Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
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Educational & College Admissions  Advising 
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 Meet Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Meet Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD

Professor Emeritus
Cornell Alumni Representative
30+ Years Experience

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 educational 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 -
Serving Clients Throughout the US in-Person or Remotely
Be inspired! 

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
focuses on guiding students to best position themselves to reach educational and career goals. Personalized 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.

Be inspired! 

Educational & College Admissions Consulting:
  • Academic assessment and extracurricular planning and refinement
  • Customized solutions for effective study habits, time management strategies
  • Guided college research to explore program majors and create a list of target, reach and likely admit schools.
  • Negotiating and maximizing your financial aid award, including targeted scholarship search
  • Complete 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
  • Evaluating potential gap year programs and your admissions offers 
Career Services:
  • Resume, cover letters and networking  
  • Academic Advising for undergraduates 
  • Coaching for new graduates and graduate school applications

  • Curriculum Planning:  AP, IB, AICE, Dual-Enrollment? What's right for your student and WHY!? Click to View:    and   Read details below  
  •  AICE/AP/IB - High School Curriculum Planning!
    AICE/AP/IB - High School Curriculum Planning!
  • Some Mid Year-End Reminders!
  • Class of 2020:  College Writers Block Workshop  for Juniors


Please join me in offering congrats to all seniors and their families!!

Sample of recent college acceptances include: Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Brown, Purdue, SCAD, Ohio, Hamilton, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson , Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, SUNY Stonybrook, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Gettysburg, Temple, Denison, Howard, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF, and many more!

Greetings Middle & High School Families!

It's Time for Course Planning 2019-20:  
AP, IB, AICE, Academies, 

At this time of year, students and parents are focused on course selection and there is quite a bit of uncertainty  about the value of "Academies", AP classes, AICE vs. IB diplomas and whether "Dual-Enrollment" classes are appropriate. 

Beyond the high school graduation requirements in your state (20 to 24 credits), the classes you select serve some important roles:
  • Courses, and in particular-your electives- can help each student explore, develop and deepen an academic interest.
  • Core/required and elective courses allow students to better prepare for subsequent academic success.  Sequencing is important as are appropriate challenges. For example, a foundation in math is essential for STEM fields and AP art can develop core skills and expand a portfolio.
  • As discussed in depth below, the transcript reveals a student's ability to succeed as a undergraduate and has a direct impact on the likelihood of college admission.  Avoid following the crowd!
In my practice, I meet families who seem unreasonably misguided about how course choices impact class rank and yes, I also hear unrealistic notions about  the value of the weighted GPA. Families should aim to select a high school and a curriculum that encourages learning and discovery within a community that provides the support for your student's continued emotional development.

Let's get some facts straight:
  • The single most important factor for academic success as an undergraduate and in the college admissions process, is taking the most challenging and relevant curriculum a student can comfortably manage.

    What do Admissions Officers Consider?

    College Admissions & Financial Aid Tips: What Do Admissions Reps Consider?
    College Admissions & Financial Aid Tips: What Do Admissions Reps Consider?
  • Foundation courses in high school are important to subsequent undergraduate studies. Understanding the potential impact of taking AP Lang or getting off the "calc-path" to your undergraduate experience is essential.  For example, if you have an aspiring physician--there is a required set of undergraduate courses and high school can prepare you for success in those courses.
  • Your transcript matters most!  The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annual State of College Admissions report confirms (yet again) that universities continue to indicate that the high school transcript (your curriculum and GPA) is the single most important factor in the college admissions process.  If you feel interested in reading the entire report:

    CLICK to VIEW the 2018 Report
While a student's GPA and transcript are a significant determinant of admissions and academic success, there are as many as five to seven qualified applicants for every available space in the freshman class.  As a former admissions committee member and a current  Cornell alumni interviewer, I can assure you that admission committees seek to create a freshman class that is diverse in intended majors, geographic origin and personal interests.  
Students who are successful not only in admissions, but as actual undergraduate students, are those who have well defined interests, nurtured as early as middle school and further developed throughout high school.  

Having an academic niche or a personal passion outside the classroom builds motivation, focus and academic success .
What inspires your student?    
AP vs. IP  vs. AICE
AP Classes
Yes, these are the most challenging courses available in high school and will prepare your student for the reality of the demands of the undergraduate academic experience. 

