The Edge Our college admission blog

Quest University Canada

by Katie Z, Ph.D October 14, 2015


It’s been too long since we’ve stuck our hand into the 3026 Series cookie jar! Today I want to let you know about a great school located north of the border. Readers, have you heard of Quest University Canada, located in beautiful Squamish, British Columbia? Eh?



I first came across this gem of a school when one of my former students decided to study abroad there – and what an experience he had! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Quest University Canada is a relative newcomer in the world of higher education and, though it was founded in 2002, only opened its doors to students in 2007. The founding class was composed of only 73 students, and today the school has a student population of 700 undergraduates.

Of particular note is that Quest University Canada is the country’s first independent, secular, not-for-profit university! Quest students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences degree after four years of engagement with a rather unique course schedule. As is written on Quest’s website, “In seminar classes (with 20 students or fewer), students examine one area of human inquiry after another on a Block Plan—taking one course at a time for three-and-a-half weeks.” To see the 2015-2016 Term Calendar, click hereAlso, as an undergraduate, you will first be engaged in a two-year Foundation Program, which introduces you to different fields, followed by a two-year Concentration Program, which “requires students to design their own majors with faculty input and guidance.”

In terms of specific courses, the full course catalogue can be accessed here, but know that there are some extremely interesting classes on offer! Oh, to be a student again! Where would I begin? Biodiversity of British Columbia, The Piano in Society, Love and Lust in Western Literature, A Guide to the Era of Genomic Medicine, Space Biology, The Mathematics of Security and Secrecy, Volcanology, Psychology of Food, or Science Film Making anyone? Furthermore, every student is required to take one to four “experiential blocks” during their four years at Quest, applying their acquired knowledge outside of the classroom – very cool! To learn more about it, click here.

In terms of admissions, you can apply to begin either in January 2016 (rolling admissions is in place until November 1st so you have just over two weeks left to apply!) OR you can apply to start your studies in September of 2016. With regard to financing your Quest undergraduate studies, keep in mind the following:

  • Regardless of nationality, all students are eligible for the school’s scholarships and bursaries AND fees are the same for everyone.
  • American students studying at Quest can still qualify for federal student aid.
  • Currently, $100 American is the equivalent of $129.17 Canadian, so paying for a Quest education with American money in your bank account is a good thing!

To conclude, a quest for Quest is a most excellent quest! Though the university has had students roaming its hallowed halls for less than a decade, it has accomplished much in a short time, offers a unique and (I think) awesome program, and promises great things to come.

Reclassifying & Recruitment

by Admitster October 13, 2015

As you may well know from this earlier post, Admitster’s friends over at NCSA Athletic Recruiting will be regular contributors to The Edge!  NCSA Athletic Recruiting helps high school athletes to connect with college coaches.  If you’d like to join NCSA’s college recruitment network, click here!  Their post today is on the topic of recruitment and reclassifying.  Confused?  You won’t be for long!  Read on…

Reclassifying. It’s been a hot topic in the world of recruiting for a few years now, and has recently been getting more and more attention as high school student-athletes choose to reclassify. The common question for many, and rightfully so, is this: What is reclassifying?

Reclassifying is a confusing concept with many varying rules, regulations, red tape, and fine print.

Let’s start with the basics.

How Reclassifying Could Change Your Recruiting

Reclassifying can mean a few things.

It can be when a student-athlete and their parents make the conscious choice to be “held back” in high school (and, in some states, as early as middle school). That is, it’s registering with a graduating class later than your original, with the intention of developing better grades and habits in the classroom or, from a sports perspective, giving a student-athlete another year to get bigger, stronger, taller, and more mature on the court, field, pool, diamond; you name it.

Reclassifying can also be when a student-athlete graduates from high school with their original class, but then puts off going to college in order to pursue an amateur sports career.

Lastly, and less popularly, reclassifying can mean choosing to graduate early from high school. This particular post, however, won’t consider this final type of reclassifying.



What Are The Advantages To Reclassifying?

The main advantages of reclassifying are viewed as the following:

  • A student-athlete will get an extra year to develop as a student and player. This could mean putting on more muscle mass or weight, becoming more experienced and sophisticated in his or her sport, and doing better academically by taking a course over or by developing better study habits.
  • If a student-athlete is injured, reclassifying would give him or her the obvious advantage of recovering from the injury and then getting back that year or season that they missed.
  • When it comes to recruitment, some believe that with major programs recruiting 2-3 years out, adding an extra year of player development will give their son or daughter an advantage with college coaches at big-time programs.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Reclassifying?

A few main disadvantages of reclassifying are:

  • Watching your friends and teammates – those whose class you were once in – graduate ahead of you.
  • Some student-athletes actually wind up under-performing after reclassifying because instead of upping their game, they simply fall back with the younger group they joined.
  • An extra year of school or prep school and club sports can be expensive for parents.
  • It’s complicated. There are many, many rules and regulations to follow and to be aware of in order to stay both eligible in high school and college.

