Students from Korea comprise one of the four largest applicant pools seeking admission to American colleges and universities. When seniors apply to the same few schools, they are competing with each other before they are competing with students in the total applicant pool.
Mr. Schneider is working with his thirty-third graduating class at Seoul International School. Although the application process is basically the same year after year, he states that each class has its own personality which insures the job is never boring. Reading, exploring Seoul, meeting with former students and making a weekly trek to the flea market in Chonggyechun are his favorite out of school distractions.
Mr. Schneider’s Suggestions: What I’ve Learned from the Last Few Graduating Classes
1. Some seniors think only the first semester matters.
The senior year lasts until you graduate. If your final grades are lower than those which lead to your acceptance, your acceptance can be retracted in July or August. You should maintain your attendance and level of achievement in all of your classes. Be careful not to put yourself in a difficult academic situation, especially in classes with a teacher who wrote you a recommendation. Neither Mr. Schneider nor your parents can fix a problem in a course you have stopped working in. You are expected to finish doing your best work.
2. Some seniors think that the activities record will lead to acceptances.
The most important part of your application is your academic record in a challenging program of study. Schools want to see evidence of academic interest and success. The activities portion of the Common Application has been reduced and some college representatives visiting Korea have noted that long resumes raise questions about the quality of the commitment if too many things are listed.
3. Some seniors think that because a school is not “famous” to them or in Korea, it is an easy acceptance.
Many outstanding schools are ignored by seniors. Do research and broaden your list to include schools that have excellent programs in your area of interest. Be careful not to underestimate the size and talent of the applicant pool outside of Korea and in the U.S.
4. Some seniors think that if financial aid is not requested, acceptances chances are better.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents apply as “need blind” applicants. Several members of the recent classes are attending prestige schools which offered them massive financial aid in grants. Equally talented seniors who did not ask for aid were not accepted at the same schools.
5. Some seniors think that applying in E.A. or E.D. plan increases the chance of gaining acceptance to a school.
Acceptances under these plans go to “exceptional” applicants. This means that if you are not at the top of a school’s applicant pool profile, your chances of gaining acceptance are quite low and you run the risk of being denied an opportunity for consideration with the regular applicant pool
Things to Remember 1st Semester
- You are responsible for knowing and following all deadlines set by the College Counseling Office
- Submission deadlines are the last day that you can submit something and not the day you are expected to submit your applications. It is beneficial for you to turn things in before the deadline.
- Transcripts are sent first semester to all colleges to which you apply.
- First quarter grades are sent to schools to which you have applied in an E. D. or E. A. plan.
- Transcripts are sent again to all schools to which you applied after first semester senior grades are recorded.
Things to Remember 2nd Semester
- E. D. acceptances require withdrawal of all other applications. (See Mr. Schneider for form letter to withdraw). We will not withdraw applications until you receive an admissions packet.
- Check your email daily for requests from schools to send missing requirements
- Those applying for financial aid must complete the FAFSA: (Available after January 1, 2014) www.fafsa.gov ( FAFSA information available at StudentAid.gov/fafsa)
- Those needing a Visa to study in the U. S. will be required to submit a Certification of Finances Form with bank statements (see Mr. Schneider if you are required to submit the form. Some schools require this information as part of your application and other schools request this information only if you are accepted.
- By mid-April all decisions should be received (Admit, Deny or Wait List)
- By May 1 you must commit to one school even if you want to remain on a Wait List at another school.
- All acceptance letters start with congratulations and conclude with the reminder that all acceptances are CONDITIONAL ON THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF YOUR SENIOR YEAR with grades consistent with those leading to your acceptance.
- It is important to maintain your academic record the entire senior year. If your grades decline third quarter it is mathematically impossible to raise them dramatically during the short fourth quarter.
- Take your A. P. exams seriously. You must report the results to the one school you will attend.
- Transcripts with FINAL SENIOR grades are mailed to the one school to which you have made a commitment to attend.
- Final grades for seniors must be submitted by teachers the week of your graduation. All your work, projects or other responsibilities must be done in time for teachers to make the deadline for reporting senior grades. In other words, you cannot negotiate, request extensions on deadlines you missed or ask for extra credit.
- Since you have worked so diligently up to this point in your high school career, make the last semester of high school equally productive. Attend school, be positive, productive and involved.
Fredric M. Schneider, College Counselor