Thanks and the SAT Rap

Happy Thanksgiving! You know what this holiday means, of course…that’s right, college application deadlines. Most of the country is busy trying to re-create the quality intellectual experience of Big Brother by gathering numerous family members into the same small space for extended periods, offering endless opportunities for nerve fraying drama. High school seniors, however, know that the emotional impact of these interactions pales compared to the stress of trying to get your essays drafted and your applications submitted in between answering endless questions from grandma about, “what you’re going to do with your life.”

Shameless plug: As your stress levels mount, don’t forget that December 1 is Mason’s deadline for application submission if you want to be considered for our Honors program and/or scholarships!

Before I give in to a turkey induced semi-comatose state, from which I plan to awaken only to eat pie and grumble about some sports team, I wanted to pass along my annual reminders for the season to try to keep the stress in check, and to give thanks to the people helping you through this process.

High school guidance and college counselors, take very little time to enjoy the holiday. They are busy making lists and checking the twice – for transcript submission, for letters of recommendation, and for dozens and dozens of forms that must be submitted, all with various deadlines. No matter their caseload or their school, they work long hours, generally with little recognition from the school or students as to how crucial their role is in the process. Please – let them know how much you appreciate what they are doing for you…and, of course, there’s no better time to suck up to the people who are writing your recommendations…

My other holiday wish for all of you is to keep this process in perspective. Don’t let the cranky deans of admission grinch up your holiday season. Just keep reminding yourself that there are LOTS of wonderful colleges and universities, and LOTS of paths to success. This process, despite the messages often conveyed by our marketing, does NOT decide the rest of your life – you do.

A post to the national admissions e-list reminded me of both why I so appreciate my colleagues on the high school side, and that this process works best when not taken TOO seriously. The students of Williamsburg Charter High School in Brookyln, NY have produced their own rap video about the SAT…among my least favorite parts of the process, and the one that unreasonably causes the most stress. Give it a listen, let them know what you think of it…then go back in, tell grandma you’re going to be a huge success, and have another helping of family, friends, and food. Be seeing you.


7 Responses

  1. This has nothing to do with the SAT, but you did mention the Dec 1 deadline, so my question deals with deadlines:-) I have read on collegeconfidential that some EA applicants to GMU have already heard they have been accepted. I thought they would be notified on Dec. 15th. Why are some hearing so early (especially when the application status link says it might take 4 weeks to have that up to date). Does it mean anything (dire) if someone hasn’t heard yet?
    Thanks, Suzanne

    • We promise to get early decisions out BY December 15, but we do try to release some in groups as they get completed. Not hearing yet doesn’t mean anything – the four week estimate is to give a realistic idea of how much time may pass before you should normally expect to hear anything. Mail is being processed, but transcripts and recommendations arrive daily, so many application records are still being completed (even if you sent everything in on time), counselors will read as their assigmnents as quickly as they can, and the admissions committee meets weekly. Those applications that were first completed will get reviewed sooner, but most take longer. As a result, some applications will get reviewed sooner than others, having nothing to do with whether or not the students are qualified.

      Probably worth noting that Mason is on track this year to have our largest application pool in our history, but well over 10% (possibly as much as 20%) over last years applications. We worked throughout the Thanksgiving holiday to get your applciations read and, despite the increase, I’m confident we’ll get a response out to all of our early applicants by the 15th.

  2. Is there any way to get into the honors program applying after the dec 1 deadline (i.e, going into an honors program at the end/beginning of freshmen year)?

    • THe Honors Program is a freshman year experience, so it wouldn’t make sense to go into later in your freshman year. There are, however, honors programs in most of our majors, as well as honors academic organizations. In addition, the Honors Program is part of the larger Honors College which has multiple points of entry.
      If you feel strongly that you would qualify for the Honors Program/College etc., you can certainly still apply and hope to be considered. Like most highly competitive institutions, we have to be strict about deadlines to be fair to all applicants, but, also like most highly competitive institutions, there have been occasional exceptions for outstanding students with unusual circumstances.

  3. HI,
    SATs test always sounds difficult to me. The myths you have shared here regarding SATs have really helped me realize that it’s not impossible:)

  4. I am guessing the deadline of the 15th wasn’t met, since I know of applicants who haven’t heard a peep. Is it taking longer than expected? (though I now see the 18th on the page regarding application timelines…)

    • On the positive side we received more early action applications from more qualified students than ever before. On the downside, that means trying to get a lot more admission packages out this week than we anticipated. We began printing and mailing early action letters yesterday – most will be in the mail today and all by Friday. I have the elves working as fast they can, but they have an awfully tough union. Hang in there – you will definitely hear from us in the next few days.

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