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Episode Notes

Episode Title: Segment #7 on College Selection: Narrowing the List. A Guide to Build a Standout US College Application.

Episode summary introduction: Segment #7 of the 10-Segment Podcast Series to help students in 11th Grade build standout US College Applications. This segment tells students how to narrow the list of colleges to apply to. Subscribe for Assignments.

In this segment, Athena Lao and Nick Wyville of Admissionado lead us through the discussion.

In particular, we discuss the following:

  • 5 Key Questions to consider for College Selection
  • 3 Case Studies that provide direction to Narrow the College List

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Segment #7 [0:27]
  • 5 Common Questions [1:59]
  • Case Study #1: Ian’s Story - STEM [20:10]
  • Case Study #2: Amina’s Story - Business [27:45]
  • Case Study #3: Lily’s Story - Financial Aid [37:18]
  • Call 2 Action - Subscribe for Assignments [43:55]

Our Guests: 

Memorable Quote: “...the question should be, are you more excited about the school the more you read...”, Athena Lao on Narrowing College Lists.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Recommended Podcasts: Segments in this Series.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Athena Lao  0:12

You might recognize him. He's Ian who we've talked about in many past episodes. So if you've been following along, Ian is back and we are going to help him get into college.

Venkat  0:27  [Introduction to  Segment #7]

That was Athena Lao re-introducing our good friend Ian!

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

This is the 7th Segment of our 10-Segment Podcast series - A Guide to Build a Standout US College Application.

In Segment #5, we shared a method & tools to create an initial list of colleges to explore.

In today’s Segment, you will learn how to narrow that list with some strategies based on your profile and aspirations.

We use a slightly different format for discussion:

  • 5 Common Questions or Issues that Applicants encounter in College Selection; &
  • 3 Case Studies to illustrate strategies to pick the colleges to apply to.

To guide us today, we rejoin the 2 experts from Admissionado

  • Athena Lao, Head Mentor at Admissionado, and
  • Nick Wyville, Mentor at Admissionado.

Let’s get started.

Venkat Raman  1:37

In the first part of this segment, Athena and Nick answer 5 Frequent Questions about College Selection.

Venkat Raman  1:48  

Okay, Nick, Athena, welcome back to the second session on picking colleges, College Selection.

Athena  1:56  

Thank you, Venkat.

Nick Wyville  1:58  

Happy to be here.

Venkat Raman  1:59  [5 Common Questions]

Thank you. Thank you guys. So I have a few questions that, quote unquote, are commonly asked questions about the college selection process. So I thought we could kick off the session with trying to answer these.

So the first one I have here is, you know, students spend a lot of time looking at the list of colleges, that we could have pointed them through our last podcast.

And I guess the question is, how long should they spend sort of researching these schools? When does it stop?

Athena  2:36  

That's a great question. I'm happy to take that one on. So I think that the first thing is beyond thinking about what exact amount of time you should spend on a school, I think it's important to notice how you're feeling when you're looking things up on the internet, about a specific school, whether it's on their social media, whether it's on their official admissions website, or blogs, is that feeling should be, are you excited about the school, the more you read, and I think if you are very excited about a school, spend a lot of time reading about it, and understanding what makes you so excited so that you can talk about those specific things in your application.

Athena  3:19  

Now, that is a very kind of more general answer, I usually recommend to my students that if you are just trying to get through the assignment, and you know, try to look up as many schools as possible, limit yourself to one hour the first go around with an eye to accomplishing the following, which is identifying three to five bullet points in the academic realm of the school and their student life, what happens outside of the classroom, so that you can understand what are specific things you like about that school and can write about it on the application, you can go back and do another go around a different time. You can even try to visit the school, I highly encourage that if that's possible. But I think when you're doing looking at your initial list, maybe try to limit yourself to an hour so that you don't get too overwhelmed.

Nick Wyville  4:11  

Yeah, and one other thing that I would just quickly add to that Athena as well, when you're looking through so many different universities, I often also encourage students to see if there are any particular cons that stand out. And then the day if they're choosing between 10 schools, maybe three of them have some pretty big cons. And maybe those are the three that I ended up not choosing to apply to. Right. Clearly not the most important aspects, but definitely something to keep in mind.

