Applying to college involves a great deal of paperwork. It is important that students keep track of all deadlines and materials.
Students are responsible for the following:
Applications usually include a candidate information section, an extracurricular chart, one or more essays, and a check for the application fee.
Applications are usually filed electronically. If applying online, it is important to print out and keep a copy of the college's confirmation email.
Most colleges provide their own application forms. Over 750 colleges and universities accept the Common Application. Students who submit the Common Application should make sure to check if supplemental materials are also required.
A smaller number of colleges accept the Coalition Application. Some, including the University of Maryland at College Park, only accept the Coalition Application. College Counselors will discuss the different application options during college classes, individual meetings, and at the College Application Boot Camp.
The College Counseling office suggests that each senior have a list of at five to eight schools by October. Park sets a maximum number of applications at twelve. This allows students to focus their energies, make important choices, and avoid a scattershot approach. If a student plans to apply to more than twelve schools, the student, parents, and college counselor must meet together to discuss the rationale for doing so.
Students are responsible for completing their “My Schools” forms and notifying Susan Chase, the College Counseling Assistant, as soon as they are prepared to apply to schools. They must complete their materials for the college counseling office in advance, according to the deadlines below.
|IF THE COLLEGE-IMPOSED APPLICATION DEADLINE IS:||SUBMIT THE COMPLETED MY SCHOOLS FORM TO SUSAN CHASE BY:|
|December 1 or prior||October 5|
|after December 1||December 7|
Many colleges require students to submit official test reports directly from the testing agencies. Students should check with individual colleges regarding their policies on sending scores.
Because many colleges report the average GPA of admitted students, Park students sometimes wonder what their GPA is and how it compares to reported data at particular colleges. Like several other independent schools, Park School does not report GPA’s to colleges. There are several reasons for this policy. The first is that focusing solely on the GPA erases important details, details that can be significant not only on a personal level but also in the admissions process, such as grade trends over time or across different subject areas. The second is that there is no single agreed-upon GPA formula, and so depending on which formula a high school or college uses, the outcome will differ. (Some colleges don’t count grades from ninth grade, others omit grades from arts classes, etc.) Many highly selective colleges direct their attention to the transcript rather than the GPA, and for those that do use GPA in their process, they often prefer to use their own GPA formula (rather than rely on what is reported by different high schools across the country).
Students may send extra items to support their applications — photographs, essays, poems, news articles, links to music or artwork, or sports videos — even if a college does not request them.
Supporting material may highlight a student's accomplishments and offer an admissions staff a more detailed picture of the student. Read applications/instructions carefully, though; some schools note specifically that they do not want extra materials or that they may not be returned.
Individuals will send these at your request. For more information, see Teacher Recommendations.
The College Counseling Office will send the following to prospective schools:
The College Counselors will fill out the School Report form and send it with an accompanying letter about the student. Any significant change in a student's coursework, qualifications, or status (whether of an academic or disciplinary nature) that occurs between the time of application and graduation will also be communicated to colleges.
This includes a record of classes and grades. If students wish, the transcript also includes test scores, but they must sign an Information Release Form before these scores are listed. After graduation, each student's final transcript is automatically sent to the college where he or she has decided to matriculate.
The Park School transcript does not list GPAs or class rank. Admissions officers know this and are familiar with our reasons for not providing this information.
Quarter grades are sent at seniors' or schools' requests; a record of first semester grades is sent to all schools.
This document gives college admission offices an overview of the Park School community and curriculum.
The following statement accompanies materials sent to colleges from the Park School College Counseling Office: The Park School maintains high community standards and positive expectations for student behavior. When disciplinary infractions occur, Park responds within an educational framework, with the goal of fostering personal growth. At the same time, we take seriously our obligation to provide useful, accurate information to colleges. It is our policy, therefore, to report to colleges any disciplinary actions resulting in a separation from school, whether they occurred before or after a student’s applying to college. We advise students to follow the same guidelines when answering questions about disciplinary incidents on their part of the application.
Parents can provide support by assisting students to organize their research and track deadlines. It is also useful for parents to plan and schedule any college visits and make advance arrangements for travel. Most important, parents can encourage students to take the lead in this process while offering steady emotional support. It can be tempting to want to step in and oversee this process for the student, but this experience, hiccups included, will be better preparation for college if managed by the student. If you are genuinely concerned that your child is not appropriately engaged, please contact your counselor.
As parents well know, there are both major and minor costs associated with college. To register for tests, send scores, and submit applications, students will need a credit card number, unless the family qualifies for fee waivers. These “incidental” costs can run up to $1,000. Families who visit colleges will also incur travel costs.
The biggest costs, of course, are the tuition, room, board, and other costs that come along with attending college. Parents’ role is to communicate openly with their children about the role of cost for the family. If you are applying for financial aid, it is important to carefully track financial aid deadlines and requirements and attend the meetings and workshops offered by the College Counseling Office. You should also feel free to call individual college financial aid offices with your questions.