College Admissions Webinar: The Road to College

College Admissions Webinar: The Road to College

The college admissions process is a constantly changing landscape!

Join Isaac Foster and Brittany Maschal for a virtual panel discussion designed to inform you about steps your family can take during high school to best prepare for the college admissions process.

This event is free. Click here to register. A Zoom link will be emailed out to registered guests prior to the event.

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Volunteer Opportunity – Support Ukrainian Youth

Volunteer Opportunity – Support Ukrainian Youth

Volunteer Opportunity!

ENGin is a nonprofit organization that pairs Ukrainian youth with English speakers for free online conversation practice and cross-cultural connection. They work with students aged 13-35 and volunteers aged 14+.

ENGin pairs English learners with volunteers from around the world to conduct weekly online speaking sessions. Every learner and volunteer is screened to ensure their fit for the program. Participants are then matched based on preferences, interests, and availability to ensure an effective and mutually enjoyable communication experience. After a match is made, ENGin supports learners and volunteers throughout their participation in the program with tips, resources, and problem resolution.

Read more here. 

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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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Teach 24/7 Internships

Teach 24/7 Internships

Education Development:

  • Instructional Design and Delivery
  • Curriculum Research and Evaluation
  • School Design and Research:
  • Student Teacher
  • Educator and Instructional Design Internship

Operations:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Finance and Funding
  • Operations and Systems Design

Design and Development:

  • Writing and Communications
  • Audio Recording and Design
  • Graphic Design and UX/UI
  • Web Design and Development
  • Media Production and Design
  • Game Design and Development

Read more here!

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

Summer is the perfect time to explore your academic interests. As part of your college application, activities that help demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and commitment to an area of study (typically, the one you might pursue in college), are extremely beneficial. 

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in government, politics, law and IR.

The United Nations Association of Greater Boston’s Summer Institute in Global Leadership offers week-long Model UN programs for students from all over the world to work together and address global issues. Learn about global issues, build skills for life and leadership, and collaborate with students from across the world during our week-long Model UN programs! In-person and virtual options.

The Summer Law Institute (SLI) is a five-week, summer law program for students who have just completed their eighth grade school year. The Summer Law Institute pushes rising ninth graders to see themselves as young professionals-in-training. The program exposes them to positive and successful role models, involves them in professional activities, and places them on a path that can lead to the fulfillment of their dreams. Students who complete the SLI are eligible to apply to our 4-year College Bound program.

The New York University High School Law Institute (HSLI is an Academic Year Program*) is a student-run organization that serves talented and motivated high school students throughout New York City. Alongside a sister program at Columbia Law School, they offer free, yearlong academic programming in constitutional law, criminal law, and speech and debate on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. Ideal HSLI students are those who recognize the impact of the legal system, wish to learn more about how it concretely impacts society, and are preparing themselves to serve and advocate for others. 

Internships

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. Interns will enhance the visitor experience and communicate the Institute’s mission. 

The Temple of Understanding internship program provides individuals with a hands-on learning experience of the work of the United Nations for four and a half intensive weeks. Students often discover their passion for a career in foreign affairs and related fields. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with different Missions and NGOs for discussions based on their specific questions and interests. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries, and must be 17 years old by June 20 of the given Internship year. 

Onero Institute Virtual Teams. ​The Onero Institute produces high-level content on international affairs topics in new and creative ways. They develop projects specially designed for social media platforms to better engage young people on global issues and to bring credible content to an increasingly important space. Join the Virtual Engagement Team to take part in this unique area of today’s international discourse. If you would like to join but need more experience developing such projects, participate in the Virtual Engagement Program (VEP) to build up your skills in graphic design, concise writing, teamwork, and research.

Check out Teens in Politics! Founded by a student in NYC. 

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Bank of America Student Leaders – 2022

Bank of America Student Leaders – 2022

Summer program alert!

As a BOA Student Leader, you will participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization where you will learn first-hand about the needs of your community and the critical role nonprofits play. In addition, you will learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where you will learn how government, business and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs. Note: in-person events will be in line with local and national guidelines around gatherings and travel and may be subject to change.

To become a Student Leader, you must:

  • Currently be a junior or senior in high school
  • Live in one of the eligible markets listed
  • Be able to participate in an 8‐week paid internship at a local nonprofit/charitable organization and work 35 hours a week*
  • Be legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship through the end of September 2022
  • Be able to participate in a week‐long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July 25-30, 2022) (All expenses paid as part of Student Leaders. This week will be part of your 8‐ week experience.) *
  • Be a student in good standing at your school
  • Please note: Bank of America employees or members of their immediate family (e.g., children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) are NOT eligible to apply.