Athena  4:41  

Yeah, yeah. I think it's great to think about how do you rank schools even from the beginning, because sometimes your gut instinct can change, but sometimes, you know, right away and that's okay.

Venkat Raman  4:58  

Okay, so Another question that seem to get is around the number of schools to apply to so I want to apply to 20. Schools, is that the right number? What is the right number?

Athena  5:12  

So I would say that I wish I had a magical number that, you know, if you applied to 15, or 20, schools or whatever, then that's the perfect number. And then you will get into at least one of them.

But I think here, the Think back to the categories that we talked about, in our last episode on this, where you have your reaches your matches, and your safety schools, and understand that, when you are, when you have a different number of schools in each category, right, you know that the chances of you getting into one of those is going to be different depending on how many you put in each category, I'm of the opinion that if you have at least two to three safeties two to three matches, that you can that make sense based on SAT, or GPA or other sort of numeric factors that match up to the average scores of admits of other admitted students, then I think in the reach category, you can flex and if you have a lot of schools that you want to apply to in that category, then go for it. It costs money and a lot more time because those schools tend to have a lot of supplementary essay questions. But I think if you only have one shot at this, I would say, if you are genuinely excited about all the schools in that reach category, then go for it and apply for as many as you'd like. But that's just me, I don't know, Nick, if you think differently about that.

Nick Wyville  6:40  

As much as I agree with, you know, stacking your list with as many reaches as possible, really, again, like dependent on the student dependent on if they're financially able to apply to as many reaches, which we totally encourage, I also would sometimes recommend adding a few more match schools, instead of the two to three, sometimes I would say that three to five range. And again, that's just like, to really make sure that the student is not overlooking any part of their application that, you know, might sneak up on them and end up hampering their admissions, I would hate, you know, the worst case scenario is, when a student isn't able to achieve any of their match schools. So just like increasing those chances, I think sometimes is a little valuable. And again, case by case basis, really depends on you depends on the student.

Venkat Raman  7:36  

You know, we talked about getting into or, you know, applying to a certain number of schools. And now, based on my profile, if my chances of getting into a particular school are low, is it even worth applying.

Athena  7:52  

So I am a super optimistic person. And I think that if you only have one shot at this whole process, which most of us will write, or most of us have. And if you really fall in love with a school, everything you see on Tik Tok from their students is just making you want to go their more, then I would say do everything that you can to try to meet their stats, if you're not just there yet.

We're trying to understand what the components are to a successful application to that school and go for it. I mean, I think that it's more about, I think you have to balance having dreams with having realistic expectations, right? So where I see students go wrong is when they are asking out on internet forum or asking me or someone like okay, well, what are my chances, as if me being able to give them a specific number will suddenly make that dream, closer to reality than it actually is? Right?

So I think if as long as you have realistic expectations based on your stats about where you might end up, then hey, go for it. Because you never know, sometimes people do beat the odds. Sometimes people, you know, don't, but you always end up where you're supposed to go. And if you have a good mindset about that school, then everything's gonna turn out fine.

Nick Wyville  9:19  

Yeah, and I would also add to that, Athena, you know, your point about beating the odds for some very competitive schools, every single person that gets admitted beats the odds. Exactly, exactly. Because the odds are clearly not in anyone's favor when the admissions rate is 4%. And then the enrollment rate is then realistically two to 3%. So yeah, I would also encourage students to apply reach, if that's something you're comfortable doing. Always shoot for the stars, you know.

And one other question that is really similar to this students may say, you know, what are my chances Because my sister, my older sister who had a point better on her SAT, applied to Yale, let's say and didn't get in. So why should I apply because her scores are better. And another important thing to remember about so many of these different admissions policies is that they are very focused on your entire application.

And, of course, the numeric scores are really important to identify your reach match safety schools. But beyond that, you become competitive with all of the other applicants. So there could be parts of your application that a specific school makes. You seem as if you are what the school is looking for, you know, your sister may have not been the profile that the school wanted, but you might be.

Venkat Raman  11:00  

So people are throwing all kinds of terms at me, like Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision. What do all these things mean? And what am I supposed to do with this?

