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Tips & Advice

At Sibia Admissions, we offer you a wealth of information, starting with answers to some basic and common questions we receive, which are outlined below. 

If I plan to take a year off before college, when should I apply?

Many students choose to take a year off between high school graduation and college. If so, you should nonetheless apply to college during your senior year of high school, when your academic drive and accomplishments are fresh and relevant. Once accepted, you can determine with your university of choice whether they will allow you to defer your admission for one year.

When should I visit prospective universities?

First, you should try to plan to visit when school is in session. That way, you can get a realistic feel of campus life, and you can also talk to current students to gain a better perspective of the university. Furthermore, you can even sit in on some courses to experience what it would be like to be a student there.

In addition, it is encouraged that you visit your target schools prior to applying. That way, you may be able to make yourself known to admissions officers, who will remember your enthusiasm and genuine interest in attending their program. This will reflect well on your application later on.

Of course, if you are a college applicant and choose to visit the school after you have been admitted, many universities offer “pre-frosh weekends,” during which you visit the college, stay with a current student, and attend events that will introduce you to your potential future classmates!

I have stellar standardized test scores and a perfect GPA. Am I a “shoo-in” for all universities to which I choose to apply?

Admissions decisions can be unpredictable, and it is never wise to take for granted that you will be a “shoo-in” to any school. By wisely evaluating your credentials and comparing them to the statistics of past years’ admission rates, you can develop a list of “likely admit” schools, “good fit” schools, and “reach” schools. Nonetheless, you should take all of your applications very seriously, no matter how confident you may feel about your qualifications and academic record.

Your GPA and standardized test scores can be fair indicators of where you are likely to be accepted. Nonetheless, admissions officers also take into account your extracurricular activities, unique experiences, letters of recommendation, personal statement, financial aid requirements, etc. Furthermore, you are not applying in a vacuum! You will be measured against other highly qualified candidates who may have equally strong “numbers” as you, and the decision will be made based on more subjective aspects of your application.

I’m not sure I have the “numbers” (GPA/standardized test scores) to get into the most elite programs. What are my options?

At Sibia, we fervently believe that every applicant is so much more than the “numbers” – in fact, we encourage each of our clients to develop a unique applicant profile, which highlights their unique experiences and achievements. Likewise, we believe the right school for you is not all about its ranking and reputation.

Even if you do not end up going to one of the Ivy League institutions or top-ranked universities in the United States, you have a wealth of wonderful options. With your personal Sibia consultant’s guidance, you can select a number of potential universities that would best suit your preferences and your qualifications. Instead of going purely by the “numbers” and university rankings, Sibia ensures that your target schools that match your lifestyle preferences, extracurricular hobbies, academic strengths, future goals, location, and so on.

Should I complete the optional essay(s) on my application?

Sibia Admissions recommends that you complete all essay prompts in your application, even those listed as optional. Of course, you should not reiterate information about your accomplishments that you have already mentioned in your main personal statement. Instead, this is an opportunity to highlight another strength in your application that would not otherwise be covered.

Every piece of information you provide to admissions officers can help to sway them in favor of your application. Why not take advantage of every chance to do so? By completing the optional essay and providing information they would not otherwise have, you can improve your chances of admission to your program of choice.

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