Rising Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

Rising Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

College counseling is not a program that you simply sign up for—it’s a relationship, and a process that takes place over an extended period of time.

The majority of our work with students—which includes academic planning, narrative and extracurricular development (your academic and EC “story” for college), a strategic college list, and completing essays, app data, and an extended resume—starts in 10th or early in 11th grade.

Rising soph’s and juniors can:

  • Start to prep for standardized exams early. Don’t wait until spring of your junior year to begin prep. We have a small list of tutors who we can highly recommend; don’t leave who you work with up to chance.
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. They will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other.
  • Build your story! Have you been heavily involved with any of your extracurricular activities (other than sports, in which you can’t major)? Look for impact and leadership opportunities. More importantly, does your resume point toward a major or intellectual interest? What is your story, and how is it told on your resume?
  • Plan your summer wisely. You’ll want to use this summer to build your resume and make sure it’s pointed toward your intended major.
  • Visit the websites of schools you are interested in. Explore the admission and academic pages, start to attend virtual offerings, and track your contact with schools. It should be exciting to kick your college research into a higher gear this summer. How else will you get to know schools (rankings do not count, they are meaningless)? Don’t forget to connect with your reps, too.

Fill out the contact form to schedule a consult and find out how we can support you in your college planning and application process.

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Focus on the next fours years, not the last.

Focus on the next fours years, not the last.

The class of 2022 is resilient. They’ve weathered a pandemic, the confusion of test-optional, okay at best online schooling—the list goes on. 

Great read in Charter by S. Mitra Kalita. “Bottom line: You’re going to be fine. Let’s focus on the next fours years, not the last!”

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Ask the Experts Day/Boarding Schools – A Conversation with Private School Admissions Directors

Ask the Experts Day/Boarding Schools – A Conversation with Private School Admissions Directors

  

Please join Dina Glasofer Consulting for a conversation with a panel of admission directors from several selective day and boarding schools. A Conversation with Private School Admissions Directors will cover popular topics on the minds of parents considering private schools for their children.

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m. (EST) and you must register below to receive a link for the event.

Please submit your questions for panelists through the registration link. You must register in advance to attend, and a Zoom link will be sent out prior to the webinar. Register here!

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Helping Teens Weather College Rejection

Helping Teens Weather College Rejection

Rejection stinks! But it’s a normal part of life and college admissions. This short article is for parents. Hang in there. In six months from now, the college application process will be very far in your rearview!

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TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

Join us on March 14th at 8 pm eastern for a casual discussion on all things test prep and college planning. We’ll be presenting a few of our top tips and strategies but will leave most of the session open for your questions. This session is for students and parents.

Register here!

Hope to see you on March, 14th!

Start Now: College Counseling for High School Juniors

Start Now: College Counseling for High School Juniors

We’ve seen too many students wait until the summer after 11th grade to try to develop and implement the strategies needed to tackle the college application process successfully and with ease. Often, there is just not enough time to do the pre-work that results in the most effective essays, outreach, and positive admissions outcomes.

The best time to start? Now.

Juniors, right now you can:

  • Develop relationships with admissions officers and regional reps (the people who make key decisions on your application) as well as current students and faculty (we can fill you in on why these connections are so important)
  • Open up a Common App account to get familiar with the system + complete the base data
  • Make the best of campus visits and leverage contacts at colleges on these visits
  • Craft a preliminary college list that maximizes the 5+ application plans colleges now use
  • Start brainstorming for the Common App essay (the MOST important essay of most apps)

We hate seeing the second half of junior year go to waste!

Contact us today to discuss what you can do now to always stay a step—or three—ahead of the game.

We are also co-hosting a free online event on March 14th at 8pm eastern. Join us to hear top tips and effective strategies for the college process + ask us anything in the live Q&A! Register today! 

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Three Messages Parents of High School Students Need to Hear About College Admission

Three Messages Parents of High School Students Need to Hear About College Admission

Read Rick Clark’s full post on the Georgia Tech admissions blog! In part, here:

I’m convinced there are a few messages most parents of high school students need to hear—and hopefully will listen to also.

Pronouns Matter. As your kids enter and move through high school, and especially as they are applying to college, I hope you will be cognizant of your pronouns. If you find yourself commonly saying things like, “We have a 3.8,” Pre-Calc is really killing us this year,” or “Our first choice is ___________,” it may be time to take a long walk, a deep breath, or a stiff drink. Ask yourself if those pronouns are just a reflection of your love and years of intimately intertwined lives, or if they are a subtle prodding to step back and let your student demonstrate what you know they are capable of handling.

