What does it mean to be test optional?

Navigating the college search in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a variety of uncertain moments and challenges. From pass/no pass classes to the inability to visit campus, this is a different year for both colleges and students alike. One of the biggest changes has been the increased number of colleges and universities who will be test optional this year. Test optional institutions allow students to decide whether or not they want to submit testing as part of their applications. While Bryn Mawr has been test optional for about five years, we still understand how disheartening this may feel. After all, students spend years preparing to take these tests and in a short manner of months the opportunity vanishes. For some students the SAT and ACT represent an important part of their academic identity. Now that testing is not widely available and colleges and universities are reviewing applications without scores, this process can feel more confusing. Continue reading

Applying Early Decision

*This is a repost of an earlier blog written by Director of Undergraduate Admissions Marissa Turchi. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that, more than ever, students have questions about whether or not they should apply early decision. The short answer: there is no right decision. For the long answer, keep reading. 

Are you currently weighing the differences between Early Decision (ED) and Regular Decision (RD)? You’re not alone – this is one of the most common admissions-related discussions for this time of year. I wish I could give you a magic formula, one that simply tells you which decision to select, but I can’t. I can tell you this – there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to going ED or RD. You just have to figure out what option is best for you and your family. Continue reading

Tips for Completing Your 2021-2022 Financial Aid Application

FROM SUSAN CHADWICK, DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID

 

With October 1 right around the corner, many students and families have financial aid on their minds, especially this year as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19. Suddenly there are questions about changes in income, how retirement should be reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and what an FSA ID is used for in the process. While financial aid applications can appear daunting at times, there are many tips and tricks that can help you along the way.

Here are my top tips to successfully navigate the FAFSA and CSS Profile, College Board’s application used by many schools, to apply for institutional need based aid.

Continue reading

Virtual Visit Tips and Tricks

From Libby Lakeman

While many colleges are unable to physically welcome visitors to campus right now, Admissions Offices are offering various virtual events to connect with prospective students and families. Here at Bryn Mawr, we are coming up with creative ways to showcase our community through fireside chats, hangouts, and other online events. Other colleges are doing the same so take advantage of these opportunities! I know Zoom can be exhausting, so I want to help you find authentic ways to engage with our community during this time. Below are some of my best practices for engaging with colleges virtually.

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Do I Belong Here? And Other Questions about Impostor Syndrome

From Kaila Hamdani

Assistant Director of Admissions & Coordinator for Access and Equity

 

The first semester of college is an exciting time – everything is new and opportunities seem endless – but many first-year students also experience an overwhelming sense of apprehension as they try to adjust to college life. For some students, especially those at selective institutions, the feeling of excitement is joined by a sense of surprise and concern – surprise that they were selected out of a number of applications and concern for their academic preparedness to succeed. Students may feel intimidated surrounded by other successful, highly capable students. This is known as Impostor Syndrome. Impostor Syndrome is the feeling you do not belong and question your own ability to succeed.

We know many students struggle with Impostor Syndrome, especially First-Generation and other underrepresented students. If you or a student you know struggles with Impostor Syndrome, we want to help. Below are some common remarks we hear and our responses. Continue reading

Why I’m Glad We Chose Bryn Mawr

From Jean Tishler (Parent Class of 2022)

I dropped my Kleenex into my purse and breathed a sigh of relief.  Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy had just completed her welcome address to new students and their families.  With warmth and sincerity, she assured us that the administration, faculty, and staff at the College have a common goal — making certain that the Class of 2022 would not only succeed, but also flourish. Over the past year and a half, I have been incredibly impressed by Bryn Mawr’s commitment to this goal. Continue reading

Now we wait

From Cheryl Lynn Horsey, Chief Enrollment Officer

 

For most colleges and universities with application deadlines, November marks the beginning of application season with applications and materials being submitted for early and regular decision. No doubt this can be a stressful time for everyone. Students are frantic with the prospect of learning their fate, and parents may be anxiously standing by to support as they navigate what may seem like a mysterious process.

Over the past few months, your student has worked to curate and assemble college lists and applications – transcripts, essays, interviews, college visits – there are a lot of moving pieces. Now that the application is submitted, what happens next?

The application is now in the hands of very capable admissions officers who are responsible for admitting a class of students who will thrive and persist at their institution. This is not a process taken lightly. Admissions officers spend hours upon hours on committee discussions and holistic reviews of applications to admit the best class possible.

As you and your student await the admissions decision, it is important that both of you manage your stress levels. This is particularly important with social media being such an integral part of our lives. Peers will begin posting decisions and this may further exacerbate the anxiety that you both may be experiencing. Managing expectations is really important at this point. Understand that whether or not your child gets into their top choice is no reflection on your parenting, nor is it a reflection on their worth. Colleges and universities receive far more qualified applicants than they can admit.

Another tip that cannot be stressed enough is allow your student to be in the driver’s seat during this process. The parental instinct is to protect and to advocate for your child, but encourage them to communicate with their counselors and admissions officers. Helping your child take the lead will foster their ability to develop the emotional and self-regulation skills that will be needed when they go to college.  All students need to take on a more independent role in college and this is a great time to start practicing those skills. We know that this process is a family one and we encourage you to stay involved and be supportive of your child while giving them room to grow and learn.

Final words of wisdom:  Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

 

 

The Career & Civic Engagement Center at Bryn Mawr

From Katie Krimmel, Associate Dean of the Career & Civic Engagement Center

 

I always share my cell phone number with students. If they are ever on the fence about applying for a job or an internship, I want them to call me so that I can remind them of all of the ways their Bryn Mawr education has prepared them for this next challenge. I love encouraging students and learning what matters most to them. I am fortunate to do that work every day.  As the Associate Dean of the Career & Civic Engagement Center at Bryn Mawr I want to tell you more about our unique Center. Continue reading

Tips for Completing Your Financial Aid Application

From Susan Chadwick, Director of Financial Aid

 

With October 1 right around the corner, many students and families have financial aid on their minds. Suddenly there are questions about changes in income, how retirement should be reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and what an FSA ID is used for in the process. While financial aid applications can appear daunting at times, there are many tips and tricks that can help you along the way.

Here are my top tips to successfully navigate the FAFSA and CSS Profile, College Board’s application used by many schools, to apply for institutional need based aid.

Continue reading