*In-person events will be in line with local and national guidelines around gatherings and travel and may be subject to change.

Click here for FAQs on our Student Leaders program.

Applications for the 2022 program will be accepted from Monday, November 1 through Friday, January 28. Apply Now for the 2022 Student Leaders program.

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Peer Project Grants

Peer Project Grants

The non-profit My Friend Abbey is awarding grants for peer-to-peer projects. The Fall 2021 grant cycle is now open to youth and young adults! The application deadline is November 15, 2021. The theme for this season is “Share Your Light.”

Here are some suggested ideas for grant projects:

Sharing your talent and teaching someone else your craft! For example, gardening is good for your mental health, so if you garden, buy some bulbs and teach your friends how to plant them and care for the plants. Or if you knit or sew, show a group of friends how to make something for the holidays that they can give as a gift.

You can always find a way to #37HelpOthersInABigWay or highlight the good in others.

You could complete a ‘compassion project’ in which you and/or a group agree to raise awareness in the area of mental health and wellness through kindness. You can document this project by performing a short play, blogging, researching and joining an existing group you never knew about (for example, an LGBTQ group, cultural group, or volunteer group like a soup kitchen.)

Or start your own group! Spread your kindness and compassion for all to see!
These are just a few suggestions. What will YOUR project be? Don’t forget to tell your friends and family, and request an application!

To request a grant application, email Gillian@myfriendABBY.org.

Click below to read about recent grant recipient’s projects:

2020

Spring 2021

Remember, applications must be received by November 15th!

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Move Over Testing

Move Over Testing

Testing has been on the way out for some time now, and 2021 just might be the year that we see test blind—even beyond SAT subject tests—become more prevalent. 

So with testing on its way out, what’s in?

  • Being interesting, bold, different, eclectic in your interests and pursuits outside of “school”
  • Excellence in something (or a few things), but real excellence, like wow excellence
  • A deep interest in something (or a few things), but real depth, like wow depth
  • Forging your own path…

But this isn’t anything new.

In the past, the most successful applicants we have gotten to know were those who had competitive grades, competitive scores (maybe even a laundry list of them), and on top of that—for the most selective schools—had an interesting resume that told a clear and compelling story. Some activities were even a bit out-of-the-box, rare/unique, or at best a bit surprising; surprising is wonderful in college admissions because so many applications are just the same. If an applicant took an interest to a depth uncommon for someone in high school, even better. 

At the most selective schools, everyone has awesome grades and test scores. One of the main reasons so many applications don’t stand out has nothing to do with testing or grades, but a student’s resume and activities—their life outside of coursework. Many students feel like they are doing something wrong if they are not doing what everyone around them is, like play multiple sports, joining Science Olympiad or Debate, NHS, Interact/Key Club, and minimally taking part in a bunch of other clubs or “service” opportunities they don’t really care about. They do this instead of pursuing a few activities deeply, especially if those activities are not what their peers are doing. 

If we keep moving toward a test-less or less test-heavy college admissions model, students will hopefully have more time to focus on their interests outside of school. What these interests are, and the depth in which they are genuinely pursued, might become more important than ever before as we see the bar on that front rise. 

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Lab Internships for High School Students

Lab Internships for High School Students

Re-sharing a post from Josh Rabinovich of Warp Drive Tutors (check them out for all of your STEM tutoring needs!) on how to approach summer internships while in high school. Although we don’t really know what summer 2021 will look like yet, now is the time for sophomores, juniors, and even graduating seniors to start planning. Many students seek to gain lab experience. Thank you for these insights, Josh!

First, if you have not started looking and the end of the school year is rapidly approaching, you needn’t fear that all of the potentially good internships are taken by now. They are not. In fact, you will find a plethora of availability providing you know where to look and you have something tangible to offer the lab you approach. But to begin, you need to have an understanding of what will be expected of you and what you should expect from an internship.

Of course, the first question is, will you get paid? And the answer is no, not if you want to get something valuable from your experience. Labs are usually run on shoestring budgets, determined by grant funding, and it is tough out there in grant land. So any money that goes out will only go out to that which proves immediately valuable to the lab, and as you have no understanding of DNA ligation and cloning methodologies (though you will by the time your summer is up) you have, sorry to put it this way, no immediate value to the lab. If you do wind up getting paid, it is because they assign you something nobody else wants to do, like cleaning up and organizing the cold room. Do you want to spend your summer cleaning up the cold room? Bleh.

