For both students and parents, the college admissions process is by far the most intimidating, overwhelming, and momentous endeavor you have encountered. Four or more years of planning goes into a series of documents that determine the course of your education and future. The sheer number of factors that contributes to an application requires hours upon hours of careful consideration and revision. And once the process is complete, there is still the possibility that some ideal schools waitlist, defer, or outright reject you, and at that point you have to consider the appeals process. Students literally define their lives around the goal of attending the most prestigious college possible, so it’s not surprising that the process of applying to college is so stressful. Luckily, there is a solution to making the process stress-free: TutorNerds Admissions Consulting.
TutorNerds Admissions Experts
TutorNerds admissions faculty is composed of seasoned admissions consulting professionals. Our admissions consultants have a deep understanding of the application process and have helped hundreds of applicants get into their target programs. Most of our admissions consultants have worked on admissions committees or as advisers—many at top universities throughout the nation —and they bring real life insight into the admissions process and an idea of what admissions committees and officers are looking for.
Let us give our definition of exceptional admissions consulting: Presenting you in the best possible light. Colleges need to choose you from among thousands of applicants. But their understanding of your potential is limited to what appears on the application. So the goal of TutorNerds consulting is to bring out the best version of you on the application. Our approach is highly personalized and comprehensive. TutorNerds consultants have the practical working knowledge of the field of college admissions to advise you appropriately. In order to assemble the best application, it is best to start early so that our consultants have the opportunity to understand your strengths, and so you can carefully address each stage in the application process according to those strengths.
TutorNerds consultants empirically address every aspect of the admissions process, even which colleges would be the right fit for you. You are not left on your own with anything; consultants are experienced in all the areas you need to have a strong application. Whether you know exactly where you want to go and what you want to study, or if you are entirely uninformed about the available options, we are happy and motivated to partner with you in reaching your goals.
So what goes into a college application?
There are many factors in your admissions competitiveness, some of which you may not have known. Here is a (relatively) concise summary:
It turns out this is the easy part. Schools need standard personal information, such as your date of birth, social security number, and address. Schools may have a specific application “portal” of their own, but many schools utilize The Common Application, which saves students time as it utilizes only one main application form for every school. Although this stage requires less effort, aspects of The Common App can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the process. And really, any opportunity you have to save time is worth pursuing. TutorNerds consultants are extremely experienced with The Common App and many other school admissions portals, which saves you time and makes the process simple.
Your cummulative GPA gives a broad picture of your academic caliber. Schools publish their average GPA of incoming freshman, which can serve as an indication of your competitiveness in applying to said school. We will be able to assess for which schools you would be a competitive applicant and what strategies you could use to improve your GPA. But there are more to your grades…
Grades from individual classes play a role as well. For one, a great GPA may be overshadowed by one or two extremely poor grades. Another consideration is your intended major. For example, students pursuing biology should place special emphasis on excelling in science and math classes in high school as these classes will be more closely considered by admissions faculty. This leads to another consideration: What classes should you be taking? This is an area in which students often struggle–“Should I take Honors or AP?”, “Is it worth taking a zero period?”. Our admissions consultants take into account your personal interests and academic goals. The end result is to pursue a college major in which you have a passion, but failure to plan for this in advance can be harmful. An expert will know what majors are available for your goals, and what is the best path to get there. See the “Pre-consulting” section below for more. Of course, if pure academic performance is a concern, take a look at our many academic tutoring services.
Every high school student’s favorite three-letter acronym: SAT (with ACT at a close second). Being standardized, these exams allow colleges to compare students to one another. Where class difficulties vary between schools, a specific date of the SAT or ACT is exactly the same for every student taking it. In addition, there are a handful of specialized SAT Subject and AP exams to consider. These exams are highly recommended if not required by most programs. Each one of these exams requires careful planning and consideration in advance. If you are especially concerned about your scores for these exams, consider TutorNerds SAT and ACT test preparation. We also have SAT Subject and AP preparation services.
Essays and/or Personal Statements
This is where students get away from the “numbers” part of the application. Schools want to hear your own creative voice and a bit about your personal background. Unfortunately, this is the most time consuming part of the application itself because each school may have completely different essay prompts–and several of them! The good news is that this can be the most enjoyable part as well–you get to be creative! Experts come in handy here. Admissions committees are looking for specific things that make you an asset to their school. See our page on Personal Statement Editing for more info.
Colleges want to see that you’re not simply a bookworm. Do you have artistic interests in addition to your academic ones? Do you excel in a sport? Are you passionate about a particular cause or charity? These are just some of the many options you should consider pursuing. We like this part because it encourages students to, brace yourselves, actually have fun. Seriously, what is most important is that you invest your time in things for which you actually have a passion. Inevitably there will be an essay or two that will ask you to elaborate one of your extracurricular experiences, and you should have something substantial to say. Our consultants can help you distinguish between activities and help you incorporate them into your application. And if you’re totally lost, our consultants can help you discover what extracurriculars are actually available.
This does not apply to every student, and some schools simply do not offer interviews. Interviews with admissions officers are either offered to students after applications are submitted, or scheduled by students themselves at any point. If a school you would like to attend does offer them, it’s certainly a good idea to schedule one. Interview preparation is a detailed topic on its own; there are many aspects to consider, as interpersonal skills come into play, which adds another dimension to the application. But rest assured that our college consultants can help you prepare for these as well. See our page on Interview Prep for more information.
Letters of Recommendation
Again here, requirements vary from school to school. However, you will probably end up applying to schools that require some number of recommendation letters (usually 1 to 3), so definitely ask some teachers who know you well if they would be able to write you one. Other options are coaches, music instructors, extracurricular advisors, non-profit managers, and any non-family member with whom you have worked or studied. College consultants can help you decide which teachers would be ideal for your application. See our article talking about this for more info.
Colleges make their applications available the summer and fall for enrollment for the following year (summer-fall 2013 for 2014-15 enrollment, for example). It is during that period of a handful of months that students will fill out applications, write essays, and seek letters of recommendation. Yet as we have mentioned above, preparation really begins years in advance. In what classes should you enroll? Where should you volunteer? In short: Are you on the right track? TutorNerds makes it easy to find out!
With our college consulting, we don’t limit our involvement to any particular part. We want to make you the strongest applicant possible, and that demands effort throughout high school. Our pre-consulting services are integrated into our consulting programs so that you have help at every step of the way. Our consultants meet with you periodically, at your preference, to advise you on class selection, standardized test scheduling, extracurriculars, and any other necessary topics; and, equally important, they motivate you to continue to succeed. It takes a consultant who has the opportunity to get to know you as a student to give you the most accurate and applicable advice.
Struggle can come at any stage in the process. We happily help any applicant, any time. Even if you or your student would like brief guidance along the way, or specialized help for a particularly challenging aspect, we have the expert services to make your application have an unique and impactful.