GREETINGS Students and Families!
The past few weeks I've been engaging with families to create student-driven plans for the academic year.
They shared insights about their summer experiences at collegiate programs, internships and family travels including four continents!
Summer vacations are a time to explore and recharge and I'm thrilled to share that students are excited to return to school while concurrently expressing reasonable concerns about their challenging schedules. "How is everything going to fit?!"
Indeed, "fit" is an important goal both in high school and in the undergraduate experience.
I remind all students about how important it is to extend the summer program energy into the fall semester and together we've been setting plans for off-campus extracurricular activities that would continue to ignite both an intellectual passion and bring balance to the high school experience.
As regular readers of my newsletters know, I continue to emphasize how high school is a time for exploration and a time to deepen a love of learning while finding a personal style of time management that will continue into the undergraduate experience. For parents, it can be difficult to let go of expectations that teens approach "work' the same we do with twenty and even thirty more years of experience. My previous newsletter on "Building Independence" is one you will enjoy.
In addition to another academic year, conversations with
my rising seniors have shifted to the continuing process of college applications and nearly everyone has solidified college short lists after returning from their campus visits and summer programs. The "fit" is one that includes ACADEMICS, SOCIAL and FINANCIAL placement for the student and family.
Previous readers of my newsletters know that helping students become intrinsically motivated bringing a passion and energy to learning is exactly what parents and educators aim to inspire in all our students.
Finding meaningful connections within a community is essential for a student to become intrinsically motivated and passionate about learning!
(Emory bound senior in your household? -That's the subject of one of this year's essay topics-- "What motivates you to learn!?").
There's no place like home. Where is your academic home?! That is your path to success!
What are your student's
academic and social goals this year?
What motivates your student? Successful students are intrinsically motivated!
What positive and welcomed
steps can parents take to help students remain motivated towards goals?
Success begins with a student-led Strategic Educational & College Admissions Plan with actionable items!
It's not too early (Freshman) or too late (Seniors) to set goals, build solid time management and learning strategies and discover a hidden academic strength. I invite you to learn more about my role in helping to build your student's plan!
A Strategic Educational Plan Includes:
- A Challenging "synergistic" high school curriculum (AP, IB, AICE, Dual-Enrolled??)
- Sustained, directed and meaningful extracurricular activities
both within and outside of school (Involvement driven by genuine interest)
- Student directed research to explore a variety of emerging academic and career interests
(Customized academic/career discovery exercises focused on your strengths!)
- Time management solutions
(Parents- you're too busy to argue with your emerging adult about homework!)
- Setting goals for target colleges, majors and scholarships (Overlapping interests?)
- Affordable college choices - FAFSA, CSS Profile, Merit-based aid??!
(Yes, you can afford college-- please click last week's newsletter detailing information about
Motivated, Self-Directed & Confident Young Adults Ready to Succeed as High School and Undergraduate Students!
Let's get you up-to-speed on some important action items
for freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors:
All High School Students (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th):
Customized Learning Solutions:
Review any concerns from the previous academic year and create solutions:
1) learning strategies and study habits for difficult or time consuming classes, Please don't fall into the "tutor" trap.
2) External resources for added support,
3) test-taking skills and preparation,
4) time management techniques, and
5) reducing potential stress from being overextended!
Whether you have an "A" student or a student who struggles, every student should take stock of how smoothly their "processes" work.
For example, earning a "4.0" GPA on 5 hours of sleep a night is not a sustainable (nor healthy) path!
Likewise, paying for a math tutor multiple times a week should remind you of the parable about giving someone a fish or a fishing rod !
Let me help your student create long lasting strategies.
High School Curriculum Map: As an educational consultant with thirty years of university experience, I provide valuable pre-college advising to ensure:
1) a seamless transition between high school classes and your anticipated undergraduate major, and
2) success in the college application process.
*** 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 path is essential.
Your transcript matters most!
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annual State of College Admissions report confirms 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.
What's Your Unique "Story"?!
Extracurricular activities define and shape your high school experiences. While enjoyable, your activities may also create time management challenges.
Your strategic plan may require refinement to more carefully select quality (not quantity) extracurricular activities.
Participate in activities that truly bring you enjoyment and provide opportunities for leadership, growth and potential exploration of personal or academic interests (i.e.
) but not at the expense of your GPA and peace of mind. NEED IDEAS??!!!
500 or 100 hours of Community Service?
Admissions staff look for sustained and heartfelt commitments to 1 to 2 organizations. Multiple hours spread across several one-time efforts will not add value to an application. But more important, such efforts don't help young adult develop meaningful connections within the community.