What Are The Middle School And High School Rules Surrounding Reclassifying?

They vary by state and by type of school. Any student-athletes’ school or local district office will have the rules and regulations for reclassifying in that particular area.

It is imperative that, in conjunction with the school(s), when a student-athlete is exploring reclassifying options, he or she takes into account any and all NCAA rules and regulations as well.

Is Reclassifying Approved By The NCAA?

Yes, when the proper rules are followed.

First and foremost, academic requirements must be upheld by the student-athlete who is reclassifying, and dates in regards to eligibility and deadlines (in most cases according to sport) must also be upheld. Good places to start are with online resources and a meeting with your high school counselor.

I like these tips about reclassifying from our partners at AthNet:

  • Make sure that your academics are in order. Once you change the date you plan to graduate, either earlier or later, your options for fixing eligibility issues are reduced quickly.
  • Check to see if you are allowed to graduate early or to take classes after graduation. The need for tax dollars means that some schools limit or prohibit students from graduating early. The lack of tax dollars means that classes for students who have graduated are disappearing.
  • Be sure to complete your eligibility requirements in an academically sound manner. Graduating from high school early might seem like a good idea until rushing through school work leaves you ineligible.
  • Consider other aspects of high school. Graduating early might mean no prom, no graduation ceremony, or even no senior year. Going to prep school might mean watching friends go off to college while you stay behind.
  • Watch your athletic eligibility. Delaying your enrollment for more than a year or graduating early to focus on your sport before starting college can cause you to lose some of your eligibility.

The whole recruiting process is a tangle of confusing rules and regulations. Our NCSA scouts can help you with this and with other difficult questions you might confront. The best way to get started is by clicking here!

In 1492, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

by Katie Z, Ph.D October 12, 2015


Today, on the 523rd anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, I thought it would be prudent to take a moment to reflect on one interesting aspect of the great explorer’s life.  Perhaps you’ve heard the poem about Christopher Columbus?  You know, the one that begins:

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.



Did you know, however, that though the first of Columbus’ famous cross-Atlantic voyages began in Spain, some records indicate that young Christopher spent his student days at The University of Pavia, in Italy?  Though “the early life of Columbus is still quite thickly enshrouded with uncertainty“, Christopher’s son, Ferdinand, in documenting his father’s life, wrote that the famous explorer had studied astronomy, geometry, and cosmogony (that is, geography) at The University of Pavia.  Not everyone agrees that this was indeed the case, since the university has no official records of Columbus having been a student there, but whether it’s fact or fiction (we’ll never know!), some of his remains can still be found at the University Library of Pavia.  This, dear readers, brings our college admissions blog to the topic of The University of Pavia!

The university was founded in 1361 – that is not a typo.  You could write an impressive tome on the history of the school (student protests, political turmoil, famous discoveries, wars, Nobel Prize winners – the list goes on)!  I’m sorry to inform you, however, that all of the undergraduate courses at the university are taught in Italian (for those who are not native speakers, you are required to pass an Italian language examination before being allowed to enroll).  Still, if you’re motivated to study at The University of Pavia, know that there’s hope for the non-Italian linguists out there – the university does offer a number of master’s degrees taught in English!

Pavia itself also serves as a great tourist destination, should you find yourself in Italy and near Milan (Pavia is only 21 miles away).  The town was founded during Roman times and today is home to a large student population and a vibrant cultural scene.  Furthermore, the University of Pavia is, not surprisingly, home to many museums – click here to learn more about the University Museum System and here to learn more about the university’s botanical gardens, to give you but a few examples of what you will find within Pavia’s city limits.

Finally, know that the University of Pavia is a member of the Coimbra Group, which is made up of long-established European universities “committed to creating special academic and cultural ties in order to promote, for the benefit of its members, internationalization, academic collaboration, excellence in learning and research, and service to society.”  Somehow, I think that Christopher Columbus would have approved of that.

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Be Prepared!

by Admitster October 10, 2015


This series will take a look at the different benchmarks of the financial aid process mentioned in our earlier overview article. We’ll dig deeper into each topic, providing examples and what you should know in order to be prepared for the financial aid process.

In reading this post, keep in mind that it is written for teenagers who are currently seniors in high school (i.e. the graduating Class of 2016) and their parents.  The FAFSA is undergoing change and, starting next year, aid applications will be based on reported income from two years prior to the application, rather than the current process of using information from only the previous year.

Preparation for Financial Aid Forms

In the kitchen, in order to serve up a culinary feast, before you actually start the process of cooking, you must first prepare for what is to come.  This involves reading through the recipe, making sure that you have everything you need, washing your hands, pre-heating the oven, rinsing the fruit and vegetables, cutting up the ingredients beforehand – you get the idea.  Well, the same holds true for completion of your financial aid forms.  Before diving into the paperwork, you need to first prepare!



