How to Help Your Teen Narrow Down Their College Major

How do you get a high school student to start narrowing down what their focus is?

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...

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How to Handle Your Deferral from a University That is One of Your Top 2 Choices

Being deferred means you have met all of the school’s requirements. They liked your application. They did not have a reason to say no.

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...

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How to Score Well on a Standardized Test

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...

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What does "TEST OPTIONAL" really mean...?

What does "TEST OPTIONAL" really mean...?

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...

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Why Do Some Students Get Scholarships And Others Don't?

Let's talk about scholarships!

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?

Why do some kids get scholarships and others don't? Sometimes it comes down to the school.

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...

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How To Help Your Child Choose The Right Career Path

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.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Your child has been asked this question since they could talk. And while their answers may have changed from the princess, dinosaur,...

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How To Start Your College Planning

Making a plan EARLY makes a difference!

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. 

9th Grade College Planning Timeline

  • Get Involved. Try new things. No one is asking you to commit to something for four
    years, just try it.

    Clubs, sports, music, drama, yearbook, student council are all valuable on your college application. Don't see something that interests you? Create a club or activity! I know students that have organized a 5k fundraiser for a family that suffered a loss. Think outside the box. If you have the opportunity to take a leadership role, do it. Participation...
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BENEFITS TO LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

What is the most important piece of advice that students should follow?

Should they take as many AP or CCP classes possible? Play three sports? Or perhaps specialize in just one sport? Take a foreign language? Or maybe take a specific foreign language like Latin? While all of those pieces of advice could be helpful in the right context, the most important piece of advice that students should follow is to learn outside of the classroom.

Learning outside of the classroom offers many benefits for students, from the concrete benefits that can be added to a resume or college application, to the more esoteric benefits of becoming a more learned or well-read individual.

Starting with the former, many colleges, especially more selective schools, are looking to admit students that have a demonstrated thirst for knowledge. It is frequently forgotten that students are not only competing amongst their peers at their own high school or in their conference,...

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Approaching College With Foresight

From the day your kids were born, you wanted to create the best possible life for them. So, what did you do?

You planned.

You planned absolutely anything you could, from the big stuff like finding the best preschool to enroll them in to the small stuff like their lunch and outfits for their first day of school. Mapping out your child’s life to set them up for maximal success was never easy, but as they grow up that map becomes much messier, harder to decipher. More avenues are opened, creating more possibilities. In the blink of an eye, the most difficult decision you have to help them make shifts from whether they want a PB & J or a turkey sandwich for lunch to what career they should pursue to ensure a lifetime of happiness and prosperity.

There are so many moving parts that take off at a break-neck speed before your child is even allowed to use the restroom at school without a teacher’s permission. There are college entrance exams to be taken, resumes to...

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Everything You Need to Know When Applying for Financial Aid

FINANCIAL AID 101


Financial aid is money to help pay for college!

Before beginning the FAFSA, you must apply for an FSA ID at StudentAid.gov. This will be used for all financial aid and used for your electronic signature on all financial aid documents. Write this down somewhere!
 
Remember that the FAFSA belongs to the student. The student needs to create an FSA ID using their personal information. They should use a personal e-mail account rather than a school e-mail account, as their current high school e-mail will be disabled after graduation.
When creating an FSA ID, the student will receive both an email and a text message to confirm their identity. The codes supplied in those messages are time sensitive and must be entered into the system to proceed. Please be sure your child is able to access this information while filling it out. In other words— do not attempt to do this while they are at school and have limited access to their e-mail and text...
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