You are an excellent student. You got good grades, but you bombed the SAT. You are disappointed and still want to go to a top school. What do you do now? Here are some tips.
1. Take the ACT!
This is a no-brainer. If you have not taken the ACT, you must. It will enhance your chances of getting into an Ivy league school. Prepare for the ACT with the Hillview Prep's Smart Scoring System and get a great ACT score. The Smart Scoring Systems can quickly diagnose why you failed to obtain a great SAT score and help you pinpoint your weaknesses. Working with one of our tutors, you can use the Smart Scoring System to lean faster, test smarter and score higher.
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According to Harvard, prior to the start of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), fewer than 20,000 students applied for admission. This year, nearly 40,000 students applied to Harvard.
One big reason is the availability of financial aid by the HFAI. According to Sarah C. Donahue, Griffin Director of Financial Aid. “The majority of Harvard students receive need-based aid, and their families pay an average of only $12,000. Students are not required to take out loans.”
Since launching HFAI in 2005, Harvard has awarded nearly $1.6 billion in grants to undergraduates. Over that time, Harvard’s annual financial aid award budget has increased more than 114 percent, from $80 million in 2005 to more than $172 million in 2016.
The majority of undergraduates receiving financial aid pay just 10 percent of annual family income, and this standard holds for families earning up to $150,000 per year. Families with higher incomes can also receive need-based aid, depending on individual circumstances, including other children in college or unusual medical or other expenses.
Another big reason is outreach. According to William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, most students — about 80 percent — go to college within 200 miles of their homes, so outreach—domestic and international—has been critical for recruitment to maintain the excellence of Harvard's student body.
Theater and Dance
Countering a national trend, interest in the humanities has been rising at Harvard. This year, applicants with an interest in the field saw a 3 percent increase from last year’s applicant pool. Students are drawn to Harvard by the opportunity to pursue a top-notch liberal arts education along with strong, almost conservatory-like training in theater and dance. The revamped Harvard Art Museums, myriad programs sponsored by the Office of the Arts and the American Repertory Theater and the new theater, dance & media concentration have created excitement and interest.
The Harvard Paulson School and the computer science concentration also continue to drive student interest in Harvard, with a 12.3 percent increase in the number of students intending to concentrate in computer science. In November 2014, the University announced plans for a 50% increase in the size of the CS faculty, thanks to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer AB ’77.
Do you think you cannot afford Harvard?
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How do you determine the popularity of a school? According to US News there is a concept called, 'yield'. The yield is the percentage of students who enroll at the school after being admitted. A higher yield typically indicates a school's popularity and desirability in a student's eyes and is often associated with a "first-choice school," experts say.
Not surprisingly, Stanford University had the highest yield among any National University for fall 2015, according to the data that 295 ranked National Universities submitted to U.S. News in an annual survey. Stanford University boasted a yield of 80.4 percent followed by Harvard University at 79.8 percent.
Here is a list of the top 10 most popular national universities.
Interested in learning more about these colleges? Hillview Prep thought leader Sean Massa recently shared his insights on thoughts on his educational journey at Penn and Yale. You can listen to his views below, and feel free to contact us to consult with him about your application.
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“Early admission appears to be the ‘new normal’ now, as more students are applying early to Harvard and peer institutions than ever before,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “At the same time, we have continued to stress to applicants, their families, and their guidance counselors that there is no advantage in applying early to Harvard. The reason students are admitted — early or during the regular action process — is that their academic, extracurricular, and personal strengths are extraordinary.”
Regardless, more and more students are applying early. The Washington Post reports that UCLA is now the first university to get an application pool hitting six figures. Dartmouth accepted more than 27% of their early action pool of applicants. Barnard College in New York City said their application pool rose 19% from last year. Wesleyan University in Connecticut said they received 16% more apps this time around. And Williams College in Massachusetts reported a 25% increase in early decision applications this year.
It seems there is an advantage of early application to get admission in colleges.
Are there any cons?
Yes, a major one: financial aid.
If you apply early, you lose the ability to negotiate on financial aid, because you have to accept the offer before the regular admission folks. Sometimes the aid package comes out later, with the rest of the admission pool. So if you want to negotiate your financial package with colleges, you may want to wait and apply later so you have your admissions and financial aid package information available and make the best decision for yourself.
So what do we recommend? Well, if your heart is set on a specific college, apply early, regardless of financial aid. If you want to get into a top school, and money is also a major factor in your decision, then we recommend to wait and apply with the regular pool and not lose your negotiating power for financial aid packages.
Let us know if you have more questions about college admissions. Feel free to contact us at any time.
1) “Insufficient facts always invite danger.”
Admission rates at the 100 or so most selective colleges have declined significantly over the past 30 years, from 54 percent in 1984 to 32 percent in 2012. Numbers at the Ivies are daunting: 6 percent at Harvard, 6 percent at Yale, 7 percent at Columbia. It is 5 percent at Stanford.
However, top colleges have gotten a lot bigger. Many of the universities have added seats (like Michigan, Berkeley and Boston University), while some huge schools have joined the ranks of the elite (think NYU, USC and UCLA).
There are 55 percent more seats available today than there were 30 years ago. Even considering the increase in international applicants, there are 44 percent more seats for every American student than in the early 1980s.
It is therefore logical that while it’s more difficult to get into any one top college, getting into one of the top colleges is much easier.
Be logical; not emotional. Do not set your heart at any one college. List at least 10 to 17 schools that would make you ecstatic (I know you are human!) and apply to them all; use early options where possible. You will get in.
[N.B. Of course, you need to have high SAT, ACT, grades and a great personal statement. Ask a Hillview Prep mentor for details how to do it. ~ your Hillview Prep team.]
2) “It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.”
Many of you will go to an Ivy League because your family wants you to. Maybe, your friends are going. But do you want to go? Do you know what you really want? If not, check out this blog post by Hillview Prep mentor, Sean Massa, a Yale student.
3) “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”
Be yourself. Every school wants a diverse student body, whatever that means. It could mean a champion Snow Polo player (??); if that's not you, don't be emotional and waste your time pretending that they wanted you. Instead, go all in on your passion. You can’t be a perfect match for 17 different schools, but you can be your best you.
4) “Live long and prosper.”
Remember, you can live long and prosper despite not getting in a top 100 college. However, we at Hillview Prep believe that you can do it. Contact us and let us help you achieve your goals.
Increasingly, private colleges are offering financial aid making them at par or cheaper than public schools.
A study of college costs by the Bay Area News Group in 2012 found that a family of four making $130,000 a year would pay $24,000 a year to send a son or daughter to college in the California State University system—or $19,500 to the University of California, Berkeley.
Because Harvard is private and wealthy, it can offer a more robust financial-aid package than can either the Cal State or University of California system, which depend on government funding. As a result, the same student from the same family could attend Harvard for $17,000. You read it right!
Many middle-class folks give up on sending their kids to prestigious colleges due to financial issues. However, that is no longer the case as public colleges are raising prices and becoming quite expensive and frankly uncompetitive.
Here are some facts from Harvard University:
You can also get scholarships. We have written some blogs about them. If you are looking for a list of scholarships, this one is a must read. If you are looking for full-ride scholarships, read this one.
And finally, there are many outside sources of financial aid. Some of them are: