Junior year- college presentations in your hometown

Although most colleges are holding open houses and special visit days for admitted seniors, many schools are beginning to reach out to juniors as these students begin their college search journey.  One such opportunity for junior year students to take a closer look is a group information session in your hometown.  Notre Dame, Emory, Wash U, UVA and Johns Hopkins have teamed up to offer group presentations in various cities around the country.

You can learn more here: http://thenuwhetour.org/



Admitted, now what?


The waiting game is now over, and to those of you accepted to your first-choice school, congratulations!  Given the rise in the number of applications that students submit, many students may have multiple options without a clear first choice school.  So, how does one decide??

1.      Take advantage of accepted student days.  Many schools offer admitted students the opportunity to spend a day on campus and meet with various university groups- faculty, athletics, residence life, career services, etc.  Colleges will roll out the red carpet on this day, and it is a great occasion to ask lots of questions.

2.      Attend class.  Some colleges may offer admitted students the opportunity to sit-in on a class.  This is a perfect time to take a closer look at academic fit.  You might not fully understand what is taking place within the class, but you can certainly get a sense if the professor knows his/her students, you can observe to see if students are truly engaged in the topic, and you can explore the overall classroom environment.

3.      Reach out to a faculty member in your chosen field.  If you have a clear major in mind call the admissions office and ask to connect to a professor within that field.  This is a great opportunity to ask specific and direct questions about coursework, research opportunities, internships and what alumni are doing once they graduate.

4.      Spend a night.  Some schools may offer students the opportunity to stay in a dorm room and get the full residential experience.  This is a great way to try the food, explore the various rooming options and learn about the social environment on campus.


May 1st is the national reply date, and all students who plan to enroll in the fall of 2017 must submit a deposit to one school by this date.  The next few weeks can be very busy for seniors as they try to make that final decision.

Waitlisted. Now What?

posted by: Lisa Cynamon Mayers, Senior Admissions Consultant


The waitlist is like purgatory. Waiting, wondering, not knowing if you’ll ultimately get the call from the bullpen or if you’ll simply be stuck waiting around, never getting the nod. The problem with the waitlist is that the college admission officers really can’t let you know your true chances of being taken off of the waitlist. At this point in the game their guess is as good as yours as to whether or not they’ll need to go to the waitlist come May. The waitlist is like an insurance policy for colleges. Ideally the magic number of admitted students will say yes, the class will be filled and all will be thrilled. Well, all except those on the waitlist. With a month to go until admitted students need to notify colleges of their decision, the waitlist is anyone’s guess. 


If you find yourself waitlisted by your first choice school there are some things that you can do to help maximize your odds of coming off of the waitlist. Even if you do everything I suggest understand that you still may not get the nod. Remember it’s a game of statistics and numbers at this point and even though you are amazing and wonderful and have so much to offer Dream U., there just may not be a space for you right now.


Some suggestions:

  1. Write a letter. Take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write an honest, heartfelt letter about your interest in the college. Explain in detail why you are interested and what you would bring to campus. Don’t be whiny or defensive. Just be candid and forthcoming about your interest in the school.
  2. Send updates. The admission committee received your application back in December or January. Maybe you’ve received additional honors or your grades have improved or you finally made varsity. Share this information. In your heartfelt letter include any updates or additional accolades or accomplishments.
  3. Counselor call. Ask your high school counselor to call the admission office. Maybe your counselor can glean some additional information that could be useful. Perhaps your counselor will learn that it’s just not going to happen and you can start the process of moving on.
  4. Write another letter. In early May. After May 1st the admission offices will have a better sense of their numbers. Remind the admission counselors of your interest in another friendly letter. If anyone is going to come off of the waitlist, it’s going to be the students who have demonstrated consistent interest.
  5. Move on. In all likelihood you’ve been admitted to other great schools. Though it may not have worked out with Dream U. you still have a bright future and other fantastic schools hoping you will select their campus. By October you probably won’t even look back and wish you were at another school. But if during your first or second semester you are still yearning to attend Dream U., transferring is always an option.

Standardized Tests

Some juniors have recently had the 'joy' of taking the March SAT exam and feel relief to have one standardized test out of the way.  Unfortunately, testing is a part of the admission process and it is not going away any time soon.  SAT, ACT, SAT Subject tests, PSAT- how does one sort all this out given that there are different tests and every school seems to have a different requirement?  I have many junior students ask me whether colleges prefer the SAT or the ACT in the admission process.  Fortunately for students, in this current admission climate, college admission officers do not have a preference, and students should focus their testing preparation on just one standardized test- the SAT or the ACT. 

