Tag Archives: college admissions

Bay Area Diwali

Visit Insight Education at Bay Area Diwali! We will have a booth and be talking with families in the community all day. This year, we are offering a FREE 15-minute initial consultation.

 

If you’d like to meet with a college admissions counselor one-on-one for a 15-minute session, please make your appointment HERE.

 

The Eighteen Annual Diwali-Festival of Lights will be held at Memorial Park in Cupertino on Saturday, October 16, 2021, from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm.

 

Festivities include a wonderful feast of food, music, and dance including a traditional Rangoli display, including art and craft booths. The exciting Kids Zone is packed with fun throughout the day including the petting zoo, pony rides, jump houses, face painting, and much more.

 

Visitors to the festival enjoy the festive atmosphere of sari festooned trees, spectacular lanterns, and a cultural kaleidoscope of activities and performances. Beginning at 11 am with the popular Kids Zone art show and grand opening ceremony at 12:30 pm. The festival appeals to all the senses; delicious Indian food, music, and dancing featuring classical Kathak and Bharatanatyam to Bhangra and to popular Bollywood dances.

 

Diwali is a traditional Indian festival of thanksgiving. It celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair, and good over evil. Celebrated throughout the world, typical Diwali traditions include family and friends gathering to light lamps, exchanging gifts, new clothes, meeting new and old friends, and offering traditional sweets.

List of SAT ACT test optional schools

List of Test Optional Colleges 2022 and Beyond

The list contains the test-optional colleges that changed their admission policies due to COVID-19. Some have extended their test-optional policies. These policies are for first-year U.S. undergraduate applicants. This list was last updated on Oct 20, 2021.

Need help improving your SAT scores? Check out our SAT classes here.
Taking the ACT instead? Check out our ACT test prep classes here.

*While we try our best to keep this list complete and updated, please note that this list is not exhaustive.

 

 FAQ About Test-Optional and College Admissions

 

1. Test-Optional vs. Test-Blind

Test optional means that you can still submit your scores (and you should if you can) and universities will take them into consideration. On the other hand, test blind means colleges won’t look at test scores at all. In both cases, test scores may be used for placement purposes, so you won’t have to take a placement exam before course selection. In some test-optional colleges, test scores are required for certain programs, majors, and/or merit-based scholarships. You may also need to submit test scores if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirements. Please see the “Notes from Insight Education” section for specific college admissions requirements.

Have questions regarding test-optional? We can help! Talk to our team by clicking HERE.

 

2. For freshmen, should they prepare for SAT/ ACT or wait to confirm or later is test-optional or not?

It depends on your college list. To keep your options open, it’s good to take the diagnostic test and then strategize to see if test scores can give you an advantage. Also keep in mind that certain majors, athletic admissions, honors programs, and scholarships require ACT / SAT test scores, and the scores can be submitted for placement tests.

 

3. Will I have an advantage with ACT / SAT scores?

Yes! From the 2021 admissions results, we’ve seen those who submitted test scores have a higher acceptance rate than those who did not. In some cases, the school may ask you to submit test scores as they are reviewing your applications. Certain colleges require additional essays and/or admissions interviews when you apply without a test score. To learn more, check out our blog on “Top 3 Tips to Prepare You for College Admissions” or “How to Approach Standardized Testing“. 

 

5 Tips for Your College Essays

It’s no secret that your college essays can influence your college admissions chances. You probably have been planning (and possibly stressing over) what to write and how to tell your story. Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Jenny Bloom is here to share five tips to help you get started on your college essays!

 

(More of an audio-learner? Check out Jenny’s video here)

 

1. Start early.

 

Unlike most of the essays you’ve written in school, college essays, especially your personal statement on the Common Application, require you to introspect. You don’t want to provide a laundry list of extracurricular activities, but you shouldn’t also write about how you worked really hard and finally became captain of the team. Thousands of other students share that. To craft a college essay that helps you stand out takes time. It takes time to find your unique story. It takes time to find your own voice and express your characters. It definitely takes time to revise and rewrite. A solid college essay or personal statement is something you build up, and you can’t do that in a week or two before the application is due.

