- The college counselors will meet with students on an individual basis beginning in the winter of the junior year and will continue working with them throughout the senior year as they identify, apply to and decide to attend the college of their choice.
- The college counselor will strongly encourage every student to bring in his or her applications in order to check for obvious errors and omissions and for final review. The college counselor will also provide feedback for application essays and check for obvious errors in the text. However, please note that all material submitted by the student to a college should be his or her own. We will provide feedback and consultation, but we cannot cross the line toward heavy editing and rewriting.
- The college counselor will complete a Secondary School Report for each application.
- A member of the College Counseling Writing Committee will write a School Statement (comprehensive recommendation) for each student.
- We will send the following in a timely fashion:
- The Peddie School profile.
- The completed Secondary School Report.
- The student’s transcript, together with a sheet giving important and helpful data about grading at Peddie.
- The student’s School Statement and teacher recommendations.
Please note: The College Office cannot send SAT or ACT scores. Each student must submit scores directly from the testing agency.
back to topApplying Online
Applications are submitted electronically. Treat an application as you would an essay. Remember, this application is not an e-mail or an IM—treat it with respect. Also, make sure you get a confirmation after you’ve hit the “send” button. Save all work!back to topStudent Responsibilities
Before students submit applications, they should meet with their counselor to finalize ED/EA plans and to review the Common App and supplements. This meeting should take place by the first week in October. In addition, students should meet again with their counselor to finalize the list of Regular Decision applications and review decisions from the early rounds. This meeting should take place between Thanksgiving and Winter breaks.back to topApplication fees
Fees are due at time of application submission and should be paid online with a credit card. Fee waivers are available for those families that qualify. Please see your college counselor for details. In addition, some schools will waive the application fee if you apply online.
back to topTeacher recommendations
Whom to ask:
Just about every school will require at least one teacher recommendation. Often a college will ask for a recommendation from the instructor of one of your core academic subjects (ie, English, math, history, science, or foreign language) or the school may ask for a recommendation from teachers of specific subjects.
If the college has no preference, we would encourage you to ask for a recommendation from one of those core-subject teachers in the 11th grade. How to ask:
Juniors will ask one teacher, in person, for a recommendation before the end of the school year.
What the teacher will do:
Teachers will input recommendations and forms directly into Naviance.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Data entry and input in college admissions offices is usually very good. However, there are instances every year when documents get misplaced or filed late. When this happens, you may get a letter that tells you material has not been sent. If you should get a letter like this from a college, do not panic. Data entry may be backed up. Remember that colleges receive thousands of applications every year.back to topSending additional information
Where appropriate, and when not submitted electronically, provide the College Office with writing samples, portfolios (in slide form) and other materials that can accompany and enhance applications. Please provide appropriate mailing envelopes in the case of videos, CDs and extended art portfolios.back to topApplication essays
Writing each application is the responsibility of the student. While we actively discourage teachers and parents from over-editing the essay, we do encourage the student to consult with parents, teachers and the college counselors regarding the topic, organization and effectiveness of the writing. It is imperative that the essay be the student’s own work. Suspicion on the part of the college admissions officers that there has been inappropriate help given to the student in the writing of the essay, or other preparation of the application, could seriously jeopardize the student’s chances for admission. Again, many professionals at Peddie are available to help; however, there should be enough time provided for appropriate editing.
Here are a few questions we receive frequently regarding college essays:Why is the essay so difficult for students?
- Often there is complete freedom in the answer
Students find it difficult to talk about themselves (don’t want to brag)
They struggle with saying what they believe the colleges want to hear
Some just hate writing essays!
Why do colleges ask you to write an essay?
- To get a small glimpse into what makes you “tick”
- To evaluate your skills as a writer
- To gauge interest in the school (i.e., “What is it about X college that made you want to apply?”)
- To get a sense of the strengths and passions you might bring to campus
What should the essay reveal?
Originality; your own unique view or a particular episode in your life
Some aspect of yourself that does not appear elsewhere in the application
A lesson learned, a core value, a greater understanding, the benefit of some kind of experience (i.e., a job, a journey, a family reunion) work very well
The effects of particular people, objects, cultural background, works of art or literature, local or international events on the student. Stress the impact of these things more than the things themselves – how have these made me who I am?
What should be avoided?
Platitudes and clichés; or paternalism in community service essays
“My coach, my hero…” or other athletic themes that may end with—“and through this experience, I learned the values of hard work, determination, and giving 110%.”
Being overly critical….it’s okay to look skeptically at any issue, but be thoughtful about it.
Length! If an application says that the essay needs to be 500 words, 550 may be okay, but 900 is not.
Essays that don’t ultimately reflect back on you: “my dad/mom, my hero” in which only the parent is spoken about and no sense of the student is given.
Flatness. The key to a great essay is in the details: “My dad taught me how to cook” vs. “Slicing red bell peppers into thin, crescent moons, my father said ‘a sharp knife is the most important tool for any cook’”… Which creates a more vivid scene?
Gimmicks. Highly risky. Sometimes lists, recipes, poems, and other non-traditional responses go over well, but it’s a subjective process; you never know how these kinds of essays will be received. Discuss such responses thoroughly with your college counselor before submitting them to a college.
