Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
focuses on guiding students and career professionals to better position themselves to reach educational and career goals. You'll receive unlimited one-on-one attention to create a focused and personalized strategic plan.
With over thirty years experience as a university professor, admissions committee member and HR Consultant, you're invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities.
Pre-College Academic Advising!
LINKS to Previous Newsletters:
This note provides insights on what you can accomplish in a campus visit. Whether you're just starting your college search or an admitted senior, please look at some valuable tips.
No student should be enrolled in seven AP classes. Please review this note discussing the balance between selected classes and your extracurricular life to increase your chances of a successful undergraduate experience.
This resource will help sophomore and junior families understand what's ahead and the connection between cost/financial aid to college choices. For seniors, some insights on negotiating your financial aid offers
Educational & College Admissions Consulting:
- Academic assessment and extracurricular planning and refinement
- Customized solutions for effective study habits, time management and test taking strategies
- Assistance with college research and program majors to create a list of target, reach and likely admit schools.
- Negotiating and maximizing your financial aid award, including targeted scholarship search
- Guided college application assistance and review, including application deadline management.
- Admissions essay- finding your niche, topic development and guided editing of multiple drafts of your Common Application core and supplemental essays and Scholarships
Summer Internships/Co-ops, REU and research assistantships application support
- Evaluating potential gap year programs and your admissions offers
Greetings Students & Families!
How is your student's school year unfolding? If smiles and energy are beginning to fade, there are many reasons. Please read: Back to School: Is Your Student Intrinsically Motivated?. High school is an opportunity to build a foundation for personal and academic discovery that continues throughout the undergraduate experience.
What's your student passionate about?
Take out your camera!!
Look through the lens and what do you see? Just a few short weeks ago, my Facebook Newsfeed was filled with back-to-school pictures taken by proud parents of smiling, confident students. The posts below the pictures: "first day of senior year", "starting high school", "off to pre-school"! I admit, my coffee table displays a photo taken pre-Facebook of my daughter (now a successful engineer) carrying her 101 Dalmatians lunchbox to her first day at pre-school. The beaming faces last August were filled with anticipation of the year ahead.
It's time to take another picture. Go ahead and look through your lens. What do you see?
If your student is now a high school senior (class of 2019!), I'll have more to say below about
the Common Application, college essays and completing College Applications.
For students in 6th to 11th grades, take another picture and look to see how the academic, extracurricular and personal experiences are continuing to shape each student's character or perhaps opening new windows into a student's strengths or interests (both personal and academic). Is your student fortunate enough to have a mentor or a teacher who is inspiring, solidifying or introducing an emerging academic/career interest?
Perspective is important as is ongoing introspection and reflection. Students and parents can seize the opportunity to dialogue about habits that that are going well both within and outside the classroom.
What academic subjects and extracurricular activities are joyful, which are stressful and which present opportunities to make adjustments to time management and learning strategies?
Whether your pictures are of students celebrating with family and friends, competing in sports, DECA, debate or FIRST Robotics or simply a wonderful family vacation -
look at your pictures and connect the dotted lines. Be amazed by the engaging young adult who will very soon be off to college in a blink.
As an educational and college admissions consultant, I invite you to leverage my experience providing pre-college advising to thousands of young adults.
Whether your student thinks they have a confirmed academic interest or they're still exploring,
please click to schedule
your Educational and College Admissions Assessment creating an individual Strategic Educational Plan.
Through guided reading, hands-on exercises and extracurricular activities, students at all grade levels should be focused on exploring a variety of academic/career paths that capitalize on their strengths and emerging interests.
Everyone should discover a passion before college!
SENIORS/Class of 2019:
What Should You Be Doing Now??
Increasing Your Chances of Admissions
If you've been reading my newsletters, you've come to appreciate the importance of "passion". An intrinsically motivated student is secure and naturally seeks to explore academic and extracurricular interests.
