Impacting the World Around You

New research shows that 47 percent of high school seniors graduated last year with an “A” average — up from about 39 percent in 1998. But average SAT scores fell 24 points in that same period.

The authors of the study — Michael Hurwitz of The College Board and Jason Lee of the University of Georgia — said the trend signals grade inflation over the past two decades. With signs of grade inflation, students are more often earning the same exact GPA, making the job of college admissions officers more complicated. “The variation in GPAs have actually decreased by 10 percent”. So, what can you do?

College admissions officers are talking more and more about how applicants impact their communities. With the start of a new admissions cycle looming, now’s an appropriate time to start thinking about how you impact the world around you. Whether it’s through what you say or your actions, you have an impact on others’ lives – both positively and negatively. Whether it’s through community service, or being in a leadership position, you can make meaningful contributions to your community.

When reviewing applications, colleges are ultimately putting together a class. They want to fill that class with individuals who can contribute positively to the campus’s community and have a meaningful impact. When new students are living and learning together, they’re constantly interacting and are having an impact on one another’s learning environment. That’s why colleges spend so much time thinking about the impact you’ll have on campus culture and community. They want every impact you make on campus – whether it’s in the classroom, dorms, or even in the cafeteria – to be a positive one!

So, with the new school year, start thinking about how you can make a positive impact in your community. You can start small. Look for others who need help in the classroom. Can you offer assistance? Soon you’ll see that you can easily identify whether or not others need help, and before it’s asked of you.

How can you make a positive impact in an extracurricular setting? Is there a way you can invest yourself in student government, athletics or clubs? You can also think about your immediate community – your family? Are there ways to help out by doing volunteer work in your community? Try finding an afterschool program or community organization to help. Colleges want to see this so highlighting meaningful examples in your activities list and essays enhance your application. There are plenty of ways you can have an impact so strive to make a difference!

Your Checklist for Senior Year

Staying on top of the college process is key to your success. Here is a month by month listing of what you need to do. Please stay current and communicate with me.

AUGUST

❑ Start to fill out your Common App, Coalition App, or Specific College Apps. Make sure that I see your essays before they are added.

❑ Put your college list into Editate so you know what supplemental essays are required by colleges.

❑ Continue working on your activties list and essays.

❑ Can you include an arts/athletic supplement or resume with your application? Work on this.

❑ Finish summer assignments.

❑ If you haven’t done so already, choose which teachers you will ask to write recommendations.

❑ Look at the fall calendar — plan final campus visits/interviews.

❑ Prepare to retake the SAT or ACT if needed.

❑ Take a look at your social media and clean it up!

SEPTEMBER

❑ Check Naviance and sign up for college visits at your school.

❑ Decide if you will apply Early Decision or Early Action to your top choice school;

❑ Tell your counselor and recommenders when you need letters written by. They need at least three weeks’ notice.

❑ Request interviews at colleges that you are interested in, where available.

OCTOBER

❑ Attend local college fairs and college visits at your high school. Connect with the people who will be reading your application.

❑ Check Naviance to follow up with recommenders to make sure that they have written their letters.

❑ Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile if you qualify to receive financial aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is now available as is the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (required by many private schools and a few flagship state universities).

❑ ED and EA candidates prepare to submit applications by the deadline, Nov. 1st or 15th!

❑ Take advantage of priority deadlines — get your application considered sooner and increase eligibility for merit aid.

❑ Use my tracking form to stay on top of what’s due when. Plan to submit applications before the due dates, preferably before winter vacation!

❑ Confirm that counselor and teacher recommendation letters have been uploaded into the Common Application and request transcripts be sent to the schools you’re applying to (there may be a small fee for each transcript).

❑ Decide which test scores (SAT, ACT) to send and order score reports.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

NOVEMBER

❑ Continue to “demonstrate interest” in schools — open emails from colleges, call the admission office to request an alumni interview, etc.

❑ Make sure all essays are approved by me before they are sent to colleges.

❑ Finalize your college list and finish all essays.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

DECEMBER

❑ Note financial aid application deadlines, which may differ from admission application deadlines.

❑ Proof any remaining applications one final time and “submit”!

