Social Media Vacation

We’re stepping away from the blog and Instagram for a while to focus on what matters to us the most: our students!

We take summer seriously. Although we always leave a little room for fun, we spend most of it focused on helping students prepare their apps so when school starts back up at the end of summer/early fall, the bulk of their app work is complete.

Time to get to work!

 

 

July Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Rising Seniors:

Beyond exploring your academic and or extracurricular interests, this summer should be all about completing your application materials.

-There is no better time than now to complete a draft of your Common App base data (Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities). Same goes for the Coalition App. Base data rolls over year after year, so go for it! Check out the Common App tutorials on my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/user63646947. Focus on the content and not my awkwardness on camera 🙂

-Continue to prepare for July, August, and September standardized tests.

-If you are finished with testing, it is time to finalize your college list. It’s incredibly important to decide on an application strategy and work on your ED and or EA essays this summer.

-If you need to visit colleges this summer or fall, you should also determine those visits now, as well as how you will continue to connect with your top choice schools to demonstrate interest. It is no longer enough to just submit your app and wait for a decision!

-Do any of the colleges on your list recommend or require interviews? Do you need to schedule them or will schools reach out to you after you apply? Please check the interview requirements for all of the schools on your list. You need to schedule interviews at many schools, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to interview.  Please consider optional interviews not optional.

Rising Juniors

This summer, focus on exploring your academic and or extracurricular interests. If you spent time reflecting on your interests in grades 9 and 10, and have a clear idea what your apps will emphasize, you should have something planned for this summer that is in line with those interests and that focus. If you’ve attended pre-college programs in the past (those that are a mix of light academics + fun stuff like Summer Discovery or a “teen tour”), try something else this summer like an internship or a college level class. There’s nothing wrong with these programs after 9th and 10th grade, but they are typically more fun than anything else. Same goes for international “service” trips via programs like Rustic Pathways. If you must go on one of those trips, make sure to add something else to the mix that summer that is more academic. Paying jobs are also nice to see on applications, and more importantly, a learning experience to have before college.

Another big ticket item is starting to prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, Subject Tests). Take an ACT and SAT diagnostic and meet with a tutor to determine which test might be best for you, and then put a formal plan and timeline in place for preparing for that test. You’ll likely take it more than one time.

Rising Sophomores and Freshmen

Your summers are for exploring! You could attend a pre-college program on a college campus, get a job, and of course, volunteer. The key is to do something, or preferably, a few things! Get out there and get some experience; make sure to write it all down and start your resume at this time.

Want customized guidance on summer planning? Contact us!

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

High School Students: Use Your Summers Wisely

Rising Seniors

Hopefully, you’ve got something interesting planned that is helping you explore your academic and or extracurricular interests, and that will help you put the finishing touches on your college apps. If not, there is still time to put something in place. It might be too late for a formal summer program, college course, linking up with a local faculty member to engage in research or work in their lab, but it is not too late to get a job and design an independent mini-project or community engagement activity. If you’ve planned ahead and do have a formal program in place, hopefully, it is one that is considered selective and not a pay-to-play program. Those should be saved for earlier in high school where it is okay to be in the exploratory phase; these programs are appropriate for students in that phase/age group, not upperclassmen who are looking at selective schools.

You will also want to plan to spend time on your application materials, so don’t feel like you need to fill your summer with a laundry list of activities for college app (that approach is not always best anyway). It is best to do one or two things that are well-thought out and meaningful, and leave time for app work and some fun. But really, don’t procrastinate on the app work. Start now on your personal statement and Common App and or Coalition data; you can, and there is really no reason not to if you want to make this process as efficient and low stress as possible.

