College admissions season: Expert shares what families can expect

Early decision deadlines are coming up in November and now is the ideal time for prospective college students to get familiar with the processes in place.

Cindy Chanin, the director and founder of Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring, has some tips on what high school students should be focused on when it comes to getting into college.

"They’re looking to see how did you take care of yourself, how did you show up for your family— not focusing on all the things that you couldn't do but what did you do, how were you able to move through this time with grace and humility and just focus on the next indicated thing," said Chanin.

The educational landscape has experienced lots of dramatic changes throughout the course of the pandemic. Chanin says a lot of what is happening this year, is a reaction to what happened last year. It's really a mixed bag.

"There were certain hyper-selected schools that admitted a certain number of students and then yielded more than they were anticipating-meaning more students showed up on the first day freshman year than they had resources for and that was a nightmare. So this year, some of those hyper-selected schools are going to be even more selective because they overdid it and they need to manage their enrollment. Whereas some of the schools that were moderately selective didn't meet their enrollment quota they didn't get the class that they were hoping for in anticipating. So, they're going to probably be more come one come all and not be as rigorously selected this year," she explained.

Chanin says for the most part what's being asked of students right now, is very much on point of what's been asked of them in the past-- but this time around they actually have more choices

"They now have this leverage to decide, am I going to play my best hand of cards and submit an SAT or an ACT score or is that not going to present me in the best light and not show me as an outlier and would I be better off, not including those scores so students are being given the opportunity to leverage their assets," said Chanin.

One thing Chanin is noticing this year, oddly enough, is that there are fewer financial aid applications.

"A lot of people at this juncture need support, more than ever, but a lot of the families who would have most benefited from financial aid decided not to even bother applying in this last cycle, they wanted to just stay home focus on family work turn more money for college, so there was definitely a decrease in financially applications and also in enrollment overall, especially at community colleges," said Chanin.

A trend she's seeing play out is how schools are not only focused on how prepared a student is academically-- but how prepared are they socially and emotionally.

Chanin says dedicate time and effort on your personal statement -- show these schools who you are and what life experience you've had. 

Don't hold back!

Also as far as letters of recommendation are concerned, Chanin recommends you fill out a brag sheet - where you talk about yourself and highlight who you are, since many people have been zooming and haven't had interaction. They need to really know you so they can advocate for you.

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