❑ Let me know about any acceptance you receive.

JANUARY

❑ Make sure mid-year grade reports are sent to all schools you’ve applied to.

FEBRUARY

❑ Beware of Senioritis…stay on track academically!

❑ Begin planning for summer (work, travel, volunteering, etc.).

MARCH

❑ Decisions arrive in the mail and/or online by the end of the month, so get ready to handle and share “the news.”

❑ Celebrate!

APRIL

❑ Attend “admitted student” events on campus and compare/contrast other aspects of the schools where you were accepted (including financial aid awards).

❑ If you were wait listed, express interest to the school.

❑ Send a deposit by May 1st to accept a spot at the college of your choice!

❑ Continue to do your work in class so grades don’t “droop” too much.

❑ Start planning the graduation party!

MAY

❑ Thank teachers, counselors, and coaches who helped you apply to college.

❑ Open and respond promptly to communications from the college — information about housing, orientation, course registration, etc.

❑ Study for finals and AP exams — end the year strong.

❑ Solidify summer plans (work? travel? study? volunteer?).

❑ Connect with future classmates (and perhaps find a roommate) through the college’s official social media sites.

❑ Enjoy time with your friends and family and bask in the glow of your accomplishments at graduation!

ACT & SAT Test Dates and Registration

College consultants are seeing the more popular colleges’ test scores rising each year. This means that the test score that would have gotten you in the previous year may not be enough next year. Also the new SAT test scores are higher than the old SAT scores (inflation).

Please take whichever test you are better at twice during this school year. This will give us a good indication of which colleges sould be on your list. If you are not satisfied with the scores you will be able to retake the test in the fall before early decision and early action dates.

Below are the dates and links to register early so that you can go to the testing center of your choice.

ACT DATES 2017 – 2018

 Register at www.ACT.org 

$58.50/$42.50 without Writing* Late registration is an added $27.50**

2017-2018 Test Dates (National)
Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 5-18, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017 September 23-October 6, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 4-17, 2017
February 10, 2018* January 12, 2018 January 13-19, 2018
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018 March 10-23, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 5-18, 2018
July 14, 2018* June 15, 2018 June 16-22, 2018

SAT /SUBJECT TEST DATES 2016-2017

Register at this link CollegeBoard

SAT $45.00—with essay $57.00*

Subject Tests $26.00 basic fee + $26 each Listening test + $20 each other test**

Late registration is an added $28***

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 (U.S.)

Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration* Online Score Release
August 26, 2017 July 28, 2017 August 15, 2017 September 14, 2017
October 7, 2017 September 8, 2017 September 22, 2017 October 27, 2017
November 4, 2017 October 6, 2017 October 20, 2017 November 23, 2017
December 2, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 17, 2017 December 21, 2017
March 10, 2018** February 9, 2018 February 23, 2018 March 29, 2018
May 5, 2018 April 6, 2018 April 20, 2018 May 24, 2018
June 2, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 18, 2018 June 21, 2018

*The late registration deadline is one week earlier if you are registering by mail.

            Not all Subject Tests are offered on a given date!  For example, Languages with Listening are offered only in November.  Please be sure to check with the College Board as to what Subject Tests are offered on which dates.

Essential Skills Parents Should Teach Their College-Bound Kids

When students go off to college, near or far, they venture into a whole new world of challenges and questions. Most are fortunate to have cell phones with Skype or FaceTime that will bridge the gap between panic and the calm instructions and guidance from mom, dad, or a trusted adult.

This is a list of activities and experiences one may want to review before the kiddo flies from the nest. But that may be daunting. Sometimes they will have to learn by trial and error. Most of the items listed apply to all students; some will not be experienced until they live off campus on their own. The list is broken into six sections so it can be tackled in smaller bites.

