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.
1. Social media can be used as a tool. More and more, college admissions officials are looking at Facebook pages, Google+ profiles, Twitter feeds, and YouTube videos to research college applicants, especially before admissions interviews. Use social media to display your strengths, activities, and interests. Remember: Don’t post things that you wouldn’t want college admission officials to see.
2. Your GPA holds the most weight. In college admission decisions, your GPA holds more weight than your test scores and extracurricular and volunteer activities.
3. Relationships are important. Relationships with teachers and counselors are important when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation. The better the teacher and/or counselor knows you, the more accurate their letter will be. Choose someone who you believe will write you a high-quality letter, not just someone who is willing to write a letter.
4. SAT or ACT? It’s your choice. You do not need to take both the SAT and the ACT. Learn about the differences between the two tests and see which one is a better fit for you. Most college admissions officials say that their college does not prefer one test over the other.
5. Extracurricular activities: Quality over quantity. College admission officials look for depth and consistency in an applicant’s extracurricular activities. Get involved and stay involved in a few activities that match your interests and potential college major.
6. Undeclared? No problem. Declaring a major is not essential, in most cases. Few colleges require that a student declares his or her major during the application process.
7. Research matters. Take the time to research various schools through books, videos, blogs, social media, college tours, and information sessions. It is important to have a clear idea of why you are applying to each school.
by Sahar Zandi, College Counselor, Academic Coach, and Transfer Counselor
Many families and students choose the community college route as opposed to the four year route for many reasons. Whatever the reason may be, keep these tips in mind to ensure a smoother transition to the four year university or college of your choice.
Summer is in full swing, and as the fireworks of Independence Day burn down, the spark of something else is in the air. For thousands of rising high school seniors across the nation, this is the season to begin brainstorming an approach to writing their college application essays.
It is well known that a strong college essay can be a convincing factor in the college admission process, differentiating between students with similar GPA’s, test scores and even extracurricular activities. Yet, the writing of the personal statement is often accompanied by dread, panic and sheer procrastination by the very students that seek entrance to competitive universities. Rather than fear the writing section of their applications, students should envision each essay prompt as an opportunity to provide college admission representatives with insight as to who they are in a way that goes beyond the other data presented in their application.
Get Started Now!
The first step is easy. Start early, start now! This gives students sufficient time to draft and revise a personal statement numerous times, until they are comfortable that their final essay captures their personality, characteristics, moral fiber and more.
Rather than agonize over what College Admission representatives want to read about in college essays, students should determine what it is they want those representatives to know that can’t be found elsewhere in the application. Thus, students should start brainstorming with the goal of identifying, “What do I want them to know about me that they don’t already know?”
Who am I?
Students may begin by making a list of characteristics, experiences, personality traits, family background information or other aspects of who they are that make them unique. They should discuss ideas for these by asking parents, siblings, teachers or friends how others would describe them.
Keep the topic simple!
It is not necessary to try to find a topic that is traumatic, dramatic, or complicated…just an experience used to highlight the traits they want to demonstrate. They should keep it focused, personal and real.
Don’t Be Generic!
Avoid clichéd, generic, and predictable writing by using vivid and specific details. When reading each paragraph back the student should ask: “Could this be about anyone, or is there something specific here that makes it about ME?”
Start with a Hook!
Admission readers may plod through hundreds of essays each season. Keeping them engaged is essential right from the start. One way to capture attention is to tell a story. It should be real, honest and from the heart; it should end with a thesis that forms the basis for the content of the essay, setting up what it is the student wants the reader to know about that is not indicated elsewhere in the application.
End with a Zinger!
Make sure the conclusion is just as strong as the beginning. Answer the prompt, and wrap the ending back to the opening so the essay has continuity.
In Between, Don’t Re-Write A Resume!
Students should not repeat information available elsewhere in the application as part of their personal statement. Instead, a student may want to focus on one specific activity or aspect of his/her high school experience and demonstrate how the characteristics he wants the reader to know about are apparent through that experience. By using stories expressed through details students should convey some self-awareness that reflects why they are telling the story…what it demonstrates about them.
The End Goal?
The goal of the personal statement is to leave the reader feeling like he really knows the student. The essay helps “connect the dots” between the data on the rest of the application and the personality, strengths, and unique characteristics of the student.
By taking a step by step approach and determining what is important for the admission reader to know, students will soon be setting off brainstorming sparks of creative energy that have nothing to do with summer fireworks and everything to do with the satisfaction of figuring out how to write about who they are.
by Karen Lerner
Fall is fast approaching, and with it, registration for standardized testing that will be used as part of the admissions process for higher education. Some students take these tests, competing in cavernous testing facilities, but at a distinct disadvantage owing to diagnosed conditions such as ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Autism, or other conditions that might compromise their ability to demonstrate their high skills and cognition.
If I have just described you or your child, then requesting Testing Accommodations is one way to address this situation. Four things to keep in mind:
Samples of some testing accommodations:
If those two words strike fear in your heart, you are not alone. Final exams are stressful for almost everyone. While a little nervousness is not harmful, worrying too much can be counterproductive.
One thing successful people learn early is that “slow and steady” really does win the race. There is no substitute for going to class every day, taking comprehensive notes, completing all assignments, reading your textbook regularly, and getting a tutor if you need one. Staying on task throughout the semester takes determination but it will give you a good foundation, and that will make reviewing much easier at finals time. You might even find that your grade is so high going into your final that you only need to score 65 or 70 percent to get an A in the course. Now that’s a stress-reliever all by itself, isn’t it?
Here are some steps you can take to alleviate unhealthy anxiety and replace it with the confidence and exhilaration that go hand in hand with knowing your stuff and doing well on your tests.
1) If your teacher schedules review sessions, attend them. If he gives you a review packet, complete it. These are opportunities to get into his head, so to speak, and learn the material he wants you to know. You might even get a few extra points for your effort!
2) Determine how much time you have to study, know the value of your exam, and develop a plan. Is this a cumulative exam, worth 30 percent of your course grade? If so, you might need to start reviewing several days before the test.
3) Avoid distractions like your phone, TV, computer, and friends who are procrastinating.
4) Review your syllabus. Then organize, review and re-copy your lecture and lab notes.
5) Re-read your textbook and zero in on key terms. Write them down. Complete chapter review questions.
6) Make flashcards and quiz yourself. Better yet, have someone else quiz you. Explaining concepts to another person helps you learn the material.
7) Research and outline the answers to essay questions your teacher has provided.
8) Start a study group with really smart people.
9) If there are concepts or problems you still do not understand, get help! Ask your teacher if he/she has a list of tutors.
10) It is important to take breaks in between review sessions. Go outside and get exercise. Take deep, calming breaths and then release them slowly. Get away for 30 minutes and grab a snack.
The more you study, the more confident you will be. Over-preparation is not overkill; it helps you recall information more quickly during your exams.
You should also get plenty of rest before final exams. Research shows that people assimilate information when they sleep.
Finally, believe in yourself. Take time to give yourself a pep talk. Visualize yourself doing well on the test. If you have worked hard, your grade will likely reflect your effort.
For additional test-taking tips or to request tutoring assistance, contact The College Blueprint, LLC at 949-856-1221.