by Lisa Albro, former admissions officer at Goucher College
We recently discussed the relative merits of military academies and ROTC programs as a means to earn a four-year degree and an officer’s rank in the United States military. This week we take a more targeted look at some more specifics of ROTC programs.
If you’re interested in attending a traditional four-year college and embarking on a commitment to serve as an officer in the Army, Navy, or Air Force, you’re in luck! Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs can be found on over 1,700 college and university campuses in the United States. (The Coast Guard offers its own program, called the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, or CSPI). In many cases, an ROTC scholarship is a way for students to pay for some or all of their college tuition—in exchange for several years of military service, of course.
by Lisa Albro, former admissions officer at Goucher College
While it isn’t unheard of to attain an officer’s rank without a college degree, two highly sought-after paths involve earning both the title and a bachelor’s degree concurrently: military academies and ROTC programs. But which one is the best fit for you?
We’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find an educational consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce New Jersey native, Lisa Albro, who works with students both remotely and in the Short Hills, NJ area.
Where are you from?
Lisa: Fort Lee, NJ – home of the George Washington Bridge and the gateway to New York City.
Where did you go to school?
Lisa: Goucher College in Towson, Maryland (a northern suburb of Baltimore) for both undergrad and grad school, but with a 12-year gap between finishing undergrad and starting grad school.Continue reading
It’s that time of year again, when high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors select their courses for the next academic year. Many students and parents agonize over these choices. In general, the more selective the college a student aims for, the more rigorous the courseload ought to be; however, a full complement of honors and/or AP courses simply isn’t realistic or sustainable for every student.
Whenever I meet with new students, the first question I ask is why they want to go to college. Responses tend to lean heavily toward the importance of earning an education and getting a degree. But what does that really mean? And how should students go about determining the breadth, depth, and quality of the academics at an institution of higher learning?
When deciding where to apply and then choosing from multiple offers of admission, there is huge value in assessing an institution’s academic offerings. College visits, conversations with faculty and students, and research on a college’s website are avenues through which prospective students and their parents can determine the best academic fit.
First, you should begin to read up on the academic offerings. Start with the major:
“Charlie” called me yesterday in a panic. With college application deadlines rapidly approaching, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of work he still had to do on essays and the applications themselves. When we had met two months earlier to discuss his college list, those deadlines seemed so far away, giving Charlie the sense that he had all the time in the world; after all, how hard could it be to fill out information about himself and write a few essays?
“I know you told me to get drafts of my essays to you right after we met, but I just didn’t take it that seriously in the summertime,” he said sheepishly. Now, with a heavy school schedule and a fall sport, Charlie is pressed to make time for his applications. Together, we fleshed out a college application timeline for him to follow, leading up to his earliest deadline of November 1st.
The Common Application (“Common App,” for short) offers an easy way for students to apply to multiple institutions using one main application. But just how “easy” is it, really? Because I have worked with the Common App for over 15 years, I decided to ask two of my students, Sam and Megan, for their navigational “first impressions.”
Sam: First things first. Just go to the Common App and in the middle of the page, right under the Username and Password Login, click on the “Go Here” link right next to “Never Registered?” You have to fill out your basic information (name, birthdate, year of graduation, etc.) and set up a username and password. [This is a document that will eventually be seen by admissions professionals, so everything needs to be correct!]
Looking at college marketing materials and websites, you may get the impression that every college campus in the country has an abundance of gleaming state-of-the-art buildings, classrooms full of students engaged in active discussion or incredible lab experiments, and a population of culturally diverse, perpetually happy individuals. While some or all of these things may be true of many campuses, you can be sure that these images are carefully chosen to entice you. Some are even staged. So how can you discern what is real and what is a mirage? Visit the campus and see for yourself!
It’s that easy: go to the admissions page of a college’s website and find out the days and times of campus tours and information sessions.
When the junior year winds down, it’s hard to focus on anything outside standardized testing, but students should be aware that the last month or two of school is also the perfect time to approach teachers for a letter of recommendation. This soon? Yes — this soon. Because “this” really isn’t all that “soon.” Starting the college admissions process early is key to keeping everyone’s stress levels down. After all, college application deadlines start as early as next fall — they’ll be upon you before you know it!
Teachers are busy people who like to plan ahead. If they know as early as May or June for whom they will be writing a letter of recommendation, they can factor into their schedules ample time to think about and write their letters. You don’t really want your teacher rushing through your letter of recommendation, do you?