Bishop Seabury Academy Class of 2017 COLLEGE HANDBOOK. Matt Patterson College Counselor

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Bishop Seabury Academy Class of 2017 COLLEGE HANDBOOK Matt Patterson College Counselor TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements 2 Introduction 3 Selecting Colleges 4-6 Factors
Bishop Seabury Academy Class of 2017 COLLEGE HANDBOOK Matt Patterson College Counselor TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements 2 Introduction 3 Selecting Colleges 4-6 Factors in Admission 7 Financial Aid 8-9 College Planning Checklist Application Procedures Special Notes for International Students 16 Taking the Test: SAT and ACT Standardized Test Dates 19 The College Essay The Brag Sheet 23 The Resume The Importance of Personal Contact Formal Interviews Important Websites 31 Glossary Misc. Notes and Reminders 34 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The contents of this handbook are in part adapted from earlier versions of the Bishop Seabury Academy College Handbook designed by Ms. Courtney Shelton and from the College Handbook of St. Anselm s Abbey School in Washington, DC. I would like to thank Ms. Shelton and Sr. Patricia Scanlon, former Director of College Guidance at St. Anselm s. The manuals and websites of the Pembroke Hill School, The Kincaid School, and Friends Academy were also essential in creating this handbook. INTRODUCTION Bishop Seabury Academy is an independent college preparatory school that promotes individual academic growth and character development through an exceptional education rooted in moral principles. We are dedicated to serving all students regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic background. The purpose of this College Handbook is to provide a resource for Seabury students and their parents as they seek out their next educational experience at a college or university. College planning takes a considerable amount of time and effort, and this handbook is designed to provide the information necessary to make the application process proceed as smoothly as possible. Using this handbook is just one facet of the college planning process. A student s parents, teachers, coaches, relatives, and friends must play supportive roles in this important decisionmaking endeavor. Students must themselves take the initiative in researching appropriate college choices and asking for assistance when necessary. Students must also seek opportunities to enhance their chances for admission to the schools of their choice by initiating contact with colleges and clarifying their interests to admissions officers. Ultimately, a student is accepted to college on his or her own individual merits, and I, as College Counselor, am here to ensure that those merits are presented in the best possible light. I will be available to meet with ninth and tenth grade students and their parents to discuss the initial stages of college planning: course selection, preparation for standardized tests, and activities outside of school such as summer programs. I will meet with juniors and their parents to help them create a list of possible schools to explore and to discuss strategies for preparing application materials. With the exception of the PSAT, students are responsible for registering for and taking all standardized tests. Test dates are noted on page 19 of this handbook. During the fall of their senior year, students are responsible for sending official score reports to the schools they are applying to. In addition, students are responsible for keeping track of deadlines, completing applications and essays, securing teacher recommendations, exploring financial aid opportunities, and assembling any ancillary materials (such as resumes, recorded auditions, and transcripts for coursework taken elsewhere) to go out in support of their applications. The college application process is often challenging, but it does not have to be overwhelming. I am here to make the process a little less mystifying; please let me know what I can do to help! Sincerely, Matt Patterson SELECTING COLLEGES The crucial first step in the college planning process involves creating the list of colleges that interest you and then selecting which colleges you will apply to. Below are some factors to consider when drafting your list of schools, which, for students applying to selective colleges, should include at least 2 high reach schools, 3-4 middle reach schools, and 3-4 security reach schools: HIGH REACH schools are those at which your chances of getting in are very uncertain. These are often dream schools. Certain colleges such as Yale and Stanford are high reaches for any student. In all cases, your chances of getting in depend upon your GPA, test scores, and other factors. Please limit your selection of high reach schools to a reasonable number! MIDDLE REACH schools are ones that you have a solid chance of getting into based on GPA, test scores, and other selection criteria. SECURITY REACH schools are those at which you are statistically very likely or guaranteed to be accepted based on the school s selection criteria. Keep in mind that the degree of selectivity will vary from student to student depending on GPA, standardized test scores, and other achievements. Please see me with questions so that I can help you figure out more about the colleges you are interested in and about your chances of getting in. Higher selectivity does not mean that the college is a better choice for you! A note on scholarships: As the degree of selectivity in admissions goes up, so does the degree of selectivity in competition for merit-based scholarships. You are more likely to get a big merit-based scholarship from a middle or security reach. Where to begin your search: The book Colleges That Change Lives and its companion website, are excellent resources. The Common Application ( is another great place to get information about colleges. The College Board has college search resources on its website, including Big Future, which many students recommend. Review the five-year list of acceptances and matriculations on the next page. Perform an internet search on colleges that sound interesting, and take note of what you find. Ask me for recommendations! COLLEGE ACCEPTANCES, Since 2011, 118 students have graduated from Bishop Seabury Academy. Over 97% have matriculated to two- or four-year colleges. Numbers in parentheses indicate multiple acceptances; bold face indicates one or more matriculations. American University Arizona State University (2) Art Institute of California San Diego Austin College (3,1) Baylor University Benedictine College (3,2) Bethany College Binghamton University (2) Boston College Boston University (2) Bradley University (4) California State University, Fullerton Cardinal Stritch University Centre College Coe College (2) College of Charleston Colorado State University (4,1) Columbia University Cowley College Creighton University (5,1) Dartmouth College (2) Denison University DePaul University (3) DePauw University (6,4) Diablo Valley College Drake University Duke University (2,1) Earlham College Eckerd College Emory University Emporia State University (2) Endicott College Erskine College Fordham University (2,1) Fort Scott Community College Furman University Gordon College Grinnell College (2) Hamline University Hanover College Harding University Harvard University Hastings College Hendrix College (3) Hesston College Illinois College (2) Illinois Wesleyan University Indiana University Bloomington (2) Iowa State University Johnson County Community College (6,1) Kansas State University (13,3) Kansas Wesleyan University Kenyon College Kettering University Knox College (4,2) Loyola University Chicago Macalester College (4,2) Marquette University Miami University Michigan State University (2,1) Millikin University Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Missouri State University Missouri University of Science and Technology Montana State University Morehouse College Muhlenberg College Nebraska Wesleyan University New College of Florida Northeastern University (3,1) Northwest Missouri State University Ohio Wesleyan University Oklahoma State University Honors College Park University Pennsylvania State University (3,1) Pittsburg State University (3) Pomona College (2,1) Purdue University (2,1) Queen s University Regis University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rhodes College Rose-Human Institute of Technology Saint Louis University (4,3) San Diego Miramar College Seattle Pacific University Sewanee, the University of the South Southern Methodist University (2) Stanford University St. Olaf College (2) Stony Brook University Syracuse University Sweet Briar College (2) Texas A&M University (2,1) Texas A&M University Kingsville Texas Christian University (3,2) Truman State University Tulane University University College Cork (Ireland) University of Akron University of Arkansas (2,1) University of Arkansas Honors College (2,1) University of Arkansas, Little Rock University at Buffalo University of California, Berkeley University of California, Davis University of California, Irvine (2) University of California, Merced University of California, San Diego University of California, Santa Barbara University of California, Santa Cruz University of Colorado (2) University of Connecticut University of Dallas (2) University of Denver University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (2,1) University of Indiana-Urbana- Champaign University of Iowa University of Kansas (34,14) University of Kansas Honors Program (14,10) University of Michigan University of Minnesota Twin Cities (3) University of Missouri University of Missouri Kansas City University of Nebraska Lincoln University of New Haven University of Notre Dame University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School) University of Puget Sound University of Richmond (4) University of Rochester University of Saint Mary University of Southern California (3) University of Tennessee University of Texas at Austin (4,2) University of Vermont University of Washington (3,1) University of Wisconsin Madison (3,1) Villanova University Washburn University (2,1) Washington and Lee University (4,2) Washington University in St. Louis Westminster College William and Mary College (2) William Jewell College Xavier University Yale University SELECTING COLLEGES, continued Important Factors to Consider in Choosing Colleges Location: Size: Facilities: Cost: Social Life: How far away from home would you like to be? Would you prefer a school in a large city? a medium sized city? etc. What type of climate do you prefer? What type of neighborhood surrounds the campus? Is a small, medium, or large university best for you? What are the average class sizes at that school? Does the size allow for teacher-student interaction? Are you interested in doing research? How accessible are research opportunities for undergraduates? Do athletic or recreational facilities meet your needs? Does the school have up-to-date technological resources? What are the school s tuition, room and board, and other fees? What types of scholarships are available? Is financial aid readily available? How much can your family pay? What clubs and organizations are offered? Is there a Greek system? Do most students live on campus or spend their weekends on campus? How are the residence halls (dorms) structured? What is the male to female ratio? Philosophy: Is the school affiliated with a certain religion? How liberal or conservative is the school? What kind of student does this school attract? Curriculum: Does this college offer the specific academic programs/majors that I am interested in? Is there a core curriculum that is required of all students? What is the overall quality of the school s academic programs? Selectivity: Is this school a high reach school, an average reach school, or a security school? Have I honestly assessed my GPA, test scores, and activities to determine my chances of being admitted? 7 FACTORS THAT DETERMINE ADMISSION There is no single determining factor in an applicant s admission; each college and university uses its own unique process to assess an applicant s file. While one small private school may lean toward leadership qualities and community service involvement in a prospective student, another small private school may be looking for a student who can benefit from its research facilities or specialized programs. Most colleges rely heavily on GPA and standardized test scores, but selective schools generally take a more holistic approach. There is no magic formula in admissions, which is why the overall impression of your application is so important. As an applicant, you want to do your best to make your application materials appealing to each school on your list. Below is a list of the categories which have the most weight in a college or university s decision on your application. Strength of applicant s academic program: What courses has the applicant taken? Has the student taken advantage of advanced/honors coursework? Has the student taken the highest course offered in a language sequence and other core classes during senior year? Has the student followed any particular subject area with interest? Grades in courses: How has the student done overall? Have the student s grades remained consistent? Has the student gradually improved his or her grades? (Inconsistency or decline in GPA can have a strong negative effect on the way an