The SAT was redesigned by the College Board in 2015 and this 'new' SAT was introduced about a year ago.  With these changes the SAT and ACT look more similar in content, but differences do remain, and I often encourage sophomores to take a diagnostic test prior to junior year in order to find where their testing strengths lie in order to focus preparation on just one of the tests.

There are certainly a growing number of colleges that are test optional, and students can learn more about that list at fairtest.org, a great website that breaks down the various testing policies at test optional schools.  However, even if a student will likely only apply to test optional schools, I always encourage students to take the SAT or ACT which might be required for placement once a student enrolls at a particular college.

Some of the more competitive universities also require additional testing in the form of SAT Subject Tests.  These tests are designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement in a particular academic subject.  It seems that every college or university has a different policy regarding which Subject Tests are required and how many.  Although many schools do not require any Subject Test, the Ivies and other competitive colleges do.  Therefore, it is important that students do their homework so that they meet all of the testing requirements of each school.

Finally, it is also important that students (and parents) keep track of deadlines.  The SAT is offered six times throughout the school year, and for the first time this year, the College Board (the group that puts out the SAT) will provide an SAT sitting to students in August.  To counter that, the ACT will begin to offer an ACT exam in the summer of 2018.  Below you will find test dates, registration deadlines and score availability dates.

2017 SAT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Score Delivery Dates

March 11, 2017           February 10, 2017       April 13, 2017

May 6, 2017                April 7, 2017               June 8, 2017

June 3, 2017                May 9, 2017                July 12, 2017

 

2017-2018 Anticipated SAT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Score Delivery Dates

August 26, 2017          TBD                            TBD                                     

October 7, 2017          TBD                            TBD

November 4, 2017      TBD                             TBD

December 2, 2017       TBD                            TBD

March 10, 2018           TBD                            TBD

May 5, 2018                TBD                            TBD

June 2, 2018                TBD                            TBD

 

2017-2018 ACT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Scores Posted Online

April 8, 2017               March 3, 2017             April 18, 2017–June 2, 2017

June 10, 2017             May 5, 2017                June 20, 2017–August 4, 2017

September 9, 2017      TBD                            TBD

October 28, 2017        TBD                            TBD

December 9, 2017       TBD                            TBD

February 10, 2018       TBD                            TBD

April 14, 2018             TBD                            TBD

June 9, 2018                TBD                            TBD

July 14, 2018               TBD                            TBD


Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

By Chuck Hughes

Former Senior Harvard Admissions Officer


Schools are beginning to release regular admissions decisions. Boston College, Northeastern, Washington University, some of the UC schools and other colleges have sent their regular admissions responses, and another wave of schools will release results today. We have compiled a list of schools that we have contacted with their release dates and another group that lists when they released decisions last year. Hopefully this will help you keep track of the next two weeks of decisions that will be coming to your students.

Institution

Official Notification Date (2017)

Updated Notification Date (2017)

Actual Notification Date (2016)

American University

by 4/1

week of 3/20

mailed 3/21

Amherst College

1-Apr

 

25-Mar

Babson College

mid-March

3/17 4pm ET NEW

3/18 3pm ET

Bard College

end of March

 

18-Mar

Barnard College

late March

 

3/24 7pm ET

Bates College

by 4/1

 

3/26 12pm ET

Bentley University

late March

 

15-Mar

Boston University

late March - early April

18-Mar

19-Mar

Bowdoin College

early April

 

18-Mar

Brandeis University

1-Apr

 

3/17 evening ET

Brown University

end of March

30-Mar

3/31 after 5pm ET

Bryn Mawr College

1-Apr

1-Apr

23-Mar

Bucknell University

29-Mar

 

3/28 after 9pm ET

California State Polytechnic University - San Luis Obispo

1-Apr

1-Apr

rolling beginning 2/17

California Institute of Technology

mid-March

3/11 12pm PT

12-Mar

Carleton College

1-Apr

3/22 8pm CT

21-Mar

Carnegie Mellon University

by 4/15

 

mailed 3/22, online 3/26 midnight ET

Case Western Reserve University

20-Mar

3/17 8pm ET NEW

12-Mar

Chapman University

mid-March

9-Mar

5-Mar

Claremont McKenna College

1-Apr

3/24 5pm PT

3/22 5pm PT

Colby College

by 4/1

3/17 3pm ET NEW

25-Mar

Colgate University

1-Apr

mailed 3/20

mailed 3/18

College of the Holy Cross

by 4/1

3/18 NEW

18-Mar

College of William and Mary

mailed by 4/1

 