Read more: How to Answer the New 2021-2022 Common App Essay Prompt

 

2. Build a routine.

 

Once school starts, you will need to balance your classes, activities, and social time. You may find it challenging to focus on your college applications. It’s really important that you build a routine and include the college admissions tasks in your routine. Designate 30-60 minutes per day to write or edit your college essays. Sometimes it can be just doodling ideas or answering a short question about yourself. Schedule it as part of your day until it becomes a habit.

 

3. Use “I” Statements.

 

Your college essays are all about you. It’s your time to shine. You want to tell colleges what you have been through or other great qualities about you. Thus, it’s important to say “I did this” or “I learned this” to put yourself in the spotlight.

 

4. Show us. Don’t tell us.

 

It’s easy to start listing your qualities or your activities, but you want to show “why this is important to you.” Rather than saying “I care about my community,” you want to dig deep and figure out why do you want college admissions officers to know about your volunteering experience, what did you learn from it, and how is this lesson meaningful to you.

 

5. Rewrite and revise.

 

No one writes the perfect first draft. That’s why they are call drafts. Review your essays and ask yourself: “does this show who I am?” or “is this what I want colleges to know?” Be critical. Read it out loud. Ask someone you trust to read it and provide you with feedback.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Writing college essays is not easy, but you will learn a lot about yourself during this process. Invest in the time. Seek help if you need to. As always, we are here to guide you every step of the way. If you would like a 1-hour personalized college planning session, please reach out to us via email (info@insight-education.net) or give us a call (408)252-5050.

Read more: Why The College Essay Matters

 


Written by Jenny Bloom

This article is based on our interview with Insight Senior Counselor Jenny Bloom.

Jenny has worked with a variety of students since 2012 to help them take the right steps to achieve their academic goals. Part of her philosophy is to guide students to consider how they will build and hone their skills and talents to make a difference in the world around them. Contact Insight Education today to schedule an initial consultation with Jenny. Read her full bio here.

[Free Community Webinar] Getting Ready to Go Back to High School

Getting Ready to Go Back to High School

 

After months of online learning, are you ready to go back to school? Join us and learn how you can start your school year right!

 

This free webinar is geared towards high school students of all grades.

 

Date: August 14, 2021

Time: 10:00am – 11:00am (Pacific)

Location: Online via Zoom

 

Get prepared for High School with all the things you need to know!

 

A Free Virtual Community Seminar for prospective clients, hosted by INSIGHT EDUCATION! This seminar is great for families with students in middle or high school (6th – 12th). We will talk about how to transition from online learning and prepare your students for a great academic year!

 

Are you a middle schooler planning for (looking forward to) high school? Or are you a high schooler who is excited to be back in your school again? After more than a year of online learning, you are facing an unexpected and untraditional ending to your school experience. During this Community Webinar, Insight Counselors will cover what essential skills you need to develop so that you can be fully prepared to jump into your back-to-school experience!

 

We’ll look at:

  • How to prepare to be at your best academically
  • How to choose the “right” classes and balance your extracurricular activities
  • How to build your resume
  • Ways to manage stress and time management
  • How to enjoy your high school years!
  • And much, much more!

 

It’s not just the destination that matters – it’s how you get there. We’re here to help you make the most of high school! We look forward to connecting with you.

 

We can’t wait to see you there! 

Cheers,

Team Insight

List of Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest May Benefit You

As we dive deeper into the college application season, it’s important to build an authentic relationship with your top-choice university. For some colleges, demonstrated interest helps them understand which students will apply and attend their schools. These colleges want to know that when they send out acceptance letters, the students would likely attend. As for the students, the more you learn about a school, the easier it is for you to narrow down your college list and in the very near future, to make a decision on where you will be for the next four years!

Read more: All You Need to Know about Demonstrated Interest

The following list shows more than 300 schools and how they view demonstrated interest. For more information, search for the colleges and their admissions website (and maybe sign up for their newsletter, too)!