Financial Matters:

  1. Write a check
  2. Cash a check
  3. Know your debit card balance
  4. Know how to transfer funds (via phone app is even better!)
  5. Pay a bill (check or online)
  6. Advise debit/credit card companies of card use when travelling
  7. Withdraw cash from an ATM
  8. Pay rent & utilities (split with roommates)
  9. Use campus “points” with meal plans
  10. Calculate a tip
  11. Pay for dinner
  12. Cancel a membership
  13. Figure out the cost of postage and shipping

Travel Matters:

  1. Make travel arrangements – air, bus, train
  2. Navigate an airport, train or bus station
  3. Deal with a cancelled flight
  4. Take a taxi
  5. Pack a suitcase
  6. Follow TSA rules
  7. Catch the local train/subway
  8. Check tire pressure
  9. Change a tire
  10. Check the oil

Wellness Matters:

  1. Make an appointment (hair, dentist, doctor)
  2. Self-prescribe over-the-counter meds
  3. Know basic first aid
  4. Locate the campus health center
  5. Know when to call a doctor or go to a doc-in-the-box
  6. Carry a medical insurance card and know when to use it

Meals and Laundry Matters:

  1. DSC_1771Cook a meal
  2. Go food shopping
  3. Load a dishwasher
  4. Put out a kitchen fire
  5. Buy clothes
  6. Return a purchase
  7. Do the laundry
  8. Remove a stain
  9. Iron a shirt
  10. Sew a button
  11. Importance of good nutrition and vitamins
  12. How to store leftovers
  13. When to toss old food

Household Matters:

  1. Hook up cable
  2. Change a name on utility bills
  3. Unclog a toilet/sink
  4. Check the smoke alarm/CO2 alarm
  5. Renew car license plates & insurance
  6. How to vote absentee

And last, but not least, most important matters:

  1. Negotiate a deal
  2. Write (not email) a thank you note
  3. Enjoy a drink responsibly
  4. Say “no” with confidence


BONUS:
When hurting and in doubt, call home

I’m sure there are many more you could add to the list. Perhaps many of these items have already been mastered before high school graduation. The notion that we send our kids into the next exciting chapter of their life fully equipped is not realistic. So maybe the list will help get us that much closer.

There are some life lessons that we cannot predict nor protect them from: broken hearts, failing a test, making friends, losing friends, or saying they are sorry. Those life lessons will come from the rest of their encounters outside the nest.

11th Grade College Planning Timeline

Eleventh grade is very important in the college planning process, with standardized testing, defining your college list, connecting with teachers for strong letter of recommendation, and keeping your grades high. We need to meet before the end of the summer to make plans for this key year.

This Summer – break out the sunscreen, but also focus on your future

Make this time productive
Students should be participating in constructive activities during the summer, colleges care. Summer study, jobs, and volunteer work always rate high with admission officials. If your child has a career goal in mind, see if you can help arrange a day where he or she can “shadow” someone who works in that field.

Do some early research
Look at these articles Finding a College that you Love and Researching a College to see what is important. Then use Scoir to look at colleges that might be of interest. The website provides good college entrance information, as well as information about what schools offer. Summer is a great time for you to check out some of the websites and pick colleges that you are interested in exploring. Reach out to the admissions office and ask them to send you information. Most colleges track all contact that you have with them to determine how interested you are in the school.

Visit some colleges
Although summer is not the ideal time to see a campus, it is still useful to learn about what colleges offer and to have a broader frame of reference. If your vacation plans take you near colleges of interest, build a tour into your agenda. See my article Visiting Colleges.

This Fall – This year the college search process really gets going.

Focus on getting the best grades that you can, and getting help where needed
Monitor your grades throughout the year and find ways to keep them high. Talk to teaches when you don’t understand a concept, and ask for extra work at the end of a semester when you grade is a on the edge of a higher one. Showing an interest and communicating with your teacher can make a difference in your grade.

Organize your college information
Set up a filing system on your computer or use file folders for each college’s correspondence and printed materials. This will make it easier to locate the specific information you’re looking for.

Take practice SAT & ACT to determine your best test
We will compare your scores on the SAT & ACT practice test to determine which test is the best for you.

Try to find time to visit colleges on your days off
Seeing colleges in session is more useful than during the summer. It gives you a chance to see the students and the vibe of the campus. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them. Take a tour and attend the information session. You may also be able to talk to students or sit in on a class which interests you.

Research colleges
Continue to add schools which you learn about and may be of interest. Use Scoir to help define your college list to include schools that meet your most important criteria (academic majors, size, location, cost, or activities). Build a list of about 10 colleges which really excite you.

