It’s that time of year again, when high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors select their courses for the next academic year. Many students and parents agonize over these choices. In general, the more selective the college a student aims for, the more rigorous the courseload ought to be; however, a full complement of honors and/or AP courses simply isn’t realistic or sustainable for every student. Continue reading
We’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find an educational consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce Lisa Albro, who works with students both remotely and in our Short Hills, NJ office.
Where are you from?
Lisa: Fort Lee, NJ – home of the George Washington Bridge and the gateway to New York City.
Where did you go to school?
Lisa: Goucher College in Towson, Maryland (a northern suburb of Baltimore) for both undergrad and grad school, but with a 12-year gap between finishing undergrad and starting grad school. Continue reading
Whenever I meet with new students, the first question I ask is why they want to go to college. Responses tend to lean heavily toward the importance of earning an education and getting a degree. But what does that really mean? And how should students go about determining the breadth, depth, and quality of the academics at an institution of higher learning?
When deciding where to apply and then choosing from multiple offers of admission, there is huge value in assessing an institution’s academic offerings. College visits, conversations with faculty and students, and research on a college’s website are avenues through which prospective students and their parents can determine the best academic fit.
First, you should begin to read up on the academic offerings. Start with the major: Continue reading
“Charlie” called me yesterday in a panic. With college application deadlines rapidly approaching, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of work he still had to do on essays and the applications themselves. When we had met two months earlier to discuss his college list, those deadlines seemed so far away, giving Charlie the sense that he had all the time in the world; after all, how hard could it be to fill out information about himself and write a few essays?
“I know you told me to get drafts of my essays to you right after we met, but I just didn’t take it that seriously in the summertime,” he said sheepishly. Now, with a heavy school schedule and a fall sport, Charlie is pressed to make time for his applications. Together, we fleshed out a college application timeline for him to follow, leading up to his earliest deadline of November 1st. Continue reading
The Common Application (“Common App,” for short) offers an easy way for students to apply to multiple institutions using one main application. But just how “easy” is it, really? Because I have worked with the Common App for over 15 years, I decided to ask two of my students, Sam and Megan, for their navigational “first impressions.”
Sam: First things first. Just go to the Common App and in the middle of the page, right under the Username and Password Login, click on the “Go Here” link right next to “Never Registered?” You have to fill out your basic information (name, birthdate, year of graduation, etc.) and set up a username and password. [This is a document that will eventually be seen by admissions professionals, so everything needs to be correct!] Continue reading
Looking at college marketing materials and websites, you may get the impression that every college campus in the country has an abundance of gleaming state-of-the-art buildings, classrooms full of students engaged in active discussion or incredible lab experiments, and a population of culturally diverse, perpetually happy individuals. While some or all of these things may be true of many campuses, you can be sure that these images are carefully chosen to entice you. Some are even staged. So how can you discern what is real and what is a mirage? Visit the campus and see for yourself!
It’s that easy: go to the admissions page of a college’s website and find out the days and times of campus tours and information sessions. Continue reading
When the junior year winds down, it’s hard to focus on anything outside standardized testing, but students should be aware that the last month or two of school is also the perfect time to approach teachers for a letter of recommendation. This soon? Yes — this soon. Because “this” really isn’t all that “soon.” Starting the college admissions process early is key to keeping everyone’s stress levels down. After all, college application deadlines start as early as next fall — they’ll be upon you before you know it!
Teachers are busy people who like to plan ahead. If they know as early as May or June for whom they will be writing a letter of recommendation, they can factor into their schedules ample time to think about and write their letters. You don’t really want your teacher rushing through your letter of recommendation, do you? Continue reading
Over the last week I enjoyed four conversations with four different college bound students about their summer plans:
- The first student, whom we’ll call “Charlie,” is a junior and avid soccer player who will play a portion of the summer with his traveling soccer league and will then take a two-week course on a college campus to learn more about engineering. He’ll also travel to Europe with his school’s soccer team to compete in tournaments.
- The second student, we’ll call her “Sara,” is a sophomore who studies three languages outside of school during the academic year. She will work at the Girl Scout camp she has attended since the seventh grade.
- “Jaimie,” our third student, hopes to attend a six-week summer study in architecture at a university with a renowned architecture program in order to determine if she would like to indicate architecture as a major on her college applications this fall.
- And finally, “Steven,” the fourth student, will shadow a veterinarian in the mornings and volunteer at a local shelter in the afternoons when he’s not traveling around the country with his family visiting colleges.
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