Vincent Nicandro

Recent Posts

Building a Best-Fit, No-Sweat College List in a Week

[fa icon="calendar'] 12/21/20 6:00 AM / by Vincent Nicandro

One of the most daunting aspects of applying to colleges is actually deciding where to apply to college. But where do you start looking, and how do you create a good list? If you haven't started yet, you're pretty late to the game, but not too late to start. Let's roll up our sleeves and get you started. 

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When Safety Schools Aren't Safety Schools

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/10/19 11:39 AM / by Vincent Nicandro

Though often one of the most overlooked parts of the college search, safety schools are actually a very critical component to ensure you have options after the admissions season is over. Everyone applying to colleges should have a safeguard. But as the college admissions field becomes all the more competitive across the board, at what point can we no longer consider mainstay safeties as near-guaranteed acceptances? 

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Can Social Media Affect Your Admission?

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/8/16 7:55 PM / by Vincent Nicandro

As the first priority and early action deadlines begin to arrive and you start submitting your applications, it’s important to recognize the factors you can control once you hit that submit button on the application.

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3 Tips to Rock the College Campus Visit

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/27/16 10:05 PM / by Vincent Nicandro there are many resources you might use during your college search, the college visit is one of the only ways where you can get a true feel of the campus and whether or not you’ll fit into its environment.

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College Admissions Is Not a Lottery

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/20/16 8:48 AM / by Vincent Nicandro

The prevailing sentiment among high-achieving high school students is that college admissions is a lottery. It’s random, wherein after they dot their i’s and cross their t’s, their applications are sent into a raffle drum and admissions officers select the winning admits one by one until they’ve filled up all their spots for the incoming class, regardless of their extracurriculars or essays.

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3 College Admissions Trends to Look For in 2017

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/15/16 11:08 AM / by Vincent Nicandro

Last year, we talked about three trends in college admissions to look for 2016. Now that the 2016 admissions season has come and gone, our attention here at Empowerly is focused on helping our future Class of 2021 get into their dream schools. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize the directions we expect to see the college admissions landscape shift towards in the upcoming 2017 season. Here are three important trends to look for as you start applying to colleges this year.

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Acing Your College Admissions Interview

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/11/16 5:25 PM / by Vincent Nicandro

It’s unavoidable: the interview is a quintessential step in the admissions process that many applicants dread. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on for tips and tricks to ensure that your next college admissions interview is a success.

Why Admissions Interviews are Important
For many colleges which practice holistic admissions, admissions officers only have a student’s scores, written recommendations, and essays to assemble a sense of who an applicant is. The interview is an additional way with which they can interact with applicants and make sure that they are not only interested in their college but also a good fit for their campus.

It’s important to note that college interviews also offer applicants many benefits during the admissions process. Interviews are usually conducted by alumni from the institution you’re interviewing for, which provides an opportunity for you to connect with people who have gone to the college you’re interested in attending. Moreover, it allows you to show more of who you are to colleges and can help leave a favorable impression with them, which may be the difference between acceptance and rejection.

While interviews may not necessarily be required by an institution, they are incredibly important and are strongly recommended if they are offered. You should always choose to interview if possible. The difference between having and not having an interview with an institution that offers them is striking when it comes to one’s chance for admission. In fact, MIT Admissions pointed out that of their eligible applicants from last year, they “admitted 10.8% of those who had an interview… but only 1% of those who chose not to.”

Preparing for the Interview
With such high stakes, preparing for an interview is a must in order to increase your chances for success. Generally, we recommend that applicants begin preparing at least a few days before to guarantee a smooth and pleasant interview. If appropriate, use this time to prepare a portfolio of your achievements, including any artwork you’ve created (if you’re applying with an arts portfolio) and any research you’ve done.

Remember to give yourself time to research the college. Visit the college’s website and read up on information about them through resources such as Naviance, Big Future, and the Empowerly Portal which provides college admission data . Through your research, be prepared to comment on particular programs or characteristics of that college that combine your talents and interests to demonstrate that you are a good fit. And as always, make sure you have a solid answer to the time-old question, “Why this college?”, and have specific examples. The interviewer will want to know if you are truly interested in the school and why.

Usually, after the interviewer is done giving questions, they offer a chance for you to ask questions to them. Don’t let this time go to waste; have in mind a list of three or four questions to ask the interviewer. They shouldn’t be questions you can easily find the answer to via a Google search (such as asking for the student-to-faculty ratio). Instead, ask the interviewer about their own experiences at that college. Not only will it lighten the tone of the conversation, but you’ll also get an “insider’s” glimpse into the daily life and student culture.

If you’re nervous, rehearse with someone a few times beforehand. Practice can definitely help and make you feel more at ease for the real thing. However, don’t sound scripted; interviewers can tell if you’re reciting answers. They want to hear the real you, not a prepared speech you’ve created.

Interviewing Tips and Tricks
On the day of the interview, dress comfortably but professionally. You may not need to dress in a suit and tie, but you’ll make a bad impression if you arrive in your pajamas or athletic clothes. Be prepared to make the time commitment and don’t schedule anything before or after the interview: they typically last 30 minutes to an hour, so keep that in mind.

Arrive on time, making sure to account for traffic and complex directions to reach the destination. Sometimes, it may even be advisable to go to the location the day before and scope out the area to ensure that you’re not late due to being lost. If it’s in a public place (such as a coffee shop), give yourself time to find a comfortable place where you and your interviewer can talk freely. And be sure to turn off your phone and minimize any distractions on your part.

When the interviewer arrives, shake hands firmly and look the interviewer in the eye. Initiate the conversation with some small-talk about any topic; this is not a time to be shy. Be engaged in the conversation and be yourself. Mention goals you would like to achieve during your time at college.

Above all, relax. This is just as much of an opportunity for you to learn more about the school as it is for the school to learn about you. They are not trying to trip you up and in many cases are trying to find reasons to recommend you.

And finally, smile! You’ve spent four or more years getting to this point; it’s time to show them your achievements.

After the interview, be sure to send an email to the interviewer thanking them for their time and for the opportunity to be interviewed. If you connected with the interviewer over a shared interest, mention that too!

In the end, college interviews may seem daunting at first, but with preparation and practice, you can leave a good impression on both the interviewer and admissions officers. If you’d like more guidance on the admissions process, contact us today at  to get in touch with one of our Empowerly admissions experts and see how we can help you get accepted.
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