For seniors, matching a student's interests to a specific major area of study is the initial step in the college admissions process.
On the sidebar, you'll find links to my recent posts to assist you with selecting colleges and understanding financial aid.
I encourage all students to complete applications before November 1. Juniors (2020)-- our Writers Block Workshop begins in early June and hope you'll contact me to learn more.
June 4, 5, 7, 11 & 12 2019
SPACE IS LIMITED !!
Seniors 2019-- We have completed our Sunday Fall Series! BRAVO!
- Essay prompts are unchanged and can be found here: COMMON APPLICATION ESSAY PROMPTS
The essay is a critical part of your application allowing you to showcase your strengths, your character, your passion(s) and how you connect to your "community".
|College Admissions Tips: Writing Your College Application Essay
Students Take the Lead!
The college application process has many moving parts. While students are indeed busy, I want to stress the importance of this being a student driven process. Students are encouraged to take the lead navigating, as it is excellent preparation for the undergraduate experience ahead (course registration, summer internship and study-abroad applications, paying bursar bills, etc.).
Parents and counselors are trusted partners. Rest assured, your student will be attending graduation parties wearing their college t-shirt!
What to do now?
- Finalize your balanced list of match, reach and 'safety' colleges to also include your choice of major for each college on your list. Be aware of all unique admissions requirements and due dates for all required materials.
- Secure teacher commitments to write your required recommendations. You can assist your teacher by providing supporting documentation about your interests and background
- Complete your Activities Resume
- Complete work on your CORE essay.
- Dive into your college specific SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAYS
- Review all your test scores and if necessary, additional practice and retesting should be scheduled.
- If required for your intended major, finalize your portfolio
- After your list of colleges is finalized, arrange to submit transcripts and standardized test scores
- Estimate your financial aid eligibility at FAFSA4CASTER and evaluate your choice of colleges relative to your family finances
COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS:
UNIQUE PRESENTATION MATTERS
Your core admissions essay is a very critical component of your application as it allows you to distinguish yourself from other applicants and to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. It is how to share and highlight your unique strengths and experiences in a way that your transcript and test scores cannot fully illuminate.
I tell my clients to begin by thinking of experiences that may have brought humor, happiness or even sadness into their lives. The things you remember most are those that shape you - they make you laugh, cry, they are worth sharing because they tell a story that defines you and provides insights about where you want to go with an emphasis on how you will contribute to your college campus community as well as sharing what you hope to achieve during your undergraduate experience.
Your essay should not read as an annotated activities resume, nor is it meant to be a self-attestation of your virtues. (Leave that to your teachers and guidance counselor!)
The essay is an opportunity to present a narrative of an interesting experience in a heartfelt and genuine manner allowing a reader to easily infer more about you and what you bring to the class of 2023!
Writing a quality essay will enhance your chances of admission. Last minute essays run the risk of coming across as rushed and unpolished.
We can all agree that the College Admissions process is complex and your application will most certainly be evaluated on several comprehensive criteria.
There are now more than 1000 Accredited Colleges and Universities DE-EMPHASIZING ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs. This list can be found here at
Which format: ACT OR SAT?
All colleges will accept either test format. Students are encouraged to explore both exams and take a practice test at home under test conditions. If you're working with a test preparation service/tutor, you should expect an assessment of testing formats with customized test preparation based on YOUR STUDENT's needs.
*** If your student finds the ACT acceptable, I prefer the ACT simply for a logistical reason. SAT dates in May and June should be reserved for SATII Subject tests. These subject exams are required at many of the more competitive colleges and the best time to take these is immediately following AP exams/end of the school year. Also, SATII subject tests can be submitted in lieu of SATI scores at test-flexible institutions.
