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Starting to look at colleges?

What to consider when choosing the best college for successful students. NJBiz.com interviews Janet Loren in working with families to find the right “fit” for their child not only financially, but academically and socially as well.

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NINE TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF COLLEGE FAIRS

How can I make the most out of college fairs without becoming so overwhelmed by all of the various colleges present?

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How Requesting Financial Aid Affects College Admissions Decisions

Contemplating and applying to colleges can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s life, which is why it is important for a student and their family to understand the admissions process, especially when applying for financial aid.

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Why Standardized Tests Are Still Important

For many colleges standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT , SAT II’s and AP’s are an important part of the college admissions review process. Over the last several years many colleges have seen an increase in applications due to several factors such as college rankings, the ease of electronic submissions, the Common Application (where students fill out one application for several schools) and the increased competition from international students. Colleges like receiving applications not only for the revenue it drives but as a means to increase the quality of their student body. Standardized testing is an efficient and quick way to determine qualified applicants. Attending a more selective school is seen as being more prestigious since a smaller number of applicants can get in. The supply is lower, therefore more desirable. Selectivity is calculated by comparing the number of people who apply to a school to the number of people they accept. The bigger the disparity in the number, the more selective the school. A school that receives 10,000 applications and lets in 1,000 people is more selective than a college than receives 10,000 and lets in 5,000. For many schools the use of standardized testing allows a college to field a large amount of applications and still be able to go through all of them in a timely manner.

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Facebook Privacy and College Admissions

Social media, especially Facebook, has become an integral part of every high school student’s life. What many aspiring college students often forget is that college admissions officers consider Facebook a means of getting a picture of what an applicant is like in real life. Often they check the Facebook profiles of prospective students. Remember, even with the highest Facebook privacy settings, chances are a search engine can still find some Facebook posts about you.

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Selecting the Best High School Courses in Preparation for College

As the competition for top colleges and academic scholarships increases, the need to select the best high school courses for colleges becomes essential. In addition, keeping in mind your college goals is just as important in your first year of high school as it is in your junior and senior years. If you follow these guidelines, as well as advice from a counselor, you will have a strong academic transcript for getting into the college of your choice.

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Should students work hard to become an expert in a particular field, or should they try to know a bit about many subjects?

Not all students are able to determine exactly what they want to do at the start of college. In fact, many get confused about which field to focus on. It’s not a bad decision to study different subjects, and then eventually pick the one where the student excels the most. Many successful people today possess a group of skills and know the interconnections among various disciplines. They are flexible and capable of intellectually adapting to change. Even those who are dedicated to a certain field understand and appreciate the importance of other disciplines in dealing with various problems and situations. In today’s modern times, being capable of applying knowledge to different situations and having a versatile, multifaceted background is highly important.

Can students still get admitted into a good college even without outstanding grades, high test scores, wonderful recommendations and numerous extracurricular activities?

It’s not quite applicable to all colleges. If it were, there would be an inordinate number of students who wouldn’t be able to enter college successfully, and schools would be discriminatory. Although some colleges do accept students by formula, the best ones search for well-rounded students who are enthusiastic learners and eager to participate in campus activities. Grades and scores have their significant importance, but there are other factors to consider such as class rank, challenging courses taken, personal statements and social activities. Students and schools are equally hoping to find the best match for their unique needs.

Is there better course selection in large, research-based Ivy League schools, and do these schools attract more skillful faculty members?

While it is true that bigger schools offer a more extensive course selection, the courses they offer attract more competition because of limited availability. Additionally, numerous prominent scholars at major universities tend to get busy doing research and publishing books. Consequently, they are not able to spend much time on teaching. There are some chances for undergraduate research or independent study, but not in many cases.

Is there more diversity and variety in larger schools, and are there more opportunities for success?

Generally, larger schools offer a wider selection of programs, opportunities and activities. Nonetheless, there is also more competition. In some cases, students find it easier to meet new people and build strong, enduring friendships in smaller communities. The main reason for this is the absence of intimidating hierarchy and red tape that is typically present in large schools. Many students actually see less competition for leadership positions and student activities in a small campus.