23-Mar

Colorado College

late March

3/10 4pm MT

15-Mar

Columbia University

late March

30-Mar

3/31 5pm ET

Connecticut College

late March

 

3/19 10am ET

Cornell University

7-Apr

30-Mar

3/31 5pm ET

Dartmouth College

7-Apr

30-Mar

31-Mar

Davidson College

1-Apr

3/22 9pm ET NEW

3/19 10am ET

Denison University

1-Apr

3/17 NEW

9-Mar

Dickinson College

late March

16-Mar

17-Mar

Drexel University

by 4/1

 

23-Mar

Duke University

1-Apr

30-Mar

3/24 7pm ET

Emory University (Emory)

by 4/1

3/23 6pm ET NEW

3/30 6pm ET

Emory University (Oxford)

by 4/1

3/23 6pm ET NEW

3/30 6pm ET

Franklin and Marshall

1-Apr

3/17 NEW

18-Mar

George Washington University

late March/early April

 

29-Mar

Georgetown University

1-Apr

 

mailed 3/24

Georgia Institute of Technology

11-Mar

3/11 12pm ET

3/12 12pm ET

Gettysburg College

late March

 

mailed 3/18

Gonzaga University

mailed by 4/1

 

14-Mar

Grinnell College

late March

 

3/18 5pm CT

Hamilton College

1-Apr

 

3/25 8pm ET

Harvard University

late March

30-Mar

31-Mar

Harvey Mudd College

mailed 4/1

3/17 evening PT NEW

3/18 6:30pm PT

Haverford College

early April

 

mailed 3/23

Johns Hopkins University

by 4/1

3/17 3pm ET NEW

3/18 3pm ET

Kenyon College

mid-March

3/17 6pm ET

20-Mar

Lafayette College

by 4/1

 

mailed 3/22

Lehigh University

late March

 

24-Mar

Lewis and Clark College

1-Apr

 

18-Mar

Middlebury College

late March/early April

3/18 after 8am ET

3/19 after 8pm ET

New York University

1-Apr

1-Apr

1-Apr

North Carolina State

30-Mar

 

18-Mar

Northwestern University

late March

 

17-Mar

Oberlin College

1-Apr

 

25-Mar

Occidental College

1-Apr

 

22-Mar

Pepperdine University

1-Apr

by 4/1

18-Mar

Pitzer College

1-Apr

 

mailed 3/22

Pomona College

by 4/1

3/17 5pm PT NEW

3/18 after 5pm PT

Princeton University

30-Mar

30-Mar

31-Mar

Providence College

by 4/1

 

17-Mar

Rhodes College

by 4/1

 

11-Mar

Rice University

by 4/1

 

25-Mar

St. Lawrence University

late March

3/17 NEW

22-Mar

Sarah Lawrence College

late March-early April

 

17-Mar

Scripps College

by 4/1

 

 

Smith College

late March

24-Mar

3/25 6pm ET

Spelman College

mailed 4/1

 

24-Mar

Stanford University

1-Apr

3/31 3pm PT

3/25 3pm PT

Swarthmore College

by 4/1

3/17 7pm ET

by 3/24 6pm ET

Trinity College

late March

 

23-Mar

Tufts University

by 4/1

 

3/31 late afternoon ET

Tulane University

by 4/1

 

18-Mar

University of California - Berkeley

31-Mar

30-Mar

24-Mar

University of California - Davis

mid-March

10-Mar

11-Mar

University of California - Irvine

by 3/31

beginning 3/16 through next week

beginning early March

University of California - Los Angeles

by late March

3/17 evening PT

18-Mar

University of California - Santa Barbara

31-Mar

by 3/21 3pm PT

3/22 3pm PT

University of California - Santa Cruz

3/15-3/31

15-Mar

15-Mar

University of Chicago

late March

3/17 late afternoon CT NEW

3/16 late afternoon CT

University of Georgia

mid-March

3/17 NEW

3/18 late afternoon ET

University of Maryland - College Park

by 4/1

 

18-Mar

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

beginning early March

 

mailed 3/1

University of Miami

early April

 

21-Mar

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

early April

 

rolling

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

end of March

 

30-Mar

University of Notre Dame

end of March

 