Nick Wyville  11:12  

This is a really great question. And it's a question that often comes up around this time of year, when students are starting to look at college applications and are starting to try to piece together a timeline for their fall semester. So first off, regular decision is the regular admissions process. It's applying in January to February, usually January, and receiving your results in March or April. And this you can apply to as many schools through regular decision, you can apply wherever you want, you don't have to go anywhere, you could go to whichever school you end up applying through. With regular. However, there are two really important caveats to this regular admissions cycle. And that is early action and early decision. So early action is a another admission cycle that you're gonna apply to, again, the early stands for submitting the application earlier than the regular process. through early action, your decisions are not restrictive, and they're not binding. This means you can apply to multiple early action schools. And if you get in early action, you don't have to go. But you can, you could have your application out of the way, you know, you apply in November, you get your emissions in January, early action, you applied to three schools early action, and then you get into one and you say, here, we're done perfect, nothing to worry about for the rest of my senior year. However, early decision is a little bit different. You're still applying early, usually in November, and you're still getting your admissions like in December, usually. But early decision is both restrictive. And binding. This means that students can only apply to one school early decision. And if they're admitted, they're telling the school that they will go. So students that apply early decision usually are people that have looked through all the different colleges, they know exactly where they want to go. They're set on the school, if they get in, they know that they absolutely want to attend. So that's usually why people apply early decision.

Nick Wyville  13:37  

And another important factor of our early decision is that typically, the admissions statistics are a bit higher for early decision. It may be a more competitive applicant pool. So everyone that applies to Columbia early decision wants to go to Columbia. However, statistically speaking, your chances of getting an early decision are higher than they would be regular decision. And, you know, it's a tough decision for a lot of students to make of do I apply early or do I wait and apply apply regular to 20 schools. And you know, I usually encourage students if they're on the fence about applying early to just not because you don't know if you're getting in, if you end up getting in or you're not sold on going to that school, you don't want to have to end up going to the school. And Athena, you may have some different experiences with your students with what you recommend. So I'd be I'd love to hear.

Athena  14:33  

Yeah, I mean, I spot on. I do I go through the same conversations with my students. I think just one or two more things to add. With early action in particular, most schools are pretty okay with you know, it's pretty open in terms of where you can apply early, but a few schools like for example, Georgetown or there's some others where they have what they call restrictive early action. So I think what I want to say from all this is that read the policies of each each type of application process on the school's website, because that will help students understand what, how exactly they need to strategize in this process. So I'm not going to go into all the details about which schools do that. But generally, the Ivy League schools, and a few other more highly ranked schools have some restrictions around where you can apply early action or early decision. And finally, I would say, you know, some schools have early decision one and early decision to so different dates. So that can also help students strategize on you know, maybe you'll apply, if you're not set on a school, maybe you can apply to some schools early action, then based on that maybe you want to go for ED2 for another school that's high up or you know, maybe you just want to wait for regular decision. So these are conversations that we have with our students. Right. But I think understanding and reading the application policies on the school's websites will really help people make the best decisions possible.

Venkat Raman  16:11  

Finally, the last question I have has to do with financial aid. So lots of students apply or want to apply for financial aid. So the question is, does it impact the chances of admission?

Nick Wyville  16:26  

Totally, this is a great question. It's a question that I get asked very often, you know, financial aid is something that students think about from the start of the application process to the day that they graduate college, it is always on your mind. And you know, even I also want to throw this out there, as some students may not know. But the common application, other college applications also offer some forms of financial aid. So if you are applying look into those specific policies, sometimes you can qualify for a waiver, which means that you can apply to certain amount of schools for no cost. Some people don't qualify for that. But I do want to throw that out there before I dive into this question.

