1 Why Has College Admissions Become So Competitive?
It Used to Be Simple . . . But Not Anymore • Which Colleges Are the Most Selective?
• Why So Much Interest in Such a Small Group of Colleges? • The Importance of Fit.
• The Rankings Game • Concerns About Rankings • Why Are Rankings So Popular?
• Looking Ahead.
2 What Do Selective Colleges Look for in an Applicant?
How College Admissions Has Changed • What Matters Now • The Academic Record.
• Standardized Tests • Engagement Beyond the Classroom: The Extracurricular Record.
• Personal Qualities: The Person Behind the Paper • Hooks • Fitting It All Together.
3 How Do Colleges Make Their Decisions?
Who Works in Admissions? • Ambassadors and Gatekeepers • What Happens to Your.
File? • Tentative Decisions • Making the Final Decision • Building the Freshman Class.
• The Role of Your High School Counselor • A Few Words About Independent College.
Counselors • The Parents’ Role.
4 How Colleges (and Students) Differ: Finding What Fits.
So Many Choices: How Do You Begin? • Some Questions to Ask Yourself • Liberal Arts.
Colleges • Research Universities • What’s in a Name? • Other Types of Four-Year.
Institutions • Which Kind of College Is Best for You? • Curriculum and Requirements.
• Colleges with Special Affiliations • The Intangibles • What Makes for a Quality.
Undergraduate Experience? • Getting the Information You Need.
5 Where Should You Apply?
Start at Your Counseling Office • The College Visit • Selectivity and Your College List.
• Determining Your Chances • Some Cautions About Data • Self-Assessment and.
Research: The Keys to a Good College List • A Word About Finances.
6 The Big Tests.
The SAT • Considering the ACT • Which Test Should You Take? • Test-Optional Schools.
• The Special Case of Special Accommodations • The SAT Subject Tests • A Special Word.
to Parents About Standardized Tests • A Postscript on the Future of Standardized Testing.
7 Deciding About Early Decision and Other Early Options.
The Pros and Cons of Early Decision • Early Action • Should You Apply Early Decision.
or Early Action? • More Things to Consider.
8 Applying Well: Part I.
Getting Off to a Good Start • Using the Common Application • Writing an Effective.
Personal Essay • An Important To-Do List.
9 Applying Well: Part II.
Getting Great Letters of Recommendation • Shining in Your Interview • Highlighting.
What You’ve Accomplished • Special Talents • The Student Athlete • Tips for.
Homeschoolers • You’ve Finished Your Applications—Now What?
10 Paying the Bill.
How Do Colleges Determine Your Financial Need? • The Verification Process • Why.
Do Need-Based Packages Diff er from College to College? • How Can You Estimate Your.
Financial Need? • What Goes into a Financial Aid Package? • How Is Your Package Put.
Together? • Will Your Need for Financial Aid Affect Your Chances of Admission?
• What About Merit-Based Aid? • Financial Aid and Your Decisions • Another Word.
About Early Decision • Planning Ahead When Your Child Is Young • A Special Note.
About Financial Aid in Tough Times.
11 Making Your Decision After the Colleges Make Theirs.
How Will You Be Notified? • The Special Case of Early Decision • When It Is Your Turn.
to Decide • Spring Admits • Taking Another Look • Revisiting Financial Aid • How.
Wait-Lists Work • A Word About Senioritis • Celebrate and Enjoy!.
12 What Matters Most: Advice to Parents and Students.
Some Parting Thoughts for Parents • Some Parting Thoughts for Students.
A. College Research Worksheet.
B. Common Application 2009–10.
C. Sample Student Information Sheet for Letters of Recommendation.
D. Financial Aid Comparison Worksheet.
E. Cost of Attendance Worksheet.
College Preparation Time Line.
About the Authors.