18-Mar

University of Pennsylvania

1-Apr

30-Mar

31-Mar

University of Richmond

1-Apr

 

mailed 3/18

University of Rochester

1-Apr

beginning 3/9

18-Mar

University of Southern California

by 4/1

 

mailed 3/23, online 3/26

University of Texas - Austin

1-Mar

by 3/1

1-Mar

University of Virginia

end of March

 

25-Mar

Vanderbilt University

1-Apr

 

3/23 5:30pm CT

Vassar College

late March

 

28-Mar

Villanova University

31-Mar

 

22-Mar

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

1-Apr

by 3/17

18-Mar

Wake Forest University

by 4/1

 

mailed 3/23

Washington and Lee College

24-Mar

3/24 8pm ET

3/25 8pm ET

Wellesley College

late March

 

23-Mar

Wesleyan University

late March

 

25-Mar

Whitman College

late March

 

mailed 3/24

Williams College

by 4/1

 

3/23 evening ET

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

1-Apr

3/24 NEW

18-Mar

Yale University

1-Apr

30-Mar

31-Mar

When You Wake Up At 3AM and Think: “What if my kid doesn’t get in anywhere?”

When You Wake Up At 3AM and Think:

“What if my kid doesn’t get in anywhere?”

by Rebecca Georgenes

Senior College Counselor

Road To College 

Former Admission Officer at Princeton University

 

This past weekend, a friend of mine came up to me and said, “Two weeks!  I’m not sure I’m going to make it through the next two weeks!” And it took me a moment to realize what she was talking about. My mind quickly raced through several scenarios. Was she ill? Was someone recovering from an operation? Was her husband traveling abroad and leaving her to care for the kids alone? Was she a tax accountant? And then I remembered:  She was waiting to hear where her son (who was already sitting on two deferrals from highly selective schools), would get in (or not) to colleges.  Just over a year ago, I remember being in her same position with my own son (who at this moment is living it up in Florida on Spring Break – I know this because in a moment of weakness, he confirmed me as his friend on Snapchat). And it did feel like this bizarre form of purgatory where I was powerless to impact the outcome. But this too will pass.

 

Most students get into a number of the colleges that they apply to. And before you know it, you will be trying to help with your own child’s decision-making process as they figure out where they want to enroll. (One mom once told me waiting to hear if her daughter would pick Brown or Middlebury was the hardest thing she had ever endured.  I quickly reminded her of a phone call we had had a few weeks earlier when she told me she was in the fetal position, waiting for college decisions to arrive).  But if your child is one of the few kids who does not get in to any schools there are still options.

1)   Gap Year:  This is a popular option these days.  I’m sure we will cover that in detail in a later blog. But you can design your own plan or work with an organization, and then reapply to colleges in the fall.

2)   PG Year: For a student who needs to beef up his/her academic profile, there is always the option of going to a prep or boarding school for a year.

3)   Community College or commuter school: While it might not feel so appealing at first, working really hard taking college courses and then applying again can be just what it takes to get in to the college of your dreams.  My own nephew got in to a number of colleges, but wasn’t eager to go to them. He took one semester of courses as a commuting student at UMass Lowell. Did really well.  And was admitted to Boston University for a January start! He is now living at BU as a second semester freshman, is in the school of his dreams, and barely remembers the personal struggle he went through when all his high school friends were leaving for college and he was commuting 1-hour each way Lowell.

4)   Guess what! There are still colleges that students can apply to!  And some are really quite good.  So all is not lost. College Simply has put together a comprehensive list by application deadline.  Your son or daughter could always start college at one of these schools with the possibility of transferring if he or she isn’t happy.

http://www.collegesimply.com/guides/application-deadlines/#pending


Good luck!  And go back to sleep.  It will all work out. 

Spring Campus Visits

Recommended Campus Visit Stops

By Chuck Hughes

Former Harvard Admissions Officer/Founder, Road To College

 

With March and April breaks upon us, many juniors (and some sophomores) will trek to college campuses around the country taking a closer look at schools that might be good fits for them.  Sitting in on an information session and taking a campus tour is just not enough to determine whether a particular college is the perfect match, let alone serve as the sole reason your parents should spend upwards of $65,000 per year to send you to a campus you see for three hours and then deem it as the sole college for you. While one visit, even for a full day, will not provide all you need to know, here are some ideas to think about as you prepare to head off on your college visits this spring and summer to make those precious hours more valuable for you and your parents. 

 

1)      Admissions Office – Information Session/Tour/Interview (if applicable)

PRE-PLAN – Go online and download campus maps, apps for the university and create a schedule for what you hope to see during your visit.