Nick Wyville  17:12  

So now, does applying for financial aid impact a student's chance admissions? The short answer is yes. But there's a longer explanation to this. the admissions office and the financial aid offices at universities are separate offices. Most often, they're separate offices, however, they are friends, they do talk to each other. And sometimes they make decisions with each other. So some schools take this into account very seriously. And there are a few reasons for that. The biggest reason is that a lot of schools have to have a certain proportion of the student body that is able to pay tuition, that will fund the university. So it's just a really simple explanation there. However, some schools are need blind, a lot of the top tier schools are need blind, as well as a lot of liberal arts colleges, which means that your admission to the university is not based at all on your financial status. So this means that once you're admitted, the financial aid office independently will work with you on financial aid, they will send you your financial aid estimates. But just keep in mind that that is not every school, some schools make the decision in tandem with the financial aid office. And I also want to say that, you know, every financial aid office is staffed by real people, there's always room for more financial aid. Typically, if you are applying to multiple schools, if you get into two, and one of them is offering more financial aid than the other, but you really want to go to school a but school B is giving you more money. Sometimes it's possible to have a conversation with school a and say, I really, really, really want to go to school a but school B is giving me more money. Is there anything else you can do about my specific financial situation? So it's even possible that some like fancy private colleges that have really large endowments that have really great financial aid programs. Harvard's a great example, Yale is another great example, will be more affordable for students than large publicly funded state institutions that maybe don't have as great of financial aid programs. So that's another thing to keep in mind throughout this entire process.

Venkat Raman  19:48

I hope the responses and discussions related to the 5 Questions give you more guidance and direction for college selection.

Venkat Raman  20:00

In an effort to provide more guidance, the second part of this segment discusses 3 Case Studies that apply some of the points just discussed.

Athena  20:10  [Case Study #1: Ian’s Story - STEM]

The first candidate that I am going to talk about is an engineering slash computer science candidate. So your stem student who has a lot of accomplishments in that field and is weighing some decisions of where to apply, you might recognize him. He's even who we've talked about in many past episodes. So if you've been following along in his back, and we are going to help him get into college, just a little bit of review about Ian from past episodes, he is a high performer across all of his different academic subjects. But he does have a very specialized skill set and interest in STEM. He knows he wants to apply to math and computer science programs with a goal of combining computer science and his passion for the environment. And then some sort of interdisciplinary study. He has participated in a sustainability council at his school and on the robotics team. And when we think about his strongest character traits, he's very intellectually curious. So the asking trait from Spark, you'll remember that, and he is a pursuer. So he's someone who wants to take on the challenge of college level coursework that's relevant to his interest as a high school student. So one question that Ian is wrestling with, and that was that many of our students who are strong STEM students are wrestling with is whether you should choose to apply to a tech school. So you know, one of the schools that are termed Institutes of Technology in the States, or a liberal arts school that offers science and math, but a wide range of other unrelated subjects as well.

Athena  21:55  

So there are a lot of different ways that we can go about this, I would say for in helping him understand that there are two very different environments in these kinds of schools. If you go to a tech school, you are going to be around students who have decided pretty early on that they really actually want to focus on math and science. It doesn't mean they don't have other interests. Of course they do. But the majority of their time, and especially their entire academic career is going to be focused on mastery and excellence in math and science subjects. Whereas at a liberal arts school, there's more emphasis on exploration and connections between topics that one might not necessarily make. And when I think about Ian, and his interest so far, honestly, I think he could do well in either environment, which maybe doesn't help him answer his question. But I feel like he needs to understand now is it make a decision on his Okay, well, is his interest in STEM and math strong enough that he really wants to just focus on that, and maybe he'll identify schools where he can deepen his expertise in computer science. And they have the networks and collaborations with other Institute's with other schools with other programs so that he can explore more, or maybe he really likes computer science, but he says to himself, okay, I actually don't know if that's the thing I want to focus on for the rest of my life, I want another year or two, to explore. And so maybe the liberal arts school is best for him. Now, this isn't something that's going this discussion doesn't just happen once. And that's it. It's something that he'll come back to throughout the next few months. But that is something to start thinking about. And as you research the school, seeing if you really vibe with the kinds of conversations and offerings that they have.

Athena  23:55  

I don't know, Nick, if you there's something you want to add about our friend Ian here.

