Directing Your College Future

General Students

General Students

Investigating and researching colleges in abounding resources that include the internet, US News and World Report, the Atlantic Monthly and other annual college rankings.  

How-to-books, suggested reading lists, a high school college advisor, and college student evaluations and assessments of college life, can be an unwieldy and overwhelming prospect.  Where to begin often involves the consideration of colleges being discussed by classmates, parents and friends of the family.  And the College list begins somewhat randomly, without consideration of the “right fit” for the student.

Students now applying to college are facing an extremely competitive environment, where grades and test scores are only their introduction to admissions’ staffs.  Burdened with the normal demands of academically challenging coursework, exams, a job, students continue to pursue that passion that will distinguish them from others on a college application.  Students often need help, sorting through the varying requirements of numerous applications including the Common Application, the University of California application and institutional applications specific to a university, as well as completing the more compelling part of their applications which is their story – how involved they have been in and out of school, and how well they reflect on and then describe their experiences, thoughts and observations in their application essays.

As a College Admissions Advisor, my services begin with getting to know the student and his/her parents and learning about their objectives and aspirations.  I initially meet with both parents and the student for an information session that is devoted to understanding the basic profile of the student (grades, test scores and extracurriculars) and learning of any issues of concern for both the student and parents.  At the same time, parents and the student have an opportunity to get to know me and ask questions, as I explain the various components of the college admission process.

At the second meeting, I typically meet with just the student.  Together, we assemble, in more detail, a list of extracurricular activities, accomplishments and most importantly, we consider favorite activities and any passion that consumes much of the student’s time and energy.  We also will discuss particular colleges a student may already be considering.  After this meeting, I will compile a List of Colleges that will include suggestions of schools I recommend the student consider.  At some point, this list (of possibly 20-25 schools) will get pared down to a manageable number of schools with approximately 3-5 “reach”, “likely” and “safety” schools each, for a total of 9-15 schools.  These numbers can vary, depending upon many variables, including student versus parent preferences, legacy status, willingness to tackle numerous applications and other factors.

It will be up to the student to research the colleges, to determine if they are indeed colleges to which they are interested in applying.  During this second meeting, we will also begin to explore responses to essay prompts for various applications.

I will continue to assist the student with timing, organization of the work effort, identifying application requirements, including supplemental material, obtaining teacher and counselor recommendations, essay inspiration and review and preparing the strongest application possible.  I will also prepare the student for interviews and if necessary, assist with the final decision.  After the second meeting, work will continue through email exchange and additional meetings, as necessary.  I typically communicate with students through texting, emails, phone calls, Skype and office visits.  I am available afternoons, evenings and weekends for meetings, questions and advice.

The students will be responsible for completing all college applications and I will provide impetus and timely reminders about deadlines and retrieving any supplemental information required.  My continuing role in this process is to encourage students to do their best work possible and to appreciate the importance and priority of college applications.