The playing fields are greening up, the geese are getting sassy, and now it's snowing -- it must be spring at last! What does that mean for you? Lots!
The seniors are only here for another five weeks, then we give them their exams and ship them out until graduation. (Actually, we give them something meaningful to do off-campus for the last three weeks; it’s called “Career Intern Experience,” or CIE.) Once they’re outta here, you get to give seniordom a test drive – sit in the front rows in Anschutz, park in the senior lot, and generally feel superior. After your dry run, you can decide whether you really want to be seniors after all, or whether you’d just as soon stay in 11th grade (ha!). Your parents are probably sitting on the fence on this one. They’re thinking, “Where has my baby gone?” and at the same time, “How much longer until this money-sucking, laundry-mounding, late night-playing little darling of mine is off to college?” (No, no, no, not your parents!)
April is a big month for juniors. On Monday, April 9th during your advisor meeting, you’ll receive your Case Studies folder containing the first mock application (we're starting with Mary Ann Leavitt). Who, what, where, when, why… huh? Read on!
Twenty-one college admissions officers from around the country have already booked their flights to DIA to participate in the Spring College Fair at DU on April 22nd (see "Reminders" for more on this) and after that, to participate in the fourth annual KDS/CA College Application Case Studies program on Monday, April 23rd. This year, at Colorado Academy. (Come on -- they're our friends!) All juniors from both Kent Denver and Colorado Academy will be participating, and interested parents of juniors (who are willing to do the "homework"!) are invited, as well.
Here's how the program will work:
1. During advisor meetings on April 9, 16, and 23, juniors will be given the application files of three mock applicants to a fake-o college called Fairbrook University (one each meeting). You'll spend the half hour reading through that week's file, including the applicant’s Common Application, activities list, essay, counselor recommendation, teacher recommendations, transcript, and high school profile. You'll make yourself some notes about each one, and your advisor will hold on to them for you and give you back all three at class meeting on "game day." (Parents who wish to participate can access the files in pdf form by clicking the links in the blue column to the right of this letter. Students, you're welcome to do the same!)
2. On Monday, April 23rd, we’ll all gather in the Colorado Academy Campus Center at 7:00pm sharp (there will be signs showing you the way) where you'll be introduced to our 21 college admissions officers (real ones, though during the "committee" part of the program, they will be playing the part of admissions deans who work for the fake-o Fairbrook University).
3. You'll be issued a name tag at the start of the program, and on it, along with your name, will be a room number/location name. Most of the program will be spent in that room discussing the merits of the three applicants and deciding which one to admit. Your real admissions officer will guide you through the evaluation process, explaining how actual college admission committees view the different parts of the application. You'll walk away with a much better understanding of how the process works, and we hope, with ideas about how to make your own college applications stand out.
4. The program will end with a half hour mini-college fair back in the Campus Center. Students and parents will be able to talk with the admissions officers about their actual colleges, enjoy refreshments, and mingle. (There will also be a board prominently displayed with the results of the various committees' deliberations so you can see which applicant "got in.") It will be a "no homework" night for juniors, so no need to rush home to cram for a test the next day.
We're expecting all juniors to be in attendance for the program, but for parents, participation is optional. Parents who would like to sit on committees (which will be segregated -- all-student and all-parent!) should RSVP to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we'll know how many parent committees to form. And please remember, parents, that you need to be prepared to participate. Read those application files!
What colleges will be sending admission officers? Here's our current list, in alphabetical order: Brandeis University (MA), Colgate University (NY), Colorado College, CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, University of Denver, Dickinson College (PA), George Washington University (D.C.), Grinnell College (IA), Johns Hopkins University (MD), Kenyon College (OH), Lafayette College (PA), Lake Forest College (IL), New York University – Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates!), Santa Clara University (CA), St. Olaf College (MN), Trinity College (CT), Trinity University (TX), Wesleyan University (CT), Whitman College (WA), College of Wooster (OH)
Be sure to check out “What’s New?” and “Reminders” below. There’s a lot more!
Director of College Counseling
• Hot off the press! As of the 2012-13 testing year (starting this fall) the College Board will no longer allow for standby SAT testing. You must register for the test ahead of time, not later than the "late registration" deadline. How come? It has to do with test security, which you may be aware was circumvented this year by some high-scoring test takers in New York. In return for a hefty "fee," they took SATs for other students using fake IDs. They were ultimately busted (and their college admission prospects aren't looking good), but the whole sordid affair led the College Board to crack down on potential fraud. Not only will you not be able to test "standby," but you'll have to upload a photo of yourself when you register online, and that photo will be transmitted to test sites so that you and your photo id can be scrutinized by test monitors. (Don't cut your hair!)
How about the ACT? According to the latest News You Can Use newsletter from the ACT (yes, I read such exciting things!), they, too, are hopping on the upload-a-photo-when-you-register bandwagon to "enhance" security. They don't say anything, though, about eliminating their standby testing option. Stay tuned for updates!