Be an active participant
Go to college fairs at your school or other venues, speak with college representatives who visit your high school, like colleges’ Facebook pages after you have enhanced yours, see Colleges Look at your Social Media. Be open-minded as many students change their criteria significantly during this process.

Be prepared by practicing
We will determine which tests you will take (ACT, SAT, SAT subjects tests) and the dates for them, please register for them and mark those dates on your calendar. You will need to prepare by taking practice tests and getting comfortable with the material.

 

This Winter – Stay involved, organize college lists, and prepare for standardized tests

Make a difference with your extracurricular activities
Colleges look for consistency and depth in the activities you pursue. Taking on leadership roles or starting a new venture and making a commitment is significantly more important than just being a member of an activity. I will be sending out an article on this shortly.

Discuss colleges with family and friends
Have discussions about the colleges you’re interested in and learn more about them. Talk to students about what college life is like, especially if they attend a school you’re interested in. Although it’s important to hear what the admissions staff has to say about a school, it’s also important to get the students’ perspective. Your family and friends can learn about what you want to pursue and you can hear any concerns or suggestions they might have. Also feel free to e-mail me with any questions or information that you need.

Use your summer wisely, plan ahead

Summer employment and internships in fields you’re interested in is ideal and powerful on a college application or resume, but there are many other options, Summer Activities that Give you and Edge, and Summer Activities part 2. Be involved in something that interests you. One needs to start looking into this in the winter as some programs and opportunities have early deadlines.

Next Spring – Take the standardized test at least twice and keep your grades high
Continue to prepare for standardized tests.
Practice makes testing easier, less stressful, and you more successful. Take either the SAT or the ACT at least twice in junior year. If you need SAT subject tests schedule them for June. Know that you can take the ACT or SAT again in the fall of your senior year if you’re unhappy with your scores.

Pick classes for senior year.
Touch base with me before you pick your classes, don’t load up on easy electives. Colleges do review your senior year courses and grades, so challenge yourself and take classes that are in your areas of interest. See this article for more information, How Many AP’s to Take.

Some high schools want you to ask teachers for letters of recommendation before the summer
Teachers and guidance counselors are often asked to write recommendations for lots of students. Consider whom you want to ask now and let them know so they’ll have time to prepare before the fall. Ask teachers who know you well and who will have positive things to say. Please read this article to get the best letter possible, How to get a Great Recommendation.  If you have a coach, activity leader, or a boss who knows you well outside of school and can speak to your accomplishments and character that is also valuable.

Plan campus visits during Spring break

You should plan ahead and sign up for the tours when visiting colleges. Spring break can be a very busy time for colleges, so make sure there is room. You can sign up on-line or call the admissions office. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them.

 

Freshman Success Strategies

College is a major life transition. While it’s nice not to have anyone reminding you when to go to bed, eat, or study, the tradeoff is that you are totally responsible for yourself. You will need to handle problems with roommates, administration, and professors. The good news is that you will gain confidence and expertise in your ability to advocate for yourself and manage your life.

Be confident in your abilities! You will meet a lot of smart, accomplished students and you may feel intimidated. Remember that admissions officers don’t admit students who can’t do the work. In fact, they have turned down thousands of well-qualified students so, if you’ve been admitted, you have what it takes. 

Give yourself a fun class in the first semester by signing up for at least one course that sounds interesting and pleasurable. If you aren’t sure about a major, take courses in a variety of subjects and try to choose classes based on the professor’s reputation (use www.ratemyprofessors.com/). A great teacher makes any subject fascinating. If a class you really want is full, talk to the professor. Faculty love enthusiastic students and you may very well convince them to let you in. 

 Give yourself time to adjust to college life. Enjoy making new friends as there will be many opportunities. In freshmen residence halls, the first few weeks are non-stop socializing. Students leave their doors open so go in and introduce yourself. Resident advisors will host parties to help for you socialize with your hallmates.

