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...
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...
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.
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,...
Financial aid is money to help pay for college!
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.
Multiple things can cause this, but a few of the most common reasons are changing majors, transferring, or taking unnecessary courses.
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:
Have your child take the test early— definitely by sophomore year. They will take it with no pressure, better understand what is on the test and be better prepared later.
The other test dates do not. This is extremely valuable as many students will say “I have never learned some of the math.” or “I didn't do well on science because it was all physics and I have not had physics.” The reality however is that a student does not need Physics or high-level math to do well on the test, and getting their test back and being able to review it with a professional will help them understand this. It will also help them better prepare in the future and recognize the strategies needed more effectively.
If you can...
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...