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Facebook Live Recap and Bonus Questions: Ask America's College Counselor (8.26.17)

In case you missed it, here's a recap of my recent Facebook Live Rapid-Fire Q&A!

My rapid-fire Ask America's College Counselor sessions are a great opportunity for parents and students to ask me their most pressing questions about the college admissions process. If you didn't get to see my most recent Q&A, you can watch the video below. And don't forget to scroll down to the BONUS section for even more of my expert advice!

  • What is the most important thing to know about Early Action?
  • Any advice for freshman college students for future scholarships?
  • Do colleges see the first term grades that close on November 1st if a student is applying to an Early Action/Early Decision program?
  • Is there a source to find out whether the well-regarded, tenured/full-time professors teach many undergrad classes in student's area(s) of interest (rather than being taught by grad students, etc.)?
  • What is your view on weighing the benefits of better admittance % of applying Early Decision vs. the lower probability of receiving a merit scholarship due to the mandatory attendance if accepted?
  • How closely do schools adhere to their published minimum ACT scores and GPAs? If a student is below those numbers, should he or she apply anyway or is it hopeless? What else will admissions officers consider besides those numbers?
  • How important are interviews?
  • In your opinion, is it ever beneficial for a student to apply for general admissions vs. directly to a specific major/school such as engineering?
  • Do you recommend applying Early Action for all schools to better the chance of getting in?
  • Some of the Texas schools have increased GPA to a 6.0. Are all high schools increasing as well? If not, how will the colleges look at GPA? Will they go off of unweighted at that point or still use weighted?
  • If you're focused on a single institution and intend to apply Early Decision, is it necessary to apply to additional schools?
  • If you apply Early Action and have taken the SAT and ACT in October, will the test scores be back in time for the Early Action deadline? If not, can you still send the scores if they are better then previous scores, after the Early Action deadline?
  • Do you have any advice for helping a student pick a school that is the right fit for them?
  • Why don't schools use weighted GPAs? Isn't that part of the reason kids take AP courses?
  • If your number one school does not have Early Decision, are there ways to increase your chance to be admitted?
  • If athletes are recruited late spring of their senior year, do schools have special admission processes for athletes who are recruited?
  • My son is attending a CTC program for students to work as EMTs and enter firefighting and/or police academies. Do you recommend these students still take SAT or ACT exams? Would these tests be needed if the student applies to college later, perhaps a year after graduation?
  • My daughter did well on the June ACT, but wants to test again in September to see if her score improves after reviewing more over the summer. Should she wait to see if her score improves before she sends the report to colleges or should she go ahead and send it for "free" when registering for the test?
  • Can you speak about whether it is necessary to apply to an undergrad pre-med program or is it ok to go in as a bio or chem major?
  • My daughter is taking one AP junior year and three senior year. Will colleges acknowledge senior year APs?


1. Is it okay to email college admissions officers with questions about the school? Is there a particular etiquette to do so?

Be judicious. Once or twice at most. If it's a general question, I would just call the main admissions number or email the general email account.

2. I was told if you are applying Early Decision (ED) to an Ivy league school you should not apply to other private schools until you hear back. Do schools release who applies Early Decision to other schools?

You can only apply to one Early Decision school. But students can send in other applications under Regular Decision, Rolling Admissions, and sometimes even an Early Action program. But as soon as the student is admitted under the ED program, they have to immediately withdraw all other applications. And, one more thing, colleges don't share lists.

3. What if your child doesn't know what they want to do and where they want to go. Do you recommend staying home until they decide or going away and declaring undecided?

Most students are undecided (even if they declare a specific major on their application). If the student stays at home, I would recommend enrolling in a community college to get classes under their belt and then plan to transfer to a four year institution. For most colleges, declaring an "undecided" major won't hurt them. At a highly selective college, being "undecided" can make it hard for the admissions committee to know if the student has any academic interests or leanings. I recommended during the session that if a student indicates "undecided" on their application to a highly selective college, just make sure to explain some of the academic interests in the college's supplemental essay.