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”

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”

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”

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”

Paying for College-Figuring Out What Colleges You Can Afford

College has gotten expensive. We are going to launch a multi-part blog series helping you understand what you can afford as well as how to navigate the financial process and all the terms and acronyms. The first thing to know is very few people pay the actual sticker price published on the college’s website underContinue reading “Paying for College-Figuring Out What Colleges You Can Afford”

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)”

10 tips to keeping the peace and your sanity during the admissions process.

I have worked with some amazing students the last few years. But the stress of selective admissions, standarized tests, COVID, and transitioning from high school to college on top of all the normal teenage hormones and angst can be too much for both parents and students. There are behaviors during the admissions process that makesContinue reading “10 tips to keeping the peace and your sanity during the admissions process.”

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?”

Yes, colleges are emailing you. That doesn’t necessarily mean they want you.

If you have taken a PSAT, SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement course, you are probably getting inundated with brochures, letters, and emails from colleges. They often say that they think you are a good fit for their school and encourage you to visit, learn more or apply. Take these messages with a grain of salt.Continue reading “Yes, colleges are emailing you. That doesn’t necessarily mean they want you.”

How will your AP and Dual Credit transfer?

Over the last thirty years, there has been a big push for students to take Advanced Placement and dual credit classes for a variety of reasons. Some high schools encouraged students to take a rigorous curriculum because highly selective colleges preferred them. Other schools saw dual credit and AP as a way for their studentsContinue reading “How will your AP and Dual Credit transfer?”