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FAQ College Process


Q: Should my teacher recommendation be from current year teacher or is sophomore year ok?

A: College want to see recommendations from recent teachers or teachers you have continued to keep in contact with and can provide great insight on you as a student.  Ask no more than two teachers. Recommendation are usually written by staff on their personal time.  The more students teacher have to write for, the less time they will have on each recommendation.

Q:Where can you find merit based scholarships?

A: Most merit based scholarships can be found on the colleges own website. Requirements vary at each school.  This information is usually found under the financial aid or cost tab. The YHS Scholarship and Financial Aid tab provides more details on scholarships.

Q: What happens to a student who is not accepted at any college?

A:  Discuss in advance with your counselor of college counselor the colleges you are exploring.  Be should to have a likely option of a school with a high percentage of acceptances, match your academic profile and programs offerings you are interested in.

Q: What is the SAT/ACT criteria?

A: SAT or ACT expectations vary at each college. Check Naviance’s scattergrams tool or the college’s website

Q: If you apply Early Decision (ED) and don’t get in what happens to your application? Are you denied or put into the pool?

A: Most of the students that apply Early Decision (ED) are deferred to regular decision. It is not common, but denied results for ED applicants can happen.

Q: When we visit college campuses, it seems like all of the information sessions are the same/say the same things. as an admissions officer, what kind of questions would you ask outside of the standard “fit” questions?

A: Colleges provide access to the admissions information with virtual tours, virtual presentation, on side high school visits, college fairs, and campus visits. There is overlap on the information that is shared at the different options that are offered.

Q: Does early action impact chances the way early decision might?

A: For our recent early action (EA) applicants, if you applied early action you did have a slight advantage. We do recommend applying Early Action when available.

Q: Any advice how can I help my son to choose his major ?

A: One of the best tools to use for student explore their interests are the Naviance Self-Discovery tool,  Big Future , O*Net and Occupation Outlook Handbook

Q: Is there any practice for college essays in any extra classes?

A: Almost all English 12 teachers will provide a lessons on writing personal statements and creating college easy during the first month of a student’s senior year.  Student can also talk with their current or former English teacher for help.

Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to go outside of the country?

A: It is a GREAT idea to explore the non-US college options, costs can be considerably less than US Schools.  Additional items to consider are: distance away from friends and families, language skills and cultural differences. You can find applying to international colleges resources at the bottom of our applying to college page

Q: If you add a college to the “I’m thinking about it” list in Naviance, does the college know you favorited it?

A: No,  colleges do not have access to any of the information you provide in Naviance. College will only see your transcript and recommendations that you have requested to be sent.

Q: For the parent: how far do you push your unmotivated child who can’t focus beyond the next video game session he has planned for the weekend afternoon?

A: This would be something to discuss directly with the student’s school counselor.

Q: How many words should our college essays be?

A: The college essay questions list the maximum amount of words/characters you are allowed to include in your answer.  You may be able to provide a great answer with half the maximum requirements.

Q: Will teachers let students know if they don’t feel they can write a good recommendation letter?

A: This is an important discussion to have directly with the teacher. Teachers usually will let you know if they do not have time to write a recommendation or suggest you ask another teacher.

Q: Is there a resource that will estimate chance of acceptance to a school before applying?

A: Review the Naviance Scattergrams which are college admissions decisions for YHS students only

Q: If you apply Early Decision, but you don’t get the aid you need, what happens? Is it assumed that you’re not depending on aid/scholarships?

A: Before applying ED review the colleges costs and use the NET PRICE CALCULATOR located on all college’s website, usually under the financial aid tab.  Since ED is a binding commitment, make sure you have the resources needed to cover the cost.

Q: How do you decide to apply test optional?

A: 1. Review the Naviance Scattergram 2. Review the colleges acceptance history that includes the SAT/ACT and GPA data. 3. Discuss applying test optional with your counselor or with the college admissions office.

Q: Is demonstrated interest really a thing?

A: Yes. No as common anymore.  Elon University in North Carolina uses demonstrated interest, they track student interactions with the admissions office/website/visits/emails as part of the admissions decision process.

Q: Should I take a break between taking SATs or is it okay to do them back to back?

A: For our experience, there is a minimum amount of difference in scores when taking the test back to back. Usually reviewing subject areas you did not feel as confident with is recommended before a re-test.

Q: How important are school activities in college app

A: Colleges see student activities, sports (in school and out of school) about the same.  Any type of leadership,  community involvement and service are important factors. The most important are GPA, subjects, challenge level of course and (if provided) ACT and SAT test scores.

Q: What is the best way to try to explain a bad grade?

A: Be honest.

Q: Do Virginia public colleges share info on applicants?

A: No. We are not aware of colleges sharing information on applicants with any other colleges.

Q: Is GPA calculated quarterly or does only the end of year grade count? So if you got a “B” for one quarter, but an A for end of year, did the B bring your grade come down?

A: No. GPA are calculated at the end of each year by using the final grade and credit.  During the senior year a semester grades will be used to provide projected GPA.  We use a 4.0 scale, but student can end up with a GPA above 4.0 by taking AP course, (ex: 4.13,4.33) but it is still on a 4.0 scale.

A: Can colleges see which other colleges I am applying to? If so what is the effect on my application?

B: No, some colleges will ask on their application what others schools you are applying to.

Q: Do colleges recognize the Girl Scout gold award the same as Eagle Scouts?

A: Yes

Q: If you’re fortunate enough to be able to hire a college counselor, how would you use that service for your student?

A: The Yorktown counseling team is extremely knowledgable about the college application process. We provide a comprehensive website as a great tool for the process.  When using a private professional college counselor, check references, find out what are they providing.  They can be well worth the investment.

Q: How can I make out of state and private in state colleges more affordable?

A: In some cases you will find out-of-state school will offer scholarships or grants to reduce the cost to a comparable price as in-state schools.  Talk with the out-of-state admissions and financial aid staff to get the best advice.  Also check out Academic Common Market  .