 You may not be best friends with your roommate, but chances are you’ll get along. Discuss what is important to each of you and see in you can set some ground rules. If something upsets you talk to your roommate so that issues don’t escalate. The next step is to talk to your RA and to see if they can help you work out your differences. If you can’t resolve the problems with your roommate ask the housing office to make a change.

Everyone goes through a period of frustration, so minimize the stress. Trivial things such as keeping your room clean, can impact your mood. Eat healthy food, get enough sleep, and exercise to help you stay mentally as well as physically healthy. Working out will get those endorphins going and relieve stress.

Creating a schedule that maps out time to study, have fun, and sleep is another way of taking care of yourself. You’ll probably have no more than 15 – 18 hours of class in a week. That leaves plenty of time and, if you treat college like a 9-5 job, you can get your studying done during the day and have evenings for fun activities.

It is very important to go to class. Sit up front and you’re less likely to doze off. After each class, read your notes and clarify anything you didn’t understand. Good notes are very helpful at exam time. If you’re struggling in a class, ask for help, that’s what professors and teaching assistants are there for. Professors have office hours, and most of them are delighted when students show an interest in their subject. Even if you don’t have a question about the class, stop by and introduce yourself. Knowing and being known by your professors will help you feel part of the community. Also use college resources as most schools have tutors and writing centers which are set up to help students transition to college work. When it comes to getting good grades, it’s much easier to keep up than to catch up. 

Studies show that students who participate in campus life are more successful and happier in college. Whether you love film, environmental issues, vegetarian cooking, hiking or improvisational comedy, you’ll find people who share your passion. Most colleges have activity fairs at the start of the school year at which you can learn about all the clubs on campus. Joining a club is a wonderful way to create a feeling of community, especially at a big university.

Most students get homesick at some point. With the stress of midterms and sleep deprivation it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The counseling center can be a great resource. They see many students who are having trouble adjusting to college and talking to someone can be very helpful.

College is a fresh start. Nobody knows if you were the most popular student in your high school or the class nerd. This is your chance to become the person you want to be. Sure, it can be scary, but the payoff is life changing!

How to Get a Great Letter of Recommendation

Based on a College Board Article

Colleges often ask for two or three recommendation letters from people who know you well. These letters should be written by someone who can describe your skills, accomplishments and personality.

Colleges value recommendations because they:

  • Reveal things about you that grades and test scores can’t
  • Provide personal opinions of your character
  • Show who is willing to speak on your behalf

Letters of recommendation work for you when they present you in the best possible light, showcasing your skills and abilities.

When to Ask for Recommendations

Make sure to give your references at least one month before your earliest deadline to complete and send your letters. The earlier you ask, the better. Many teachers like to write recommendations during the summer. If you apply under early decision or early action plans, you’ll definitely need to ask for recommendations by the start of your senior year or before.

Remember that some teachers will be writing whole stacks of letters, which takes time. Your teachers will do a better job on your letter if they don’t have to rush.

Whom to Ask

It’s your job to find two teachers and possibly another person who can write meaningful letters of recommendation for you, such as an employer, a coach or an adviser from an activity outside of school. Follow these steps to start the process:

  • Schools ask for letters of recommendation from an academic teacher — sometimes in a specific subject — and a school counselor. Pick two from your core classes, a STEM discipline and one from English or History.
  • Ask a me, teachers, and your family who they think would make good references.
  • Choose both of your teachers from junior year, or a current teacher who has known you for a while. Colleges want a current perspective on you, so a teacher from several years ago isn’t the best choice.
  • Consider asking a teacher who teaches a core subject and also knows you outside the classroom. For example, a teacher who directed you in a play or advised your debate club can make a great reference.
  • Consider other adults — such as an employer, a coach or an adviser from an activity outside of school — who have a good understanding of you and your strengths.
  • Perhaps most important, pick someone who writes well and will be enthusiastic about writing the letter for you.
  • If you’re unsure about asking someone in particular, politely ask if he or she feels comfortable recommending you. That’s a good way to avoid weak letters.

Your teachers will do a better job on your letter if they don’t have to rush.

How to Get the Best College Recommendations

Some teachers write many recommendation letters each year. Even if they know you well, it’s a good idea to give them supplemental information, which we will prepare, and you will send them this summer. We will make it easy for them to give positive, detailed information about your achievements and your potential by refreshing their memory.