Rising Juniors

Hopefully, you’ve also got something interesting planned that is helping you explore your academic and or extracurricular interests. If you spent time reflecting on your interests in grades 9 and 10, and have a clear idea what your apps will emphasize, you should have something planned for this summer that is in line with those interests and that focus. If you’ve attended pre-college programs in the past (those that are a mix of light academics + fun stuff like Summer Discovery or a “teen tour”), try something else this summer like an internship or a college level class. There’s nothing wrong with these programs after 9th and 10th grade, but they are typically more fun than anything else. Same goes for international “service” trips via programs like Rustic Pathways. If you must go on one of those trips, make sure to add something else to the mix that summer that is more academic. Paying jobs are also nice to see on applications, and more importantly, a learning experience to have before college.

Another big ticket item is starting to prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, Subject Tests). Take an ACT and SAT diagnostic and meet with a tutor to determine which test might be best for you, and then put a formal plan and timeline in place for preparing for that test. You’ll likely take it more than one time.

Rising Sophomores and Freshmen

Summers are for exploring. You could attend a pre-college program on a college campus, get a job, and of course, volunteer. The key is to do something, or preferably, a few things! Get out there and get some experience; make sure to write it all down and start your resume at this time.

Want customized guidance on summer planning? Contact us!

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

Reading for the Win

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” So with this in mind, Brennan Bernard (director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H.) asks his colleagues in high school counseling and college admission to recommend their favorite books from the year, and every year, the recommendations are amazing.

Right now I am reading:

“iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, and What That Means for the Rest of Us” by Jean M. Twenge

There are some older ones here that I can personally recommend, for example:

“Colleges That Change Lives” by Loren Pope, revised by Hilary Masell Oswald

And a few I just read recently that I really liked:

“Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

“The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis

“How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Read the full list here.  I have already put these on hold at my local library:

“Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives”by Rachel Simmons

“At What Cost?: Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools” by David L. Gleason

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

 

 

Register for GenHERation Discovery Days 2018

12 trips. 10 cities. 500 female executives.

GenHERation Discovery Days 2018 are immersive summer day trips that provide high school and college women with the opportunity to visit more than 50 of the most innovative companies in America. This is the only experience that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite companies and allows you to share your resume with top companies across the country. GenHERation Discovery Days 2016 was celebrated by former First Lady Michelle Obama and GenHERation Discovery Days 2017 was recognized as the largest career exploration trip in America.

Atlanta: Thursday, June 28, 2018

  • UPS Invitational

Seattle: Monday, July 9-Tuesday, July 10, 2018

  • Amazon, Expedia, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Zillow

Los Angeles: Wednesday, July 11-Thursday, July 12, 2018

  • Coolhaus, Mattel, The Honest Company, BuzzFeed, and EY

San Francisco: Monday, July 16Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18, 2018

  • San Francisco Giants, Lucasfilm, Airbnb, EY, Twitter, Gap, Zynga, GE Ventures, Uber, PayPal, and Google

Dallas: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

  • Southwest Airlines, Pizza Hut, JCPenney, and EY

Austin: Thursday, July 26, 2018

  • NFP, IBM, Google, and Indeed

Charlotte: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

  • Atrium Health, Charlotte Hornets, Red Ventures, EY, and the Belk Foundation

Boston: Thursday, August 2, 2018

  • Duane Morris, Fidelity, Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots

New York City: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

  • J.P. Morgan, Viacom, Barneys, and EY

Philadelphia: Thursday, August 9, 2018

  • QVC, Dow Chemical, Hartford Funds, and the Wharton Baker Retailing Center

Read more about GenHERation and their awesome programming, here!

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

Tips for Seniors Headed to College

There’s a 2015 Time article I love by Ted Spiker about the extras—the mindset and strategies that will help students explore, engage, and excel—in college. Drawing from his more than 20 years in higher education, as well as collected wisdom from peers and students, here are the most effective tactics that incoming college freshmen can use to succeed:

1. Your brain is not your day planner. The life skill you’ll need to master in college is prioritization. That skill develops when you can see what’s coming next month, next week, tomorrow, in 10 minutes, #ohwaitthatpaperisduetoday. With so many moving parts in college, you simply can’t afford to stay unorganized. Students get in academic trouble when they panic. They panic when they don’t prepare. I don’t care what method you use to keep your calendar (app or paper), as long as it’s not a Sharpie mark on your palm.

