VERSAN BLOG

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THE READER'S CIRCLE


We take a deviant turn this week. From virtual school fairs, registering for exams, thanking teachers, staff - to students sending in lovely vlogs to herald their tenure here at Versan. Short but sweet.

This week I want to focus on readers, folks who understand that building the vocabulary, reading ad nauseam should be the order of the day. By group efforts, here are your cautionary tales.

SSAT

The vocabulary section on your test is mind boggling. If you are not doing some 80 new words per week, synonyms and antonyms, this test may be challenging in this section. A good American dictionary is a great tool to have. Also remember you have interviews. Your command of vocabulary and the English language (not the British one, smile) is key. Hold on to these tips:

National Geographic

Time Magazine

Smithsonian

Omni Science

Read a few novels: The Red Badge of Courage, The Grapes of Wrath, Fahrenheit 451, "Run, Rabbit,Run," A Visit from the Goon Squad, A Confederacy of Dunces, The Emperor of all Maladies, The New Jim Crow, The Immortal Life of Henrietta lacks, The Tiger's Wife....and others...

GMAT

Your recommendations are:

The Economist

The New Yorker

The New York Times

Scientific America

Harper's

Atlantic Monthly

Stack upon cases for those Analysis of an Argument essay.

SAT

Well, this group should they fail to read, prepare to fail.

Scientific America

The New Yorker

National Geographic

The New York Times

Harper's

Atlantic Monthly

Focus on areas that bore you and read on....understanding context, words and implied meanings. Engage those dictionaries.

LSAT

Follow the GMAT list. Just add the Harvard Law Journal to the list.

REMINDER TO THE SSAT/SAT GROUP:

Those in Ms. Dyer's English, a mock exam is slated for this week. You will arrange to be at the Versan office this weekend to do your mock exam in lieu of Verbal class.

See you next week.

Dear Sandra, I hope that you and your family are healthy and doing well in these challenging times. Solebury is proud to be part of a fantastic group of 6 schools (the others are White Mountain School, Putney School, Hun School, Dunn School, and Cushing Academy) that is offering what I think can be a great opportunity for your students. This group, “Schools You Should Know” represents 6 diverse schools in terms of geography, size, and program, but all share some beliefs about what education should be about. The below program is being offered to students and their parents to learn what being a boarding student is like and why it can be such a transformative experience. The particularly unique aspect of this event is that there will be no admissions people presenting - the meeting will be students speaking to students. It will be moderated by a former Head of School not associated with any of our schools and will simply be a night for young people to talk to other young people about why they enjoy the opportunities that boarding offers. The event will be on Thursday, October 29th at 7pm. We hope you will encourage your students to join. Here is the link to register for this event. As always, we are grateful for the partnership we all enjoy with you. Best, Scott Eckstein, Solebury School, New Hope, PA Allison Letourneau, White Mountain School, Bethlehem, NH John Barrengos, Putney School, Putney, VT Steve Bristol, Hun School, Princeton, NJ Mike McKee, Dunn School, Los Olivos, CA Dan Morrissey, Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA

Dear Colleague, Greetings from the Virtual UVA team! We hope this note finds you healthy and safe. We wanted to let you know that we will be holding a Virtual Event Series October 19 – 22, geared toward prospective students. Throughout the week, our admission deans and current students will provide insights about the admission and financial process, the student experience, our academic programs, and the student resources available across the University. We would appreciate your help in getting the word out to your students about this new program. Students may view the calendar and register for events here. Please note that space is limited. For students who are not able to attend live, we will post recordings of each session on our website. Thank you for your assistance in publicizing these events to your students. We hope to connect with them soon! Best wishes, The Virtual UVA Team Office of Undergraduate Admission University of Virginia

