No need to apply to more than 10 schools

If I could give juniors one piece of advice it would be to apply to fewer schools. Highly rejective schools are getting even more selective. Students are casting a wider and wider net in the hopes of getting into one “top” or “brand name” school. But all this really does is drive up applications, andContinue reading “No need to apply to more than 10 schools”

What To Do If You Have Been Deferred?

Several things can happen when you apply for admission Early Action or Early Decision. Schools can admit you, they can deny you, or they can defer your decision to their regular decision process. While this can be frustrating, it is not a no. Basically, they are putting you on hold to see what the restContinue reading “What To Do If You Have Been Deferred?”

Your College Application is Like Baking from Scratch

Any of the students who worked with me this year probably heard my baking analogy so many times they got sick of it. But it’s a valid comparison. When you bake cookies or a cake, the ingredients you use are important. What you add, and when you add it, makes a baked treat that tastesContinue reading “Your College Application is Like Baking from Scratch”

Undecided or Declaring a Major–Does it Matter?

As you research and visit prospective colleges, its important to understand how major choice impacts first year admission. Every college handles the admission and application process differently (life would be so much easier if it was standarized). But for many colleges, what you major in and how competitive that major is can have a bigContinue reading “Undecided or Declaring a Major–Does it Matter?”

Are you a senior who hasn’t started their applications?

Once upon a time, most college students didn’t start applications until sometime in the fall of senior year and submitted them in January or February. Now, the push is to have everything in early, by November 1st, to maximize scholarhips, early action and early decision. But those are technically “early” programs. Most colleges have aContinue reading “Are you a senior who hasn’t started their applications?”

Steps You Might Miss in the Application Process

You have hit submit on your college application and that feeling of “I did it” comes over you. Then a few days later you log into your applicant portal only to see big red X’s saying you missed something causing your heart to race. Sometimes these X’s don’t impact the application deadline and you haveContinue reading “Steps You Might Miss in the Application Process”

Summer Can Make or Break an Application (yes, I know its October)

It takes more than good grades and test scores to get into top colleges these days. The extremely rejective schools and even the selective schools are looking for you to have participated in activities, classes, clubs and programs that help you develop your academic interests. Summer is a great time to do this. While mostContinue reading “Summer Can Make or Break an Application (yes, I know its October)”

To Ed or Not to ED, That is the Question?

Many of the students I work with are really struggling with whether to apply Early Decision and to which school. Early Decision is a process where you can complete your application to ONE school by an earlier deadline and commit to attend THAT school if admitted. It is considered binding–you have to withdraw your applicationsContinue reading “To Ed or Not to ED, That is the Question?”

Advice for 11th grade students and parents

Now that I have been through a few cycles as an independent college counselor, I have lots of advice to give. Here are a few tips for families to make the process go smoother. Start Research Schools Now As I read numerous essays answering the question “Why are you applying to this school” or “WhyContinue reading “Advice for 11th grade students and parents”

Testing Plans

The world of test optional admissions is somewhat of a moving target. Many schools went test optional during Covid, and plan to stay that way. Many were test optional before. But many are evaluating it on a year to year basis. Georgetown and MIT are requiring test scores for 2023 and Purdue just announced theyContinue reading “Testing Plans”

You’ve Been Admitted–What’s Next?

Congratulations. You have been admitted to a college. So what’s next? If you know you have been admitted then you have probably already created a portal accont for that college. If you are asking, “what’s a portal?”, then check your email. Most schools now use an online admissions system to manage the process. You needContinue reading “You’ve Been Admitted–What’s Next?”

Senior To Do List

School is back in session. And for seniors, it means you should be applying to colleges. Many colleges have November deadlines for their top scholarships. Here are the steps you should be taking the next few months to have your applications submitted. 1.Create an account at http://www.commonapp.org and complete all the sections on the commonContinue reading “Senior To Do List”

Don’t add to those rejections

Many students have a dream college, and its often an Ivy or a highly rejective college like Notre Dame, Stanford or MIT. Many of these colleges have admission rates in the single digits, as low as 3%–meaning they deny 97 of every 100 applicants who apply. The applicant pools are filled with incredibly smart andContinue reading “Don’t add to those rejections”

I don’t understand what “Early Action” means

Saturday night, I hosted an application workshop for some local seniors (including my son). It was incredibly inciteful to hear their questions and concerns. One question that came up a lot that, and in multiple follow up email since, is “what is Early Action” and “Should I apply Early Action?”. Early Action is called anContinue reading “I don’t understand what “Early Action” means”

Is hiring a college counselor worth the money?

Just about any task or project in life can be done yourself, but sometimes having an expert to walk you through the process is easier. Many people can watch a YouTube video on how to install a ceiling fan or change their motor oil and do so successfully. But others prefer to hire someone toContinue reading “Is hiring a college counselor worth the money?”

How to write a “Why this college” essay

August 1st is around the corner, which means you can start submitting the Common Application and other college applications. While many schools only require the personal statement from the Common Application, others have supplemental essays that are required. One of the most common additional essays is the “Why are you applying to this school?” question.Continue reading “How to write a “Why this college” essay”

Jobs That Help Pay For College

Working while in high school (and college) can teach a teen time management, customer service and communication skills as well as how to work as part of a team. It can also help them pay for expenses and save for college. There are many companies that off their teenage employees educational benefits. Between hourly part-timeContinue reading “Jobs That Help Pay For College”

What Activities are Colleges Looking for?

There was a time where colleges wanted to see a really active student, involved in lots of diverse clubs and activities. Now colleges are more interested in seeing you have an interest or passion that you are exploring more deeply verses superficial involvement in lots of different activities. While many students choose to do theirContinue reading “What Activities are Colleges Looking for?”

Are College Fairs Still Worth Attending?

Back before the days of the internet and before College Board and ACT would sell your information to colleges so they could send you (lots of) marketing materials, families had to attend college fairs. Many colleges would visit a high school gym, hotel ballroom or convention center–each with their own table. Families would go fromContinue reading “Are College Fairs Still Worth Attending?”

It’s hard to be the parent in the college process

At dinner with my brother recently, he (not so jokingly) said I must be a nightmare on college visits. Its definitely hard to remain neutral. I have strong opinions on what should be included by the college to help the student learn the most about the school. And because my recent visits are for myContinue reading “It’s hard to be the parent in the college process”

The Calculus Conundrum

Earlier this year, Insider Higher Education published an article entitled “Does calculus count for too much in College Admissions”. The answer was yes. There has been much research conducted lately showing most non-STEM and non-business majors don’t need calculus. Although research also shows taking four years of math better prepares you for college, especially collegeContinue reading “The Calculus Conundrum”

Should you visit colleges in the summer?

Finding time to visit colleges during the school year can be challenging. Students are busier than ever, and often don’t want to miss classes to visit a college. They worry they will fall behind. But is summer a good time to visit, since many college students go home for the summer? Yes, if summer isContinue reading “Should you visit colleges in the summer?”

College planning for kids/parents to reduce anxiety

Anxiety is on the rise, and the pandemic didn’t help. I’m a mom of teens in addition to being a full-time college administrator and part-time college counselor. I see anxiety and depression every day with the teens in my life. My own son is a junior. I’ve had to figure out how to structure hisContinue reading “College planning for kids/parents to reduce anxiety”

Paying for College-Scholarships

This time of year, I often get messages via social media from parents asking for tips on where their students can find scholarships. The majority of scholarships most students receive come from the colleges themselves. Scholarships are more of a marketing tool or an incentive to get students to enroll than actual financial aid. SomeContinue reading “Paying for College-Scholarships”

Paying for College–so many acronyms and terms

No one can use a TLW (three letter words) like a financial aid office at a college. They also work under many state and federal regulations, causing them to be very process oriented, and not always relational or warm (even though they are great, and often very caring, people). The Financial Aid Office can oftenContinue reading “Paying for College–so many acronyms and terms”