College Admissions: 5 Websites Revolutionizing Admissions
Monday, March 06, 2017
1. Zeemee: For years, I’ve had my students create platforms to showcase their artistic, musical, athletic and other talents. We’ve spent hours uploading videos to Youtube and creating custom websites. Finally, someone made it easy. With Zeemee, the platform is ready for you to upload pictures, video, text and other materials to help make yourself 3 dimensional to colleges. You can record what you want to say about yourself and show colleges how you spend your time and what is unique about you. Upload your artwork, scene from a play, your championship goal or video from your work at a community garden. It’s free for students, and you can include the link in any of your college applications. It’s hands-down the best new site of 2015 in the college admission arena!
2. Raise.me: I’ve written about this site in some of my columns on financial aid, but I’m not going to stop singing its praises. Raise.me is a micro scholarship site that is different from any other. Backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UPENN’s Graduate School of Education, it has a growing list of member colleges that include Tulane, Oberlin, U. Delaware, Denison and U. Tampa. Students earn guaranteed scholarships by simply recording their AP and Honors courses, participating in extra-curriculars, doing campus tours, and performing community service. What’s the catch? You need to start early as many deadlines hit before senior year begins. Additionally, only a small number of colleges offer these scholarships, you must be accepted to the college in order to cash in, and the money is not transferrable to another college. However, for middle class families that don’t qualify for need-based aid, this is an incredible opportunity to get tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
3. YouVisit: Founded in 2009, YouVisit really began making waves in the last year with its innovative virtual reality tours that let you navigate a campus, walk the pathways of the college, and turn into buildings as if you were there. Online college tours have been around for a while, but no one does them like Youvisit. Forget talking heads and boring click-on buildings, these tours are as close to real life as you can get. Want to visit a college in California or Texas, but can’t afford the cost or time away from school or work? YouVisit.com is the answer. I only wish all colleges were onboard, but hopefully more will join as they realize this technology is truly outstanding.
4. Kahn Academy SAT Prep: The new SAT which launches this month has brought fear and loathing to the hearts of students everywhere. The massive changes make it a completely new test where the old rules, content and strategies don’t apply at all. The good news is that the Collegeboard paired up with Kahn Academy to offer free practice tests and short tutorials online. They won’t replace a comprehensive prep class or highly skilled tutor, but they do allow access for free that will benefit self-motivated students or those who can’t afford more expensive options.
5. Fairtest: It’s true that Fairtest is not a new organization or website, but they continue to redefine the way colleges and the admissions industry think about success in college. What began as a small movement of mostly tiny liberal arts colleges, has grown to more than 850 members today. Aside from their explosive growth, the big new development is that larger universities are starting to join the Fairtest movement, among them: DePaul and George Washington. If you are looking for a list of all the colleges and universities in the U.S. that are SAT/ACT optional, and the specifics of their policies, this is the place to find it.
Related Slideshow: 10 Pieces of Advice for College Freshmen and Their Parents
Heading off to college can be a stressful time. To ease the anxiety, Cristiana Quinn, GoLocalProv's College Admissions Expert, has some sage words for children and parents alike.
Organize your dorm room items now, and assess what you need to ship vs. transport in the car. This will alleviate stress before you leave for school. Use a printable checklist for your dorm room, like this one.
When you arrive at college, don't expect everything to be perfect. Your roommate, classes or sports team may not be everything that you dreamed of, and that's okay. Make the best of it, and remember that college gets easier after you adjust in the first semester. Stay in touch with friends and family from home, but transition to your new life. Don't live virtually (texting) hanging on to the past too much--live in the moment in your new community.
Make sure you know where health services is on campus and the hours. Also, know where the closest hospital is, in case health services is closed. Visit the academic support center and learn about tutoring and study skills resources in the first week of school---BEFORE you need them.
Join at least 3 organizations or clubs on campus. This will give you a chance to meet a variety of people outside of your dorm and classes. Chances are that these students will be more aligned with your interests and values. Intramural sports teams, the campus newspaper, community service groups, political groups, outing clubs are all good.
Don't hover at orientation and drop-offs. This is a difficult time, but resist the urge to linger.
Get a healthcare proxy signed before your son/daughter goes off to campus. This is critical for students over 18, otherwise you will not have access to medical info in the case of and emergency (due to healthcare privacy laws). You need to be able to speak with doctors and make decisions remotely and quickly if anything happens.
Expect some bumps in the road. Homesickness is normal, as are issues with roommates and professors. Be supportive at a distance. Never call a professor, and try not to text your child multiple times a day. This is the time to let them learn independence and more responsibility. They can deal with issues if you give them the chance.
Book now for parent weekends and special events on campus for the rest of 2015-16 year. Hotels get overloaded during big weekends.
Avoid pushing a major--this usually leads to unhappiness and causes stress in the family. It's good to provide students with resources, but encourage them to seek career testing and counseling on-campus with professors and the Career Center. Discuss options, but don't dictate or pressure students to select something too early.
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