All You Need to Know about Demonstrated Interest

As some of you embark on the college admissions journey, you may start to hear the term “demonstrated interest.” How does it play into the college admissions process? What can you do to use demonstrated interest to your advantage? In this article, we will share our insights on demonstrated interest and its benefits!

 

(More of an audio learner? Check out this video by Insight’s Head of College Admissions Counseling Purvi Mody!)

 

What is demonstrated interest?

how do colleges look at demonstrated interest

Starting around 2015, demonstrated interest has started to play a role in SOME colleges’ admissions decision-making process. For the colleges, demonstrated interest helps them understand which students will apply and attend their schools. These colleges want to know that when they send out acceptance letters, the students would likely attend.

 

How does this help you, the students?

When you are demonstrating interest, you send a message to the college: “I am interested! I may want to join your school.” Beyond that, you are learning if this school is the right fit for you. Whether through online information sessions, college fairs, email lists, or college visits, you can build a better idea of what your college years may look like.

 

Do all schools care about demonstrated interest?

Not at all. Previously, we emphasized that only SOME colleges look at demonstrated interest. Those are usually small private or small liberal arts schools. However, that doesn’t mean you should just stop your college research completely. If you need to write supplemental essays or a “Why College” essay, attending information sessions and talking to an admissions representative are great ways to gather ideas!

 

Read more: List of Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest May Benefit You

 

What are some ways to demonstrate interest?

There are so many ways for you to learn about your potential schools (and for them to get to know you too!). Here are some examples:

  • Go to college fairs and fill out your information
  • Sign up for email lists (and actually check out the content that interests you)
  • Campus visit – online or in-person
  • Early application
  • Supplemental essay showing how well you have researched the school and why those qualities are important to you
  • Speak to college admissions representatives
  • Informational interviews with alumni or students
  • Attend information sessions. If you join a virtual session, make sure you ask thoughtful questions that can help you learn more about the school beyond what’s on its website

 

Read more: The Art of Informational Interviews

 

How do I get the most out of a virtual information session?

how do colleges look at demonstrated interest

First, be engaged. It’s so easy to have three to five programs on your screen while you sit in a webinar. It is also tempting to chat with your friends on your phone. Don’t. Focus on the presentation, take detailed notes, and personalize your data. You want to take notes of things you care about or find interesting, so you can use them in a supplemental essay or help you make the final decision to attend.

 

Do some research before you attend the virtual info session, so the questions you ask are actually meaningful to you. Don’t ask questions that you can easily answer by searching on the college’s website.

 

What about online college tours?

While walking on the campus and visiting the city that the school is located in can be a great experience, online college tours can save you time and money and provide you plenty of information about the campus. It should not be used as the only tool for you to use. Join an information session. Follow the school’s social media. Talk to a couple of alumni or current students. We have a wonderful network of Insight students who are either now in college or have graduated. Our counselors connect them with current Insight students, so they can learn about major choices, career paths, and college experience!

 

Final thoughts:

Remember, you don’t want to do this for every school. The most important key is to build a meaningful, authentic relationship with colleges. And that takes time and effort. You need to figure out which schools you may want to know better and adjust your list along the way. The college admissions process is a self-discovery journey for you, and learning to prioritize what’s important to you is part of that growth.

 

Read more: Think it Through: Early Decision

 


Created by Purvi Mody

This article was a summary of the video interview with Insight’s Co-Founder and Head of Counseling Purvi Mody.

Since 1998, Purvi has dedicated her career to education and is exceedingly well versed in the college admissions process. Her philosophy centers around helping kids identify and apply to the schools that are the best fit for them and then develop applications that emphasize their unique attributes and talents.

Top 10 Summer Tasks for College Admissions

Summer is the perfect time to get a jump-start on your college admissions process. There are several steps that you can take to make the admissions process as stress-free as possible during the Fall. Even though your friends may procrastinate, there is no reason for you to do so.

