Ike News
Ike News
Posted on 11/18/2016
Student working on a laptopFabrizio Orsi de Paula, Business Manager
October 26, 2016

From Ike News

Coffee brewing, computer screen blinking, clock’s ticking— college applications waiting.

“The whole process, I know, can be totally overwhelming and there’s a lot to keep track of,” Wayne State admissions counselor Elizabeth Wawro said. “I tell them to start early on in their senior year, start working on their applications and meet deadlines. They should set realistic goals for themselves and keep a schedule of when they’ll get their applications done.”

College decision
After more than a decade at school, seniors face the decision of how and where they will pursue their education.
“Many of our kids want to go to the University of Michigan or Michigan State University,” counselor Dr. Julia Jones-Lau said. “Those are both very large institutions and, for some kids, having a smaller institution fits them better; it fits their personality better. Everyone knows their name, they aren’t just a number out there and they can get involved in more things.”

Students can use the Super Match tool on Naviance to determine what college is the best option. The tool allows students to search for institutions across the country of all sizes, locations and costs.

“It’s important to visit the college campus to make sure it’s really a school that seems like a right fit,” Wawro said. “I always tell undecided students: you don’t want to go to a business school or a school that specializes in something, because then you’re limited in what you can study.”
Major choice.

Depending on a college or students’ interests, deciding on a major could be the first step to applying. Even though this decision is not permanent, it can be a crucial one.
“I always tell kids: you want to be happy,” Jones-Lau said. “If you’re going to get up and do something for 30 years, you want to go to work every morning being happy. Money won’t do that.”

There are many tools students can use to research their majors of interest. Along with Naviance, various online surveys show different career paths, according to Jones-Lau.

“Have conversations with your parents as well, because they probably know you better than anybody,” she said. “You can always come in and talk to your counselor, too; also, research online. Figure out what a person in that field really does, because that may be different from what we think they do, and see if it fits your personality. Once you’re in college, you can also change your major; so it’s never really set in stone.”

The average college student changes their major three times, according to Wawro.

“I tell students, don’t feel like you need to know what you want when you enroll,” Wawro said. “There’s no pressure to have to make that decision, even for students who come in and think they know what they want. It’s not unusual for them to change their major.”

Essay personalization
Many colleges require students write a personal essay to learn aspects about the students, other than those on their transcripts.

“The hardest part about applying was the personal statement; but if you have a good teacher to help you with it, then it makes it a lot easier,” senior Lindsey VanHeusden said.

As not every school has the same level of rigor, the more information a student can provide, the easier it is to determine whether they’re suitable for acceptance, according to Central Michigan University admissions counselor Raymond Wilson.

“The most important thing for students to remember is that they answer the question,” counselor JP Stice said. “The biggest pet peeve of the schools is when they ask a question and students use a generic essay from an English class and do not answer the question.”

“Using appropriate grammar and language is also important,” she said.

Letter of Recommendation tips
A letter of recommendation provides colleges with an insight to a student’s personality.

“Talk to a teacher in person and ask them if they can write you one before putting the request in through Naviance,” Stice said. “Always have a conversation with the teacher you’re asking; it’s just the respectful thing to do.”

It is important students provide teachers time to write their letters.

“It will take them about a week to two weeks to do them,” Stice said. “So if your deadline is Oct. 30, then let them know at least two weeks before it’s due.”

Deadline management
The application process is broken up into many different deadlines.

“Apply early,” Wilson said. “If a school doesn’t have a deadline or early application deadline, don’t wait to apply there. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to miss out on potential application processes.”

Organization is also critical, according to Wilson. Create a spreadsheet with schools to apply to and important dates, including financial aid.

“Just keep it going and start the process,” she said. “ If you delay all of that, it just makes your senior year very stressful.”