The College Search

 

crazy-scientist-lab

 

The challenge of starting the college search can seem monstrous, but unlike the experiment above, it can all work out if you have some knowledge, some energy, and an idea of how you hope the whole thing will turn out.  The College Consultant helps you sort through the many competing priorities and options to build a search plan that will take you in the right direction.  Then, after looking at the courses you have taken and will take, your grades, your scores, and your achievements and interests outside of the classroom, the consultant can sort appropriate applications in order to make sure good options remain at the end of the process.

Courses, Tests, Activities, Summer Experience, and Essays

With the help of the consultant, each candidate will present an application that reflects the students at his or her best.  Attention to course planning will allow a good match between the candidate’s ambitions and expected preparation.  Preparation for testing, particularly in test familiarization and time management, can be of importance in some cases.  Planning effective engagement in activities helps focus abilities in order to enhance the junior and senior year experience and to present a coherent map of personal interests.  The essays and short answer questions allow the admissions officer to get a sense of the applicant beyond the transcript.  The consultant serves the applicant by asking questions that provoke lively and personal essays.  Each student has to write in  his or her own voice, but the consultant can read critically, advising the candidate of the likely impact of the essay in  an admissions setting.

Two Important First Tasks

In order for the consultant to represent the student to best effect, it is important that the following exercises are completed in a timely fashion:

  1. Student Priority Questionnaire – Answer all questions, but feel free to add notes, concerns, additional interests, etc.  This is the start of my work with the student.  The more clearly the student identifies the priorities that matter, the more responsive I can be.
  1. Parents Priority Questionnaire – Answer all questions with absolute candor, even if parental priorities are different or in conflict with student’s priorities.  One important element of the parent questionnaire is the identification of issues of concern.

Planning Calendar

 

September – December of !1th Grade

First Semester Grades are important

First PSAT/ACT/SAT

Active engagement in one or more on-campus activity/ one or more off-campus activity

January – March of 11th Grade – (Meet with school counselor/ use software

Continue academic preparation / anticipate courses for the senior year

SAT/ ACT Familiarization / preparation – testing

Complete questionnaires

Research the options presented in planning college visits

Arrange visits during school breaks / spring, summer, or fall

April – June of 11th Grade

Strong academic finish – Subject Tests/ AP examinations

Complete course registration

Narrow college search list from 20+ to about 14

June – August Senior Year

Find meaningful summer experience / productive in some sense

Start the college essays

Visit colleges

Check in  with consultant – update college list

September – December Senior Year

Continue serious academic engagement

Finish standardize testing and complete Financial Aid Registration

Download applications to be completed (3 long shots / 4 might happen / 4 should be good

Connect with teachers and other who will write recommendations

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of seeking an early application

Set aside at least ten hours per application in addition to the final editing of essays

Public University applications due early/ September – November

Scholarship applications due early / November – December

Early Decision / Early Action may be due by November 1st / December 1st / December 15th

January Senior Year

Finish Applications / Check in with college consultant / have priority list in place

March – May 1st Senior Year

Make sure consultant is aware of all admissions decisions

If scholarship or financial aid issues arise, check with consultant immediately

Visit college if necessary

Prepare communication if placed on a wait list

Arrange meeting with consultant and parents to consider final strategy

Submit your housing and registration deposit by May 1st.