How Do You Help Your Child Plan For Their Happiness?

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...

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The Portfolio Model: A Successor to the Current College Application Process

 
 
 
Often parents and students are overwhelmed with the anxiety that surrounds the college admission process. While we work with students to manage this process and make it stress free, my goal is always to help each student grow into who they want to become.
 
I emphasize the right fit over the school's name. I encourage students to discover their passion and not follow the well-meaning but often limited suggestions from teachers and parents, "you are good at math, become an engineer" "you are so smart, you should become a doctor" and similar comments that are solely based on skills but not desire, passion, or interest.  
 
I do not want students to miss out on the opportunity to find a career path that will fulfill them, consistently inspire them to succeed, and that they will enjoy. With recent reports showing that 62% of kids experience depression in college due to feeling unsure of their path, I think the following article is timely in so...
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How to Make Up For The Volunteer Gap In Your Child's Resume

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. 

So what can your child do now to fill that volunteer gap on their resume?

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...

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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 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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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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3 Tips That Could Save You Thousands On College

1. Make sure your child picks the right fit (both college and major/minor!)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 41% of students graduate college within 4 years. With each additional semester, tens of thousands of dollars add up. According to data from the University of Texas, those who graduate in 6 years instead of 4 spend 40% more than those who graduate in 4 years.

What causes this?

Multiple things can cause this, but a few of the most common reasons are changing majors, transferring, or taking unnecessary courses.

Why is prolonged graduation common?

Many times students choose a college that they know little about. Their entire decision may be made based on a one-time visit or virtual tour. Many students forego the time consuming process of researching important information, such as:

  • The program of studies accompanying the major the student chooses.
  • Prospective job or career paths possible after graduating with that major.
  • Will there be a demand for...
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WHY THE ACT IS SO IMPORTANT

First and foremost, colleges are businesses!

There are many reasons that colleges prefer to see a standardized test. One reason is that the curriculum in each high school, and certainly each state varies. When you consider the resources some students have because of their school district versus the lack in others, it is easy to conclude that the level of exposure/mastery a student in a struggling district has when earning an A may be vastly different than a student who earns an A in a district rich with resources like 3D printers, computers for every student, large designated laboratories for science classes and so forth.

Colleges are all too familiar with students who have received generous grades due to being well liked, a star athlete, a star student who is popular, who are not prepared to handle rigorous classes in college. If you have heard your son or daughter mention that the teacher is giving students more time to finish the test because some did not, or someone is able to...

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