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College Visiting for Juniors

Today I'm talking to juniors, the class of 2021. Believe it or not, you're going to be applying to college in 12 short months. Right now, you need to consider visiting colleges and learning more about them. Whether it's Columbus Day or Veterans Day, several three-day weekends are coming up this fall that you can take advantage of. They're expecting you to attend their open houses, so please go to the websites of the schools that you're interested in and see when they have prospective students' days, particularly for juniors they are called Open Houses.

I would start with something local to you. There's no need to get on a plane or a train right now. Check out something that you can see within driving...

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What To Do When An Admissions Officer Visits Your School

Now that school is in full swing (right?!!!) your school's college counseling office should share with you the colleges that will be visiting and when. Colleges tour high schools all over the country to either introduce or reintroduce their school to prospective students. 

For the college admissions officer,  this is a time to get to know the high school students since they will be reading these particular applications. As a student, this is an opportunity to become more familiar with the college to which you're considering or applying while getting some "facetime" with the person who most likely will be reading your application.

Here's what you should do.

Review the college visit calendar...

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The Coalition for College Access

Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success

A new player entered the college application game three years ago and still may be presenting more problems than solutions.  While the jury is still out on the impact it will actually have on college admissions, I thought I would at least share what I know.

The Coalition (LINK: http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/) is a scaffold of sorts to aid parents and students in the college admission process. It provides you with a free platform of online tools, which aim to streamline the college application experience. As the name itself suggests, the Coalition is an initiative for making college applications easy, affordable and accessible to all...

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The Most Important Thing I've Learned in Over 20 Years in the College Admissions Profession

I've been in college admissions as an admissions officer, I've worked on the high school side, I've been an independent consultant, and I own an educational consulting company. So what have I learned that I think is always pervasive and always important, for college admissions?

There's a school for everyone. I know that sounds cheesy, but there is a school for everyone, really. You do not have to go to one of the top 15 schools. You don't have to go to something that's ranked in US News & World Report. There are so many schools for you to choose from, that I believe after 20 years in this business, that everyone lands on their feet, somewhere. They may transfer in later, but they always find the...

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Reaches, Targets and Safeties

Juniors, we're now in July. At this point, you should have a good handle on the reach schools you're applying to, the target schools you're applying to, and the safety schools you're applying to. You have your transcript from the end of your junior year. You have your standardized testing. Maybe you’re taking it again, but regardless, you should know the range of schools you're applying to.

I want you to think about this very judiciously. You should apply to fewer reaches, a glut of targets, and a couple of safeties. Applying to tons of reach schools with the attitude, "You know what? I have nothing to lose, everything to gain in throwing 15-20 snowballs on the wall to see what sticks" doesn't...

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Planning for the Future

I see too many students thinking that planning for the future doesn’t really matter. That’s just not going to fly. 

Students, I'm not telling you that you need to decide what you want to be when you grow up or what specific career you're going to have 20 years from now, but you must constantly think about your academic profile and what general direction you would like it to move in. I am simply asking you to think about what your academic profile currently looks like and where you want it to be next year, the year after that, and the year after that. Whether it's 12 months, 24, or 36 months, you must consider next educational step that you're taking.

I understand that it may seem...

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Are You Ready for A College Interview?

Since we're on the heels of college essay writing and application season, that also means that college interviews should be on your mind, any school that offers an opportunity for students to interview, a school that cares about its community. Interviews are a great way for colleges to get a true sense of a person. Being willing to share who you are and being well-prepared for an interview can give you a competitive edge in the college admissions process.

The key to a college interview is preparation. There are three types of interviews. There's the on-campus interview, one via video conferencing like Zoom, or one with an alumnus in your local area. It's always important to show your best self, and...

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The Role of The School Counselor

Whatever you call the school counselor at your child’s high school -- guidance counselor, college counselor, etc -- please know that they are an integral part of the college application process. A few elements of their job are:

  • to offer college advice to you and your child
  • weigh in on the selection of courses for each year
  • write a school counselor recommendation on behalf of your child
  • send the transcript
  • communicate with colleges about your child’s application and interest

Some school counselors do this better than others, and usually it depends on their caseload of students.

As a parent, you should attend any college preparation presentations that your school offers. You should also...

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Jobs Colleges Like to See On an Application

When it comes to figuring out what kinds of extracurricular activities colleges like to see high school students doing the debate can go on forever. Should my son or daughter do more community service? Should they play sports for all four years to show consistency? Should they join the science or business club?

Each student should do something extracurricular they genuinely enjoy. They need to be invested, curious and contributing. However, there is one thing all colleges like to see applicants doing, and that is working. Yes, obtaining a good old-fashioned job is a great thing for your child to do in high school. Whether it is part-time during the school year, or during the summer, working shows...

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Advice for Parents of Junior High School Student

 

Many eighth graders will be ending middle school soon and they're going to be going off to high school in the fall and want to make sure that you are equipped with the information that you need to be successful.

First and foremost, parents, please talk to your kids about college. The reality is that they're going to be applying to college in four years. And no one wants to be blindsided by how quickly it kind of came up. Talk to them about college, what the expectations may be of high school, and help them understand that they're laying the groundwork to have a successful college admissions process.

In addition, talk to them about possible majors, possible career interests. No one has to know what...

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