 

 1. Create your college list

Spend your time researching colleges since you have more free time now. Simply looking at the rankings is not enough. Check out academic programs, extracurricular opportunities, campus environment, social atmosphere, size, location, student body, etc. You are going to be at this school for at least four years so you want to make the best decision possible. Once you have a list of schools that you love, assess your chances of getting in. And be as honest with yourself as possible. Have other people help you make this assessment as well.

Read more: Why It Is Important to Find Your “Best Fit” College

 

 2. Request Teacher Recommendations

As you start to create your college list, think about how many recommendations you will need. Some schools will also specify which grades and/or subjects the teachers should have taught you. Also really think about which teachers know you well. The grade is not as important as the relationship. Colleges use this recommendation to learn about your personality and how you interact with others.

 

 3. Visit Colleges – Virtually or In-Person

While many college campuses tend to be quieter during the summer, it is still a good idea to visit different types of colleges. If you are unsure about what setting will suit you best, these visits will tell you much more than reading information. Make good use of virtual college tours and online information sessions, too. While you might not visit every college on your list, you will have a much better sense of what is a better fit for you.

Read more: How to Get the Most Out of Virtual College Tours

 

 4. Brainstorm Essay Topics

Sit down and just write about the experiences you have or the things that you want colleges to know about you. This is a time to reflect on what is important to you. It is fine to read past essays, but it is not okay to copy the exact content. Remember that colleges want to learn what makes you unique – and you ARE unique!

 

5. Draft Your Personal Statement

Once you have brainstormed some ideas, try to draft an actual personal statement. The Common Application and Coalition Application essay prompts are already available. While you will be able to swap out essays for different colleges, write personal statements that you are comfortable sending to multiple colleges. Also start drafting supplemental essays since you might have to do research or more reflection.

Read more: How to Answer the New 2021-2022 Common App Essay Prompt

 6. Complete the Common Application or Universal College Application

These applications will go live in early August. Fill them out completely as soon as you can. At Insight, we typically host Senior College App Clinics in the first week of August to walk our students through every step of their applications, from background information to extracurricular activities. Having all the data entry finished before school starts gives you more time to focus on important things, such as your personal statement, course work, and standardized testing preparation.

 

 7. Fill out the online Net Price Calculators

No matter your family’s financial situation, your parents are certainly thinking about how to finance your college education. Your parents can complete a Net Price Calculator online for each college you are considering. This will give them an estimate of what each college will cost. While this does not take into account merit-based scholarships, it gives you a starting point.

 

 8. Prepare for Standardized Testing

For those who want to improve their ACT or SAT scores, summer is the best time to prepare. Learn how to maximize your score during the summer with our guide on How to Prepare for the ACT or the SAT this Summer. For rising seniors who want to apply for Early Action or Early Decision, you need to take the ACT by September or the SAT by October. If you are applying for Regular Decision, you should take the ACT or the SAT by December.

Need help boosting your test scores? Join our SAT Boot Camps HERE or check out our ACT Boot Camps.

 

 9. Check out Interview Policies

Once you have a final college list, find out if interviews are required or recommended. There might be earlier deadlines if you want to request an interview. If schools offer you the option to interview, take advantage. This is a chance to really show a different side of you to someone representing the college. If you are worried about your interview skills, practice with a parent or mentor.

Read more: How to Answer College Interview Questions (In the Way Your Interviewer Wants!)

 

 

 10. Create a timeline for deadlines

If you miss a deadline, there is very little that you can do to recover. So mark your calendar. Set alerts for yourself. Plan ahead to submit everything at least two weeks ahead of time to avoid any problems.

 

Your entire summer should not be spent focused on college admissions, but use your time well. The more you do now, the less you will be worried about later. More importantly, you will be approaching your applications with confidence and preparedness.

GPA Test Prep College Admissions

Top 3 Tips to Help You Start to Prepare for College Admissions

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to every aspect of our lives, from how we socialize to how we learn, and of course, to how we need to prepare for college admissions. If you are still unsure about which path to take on your college admissions journey, don’t worry – you’re not the only one.