 

Remember that some schools require that you pre-register for the information session and/or tours. Getting your name into a school’s enrollment management system is positive in terms of receiving marketing materials and for displaying demonstrated interest.

 

If you are a strong communicator, having an on-campus interview is a valuable tool for connecting with an admissions representative who may have direct involvement in your admissions case, and it also shows another level of interest in the university. Many schools that offer interviews begin offering interviews in the May-June time frame for rising seniors, but some schools will interview juniors in March and April.

 

Ask for a business card of the student or admissions officer conducting the information session. Some schools are active in communicating with prospective applicants, so having a card to send a thank you after the information session or for later questions is great.

 

2)      Eat a Meal on Campus

Find out where the students eat every day and whether the facilities and food quality meet expectations. Most colleges will allow students to purchase a meal in a dining hall, and some admissions offices might provide vouchers to eat a meal on campus for free.  Let’s face it food is central to so many elements of the college experience, so it makes perfect sense to making stopping for lunch at one of the dining halls a great idea.

 

Here are some things to consider when it comes to campus cuisine: Will you be eating at Pizza shops every day or is the quality of the university meal plans serviceable? Ask people about the food, but see for yourself and have a meal if possible. Are the dining halls empty, or are they empty because students never eat in the university dining halls because the food is not great? Is there a campus meal plan that allows you to use those dollars to eat at local restaurants?

 

3)      Visit the Academic Department that Interest You Most

Is the department cramped in a basement office with little opportunity to congregate as a field, or are their library resources, common study areas and conference rooms for those in the major to interact?

 

Look at the resources available to the faculty - # of faculty, classes offered and facilities to make observations of the university commitment to the department.

Is the administrator cordial and helpful? Do students/faculty members stop to answer your questions?

 

4)      Student Center – Recreation, Athletics/Fitness – Where do Students Socialize, Work-out, etc.?

Students are more and more focused on fitness. Ask if you can see the pool, check-out the cardio facilities or see the yoga/spin studios if the schools have such facilities.

 

Take 10-15 minutes and sit in the student center to see if it is a place that attracts undergraduates during the day.

 

Common areas – do the academic buildings and other open areas of campus have common space that encourages people to come together.

 

5)      Computing Centers, Classrooms, and Lecture Halls

Most colleges offer classes open to prospective students. You may need to register to sit in on a class, or the admissions office may provide you with a list of courses available for you to visit during the semester, but also walk through the areas where you might be studying, researching and spending good chunks of time during the academic day.

 

6)      See the Dorms and Explore Residential Life

Sometimes difficult to gain access outside of a tour, but worth seeing the single, double and triple rooms that colleges offer students. If a tour does not show you a room, you want to connect with a friend before a visit to see if he/she might show you his/her room to see undergraduate housing.

 

7)      Talk with Someone or Visit Student Club/Organizations You’d Like to Join

Visit the newspaper office, the athletic department, theatre(s), student volunteer group, the student activities center and organizations you’d most like to visit. Finding where the student organizations are located and what they have to offer can give you a better sense of community.

 

8)      Visit Campus Museums or Exhibits On-campus

You might want to look ahead to open lectures, museums and special exhibits that appeal to you.

 

9)      Explore on your own!

Getting off the beaten path and seeing some of the non-structured touring information can be interesting and helpful.

 

10)    Talk with Undergraduates

Get a sense of campus life from the students directly.  You need to hear what students like and would improve about their experience. 

 

Take notes, make observations, and think about trip before, during and after the experience to make some well-informed opinions vs. simply emotional decisions based on the traffic, size, location, admissions tour and “feel” without considering the long-term and day to day experiences you’ll have on the campus. Most of all have fun on these visits and begin picturing yourself on each of these campuses. You’ll be there before you know it.

 

High School Course Selection Advice

by Lisa Cynamon Mayers

Former Admission Counselor Washington University in St. Louis


Spring is coming! There’s a general antsy-ness among students, especially those second semester seniors. Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, listen up: those seniors worked hard for nearly four years and while they can’t  give up completely, they have a little more wiggle room these last few months until graduation. You, my dears, on the other hand, have a lot to focus on this spring. One of the things spring brings is the annual course selection meeting with a guidance counselor or faculty advisor. Though we would defer to your counselors in nearly every instance, there are some general tips for making the course selection process run smoothly.

1. Colleges care about the courses you take. Absolutely. 100%. No one will argue on this one. Carefully consider your course options and take the following tips into consideration as you plan your schedule. But remember, the classes you select to take are as important as the grades you receive.

