A meditating frog

Living With Roommates

Many first year college students are sharing a room with another person for the first time, as well as deliberately establishing their own living space. While intellectually, many understand that they’ll need to find common ground with their new roommates, many are underprepared for the work of negotiating ground rules.  One, now second year college student, Colin, who chose to…

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Stop Guessing About Test Optional Admissions

With continued, widespread test optional admissions policies, where students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their college applications, inevitably, students, under the misconception that an acceptance letter is THE objective of college admissions, worry about unwittingly harming their admissions evaluation by either adding or excluding test scores from their application.  With test-optional admissions, students…

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Mr. Kipling’s Advice for College Applicants

Prior to the senior year of high school or transfer admissions, students simply matriculate in a pack, taking the same classes, striving for the same grades, clustering in similar out-of-school enrichment activities. Yet, at the moment of applying to college, students need to make their own decision—relate the process, to what Mr. Kipling shares the benefits, yet complexity of walking…

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College Selection: Making College Admissions a Game, a Common Mistake

Selection is defined as “serious attention and vigilant consideration”. Therefore the effective selection of colleges is essential to reduce risks of mis-allocating $150,000 to $200,000. Yet, parents and teens compromise their ability to reason, as they’re often also attempting to counter emotion and expectation, with misconceptions when seeking value in college, only adding complexity to selecting colleges.   Families often mis-perceive…

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A meditating frog

Why Advice for Parents of Kindergarteners Also Helps Parents of New College Students

Parents of college students experience the bittersweet rewards of a job well-done, their “babies” are capable of caring for themselves, but doing so without seemingly “needing” a parent. So, a Kindergarten’s teacher’s advice can be helpful:  ….they [one’s kid] will probably have a hard time separating from you. It’s normal, and it may last a few days, but it gets…

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Adverb Abuse

Teenage authors often punctuate their sentences with “very” and “really”, exaggerating the experience being described, which actually dilutes the meaning of their experience. For example, I really enjoy reading books. Does “really” add value to the student’s enjoyment? Or do you, as the reader, become suspect (even subconsciously) of the writer’s enjoyment of reading, exaggerate the value of reading?  Any…

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The Most Essential Interview

To effectively brainstorm topics for college essays, students must be interviewed by an experienced advisor, who not only knows the college admissions process, but applies their experience within the context of an anxious teenager seeking to define their life’s vision.  When teens query themselves in some me-talking-with-me, thinking exercise, they will unwittingly dismiss ideas, not connect one event to the…

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College essay writing often requires an (re)education in the art of Autobiographical writing

Every year, I remediate high school seniors’ and transfer applicants’ writing process. After elementary school, few teachers explicitly teach the writing process. Instead, teachers assign scripted “Essays”, hemming students into following a rubric (or risk a lower grade), based on a narrow prompt, replete with requirements of specific numbers of quotes or citations, and strict word limits.  Students make few…

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Describing Extracurricular Activities In Digital College Applications Can Be An Exercise in Frustration

Students commit hours of their lives, year after year, in organized activities afterschool and on the weekends. (Their parents, as chauffeurs/Uber drivers, coaches, snack providers, co-chairs of every fundraiser, etc, equally spend years of their lives as their kids’ support team.)  Thus, at the moment of capitalizing on their efforts, as part of the online college application activities & awards…

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Completing Online College Applications Can Be More Complicated Than Expected

Self-reporting classes and grades on a digitalized college application may seem straightforward, yet the first challenge is families take a crash course in edu-speak.  Block schedules, quarters, semesters, trimesters, one grade, two grades, three grades per class require precise manipulation of the standardized digital format so students accurately report their academic history. However, the actual form where students self-report their…

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The Risks of Applying Early Decision

Many students as well as their parents believe that if they apply Early Decision they have an “advantage” given the higher admit rate over regular decision. However, given Early Decision is a binding choice, where students MUST enroll (legal but is it constitutional?) If admitted, considering the pros and cons therefore is prudent.  While the percentage of students admitted from…

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Candid Conversations Before College Life Commences 

The late summer for a first year college student is often a frenzy of purchasing all the trendiest dorm accessories, while trying to soak in every last minute with friends who will soon walk their own path. Parents trade insider tips about medical/first aid kits and all the legal documents, like health care directives, for their newly christened adult children. …

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College Degrees Offer No Economic Guarantees

As executives at tech giants, like Facebook, Intel, Netflix, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, announce hiring freezes and layoffs, the technology sector may not be the stable and growing industry with ever-lasting employment opportunities that many students and their parents have been promoting. To add insult to injury, new computer science grads (aged 22-27 years old) already encounter competition for jobs,…

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Full Circle: Early Decision is Regular Decision Again and The College Admissions Rat Race Continues Unabated 

Tulane University admitted two-thirds of their Fall 2022 class, through Early Decision, essentially transforming early admissions into Regular Decision. If Tulane is setting a trend (our base case) or will remain an outlier in college admissions (not likely), depends on whether students and parents continue to apply early admissions believing in their worth as candidates or (more likely) gaming the…

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The College Admissions Guessing Game

The subjectivity of college admissions, combined with the unpredictability of the future, parents and graduating high school seniors, are making (sometimes) educated guesses about college often imbued with expectation and clouded by emotion regarding the value—often complex to define—of a college education. To value a college education, families must be as candid as possible. Additionally, each family member must willingly…

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