College admissions expert offers advise on being 'accepted'

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The obsession with getting a child into a name-brand school has spiraled out of control and has led to unethical behavior.

Parents like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman learned the hard way after being indicted in a massive nationwide college bribery scandal.

Eva Dodds, a Collegewise counselor based in Franklin is offering some simple advice for free.

"Parents always want the best for their child and they are trying to figure out are they keeping up with the Jones' or doing what everyone else is doing to advocate for their child," Dodds said. "And sometimes they wonder if a donation is going to help their child get into school. In a word, it is not." 

But parents aren't just to blame. Dodds says beware, colleges often prey those hoping to get their kids into the college of their choice.

"As soon as they see a student is interested in applying to school especially if it is a legacy situation, they will hit up the parents and ask them to donate," Dodds said. 

Parents of course want what's best for their kids - often believing it's getting them into a name brand school. But Eva says they need to realize students need to attend the best college for their needs, interests and goals.

"So many unknowns around the process, so many unknowns around the process, so much stress," Dodds said. "We associate success with name of a college instead what our own students actually do. There is a big disconnect there where the reality of how you get a job is not the reality of what people think about the value of college."

Eva recommends creating a list of 30 schools and applying to 7 to 10 and then consider which one may be the right fit financially and for the student's future.

"Pick the school where you can be a big fish, whether it is a big pond or a small pond," she said. "Where can you jump in activities from day one where can you do original research. Where can you connect with professors, connect with social groups, connect with extracurricular groups and try to follow your own interests at a price tag that matches your family's budget."

No one wants to come out of college with debt that is nearly impossible to pay off. That's why families need to explore all financial aid options and scholarships. based on merit and or need.

It is hard to know where to turn - especially in Michigan where there are 744 students per counselor. Dodds says don't give up, there is plenty of free online information and don't get discouraged if you get rejected from your college of choice.

"The words 'wait list' the words 'appeal' the word 'deny' and 'reject' - those are all negative words," she said. "We want to stay positive. There are still plenty of colleges in the state of Michigan accepting applications. Just remember to go online, jump on a college's website, pick up the phone, call the college. And it is there job to work for you as the applicant and let you know what your application options are, and how many slots there are available to you."

The following schools are still accepting applications for the fall semester:

Albion College
Alma College
Central Michigan University
University of Detroit Mercy
Eastern Michigan University
Ferris State University
Grand Valley State University
Michigan Technological University
Northern Michigan University
Oakland University
Wayne State University
Western Michigan University

Spring College Tips for Seniors:
*If you have received an admit offer from a college with a May 1st deposit deadline (Michigan or Michigan State for example) you must deposit by May 1 to secure your spot. No exceptions!

How do you choose between admit offers?  Consider price, fit, and opportunities to grow.  These checklists may be helpful

*If you have received a wait list offer-make sure to follow the college's directions to be officially added to the wait list.  You can also follow up by calling the college to confirm that you are on the wait list and to ask how to best provide any new accomplishments since you applied.

*If your financial aid offer does not match the need of the family, call the college's financial aid office and explain what should be reconsidered.  This is sometimes called an appeal.  Be prepared to back up what should be reevaluated with paperwork, such as medical bills.  Colleges want to help you get the most affordable option, so don't be hesitant to reach out to them.

*If you are still wanting to apply to four-year college you still have time, but the sooner the better to receive the most opportunity for admission and $$$$$.

Colleges still accepting applications include:  Wayne State, Western, Michigan Tech, Albion, Alma, Eastern, Central, Oakland, Ferris State, Northern and many others… Still $$$$$$$ available = merit scholarships and need based financial aid.

Go to the college's admission page AND financial aid page for more information.  Call their offices too, they work for you the applicant.

Central's Admission Page:
Northern’s Financial Aid Page which includes their summer $ aid application.

Some are test optional as well which means that applicants do not have to submit an ACT or SAT for consideration.  For instance: Ferris State has a test optional application for students with a 3.0 GPA.

*Call college financial aid and admissions offices with any questions.  They are waiting to talk with students and parents this time of year.  They work for you the applicant!

*Big Future website by the College Board is a great resource for college applicants, including its list of colleges still accepting apps for Fall, 2019:

Eva is an affiliate of Collegewise.  Collegewise counselors have guided more than 10,000 students to successful admission outcomes.  We offer hourly and package services, as well as many free resources on our website 

Success in college admissions means the family is happy with the college choice, the college is within budget and the student is excited build a future on its campus. 

Free Resources for all high school students considering college can be found in many places online including: