Archive for the ‘Admissions Advice’ Category

December 7

Admissions Tip #4: Staying on top of all those deadlines!

By Stacey Milton

Get organized. Buy a calendar and put college deadlines on it.

We are headed toward mid-December, with many college deadlines, including BU’s, quickly approaching. This, combined with the end of the semester, final exams and papers, is a wonderful combination for stress! So, give yourself a break and map out what you are going to need to do over the next month. Using a calendar, planner, or even an Excel sheet, can make it much easier to stay on top of upcoming deadlines. You can also make notes for yourself. Notes like “Essay written, need to proofread” or “Need to check website for audition dates” can help you to see what is, and still needs to be, completed.

Once you have everything organized and on one page, use it! Check it weekly to remind yourself of what is coming up soon and then prioritize. And don’t forget that the brochures you collected over the spring and fall from college fairs, visits at your high school, and other events probably have all of the info you are looking for — or, just go online! Most colleges have a page on their website with a consolidated list of all application requirements and deadlines. This time of year you’ll probably find the answer more quickly by checking the website than calling the office. And make sure you check off the items you have completed or submitted! There’s a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are that much closer to being completely done.

And if, lo and behold, you do miss a deadline, get in touch with the admissions office quickly, and by phone. We are happy to help if we can and trust us, yours probably won’t be the first or only panicked call we receive!

Happy planning!

November 28

Admissions Tip #3: How can I write an essay that will stand out?

By Lisa H.

Be yourself. When writing an essay, stay true to who you are. Don’t try to come off as someone you’re not. Admissions directors have read thousands of essays. And the ones that consistently stand out are the ones that are written from the heart, not the thesaurus.

After two months on the road meeting with interested students, I’ve heard all kinds of questions — everything from “What are your most popular majors?” and “How is your psychology program?” to more surprising and unique questions like, “Do students decorate their rooms for the holidays?”

Overall, I’d say one of the most common and difficult questions I am asked is, “What can I write in my essay that will make me stand out?

While I (and my colleagues) completely understand where this question is coming from, the inherent issue here is really about how to best approach writing your college essay. In most cases, it’s not about “what” you write but “how” you write it.

Our office received over 42,000 applications last year and each staff member will potentially read over 2,000 applications by the end of application season. Quite simply, we aren’t given the luxury of being able to interview our applicants. So, the essay plays a huge role  in allowing us a glimpse of who you are  — outside of everything else we learn about you from your application. It’s not about surprising us or making us laugh (or cry, as the case may be) but really just letting your voice come through and enabling us get to know you better.

So, while I cannot tell you what to write or how to make your essay stand out, I can offer some advice on what not to do and how to prevent your essay from standing out in the wrong way:

Avoid repetition. There is a big difference between highlighting your leadership role in a club, difficulties you’ve faced within that position and how you addressed them in an essay and writing 2-3 sentences about the six different activities that I already know you are involved with from the extra-curricular section of the application. Take advantage of the open space to give us new insight.

Answer the question that was asked of you! If you are given a specific prompt, it’s for a reason. You could write the best essay ever, but if it doesn’t answer the provided question it won’t really help us get to the information we were looking for.

Don’t focus on being unique. Write about what’s true to you and do it well. Relationships with family members, injuries that impacted you, or exciting and life changing travel stories are all popular topics, but that doesn’t mean you should stay away from them if that is what is true to you. One of my favorite essays was about a student’s relationship with her mother.

A popular saying in our office: If you’re creative, be creative. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re not especially funny, now is not the time to attempt a satirical or humorous essay.

Don’t wait until the last minute. This is a pretty important part of the application, and procrastination can lead to sloppy writing and weaker, unformed ideas. Give yourself the time to write a rough draft, set it aside, and come back to it. Have friends and family read it not just for edits, but for more critical feedback. Ask them, “Does this sound like me?” If so, great! If not, then maybe it needs some reworking.

PROOFREAD! You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, and yet we still see essays rife with silly mistakes. Keep in mind, however, that while you should have others help you edit and proofread your essays, you should never let someone edit your writing so much that it is no longer your own voice. This would defeat the whole purpose!

October 26

Admissions Tip #2

By kede

You’re ready to take on the world. You’re excited about finishing high school and being treated like an adult. But wait, don’t forget to enjoy your last year of high school!

It’s easy to get caught up in looking for schools and thinking about the future, but don’t forget about the present. Try to enjoy your last year or two of high school—stay involved in activities, try new classes, and remain close with your friends.

However, try to avoid the other end of the spectrum. Remember that once you are admitted to Boston University, you must submit your proof of high school graduation prior to enrollment to ensure you have satisfied all state graduation requirements. That means that your senior grades count. So don’t check out of your senior year just yet.

October 23

Applying Early Decision: A current BU freshman looks back on his application process

By Stacey Milton

John-Michael (left) & friends

John-Michael Sedor (COM'15), left, and friends

Hi there!