 

While we don’t have the superpower to predict the future, Team Insight has been keeping a close monitor on the latest college admissions news and making projections that can help keep your options open as we gear up for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

 

Now, let’s dive in!

 

Insight Advice #1: Provide Positive Data (as much as you can).

 

A solid GPA, a progressively challenging curriculum, and well-written college essays – all of these are considered positive data about yourself. College admissions offices want to see that you can handle the academic work, but they also want to get to know you. What are your values? How do you spend your spare time? What are you devoting your time to during the summer?

 

In addition to GPA, academic profile, college essays, extracurricular activities, and awards, another positive data you can provide on your college application is test scores. A strong ACT or SAT score adds value to your college application, even for test-optional schools. In 2021, more than half of the applicants chose to submit their test scores. From the data, those who included their test scores have a higher chance of acceptance. Approximately 60% of the students who applied for Rice University submit a test score. Of the students accepted by Rice University, 80% submitted an SAT or an ACT score.

 

Insight Advice #2: Stay Informed. Prepare Ahead.

 

While we are uncertain whether test-optional admissions policies will continue, what you can do is research thoroughly into the school of your choice. Stay informed about their testing policies. Check the admissions website and their emails to see if there are any changes in test-optional policies. Most importantly, don’t wait till the last minute! It takes time to prepare for the ACT or the SAT, so plan enough time for test prep.

 

Read more: How to approach standardized testing this summer

 

At Insight, we use the term “relative to your peers” as a guide. What does it mean? In the case of testing, if your friends are planning on taking the SAT or ACT in the fall, it may be a good idea for you to take the test, too. When the admissions office evaluates your college application, they are comparing you to those similar to you, such as your high school’s graduating class. In addition, if you are applying to a competitive school or program that may have many applicants with test scores, you should also prepare for the ACT/SAT.

 

Need help improving your SAT test scores? CLICK HERE to see our summer programs

Taking the ACT instead? CHECK OUT our ACT summer boot camps

 

Insight Advice #3: Research. Research. Research.

 

The biggest 2021 college admissions trend we’ve noticed at Insight is the rise of virtual sessions. Learning about your potential school is now as easy as tapping a few keys. Attend virtual college tours. Ask your questions at virtual info sessions. Use different websites to gather information about a school of your choice. At Insight, our counselors guide students to conduct college research starting in May or earlier, and we continuously revise their list with them.

 

Read more: How to conduct virtual college visits?

 

Another trend that has been accelerated during this time is more students are applying to selective schools, which leads to decreasing acceptance rates. For example, the acceptance rate at the University of Pennsylvania in the 90s was 39%; the acceptance rate in 2021 for UPenn was 9.9%. So be practical when building your college list. Remember, every college on your list, even your safety school needs to be a school you can see yourself in.

 

Read more: Why is it important to find your Best-Fit college?

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

Even if your top schools remain test-optional, remember that test scores may still be required for scholarships or other funding opportunities. During transitions like this, you want to remain flexible and keep your options open. This may mean spending part of your summer doing test prep, but the upside is that you will not be scrambling to take the SAT or ACT at the last minute. Keeping your options open may also mean joining a virtual tour of a college you have not heard of, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. As always, we are here for you! Reach out if you have any questions!

Top 3 Tips to Help You Prepare for College Admissions

 

 

Need a boost to your college admissions success?

Schedule Your 1-Hour College Planning Session

What Actually Counts in Your College App?

As the 2020-2021 admissions data are released, Insight’s counseling team is learning more and more about the impact of majors. What are the impacted majors? What are some major trends? And how can parents help their children at any age to narrow down their interests and potential majors?

 

Join us in a panel discussion and learn from Insight’s 22 years of experience in middle school, high school, and college admissions counseling. We will be analyzing the latest admissions results, picking majors, and what it means for students applying in 2022 and beyond.

Event Details

Date: May 22, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM Pacific  (1:00 PM Eastern)

Location: Online via Zoom (CLICK HERE to grab your free ticket today!)

