Q and A
Q: Do you work with or for specific colleges or universities?
A: As a qualified Independent Educational Consultant, I work ONLY for, and on behalf of, my client families. While I develop relationships with admissions personnel, it is for informational purposes in order to best serve my students.
Q: College applications have become so competitive! How can you help me submit an application that will stand out from the pack?
A: There are several ways to ensure you submit a competitive application. Aside from your hard work to create an exceptional academic profile (coursework, grades, & test scores), there are several ways I can help you elevate your application to stand out. It is important to identify schools that are a good fit so you can sincerely communicate your desire to attend in the "why us" essay. Admissions personnel know when a student truly feels a connection to a school. The Personal Statement essay is your opportunity to create a story unique to you that demonstrates the quality of your writing, a higher level of thinking, intellectual curiosity, and character qualities that align with a college’s values, among other things. I will also help you weave your story throughout your application, so admissions personnel understand who you are, and can envision what you will bring to the classroom and campus community. Last (but not least!), if you are a younger high school student, I help you identify extra curricular activities, jobs, and internships that align with your strengths and passions. These give you opportunities to rise to leadership roles that have an impact on those around you. Colleges value recognition from sources outside the school or family, as these are likely to be activities the student initiated on his/her own.
Q: I am confused by the terms, “college” and “university.” What is the difference between the two?
A: In the United States, the words “college” and “university” are often used interchangeably to refer to institutions of higher education. More specifically, colleges are liberal arts institutions focused on undergraduate degrees and are usually fewer than 5,000 students. Universities are research institutions offering undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees, as well as professional programs, such as nursing, architecture, and engineering. They can be public or private with student populations from 5,000 to 50,000.
Q: My test scores are very low and I am worried my application won’t be accepted anywhere. How can I highlight my good grades and minimize my low test scores?
A: Although most schools use test scores as part of the evaluation process, more and more colleges and universities are de-emphasizing testing. Click on www.fairtest.org to find a list of over 800 schools that are labeled “test optional” or “test flexible.”
Q: How can we avoid taking out huge loans for our student’s college education?
A: First, it is important to evaluate your finances to understand how much you can realistically afford. Search for colleges with large endowments. They give out more grants and scholarships, which is free aid. Utilize net price calculators on college websites or at www.finaid.org to determine the approximate cost you will pay out of pocket. If you are a US citizen, and finances are a concern, make sure to apply for federal financial aid by submitting the FAFSA and institutional financial aid by submitting the CSS Profile (although many colleges only require the FAFSA). For students living in the USA, always include your flagship state college on your preliminary list of schools. After all, your tax dollars are already helping to pay for them, and financial aid can reduce this cost even more. For international students with strong academic profiles, look for colleges offering generous merit aid.
Q: We have invested in test prep for our student before his/her SAT reasoning tests. Should we do the same for the SAT Subject Tests?
A: SAT Subject Tests are not considered “coachable.” The best prep is completing the highest level course in the relevant subject. Review all material from the course and take practice tests online at www.collegeboard.org.
Q: I live abroad, so traveling to see schools with be difficult for me. How can I get to know colleges and universities without visiting them?
A: Although I encourage even those living abroad to take the time to visit at least your top-choice schools, I understand it can be challenging and, sometimes, impossible. That is why the first-hand knowledge I acquire on campus visits is so valuable to my students. Online, college websites are the best resource for each school, but there are other sources for virtual tours and videos. Try www.youvisit.com (click on education), and www.youtube.com (search a specific college or university name), and www.ecampustours.com (interviews with students covering a wide range of subjects).