As you well know, parenting is a delicate dance that becomes increasingly complicated as kids get older. Be honest with yourself and pay attention to when it’s time to take the lead or step back. Interestingly, it was current Atlanta Mayor (and former Georgia Tech staff member) Andre Dickens who introduced me to the concept of moving from parent to partner with a presentation he used to give at new student-parent orientation. And that should be your focus as your kids move closer toward graduation from high school.

As a parent, I understand this is not easy. But don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal. “College Prep” is not simply about academics, and we should be focused on ensuring our kids are socially, emotionally, and practically prepared, regardless of where they end up going to college. Watching your pronouns is a great place to start.

College admission is not fair. However, in contrast to what most people think, it is easy to understand. Admission is driven by two fundamental rules:

  1. Supply and demand. The Applicant to Class Size ratio drives admit rates. If applications go up and enrollment does not, the admit rate drops.

This is why you hear about Younger Sibling not getting into University of X (Home of the Fighting X’s) with the same, or even better high school grades and classes, than Older Sibling (a current junior at X with a 3.4 GPA). Three years have passed, U of X’s new first-year class size is the same, but this year they receive 5000 more applications than the year Older applied. Could Younger do the work? 100%. Is Younger talented, ambitious, and very interested in going to University of X? Without question. Is this fair? Nope, but it is logical.

  1. Mission drives admission. As we just established, Older is a good student and a good person (3.4 GPA in college and very active on campus). But three years ago, when she applied as a high school senior, there was another candidate vying for admission—Applaquint. “App” had better grades, better classes, better writing, and more community involvement (all the things U of X says it values) than Older. App, however, was denied.

Why? Well, it happens that App is from Y (the state just to the east of X). Because University of X is a public school, students from the state are admitted at 5 times (would have been too confusing to say 5x) the rate of non-Xers. Fair? No! Again, App is smarter, nicer, and better looking than Older. But again, totally logical.

College brochures may make all campuses look the same, but the goals for the composition of their classes vary widely in number, geography, major, gender, and so on. So when admission committees discuss candidates, they are reviewing and considering GPA, essays, and letters of recommendation,  but ultimately institutional mission and priorities are the lens and filter through which admission decisions are made.

As a parent, my sincere hope is you hear, believe, and prepare yourself for this truth- neither an admit nor deny decision is a value judgment or evaluation of your job as a parent. My friend Pam Ambler from Pace Academy puts it perfectly: “Admission decisions feel deeply personal, but that is not how they are made.” As a result, many parents react when their student receives disappointing admission news. They see that hurt and think they need to call the admission office (or the president or the governor), appeal the decision, “come down there,” or pull strings. After watching this cycle repeat itself over and over, and particularly as my own kids grow up, I’ve come to appreciate ALL of that comes from a place of deep and genuine love. But ultimately, in these moments what kids need from you is very simple—love, concern, empathy, belief, and encouragement, or sometimes just a heartfelt hug.

College Parents > HS Parents. When your kids were little and you were struggling with potty training or getting your baby to sleep through the night, did you seek advice and insight from other parents in the same chapter? No! Because they were either a: just as clueless or frustrated as you were b: maddeningly oblivious c: prone to lie, exaggerate, or hide the reality of their situation.

The same is true when it comes to college admission. Other parents with kids in high school often have just enough information to sound informed but frequently serve to proliferate inaccuracy and consternation– “You know the valedictorian three years ago did not get into….” and “It’s easier to get in from (insert high school three miles away), because they don’t have IB like we do.” Generous generalizations and liberal rounding phrases like, “he has mostly As and Bs” or her SAT is “around a 1400″ should send your BS radar way up in cases like this. Walk away, my friends. Dismiss, change the subject, and don’t let those comments stress you out. 

The bottom line is parents of high school students should talk to fewer parents of high school students about college admission, and more parents of current college students, or recent college graduates. These folks, who are one chapter ahead, invariably provide perspective, levity, insight, and sanity. They are far less prone to exaggeration, and in fact often incredibly raw and honest in their evaluation. “She was crushed when she did not get into Stanvard. But now she’s at Reese’s U and is not sorry.” Or “We didn’t get the financial aid package we needed for him to go to Enidreppep University, so he ended up at QSU. He graduates this spring and already has a great job lined up with the company where he’s been interning.” Again, seek perspective, levity, insight, and sanity from parents of current college students, and spend your time talking to parents of other high school students about the upcoming game or recently opened restaurant in your area.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. And stay tuned for upcoming podcasts and blogs with a few more key messages for high school parents coming soon…

If you have friends who not won’t read 200+ pages, but are likely not even ready 1000+ words, you can send them to my original Twitter thread with these messages for parents. 

Free Virtual Event! ADHD & Motivation: Tools for Achieving Your Goals in 2022

Free Virtual Event! ADHD & Motivation: Tools for Achieving Your Goals in 2022

DifferentBrains.org is excited to present:
 
ADHD & Motivation: Tools for Achieving Your Goals in 2022 is a presentation by ADHD & Executive Functioning Coach and self-advocate Brooke Schnittman MA, BCC, ACC, and self-advocate and writer Ali Idriss.
 
Join Ali and Coach Brooke – co-hosts of the DifferentBrains.org series “ADHD Power Tools” – as they offer tools and tips for finding motivation while navigating ADHD. Their 30-minute presentation will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. If you can’t make it during the live event, a link to the recording will be sent to all registrants.
 
To register for this FREE webinar, just click here!
 
Different Brains® is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and acceptance of the basic variations in the human brain known as neurodiversity; ending the stigma attached to the related diagnoses and treatment; uniting silos of resources and research whose goals could be better achieved through collaboration; offering support to families and caregivers; and improving the lives and maximizing the potential of those whose brains may be different.
 
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Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child During the College Admission Process?

Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child During the College Admission Process?

Intense achievement pressure, particularly in affluent communities, can generate high levels of stress, anxiety, and/or depression in young people. We are sharing this from MCC, and hope you give it a read!

The questions and short quiz created by the team at Making Caring Common can help parents and caregivers (and even counselors like us!) be alert to red flags that they may be putting too much pressure on their student in the college admissions process.

College Admissions Red Flags: Quiz and questions for consideration

  1. During dinner conversations, do you often talk about your child’s grades and college applications, forgetting to ask your child what they find interesting and fun about school?

  2. When you meet with or contact your child’s teacher, do you ask primarily about grades and test scores? Do grades and test scores tend to crowd out discussions of whether your child seems to be enjoying school, is a good friend to others, and contributes to the classroom?

  3. Do you email or call your child’s teacher about assignments or grades more than once a month, even when your child is not having any problems (e.g., trouble completing homework, absence due to illness, etc.)?

  4. Does your child sometimes not eat or sleep well because he or she is worried about not performing at a high level in school?

  5. Do you press your child to take certain courses or participate in extracurricular activities in which they have little interest, or which are stressful for them, for the sake of college applications?

  6. Do you encourage your child to do certain community service projects that they are not interested in because you think these projects will be helpful for their college application?

  7. Do you sometimes allow your child to exaggerate or lie about the extent of their community service because it will help them get into a selective college?

  8. Do you ever encourage your child to apply to selective high schools or colleges based on prestige or commercial rankings, such as the U.S. News & World Report ranking, without considering whether the school is a good fit for your child’s personality and interests?

  9. Do you ever see your child’s peers as competition in the college application process—for example, telling your child not to let others know where they are applying to college because others might apply to the same school and hurt your child’s chances of getting into the same college?

  10. Do you sometimes pressure your child to engage in substantial college preparation while they are on vacation (e.g., intensively studying vocabulary cards or math problems), instead of ensuring that they have ample time to relax or play?

  11. Did you or do you plan to hire an SAT/ACT tutor or have your child take an SAT/ACT preparatory course before junior year of high school?

  12. When you visit colleges with your child, do you sometimes ask more questions than your child does on the tour or at the info session?

  13. If your child was not accepted at a selective high school or college, would you be embarrassed? Would it affect your self-esteem?

  14. If your child received a bad grade on a test or assignment, would you feel responsible or like a failure?

  15. Do you primarily visit and talk about highly selective colleges with your child, rather than a wide variety of colleges, including less-selective ones?

  16. Do you frequently think about whether your child is performing at a high level or will be accepted at a high-status college?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to take a look at the messages you may be inadvertently sending your child, and to talk with those you respect and trust about how you might reduce college admission pressure. Learn more about our Turning the Tide Initiative and use our tips for dialing down achievement pressure and raising caring kids.

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