Why Teacher Recommendations Matter Now More Than Ever

One of the most important parts of the college application, especially now that standardized test scores are not always required, is the recommendations that teachers write for their applicants. There are several different reasons why these recommendations are vital and can set an applicant apart from the pack.

Here are some key things you and your child need to know about teacher recommendations. 

Recommendations should come from core subjects: English, math, science, history, and foreign language. Why? Because these are classes that are usually part of a required curriculum in college.

11th Grade teachers tend to be the most popular teachers to ask for letters of recommendation, but that might...

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Your High School Guidance Counselor Needs To Do More (5 Questions to Ask)

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...

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Are resumes necessary for high school students?

The short answer is “yes.” Some schools always ask for it and expect it (Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis). Every year, colleges tell me that they want to see that kids are engaged. Studies have shown that children who take part in after-school programs can enjoy the benefit of an academic boost. In fact, such studies showed that students who took part in regular after-school programs performed better academically than their peers who did not attend after-school activities. 

Time management is key
Students who take part in extracurricular activities are taught how to effectively manage their time. This is an excellent way to teach time management and help students learn...

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Class of 2022 : How to Avoid "Senioritis"

Class of 2022!!!!!

Don’t do it…….
YES, I encourage all of my students to celebrate their acceptances and keep their eyes squarely focused on the goal: a college education. But there’s a problem going on that everyone needs to be aware of: slacking off from high school is recipe for disaster as well as a sign of immaturity.

The colleges that have accepted young adults, older teenagers, not kids who cannot discern right from wrong. Yes, mistakes can happen and adjustments can be made, but be the person and student who applied three or four or five months ago - the one “College X” accepted - follow these simple rules:

Put in the work. Every coach, tutor, teacher and...

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Summer Ideas for Teens

Volunteer. Yes, community service is still “in,”  but it’s now  called “civic engagement.” Regardless of the name, it’s the right thing to do, as long as it’s genuine. Being a giver is always en vogue, thus encouraging (forcing?) your kid to share his/her abilities and talents with others will be noticed on their application and offers a talking point for interviews and essays.


Earn a (summer) living. Work is for the worthy. Students need to know what it means to be somewhere everyday and report to someone. Showing commitment and responsibility is a sign of growth and maturation. As your child enters young adulthood, these are crucial...

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College Admissions Advice: What you can do now to help your child later


Figuring Out Freshman Year

Here are some tips. Please share with your kids!

  • Start to document activities, academic and extracurricular accomplishments, summer and work experiences.

  • Focus on time management skills: When will you do homework? How much time does it take you to complete homework thoroughly? What are you doing with your free time?

  • Discuss summer opportunities (e.g., a job or a summer course) with your school counselor and parents and research them on your own.

Strategies for Sophomore Year

Has your child taken the PSAT yet? Pre-ACT? Does your school offer either one or both?


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March Madness Can Make Colleges More Rejective

I am almost certain that after winning the NCAA men's football championship last year, the University of Georgia will have its largest applicant pool ever. Many schools reap the benefits of more applicants when their men's sports teams do well. Within our company we have seen a spike in applications to Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, UVA and Northwestern. Why? Because, as one student told me, “that’s where the smart jocks go.”


Beware of Rejective Colleges 

Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Duke, Brown, Northwestern, Vanderbilt……

These names are the most familiar in our culture about being the best and for many of us, the places where we want our kids to go. 


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Choose Your Courses Carefully In High School

Anyone in the college admissions profession will tell you that a student’s transcript is the most important piece of the college application. It aims to be a four-year reflection of how a student has achieved in the classroom. Student achievement is most related to the courses they take and how the information is shared and digested. If a student is not processing the material well, then either the teacher is not presenting it in a way that correlates with their learning style or it may be above what they have been prepared to handle. 

Choosing challenging and appropriate high school classes is the backbone of a strong transcript. Understanding innate strengths and weaknesses help students...

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College Interview Preparation For High School Seniors

The key to a college interview is preparation. It's always important for your child to show their best self, and to ask questions, and share thoughts or concerns about the school or overall college process. 

To Do’s (tell your kids this!)

  • Ask questions (see below)

  • Make and maintain eye-contact

  • Listen attentively

  • Show enthusiasm

  • Be honest

  • Be specific and offer concise responses



  1. What is the average class-size (especially in my field of study?)  And how does it change from freshman to upper-class years?

  2. What are the internship opportunities?

  3. What happens here on weekends?

  4. How about current campus issues?

  5. ...

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It’s Never Too Early To Start

If your child wants to be a candidate at selective colleges in a few years, here are some important things to do:

Select challenging courses. It is imperative that students take courses that will appropriately “stretch” them. Getting good grades is paramount, but if your child takes easier courses than they can probably handle, colleges will know and not be impressed. 

Encourage them to get involved with a variety of activities

Do not allow your child to become a “two-stop” (home and school) kind of kid. Colleges want students who will contribute to their college communities. The best way to show that is for them to contribute to their high school community. ...

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