Category Archives: College

College Admissions 101

Planning on going to college? Some insight into some of the mysteries of college admissions.

Allison Grandits is an Independent College Counselor and owner of Grand Fit Educational Consulting. As an Independent College Counselor, she helps students and families on an individual level with the entire college selection and admissions process. With her permission, this is some of the data Allison presented to a group of high school dads recently.

College Admistions By The Numbers
35% of first time freshmen apply to 7 or more colleges; 80% apply to at least 3
484 – The average caseload for high school counselors in Georgia
854 – The number of college applications reviewed by the average admissions officer
$44 – average cost of a college application; larger colleges and highly selective schools tend to have higher fees
$16,852 – COA of UGA with Zell Miller Scholarship
$76,953 – COA for Harvey Mudd College (the most expensive university in the USA)
$39,400 – the average student loan debt for the Class of 2017
356% – The number of applications to Georgia Tech has more than tripled since 2008
1400 – The average SAT score for an admitted student to UGA

What is important to colleges?

Grades & Strength of Schedule
• For the majority of colleges, Grades & Strength of Schedule is the most important factor
• Many colleges will recalculate your high school GPA- most focus on core GPA
• Core classes – English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Language
• Strength of schedule, within the context of your high school
• Students should choose challenging, yet appropriate courses
• Colleges are looking for an “upward trend”- increase in rigor overtime
• Senior schedule matters!

College Fit

Not just physical location & weather, but also political & social climate. Think of this factor outside of the context of cost- otherwise you will automatically eliminate schools that seem like a financial reach just because they are out-of-state.

Questions to Consider
• How far away do you want to be from home?
• What is the surrounding area like?
• How big is the campus (both physically and population)?
• What is the student body like (demographics, liberal, conservative, religious, etc)?
• Are there people like me at this school?

The goal here should be not to go to the hardest school you can get into, but the school you can be the most successful. Think “big fish, little pond” .

Questions to Consider
• How do I learn best, and is that teaching style available here (lectures, discussion-based, experiential, etc.)?
• What kind of relationship do I hope to have with a professor?
• Am I looking to attend law school or med school? If so, what support does this school give me, and what are the placement rates like?
• Do I fall in the top 25% of students accepted?
• What would my major look like at this school?

Most likely, your student has been involved in extracurricular activities during high school. How can your student get involved in college?

Questions to Consider
• What intramural sports are available?
• What is the Greek scene on this campus?
• Where can students study abroad?
• Are there internships/co-ops available for my major?

Visiting campus is a must before a student commits to attend. If possible, visit when school is in session, not summer or college breaks.

Questions to Consider
• What do you imagine your campus to look like?
• Describe your future classmates.
• How safe does this campus feel to you?
• Do you see yourself living here for the next four years?

Be honest about your ability to pay for college. Find out your families Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and look at the Net Price Calculator (NPC) for any school your student is seriously considering.

Questions to Consider
• Does this school meet full financial need?
• Does this school offer merit aid? If so, how much do I qualify for?
• If I’m staying in GA, do I qualify for HOPE? Zell Miller? How will we pay the difference?

Value-added Rankings of Colleges

CollegeThis post was adapted from a Brookings report evaluating two- and four-year colleges’ contributions to economic outcomes of their students. The report, “Beyond College Rankings: A Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two and Four Year Schools,” by Brookings Fellow Jonathan Rothwell and Senior Research Assistant Siddharth Kulkarni, offers a new tool to help prospective college students think about where to attend.
Value AddedA college’s “value-added” is the difference between the actual mid-career salary of graduates from that college and an estimation of what a student from a similar school would have earned.  While imperfect, these value-added measures improve on conventional rankings and fill a demand for greater transparency and accountability in higher education.
Five key college quality factors are strongly associated with more successful economic outcomes for alumni in terms of salary, occupational earnings power, and loan repayment:
•  Curriculum value: The amount earned by people in the workforce who hold degrees in a field of study offered by the college, averaged across all the degrees the college awards;
•  Alumni skills: The average labor market value, as determined by job openings, of skills listed on alumni resumes;
•  STEM orientation: The share of graduates prepared to work in STEM occupations;
•  Completion rates: The percentage of students finishing their award within at least twice the
normal time (four years for a two-year college, eight years for a four-year college);
•  Student aid: The average level of financial support given to students by the institution itself.
The following chart lists 4 year colleges ranked by mid-career earnings of the typical graduate. Value Added Mid Year Earnings (100 = top score)
Georgia 4 Year College Rankings