How your college counselor can help
Applying ‘Early Decision’ is an indication to a college that it is your number one choice. That is, if you were accepted to every one of the schools to which you applied, you would attend that one. In applying Early Decision, you are also signing an agreement that binds you to that college should you be admitted. While there can be an advantage in applying early at some institutions, you should consider how much you really want to go to that college before making the big leap.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does the school match the criteria I have set for myself?
Does it offer the major I want?
Is it in a place I can envision myself living for four years?
Is financial aid going to play a big role in where I go to college? (If so, please discuss this decision thoroughly with your college counselor.)
What do my parents think?
Have I taken all the standardized tests required for admission? (Many schools require the SAT Subject Tests; make sure you take those by the November test date and rush the scores.)
Are my grades and standardized-test scores compatible with those of students usually accepted at the school? (If you are a postgraduate, you should talk to your college counselor before applying anywhere early.)
Have I looked around enough to know what else is out there?
Am I making an informed decision, considering all my options?
For certain students, the option of sending some kind of early application is advisable; however, you should know what the differences are before getting started.Early Decision
(ED) is a binding agreement between you and the college, by which you agree that you will attend the college should you be accepted. At many schools, ED applications are due by November 1st or 15th , but the dates and E.D. plans do vary, so read the applications closely. Normally, decisions are mailed before the Christmas holiday. If accepted under an Early Decision plan, you must withdraw your applications at all other colleges; Peddie will not send out any more transcripts.Early Action
(EA) roughly follows the same timetable as Early Decision, but it is not a binding agreement. If accepted to a college under an Early Action policy, you may still attend another college if you so choose. You have until May 1 to make your decision.Rolling Admission
is a process used mainly by large state universities, although not exclusively. Under a Rolling Admissions policy, applications are read on a continuing basis rather than all at once after a certain deadline. If you apply to a school with a rolling admission policy, we recommend getting that application in as early in the fall as you can.back to topCommon Application
One of the questions we hear often in our office is: Should I use the common application? Our answer is yes, but with a few caveats. The Common Application was created in order to eliminate a lot of the ‘busy work’ involved in applying to college; take advantage of it. Colleges pay a fee to be a member of the Common Application. If they didn’t believe in it, they wouldn’t pay to be a member.
That said, cavalier use of this application is not in anyone’s interest. Do not use it to over-apply, but do use it as a timesaving tool, noting that each application can and should be personalized for each college. Use the Common Application in conjunction with a thorough investigation of the school, which may include a visit, a letter indicating interest, and an interview, among other things. The Common Application should never be the first point of contact between you and that school. Make sure that you tailor each application as much as possible to each individual school through the essay or personal statement. Also, double- or triple-check your applications to make sure that the right school is getting the right application. Finally, most colleges require a supplement to the common application, and these can be downloaded from the college’s page or the Common Application website (www.commonapp.org). While some colleges say their supplement is optional, the reality is that your application looks better when you complete “optional” material.back to topAfter the application is submitted
This is usually a very trying time for students and families. You’ve done all the work, you’ve written a great essay, and you’ve submitted well before the deadline. (We hope!!) Check college admission websites for application status. Some colleges are better at updating their websites than others. We are happy to check on your status if updates are slow. This time, when things are “up in the air,” can be daunting for seniors. Here are some tips for making it through these months and weeks:
Concentrate on your studies! Some colleges ask to see winter term grades; you can help yourself a great deal by putting in a little extra effort.
Keep colleges up to date on your progress since your application.
- Thank the teachers who were kind enough to write recommendations for you.
back to top
And finally the time comes for the news to arrive.
Thousands of students race to the mailbox, log-on to websites….and the next few moments can feel like an eternity. When you get good news – and you will – celebrate! Remember, however, to be considerate of those around you who may not have heard the good news you have. Still, be joyful. It’s a wonderful accomplishment to earn a place in college.
The key to how you will handle disappointing news is, of course, linked to the advice early in the process. Don’t apply to a college you don’t want to go to. If you follow this advice then whatever comes down the pike will simply be a decision. The bad news may sting and disappoint, but it won’t devastate. And it shouldn’t. So, focus on what your choices are rather than what they are not.
But can one always ‘move on?’ Not always. You may be angry, sad, confused, jealous – maybe all of the above. Yet, after some time passes you will put these decisions in their proper context, and hopefully you will understand them as part of a process, and not just the college process, but the process of growing up, finding a path to follow and looking for opportunity. In the face of college disappointment there are lots of people who will be in your corner: parents, college counselors, teachers, advisors, and friends.
Because students are sending more applications each year, and because colleges are much more conscious of their yield rate (that is, the percentage of accepted students who decide to enroll), students are finding themselves on wait lists more than ever. If this happens to you, take heart. Each year, we see many students accepted from waitlists, and we encourage you to take the following steps to enhance your chances:
Send the response card back immediately. Sometimes colleges gauge your interest in them by how quickly you reply.
Write a note to the admissions representative for that school underscoring how much you would like to attend the school, why you think the college is a good match for you, and any news about you that has taken place since you applied.
Let your college counselor know as soon as possible what your plans are. Colleges rarely know whether or not they will use the wait list before May 1, so we will lobby on your behalf in early May, when wait list action starts to heat up.