application is viewed.) Do the grades demonstrate strengths or weaknesses in certain subject areas? Test Scores: Do results SAT or SAT show potential for college success? Do the student's test scores correspond with his or her GPA? What SAT Subject Test results show particular strengths? Letters of Recommendation: Is this the type of student who would do well in college? Is this student a leader? Is this student a person who is ready for the adult world? Does the letter reveal any outstanding qualities of the applicant that were not evident in other parts of the application? Activities: How has the student contributed to his or her high school and local community? Has the student shown commitment to a specific team, club, or group through consistent involvement? How has the student achieved something noteworthy outside of the classroom? Is the student s resume an indication of dedication and genuine interest or simply a checklist of different pursuits? Essay and Overall Application Quality: Can the student write clearly? Does the essay show an ability to be creative and analytical? Are all parts of the application carefully completed and proofread? Does the applicant express genuine enthusiasm about attending the college or university? Demonstrated Interest: Has the student demonstrated a sustained interest in the college by visiting the campus or speaking with representatives? For some colleges, this can be a very big factor. Other: Interviews, alumni ties to the school, auditions or portfolios, other special talents, interest in particular majors or programs at the college, etc. 8 FINANCIAL AID The application process for financial aid is not very difficult or time consuming, but it will involve the help of your parents and will require them to submit information about your family s income. The three main types of need-based financial aid are loans, grants and scholarships, and work study; each type has different requirements. Loans, which are paid back with interest once the borrower graduates from college, are often the largest financial awards. Interest rates on student loans remain fairly low and an employed graduate can usually make low monthly payments on his or her loans with little trouble. Students should be wary, however, of racking up excessive amounts of debt during college. Grants do not have to be paid back and are given either by the government (state or federal) or sometimes directly dispersed from the college or university. Scholarships are similar to grants in that they do not need to be paid back. Scholarships differ from grants in that they are also based on merit. Some scholarships are both merit- and needbased, whereas others are based solely on merit. Work study requires the student to take a job on campus upon enrollment. Work study jobs are normally part time. Money earned by the student through work study can be paid directly toward tuition or given to the student to use for books, living expenses, and other campus fees. Financial Aid Eligibility: To be eligible for financial aid, all students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA forms are sent to a federal government clearinghouse that uses the form to determine your overall financial need based on your family s income and assets. You will submit the FAFSA online through the FAFSA website: All students applying for financial aid are required to submit the FAFSA. Please note: The FAFSA website is not which is a private for-profit website! Please be advised that major changes are taking place this year regarding the FAFSA! Students graduating in 2017 will submit the FAFSA during October of their senior year of high school based on prior-prior year (PPY) tax information. This means that students planning to begin college in Fall 2017 will be using 2015 tax records as part of the financial aid process. This is an unprecedented development. Expect to hear more in the fall. SAR/EFC: When looking for information about financial aid, you might run into the following abbreviations: SAR and EFC. These two abbreviations are crucial in understanding the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible. SAR stands for Student Aid Report, which is the document that summarizes the information that you have submitted on your FAFSA form. The SAR is sent to the schools you have listed on your FAFSA form, and those schools use the SAR to determine the types and amount of aid for which you qualify. EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, indicates the amount of money your family is expected to be able to contribute toward financing your education. 9 FINANCIAL AID, continued The schools that receive your SAR will attempt to distribute funds to you in order to make it possible for you to attend the school without your parents having to pay more than the EFC. CSS PROFILE: Some colleges and universities require an additional form called the CSS Profile. This form helps colleges assess what aid a student might need in addition to the federal aid that a student is eligible for based on the FAFSA. Students must check whether or not a school requires the Profile form and should pay close attention to the deadline for submission. If required, you will submit the CSS Profile through the College Board ( As a rule of thumb, I recommend that all families apply for financial aid. Do not wait to see if you have been admitted to apply for aid. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of receiving the financial aid package you need. To be eligible for scholarships or other merit-based aid from a college or university, pay careful attention to the application deadlines for each school. Many schools require students who are looking for merit-based scholarships to submit their entire application by a priority deadline. Other colleges require additional essays or other materials for scholarship consideration. According to U.S. News and World Reports, here are the top five college scholarship search engines. All are trustworthy and reliable sites! FinAid ( is also an excellent online resource for all kinds of financial aid information. One last bit of advice regarding financial planning: There s a lot of uncertainty in the financial aid process. Sticker prices for many colleges are very high, but most families do qualify for need-based aid of some kind. I generally suggest that you consider costs realistically while planning to apply for colleges, but don t rule a particular college out just because the comprehensive cost of tuition and fees is too high. You might end up getting the financial aid you think you need or you might not. The only way to find out is to apply, be accepted, and complete the financial aid process. Only t
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