This summer you will need to send them an e-mail:

  • Reminding them about your class participation.
  • Mentioning specific work or projects you’re proud of.
  • Telling them what you learned in class.
  • Mentioning any challenges you overcame.
  • Giving them the information they need to provide specific examples of your work.

I will also have you meet with your guidance counselor over the summer if possible. Later in the summer you will need to:

  • Make an appointment ahead of time.
  • Talk about your accomplishments, hobbies and plans for college and the future.
  • If you need to discuss part of your transcript — low grades during your sophomore year, for example — do so. Explain why you had difficulty and discuss how you’ve changed and improved since then.

We will also send teachers, and another reference, your resume that briefly outlines your activities, both in and outside the classroom, and your goals.

Final Tips for College Recommendations

The following advice is easy to follow and can really pay off:

  • Waive your right to view recommendation letters on your application forms. Admission officers will trust them more if you haven’t seen them.
  • If your school does not use Naviance, give your references addressed and stamped envelopes for each college that requested a recommendation. If they do then it will all be done electronically.
  • Make sure your references know the deadlines for the early colleges that you apply to so they make the deadlines.
  • Follow up with your references a week or so before recommendations are due to make sure your letters have been entered into Naviance or sent.
  • Once you’ve decided which college to attend, write thank-you notes. Tell your references where you’re going and let them know how much you appreciate their support.

 

Why Getting Into Top Colleges Is So Difficult

Many parents have the opinion that attending a top-tier university establishes you for life, and they have started an intense competition of making sure their child gains admission to elite institutions. In some cases, this means keeping their students so busy the students accumulate five pages of extra-curricular activities, and the parents end up spending significant money and time on SAT and/or ACT tutoring. Further, the student’s essays must be stellar, thoughtful and personal – a challenge for teens. Teacher and counselor recommendations also need to highlight the student’s intellect and uniqueness, without making the student look elitist. It is a difficult balancing act and not many 17 year olds can meet these standards of excellence and maturity. So, parents are understandably shocked when their child has met many or all these qualifications and is still not accepted at a top-tier college.

Here is why we are seeing many highly talented students rejected from top tier universities:

10 – 25% of accepted students at elite institutions are minority (African American and Hispanic) students according to this Forbes article. This increases diversity of thought, experiences, and backgrounds. Many are also from low income backgrounds, which helps lift families out of poverty. It is a shift from past years when colleges did not actively recruit this group.

20% are athletes, N.Y. Times, Legacy and Athletes at Top Schools. Athletics seems to be a big draw for students and alumni donors, so recruiting these kids is a priority for many universities.

10 – 20% are international students, which helps broaden the horizons of our students, and creates a culture of diversity, US News, International Student populations. International students also typically pay full price to attend as they do not qualify for federal aid. It can help the school’s bottom line to admit international students.

Additionally, colleges have varying acceptance rates for legacies, children of big donors, students who possess a special talent or status, geographic diversity inside the U.S., first-generation applicants, females in STEM programs, etc.

That brings the total to 40-50% of spaces not being given to extremely strong but over-represented U.S. students. There is some overlap in the above categories, so the numbers are hard to quantify.

Additionally, many of these colleges are taking about 50% of their incoming class as Early Decision candidates. This makes the admissions process much easier for the college, but significantly more competitive for any student who is applying Regular Decision to these institutions. In some cases, it means that colleges are only accepting only 2 – 7% of the Regular Decision candidates. This has raised the stakes needed to qualify for the elite group of schools. High-performing groups such as Asian Americans, Indians, Caucasians, and females, are at a disadvantage due to overrepresentation. Therefore, even kids with almost perfect statistics may not gain admittance to Ivy League schools.  Many admissions counselors take only 3 to 5 minutes to read a whole application so it is difficult to stand out. It has also turned many children’s lives into ones where they do not have down time or the opportunity to relax and meaningrul self reflection.

The good news is that the qualities of the student determine their future, not the name of the university they attend.  Their ability to move past disappointment, find opportunities to match their interests, connect with professors, and find internships that are meaningful, will affect their success more than a college name.

