STUDY GROUPS over TUTORS:
First and foremost- this year I'm continuing to encourage and introduce students to the collaborative learning taking place throughout college I am encouraging this approach for all student's-- whether succeeding or struggling, study groups are one of the most effective ways to learn in challenging AP classes.
As my clients begin to call and request tutor recommendations for Pre-Calc, Calculus and AP Chemistry, I remind parents that the reliance on a tutor is your LAST resort to fostering your student's independence. If you're interested, I would like to connect you with another student(s) to form a study group for homework and test preparation. Aspiring STEM majors, I highly encourage you to embrace this approach. Please contact me if interested or why wait?! Parents- encourage your student to look around their classroom(s) and reach out to form a study group for ongoing homework, test preparation and reinforcement of materials.
Other online resources that focus on self-reliance in challenging AP and STEM classes include:
As an educational consultant, I can assist your student in creating a self-directed ongoing learning and time management strategy to prepare throughout the academic year for spring AP and SATII subject tests. There is no reason for surprises nor stress in April when a student can realistically assume responsibility for learning and time management throughout the year.
Parents can help their students discover the joy of learning without pricey tutors and external rewards. Asking: "Did you do your homework" isn't the most motivational approach for your stressed or overwhelmed student.
Our goal is to build your student's educational strategy to leave each student feeling empowered about their success!
Fall is College Fair season!
Sophomores and Juniors-- It's not too early to attend a college fair! (Seniors- by now I hope you have your short list of "reach", "match" and "safeties" confirmed - but if not, please contact me ASAP to help narrow your list. Criteria: Academic, Social and Financial Fit)
For 10th and 11th grade students, the next two years are filled with exploration of potential majors and colleges. I'll be actively guiding your college research and introducing you to majors you may have overlooked that are a potential great fit given your emerging interests and academic strengths. I invite you to read my earlier blog posting:
I continue to receive inquiries from Senior families this late in the process who haven't received accurate information about college majors, college choices and the affordability of attending an out-of-state private institution. Senior year is not the time to be confused. A strategic educational plan built during the freshman to junior years takes the mystery out of finding and paying for college.
Some college fairs taking place in South Florida, include:
Annual College Fair at Boca Raton HS
Tuesday September 26 6 to 8 p.m.
NACAC Fall 2017 College Fair
Sunday October 1 1 to 4 pm
Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
Annual Palm Beach County College Fair
South Florida Fair Grounds
Wednesday October 18 6 to 8 p.m.
Please stop at my booth to say hello!
Attending a college fair gives you some exposure to the variety of colleges including those you may have overlooked. You have an opportunity to learn about academic majors, social life and to inquire about
interesting and competitive summer programs that may be appropriate for current sophomores and juniors.
Seniors should have confirmed their list of colleges. A college fair is also an opportunity to gain information to narrow a list that may still be too long.
SENIORS: Should you attend visits by campus representatives at your high school? Quite frankly, if this means missing AP Calculus there is truly little you'll learn about a college that you cannot read about at the college's website. If the setting is a small one, collecting a card and having an opportunity to follow up with an email to a campus representative can have a very small marginal impact.
Once your actual research is complete,
COLLEGE CAMPUS VISITS are encouraged and I invite you to reach out to discuss how to determine which colleges to visit as well as how to prepare for your campus visit and potential interview. Campus visits were the subject of a detailed earlier newsletter.
MULTI-CULTURAL/DIVERSITY CAMPUS EVENTS: Please contact me for a list of colleges that host diversity weekends. Attendance is often paid for by the college and there is a competitive application process at campuses including: Rice, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Emory and Carnegie Mellon!
Some tips for making the most of your college fair attendance:
1) STAY CONNECTED
If you have time, pre-print some cards/sticky labels with your name, high school, graduation date and email address to avoid having to fill out forms while at the fair!
from admissions representatives. If you learned something unique and valuable, send a thank-you email within 48 hours (see more below). Some colleges, such as Princeton University have a practice of keeping copies of all student communications in your admissions file.
Please make sure the
email address you're using isn't a source of embarrassment. If you don't already have a firstname.lastname Gmail or yahoo account- now is the time to create and utilize that account for all your college communication.
Previously I wrote about locking down your
Facebook account. If you hit the "like" button for a college, this gives them full access to your page. Please don't post pictures that present a less than flattering image. Yes, you're 15 or 16 years old and having a great time at this stage of life. That said, use your best judgment on how you present yourself. Please set your FB privacy settings so only "friends" get to see photos rather than "friends of friends".