Many people, in navigating the college financial aid process, only skim over this step of preparing for the financial aid forms, moving right on to completion of the forms. However, you can save yourself from stress, and maybe paying schools more than you have to, if you properly prepare.

To begin with, in order to increase your likelihood of receiving the maximum amount of financial aid, you should complete and submit the required financial aid paperwork prior to the deadlines set by schools.  For the FAFSA, the financial aid form required by most schools, you can begin submitting the form on January 1st of the student’s senior year of high school. For the other most common form, the CSS Profile, you can begin submission as early as October of the student’s senior year. The recommended deadlines for these forms range anywhere from November through March, depending on the school you are applying to and the type of admissions decision you are seeking.

Considering that both of these forms can be filled out before most people will have their taxes completed, they are most commonly completed using estimates for the current tax year. For example, for families with current seniors in high school, they will be using estimated 2015 tax information to complete these forms. The schools will then collect the completed 2015 tax information once it has been filed.

While it’s clear that you’ll be using estimates for the CSS Profile, considering the deadlines it can carry, one very common mistake families make is to assume they can’t submit the FAFSA until they have filed their taxes. Many schools have a recommended deadline in February for the FAFSA to be submitted. As such, families should be using estimates of their taxes to submit an ‘estimated’ FAFSA, indicating that the family will but has not yet filed taxes for the current year.

Due to the fact that you will likely be using tax estimates, it’s good practice to have the estimates ready to go with plenty of time to spare before the recommended deadlines. This is especially true in cases where you are depending on a tax professional to help you – be sure to contact your accountant in the fall of the student’s senior year to have them begin working on these estimates! This time frame could be pushed even earlier if you are required to complete the CSS Profile.

Beyond questions pertaining to your tax filing, you will also be asked about parents’ assets, the student’s assets, businesses, real estate, and a range of other topics. Just like it’s good practice to have your tax estimates ready and available within plenty of time, you should also prepare for the other questions asked on the financial aid forms.

A good way to get a sense of the questions that you’ll be asked is to preview the FAFSA or CSS Profile ahead of time. You can create an account that can act as a ‘dummy’ for a previous aid year, allowing you to see the general questions that you’ll need to be prepared to answer. Sure, you should allow for changes to be made for the next aid year, but by going through the preview process you will be able to get a sense of what information you will need to have gathered when it comes time to complete these forms.

Delaying the submission of these forms doesn’t disqualify you from receiving financial aid. However, at a time when every dollar counts, you will want to meet these deadlines to maximize your financial aid potential. In short, you will save yourself stress, and perhaps even money, if you take the time to prepare for completion of the financial aid forms!

A Work In Progress

by Katie Z, Ph.D October 8, 2015


Do you remember the post I wrote eight days ago called “Admissions Revamped“?  It was about the 80+ schools that make up The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, and how they’re “working over the next few months to develop tools and processes that will help to address many of the barriers that prevent students from attending college or successfully earning a degree.”  And do you remember how I wrote bullet points highlighting what you need to know about The Coalition? One of those important points was, “Know that the portfolio feature and interactive tools will be rolled out in January and that the application system will be ready to go in the summer of 2016.” Well, dear readers, though that was indeed the case eight days ago (back when the “college locker” was still called “the portfolio“), circumstances have now changed – and I, of course, want to keep you in-the-know!  While the new application system is still on-track to be released in the summer of 2016, the release of The Coalition’s online tools has been moved from January to April of 2016.  Why?

It turns out that there is a LOT of criticism about this new initiative to revamp admissions.  My earlier post touched on the fact that in order for colleges to be eligible for membership in The Coalition, they have to meet specified requirements, such as graduating at least 70% of their students within six years.  However, the reality is that many colleges that serve a disproportionately high number of disadvantaged students (those who the work of The Coalition is supposed to most benefit – think first generation students, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, those lacking guidance in the admissions process, and those facing other barriers to enrolling in and graduating from college) don’t, in fact, meet the membership requirements – and why not?  Well, because they’re serving high numbers of disadvantaged students!  You can see how this creates difficulties…



Further, some critics are skeptical of the motives behind the new initiative (e.g. that The Coalition’s members are simply out to find even more applicants for their schools).  Another concern expressed by college counselors is that all of this is moving forward too quickly, and that a January 2016 release date is just too soon.  The Coalition, while denying sketchy motives, has listened to these concerns about the proposed time line and adjusted their plans accordingly.  As The Coalition’s Board of Directors wrote in a recent e-mail to college counselors, the delay will “allow for more time to engage and answer questions, and for counselors to be closer to finishing their work with the current senior class.”  Furthermore, members of The Coalition’s board haven’t hesitated in putting on the table the fact that the initiative is an undertaking prone to change.  Just last week, at the NACAC’s 71st National Conference, Audrey Smith (one of the aforementioned board members), said, “We are a work in progress.  We see this as an iterative process and we will be adjusting based on the feedback that we receive from all quarters.”  In other words, stay tuned!

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