ll still chat with you all!  So funny how I didn’t want to talk to dh and ds about anything but college for so long, and now I’m just done.  Haha!

Dh and I both met at and graduated from UTD, and we both had a wonderful experience.  The campus was SO much smaller then.  There had only been a few freshman classes at that time.  But the school has invested a lot in the campus and the dorms.  My son loved it.  And the scholarships they give out are hard to beat.

Edited by JazzyMom
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20 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

Just completed the FAFSA and CSS profile! 

 

Woot--congratulations!!

That's my goal for the weekend (FAFSA is finished, but the CSS profile is so intimidating).

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1 hour ago, kokotg said:

Woot--congratulations!!

That's my goal for the weekend (FAFSA is finished, but the CSS profile is so intimidating).

 

Don’t worry. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  As long as ypu have your tax statement in front of you and the balances of bank accounts, investment accounts, etc., it is fairly simple.

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3 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

 

Don’t worry. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  As long as ypu have your tax statement in front of you and the balances of bank accounts, investment accounts, etc., it is fairly simple.

I've worked on it twice so far, gotten totally overwhelmed, and needed to take a break. One supplemental question wants to know what cars we drive, when we got them, and what we paid for them....and then provides a text box with room for about 30 characters to answer. I did just find an FAQ that told me I am supposed to include insurance premiums under medical expenses, and that kind of made my day. It doesn't take much, apparently.

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Oh goodness!  I don’t think mine had the question about the cars.  We only needed it for one school, thankfully!

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59 minutes ago, JazzyMom said:

Oh goodness!  I don’t think mine had the question about the cars.  We only needed it for one school, thankfully!

I think that one is Harvard....which he may not even apply to--it's kind of a "why not give it a try?" if he still has any essays left in him come December kind of thing. I don't mind telling them about my 13 year old Sienna ? , but I don't really want to deal with troubleshooting how they're not giving me enough room to do so!

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FAFSA has a paper version.  Even if you plan to file online, you can print out the paper version to get the idea of what you are going to need to have handy to fill it out.  If not using the DRT, you might go ahead and get your tax transcript now.  Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.  My understanding is that it takes about three weeks to process this, but someone please correct me if I am mistaken. 

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DD17 just got an email from Wellesley. They just dropped their ACT and SAT writing requirement. She wishes she had known a little earlier because she would not have had to take the June ACT or the writing portion last Saturday. However, walking out of Saturday's test, she felt good about everything except the writing portion so she doesn't have to worry about that any more. Now we just have to wait for the results. The ACT website says that results are released on November 13. I seem to remember that the June results came out early....

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56 minutes ago, Arch at Home said:

DD17 just got an email from Wellesley. They just dropped their ACT and SAT writing requirement. She wishes she had known a little earlier because she would not have had to take the June ACT or the writing portion last Saturday. However, walking out of Saturday's test, she felt good about everything except the writing portion so she doesn't have to worry about that any more. Now we just have to wait for the results. The ACT website says that results are released on November 13. I seem to remember that the June results came out early....

 

My DS wholeheartedly approves of this trend of dropping the writing requirement! He doesn't have anywhere left on his list that requires it; otherwise he'd be taking the SAT again just for the essay, and he'd be very grumpy about it (he was signed up to do it in the spring but ended up dropping that part because he didn't feel prepared).

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25 minutes ago, kokotg said:

 

My DS wholeheartedly approves of this trend of dropping the writing requirement! He doesn't have anywhere left on his list that requires it; otherwise he'd be taking the SAT again just for the essay, and he'd be very grumpy about it (he was signed up to do it in the spring but ended up dropping that part because he didn't feel prepared).

Two years ago when DD19 applied, Wellesley did not require the writing portion. Consequently, it was a surprise when we found that requirement this go around. Wellesley must have learned something in the meantime or decided to go with the trend. Who knows but her April ACT score without writing was more balanced and much better than the June that she thought she was going to have to submit.

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5 hours ago, Arch at Home said:

...Wellesley. They just dropped their ACT and SAT writing requirement...

 

4 hours ago, kokotg said:

...My DS wholeheartedly approves of this trend of dropping the writing requirement! He doesn't have anywhere left on his list that requires it...

 

4 hours ago, Arch at Home said:

Two years ago when DD19 applied, Wellesley did not require the writing portion. Consequently, it was a surprise when we found that requirement this go around. Wellesley must have learned something in the meantime or decided to go with the trend...


Even thought the older SAT required the essay, from what I understand, most colleges only looked at the Math& Reading composite score, and disregarded the essay, as it was subjectively scored, compared to the Math and Reading sections which are objectively scored. Also, essay scores are a bit problematic when you realize that scores spend no more than 2-3 minutes per essay before awarding a score, so even though legibility, spelling, and length aren't suppose to come into play in scoring, essay scorers do say those factors subtly influence them.

Anyways, for those who need to know which schools require or recommend the ACT/SAT essay, or where the essay is "not needed" check out:
ACT search engine -- essay required, recommended, "not needed"
SAT search engine -- essay required, recommended, "not needed"
SAT list of required/recommended schools from Prep Scholar

Edited by Lori D.
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23 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Anyways, for those who need to know which schools require or recommend the ACT/SAT essay, or where the essay is "not needed" check out:
ACT search engine -- essay required, recommended, "not needed"
SAT search engine -- essay required, recommended, "not needed"
SAT list of required/recommended schools from Prep Scholar

It looks like the PrepScholar list hasn't been updated for 2018; I know that Harvard, Yale, and Brown all stopped requiring the essay section this year.

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It's done!  I finally hit Submit on the Common App.  The very last minute hiccup was when we were doing the final review.  I had a running header with dd's name and DOB in the upper left of each page.  Trouble is, Common App also adds its own header to each page, also in the upper left.  So on the counselor letter there is a nice patch of garbled text.  So it was back to the document to right justify the header, print as pdf, and reupload.  Whew!  

I also went ahead and uploaded documents to the Coalition App.  I can't tell, but I think I finished that one too, but it was a bit anticlimactic.  

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With early decision due yesterday, we finished everything for the common app by 9 pm. This was a major celebration since I was convinced we'd be hitting submit at 11:59 pm. The ED school required 2 teacher recommendations. As of 7 pm yesterday, ds still only had 1. He had talked to the teacher who said he was happy to write one, and he had clearly explained the due date. DS sent a gentle email a week ago. Every time ds saw teacher in class this week, teacher said "oh, yeah, don't worry, I'll get it done." Yesterday teacher said he'd have it done by 6 pm. At 7 pm we were starting to panic. At 7:30 pm, the recommendation showed up. What a relief! I just hope the teacher did a good job. He knows ds very well, has taught him multiple classes for 4 years. And his subject is ds's potential major. So we really, really wanted this particular teacher.

Now we keep our fingers crossed!!

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