Choosing the “Right” Application
Applying to college is all about making choices: which colleges to apply to, how to present yourself in essays, what families are willing to spend. Students applying to college today also have more choices than ever in college application forms. Because of this, understanding which application forms are available, and the differences between them, is an important step in the application process.
Do Rankings Really Matter?
In a brand-name driven society, it’s no surprise that families often turn to magazine rankings to help them find the “best” college. While college administrators may publicly dismiss rankings as meaningless, favorable rankings are often featured prominently on a school’s website.
Deans of Admission are under constant pressure to improve their rankings. A college that slips in the US News & World Report rankings may disappoint its alumni, and that can impact donations to the school. But families need to keep in mind that the quality of education doesn’t change dramatically in one year.
What Keeps College Admission Officers Up At Night?
If you’re a high school student (or the parent of one) sweating about college admissions, you might take heart from some news from the other side of the table. Many college admission officers are just as worried about whether you’ll apply and then take them up on their acceptance offer as you are about getting in.
Part of the reason many college admission officials are nervous is that many colleges had a tougher time filling their freshman class last year. The industry publication, Inside Higher Ed, recently surveyed senior college admission officials across the U.S. about their institutions’ admissions policies, procedures, and results. Sixty-three percent of the admission officials who responded reported that their college or university failed to meet their enrollment goals for the current academic year (2016-2017). That’s up from 58% when the same survey was conducted the prior year.
Social Media - Think Before You Post
Stories abound of students and even teachers sharing inappropriate items on social media. One would hope students who are about to apply to colleges and be evaluated by admission officers would know better. The truth is that the vast majority of high school students are very responsible about their social media presence, and we only hear about the foolish ones whose mistakes live on as lessons for others.
A big question most parents ask is whether or not colleges are fishing in the social media waters. Are colleges and universities proactively seeking out information on prospective applicants or not?
College Admissions Courtship
The college admissions process has occasionally been likened to an old-fashioned mating ritual.
It starts out with mutual flirtation: student flirts with colleges, requesting information and perhaps visiting campuses; colleges flirt with student, sending emails and a forest-full of brochures, mailings and catalogues.
It starts to get a little more serious: student may decide to “go steady” and apply as a binding Early Decision candidate which means that if they are accepted, they must attend. Many students choose to “play the field” and open up their search to include many colleges and universities.
How long have you been in business as an independent educational consultant (IEC)?
The College Blueprint, LLC has been in business since 2001 serving students in Orange, San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Additionally, we have a location in the mid-Atlantic region.
What is your training and education?
All College Blueprint consultants are experienced and have either a Master’s Degree in Counseling and/or a post-bachelor’s certificate in College Counseling from UCLA or UCI.
Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my student’s top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships?
Do not trust any offer of guarantees. Ethical educational consultants cannot guarantee admission nor guarantee scholarships.
How do you keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures? How often do you visit college campuses and meet with admissions representatives?
The ONLY way for an educational consultant to know about the best matches for your student is to visit colleges regularly. We have conducted over 500 college visits and continue to visit additional colleges every year.
Do you belong to any professional associations?
NACAC and IECA are the two associations for independent educational consultants with established and rigorous standards for membership. We have memberships in both organizations and our CEO has served on several national committees.
Do you attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?
Not only do we attend conferences, but our CEO, also presents at conferences and has served on the faculty for training new consultants who are entering the profession.
Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement or a referral?
Educational consultants absolutely should not and we certainly do not!
Are all fees involved stated in writing, up front, indicating exactly what services I will receive for those fees?
From The College Blueprint, LLC, you will receive a detailed description of all of the services we will be providing to you and your student.
Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf?
No, educational consultants should NOT and we will not; it is essential that the student be in charge of the process and all materials should be a product of the student’s own, best work. For financial advice, it is important to seek assistance from a qualified financial advisor.
Will you use personal connections to get me into one of my student’s top choices?
