One of the goals of the College Counseling Program at Wardlaw + Hartridge is to work as partners with students in their college search and help them navigate the ever shifting college landscape.
We mentor students as they assess their strengths and aspirations, explore appropriate college choices, and work through the process of essay writing, college visits and college applications. Below are some links that students will find very useful.
Questions our students frequently ask
What should high school freshmen do in order to be a strong candidate for highly competitive colleges?
|As freshmen, you should prepare for college by working hard, taking challenging courses, reading often on a wide range of topics, and remaining committed to your passions and talents. Grow in leadership skills by initiating new activities or projects and by seeking leadership positions. Spend your time wisely throughout the school year and during the summer months; what you choose to do in your “free” time will tell colleges a lot about what you will bring to their campuses.|
A visit to campus will better enable you to determine if the college is a good fit for you, as colleges, like people, have different “personalities” as well as different programs. Preliminary visits can start early in high school, enabling students to begin to assess and prioritize the factors that play into decision-making, particularly in regard to campus size and environment. More in-depth visits should begin no later than spring of the junior year. Summer visits provide an introduction to the school’s programs and campus, and sometimes it is easier to get an interview slot at that time of year (if you are entering senior year). A return visit in the fall enables students to visit classes, talk with students and professors, and experience more fully what it might be like to be enrolled there as a student. It is important to note that many colleges track visits to campus in an attempt to assess a student’s level of interest in that college; a student’s “demonstrated interest” often plays an important role in admission.
Is it better to take a regular college prep class and earn an A or honors or AP classes and earn a B?
Students are sometimes tempted to apply to an excessive number of colleges, thinking that this approach might yield at least one acceptance at a most competitive college. However, a long list of applications generally suggests that a student has not done enough self-analysis or research and is approaching the process somewhat haphazardly. Moreover, it is nearly impossible to do a thorough and thoughtful job of visiting, interviewing, and preparing a dozen or more applications while maintaining high standards academically and extra-curricularly. A student applying to a good range of schools should not need to apply to more than ten.
Information about scholarships can be found outside the College Counseling Office, online at www.fastweb.com, and other online sources. Consider, too, parents' place of work, your church, township, etc. Be aware that most monies will come directly from the college you plan to attend.
|The frustrating answer to this question is that there is no formula that one can follow to ensure acceptance into any given institution. Admissions professionals themselves acknowledge that the process is much more of an art than a science. The best advice is to pursue your passions, engage wholeheartedly in academics (both subjects you like and those you don't), and challenge yourself. In short, be active in the pursuit of your education and your passions.|