Moreover, your scores on AP exams allow admissions to objectively compare students across high schools.  AP exam scores are NOT a required element on your college application, but excluding them in the space provided on the Common Application hints at your score. No one fails to share a "4" or a "5" on their college application.   BEWARE: some high schools actually report your AP score on your transcript.

AP exam scores may also substitute for SAT/ACT scores at Test-Flexible universities. For example, including three exams of your choice allows subject-specific test takers to reduce test anxiety and increase their chances of college admissions.

For a complete list of available AP and their descriptions CLICK HERE for AP COURSES
Ask me which AP tests are invaluable, if not essential, given your student's educational plans.

Despite the best of intentions and the best time management, enrolling in too many AP classes can create hours of homework thus limiting time available  for meaningful extracurricular activities (which are also essential for admissions success), needed sleep and family harmony (parent-child dynamics suffer when students are stressed and unnecessary homework  completion "arguments" ensue).

For example, if your student is STEM focused, there is little admissions advantage gained from taking AP History classes which have exceptionally large homework demands.   

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TIP: Again, admissions representatives aren't impressed by APUSH on a STEM applicant's high school transcript.  The flip side, humanities driven students might consider the importance of "big data"! All disciplines are now moving to analytics. So, while AP Physics isn't necessarily your cup of tea, if you're a pre-law, business or even an aspiring English major, consider AP Statistics, AP Psychology or AP Computer Science adding breadth to your file setting you apart from the typical humanities applicant.  

Don't follow the crowd- but focus on 
creating your unique high school curriculum plan
that is relevant to your education, college admissions and career objectives. Leverage my extensive knowledge of academic disciplines and  explore some unusual major areas of study (increasing your odds of admission and making you a stronger student).   

AP vs. IB vs. AICE
As noted, the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) and AICE programs are college-level courses providing the opportunity to earn college credit.
The underlying educational philosophies are quite different. The AP program is offered through the College Board and allows students to select one or a dozen courses tailored to their specific goals.  
In contrast, the IB program was developed in Europe and as the name implies, it's an international program.  Students earn a diploma by completing a specified number of courses across a range of subjects. To earn a diploma, there are specific distribution requirements. In some high schools, students are allowed to enroll in just a few IBs without earning their diploma.  This is also the case for the AICE program.
IB courses and the overall program place a significant emphasis on writing and developing critical thinking skills . Earning an IB diploma requires each student to complete an extended essay on a research paper. Unfortunately, many high schools don't schedule the timing of the essay to offer students the opportunity to submit their IB research papers to nationally sponsored essay competitions or to include on their college applications submitted early in the senior year.
A noteworthy difference between an AICE and IB diploma is flexibility. Students can select courses within three AICE curriculum areas. AICE is the most recent of the programs (piloted within the state of Florida), and it was only recently that the Common Application even recognized AICE as an option for designating course level. It is one of the newest advanced academic programs. AICE courses aren't as difficult as AP or IB courses. AICE courses don't often prepare students for success on required SATII subject tests.
Like the IB diploma, students within an AICE program take a variety of different level exams with specific subject area distributions with an option to earn an AICE Diploma. Few competitive colleges accept AICE credits towards the undergraduate transcript.
The AP program creates opportunities for students to learn specific content and subsequently tests this knowledge on AP exams. Courses have content objectives. AP exams have become the gold-standard of an academically rigorous curriculum. Earning a high grade on an AP exam can overshadow the high school transcript. For STEM students to be competitive in the admissions process, AP Calculus, AP Bio/Chem and/or Physics, APCS are invaluable and often expected on a student's transcript to be a viable candidate in the most competitive of colleges. Likewise, courses in AP History or AP Economics or AP Lang/Lit will be invaluable to preparation for many Humanities and Business students.
College Admissions TIP:   As discussed in my blog on required testing (see side bar above for links to recent newsletters), many competitive colleges require SATII subject tests. AP exams better prepare students for these exams than do AICE or IB classes.   In some sense, this is expected, as both AP and Subject tests are administered by the College Board.

Let's discuss whether Dual-Enrollment is right for you! 

Some of my current juniors have expressed an interest in Dual-Enrollment courses.  You may be interested in the  University of Florida's course offerings and I share the link for your review:

Please review potential classes and give me a shout out to explore how a specific course might fit into your strategic educational plan .  It's important to have very clear reasons for enrolling in any course, but especially an online course as these are not always reviewed favorably by admissions representatives at the most competitive colleges.   

