November Marks the Height of College Application Season; The College Board’s BigFuture™ Offers Resources to Help Students Stay on Track
NEW YORK, November 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — November is a critical month in the college application process. Students across the country are now at work on their college applications to meet regular decision deadlines. The College Board provides resources to keep students on track as they look for ways to successfully complete their applications. With BigFuture™ (bigfuture.org), a free college planning resource offered by the College Board, students can create a personalized action plan that gives them expert advice on all the steps they need to take to apply to college. BigFuture was created with the advice of real students and educators, and offers tips on common concerns such as how to get started if you are overwhelmed or are a procrastinator, how to finalize your application list, how to get a great letter of recommendation, and how to craft your application essays.
“The key to minimizing the stress of the college application process, whether you are starting as early as middle school or are a senior just beginning now, is to get and stay organized,” said April Bell, director of counseling at the College Board. “A step-by-step action plan will allow you to keep track of deadlines and various elements of a strong college application.”
By answering up to five simple questions on the BigFuture website, students can create a plan that serves as a road map to guide them through school to college, advise them on what to do and when, and track their progress. Parents can also find action plans on the website to help guide their children.
BigFuture provides four key starter steps for students who are overwhelmed by the college application process or are starting late. They include a breakdown of the anatomy of the college application, an application checklist and important truths about applying to college, such as the fact that college admission isn’t as competitive as many students think. Fewer than 100 colleges in the U.S. are highly selective (i.e., they accept less than 25 percent of applicants) and close to 500 four-year colleges accept more than 75 percent of applicants. Open admission colleges accept all or most high school graduates. BigFuture’s college search feature provides comparative information on almost 4,000 college options.
Research shows that applying to at least three colleges improves your chances of successfully enrolling in college. “Also critical is the ability to narrow your list once you’ve explored all of your options,” Bell said. “Most counselors recommend that students apply to five to eight colleges — more than that may not be the best use of time and resources.” BigFuture provides expert advice on finalizing your college list, including how to narrow, sort and balance your list, as well as how to take cost into consideration.
“A common mistake families make in selecting colleges is considering sticker price rather than net price, [which is] the published price of the college minus the gift aid that the student receives,” Bell said. In fact, most full-time college students receive some type of financial aid, and aid options vary by college. Students can get a personalized estimate from more than 300 colleges by using the College Board Net Price Calculator. They can also link to an individual institution’s net price calculator by clicking on the “paying” tab on the school’s profile page on the college search section of BigFuture.
Two critical elements of a college application are the essays and the letters of recommendation. BigFuture provides “8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essay“ and “3 Ways to Approach Common College Essay Questions,” as well as video tips from experts and real students and an analysis of a sample essay. Students can also learn “How to Get a Great Letter of Recommendation,” including specific tips on whom to ask and what to provide letter writers with in order to get the best results.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.
Right-click a link below for ‘SAVE’ options
*Not broadcast quality
Jonathan O., college junior
Stephanie Balmer, Dickinson College
BigFuture on Facebook
For High School Seniors: Five ways to finish your college applications before the
end of the year
For High School Juniors: Five ways to start your college search
For High School Freshmen and Sophomores: Five ways to start getting
ready for college now