It is simply a matter of fact that today’s high school students are facing tougher standards than their parents did to get into college. Over the next few years, the total number of high school graduates is projected to rise by 10 percent, as is the subsequent number of students applying to college — resulting in thousands more students in the applicant pool. Today’s prospective college applicants need to begin preparing for college admissions as early as 9th grade and be savvy as they develop a plan to get into the college of their choice. The list of services below describes what our consultants do to help students gain that all important edge to stand out from the crowd and be truly competitive in today’s challenging college admissions environment. Learn more about how our experienced and knowledgeable advisers help students distinguish themselves from the vast sea of applicants flooding admissions offices across the nation.
Making a good first impression has never been more important. The application for admission serves as the foundation of a student’s college admissions file – it shows admissions officers who you are. Information provided regarding biographical data, academic record, extracurricular activities, and future plans greatly influence how admissions officers envision you as a prospective student at their school. We assist in the application process by helping students prepare for the submission of complete and accurate applications before deadlines.
College admissions essays – often identified as the most challenging component of the college admissions process. Beyond the cold hard numbers of your GPA and standardized test scores, admissions officers read student essays to gain a better sense of your personality and character. Carefully crafted and well thought out essays help admissions officers understand what makes you tick as a person – how you think and do things and why. We advise students in the college essay writing process from the initial brainstorming stage to the final draft.
A student’s high school course load and grades reveal a student’s academic ability and potential. For highly selective schools, a student’s academic ability is the first necessary condition for admission and in many cases serves as the most important factor in your application. Will your four-year academic plan be considered challenging and rigorous enough to make you a competitive candidate? We help students make academic plans tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses, while considering the admissions requirements and standards of their target schools.
Many students become so fixated on their GPA that they underestimate the importance of careful course selection throughout high school. In preparing for college admissions, choosing the right classes is half the battle. Minimum requirements in math, science, English, social studies, and a foreign language vary across different colleges and admissions officers at highly selective schools are looking for more than just the bare minimum in their prospective students. We consult students on which courses to take each year so that the culmination of their four-year course load fulfills their potential as a student and maximizes chances for admission to their target schools.
The choices that students make about club involvement, jobs, volunteer and community service build a picture in the minds of admissions officers about them – their values, interests, skills and talents. Your achievements outside of the classroom are a large consideration at highly selective schools and become most critical when admissions officers are evaluating students with similar academic records. To help students gain a competitive edge, we identify student interests that translate into extracurricular activities they can consistently and passionately pursue throughout the academic year and during summer breaks.
Long before students ask a teacher, coach, or any adult mentor to write a letter of recommendation on their behalf, they need to create a “brag sheet.” Not to be confused with a resume, a “brag sheet” gives you an opportunity to highlight activities in which you excel and to emphasize the qualities that best capture your character. By illuminating your strengths in greater detail, the “brag sheet” can greatly increase the depth and quality of your letters. We guide students in identifying and describing the most appropriate activities, character traits, and accomplishments to highlight in the “brag sheet” before submitting to potential letter writers.
A summer job or internship isn’t a requirement for college admissions. That being said, all admissions officers understand the value of students working while simultaneously juggling classes, exam prep, and extracurricular activities. Working a job or securing an internship during high school is a golden opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from the pack. We help students convert a stark blank page into a professionally formatted and detailed resume highlighting their strengths and skills. Whether you are creating your very first resume or struggling to improve an existing one, we can help you increase your chances for securing your top-choice internship or job.
When should students take the SAT or ACT for the first time? How many times should you take the SAT or ACT? When should you take the SAT Subject Tests – how many and which ones? And what about AP exams? Because one size rarely fits all – students benefit from a testing schedule that is tailored to their specific coursework sequence and college plans. To enable students to focus on exam preparation rather than tedious exam scheduling, we help them map out an individualized testing timeline (as early as Sophomore year) for which exams to take and when and also plan for time to retake an exam if necessary.
Being interviewed is a skill and it requires practice – a lot of it. To help reduce anxiety over this step in the admissions process, we conduct a series of mock interviews and provide detailed feedback and tips. We help you develop sample responses to commonly asked questions and teach you the finer points regarding interview etiquette from start to finish. Whether your interview is with an admissions officer or an alumni member, the invaluable practice and feedback we offer our students help build the confidence they need to shine when it matters most.
Multiple options and a happy outcome in the Spring – the ultimate goal of every high school senior applying to colleges in the Fall. To get from Point A to point B, every student must first narrow the college universe down to about a dozen schools to apply to. We help students construct a personalized “short list” of schools that aligns with their preferences for factors such as size and geographic location while accounting for difficulty of admission and cost. Students benefit from the careful guidance we offer in creating their “short list,” and can find great comfort in having “first choice” colleges within each admissions category (reach, target, and safety schools) on their final list.
Colleges want recommendation letters from individuals who know you the best in an academic setting. Do you know whom to ask, when to ask, how to ask, and what to provide when you submit your request for a letter? Preparation for this stage of the college admissions process starts long before you ever even ask for a letter. We advise our students on how to build relationships with new teachers and strengthen ties with existing ones. By teaching students standard protocol regarding letters of recommendation, they learn to position themselves favorably for securing the strongest letters possible on their behalf.
College visits provide crucial information for determining the quality of fit between students and a given school – advanced planning is essential. You have a school you want to visit – now what? We advise students on the number and type of campuses to visit, what they should pay close attention to during the campus tour, to whom they should talk with on campus, and what kinds of questions to prepare for admissions officers. By preparing both parents and students, we help students maximize their college visit experience by being strategic in selection of campuses and encouraging an early start to college touring.
Scholarships are awarded to students with nearly perfect GPAs and test scores – this is a myth. Contrary to popular belief, there are more opportunities for securing money for college than most are aware of. Competition for college funds is fierce but starting early, applying strategically, and learning how to construct a compelling scholarship application will enhance your prospects for financing your college education. We help students identify potential awards to apply for and offer advice and strategies for putting together a competitive scholarship application.
Applying for financial aid is an intimidating process and paying for college is a concern for most families. Will your family qualify for financial aid? Will you be eligible for merit aid? Which colleges can your family afford? What happens if your financial aid award isn’t enough? We help you with tasks such as determining which type of aid to apply for, calculate total cost of attendance, and forecast potential loan amounts required to finance expenses not covered by aid. Because the stakes are high and the path is unfamiliar, we support our parents and students by helping them navigate one of the more tedious and complicated components of the college admissions process.
Regular, rolling, or early decision? Early action or restrictive early action? Early decision and early admission plans may or may not be in your best interest. If these options are available at the top choice schools you are applying to, the pros and cons of each decision or action plan must be carefully weighed. We help you evaluate your goals, grades, test scores, and financial needs to determine which decision and/or action plan is most appropriate for you.
In extremely rare cases, a rejection to a college can be appealed successfully. Do you have a compelling case for reevaluation? We help students determine if they are one of the few students whose appeal efforts would be a worthwhile endeavor. Prior to submitting an appeal, we advise you on the type of evidence that might warrant a reconsideration and guide you through the logistics of submitting an official letter of appeal to the school.
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