 

 

We will be covering…

  • What we’ve learned from 22 years in college admissions and the impact of Covid?
  • How does major choice impact your child’s college admissions?
  • What can parents do to nurture their children’s curiosity and explore their interests?
  • How can you work with your children to find their best-fit major and build a solid college list?

 

 

This free webinar is geared towards families with middle and high school students. The webinar will be followed by a question and answer session where attendees are invited to ask about unique circumstances. By registering and attending this event, you are giving Insight Education LLC permission to record and produce footage that you may be a part of through live Q&A or Chats.

 

 

We can’t wait to see you there!

Cheers,

The Insight Team

Understanding the Intent to Register Process

Around this time of the year, many families are faced with the dilemma of choosing a college and committing to it by making the required deposit by May 1st (Note that some colleges extended their deadlines due to Covid-19). However, this can be a hard decision when (a) you have multiple colleges to choose from, and (b) when you are waitlisted at a college that you like even more. This is when the temptation to double deposit presents itself.

 

Double depositing is the act of accepting admission to more than one college by paying the deposit and securing your spot.

 

While it can be tempting to buy more time or to just delay the decision-making process, there are many reasons for you NOT to double deposit. The primary one is that you signed a pledge in the Common App that said, “I affirm that I will send an enrollment deposit (or equivalent) to only one institution; sending multiple deposits (or equivalent) may result in the withdrawal of my admission offers from all institutions.” And every Intent to Register form will have a similar statement you are agreeing to.

 

Additionally, colleges, after they receive your deposit, are assured that you are definitely planning to join in the fall. You are now a part of the student body, and the college starts sending you details about the onboarding process. Colleges work hard to ensure good yields and to create a diverse student body. Between May 1st and late August, there is considerable logistical, clerical and financial juggling that a college goes through to prepare for your arrival. Also, when you bail after accepting, it creates a cascading effect for the college, and they literally have to start from ground zero with another student at a much later stage in the process.

 

We know there is a temptation to hold two spots while you decide the college of your choice. It isn’t made easier when you hear from an older friend who double deposited and did not face any consequences. However, it is on you to make the right decision and to not take a spot away from another deserving student. Choosing to submit your deposit to multiple schools is unethical. 

 

Additionally, your high school counselor has to operate within the ethical confines of their job, and they cannot (and should not) send your final transcript to more than one college. You can get in serious trouble if the school counselor ends up notifying one or both colleges about your double deposit. Or the colleges may find out through other channels. At this stage, both colleges may rescind their admission.

 

If you are completely unable to make up your mind, there are a few things you can do:

Go back to the original reason you choose the college. What was the appeal that made you apply there? If you cannot make a physical visit, do multiple virtual tours, speak to an admissions counselor, go through the class catalogue and chart your classes for your expected major, speak to an alum, watch videos, and of course, consult with your Insight counselor. Make a deposit by May 1st with confidence and certainty after you have done all the required research and soul searching.

 

If you are waitlisted at a college that comes through later in June or July, and if you prefer to attend that college, then you can call the admissions office at the school you have accepted and talk to an admissions counselor to see if they have a protocol in place for you to withdraw your acceptance. All colleges will have a different process, and you will lose your deposit for sure, but that’s a small price to pay when you gain the opportunity to attend the college that is your first choice.

 

Read more: Waitlisted – What Can I Do?

 

This is admittedly a difficult time; however, it all turns out for the best in the end. While it is difficult to make a choice, once you do, you and your family can celebrate the end of this part of the journey and look forward to the next chapter in your lives!

 

Please contact us at info@insight-education.net if you have questions regarding decision making, waitlists, appeals, and more.

 

Good luck!

Priya and The Insight Team

 


Written by Priya Singh

This article is written by Insight College Admissions Counselor Priya Singh.

Priya Singh is a College Admissions Counselor and also an avid yogi. She often uses yoga and meditation to help students with learning and stress management during the college admissions process. Since 2014, she has helped many high school students, including students with learning disabilities, to reach their best-fit schools. Read her full bio here.