For seniors in South Florida and across the country, this time of year can be particularly stressful. Deadlines are looming for college applications, especially for those students applying early.
To further complicate the process, applying to college has changed drastically in recent years. Among the changes are digitized applications, greater competition, and schools adopting a more holistic approach to their admissions process.
On Thursday, Sundial answered parents’ and students’ questions about applying to college. Guests were: Coral Reef High School CAP advisor Louise Gilman; Dr. Octavio Ramos, President of Dr. O. Ramos & Associates Tutoring and College Prep Services; and Dave Marcus, the author of “Acceptance: A Legendary Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges—and Find Themselves.”
WLRN: Applying and getting into college now, is it the most difficult and the most complicated that it’s ever been?
RAMOS: Well it’s the most complicated it’s ever been. But by the same token you have a heck of a lot more resources. You have the internet, you have resources, you have agencies like mine, you have full-time counselors.
And Lu can you explain the difference between Common app and Coalition Application?
GILMAN: Both of those are application platforms. It’s one site that the student can go to and submit their application to a number of schools. It is to create access and affordability. Both application platforms has a part there that students who cannot pay application fees can have those waived.
Do most Florida universities and colleges except either one of these?
GILMAN: No, the only way you can apply to the University of Florida is via Coalition Application. FSU has three different ways you can apply: Coalition, Common or their very own website.
What about scholarships? What scholarships are available?
RAMOS: Well there’s a huge book that’s published every year and it is a breakdown of every conceivable scholarship that is out there, from very obvious to very esoteric scholarships.
What does college want to see?
RAMOS: What you have to be above everything else is genuine. If and when a college adviser and an adviser but a college representative conducts an interview or reviews your activities you have to be genuine.
Lu … students need a resume now. How do you advise, especially those freshman and sophomores, how do you build your resume for your senior year?
GILMAN: Many of our schools have so many wonderful activities, interest clubs and sports. From the time they get on campus with us as freshmen we definitely encourage them to get as involved and to explore as many different areas so that come the sophomore and junior year. They have something pretty solid.
How many should they join?
GILMAN: I tell the kids two or three. Something they really are into that they can show they’ve spent a good amount of their extra time, that they’re committed to, that they have maybe built or grown with in some capacity and that they feel very strongly about and that they can show in an interview or again on their resumes or in their essay.