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A Tour for Insight Into the College Application Process

CWS College Counselor, Diane Meinke, recently returned from a three-day counselor tour to Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby Colleges in Maine. Counselors obtain behind the scenes information about individual college admissions offices during such tours. High school counselors are invited to a tour when the college believes that the high school has good potential to provide future enrollees.

These three colleges are quite selective. Their advice to students includes: demonstrate that you have pushed yourself in some way beyond what is typical in your high school, and demonstrate willingness to be proactive in learning, seeking help and engaging with others in purposeful activity. In addition, students should pay attention to the quality of the short supplemental essay as it is read carefully by multiple people.

Demonstrate that you have pushed yourself in some way beyond what is typical in your high school…

Bates College has a unique program which is the first of its kind in the country. There are 2 deans of multicultural affairs who alternate, spending one year in admissions and one year in multicultural affairs. This allows the dean who has recruited and established relationships with incoming students to stay with them during their first year in order to support their adjustment to college life. Bates was one of the first colleges to become test-optional (1984) and their experience has been very positive. There has been no decline in student achievement since adopting the policy and they have achieved much greater diversity in the student body.

A new initiative at Bowdoin College provides funding for unpaid student internships anywhere in the world. Bowdoin doesn’t want to see students pass up worthwhile internship experiences due to financial concerns. Bowdoin is also test-optional, though they report that 80-85% of applicants do send test scores. When students don’t send them, they assured us that they don’t speculate about the reasons for not sending them; they simply review the applicant with the information provided.

Colby College has a unique physical arrangement in which classrooms are situated next to professor’s offices. This facilitates communication and allows students to feel that they have easier access to their professors. Colby does require the SAT or ACT, and at this point, they have no plans to become test-optional.

One of the most satisfying aspects of a college tour is the ability to talk with students. These dicussions allow high school counselors to get a sense of the type of student who would be happy there. Each campus has its own distinct personality. Students who will experience a “good fit” with the school will share at least some of the traits of the student body, though most colleges celebrate differences among students. Should your student wish to discuss the subjective feel of these colleges to determine whether it is a possible fit for them, Diane is available for consultation during lunch periods and after school. Contact Ms. Meinke to set-up an appointment.

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