2. To get plugged in, unplug. Maximize your connections through all of your social media platforms and digital tools. But for meaningful contacts that will help you develop, put down the phone. Look up. Raise your hand. Speak. Ask. Listen.

3. Your most valuable currency: ideas. We’re in a world where lots of your peers have the same skills you do. The X factor: Who has the better idea? The front end of a project (time spent developing an original idea) is as crucial as the back end (time spent executing it).

4. Syllabus = law. Not all profs will handcuff you when you deviate, but it’s best to assume that they will. Read the contract.

6. Relationships > GPAs.* Unless you’re planning on going to graduate school, grades should feel secondary to the process of working with your peers and professors. I would rather you came into my office and to ask me about the artifact on my desk than to fight about .08 points that will mean zippo to your career success. When you show you care about performance more than points, it’s the signal to me—and thus to the future employers I talk to about you—that you’re the kind of person they want on their team.

*Do not use this to excuse your absence from class.

7. Think of college as seven years. Your networking opportunities don’t stop with professors, internship supervisors, and alums. As a freshman, you should network with the people in your class and the three years ahead of you. As a senior, you should build relationships with the people three years behind you. That’s seven years of people who could be potentials bosses and connections.

8. It’s OK to say “no.” High-achievers want to do it all. Don’t. Despite many examples otherwise, the world wants you to do 15 things well rather than 50 things sloppily.

9. Learn a foreign language. In high school, you likely took a foreign language such as Spanish or Chinese or German. Now, expand what it means to speak and work in a new world. Word people could learn computer programming. Money majors could learn the art of effective writing. You stand out when you’re fluent in an area where your peers aren’t.

10. Create a digital hub. Put all of your best work and your social accounts in one place. Employers want to see your personal brand in a sort of digital elevator pitch.

11. Find a workout pal. Part of stress management is time management. Part of it is having enough energy to do quality work. While it’s inevitable that you will sometimes eat at the $2.99 buffet and pull all-nighters, you need good food, regular exercise, and lots of sleep. This non-academic priority will improve your academic ones.

12. Success = style + substance. No matter your field, college is about developing your skills and talents. That’s substance. Now, how unique is your voice, your personality, your creativity when it comes to your skill set? That’s style. In a world when a lot of people have a lot of talent, it’s the difference between being hired and having your resume tossed.

13. Your goal: one deep dive. If I’m talking to an intro course of hundreds of people, I’ll ask them two questions. One, when you graduate, will you have the skills that everybody else in the room does? They’ll need to be able to answer “yes.” And two, will you be able to do something that nobody else in the room can do? If that answer is also “yes,” you’ve just discovered the secret to excelling: Find an area of specialty where you can develop depth; that’s what makes you uniquely positioned to help an employer. Be nimble enough to do a lot of things, but deep enough to do one thing better than anyone else.

14. Play. Do it when you’re not working. Do it when you are working.

15. Make your secret sauce. The greatest compliment you can receive from a professor, pro, or peer isn’t “great work!” or “that’s perfect!” It’s this: “How in the world did you do that?” Wow us with your creativity, wow us with your ideas, wow us with your execution in ways we can’t imagine. We may not know what goes into your secret sauce, but we do know that we want more of it.

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

Mythical Golden Tickets and the Ivy League

Repost from Lynn O’Shaughnessy of The College Solution:

Affluent parents and teenagers often believe that “golden tickets” are plentiful if you attend an elite university and preferably one of the Ivies.

Earn a bachelor’s degree from a place like Harvard, Princeton or Stanford and job opportunities will magically appear.

Equally important, conventional wisdom suggests that unless smart, ambitious students graduate from one of these $70,000-a-year (!!!), gold-plated universities, their career success will be diminished.

All this is nonsense.