Nick Wyville  23:59  

Yeah, I think these are great points. And when I think of Ian, and when I think of Ian's choice between a tech school and a liberal arts school, one thing that comes to mind, specifically for Ian is his work on the environment and sustainability. And I know that a lot of that work is often very public facing it has to do with the government. It has to do with business it has to do with nonprofit organizations and advocacy organizations. And you know, if that's something that he sees as like a burgeoning interest of his, it's very, I would say is very important that he highly consider liberal arts schools as well because they're going to provide the types of students that are interested in that more public facing type of science and the more hard sciences which you know, it could be harder to break through into the sustainability and like environmental world, if he is attending Tech institute that has so much focus on that hard Science.

Athena  25:01  

Yeah. And but I mean, maybe even counter to that, right? Maybe it's better that he really becomes an expert to some degree in computer science and have a successful career after college around that, and then could go back to grad school and focus on something else, or combine that with sustainability or environmental sciences or some other field in that way. Yeah, so there's a lot for Ian to think about here. But those are some ways that we would approach this question and how to weigh those options.

Nick Wyville  25:36  

And I also think that the way that we approach this question just shows that, you know, there's no like wrong choice that he is going to make both choices are going to be very beneficial to his eventual career.

Venkat Raman  25:53  

Can I can I offer another thought here?

Athena  25:56  


Venkat Raman  25:58  

So, one of the challenges, and having been through a intensively STEM program, I would say that, if you end up becoming an innovator, or creating things, right, a broad foundation, a wider foundation helps with that a lot more, because the ideas from across different disciplines can really stoke what you do later. So one other way of thinking might be that you, you know, you have the strength to obviously build on it, the undergraduate education, but also get in some of the other sort of areas and disciplines. And then if you really want to go to grad school and specialize in more in the STEM areas, you know, that's, that's what you want to do. You know, that's another thought, because I think, certainly liberal arts and that education really helps open your mind to lots of wonderful ideas from the past. And, you know, STEM, you know, I think it really sparks creativity. So anyway, that's another thing to think about.

Athena  27:07  

And I will say just one more to that. The good thing about schools in the US in particular, is that even at schools that have a more technical focus, they still have requirement for you to, to write to have to take a writing course or to take a few intro level courses in addition to your stem curriculum. So you're always going to be exposed to more than just them, which is great. But I think there's also a ratio here of like, do you want just the intro courses? Or do you really want to go around and explore even more than that?

Nick Wyville  27:45  [Case Study #2: Amina’s Story - Business]

Okay, so another example, another case study of a student that we want to talk about is Amina, some of you may not be familiar with him in his profile. But she is a student that has a really solid performance across really all subjects. She's really passionate about economics, math, but also English. So as you can see a lot of different interests here. Amina is also interested in entrepreneurship. She wants to work for a tech company or even launch her own startup. She's thinking about combining tech and healthcare, which is, of course a growing field that a lot of students are interested in now. Amina also participated in the national economics in, excuse me in multiple national economic competitions, and even started her own food stand at her school. So as you can see, I mean, it's very much a go getter, a leader, a starter upper. And she is right now trying to decide if she wants to apply to a business program and has a lot of questions about geography and specific business programs versus non specific business programs.

Nick Wyville  28:59  

So the question of business programs is often a question that we get for students that are interested in business. More broadly, certain colleges, specifically, the University of Pennsylvania is a great example of specific business programs for undergraduates that require a specific admissions process as well. Other schools don't have business programs, they have economics programs that often funnel into business. But for someone like Amina, this is definitely a difficult decision, because as you can see, it's not just business that she's interested in. It's also a very large array of fields. And she's also really passionate about going to school, say in a city. And making the decision about geography is is a question that's really important that we haven't talked too much about. Button times, students Really want to find a school that offers them a place in which they can maybe launch a startup or launch a particular nonprofit or do work that brings in a lot of people. And obviously, for Amina, it makes sense to be in a more urban location, a place in which there are more people to benefit from particular services or more students from different types of colleges in the area to maybe join her startup and participate in her startup. So it's often a difficult question, really, when it comes back to doesn't mean to apply to a business program, or a school without a business program. And what I say to that is that, you know, if you're applying to a business program, you're pretty sold on wanting to do that, gonna be around other business majors, you're going to be in an environment that is very business heavy. And if you change your mind, and you're like, this is not what I want to do, it can be a little more difficult out of a business program than it can be to just like change your major or get into an eventual business graduate program. There's also the option for Amina of going to an undergraduate institution that doesn't have a specific program in which she studies economics, or she studies English even and just on the side runs a startup. And then, of course, as we were saying, with our friend, Ian, it is so very possible that Amina just chooses to go back to graduate school. There are so many business graduate schools that students often go on to that are interested in like further exploring business and you know, undergraduate is a time of learning, it's a time of exploration, if, if Amina decides that business is really what she wants to do, then maybe business school would be a great fit for her to really specialize in after her undergraduate.