• If you're contemplating taking a break from the formal educational process after graduation and participating in a gap year program, you may be interested in hearing about opportunities with a terrific Gap Year/Semester provider called "Where There Be Dragons." Their programs include "travel, service, immersion in Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, trekking, and internship opportunities." The director of the organization will be visiting KDS on April 12th. Here's the info:
Director Susie Rinehart will be offering information on gap fall and spring trips to Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East
• If your phone is smart (unlike my not-so-sharp one), you might want to play with the MyMajors app: http://www.mymajors.com/App/
. The website helps you figure out what college majors might interest you and shows you which colleges offer that major. If you’d like to read about how declaring a major may fit into the college application process, check out p.61 of the Blue Book. To access the book online, go to www.kentdenver.org
and look for the link to the book in the blue box labeled "College Counseling Resources. (You may be well beyond this step, in which case, forgedaboudit!)
• Now that the college application process for seniors is being wrapped up, it’s time for sleep deprived, caffeine overdosed admission officers to kick off their bunny slippers, put on their street shoes, and leave their conference rooms to hit the road to start recruiting the next batch of applicants – that’s you juniors! Check the websites of colleges that interest you to see if Denver is on their travel schedules this spring. (Go to the admission home page and look for a link to the college’s visit schedule.)
Many colleges will be in town for the April 22 college fair at the University of Denver (see “Reminders” below), and others will be hosting information sessions at various locations around town. (See the listing at the bottom of this letter.) We'll be letting you know about college visitors coming to campus this spring. (We try to schedule them during club time or the double lunch period, whenever possible, as you're not permitted to miss class for a college meeting until the fall). Remember to sign up to attend college meetings through Naviance Family Connection. Click on your "Colleges" tab, and you'll see scheduled visits by reps from both Arizona State University and UCLA. Planned visits will be posted outside Ms. Scobie's office, but you need to “sign up” online. (These in-school meetings are for students only. Sorry, parents.)
• If you'd like to add one more book to your college process library, our own Eric Dawson has co-authored a book titled, How to be Irresistible to Colleges: The Essential Guide to Being Accepted
. You've heard most of the advice (after all, Mr. Dawson is a Kent Denver College Counselor), but the format is entertaining, cartoons are provided by Sam Ayres (KDS '05), and it's a great read! Many of the college admissions reps who provided endorsements for the book will be taking part in our Case Studies program. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Click here
to order a copy from Amazon.com. (I bet Mr. Dawson will autograph it for you!)
• If you’re interested in free SAT practice, Princeton Review will be offering a free practice SAT here at Kent Denver on Sunday, April 15th from 2:00-6:00pm in Grant Hall, with a follow-up strategy session on Sunday, April 22nd from 4:00-5:00pm. (After the college fair that day!) There’s no charge, but you need to plan to attend the follow-up session to receive your scores and hear advice about interpreting them and improving them. We’re hosting the test mainly for sophomores as they took the ACT pre-test in October rather than the PSAT and might like a crack at the College Board test before taking the PSAT next October. Interested juniors, though, are more than welcome to take advantage of the free-practice opportunity, as well. To register for the free practice SAT, contact the local Princeton Review office by calling 866-408-8867 and punching in extension 5227. (They need to know who’s coming so that they bring enough tests.)
Sick of the SAT or happier with the ACT? No problem. Princeton Review is also offering a free practice ACT at Kent Denver on Sunday, May 6th, 2:00-6:00pm in Grant Hall, with a follow-up session on Sunday, May 20th, 4:00-5:00pm in Grant Hall. (We're skipping over May 13th because it's Mother's Day!) As with the practice SAT, register by contacting the Princeton Review office at 866-408-8867 ext 5227.
• Remember that writing assignment that your college counselor gave you at our February advisor meeting? Don't panic! You won’t be graded on misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, or any other baffling grammar rules. Rather, we simply need to know more about you.
Your college counselor will be the one who writes your main school recommendation, often referred to, cleverly, as the “counselor recommendation.” To do even a halfway decent job of it, we need to know not only what you’ve been doing with yourself over these high school years but also what makes you tick. What are you proud of? What keeps you up at night? Do you like pepperoni or pineapple on your pizza? (Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.) And speaking of “a halfway decent job,” I bet you’re hoping for better than that, and you’ll get it, but you have to participate to win! Parents, too, will be given an opportunity to brag about you in their own words, an optional but encouraged writing assignment. So make sure you give them something to brag about. Make your bed, already! (In the writing mood? Read the next item about the upcoming College Essay Workshop.)
In any case, be sure to complete your writing assignment by the time you next meet with your college counselor during advisory (May 14) so that your college counselor can write a fabulous counselor recommendation for you, and don’t forget to set up a meeting with your college counselor and a parent or two before the end of the school year (if you haven’t already, of course). Don’t let the train leave the station without you!
