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College Search Strategies
Portola Valley, CA
650-207-0305 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Decisions

  • "How to Choose the Right College Admissions Help for Your Family"

    As your child progresses through high school, particularly now during the second semester of sophomore and junior year, you are probably thinking about whether you need an independent counselor to help with the college search and admission process. High school counselors seem to be swamped and sometimes do not have the time to know each child well. It's National High School Counselor Week... and we applaud their work! Tireless and seemingly unending. They are required to work for each student, as well as keep up on latest admission trends, train teachers, answer parents' questions, and report to the administration. We thank them for all they do!! 

    An independent consultant, on the other hand, can supplement what the high school counselor offers. Your child is unique! Perhaps you want someone who will spend many hours with your child working to best understand his needs, dreams, talents and academic strengths and weaknesses. The independent educational consultant or college counselor should be respectful. Using her skills and expertise to help reduce stress and anxiety for your teen and you. The independent counselor should strive to work as part of the college-bound team with the high school counselor, the college admissions, your teen and you to guide you to finding the best "fit" colleges. 

  • Looking at Admissions

    Here is a wonderful post about the Business of College Admissions written by my insightful colleague Patrick J. O'Connor, PhD.:

  • The Value of the Campus Visit

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting several colleges and universities in Oregon! It was my first trip to the state and my first trip to see some pretty well-known and popular colleges for students from northern California. I have heard about these schools for years--even had students apply to them!--but I had never seen the campuses with my own eyes. 

    When I talk to parents and students about college visits, it is sometimes difficult to stress how important actually setting foot on a campus can be! With internet accessibility and student blogs... plus the lists of best colleges that can be found online, in books and in magazines... even on Facebook... it is hard to imagine what the value of physically seeing the campus is. I have to tell you, my experience this weekend was eye-opening for me! For no other reason than, now I can tell students and their families about these colleges first-hand. I feel so much more informed! 

  • Why didn't my child get into???

    This is an open letter to my private independent counseling colleagues:
     
    I think it is difficult--always--to know how a college is making their decisions. They give us parameters, publish statistics and yet, and yet... deserving kids get in and deserving kids don't. There is no right or wrong. Fair or unfair? Hard to know. I have a student who did not get in  while cohorts with lower test scores and gpa did. Was it their major choice? Was it what they wrote? Was it the courses they took? Was it how they spent their summers? Do we know? Will we ever know? No. 
    Meanwhile, I have students who are getting in. And receiving Honors and recognitions. Lucky them. Some get into UCLA but not Berkeley. Some get waitlisted at most UCs and accepted to or denied from others. Does it make sense? Can we determine the why/how and wherefore? No. 
     
    I always call the UCs "Wild Cards." They are. 
     
    With 104,000 + applications to UCLA, it is not easy for anyone to know who will and won't be admitted. 
    Every college is trying to create a community of students: athletes, artists, academicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, communicators, extroverts, introverts, first-generations, under-represented, full pay legacies... all of it. All of them. So this year YOUR students with those qualifications didn't get in, but perhaps students that others have worked with who have similar qualifications did. You have no way of knowing. 
     
    I think you say, "I'm sorry," to your students. Be compassionate, kind, sorrowful...for a bit. Then you say to them, You have other choices. Move on. Work hard. Do the best with what you've got. We made your list of colleges based on multiple factors. Here are the cards you've been dealt. The final decisions by colleges are not really PERSONAL. It may feel like it, but truth is... maybe they were looking for another oboe player, or one less swimmer, or a student who shows an interest in philosophy or grammar... we have no idea."
     
    And according to the UCs they are not doing affirmative action. They are trying to give educational opportunities to underrepresented and first gen kids... but beyond that... they say no. No racial profiling. 
    Best regards during this stressful time... WE did our best. Right? We can only help our students see that they, too, gave their best. That's all we can do. What other people choose to do with our best is out of our control. 
     
    Now, what about this wonderful group of Juniors (Class of 2015) we're working with?......