The College Process
One of the easiest methods you can use to eliminate unnecessary angst is to identify both your responsibilities in the college admission process (those things over which you have control) and the institution's responsibilities (those things over which you DO NOT have control).
As a student/applicant you have control over creating your student record, navigating your college search, and preparing your application. The Admission Committee has control over the decision to offer you admission or not to offer you admission.
Step 1: Creating Your Student Record
You have been building your student record since the first day you attended Westover. Your academic record serves as the foundation of your student record. We encourage you to take the most rigorous curriculum that you can handle. We also encourage you to pursue your passions as you continue to take a balanced curriculum.
Your testing record serves as another piece of your student record. Students here create a testing portfolio, and we will elect to send to colleges/universities the scores that best represent your abilities. An entire test prep industry is available to facilitate your test preparation, yet some benefit from individual practice for tests. It is your decision how to address test preparation.
Your extracurricular record also serves as a piece of your student record. Westover students are often involved in other activities as they pursue their interests. Whether you are gifted artistically or athletically, or you have performed service to the greater community, the activities in which you choose to participate and the time you devote to them are recognized by colleges/universities.
Step 2: Navigating the College Search
You are the consumer. Take advantage of all of the resources available to you as you research your options. First, take an inventory of your interests, abilities, aspirations, and dreams. Your college handbook has a personal inventory sheet. Second, use the web, college literature, and visits to cull your list as you hone in on what you feel is a good fit for you.
Step 3: Preparing The Application(s)
You have the ability to create a powerful application that speaks about your passions and talents. The amount of time you invest in preparing your application will be evident to colleges/universities.
You will need to write several essays. The most successful pieces are those that address topics that are important to the writer. Both your English teachers and the College Counselor can serve as sounding boards for your ideas as you work to create your essays. You will ask several teachers to write letters of recommendation for you, and the College Counselor will help you identify those teachers who can best support your application. You will create a student resume focusing on your strengths and providing details about your extracurricular activities. You will send official test scores and an official transcript.
You will need to review what other materials each college/university requires (for example, you may need a graded piece of writing, a portfolio, or a tape/compact disc recording). You are in control of the amount of time and effort you invest in preparing you application.
Step 4: The Admission Decision-The Waiting Game
Once your file is complete, the Admission Committee will review it and make a decision. Your job is to continue to work hard and to meet your commitments here at Westover while you wait for a result from each college/university. Having worked closely with the College Counselor, you should believe in the strength of your applications and the depth and breadth of your college list.
Step 5: Your Decision
Once again, you are back in charge of your own destiny. Colleges and Universities must wait for you to choose your new home for post-secondary education.
During The Process: A Few Helpful Suggestions
The College Admission Calendar is designed to eliminate a significant amount of stress by having you plan ahead and get organized early on in the process. Work toward meeting the deadlines on the College Admission Calendar.
For the majority of the college application process you are in charge. Take responsibility, and work closely with the College Counselor to make the most of every step of the process.