What's really important is to engage in a community that aligns with your family's core values.
Especially for Juniors:
- College Visits: The upcoming year is an important one for exploring 3900+ potential colleges in the US!.
LEARN MORE: COLLEGE VISITS
Juniors should begin the process of exploring major areas of interest. Leverage my university experience and knowledge of a variety of majors. Let's explore together!
Look for synergies between your high school curriculum,
and potential undergraduate majors of interest!
Whether your student is STEM, business, liberal arts focused or a "creative" (music, art, drama & even journalism)-- I'm confident I can introduce you to majors you haven't yet considered to further inspire academic re-direction and increasing chances of admission!
SENIORS-- If you haven't decided where you'll apply, let me suggest some campuses that have overnight programs - most free of charge and some cover your travel expenses.
FLORIDA or other State PRE-PAY plans? I'm positive I can also make suggestions for affordable private colleges that "fit" your student academically and socially.
Standardized Test Taking: Your strategic plan should include these exams and also include a schedule of regular and ongoing weekly preparation for your:
a) SAT or ACT b) SAT II subject tests and c) Advanced Placement exams.
Don't wait until April to begin reviewing for your important SAT II subject test and Advanced Placement exams. You do not need pricey and expensive third-party test preparation services. Let me help you
customize an ongoing manageable and
student self-directed test review program.
- Summer 2019:
IT'S ACTUALLY NOT TO EARLY TO START EXPLORING YOUR OPTIONS! A meaningful post-junior year summer activity increases the likelihood of acceptance at many colleges. Aside from working on your college application, the summer is an opportunity to work for pay, to volunteer, to work on a performance interview (arts/music) or attend a competitive summer program at a university.
Attending a summer college program is an excellent way to demonstrate "informed interest" in the college admissions process. You may even garner a recommendation from a professor for use in your college application. Financial assistance is available.
Let me help you to identify a summer college program that "fits" your needs and to help with your summer program application (typically due January to March.)
Review my earlier Newsletter on the merits of summer programs. Many are free of cost. I also work with students to customize a supervised stay-at-home program.
Especially for Seniors
Get vaccinated for SENIORITIS!
(I say this every year for the past two decades!)
is a serious affliction. It can start earlier than you think and it is highly contagious. It can even affect younger siblings prematurely!
Your college admissions to-do list includes
- Review and confirm you list of colleges
?Uncertain -- schedule an appointment to discuss your academic interests and "affordability". I can clarify some misconceptions about financial aid and merit scholarships.
- Begin work on your Common/Coalition core essay ASAP. Many of the more competitive schools have multiple essays ahead.
- Teacher recommendations, high school transcripts and standardized test scores can be submitted to colleges before your actual application is ready to submit. Please don't delay arranging forthese important required elements of your application portfolio.
WRITERS BLOCK FALL SERIES BEGINS AUGUST 19 - We meet Sunday Afternoons-- Students stay on target when they set aside dedicated time to work on their essays and applications
COMMON APPLICATION vs.
Keep in mind the Common Application essay allows up to 650 words in contrast to the Coalition (UF/FSU) application of 420 words.
Please contact me for assistance making the most effective presentation of your academic, extracurricular and personal experiences!
Complete Your College Applications ASAP! WHY??>>
At some institutions, admissions committees can read applications on a rolling basis. From my experience as a university faculty member reviewing college applications, I can tell you with absolute honesty that there's an unconscious and favorable bias to reading files submitted before the rush of tens of thousands of last-minute applications. (As well s those submitted on the December 1 ED rejection spike.)
***The earlier you submit, the smaller the number of applicants, and for colleges reviewing on a rolling basis, more time will be spent reviewing your file This increases the likelihood that if qualified, you'll be invited to apply for /considered for merit-based scholarships.
Last year many colleges reported that time spent on files has now dipped below 10 minutes. IMAGINE THAT!! Someone will have that little time to render a decision this important!
Financial Aid Eligibility and Scholarship Search: Parents of seniors this is the time to review what you can afford and explore the actual cost of your child's college education given your FAFSA EFC.
Having spent three decades as a university professor, I have the inside experience and knowledge to maximize your financial aid award! If you are eligible for financial aid, I am confident we can negotiate to increase your initial financial award. Do you have a complex situation- business income, trust, divorced/blended family- I can navigate your FAFSA, CSS Profile and non-custodial information to maximize your awards.
I wish all students a peaceful and successful 2018-19 academic year.
I invite you to contact me with any questions or decisions you're facing about your courses, extracurricular activities, learning accommodations or the entirety of your college application process.
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni Representative