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?”

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)”

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?”

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”

Advice for New College Students as you Start Your First Year

You are probably feeling a mix of emotions right now from good excited to petrified. That is perfectly normal. You are about to start something new, and it will be hard. There will be times you think “I got this” and times you want to call a parent to come pick you up and dropContinue reading “Advice for New College Students as you Start Your First Year”

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”

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”

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”

Juniors Can Start Their Common Application (and some tips for making applications go more smoothly)

900 plus colleges in the United States use the Common Application, or common app, as their application for admission. Instead of having to complete multiple applications with the same information, the Common App simplifies the process. The Common Application serves as a sort of application portal. Students input data like contact information, high school coursework,Continue reading “Juniors Can Start Their Common Application (and some tips for making applications go more smoothly)”

Its important to tell colleges you are not attending

Its the time of year where seniors are receiving their admission decisions and financial aid packages. Seniors are also ruling out schools they no longer wish to attend. Its important to tell schools no so they can better plan for their first year class. Most schools now use a portal as part of the admissionContinue reading “Its important to tell colleges you are not attending”

What are supplemental essays and how should students prepare?

Supplemental essays can really make or break an application-and most students don’t take them seriously enough. These are essay questions or short answer questions specific to each college. Some colleges have none, some have multiple, and some require you to submit additional essays for their scholarships or honors programs. They require research and are timeContinue reading “What are supplemental essays and how should students prepare?”

Transferring 101

Students consider transferring colleges for many reasons. Some don’t enjoy their first college. Others did not get admitted to their first choice, and plan to transfer once they strengthen their academic record. Some change majors and their school is no longer the right fit. Some didn’t do the research in the first place, and endedContinue reading “Transferring 101”

Here are some tips to make applying to college easier (because we are exhausted from Nov 1 deadlines)

Start early, start early, start early. If I had to offer advice on the admissions process it would be to start earlier than you think. Sophomore and juniors really should be starting now. Seniors should have applications well under way. Here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly no matter whereContinue reading “Here are some tips to make applying to college easier (because we are exhausted from Nov 1 deadlines)”

Parents-finding a college is similar to buying a house

When you are planning to buy a house you spend time online searching for homes. You partner with an expert—a realtor—to help you navigate the process. You look at many different houses to decide what options you really need and what you can live without. You get your finances in order and fill out mountainsContinue reading “Parents-finding a college is similar to buying a house”

Test-optional admissions has made your essay more important.

I recently read a comment on a group for counselors that really resonated with me. The respondent said applicants are not one dimensional and compared a painting to a sculpture. College applications are a chance to show you are three dimensional. Academic performance shows one side of you. Activities show other interests. But the essayContinue reading “Test-optional admissions has made your essay more important.”

How do you determine if you might be admissible to a college?

Terms like “reach school” and “safety school” often get tossed around during the college planning process. How does a student identify whether or not they may be admissible to a particular college? Here are a few resources and tips to figure out what might be your target schools. The best place to learn about aContinue reading “How do you determine if you might be admissible to a college?”

Juniors-time to get started

Junior year is the perfect time to start the college admission process. Researching schools, attending virtual and in-person visits, and understanding admission requirements will make life much easier for you senior year. Here is a list of what you should be doing and when to help you prepare for the college admission process. Fall ofContinue reading “Juniors-time to get started”