Posts Tagged ‘college advice’

A Wild Ride for College Admissions

April 15, 2022

There may never have been a wilder ride for college admissions than this past admissions cycle. It has left parents, students, high school counselors and college consultants confused and wondering what is happening. More students than ever before were wait-listed, denied or deferred from schools across the United States.

Many suspect that colleges received far more applications this year than any in the past. Part of this could be due to schools being test-optional. Students often felt that they stood a chance at a competitive university because they had a near perfect academic record, activities and essays to support their applications. Unfortunately, this is often not enough!

This year there was also an influx of international students which added to the college competition. Colleges have also begun hard to push for more first generation and low income students which sometimes means that other students might be overlooked. And then there is the factor of institutional needs that a student has no control over. These can include a college’s desire for more students from a particular geographic area, applicants interested in a certain major or an athletic team that needs more participants.

My advice to students is to make sure they have a balanced list and only concern yourselves with what you can control, not those factors that you cannot!


How to Get the Best Teacher Recommendations for College

May 21, 2015

Teacher recommendations are an important, but sometimes overlooked part of the college admissions process. They are one of the few opportunities that an admissions committee gets to read about a student’s character, motivation and personality. Teacher recommendations are not always mandatory, but they often provide the admissions committee with positive statements about a student as a college applicant.

Teacher recommendations are important for college admissions because they give a picture of a student in an academic setting. Students should make sure to ask a teacher who teaches in the core classes: English, science, math, social studies, or foreign language. Many schools like to have two teacher recommendations, each from a different subject area.

Teacher recommendations are intended for colleges to get a better picture of how a student might fit into their freshmen class. Colleges read all of your recommendations and factor them into the college admissions decision. Although it may not feel like students have much control over this aspect, they probably have more control than they realize.

Students should not wait until their senior year to request teacher recommendations. Teachers get busy in the fall and the more recommendations they have to do, the less time they will have to spend on them. Meet with two teachers before the end of your junior year and talk about what you would like them to write on your recommendations. Make sure the teachers know about you both inside and outside of the classroom and what you feel you can bring to a college campus.

Colleges prefer teacher recommendations come from teachers you have had for at least one semester because they want an honest evaluation of how you compare to other students in your class. If you have a teacher who also knows you outside the classroom in athletics or extra-curricular activities, that can give a college an additional perspective on you as a potential college applicant. Unless a school specifically requests it, don’t use a coach or someone who cannot speak to your academic achievements and capabilities.

Make sure your teacher recommendations focus on the academic issues related to your college choices, so that the teacher can provide specific information to support your applications. Or, if the colleges are known for their debate team, the teacher could mention that you have excelled in a particular area in your high school speech and debate club.

According to recent research, teacher recommendations are the fifth most important factor in the college admission decision. Of the top five factors – grades in college prep courses, SAT and ACT scores, class rank, essay or personal statement – this one give an admissions committee something more personal than grades and test scores are able to provide.

Teacher recommendations often give a school some idea of how students will fit into their particular campus and how successful they will be completing four years of study. As colleges continue to receive increasing numbers of applicants each year, the need to stand out from the competition is also increasing. Teacher recommendations might be that piece of information that distinguishes you from other applicants in college admissions.

An Open Letter from Your Kid’s College Professor

December 22, 2014

Here is a great letter from a professor to parents of college-bound students or those who already have students attending college.  It is very worth a read.

An Open Letter from Your Kid’s College Professor.

COLLEGE COUNSELOR: Secrets Of Successful Students

November 7, 2012

COLLEGE COUNSELOR: Secrets Of Successful Students.

As a private college counselor, I have always felt that a college education was far more than academics.  This only confirms what I believe.

College Admissions: 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

May 23, 2012

High school seniors will be graduating in a few short weeks.  For those who are college-bound, there will be lots of things to do this summer.  For a long time, many have heard that college is the best four years of your life.  Yet, some students, never feel that college lived up to what it had been built up to be.  College students offer suggestions as to how to make the best of your college experience.  Click on the video to see eight things these students wished they have known before they started college.

For more information on college, or to receive the free monthly college planning newsletter, go to

Six pieces of critical college information you won’t find in a college brochure

May 16, 2012

High school students should not rely on college brochures or college websites to provide all of the information they need to know about a school.  You need to check out all of the resources available to make sure you are getting the straight scoop.  College brochures always picture a diverse group of students standing on a beautiful campus on a sunny, fall day.  Everything looks just about perfect.  What the college brochure often fails to mention is the normal weather you can expect, what the college scene is really like, and how this school will help you get a job after college.  These are questions you need to ask and a college visit is an good opportunity to talk with current students and find out their opinions.  Check out this article for some specific questions: