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

The Same Bryn Mawr In a Different Normal

After a spring semester that was cut off so abruptly, it felt bittersweet walking through Pem Arch and into main campus again. The campus carried the usual air of excitement that comes with the beginning of a new school year. The leaves of the trees along Senior Row are just starting to color, and the hot temperatures of the summer are cooling down. But unprecedented circumstances from the pandemic have also brought new changes to campus. Instead of running up and hugging friends we haven’t seen in months, students are staying six-feet apart and giving air-hugs to one another. Everyone is masked and signs are lined against paths reminding students to socially distance. Even after a month on campus, I’m still adjusting to all the changes in this “different normal.” 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.

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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