Nick Wyville  31:59  

Athena, if you have additional thoughts on that, we'd love to hear as well.

Athena  32:03  

Yeah, no, thank you. I get to build on that. I think I sort of mentioned this with Ian story. One of the unique facets of the liberal arts system within American higher education is that often you have people who majored in subjects that seem completely random or unrelated to whatever they end up doing for the rest of their career. I mean, I even think about my own career, I majored in classics, so Latin in ancient Greek. And now I work in higher education, international development. And I actually recently got my MBA. So, yeah! Thank you guys. But what I'm trying to say here is that I think with business, sometimes, I don't mean to disrespect any particular institutions, bachelor's in Business Administration, BBA programs, many of them are great. But oftentimes, I think it's the students who get into those programs. I mean, it's very, very competitive. And so I think if you are sort of on the fence about business, if you know that long term, you want to do something to create a startup, but you want to explore a lot in between, I think there is a lot of, there's a lot of benefit to studying something that just is based out of passion at the undergraduate level, and seeing where that can lead you in the future. Because in the American college experience, not only are you going to be able to do internships, or get work experience on the side, or take other courses, on your own time, even are offered by the school to learn about business things, if that's what you want to do. If you don't major in business, you can do those things while also learning about, you know, movies or you know, some region of the world you want to be exposed to or some other topic, you know, bio chemistry that you wouldn't have pursued otherwise. And there's something beautiful about that, that I often want to encourage students to do. But yeah, if you're set on business, I would say make sure understand that those programs, even if a school has a pretty high acceptance rate, a lot of times the business programs themselves at the undergraduate level are quite competitive. So you have to bring to the game, strong quantitative scores, strong entrepreneurial activities are evidence of that sort of entrepreneurial ism to your application.

Nick Wyville  34:29  

Yeah, And just lastly, I would also add that so many people go to grad school, it's truly not the end of the world if you choose to hold off on their pre professional route. Right, Rand? Yeah, and even so many students that attend undergraduate business programs still end up going to graduate graduate, excuse me, business graduate programs.

Venkat Raman  34:55  

Yeah, you know, one other aspect to consider is a whole bunch of US colleges have started what they call innovation hubs, or university innovation centers. And it's in public schools, private schools. And a lot of Liberal Arts, like Davidson College has won, you know, it's really a long list of things. But for someone who wants to do business, they can get hands on sort of entrepreneurship or startup experience some of these, and a lot of interdisciplinary programs. So I think, you know, taking a look at the kinds of colleges that have this, and there's a huge investment that's been made over the last five years. And I think I think those are great, great opportunities for someone like Amina, so I think Yeah, lots of good, good things to think about.

Athena  35:51  

I mean, I will just add one more thing, too, is that the business and I think even compared to Ian's case, where he might want to gain expertise in a very specific technical subject, right? I think business is one of those things where the market is changing really fast. The kinds of skills that you need are the ways that you need to adapt, it's a much quicker turnover in some ways. So I think that your ability to explore and connect ideas that others might not otherwise, that can actually be more valuable than having made what's traditionally known as a sort of business set of qualifications, let's say. So that's just something to keep in mind, when we look out to career prospects in the in within five to 10 years.

Venkat Raman  36:46  

Yeah, and one other point I wanted to make was, especially international students, you know, there are some universities that are now offering a program so that they can do OPT, or available OPT program at the end of their graduation. And that is typically reserved for STEM. But if you combine it with some programs, you can get that as well. So that's another thing to consider.