Institution City State Earnings
20 Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Atlanta Ga. 98
109 Southern Polytechnic State University Marietta Ga. 88
282 Mercer University Macon Ga. 68
311 Columbus State University Columbus Ga. 65
314 University of Georgia Athens Ga. 64
426 Emory University Atlanta Ga. 51
465 Georgia Southern University Statesboro Ga. 47
488 Georgia State University Atlanta Ga. 44

Top 100 4 Year Colleges

Institution City State Earnings
1 California Institute of Technology Pasadena Calif. 100
2 Colgate University Hamilton N.Y. 100
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge Mass. 100
4 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute Ind. 100
5 Carleton College Northfield Minn. 100
6 Washington and Lee University Lexington Va. 100
7 SUNY Maritime College Throggs Neck N.Y. 100
8 Clarkson University Potsdam N.Y. 100
9 Manhattan College Riverdale N.Y. 99
10 Stanford University Stanford Calif. 99
11 Harvey Mudd College Claremont Calif. 99
12 Rice University Houston Texas 99
13 Marietta College Marietta Ohio 99
14 Virginia Military Institute Lexington Va. 99
15 Polytechnic Institute of New York University Brooklyn N.Y. 99
16 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester Mass. 99
17 St Mary’s University San Antonio Texas 99
18 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken N.J. 98
19 Bradley University Peoria Ill. 98
20 Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Atlanta Ga. 98
21 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla Mo. 98
22 Michigan Technological University Houghton Mich. 98
23 University of Rochester Rochester N.Y. 98
24 Tufts University Medford Mass. 98
25 Williams College Williamstown Mass. 98
26 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley Calif. 97
27 Westmont College Santa Barbara Calif. 97
28 Wagner College Staten Island N.Y. 97
29 Colorado School of Mines Golden Colo. 97
30 Brown University Providence R.I. 97
31 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Pa. 97
32 Drake University Des Moines Iowa 97
33 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy N.Y. 97
34 Harvard University Cambridge Mass. 97
35 Babson College Wellesley Mass. 96
36 University of Scranton Scranton Pa. 96
37 DePauw University Greencastle Ind. 96
38 Cornell University Ithaca N.Y. 96
39 Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee Wis. 96
40 Santa Clara University Santa Clara Calif. 96
41 John Carroll University University Heights Ohio 96
42 LeTourneau University Longview Texas 96
43 Gettysburg College Gettysburg Pa. 96
44 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga Calif. 95
45 Duke University Durham N.C. 95
46 Kenyon College Gambier Ohio 95
47 Lehigh University Bethlehem Pa. 95
48 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma Wash. 95
49 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore Md. 95
50 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station Texas 95
51 Gonzaga University Spokane Wash. 95
52 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Ill. 94
53 Princeton University Princeton N.J. 94
54 Alfred University Alfred N.Y. 94
55 Rhodes College Memphis Tenn. 94
56 Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls Ore. 94
57 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell Mass. 94
58 Bucknell University Lewisburg Pa. 94
59 Prairie View A & M University Prairie View Texas 94
60 Hofstra University Hempstead N.Y. 94
61 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame Ind. 93
62 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown Pa. 93
63 University of California-Davis Davis Calif. 93
64 Yale University New Haven Conn. 93
65 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark N.J. 93
66 Saint Peter’s University Jersey City N.J. 93
67 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster Pa. 93
68 College of the Holy Cross Worcester Mass. 93
69 Willamette University Salem Ore. 93
70 Whitman College Walla Walla Wash. 92
71 Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston Mass. 92
72 Lafayette College Easton Pa. 92
73 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pa. 92
74 Gannon University Erie Pa. 92
75 Southern University and A & M College Baton Rouge La. 92
76 Mount St Mary’s College Los Angeles Calif. 92
77 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign Ill. 92
78 University of California-Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Calif. 91
79 University of the Pacific Stockton Calif. 91
80 La Salle University Philadelphia Pa. 91
81 Occidental College Los Angeles Calif. 91
82 Swarthmore College Swarthmore Pa. 91
83 SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome Utica N.Y. 91
84 The University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas 91
85 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg Va. 91
86 Wofford College Spartanburg S.C. 91
87 Ohio Northern University Ada Ohio 90
88 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland Ohio 90
89 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces N.M. 90
90 University of Tulsa Tulsa Okla. 90
91 California Lutheran University Thousand Oaks Calif. 90
92 University of St Thomas Saint Paul Minn. 90
93 Reed College Portland Ore. 90
94 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne Fla. 90
95 LIU Brooklyn Brooklyn N.Y. 90
96 Dickinson College Carlisle Pa. 89
97 Tennessee Technological University Cookeville Tenn. 89
98 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Calif. 89
99 Le Moyne College Syracuse N.Y. 89
100 Lake Forest College Lake Forest Ill. 89