Greetings, Colleagues! I am writing to you on a beautiful, crisp fall day from my home office in Ithaca where earlier this week Cornell University recognized and celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. For this year’s annual celebration, Cornell’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) is sponsoring a number of webinars and discussions this week. In this newsletter, you will find important information and updates on: 1) Cornell’s ongoing efforts to promote racial justice and create an antiracist and more inclusive and welcoming campus; 2) Preparing for admissions selection and how applications will be different this year; 3) Changes in our consideration of extra-curricular activities; 4) Looking at transcripts, grading, and changes in the learning context and student experience; 5) Colleges at Cornell being test-optional or score-free; 6) English language proficiency for international applicants; 7) Extension of the Early Decision application deadline to November 16; 8) Deadlines for applying for financial aid; 9) Available virtual and online programming; and 10) Residential expansion at Cornell and the honoring of late alumnae Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Toni Morrison. This summer, Cornell University President Martha Pollack announced actions to support and strengthen the Cornell community and its existing programs to promote racial justice. Immediate engagement steps included strengthening community involvement in Cornell’s public safety work and convening discussions with regional law enforcement agencies; hosting Cornell community conversations on race and racism among students, faculty and staff, and a campus collective reading of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist to bring focus and support to difficult but critical conversations; and, tied to the already underway and ongoing Belonging at Cornell initiative and Diversity and Inclusion efforts and initiatives, university leadership began dialogues with Ithaca community leaders to support and advance the needs of our neighbors in the local area. Given our mission to provide an exceptional education, cutting edge research, and public engagement to shape the world for future generations, and fueled by energy, activism, and support of students and faculty, Cornell will further embed anti-racism within and across its academic mission and activities. Of note are the considered implementation of a for-credit education requirement on racism, bias and equity for all Cornell students and further expansion upon Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project; a systematic review of the curriculum across Cornell to ensure that courses reflect, represent, and include the contributions of all people; amplifying existing scholarship across Cornell and the creation of an Anti-Racism Center that further strengthens research and education on systems and structures that perpetuate racism and inequality, and on policies and interventions that break that cycle; and the development of a new set of programs focusing on the history of race, racism, and colonialism in the US, designed to ensure understanding of how inherited social and historical forces have shaped our society today, and how they affect interactions inside and outside of our classrooms, laboratories, and studios. I mentioned in my last communication that we had to rethink our communications strategies and outreach engagement. We’ve also had to reimagine the most critical of all moments during the admissions process – application review and selection. The changes and disruptions in the delivery and experience of secondary education across many different systems around the world – communicated to us as early as this spring by secondary counseling colleagues and prospective students and families – begin a lot of thinking and discussion about application review, what it might look like for the current cycle, and how we might best prepare. We had already adjusted our SAT/ACT testing policy for fall 2021 applicants and the next step was to talk about how we would review and consider applications for fall 2021. We’ve discussed that applications will look and feel different. Some information might be delayed in arriving. We’ve talked about the possible absence of some information and the presence of other information; and the need to likely adjust our former reliance on certain information and, instead, look back, before the various pandemics and catastrophic events of the year, to learn more about what individual applicants are most capable of and how they could contribute to our classrooms, communities, and beyond. Admissions evaluation has clearly changed and we expect to see that our applicants have also changed. Hopefully our efforts of the last weeks and months will allow us to best meet, understand, and consider fall 2021 candidates to the undergraduate colleges and programs at Cornell. Because of the number of questions received about extra-curricular involvement, it feels important to make a statement. We absolutely understand that applicants may not have had the chance to participate in extracurricular activities and that they will not be able to report them to us as they had planned. Please do remind applicants to send us information about what they have been doing and be sure to have them share how they have been spending their time. We understand that their opportunities in and outside of school will look different this year. Transcripts, changes in grading/grades, remote/online learning and student impacts have also been among the range of important topics about which we have been engaged. We know that the transcripts of our applicants may not look the way they (or we) expected. We hope to learn more about each candidate’s unique circumstances in their application and we will partner with secondary counseling colleagues to better understand grading policies and how learning is happening (and how individual students responded) within the context of each applicant’s school. In early spring, Cornell announced that it was test optional for fall 2021 applicants. As a reminder, SAT and ACT test scores are not required for