According to a paper by Stacy Dale, a mathematician at Mathematica Policy Research, and Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton University, “who you are” as an 18 year old is more important than “where you go.” After correcting for a student’s pre-existing talent, ambition, and habits, it’s hard to show that highly selective colleges add much earning power, even with their vaunted professors, professional networks, and signaling.” The Atlantic, What is an Elite College Really Worth. This paper tracked participants in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s to see their earning differentials, and found none for whites.

Additionally, Malcolm Gladwell shows statistics that students in the STEM field are much more successful going to a college where they are in the top 25th percentile of their class. Students in the bottom 1/3 of their classes generally drop out of STEM fields and choose less-well-paying careers. Read his book David & Goliath.

Students can and do achieve success at institutions which fit their preferences, and where they are one of the top students. In that environment, they can find the best research opportunities, excel in classes, find great leadership positions, and enjoy the activities on campus. Success is about how we evolve in the environment in which we are put.

College Acceptances for Class of 2017

Every year getting into the most elite and well-known colleges becomes more challenging. Many colleges to which admission used to be a near guarantee are now very selective. To receive acceptances to recognized colleges and universities students need to focus on their grades, work toward high standardized-test scores, show dedication and uniqueness in their extracurricular activities, and receive meaningful teacher and counselor recommendations.  This year my students were accepted to these institutions:

Duke, Georgetown, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Honors Program, University of Virginia, Northeastern, American University – Honors Program, Georgia Tech, Boston University, Boston College, Davidson, Colgate, Hamilton, Penn State, Babson, Scripps, University of Marland – Honors Program, Purdue, Virginia Tech, University of Delaware, Clemson – Honors Program, Emerson, Gettysburg, Rhodes, Case Western Reserve, Villanova, University of Maryland, N.C. State, University of Georgia, University Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, Florida State, Colorado State, Temple University, James Madison University, University of Vermont, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, George Mason University, Goucher, Ohio University, Auburn University, High Point University, Providence College, Roger Williams University, Xavier University, St. Josephs, Bellarmine, University Alabama, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, Tennessee University, UMBC, Towson, York College, Frostburg, and Salisbury.

All of my students who applied Early Decision were accepted into their ED college or university.

Make decisions that allow you to enjoy most classes and be excited about your activities. This will help you reach your goals and lead you to academic excellence.  You do not need to have perfect grades, but know that your grades and the rigor of your curriculum are the most important elements in the evaluation process.

The grades juniors are earning right now are extremely important in the college admission process. Be aware that a student’s high school transcripts will only show six semesters of his or her grades through junior year. A student’s first-semester grades aren’t available to colleges until February of senior year, which is after Early Action and Early Decision notification dates. A student’s second-semester grades aren’t sent to the college until July, which is after the admissions deposit deadline of May 1.

Even a sophomore’s college transcript is two-thirds completed in June. Please get the best grades that you can, focus on the work and communicate with your teachers to see if extra credit is available.

This is from my article, What Your Guidance Counselor Won’t Tell You

Valedictorians are denied admission by elite institutions frequently.  According to 2009-2010 NCES data, there are more than 23,000 high schools in the U.S. and each one has a valedictorian. Further, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education, more than 35% of graduating seniors have an A average. There are a LOT of well-qualified applicants to Ivy League institutions and other elite colleges that don’t get in!  In-depth and unique extra-curricular involvement, excellent SAT/ACT scores, demonstrated leadership and awards for your talents may not be enough to secure a spot at a top-tier institution. These schools also look for passionate students who are already very accomplished in research, the arts, sports, academics, or philanthropic endeavors.

It’s almost always better to apply early. College admission offices want to put together their class as efficiently as possible. For some colleges, that means they’ll fill more than half of their freshman class with Early Action and Early Decision applicants. Read More…

Annapolis College Consulting Receives 2017 Best of Arnold Award

ARNOLD March 15, 2017 — Annapolis College Consulting has been selected for the 2017 Best of Arnold Award in the College Counseling category by the Arnold Award Program.

Each year, the Arnold Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Arnold area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Arnold Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Arnold Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Arnold Award Program

The Arnold Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Arnold area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.