Deadline Day! Time to Celebrate!

Happy November 1!

Congrats to everyone who submitted early apps that were due today (and earlier)! Take a breather, but don’t forget to keep working on regular decision applications—you don’t want to rush these last minute. By the time the holidays roll around, you’ll have much better things to do. Complete RD apps now!

Hopefully, your applications are in, and you did not wait until the last minute to apply. Why?

The Common App (CA) often has some glitches around this first big deadline. The New York Times reported on the most recent outage today, but the CA was not the only app with issues this fall. I heard the Coalition App was also having login issues this past weekend—in addition to all of the issues users have actually filling the thing out. The consensus is, it’s not a great app/interface.

Also, don’t forget:

It’s always a good idea to submit apps two to four weeks ahead of RD deadlines as some schools have early RD deadlines for scholarship or interview consideration (for example, USC should be submitted by 12/1 for scholarship consideration, and Duke should be submitted by 12/20 for interview consideration).

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Getting in to college is not the same as good to go to college

Lisa Damour’s NYT’s article “Getting In to College Doesn’t Mean Students Are Ready to Go” is a must read for parents of high school students. It points out some sad and scary truths about high school and college students today, but I see it more positively as a call to action.

I love that most of the students I work with are well-prepared for college life—academic and otherwise—but there are always a few that I fear for as they start freshmen year. They are the ones that end up contacting me near the end of their first semester.  Some of them need more academic support, which is easy to provide. Others are just unable to find their way socially and settle into living on their own for the first time. This second bunch also often thinks this means the college or university they attend is not the best fit; I tend to disagree. Although there are some students who for one reason or another are strong candidates for transfer, the problem is usually not the school—it’s them. Issues lingering beneath the surface throughout high school emerge and often result, sadly, in situations like Damour explains in her article.

What Damour describes is just one of the reasons I am a huge fan of gap years, but as she notes, and I have seen in my work with college applicants, getting students to think about delaying the start of college is not easy:

“Of course, the biggest barrier may well be the teenager’s own resistance to delaying enrollment. High school seniors who have secured and celebrated college admission are rarely eager to push the pause button. The drive for autonomy practically defines adolescence and it’s no small feat to bar that door.”

For the reluctant student (and often parents, too), I do see some alternatives to delaying the start of college. Recently, I have been working alongside mental health professionals and mindfulness educators on how best to get information out to students and parents on the importance of pre-college counseling, post-admission. Typically, once a student has decided where they are going to college, I do not hear much from them, except around early summer, when I (hopefully, because I love cards!) get a graduation announcement or thank you note in the mail. Today, I know that needs to change. The benefit of continuing the counseling relationship and providing services up until students leave for college, and even into the start of their freshmen year, is just too important to overlook.

I see pre-college counseling in the form of mindfulness and resilience training as a vital step in ensuring students about to head off to college are equipped with the tools they need to successfully navigate the transition to and thrive in college. And, if a student is really not ready to leave home in the fall, it is often uncovered or made very clear during targeted pre-college counseling activities (if not already brought to light through the college application process). Taking steps to gear up for college post-admission may reveal a student is not good to go. Those that are will only be better prepared to face the challenges that come with the high school-college transition, armed with the tools and mindset they need to thrive during the next phase of their educational journey.

My Weekly Reads: Top 5

 

Awkward teens (and 20- and 30-somethings) rejoice. Study finds that it might take 63 years, but you will, eventually, shed all traces of your awkward middle-school self. (Fast Company)

Adderall usage by individuals without attention deficit is out of control. Fast Company reminds us we have the power to control our brains, sans meds. (Fast Company)

Diverse Hollywood, in NYC? Steiner Studio lot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is surprisingly under the radar. It costs a third of most other film schools—$18,400 a year—and part of its mission is to admit women and minorities whose stories aren’t usually told. (New York Times)

And the award for the most unsatisfying industry to work in post-college goes to anything in finance (kind of). Meanwhile, in self-reported data from more than 13,000 recently graduated college students, such industries as technology, biotechnology, consulting, and arts, media, and entertainment top a list of “job satisfaction” ratings. Consulting -> we agree! (Poets & Quants)

Depression strikes today’s teen girls especially hard, and I see this firsthand in my work with high school students as they prepare and apply to college. Brains constantly “on-tech,” and in particular social media, may not be helping, but talking about it and identifying symptoms of depression early on can help teens get back on the right track. (NPR)

Michael Bloomberg on How to Succeed in Business (and Life?)

This is a fun, honest read. Particularly relevant to this blog is the first section, Choosing a College, in which he says:

Nobody remembers where you went to school. The first job they may ask, by the third job they won’t remember to. People put too much emphasis on that. It’s much more important that you go to a place where you fit in and which has decent academics. People say they can’t afford a college? My parents took out a mortgage, I had a job every summer working in a faculty parking lot. Then I got lucky, Sputnik was launched and the government created national defense loans.

Given the article’s emphasis on education, Bloomberg even goes on to comment on the MBA, and that it matters, but….:

The part that’s most important in an education is how to deal with people. There’s no job I know that you do by yourself, and I learned as much from the two guys I worked for at Salomon Brothers, Billy Salomon and John Gutfreund, as I’d learned at Harvard. In the end, it’s people skills that you need. Whether you remember that Columbus arrived in 1492 or not — a lot of the facts you memorize are immaterial.

Read the full article online!

What Do Teenagers Want? Potted Plant Parents

Many parents feel that their adolescents hardly need them anymore. Teenagers often come and go on their own schedules, sometimes rebuff our friendly questions about their days, and can give the impression that interacting with the family is an imposition that comes at the cost of connecting, digitally or otherwise, with friends.

So here’s a complaint one might not expect to hear from teenagers: They wish their parents were around more often.

Interesting read on the importance of a parent’s physical presence on adolescent health. Check it out here!

Text to Text: John Milton’s ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ and ‘Today’s Exhausted Superkids’

Right now, many students are entering the final college-application sprint. They’re wondering Are they enough? about their lists of accomplishments. Some may even be wondering Is it worth it? about college at all.

Centuries ago, the poet John Milton wondered how best to live his life as he went blind. In his sonnet “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent,” he contemplates his condition. While for him, the “light” he spends is literal — he was completely blind by age 42 — he uses it metaphorically to meditate on what it means to really live.

In this Text-to-Text they pair Milton’s poem with Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed “Today’s Exhausted Superkids,” which discusses the high costs of following the narrowly defined and proscribed path to an elite college.

This a thoughtful read for parents and students alike, or really, anyone working with adolescents today. Check it out here!!!

NYT Student Contest – Write a Rap About the News of 2016

For the sixth year in a row, 13 to 19 years old anywhere in the world are invited to write a rap about the news that mattered most to them this year.

So whether you choose international or national news, politics or education, sports, science or technology, the arts or fashion,  post your entry by 7 a.m. Eastern on Jan. 10, 2017. Then, the educational hip-hop experts at Flocabulary, our annual partner for this contest, will choose their favorite rhymes to publish both here and on their site.

Read more here!

Second Language Acquisition Can Improve How You Think

bilingualism

An oldie but goodie re-posted on the New York Times SundayReview on the advantages of bilingualism. Worth a read and just in time for the new year, when learning a second, third or fourth language could be on your to-do list!

Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

Read the article here!

No College Talk Thanksgiving

no-college-turkey-day

Great article yesterday in the New York Times. Parents of seniors give it a read!

If you have a high school senior, and your child has decided to apply somewhere early decision (or early action or early something or other), the application is most likely in and done by now. And with Thanksgiving approaching, my first piece of advice is that you shelter your high school senior from her or his loving family this Thanksgiving by absolutely prohibiting any talk of college and applications.

Believe me, your senior does not want to discuss this. Not with uncles, aunts, cousins or loving grandparents. The right thing to do under these circumstances is for the parents to tell everyone that college is a forbidden subject — and the best way to explain that is to say, we are all sick of it, and we have promised ourselves and our child a respite. Let’s all find another subject.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Guide to Getting a Bachelor’s Abroad

University College London
University College London

There was a time when the self-confident undergraduate took a semester or two abroad to taste an unfamiliar culture and dip a toe into the waters of higher education on a foreign shore. Today, tasting is timid stuff.

While graduate programs have long attracted international students, undergraduates are seizing upon the vast opportunities to enroll in foreign colleges for a complete bachelor’s degree. The number of options to do so is growing by the year. The online platform StudyPortals reports an estimated 5,670 English-language degrees in non-Anglophone countries. In Europe alone, 300 colleges and universities offer more than 1,500 English-taught bachelor’s degrees, according to Beyond the States, an international college adviser.

The benefits of a thoroughly international education in the age of globalization are conspicuous. But the game-changer is that college abroad can save parents tens of thousands of dollars. In many countries, including Turkey, Thailand, Brazil, Iceland and some in continental Europe, college is either free or virtually so, with tuition less than a couple thousand dollars. Many other universities offer a bachelor’s degree for under $7,000 a year.

Icing on the cake: It’s possible to obtain financial aid, both need- and merit-based, from universities outside the United States, as well as government aid from home. (The Department of Education website lists nearly 900 foreign colleges and universities where Americans can use federal financial aid.)

A bachelor’s abroad isn’t for everybody. Students must be prepared to immerse themselves in the customs of an unfamiliar habitat far from home. It’s an endeavor for the intensely curious and resourceful, those who can adapt to systems that do grading, testing and instruction quite differently. Forget intercollegiate sports, frats and clubs. Even partying is not the same — less binge drinking, for example — and campus life, when there is any, isn’t as cozy. But the rewards are great, say graduates and educators, and recognized by employers seeking go-getters.

Giovanni Hashimoto, a 23-year-old out of Washington, D.C., transferred to the University of Milan after two years at Pacific Union College in California. Though it took some digging online and follow-up emails, Mr. Hashimoto, who speaks no Italian, found what he wanted in the university’s English-language political science and economics program. With tuition at $4,000, he calculates he saves $20,000 a year studying in Italy.

But, more critically, acquaintances in Washington’s world of public policy and politics, where he wants to eventually work, told him that a foreign degree “connotes a willingness to try things outside one’s comfort zone” and would work in his favor.

Read about college options abroad in the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia, and Singapore here.