College Planning – 5 Trends in College Admissions That May Affect Your Family

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December might be the most important festive season in the year, with Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve and Kwanza coming up. But for high school seniors this is also the time when the college admissions begin. Many applications are due for the 1t, 2nd, 5th, 10th and 15th of January. As millions of high school students give the final touches to their applications and wait eagerly for the admission process in beginning, it is a time for anxiety not only for them but their parents as well.
Final deadline of 1st April plays on in minds of both parents and their students and the time sees some emotional roller coasters. By now, the majority of students are expected to take decisions about which college they wish going to although some are still there on waiting lists. In last few years, some notable trends have surfaces in college planning as well as college admissions. Following are 5 trends which may affect students, as well as their families.

  1. Affluent Students are Becoming More Successful in College Admissions

Colleges in United States seek international students more and more these days, which boosts competition in admissions for all the students in colleges. Lots of colleges are admitting international students actively from rich families that are able to pay the entire tuition fees. As compared to students who need financial aid, students who come from families able to pay the entire fees are more successful in college admissions. A few schools are not blind to the needs of students. But for a bigger part of population, paying the fees for colleges has turned into a big issue. However, many parents are seeking assistance of college planners who offer expert guidance on how to afford college tuition fees.

  • Due to rise in amount of tuition fees and budget cuts, there is bigger expense involved with public universities. Other than increase in tuition fees, lots of state universities are reducing the number of classes to save expenses.
  • Some people feel that this is the reason why students need 6.2 years on an average for graduating. This means parents have to spend 2 more years in spending for college fees.
  • Numerous students are opting for a few private schools which are dedicated to making students in their college lists graduate in only 4 years instead of over 6 years.
  1. Personal Recommendations Do Not Help So Much These Days

At one time, recommendations from bosses and teachers used to have a lot of influence in deciding whether students would get admission into colleges or not. But things are not so easy these days. Counselors and teachers have to deal with numerous requests for recommendations. Admissions officials report that these days they often get less particular details about students, which makes them know only a little about the latter. Due to this reason, just 17% colleges now give precedence to recommendations from quite important people while admitting new students.
A lot of schools have also done away with or significantly lowered total number of recommendations that they need. This has put parents in quite a fix, and they are finding it more and more difficult to get their ‘influential’ friends and employers to get their children admitted into new colleges through recommendations and pulling a few strings here and there.

  1. Social Pages are Being Checked More Commonly by Admissions Officials

Social media is having a major impact on how people are communicating and staying in touch with each other. This is having a big effect on the way colleges assess potential students for the admission process. In a 2009 survey, it was hinted that over ¼ of schools were using social networking websites to gather information about new students. With social networking websites growing more and more in usage, this number is expected to go up.
This indicates that students have to be careful about type of information that they post on social sites such as:

  • Google Plus.

This is essential if they do not wish to dampen their chances of getting admission in good colleges. Parents are finding themselves in the embarrassing position of having to secretly screen the type of information posted by their kids on such social sites.

  1. Being Recognized as Member of an Ethnic Group Can be Advantageous

Although students are not legally bound to answer queries about their ethnic or racial origins, they can benefit if they have a Native American, African American or Hispanic family background. Mentioning this is in the application form can be highly advantageous. With college admissions, there is the general rule regarding identifying with ethnic or racial group. Students who are 1/8th or 1/4th Native American or ¼ Hispanic or African American can be at higher chances of gaining admission to colleges.
However, some colleges need proper tribal certification regarding whether or not a student is Native American. Students from families of a mixed origin should identify themselves from the varied categories or explain their background in the section mentioned ‘Other’. It can be worthwhile to mention whether or not students speak at home any other language than English. Influence of ethnicity and racial background affects a lot of parents, especially those without any special background. Being updated with the top ten tips on how to get college scholarships can help you a lot to move forward towards your goal.

  1. Mentioning any Challenges in Applications Can be Useful during the Admission Process

These days, students can benefit from crafting their applications in a proper way and mentioning about any challenges that they are facing or have faced in the past. These should be life challenges such as:

  • Physical handicaps
  • Learning disabilities
  • Big family problems
  • A dangerous vehicular accident
  • Tornadoes like Hurricane Katrina
  • Floods or earthquakes and any other Act of God
  • A divorce or separation of parents
  • Demise of a family member

Challenges have to be mentioned in such a way that they do not seem like designed to emotionally manipulate admissions officials. Rather, these should be descriptive, touching and inspiring to show how the student has risen above odds. Parents can help their kids in structuring the applications in this way.

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