Interested in why she believes this is nonsense? Continue reading her post, Mythical Golden Tickets and the Ivy League, and one of her older posts, The Myth of the Ivy League.

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

The best advice from 2018 commencement speeches

One reason I love graduation time so much is that I enjoy listening to all of the inspiring speeches! Fast Company posted on some of the most motivational and there are a few snippets I want to share here:

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, congratulated the MBA graduates at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then told them this: “It’s great that you are a Wharton MBA. But please, don’t act like it.”

While earned, titles can turn into a burden: “Don’t let it get in the way of seeing people as people and all they have to offer you, regardless of their title or position . . . If you want to fly high, in business or in life, you’ve got to keep your feet on the ground, and stay rooted to see what matters most,” he said.

USA Soccer player Abby Wambach encouraged the graduating class at Barnard College to look at each other as part of a pack, and to create one collective heartbeat with rules for your team to live by. One of those is to turn failure into fuel. “Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be powered by.”

As the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer addressed the graduating class at Syracuse University and encouraged them to pay attention to the “flash moments” that can change the course of your life. “. . . If you can recognize them, you can be ready for them and act on them for your own life, but more importantly, perhaps for community and even world change,” she said. “Often it’s the adversity in your life that gives you the greatest ideas. Sometimes the worst things in your life become the best.”

If you love listening to graduation speeches as much as I do, check out Inc.’s top 15 of all time — R.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech will always be one of my favs!

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

 

Khan Academy Launches Free LSAT Prep

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.June 1, 2018 – From PRNewswire-USNewswire:

Against the backdrop of a spike in the number of applications to law school and renewed enthusiasm among students for a career in law, the Law School Admission Council and Khan Academy are pleased to launch Khan Academy Official LSAT Prep, the first free and official test prep program for the LSAT, the law school admission test.

Last year, more than 100,000 prospective law school students took the LSAT.  Many students can’t afford to pay for commercial test prep, which can cost hundreds of dollars to more than $2,000 for various LSAT packages.

Today’s announcement marks the launch of Khan Academy’s second official test prep for critical standardized exams. In 2015, Khan Academy launched Official SAT Practice with the College Board. Nearly six million people have used Official SAT Practice, and research shows that practice on Khan Academy advances all students regardless of high school GPA, gender, race and ethnicity, and parental education level.

Read the full press release here.

June Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Seniors:

Congrats on your graduation! Enjoy a summer free of college applications.

Juniors: 

Time to get to kick it into high gear!

  • It might seem like a silly piece of advice, but many students are not aware that each school has a set of application instructions that are not located on the application. I suggest you read them on each schools admissions website prior to tackling the application process.
  • Many colleges don’t proactively ask for online resources yet, but you may have an interest in creating a digital portfolio (LinkedIn, SoundCloud, personal website, and/or blog). Now is a great time to work on these extras, as well as your formal resume.
  • As you begin your essay work, consider opening a Common App account. Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted before August 1, 2018. You can read more about account rollover here.

Sophomores:

  • Continue working on your resume.
  • Thinking about how to explore your academic interests this summer? There are tons of options, and you should be doing something “academic” this summer if possible. Please note: something “academic” is not limited to a class or formal academic program. Have questions? Contact us to discuss.
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Summer before junior year is a great time to begin test prep! Here are a few resources to get you started:

PSAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/new-sat-tips-planning/new-sat-how-to-prep/a/full-length-psat-nmsqt

ACT

-http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html

-http://www.amazon.com/ACT-Prep-Black-Book-Strategies/dp/0692027912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437782060&sr=8-1&keywords=act+prep+black+book

-http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Edition-Prep-Guide/dp/076893432X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_

SAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat

Freshmen:

  • Continue working on your resume. Consider exploring your academic interests — reading is a simple and easy way to do so!
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Looking for community engagement or volunteer opportunities? Something meaningful to get involved in that you might want to continue throughout high school, someplace where you might make a real difference? Ask upperclassmen how they spend their summers or check out https://www.idealist.org for opportunities near you.
 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*