the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Human Ecology, and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. For these four colleges at Cornell, applicants decide whether or not they can or will submit SAT or ACT scores; all applicants will receive a fair and holistic review of their application whether or not test scores are submitted. Just a few weeks ago, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, announced they will be score-free and will not use test scores at all in the application review process this year. To learn more about standardized testing, please visit our standardized testing requirements page. It is imperative that all Cornell students have a strong command of the English language to be successful in their studies. As such, English language proficiency is required of international applicants. If English is not the native language of an applicant, or if an applicant has not attended high school in the United States or a country where English is an official language for four years prior to their planned enrollment at Cornell, international applicants may be asked to submit results from one of the dozens of English language examinations offered around the world, or have other provided assessments and qualifications considered in meeting the English language proficiency requirement. You can learn more about this by visiting our International Students website. Cornell has always accepted late applications to support students who wanted and intended to apply for admission. In recognition of the range of difficulties experienced by and ongoing displacement of students, teachers, and counselors around the world, Cornell announced last month that its Early Decision application deadline was extended for all fall 2021 applicants. The Early Decision admission application deadline has been officially extended to November 16, 2020. Please also remind students that if paying the application fee will pose a hardship of any sort, students may request a fee waiver. Please follow the instructions online here: https://admissions.cornell.edu/apply/first-year-applicants/admission-requirements to learn more about requesting an application fee waiver. Among some final reminders I’ve included are the deadlines for financial aid. The early decision financial aid application deadline for U.S. citizens/permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens is November 21. For more information regarding financial aid at Cornell, please visit: http://finaid.cornell.edu/apply-aid/prospective-applicants. The early decision international financial aid application deadline for international citizens is November 16. For more information regarding international financial aid at Cornell, please visit: http://finaid.cornell.edu/apply-aid/prospective-applicants/prospective-international-applicants. Cornell continues its offerings of live joint information session programs in partnership with peer institutions, and events hosted exclusively by Cornell Undergraduate Admissions. A listing of all online recruitment and engagement events can be found at: https://admissions.cornell.edu/visit/online-events. We also have an expansive Virtual Visit website that provides access to a full range of online and virtual content, programming, and engagement opportunities, so students and families can get to know Cornell. Within the site you will find: student blogs; university, college and school information sessions; a virtual tour; information on all of our undergraduate majors; details on how to apply; admissions deadlines; and news, important updates, and so much more. During the recent State of the University Address, Cornell University President Martha Pollack announced that two of the under-construction North Campus Residential Expansion (NCRE) halls will be named for two esteemed alumnae – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, who died on September 18 of this year, and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55, who died in August 2019. The NCRE is expected to open partially by fall 2021 and fully by fall 2022. “For both of these extraordinary Cornellians, we wanted to create a memorial that would be seen by, and have its doors open to, ‘any person’ at Cornell,” President Pollack said, “reminding all of our Cornell students, not just those in a particular field or college, that their path from Cornell can take them anywhere. The opening of the halls, as well as the entire NCRE, will mark the beginning of a new chapter in residential life at Cornell,” Pollack said, “one that will be focused on building community and supporting communication across difference – revitalizing, and in many ways reinventing, the student experience here. In years to come, every Cornell freshman and sophomore will live on campus, starting their time here on North Campus – and every one of them will see, on that campus, the names of two of our most accomplished alumnae.” Finally, we shared what follows with your students and we also wanted to share this with you. All of us here at Cornell recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created new, unimaginable challenges in preparing for and applying to college. The applications we receive this year will look and feel different from those received in past years, and that is okay. This admissions application cycle will require flexibility, patience and understanding, and we promise to be your partners and do all we can to enable you to best support your students. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time with questions. We are here to help you and your students throughout this process. Sincerely, Shawn L. Felton Director of Undergraduate Admissions Cornell Undergraduate Admissions Office

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Versan is dedicated to helping the hard-working student achieve his or her academic goals. We offer one-on-one college consultations - i.e., meetings with both parents and students to discuss school selection, grades, standardized test options, applications, essays, visa applications, scholarships and financial aid, among other elements of the application process. 

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