Getting Organized; Selecting and Visiting Your Core Colleges
Getting You Organized
We show you how to get organized to keep everything straight. (Trust us: there’s a lot to keep straight.) We help you set up a filing system for information on the various colleges. We also help you create a calendaring system and timeline for the various elements of the application process—including registering for standardized testing, visiting colleges, getting teacher and school guidance counselor recommendations, having test scores and transcripts sent to colleges, and preparing and submitting your applications and any financial aid materials. We also help to break down the applications process into a more comfortable and manageable sequence of logical, discrete tasks that you can tackle one at a time.
Preparing your “AAA Sheet”—Activities, Accomplishments, and Awards
Your “AAA Sheet” is a list your significant extracurricular activities (including community service), as well as various academic and extracurricular honors, awards, and other accomplishments. Updated as you go along, the AAA Sheet provides a useful template for filling out your college applications. We can advise you in preparing and strengthening your AAA Sheet over time, to put your best foot forward and show admissions officers what you would bring to their college communities.
Selecting an Appropriate Set of “Core Colleges” to Visit and Apply to
Using the information gained from your school records, your AAA Sheet, and your indication of personal preferences, we can assist you to research and identify a balanced set of good-fit “core colleges” to visit and apply to. This list most definitely is not cast in concrete, and is expected to change and evolve over time as you proceed through the college selection and application process.
Deciding Whether to Apply for Early Decision or Early Action
Applying for Early Decision or Early Action may—or may not—be a good admissions strategy for you. Depending on your particular situation and the school to which you would apply, the early application process may have distinct advantages and/or drawbacks. We can help you evaluate whether an early application would make sense for you.
Campus visits are a very important part of the college application process, and we strongly recommend that you visit as many of your core colleges as you can, before you apply. Even with a great deal of research, there’s nothing like actually being on the campus to give you a sense of what it would be like for you, personally, to be there as a student. To get the most out of your visits, it’s best for you personally to take an active role in planning your college tour. When you do the in-depth research to select your core colleges, you will come up with questions that aren’t answered by the college guides or the websites. We also will provide you with lists of additional questions to ask, suggestions of things to do and look at on campus, and Campus Visit Sheets for recording your observations for review later on (when the details of what you saw on which campus could otherwise get blurred together).
We will advise you on making travel arrangements and itineraries. We also will guide you to make your appointments for campus tours, information sessions, sitting in on classes, meeting with professors in your areas of interest, and meeting with coaches, performing arts directors, or the director of student services for accommodating learning disabilities. We can help you make arrangements to spend the night in the dormitory rooms of host students. Finally, after you return, we do “visit debriefing,” so you can tell us about your campus experiences and observations, and what you liked and didn’t like. Selecting schools is a dynamic process; so based on what you tell us about your visits, we will discuss possible modifications of your core colleges list or changes in strategies.
Dona Heller, J.D.
College Dimensions LLC