Rising seniors should only consider courses that truly interest you and the opportunity to swap something out of your high school curriculum.   Above all, aim for something you cannot take at your high school. This isn't a substitution process- but an enrichment opportunity.

If you are certain you plan to attend UF, FSU or a college within the Florida system,  taking English as a Dual-Enrollment class as opposed to attempting a "5" on AP Lang/Lit would potentially offer a great chance of earning transfer credit towards freshman English as a Florida college student.  

Given my experience as a University Professor, please keep in mind, the most competitive colleges outside of Florida will not likely accept online credits as transfer classes,  and this is especially true for  STEM classes.

For rising sophomores and juniors, Dual-Enrollment is an opportunity to possibly experience learning about an interesting subject matter not offered at your high school.  

If you don't see any courses of interest at UF, please contact me to discuss some other competitive online programs available to high school students.


I work with students throughout the US and there is some version of South Florida's "Academy" or "Choice" program nearly everywhere.  To middle school families, these programs look inviting and yes, there are electives that expose young adults to subject matter and readings outside the core curriculum. If you review suggested "high school curricula" at admissions websites, you'll not find "Academies" noted. These are considered "electives".  

So, what is the value of these electives?!

Their value to 9th and 10th grade students is ongoing academy discovery.  By 11th or 12th grades, these classes aren't as academically challenging nor as valuable to a successful transition to the undergraduate experience as enrolling in more challenging AP classes.

The core subject matter can spark or solidify an interest. I have yet to find one student who indicates the concepts in these courses or the workload have been challenging. 

However, if you are working on an academic assignment/project that has the potential for submission to a science fair, essay contest or  the like - these elective courses can be enriching and valuable additions to the curriculum.  ASK YOUR TEACHER for support!


Please review your College Board and ACT accounts to ensure that registration has been completed for all SAT/ACT and SATII subject tests for  April, May and June.  Yes, invariably some registrations are not accomplished as intended.  

I continue to encourage all families to focus on having students self-manage all their registrations,    

I urge all students to take two practice tests under timed conditions.  

Ideally, proximity to AP exams is desirable for taking most subject tests.  
That said,  Math IIC and foreign languages can be postponed  for more practice time until the fall.

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS: Current 9th and 10th grade students with testing accommodations/504 plans should begin the process now of registering with both the College Board (SAT) and  ACT 

All students should revise and update their "Activities Statement/Resume/Brag Sheet"  to reflect all activities both formal and informal.     

Juniors  Your Activities Statement is an essential step in building the  contents for the first draft of the required section of your Common Application on Activities.

For those of you perfecting term papers and projects, keep in mind your best work may be suitable for submission to a variety of state and national essay competitions  (and scholarship  applications during the admissions cycle in your senior year). 

I look forward to discussing and reading any of your papers you would like to share.   Please don't under-estimate yourself!  Competition venues are available in business, STEM, humanities, poetry, legal issues and more.

YOUR COURSES for 2019-20!!

As noted, your student's GPA and transcript are the most significant determinant of admissions and academic success. High school is a time for academic and personal discovery.  Developing and sustaining a passion for learning cannot be overstated.  Sometimes that discovery is sparked by coursework and other times it is through an extracurricular experience.

There's very little variation in curriculum options across high schools in that all students will complete four years of english, four years of social studies, complete a foreign language and enroll in the math and science classes at a level they can manage.

The differences across high schools and across students are in the electives taken and in whether students enroll in Honors or AP/IB/AICE levels of classes.

Don't waste your electives !

Best Wishes for a meaningful and productive balance of the school year!

JUNIORS 2020: Our JUNE WRITERS BLOCK WORKSHOP (INFO & Registration)   Registration is now open- Please contact me for additional information about completing your Common Application Core Essay before Summer!


Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational and College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus & Cornell Alumni Representative

Educational and College ADVISING 
Serving Clients throughout the US in-person and online via SKYPE/Zoom
HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS   -- There are still a few spaces remaining in my June College Application Workshop.   

All clients have complimentary access to the June workshop and exclusive access to the Fall Sunday Afternoon Writers' Block series.

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.




Request your complimentary consultation.