Meeting Minutes, October 17,2007

College 101: Clear, Focused College Planning
Guest speakers:
Dr. Rebecca England, Head Counselor, Druid Hills High School
Cheryl Bloom, Head Counselor, Lakeside High School
Doug Wofford, 422 Group, a technology company developing admission criteria for colleges and universities
Rick Clark, Admissions Department, Georgia Tech

ELPC Minutes
Druid Hills High School
October 17, 2007

Welcome – Co-President Faye Andresen and Principal Everett Patrick

Dr. England distributed and reviewed a 4-page handout:
http://www.careercruising.com/ (site username: Druid; password: Hills) – This site is a great tool for students with a wealth of info about careers, related majors, and which schools offer these majors. The Portfolio allows students to store information needed for the application process.
• Hope Scholarship – The handout contains the Hope criteria and the changes in affect after the Class of 2007. The Georgia Student Finance Committee now calculates Hope (previously done by DCSS). The Hope Grant is available for 2-year technical schools with no GPA requirement.
http://www.gacollege411.org/ - Great one stop source for colleges in Georgia and also where you register to receive the Hope Scholarship. The Freshman Index calculation is explained and requirements given for four-year universities and/or regional or research institutions in Georgia.
• The Student Resume when filled-in presents an accurate record of a student’s activities during high school which facilitates recommendations for college.

Cheryl Bloom distributed and reviewed a 4-page handout including Pointers for Parents, a sample student transcript, a sample School Profile, and additional resource websites.
• Start thinking about college early when your student is in 9th Grade. Talk about what’s important to your student - size, location, climate, diversity? And what’s important to your family (ex. cost). If you have older high school students take your 9th grader along on their college visits.
• Visit campuses when school is in session – not on weekends. Think about going during our Spring Break.
• Carefully review college material with your student and ask questions of admission staff. What AP credits does the college accept? What Study Abroad programs are available?
• There are some great websites for colleges, careers, and financial aid. Often parents can spark student research by visiting sites first to get the student interested.

Doug Wofford is a former Director of Admission, Consultant, College Board employee and parent of a college junior and high school sophomore.
• Start with an open perspective and keep the concept of a matching process in mind.
• There is rich, diverse higher education to choose from. About 4600 colleges and universities in the U.S. (half of these are 4-year institutions).
• Less than 5% are hyper-competitive i.e. they have highly competitive freshman profiles and more than enough applicants to fill the freshman class.
• Look at your student’s academic profile and compare it to the school profile of the middle 50% of freshmen GPA, SAT/ACT, etc. (published on their websites). If your student is above he/she will probably be accepted.
• The upper 5% of schools are much more competitive and acceptance is harder to predict.
• Institutions do look at the SAT and ACT but recognize that test scores are not everything.
• High school academic performance and consistency are more important.
• Every college and university recalculates the scores on high school transcripts.
• They do look for AP classes and test scores; and they vary widely on AP credit given.
• Don’t obsess over activities and interests; 95% of the time selection doesn’t even get to this level.
• Colleges use three categories for applicants: 1) Clearly will be academically successful here
2) Clearly will not be academically successful here 3) A middle group in the lower half of the
college profile that needs a deeper look into the individual application, transcript, etc.
• Main focus: What environment can my child be academically successful at the undergraduate level?
• Consider saving ‘name’ brands for graduate school.

Rick Clark is Associate Director of Admissions at Georgia Tech and a Druid Hills HS graduate.
• Colleges look at courses taken and performance. Performance over time – consistent, up, down? Curriculum selection – easy, challenging?
• Tech does recalculate the high school GPA; and, in a different way than UGA does, for example.
• Visit schools to allow students to educate themselves beyond rankings, etc. Ask your student: Can you see yourself here?
• Ask Admission staff how they look at test scores. Tech combines different parts of the SAT and ACT together; and does not use the SAT writing test score. Ask about SAT subject tests.
• Extracurricular activities? Yes, we look for involvement outside class; sustained activity, commitment. Not necessarily quantity.
• Tip: If a college ‘recommends’ or says something is optional, ignore the optional part and do it.
• Colleges track student interest in their school. It counts as commitment so do sign visitation cards if you visit the campus, go see the rep when he/she visits your high school, etc.
• Do not send essays without any review or feedback. Procrastination is easy to spot.

Q. What is the most fatal flaw of an essay?
A. Rick Clark: Boring, same topics. Essays that do not answer the essay question. Write about something that gives us information not already covered in the application.
Doug Wofford: Formulaic. Using a string of popular phrases. Be original; try to get a sense of your individuality across.

Q. How does Tech distinguish between high schools re: recalculating and weighting?
A. Rick Clark: We use the School Profile provided by the high school Counseling Dept. to determine rigor in the curriculum.
Doug Wofford: Colleges and universities maintain profiles from some high schools over time. Also Collegeboard and ACT data can be accessed for students from same high school.

Q. Do you factor in Gifted classes in recalculating grades?
A. Rick Clark: Tech does recognize Gifted classes. We contact high school counselors if we have questions.

Q. Should a student take the SAT or ACT or both? How many times?
A. Doug Wofford: They are different kinds of tests with benefit in both. Consider taking a test two or three times at most. Statistically there’s no difference in performance beyond that.

Q. How do colleges look at magnet schools?
A. Rick Clark: We look at the individual classes offered and number of AP courses available. Did the applicant take any of these?

Q. How important is a recommendation?
A. Doug Wofford: Absolutely important to get a sense of the individual student.
Cheryl Bloom: Asks parents to write down positive traits about the student for her to share in recommendations.

Q. Should a student be allowed to take a less demanding class and make an A or be forced to take a challenging class and make a B or less?
A. Rick Clark: Schools look at the choice of rigor.
Doug Wofford: This one can be a hard decision for parents and students. High school should be about preparation for college and taking the SAT/ACT tests. Agreed that colleges are looking for difficulty of courses taken.

Q. Do out of state schools have quotas for out of state students?
A. Rick Clark: Yes, UNC has a cap of 18% on out of state students. Univ. of Richmond must have a 50-50 split between males and females.
Doug Wofford: Quotas in public schools vary from state to state. Private schools are not looking for specific numbers but they are looking for diversity in their student body - geographic, economic, cultural, etc.

Q. Are admission reps from northeast schools assigned different parts of the country?
A. Doug Wofford: This is common, yes.
Rick Clark: Most all admission offices assign staff to cover certain areas.

Closing Remarks & Adjournment – Faye Andresen

Announcements:

Nov. 14 – ELPC at Evansdale Elementary - Legislative Forum, 8:45AM

Jan. 16 – ELPC at Fernbank Elementary - Myth Busters: Connecting the Elementary to High School, 8:45AM

Feb. 20 – ELPC at Oak Grove Elementary – The New Math: Does it add up? 8:45AM

Respectfully submitted,

Polly Wills, Recording Secretary