Nick Wyville  37:18  [Case Study #3: Lily’s Story - Financial Aid]

Okay, so our last unit in our case study is Lily, who is very focused in the humanities and the social sciences. And the top issue, the top concern that Lily is having when it comes to her admissions process is that she is in need of financial aid, that probably whichever school that she's going to eventually attend, no, not only does she need more, not only does she need this aid, but she's also based outside of the US, which makes it a little more difficult to get aid inside the US at us institutions. But this is really important, that's her family isn't going to be able to afford the full cost of tuition. She's pretty strong in all subjects, but mostly is interested in psychology. She says that she spends hours watching YouTube videos about the brain, she goes down these rabbit holes on Wikipedia, just reading so many different articles about psychology. But she doesn't really know what she would do with these interests. She has done a variety of activities, sports activities, music, clubs, leaders of clubs, but nothing specifically in psychology. So she has this interest in psychology. But the only real way she's been able to demonstrate that is through taking AP psych. So she's not exactly sure about how to begin this process. And if it's worth pursuing a degree in psychology. So oftentimes, I would say this is a question that a lot of students have where they have this interest. They're not really sure about how to proceed with set interest. But they know it's there.

Nick Wyville  39:09  

And I think that this is like the perfect example of the need to go to a liberal arts school, a place where Lily is able to explore all of these different options. Most liberal arts schools have Humanities and Social Sciences. And those that do most all of them have psychology. It's a very common field for students to study. So this to me, screams liberal arts school, it screams an interdisciplinary degree in which she's able to learn about psychology when she's able to learn about the human brain. She can take hard science classes on neurobiology as well as very social science focused classes on how humans interact in large groups of others. And another great thing about us Lying to liberal arts schools for Lilly is that most liberal arts schools compared to other large state schools happen to be need blind, which means that admissions are not influenced by Lily's financial need. Instead, the admissions are solely focused on her application on her profile on her personal statement. So this kind of comebacks, comes back to the question that we were talking about earlier about financial aid. This is, like I said, a great example of a school in which Lily would apply, the admissions office would probably not even speak to the financial aid office, and most of these liberal arts schools, and at the end of the day, she would end up receiving a separate package of financial aid, as well as her admission to whichever specific University. One other thing one other great thing that I would add about liberal arts schools is that it's often really easy to change your major. If Lily starts studying psychology her freshman year and decides, you know, this really isn't for me, but I took a sociology class, and it seems like exactly what I was interested in, it's going to be much easier for her to switch her major there that it may add other schools such as like, large state schools that require foundation courses, and a lot of liberal arts schools just don't require those foundations, especially early on as freshman year.

Venkat Raman  41:29  

Athena. Any thing to add?

Athena  41:32  

Yeah, no, I think I definitely had a lot of students who are in cases similar to Lily's. I think, in the application process itself, I would add that even if she isn't sure about what she wants to do with the rest of her life, which is totally fine, because I don't know, either, it's, it's okay. I think have been able to articulate some kind of idea, or two or three different directions for what her life could look like, if she was able to get a psychology degree or get a degree in general from whatever school she's interested in. If she's able to communicate that to the school, that's going to be much more compelling than someone who says, I have no idea. I guess I'm good at some things. And please accept me. Right. So it's, it's the kind of argumentation really this whole application process. So that's something to keep in mind that really should keep in mind for sure. And I think with a financial aid question, Nick, you've made all the big points. So thank you, I would just add that, you know, looking at smaller liberal arts colleges, so you know, not just the top name ones, but really understanding where Lily's stats sort of fall in line or above the 50th percentile of accepted students. If she has above average stats and addition to you know, a great essay a great profile all of that she's more likely to get married a than if she is below average. Because if you think about it, the school has an institutional interest in wanting to raise the test scores of their accepted or the admitted students and how bring it in the highest caliber of students possible to to their school. So that's something to keep in mind about how to strategize in terms of which schools are most likely to give merit aid to her.

So yeah, good luck Lily.

Venkat Raman  43:29

In this Segment we discussed How to start narrowing the list of colleges.

We covered

  • 5 Common Questions that Applicants have about the process
  • 3 Case studies that illustrate different strategies based on the profile.

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Venkat  44:36

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