My name is John-Michael Sedor and I am from Philadelphia, PA. About a year ago, I started my senior year at the Westtown School and began the process of applying to college —  I had three schools in mind and BU was one of them. A friend of mine was at BU and this was one  reason I decided to apply. I’ve been interested in working in radio since I was a kid, and my friend happened to work at WTBU, Boston University’s radio station. I visited him early in the year and was able to take a tour of the school and the radio station. I loved everything about BU and Boston! Everyone I met was extremely nice and I felt very comfortable. After that visit I decided to apply Early Decision.

The main reasons I decided to go ED was because I loved the school, and a representative from BU mentioned that my chances of admission could be higher under ED (there are only about a thousand applicants, versus 39,000!). Applying ED meant that I would be one of the first students to hear where I might have a place for the fall. By mid-December I was notified that I had been admitted into BU’s College of Communication. I was thrilled, and it was a great feeling to know where I was going so early! This was also great for my senior year because I was finished with the stressful college process early, and did not have to balance that with all of my school work. It also felt awesome to know where I was headed while most of my friends were still wondering whether or not they would be admitted to their first-choice colleges.

Hanging out at Fenway Park

Hanging out at Fenway Park

Now I am a quarter of the way through my freshmen year and I am having an awesome time. I love my classes and there is so much to do in the city. To be honest, I was a little nervous about BU seemingly not having an “actual campus,” but I quickly found that’s not the case. Plus, all of the academic buildings (and classes) are on one main street: Commonwealth Avenue. BU does a great job of enabling new students to immediately become immersed in extra-curricular activities. I work with two radio shows at WTBU and am also a part of BUTV. Already as a freshman I have controlled a radio show and helped film an episode of Terrier Nation, a Boston University college sports show. I never imagined that I would be this involved so early. Also, Boston is an amazing city; it has so much to offer and it’s easy to get around.

Freshman John-Michael Sedor with Rhett, BU's mascot

With Rhett, BU's mascot

I am really glad that I applied to BU early decision and I am excited about my future here as a Terrier!

October 21

Want some Admissions Advice?

By Stacey Milton

You’ve come to the right place. This week we will begin posting a series of tips to help prospective students navigate the long (but rewarding) admissions process.

Admissions Tip #1

BE CURIOUS. Brochures are great but nothing beats speaking with someone who has the inside scoop. At college fairs, ask questions that can’t be answered by the university’s brochure.

College fairs are a pretty ubiquitous part of the college search process. Generally, these events bring together college representatives and prospective students in a gymnasium or similar venue, and they provide great opportunities to ask questions, collect information, and generally learn more about a particular institution. However, they can also be somewhat overwhelming. Here are some tips for getting the most out of the college fair experience.

1. Come prepared. If possible, find out what schools are going to be present, and make a list of the ones you definitely want to check out. This will give you some direction in navigating the many tables.

2. Have a list of questions prepared –if you have questions you would like answered. It’s easy to forget the things you wanted to ask when suddenly faced with an admissions rep and there are lots of other students around you.

3. Make your questions count. Most of the brochures you pick up will have the basic requirements, average test scores and GPA, and other statistics. Take this opportunity to ask the more detailed questions about campus life, professor accessibility or options for double majoring and study abroad.

4. Create some shortcuts where you can! Most colleges will ask you to fill out an inquiry card – this will put you on their mailing list, as well as track your interest as a student. It’s always better to fill these out, even if you are already on the list, but filling these out at every table can take time. So, make some labels for yourself with all of your information so that you won’t have to take time at each table. (Insider tip: Grab an extra card to use as a model, so you know what to include!)

5. Don’t be intimidated. Admissions reps are people, too, and we want to help you find the best college fit. Find us at these events and come have a chat. We love to share our stories and insight about BU!

6. Bring a pen and a bag to collect information. This may seem silly, but it will make the whole process a little easier!

October 4

To be, or not to be…applying Early Decision?

By Stacey Milton

Associate Director Jon Korhonen, regional rep for Southern FL

Associate Director Jon Korhonen, regional rep for Southern FL

Greetings prospective BU Students!

My name is Jon Korhonen, and I am the Associate Director for Early Decision at Boston University. My colleagues and I have met many of you already during our travels this year. It is always exciting to learn that BU is a #1 choice for so many seniors!

If you have decided that Boston University is your top choice, I would like to encourage you to consider being an Early Decision candidate for admission.  Last year we received about 42,000 applications for admission, and only about 1,000 of those were for Early Decision. This means that you have a unique opportunity to stand out and highlight your candidacy for admission within a smaller applicant pool.  We value a student’s demonstrated interest in BU, and Early Decision is certainly the best way to show that you are really excited about being a BU Terrier!

If you are applying Early Decision, please remember that both the application and the CSS Profile (if you are applying for need-based financial aid) are due on November 1. You will receive a decision letter and financial aid award by December 15.  As you may already know, Early Decision is a binding process, and is different from Early Action (which BU does not offer), therefore it is expected that admitted Early Decision students will enroll with our class next year (the enrollment deposit is due by January 15, 2012).

If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Best of luck to all of you, and I look forward to seeing your Early Decision application in a few weeks!