An educational consultant doesn't get a student admitted-we help your student demonstrate why he or she deserves to be admitted. We take great pride in helping students find their college fit and it is important for their success in college that they “own” their educational planning process.
According to the Annual Report of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, a student’s GPA and Standardized Test Scores are the two top factors considered on the college application.
You have all been so helpful – from SAT to AP! David’s involvement with College Blueprint over the past 2 years has produced great results.
– Parent of a high school junior
By Jan Kerchner, Certified Educational Planner
From entrepreneurs to celebrities, airline founders to financiers, investors to authors, people with learning differences have been many of the game changers in our society. Your student is in good company!
College is the logical next step after high school and, with appropriate advanced planning, students with learning differences can have a successful college experience. Below are three critical items for parents of LD college bound students to consider when preparing for the college admission process. In all cases, early transition planning for college is key to your student’s personal and academic success.
1. Evaluate your student’s readiness for college and help them develop the skills to balance their academic and personal lives.
Be realistic about your student’s readiness to manage independent living while maintaining good grades. Balancing life and managing time in college can be difficult and students unprepared to do so, find themselves sleeping in their childhood bedroom during what should have been their second year of college.
If your student is still in middle school, there is time to develop the skills necessary to successfully manage academic and personal life. However, if your student is a junior in high school and you are still telling him when to go to bed, checking on his homework completion and reminding him of upcoming tests or soccer games, there is work to be done. Be honest with yourself and your student and if there are some weak areas, work on those now.
2. Identify the parameters necessary to maximize your student’s success in college.
With your student, prepare a list of factors that are key to his or her academic success. Consider the type, location, ambience and size of the college. But more importantly, consider the academic rigor and the level of LD friendliness of the college. Finally, define the accommodations needed for him or her to achieve academic success. Colleges offer a breadth of support services for students with learning differences. However, keep in mind that they vary from college to college. Research is tantamount to finding the right fit.
The accommodations being utilized by your student in his or her education are documented in your student’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and in the Psychological Educational Evaluation completed by the licensed psychologist who diagnosed your student. If your student is finding them useful in his or her current setting, look for colleges offering similar accommodations within their support services.
Below you will find a link to an interesting article regarding student debt. It posits that our concern with student debt should not be directed at those who emerge from University and have incurred debt, but, rather, those who accrue a small amount of debt but never get their degree. So for those who ask the question, “is there still value in higher education”, the answer is yes!
Read more here.
by Karen Lerner, Educational Therapist, The College Blueprint
If you are looking at our website and thinking about college application support for your child, but also recalling how that child has been struggling in middle or high school, please take a moment to read this blog.
I recently read an article by Anthony Carnevale, of Georgetown University, who was discussing the current state of Career and Technical Education (CTE), or what we previously referred to as Vocational Training, in our school system. One interesting point that he made was that each year 400,000 students who are in the top half of their high schools, matriculate to college, but fail to earn a degree at either a two or four year college eight years later. There are many reasons why a student might not stay in school – financial considerations, geographic changes, etc. However, I deal with students who have academic, social, and/or emotional issues, and those struggles are probably also represented in this number.
Finding the right school for a student with specific learning, emotional, or social concerns is one way to approach this situation. The College Blueprint routinely works on analyzing student issues and then identifying schools that will be a good fit. But another approach is to ask your child what he/she wants to ultimately do with his/her life, and proceed in another direction – that of finding a solid institution that provides CTE. There are many in Orange County that will help support your child in all types of careers, offering not only academic support, but courses that are focused on specific interests. Additionally, the nature of much of the course work allows for a multi-modality design to the curriculum; the student that struggles with paper and pencil might have a better chance with a more kinesthetic approach to his/her education.
Finally, for many of my students, they operate better when they understand the relevance of taking their courses, and a program where each class leads to a career makes expending the effort easier. We can help with identifying and supporting acceptance to CTE institutions right here at The College Blueprint.