• Remember to keep your calendar clear for the College Essay Workshop before school on Wednesday, May 9th. Yes, you'll have to get an early start on one of the last late-start days, but it will be well worth it! You'll get tons of great advice and a head start on an essay or two of your own. Summer vacation is the perfect time to work on this important part of your college applications. Stay tuned for more info to come, but don't plan anything else for that morning before school. All juniors are expected to attend.
• Don’t forget the College Fair at the University of Denver Ritchie Center, on Sunday, April 22, 1:00-3:30pm
. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk with college reps from across the country, pick up information, view books, free pencils and other fun stuff. (Parents are also welcome to attend.) The fair flyer, which includes directions for registering to attend, is available via a link in the sidebar. To download a list of colleges registered to attend so far, click here
• Looking for a summer program on a college campus? Though some students are misled into thinking that attending a summer program gives an applicant some sort of an “in” at a college, a college summer program can be terrific way to get a feel for a particular college or the college experience in general. What are college dorm rooms like? How about dining halls, classrooms, libraries, and athletic facilities? Nothing like being there for a few weeks to give you a new perspective on what you’d like, or wouldn’t like, in a college that will be your home for four years. (Not to mention that you could learn something really interesting in a college course!) Summer opportunities are posted in the Kent Denver library on the corkboard in the hall directly to the left of the main entrance and are cataloged in Family Connection under "enrichment programs." You can also go to a specific college's website to search for summer program offerings.
• There are still opportunities for you to give College Board and the ACT companies your hard-earned money in return for exasperating, discombobulating, fill-in-the-bubble standardized tests. The May 5 SAT deadline is April 6 (late deadline April 20), and the June 2 registration deadline is May 8 (late deadline May 22). Remember that the June SAT date is recommended for most SAT Subject Tests. (See the handout in your College Night packet and/or your College Counseling Handbook
for SAT Subject Test advice and information.) Register for tests online at sat.collegeboard.org/register
, and remember to stop by the College Counseling Office or shoot me an email for few waiver codes for both the SAT Reasoning and Subject Tests and the ACT, if you qualify.
We're long past even the late registration date for the April 14 ACT, but if you'd like to try your luck with testing "standby," check out the instructions: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/standbytest.html
. The deadline for the June 9 ACT test is May 4 (late deadline May 18). Register online at www.actstudent.org/regist
“What?!!!” I hear you asking, “Take a standardized test when summer vacation has started? Are you insane
?!” Actually, the end of the first week of summer break is a great time to take a stab at the ACT because you’ve had a week of rest but aren’t too far gone into vacation mode. And if you have a bad experience, no harm/no foul. You can simply opt not to send it to your colleges. In any case, there is a growing list of colleges that don’t require standardized test scores at all for admission. Check out the list at www.fairtest.org/university/optional
• If you’re looking for a summer SAT test prep course, there's a very affordable one offered as part of the KDS Summer Session. How convenient! Here's the link to the Summer Session page of the KDS website where you'll find a link to the pdf of this year's course offerings (the SAT prep class is on p.12):
• Interested in some one-on-one test tutoring? You can access our list of recommended tutors via a link in the sidebar.
After Hours/Off Campus College Programs
For Students and Parents
Colorado State University "Spotlight on Design and Merchandizing Day"
• Friday, April 20, 2012, 2:00pm-9:00pm
• On the CSU campus in Fort Collins
• "Spotlight on Design and Merchandising Day" is intended to "provide a glimpse into Apparel Design, Merchandising, and Interior Design majors."
• The program will include face time with faculty and students of the Department of Design and Merchandising, a tour of the design facility, an abbreviated tour of the CSU campus, a light supper, and a fashion show in the evening.
• There is a $15 fee for the program and a simple application to submit with your payment. (No essays or such shenanigans!) I have copies of the application in the College Counseling Room. Applications are due by March 30th. (You can also opt to attend only the evening fashion show for a $10 fee.)
• Learn more about CSU's Department of Design and Merchandizing at www.dm.cahs.colostate.edu
. You can also contact the department at email@example.com or by good old-fashioned telephone at (970) 491-1629.
The George Washington University
• Sunday, April 22, 6:00pm in the KDS library
• He's back! Admissions Rep: Rob Ramey, Assistant Director of Admissions
(Rob will be participating in our case studies program the next evening!)
• To register, go to:
Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, Stanford ("Exploring College Options")
• Sunday, May 20, 7:30pm
• Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street
• "Representatives from the five universities will conduct brief slide presentations about their institution and answer your questions about the sometimes-mystifying world of college admissions. You will learn what distinguishes one fine university from another, what competitive colleges look for in the selection process, and what you can do to enhance your college application."
University of Richmond
• Tuesday, May 22, 7:00-8:30pm, in our very own El Pomar Hall
• Admissions Rep: Tom Nicholas
• RSVP instructions not yet ready!