Having been on both sides of the college counseling front as a student and adviser, I have gotten to see how admission works and what they are looking for. However, keep in mind that finding a college is not just about what you provide to them to get accepted into their school, but also the “best fit” for you as the student. The bigger the brand is not always what is best. This is your education and therefore it should be an individualized experience.
I provide the following services to my students:
Building a College Resume (for 9-11): This process allows me to help the student plan what courses to take, extracurriculars to be invested in and where student may accumulate community service hours or volunteering. This is crucial as most higher education institutions focus 50-60% on what classes have been taken and current GPA. Yet to individualize the student, they look at essay, extracurriculars and how that student stands out differently from the bunch.
College Research (11th-12th+): Through this process, I assign the student a college tracker, in which all data is stored, utilized and updated as we start understanding how to find colleges that may suit the student’s needs. In this process, we discuss careers, majors, and where they may hope to be in five years after high school. Also during this time, the student realizes that it is ok to understand that they can change their major if needed, as many students change their majors 3-4 times while in college. In this tracker we
- Research Colleges: Including looking admissions requirements of GPA, SAT/ACT, financial aid, costs of college, majors, housing, etc.
- Store Application information once student has applied to their higher education institution
- Summer & School Year Activities: These are important to list under extracurriculars or in their essays.
- Any Scholarships they have applied to
- Award Letter information: This is listed so we can go over what has been offered and what will be best for the student to attend academically and financially.
College Essay Writing Prep (for 9th-12+): Depending on where the student intends to apply, they will most likely have to write an essay or several. Utilizing certain questions that are asked through Common App, University of California Personal Interest Questions and even the California State University EOP questions for those that apply, can help aid the student in thinking about how to write about personal experiences and start formulating ideas of how to best answer these questions that will pop out at a college admissions director.
Portfolio Planning (for fine arts/writers): Those students looking to apply to a higher education institution with the the idea of getting a fine arts or writing major or minor, a portfolio is often crucial to have. Different of these departments may have their own set of admissions requirements, and often time they are looking for artistic works, stories, video demonstrating the student’s talents. Through this process, I work with the student in looking at the overall goals and planning to achieve a complete and well rounded portfolio that students can utilize for college entrance or even for job placement.
College Interview Questions/Audition Prep: There are certain colleges that interview prospective students before they are admitted to make sure that the student will be a good fit in the program and vice versa. Much like a job interview, the student is branding themselves to the college interviewer and typically able to ask questions as well in order to make sure everyone is on the same page. Through this process I work with the student on being comfortable in answering questions about themselves and in asking questions that they might specifically have. With this articulation, the student becomes more comfortable in providing input and best practices on how to obtain answers.
Scholarship Research/Financial Aid process: Being accepted into college and being able to afford college are two different ideas. When we are researching colleges, one question I ask is how much can the student/family afford out-of-pocket. Therefore, most students fill out a FASFA (Federal Application for Student Federal Aid), which is sent to each of the institutions they are applying for. Once we have applied to the student’s institutions of choice, I will also advise scholarship research, as there is typically a few month between the application and the decision from the institution.
Once the university has provided the student with its decision, it will also include a Financial Aid award letter that will give the student an idea of what the institution is willing to offer them whether scholarships, grants, work-study or loans. This is something I will educate the students about and we can go through it with the family to help with the final decision process.
Please note: I do not help with Letters of Recommendation, obtaining AP scores or transcripts. That is the responsibility of the student/parent.