I remember Mary walking into my office. She appeared calm and relaxed, while her son, Michael, was visibly stressed. Mary shared her goals for her son with many specific details: top three colleges to which he should apply, the major he should study, the type of career he should plan for, and the list of pressing items to be handled so everything else could fall into place. I understood her desire to ensure her son had all of the opportunities he deserved or wanted. I appreciated that she had researched schools and the college application process. But, I also felt concerned for Michael’s immediate future.
Throughout the conversation with his mother, I noticed him slump further and further in the chair, the web of his hand cradling his forehead as he gazed into his lap. I see this often, as parents wanting the best and imagining their children living a better life than they did, become the directors while children are merely actors.
We often wish our kids showed more...
Covid has had a really big impact on our children, especially when it comes to volunteer opportunities and applying to college.
In the past, students were able to sign up for volunteer opportunities and resume builders with very few barriers. We now see many students who don’t know what to put on their resume for volunteer work or extracurricular activities. They never had a chance with social distancing and everything being closed over the last few years due to Covid.
Across the board, we have heard that colleges are looking for students who will participate and add to their community. Volunteer work is crucial when applying to colleges because it shows them that you have already taken the initiative to get involved.
Here are some of the strategies we use with our students that have a big impact, in less time.
Senior Centers / Nursing Homes/ Assisted Living...
At KMAC, we use an assessment that's a little bit different to help students find their career or college major. Aside from a standard personality test, we have found it really helpful to make students think about the whole process in a different manner.
We want to ask questions other than, "what do you want to be?" That's kind of overwhelming! Does your child even know all the possibilities of what they could be? Or what they want to do? "I want to be rich. I want to have money. I want to help others." Those are pretty common responses that we get from students, but there are a lot of ways to help others. There are a lot of ways to make money.
Let's ask a different question: what do you want your life to look like?
It's a Wednesday morning. You're rolling out of bed. What time is it? Where do you live? What are you putting on? Are we putting on a suit? Are you putting on a...
Unfortunately, schools only have a limited number of spaces available in their early application pool. Based on conversations with many Admission Directors this fall, I learned that more than 50% of most schools' applicants exceed their student profile. But they still could not accept all of the equally qualified candidates— and some got moved to the deferred pool. These candidates are not denied— they will simply be reviewed again with the regular decision applicants.
However, as an early applicant you still have an edge: you were proactive.
Keep in mind that while you may meet all of their qualifications, schools are looking for students who look like their student body, who add to the class they are assembling. This is no easy task. They are trying to ensure that when they select an applicant, the student is likely...
Imagine: You head over to a friend’s house to help them with their landscaping project. You are greeted by a friend covered in mulch, dirt, and random pieces of weeds. She asks you to move her car from the driveway so the mulch truck can pull in. You happily grab her keys and get in the car, only to realize you cannot move her car. Sure, it has a steering wheel, the key fits the ignition, there is a brake pedal and gas pedal— but there is also a clutch, and you have never driven a stick shift!!
Even though you have driven for years and are a good driver, you cannot perform the simple task of backing out of the driveway and parking in the street because you have not been taught how to successfully manage the transmission yourself.
This is exactly why good students are not automatically successful on standardized tests: they have not been taught the strategies, tricks, or time management needed to crush the test!
Standardized tests intentionally bait...
Test optional means you do not need a test score attached to your application for your application to be considered complete and reviewed for admission. It does not mean that students without a test score will be reviewed in the same way, despite what some colleges advertise. Unfortunately, human judgment will still play a huge role in admission decisions during this coming application cycle. So much so that many admission reps at selective schools have shared with KMAC that if they took all of their applicants and spread them out in a room again, they are likely to select completely different students because the majority of their applicants are so similar in grades, test scores, resumes, and awards.
What we have witnessed repeatedly is that students who submitted test scores, even when their scores were slightly below the average for a school, have been granted acceptance at a much higher rate than students who do...
I had a woman reach out to me. Her son had a 4.3 GPA. He had all of the extracurriculars, the volunteer work, foreign language, and yet he didn't receive a single scholarship and they were perplexed. They thought that they did everything right— so where was their scholarship money?
If money is a factor when going through the college selection process and planning your child's future, as it is for most families, figuring out what schools to apply for ahead of time is crucial. The types of school that your child applies to can determine how much money they are awarded. There are some schools that are very generous with the money they award, and there are others that are not.
Often, really elite and selective schools aren't that generous because they have a waiting list. They don't need to incentivize students to attend— if you don't want to take that...
One of the goals of high school is to prepare students for the “next level” of education, but the reality is that the "next level" is different for everyone. Not all careers begin with a 4-year degree. Some require a post-graduate degree (which means more than 4 years!), or maybe a 2-year degree, technical or trade school, apprenticeships, or none of the above! The question becomes, how do you decide what kind of school or training you should pursue?
You work backwards!
So many students assume that the next step for them is applying to college at a 4-year school, when they should really be thinking about what they ultimately want to do with their lives. By choosing a career end goal, a student can piece out what steps they need to take in between where they are now and where they want to be.
Your child has been asked this question since they could talk. And while their answers may have changed from the princess, dinosaur,...
When you child's senior year rolls around and they have to sit down to list out their activities and achievements, what are they going to put down? What will their grades look like? What will they write their admissions essays about? These are all questions to consider early, before the last-minute crunch time stress sets in. Knowing what information to keep track of and look for early can save heaps of stress and set your child apart from the rest.