Super Scoring and Score Choice options should relieve some of the stress over SAT/ACT scores. Many colleges "superscore" which means that your application is evaluated on a composite score based on the best sub-scores across different test dates. This list can be found here:
Juniors - Class of 2020 - PSAT
The PSAT is also nothing to be terribly concerned about because this exam serves very little purpose beyond qualifying an exceedingly small number of students as National Merit Finalists. Please don't fret about this exam either.
The PSAT is not reported in your college applications. However, if you are an 8th to 11th grade student, the PSAT is often and acceptable standardized test to submit for any competitive collegiate summer programs.
The College Board received 157,000 requests for testing accommodations. I recommend that students apply for their accommodation as soon as possible as this covers not only the SAT/ACT but your AP exams.
If you're approved for a testing accommodation, it's important that your tutor administer a diagnostic tool to determine which exam format is most suitable for you, as some exam formats align more effectively with specific learning disabilities. Your test preparation should incorporate and adjust for your accommodations. For example, if you have extra time, your tutor should be teaching you how to effectively leverage this accommodation to realize your full potential.
Please be aware that the ACT organization will only approve accommodations if the student has been professionally diagnosed and if the student receives the same accommodations at high school. ACT also requires students to register for a specific test date at the time you apply for the accommodations.
The College Board requires accommodation requests to be submitted seven weeks in advance of your test date. Please start the process early allowing for time for appeals if necessary. While having your high school support (if not handle) your accommodation request is extremely helpful, it isn't necessary. Parents can do so independent of the high school if necessary. There is no stigma with requesting accommodations and this information is NOT shared with college admissions records.
Testing anxiety is a genuine concern. For some students, an accommodation can be invaluable to addressing and resolving test anxiety. Please speak to your family physician for a referral to a licensed psychologist specializing in evaluation and providing the support you need to create the appropriate accommodations not only for testing but for success throughout high school.
Accommodations such as extended time, isolated test taking or keyboarding are provided for a variety of situations including ADHD, executive function disorders, physical disabilities such as visual processing or handwriting, and mood/anxiety disorders including test taking anxiety.
It's certainly not uncommon for students to feel uneasy at exam time; but some students have experienced actual test anxiety which inhibits the student from performing to the best of their abilities as a result of cognitive and/or physiological responses to their anxiety. A licensed psychologist should be consulted to diagnose testing anxiety and create a plan for treatment allowing the student to feel empowered about the outcome and situation. Preparing for exams and relaxation strategies will help students with test anxiety.
Your psychologist should and can coordinate with your tutor.
SAT/ACT TEST PREPARATION
All students should of course take practice exams regularly as this provides information about what needs further work and creates a setting for continued improvement on specific targets. Students should be familiar with the range of tests scores that are consistent with colleges of interest.
Test preparation can be undertaken in many time and cost effective ways including:
- Independent student directed practice at home through books or self-paced online programs (some free of charge such as Khan Academy offered through the College Board are effective).
- Small group classes - buyer beware. The curriculum leaves little room for personalized attention and a self-motivated student would do better on their own.
- Individual Tutoring - focused on the content areas requiring the most attention. Expect a 6 -8 week time period for maximum results including assignments between weekly sessions for maximum results.
Whether you're ready to write your college essays or just beginning to research colleges and majors, or perhaps you want to create a customized summer reading plan to explore or deepen an academic/personal interest, I invite you to contact me to schedule
Educational and College Planning Assessment
available for current seniors and all middle and high school students.
Best wishes for a absolutely meaningful and enriching academic year.
Take great pictures to capture wonderful memories!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
Get started today creating a strategic educational plan for long term educational success.
2019 WRITERS BLOCK APPLICATION WORKSHOP June 4, 5, 7, 11 & 12
A Sample of 2018 Acceptances:
Northwestern, Georgia Tech, UNC, Emory, Cornell, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Purdue, Ohio, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Colgate, Fordham, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson , Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Stonybrook, Rochester Institute of Technology, Boston, Hobart & William Smith, Gettysburg, Temple, SUNY-Stonybrook, Denison, Howard, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF and more