Frequently Asked Questions
We realize that the College Application process can be daunting at times. In order to help both students and parents get started, here are answers to some of the questions we hear most often.
How many schools should students apply to?
The American and Canadian university entrance systems do not set a minimum or maximum number of applications an applicant may submit. The last few years, as university admissions become ever more competitive, many students and parents want to apply to a large number of schools believing that this would improve their chances. However, our experience has shown that large numbers not only do not guarantee better results, but actually weaken the applicant’s chances as the attention an application requires is diluted. On average 6-8 applications are preferable as they can then receive the candidate’s proper attention.
Are there minimum academic requirements for applying to Ivy League and other highly selective universities?
The universities themselves do not set minimums; however, the statistics of previous entering classes show that the competitiveness of the admission process in fact “sets” such minimums. College Counselors’ and teachers’ recommendations accompany, explain and support students’ transcripts, SAT/ACT scores and TOEFL score. For an applicant to be competitive at these highly selective institutions he/she needs to be in the top 2-3% of his/her class from Grade 9 onwards, have SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Test scores in the 700’s, and iBT TOEFL above 110.
What should a student who has been admitted in December (Early Decision/Action) or April (Regular Decision) do for the rest of the year?
Admitted students should continue the pattern of work that got them admitted in the first place throughout the remainder of their senior year, as letters of admission state. If grades drop significantly, the acceptance may be rescinded, especially in very competitive years when so many worthy applicants are waitlisted. Even if an acceptance isn’t rescinded, a student’s poor performance may have an impact on the following years’ applicants. Our students have a moral obligation to our school, on whose good name they rely as applicants, to uphold this reputation.
Can students apply to both US and UK universities?
Yes, they can. However, we urge students to try to decide which destination is their top priority. The two application processes are different, and they add significant work load, especially if students apply to highly selective universities. Students may apply ED/EA/REA to both an Ivy League/Highly selective university in the U.S. and Oxford/Cambridge in the U.K. If students are admitted to their U.S. institution, they MUST immediately withdraw their application to the U.K. university they have applied to. If they receive a deferred admission offer, they may continue holding their U.K. application. We would still discourage students from applying to both Ivy League universities and Oxford/Cambridge, as the concurrent application processes may prove unduly stressful and detract from the applicant’s required focus.
How can a student decide where to apply?
Nothing can beat visiting the campuses! However, due to the distance, this may not be feasible and universities do not require it. Alternatively, students can and should research universities online. Also the Counseling Office and the Library have many books (catalogues and others) that provide ample information. Furthermore, all current and prospective applicants should be attending all Admission Officers’ presentations at our school and other venues in Athens, irrespective of whether they decide to apply to the specific institution. Finally, and most importantly, applicants should be in regular contact with their College Counselor.
Is the PSAT compulsory?
No, it isn’t. However, it is the best preparation for the SAT. Actually, taking it more than once (e.g. in both 10th and 11th grades) is recommended. For U.S. passport holders only, it is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
When should students start taking the SAT tests?
Students may need to take these tests more than once. They should have taken them at least once by the end of IB1/B’ Lykeion and use the fall test dates of their senior year to improve their scores where necessary. It should be noted that not all SAT Subject Tests are offered on all dates, so students should plan accordingly, and as near to the time when the relevant material has been covered.