So now that we have discussed what they will expect from you, let’s look at what you should expect from your internship. If all goes well, you will emerge with two very valuable assets, and these are a) actual lab experience, which will help if you want to work in a lab in college, not to mention help you decide if you want to pursue science, and b) a letter of recommendation. When I say actual lab experience, understand that after a very short amount of time you will be given your own project, which you will be expected to work on independently and keep detailed notes about. What you will not do is “shadow” someone, at least not for very long. Shadowing someone is not helping them, it is just being a pain! So you will be shown some basics, and then given some legit work the lab needs to have done. And if you are working in a molecular lab, you should expect that your work will include handling DNA, and using recombinant DNA protocols. In fact, you might want to make sure these are things you will do in advance.

None of this, of course, is meant to scare you off, just to tell you what you are looking at. So how do you get an internship? Look at the university’s website for the graduate department in whatever discipline interests you, ie cell biology, laser physics, etc and then look at the different labs and see which might appeal to you. Email the director of that lab and say you are a high school student and would like to volunteer over the summer (you may have to send this more than once). Also, you will need to have taken an AP course in the general field that the lab is involved in, so if you want to get some cloning in, you will want to have taken AP Biology. You may also want to consider that some labs will expect you to put in some pretty hefty hours. Not all, but some definitely will.

Lastly, when do you ask for the letter of recommendation? The answer is, as soon as you have left the lab. Remember, the most important thing a letter reader wants to see in a letter of rec is how well the letter writer knows the person about whom he/she is writing. So if you wait until 3 months later, the person writing the letter will have forgotten almost everything about you and your letter will read “Jane worked in the lab and everyone liked her. She accomplished a lot”. This won’t help you. Try and get the letter as soon as possible after you leave, when the person you worked with will have a clear memory of what you did, and what your success and failures were.

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Resume/Activity Sheets: Where Less Is Always More

Resume/Activity Sheets: Where Less Is Always More

The resumes we see tend to take two forms: the students who does it all, but nothing very deeply or well, and the students who does very little (to varying degrees of depth and rigor). 

You don’t need to do it all, but you do need to do something, or a few things, really well or to an extent that goes beyond that of your peers. And if you can’t help but spread yourself a bit thin, you can still craft a narrow application (ask us how!). 

Colleges look for students with something unique, a specific talent, skill, or interest to add to their next class. Students who drill down on an interest or two early on in high school will be better positioned to tell a clear, focused story in their applications. By doing so, they hand the reader of their file exactly what they are looking for—they make it easy to see the value you will add on campus.

This might mean doing a lot of exploration early in high school and this is okay. However, don’t be afraid to find something you like, drill down on it, and not do too much else extracurricularly. You don’t want a resume that reads like a laundry list anyway.

Here’s what a few top colleges have to say on the subject via Niche:

  • “You [should] demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what you spend your time doing. The joy you take in the pursuits that really matter to you – rather than a resume padded with a long list of activities – will strengthen your candidacy.” –Yale’s advice on Activities
  • “When we evaluate an applicant’s activity list, we’re not looking for a specific number of involvements or even specific types.  We are much more interested in seeing an applicant follow their passions and show dedication over time to a few specific involvements rather than spreading themselves too thin.” –USC Admissions Blog
  • “We are looking for students who will contribute their talents, interests, perspectives, and distinct voices to our community… We are more interested in your focus on a few activities over time (such as work, care for parents and siblings, service, or athletics), rather than membership in a long list of clubs—although we understand that some students can balance an assortment of activities.” –Swarthmore College, “What We Look for in a Swattie”
  • “You’re joining a team. And because we’re recruiting a team of people who will work together, we want a variety of strengths and talents that, together, will form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. So, not every talented student needs to be talented in the same way.” – UNC-Chapel Hill, “Who We Want”

The question I ask a lot when thinking about activities: How much can you meaningfully contribute to more than a few activities? Narrowing down your interests and corresponding activities can provide the time and space needed to engage more meaningfully and at a higher level in the one or two things you love the most. It’s a bonus if these activities relate to your potential college major, or support it in some way!

Remember, colleges seek to build a well-rounded class comprised of students with unique talents and skills, not a class full of generalists.

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