Sent on the last Thursday of each month, the Counseling Newsletter provides extra guidance and information to assist you during the university application process. Please read each issue carefully. The newsletter is also shared with your parents and teachers, and it can be used to help create more dialogue about your future.
This issue has a special focus on the admissions process. We look at the kind of university responses students can expect at this point and how you should respond to these. Most students will get most of their responses from US universities in the next 10 days. April 1 is the deadline for US universities to give a response, and you need to make your decision by May 1. We also have a look at some issues that will be important for you after graduation.
Kind regards, The High School Counselors
Where are the Seniors at right now?
They are so close to the finishing line :-) Spring break starts tomorrow at 3 pm. Then there are 4 school days before the Senior Trip on April 5-7. When you come back, there will be only 14 more school days as the last day of classes is on April 30.
Seniors are receiving tons of university offers this and next week.
Important - Please remember to go back to your Short List on Naviance and update the status for each of your universities as soon as you get a response. Please also continue sharing your news with your counselor.
US Admissions Decisions
In the January issue, we discussed acceptances, deferrals and denials. At this point in the process we would like to spend a little time on Wait List and May 1 Reply Date.
Wait List All colleges admit more students than they have room for in a freshman class. This is because they realize not all students they admit will choose to enroll. Hard to believe, perhaps, but even Harvard only gets approximately 75% of their accepted students to enroll. Guessing the “yield” is a difficult task—especially as more students apply to more schools each year. If a school underestimates the number of accepted candidates who enroll, there will be holes in the incoming freshman class, which are filled from the wait list. Even so, the wait list is usually a long shot. Final notification may not come until well into the summer, so for safety’s sake, accept an offer of admission from another school, even if it means sending in a nonrefundable deposit. Only choose to remain on a wait list if you really plan to attend should you be admitted later. Some colleges wait list almost as many students as they admit, so the chance of being admitted off the wait list at these institutions is minimal.
May 1 Reply Date Once you have your acceptance letters, you must decide where to go. The US candidate reply is May 1. If you don’t tell a school by then that you’re coming in the fall, they can, and often do, withdraw your acceptance. Notify all other schools that accepted you of your decision not to attend. An email is a great way to do this. If you’re sure you won’t be attending, notify the college promptly so they can open up other slots for other (maybe SFS) students. Once you’ve made your choice, pay the nonrefundable deposit, which tells the school you are showing up in the fall. Also, check on housing arrangements. Read the materials you receive with the acceptance letter to see how you should take care of these matters. Thank all those who proofread your essays and wrote letters of recommendation. Teachers asked to write recommendations might feel hurt when seniors forget to say thank you or fail to tell them the outcome of the colleges’ decisions — counselors too ;-)
Canadian Admissions Decisions
Some universities in Canada have coordinated their decision period to coincide with the US. However, it is still common for others to not make decisions until after receiving final senior year grades, especially if a candidate is on the borderline between admit and deny. Final quarter of senior year is no time for “Senioritis” if you are waiting to hear from Canadian universities. If you don’t get a reply by late April, email or phone the admissions office to make sure that all required documents were received.
How Students reply to their UCAS offers
Once UCAS has received all decisions by universities and colleges, they will email you to ask you to look at Track. There is no single date for all applicants. The deadline for replying is displayed in Track – this will depend on your circumstances, such as when the last decision was made. You reply to each offer with one of the following responses:
Firm acceptance - The firm acceptance is the your first choice. You can have only one firm acceptance.
Insurance acceptance - You can accept an offer as an insurance choice if your firm choice is a conditional offer. An insurance choice can act as a useful back-up to your firm choice. You should be aware that an insurance acceptance becomes a firm acceptance if their original firm choice is not confirmed.
Financial help for non-EU students: contact universities and colleges directly, or visit their websites. UKCISA and the British Council may also be of help.
Visa requirements The UK Border Agency website contains all the information you will need when applying for a student visa under Tier 4 of the points based system for immigration. Up-to-date details of the requirements and application process can be found here.
Once you’ve made your college decision and graduated from high school it seems like you should finally be able to take it easy. Not so fast.
Housing Contract Housing information is usually included in the acceptance packet. Send this form in early to better your chance of getting good housing. In the housing contract, there is a form asking about your likes and dislikes. This information is used to match you up with a compatible room-mate. You may be asked to comment (honestly) on areas such as neatness, study habits, smoking habits, and taste in music (remember to complete this form honestly; it could make a big difference in your roommate selection!). A college won’t guarantee to match you up with a perfect roommate, but they’ll try. Once you find out who your roommate will be (usually in July), contact him or her. Several colleges now have online roommate selection. You are able to post information about yourself and see information about others. Roommates are then able to mutually choose each other.
Address Changes If you leave Seoul right after graduation and return to your home country for the summer, file an address change with your college in late May. Otherwise, you might miss some important mailings, such as information about orientation programs, course registration, roommate assignment, and housing.
Getting a Visa If you are an international student going to college in the US, you will need a visa. You should receive a “Form I-20” from the college’s international student office with your acceptance letter. The US Embassy requires this form when you apply for your visa. You can’t enter a foreign country for university study unless you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or have an appropriate student visa stamped in your passport. Do not enter the US on a tourist visa! We are planning to invite the US Embassy to give a presentation on Student Visa Application to students and parents in May. More information will be shared shortly.
Health Documents You will receive health forms, which need to be completed by a physician. You will also be asked to include an official copy of your immunization history. You will not be able to begin classes unless this form is completed. If your family does not have a record of your immunization, you should either contact the SFS nurse who has many students’ record of immunization on file, or contact your hospital before the end of the school year.
Travel Plans and Orientation Most US colleges begin in August, and many expect new students to arrive on campus a week or two before classes actually begin to go through an orientation program. Do not skip orientation. It’s a great way to meet new people and to get over freshman jitters before classes begin. SFS graduates always report that attending orientation was a big help in their adjustment to college. Because August is a major vacation season, finalize your airline reservations as early as possible. Otherwise, it may be impossible to get to campus on the proper date. If necessary, contact the college to find out when you should arrive. Transferring It is possible to transfer from one school to another in the US. Generally speaking, the more prestigious a school is, the harder it is to transfer into later, because there aren’t a lot of students who leave these schools, and, if they don’t leave, there isn’t room for new student to enter. The easiest schools to transfer into are the ones with the highest attrition rates. You need to ask yourself why you would want to transfer into a school where a large number of students keep transferring out. If you do think you might want to transfer to a “better” school, it is sometimes possible. Transfers most often occur after the second year. By that time, a student has demonstrated he/she can do college work. Usually decisions are made in late spring. Colleges often expect transfer applicants to have a good reason for wanting to switch schools. Simply being unhappy at their present school isn’t enough. The best reason is deciding on a major which the previous school doesn’t have. The case has to be convincing. If a student comes across as the type of student who would be unhappy anywhere, he/she is not the type of student most colleges would want.
College Survival Skills 101 coming up
Still in the planning stages, but get ready to learn some valuable laundry and cooking skills :-)
The May issue of the newsletter will be posted on Thursday April 25. Kind regards, The High School Counselors