2. Honors/AP/IB courses are preferable to standard college prep courses. As admission counselors we were frequently asked, “Is it better to receive an A in a college prep class or a B in an honors class?” Admission counselor humor is to answer that it’s best to get an A in the honors class. In all seriousness it’s best for a student to take the most challenging courses available. This doesn’t mean that a student needs to take every single honors or AP/IB course offered by the high school, but it does mean that a student should challenge him/herself.

3. Colleges look for consistent or increasing academic rigor. Students should plan each successive year of high school to be equally, or better yet, more challenging. Senior courses shouldn’t be a cakewalk.

4. Course selection should match or highlight academic interests. Students interested in a pre-med or engineering curriculum should take math and science every year of high school. Students interested in international business or international relations should take the same foreign language throughout high school. Admission counselors will look to see that students have the proper preparation for their intended fields of study.

5. Different high schools offer different programs of study. Sounds obvious, right? This can be a tremendous source of stress for students and parents because there is a concern that admission counselors will not recognize differences among high schools. Rest assured that at the most selective universities and the liberal arts colleges, students’ transcripts are interpreted within the context of the high school. If AP courses aren’t offered, students aren’t expected to have taken them.

6. Continuity is important. Barring extenuating circumstances, students should show continuity in course selection. For instance, if a student has taken Chinese in grades 9-11, it would be expected to see continuation of the language senior year. Yes, there could be reasons why the student would opt to cut this course from his/her schedule, but in general it is best to see continuity.

7. Colleges want to see the five core academic courses every year of high school. In general a student’s schedule should include: English, math, science, social studies or history, and the same foreign language. Every year. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but a student applying to a selective college with a senior courseload of: study hall, cooking, basketweaving, film studies, study hall, etc. won’t be a competitive applicant.

8. College academic requirements are a minimum. All of the colleges and universities have lists of what courses students must have completed in order to apply. These are the minimum requirements. And who wants to simply meet expectations. Students should strive to exceed expectations.

Using Social Media to Learn About Colleges

Using Social Media to Learn About Colleges

by Becky Georgenes 

Senior College Counselor

Road to College

rgeorgenes@roadtocollege.com

 

Just google college admission and social media and you’ll find plenty of links to stories about how colleges are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc to attract students, and how students are using these same platforms to learn about colleges. Reports compare marketing campaigns, “likes” and “followers” to say which colleges are doing it best, and how this is impacting the business of college admissions. However, I wanted to add to the commentary on a purely individual level on how it can help an applicant or a family to learn about a school – even if you can’t get there for a visit.

 

·      Use social media for the right reasons. While some students follow a school’s social media accounts because they think that colleges will keep track of followers and it will ultimately help their application, there are more important reasons to do so. It is actually a great way to get a window into life on that campus. What is the weather like throughout the year? What does it look like students are doing with their free time? How is the school presenting itself?  (One of the colleges I “follow” happened to be in the same city as a national violent tragedy. The following day, I saw the school’s response to the event on Facebook. I remember feeling heartened by the thoughtfulness, insight and perspective expressed by the school and the students.) 

·      Both you and your son/daughter can follow the accounts. If a picture or story shows up in your feed, your child will probably have seen the same thing. It’s a great conversation starter for parents who lament that most of their conversations about college with their high schooler end up feeling like nag sessions and adding to the family stress. Instead, you can start the conversation by asking if your child saw the picture of the snowmen that students on campus made outside the library after a big storm.

·      Social media can provide talking points prior to an on campus or alumni interview.  When asked by an admission officer, “Why are you interested in attending our University?” an applicant can reply, “I saw the YouTube Video about the research that a student was doing with a professor in the biology department. I was wondering…..”  Or when asked by an alum in an off campus interview, “Do you have any additional questions for me?” The applicant can respond, “On a recent Instagram post, I saw that it is a tradition for students to camp out to get tickets for basketball games. Did you do this while you were a student there?”

·      And once your child is actually a student at the college, be sure to keep following the school’s social media. It can help you feel connected to campus life, even if you aren’t hearing from your son/daughter very often. It can be a subtle (or not so subtle) talking point for you to make sure that your child is not spending all their free time playing computer games alone in their room: After seeing an Instagram post made by the college during finals of my son’s first semester in college, I texted my son to ask if he had had a chance to play with the “therapy puppies” that were brought on campus by student services to reduce the stress of exams. I was rewarded with a cute picture of a baby golden doodle on his lap. I didn’t get to see my son’s face, but his feet looked great!