With the recent changes in the HOPE Scholarship Program, should my student take College Prep en lieu of Enriched Prep or Honors classes? Each family should answer this question based on their student's future aspirations. Typically some 70-75% of Woodward graduates will attend college out of state and the Georgia HOPE program does not apply to those institutions. The Upper School advises students to take the most rigorous programs appropriate for their academic standing. Colleges and universities weigh this choice heavily in their decisions and students will continue to benefit from the superior challenge when they earn strong outcomes in these classes. A review of admissions requirements and advice from various Georgia colleges and universities will give insight into the most desirable levels of high school coursework for competitive applicants.
Featuring Matthew Whelan, director of admission, St. John's University (Queens, NY)Q. A number of the colleges that interest me require that I submit a "personal statement" with my application. I have no idea what to include! Should I try to be funny? Serious? What should I write about?A. You are in good company. Ever since the distant time when people first began to put their thoughts on paper -- or vellum, papyrus, even stone tablets, for that matter -- writers have struggled with the eternal question of what to say. I have good news for you: Your personal statement -- also known as the "college essay" -- will benefit from the advice that guides so many aspiring writers. And that, very simply, is to write what you know.What does this mean for you? First, college admission committees are not looking for a polished treatise on some lofty topic. Second, they are not swayed by complex, mind-bending words or sentences. College admission committees require personal statements because they want to know your interests, your goals, the way you express yourself. In short, they are looking for you."All writing is communication," said E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web. "It is the self escaping into the open." Your personal statement should create a sense of your 'self' and the experiences that have shaped you. Are you an avid reader? Was there a teacher or class that inspired you to pursue a certain career? Have you ever volunteered for an activity that changed your life? Is there someone you view as an ideal role model? These are all possible starting points. (Some universities may ask you to choose from specific topics or questions they suggest. Select the one you feel you can address most sincerely.)As you write, remember to be real. Never force a tone that is humorous, serious, or anything else. Let the humor and spirit of your writing come naturally from the way you feel about your material. Your statement will be far more effective if you do.Although admission committees do not expect Hemingway, they do want you to submit a well-organized composition. Clear, effective writing is vital to a successful college career. So plan your essay before you begin writing.Choose a main statement to guide your composition -- a thesis you can express in a single sentence. Jot down supporting ideas, events, and information. Next, develop a simple outline with an introduction (including your main statement), a body (to support your thesis), and a conclusion (restating your main point in a memorable way). Be sure to check your spelling and grammar, revising and rewriting as often as needed. And don't be afraid to ask a trusted teacher, relative, or friend to review your statement before submitting it.Above all, remember that your personal statement is just one of the items an admission committee considers. Here at St. John's University, for example, we also look at your grades, test scores, courses, and the extracurricular activities in which you have participated. (We strongly recommend a personal interview as well.)So take a deep breath, crack your knuckles, and get ready to pound that keyboard. As you write your personal statement, think of the countless others who also struggled with the timeless struggle for what to say. They got the job done, and so will you.We wish you the best of luck with your college plans!
Most schools require the SAT ..