Monthly Newsletter

October 2016

We are already well into October, and it feels like time is flying by - a universal sentiment this time of year! The first early deadline, Oct. 15,  at several schools has come and gone, and many other early application deadlines are fast approaching. Deadlines tend to unfold in two week increments from now through the end of the application season, so it is a busy time for all. We are here to help, and welcome students and parents to reach out with questions about any aspect of the college search process.
College Essays Due
Seniors, if you have not done so already, please send your college counselor a copy of your personal statement and any supplemental essays. All written work should be submitted to your counselor at least two weeks before your application deadline. It is fine if your work is still in draft form. Again, we are here to help, so if you have questions or concerns about any of your written responses, come see us.

Meetings with Seniors

We've been impressed by how our seniors are managing their time and the frequency with which they are meeting with us. However, there are a few seniors who still need to visit with us on a more regular basis. As a general rule, a senior should plan on meeting with his/her college counselor at least three to four times before submitting the first application. If you have not yet had at least one meeting with your counselor this fall, then please schedule an appointment immediately! You can do so by contacting Mrs. Sanford to set up a time.

The Importance of Reading Email

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking and reading your email each day. Not only is email the primary means of communication at our School, but it is also an essential tool in the business world, including Admission Offices at every college and university. A visiting college dean recently shared a story about an email he had sent to several students inviting them for an interview during an upcoming visit to their city. No one responded until weeks later - well after his visit had come and gone. Though the students would have loved to meet and hoped to reschedule, it was too late - the opportunity had passed. Please don't miss out on important information; pay attention to your email!

The Waiting Game

Once you submit your application, the waiting game begins. Hold on, though, you'll soon discover that you aren't just waiting to receive the school's decision letter, but rather a host of items on each school's application checklist that will appear "undone" days or weeks after documents have been sent. Patience is required in this process. Though the submission of documents is "instantaneous," it take up to several weeks for schools to process and record what they have received. James Madison University recently sent the following information to school counselors. We are sharing it with you as it applies to all applicants at all schools, and we hope it will help allay your worries when you are waiting to see that all of your application materials have been received.


  • The electronic process is not instantaneous. Clicking submit on your end does not automatically check in the document in our system
  • We process documents (electronic and paper) in the order in which they are received. It may take up to five business days after receipt of documents to see a change in the Applicant Center
  • We look at (and enter data for) every document before it is marked "received"
  • When your student comes in to ask you to send another transcript because their Applicant Center account still says we don't  have it, please remind them it can take up to 2 weeks (especially at deadline) to process documents after received

Financial Aid Information

Parents, if applying for financial aid, it is important to start doing your research now. Take advantage of the Net Price Calculator provided by each school via their website (most often found on the school's Admissions page). Every school calculates financial need differently, so it is important to use the Net Price Calculator for each school your child is considering in order to get an idea of what the school feels your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be. These are ballpark estimates, but they are important in gauging how a school will read your financial aid information.

To learn more about important changes to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for 2016, please click here.

Student Loan Debt Rankings

Financial aid packages often include student loans, and the possibility of student loan debt must be considered during the college decision process. To help families determine how much debt might be incurred at certain schools, ranked over 1,300 individual institutions to show which colleges are giving students the most, and the least, amount of student debt at graduation. Lendedu states, "We put an incredible amount of energy into this report. The report was created using the newest Peterson's financial aid data. Peterson's released the fresh data for the Class of 2015 in August. The data was reported through a survey to the colleges and universities listed in the report." Check out their recent blog, College Level Student Loan Debt Rankings By School By State, for more information.

Featured Blog

This month's selection is from the College of William & Mary's "Admit It" blog. Though the entry is from last year's admission season, the observations are timely for seniors who are in the midst of preparing their applications and writing essays. The message is simple: proof your work, whether essay or email!

Suggested Reading

The following article, "What College Admissions Officers Say They Want in a Candidate" includes reflections from 17 admission officers from schools throughout the country who share their personal observations about the selection process and what they look for when reading an application.

Upcoming Events

All freshmen are scheduled to take the CWRA on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Freshmen with extended time should arrive at 8:00 a.m. All other freshmen should arrive at 9:00 a.m.


All juniors and sophomores are scheduled to take the PSAT on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Students should report to their designated location (students will receive an email with this information) at 8:00 a.m. Students should bring two #2 pencils, and a graphing calculator or a scientific calculator (with batteries) to school.


The College Counseling Office will run an East Coast College Tour during Spring Break from March 5 - 10, 2017. We will visit 11 schools over six days. If your son or daughter would like to join the college tour, please enroll by Oct. 31. Early bird registration deadline is Oct. 17. You can enroll online here (enter code 1869027BX) or call 1-888-333-9756 (tour number 1869027BX).


For students who are curious about architecture and design, The University of Virginia School of Architecture is sponsoring two opportunities to learn about the built environment through interactive design exercises with alumni and/or professors from the School of Architecture. These events, called "What's the big IDEA?" (Interactive Design Exercises in Architecture), will take place in Washington, DC on Oct. 22 and here in Charlottesville on Nov. 6. If interested in attending, please register here.

Follow Us!

We are on social media! Follow us on Instagram (@stabcollegecounseling) and Twitter (@STAB2College) to stay up to date on the daily happenings in the College Counseling Office.

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