2) INFORMED INTEREST
In my previous blog I spoke about the importance of demonstrating informed interest in your college application. If you have a
short list of schools
, do your homework and make the most of your time at the college fair.
Don't wander the aisles.
ou cannot stop at 100 college booths in two hours.
Make a plan to
target the schools of interest
and bring a specific list of questions that you CANNOT find answers to on the college's website. Ask admissions officers the
"What percentage of graduating seniors have found employment six months after graduation?"
"What percentage of freshman find a summer internship through the career center?"
"Our family isn't eligible for financial aid. Does your college offer merit based scholarships?"
"What's the maximum class size and the average class size in my intended major?"
"What percentage of classes are taught by actual full-time faculty as compared to adjuncts and graduate students"
"Is alcohol a 'problem' on campus?"
"What support services exist for academic and emotional support if I need it?"
"I'm considering a career in medicine. When will I be assigned a pre-health professions advisor?"
After you've hit your target list of schools, time permitting --
be adventurous and wander into the booths of schools that you never heard of and perhaps you'll be very surprised.
Well, not exactly. You're not attending a
fair (that occurs in college) and you don't need to have a 2 minute pitch about yourself. Your opportunity to sell yourself is during the college admissions cycle on your Common Application.
The college fair is for YOU!!
Admissions and alumni representatives want to interest you in the college they represent. So don't be shy, speak up and ask the tough questions above.
Parents, your child is wonderful and you mean well, but nothing screams louder than a chatty parent as a
potential indicator of a student's lack of independence and self-direction.
Please while it might seem obvious, don't "brag" to the admissions representative with a pre-rehearsed annotated resume-- no one is making an admissions decision at a college fair. In fact, parents, it would be best if your son/daughter does most of the talking outside of questions about financial aid and campus safety!
Students: Think of a
college fair as a college interview on training wheels.
Learning to feel confident speaking with admissions representatives as a sophomore and junior is great practice for the alumni and campus interviews taking place during your senior year. Take chances, make mistakes, and just dive in! There's nothing you can say that will be remembered and held against you later.
4) SUMMER PROGRAMS
Sophomores and juniors should use the evening to gather information about competitive summer programs in potential academic areas of interest. In particular,
women and minorities
should ask about special programs that are designated in majors typically under-represented by women and minorities. Such programs are highly competitive and often free of cost.
Please schedule your first quarter assessment where we will actually begin to plan summer 2018. The most competitive STEM, art and business programs have earlier application due dates than other "pay to play" programs.
5) PLANNING FOR SPRING CAMPUS VISIT
The college fair is an excellent opportunity to jump start your campus research in anticipation of junior year campus visits. In my earlier blog I wrote about how to research colleges in advance of expensive campus tours (airfare & lodging add up!).
upcoming campus visits that are scheduled specifically for juniors or for admitted seniors
. As noted, some colleges schedule "diversity" weekends and offer financial assistance for attendance.
6) AFTER the FAIR
a) Send a
thank you note
to any admissions officer that spent more than 2 minutes with you to hand you a brochure. If you shared a joke or an experience, reference the memory jogging point of your conversation. Sending a thank-you note is an opportunity to reinforce your interest in the school.
Organize the materials collected while things are still fresh in your mind. Review which colleges stood out and take some time to enter a few thoughts in your notes to set the stage for subsequent college research, a potential campus visit and an input into a summer application essay.
c) Discard any brochures of colleges you've eliminated so you can stay focused on schools that interested you the most.
1) If your college list has been finalized, please arrange to have official high school transcripts sent following instructions at college websites. Every high school has its own unique process to request and have these materials sent.
If standardized testing is complete, please send test scores as required by your colleges. Some colleges require all scores.
2) Approach teachers to confirm or to secure commitments to write your letters of recommendation.
You can facilitate the process by providing a packet of information to your teacher(s) including a list of your colleges and intended major area of study, your
activities resume and if complete, a copy of your college essay(s).
3) Parents and students should secure their unique FAFSA IDs. Parents in traditional and unique family situations are encouraged to begin working with me on FAFSA, CSS Profile and college specific financial aid forms in early November.
Once college applications are complete, students should begin recycling essays for submission to appropriate external scholarships.
4) Grades matter-- Mid-year grade reports
are a factor in admissions for many colleges. Don't take your gloves off just yet - especially if you're not an ED applicant!
5) Review the admissions websites and if interviews
are required or optional-- schedule yours ASAP as spaces fill. Please contact me to schedule your
6) Essays can be the difference! Continue your work on your Core and any college specific supplemental prompts to best showcase your "uniqueness" and academic strengths: