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Why Some Don't Test Well
College Choice is Where You Save Big Bucks
How difficult do you want the freshman year to be?
A Gift for Fathers
Advantages of Additional One-to One Support

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College Talk Blog

Why Some Don't Test Well

What does reading have to do with riding a bike?

One of the questions I ask students who say they want to improve their grades or standardized test scores is: "How much do you read for pleasure?" This question is often met with a downward glance and a mumbled: "not much". When we talk about why they are not reading, they often report that they do not enjoy reading for a variety of reasons: vocabulary, losing their place, becoming distracted or not having enough time.

I like to compare doing well in school and on tests to preparing for a bike race.

College Choice is Where You Save Big Bucks

Talking to students and parents initially about college choice often involves a discussion about the relationship between college choice and cost. Most are unaware that the colleges where they choose to apply will differ greatly in how much scholarship money will be offered to them. 

There is an inverse relationship between college prestige and scholarships. The more prestigious the college, the less likely the college offers large merit awards. The most prestigious colleges often award most money based on need.

How difficult do you want the freshman year to be?

I like to ask students how difficult they would like their freshman year of college to be. This question has helped students who are looking at colleges by prestige only.
It has usually not occurred to them that if they should get in to the highly selective colleges on their list that the work will be commensurate with the average GPA of the admitted class. So a college where the average admitted freshman had a 4.0 GPA in high school will be a little more brisk in terms of workload difficulty than a college with a more diverse student body.

A Gift for Fathers

When we look at most consumer products, we look at prices very early in our deliberation process. Both adults and teens do this. However, when looking at colleges, our emotions over-ride our good sense. Colleges, like cars and other products, have different levels of prestige, social status, building attractiveness and extra options like upscale living options, fancy fitness centers and other things that have nothing to do with academic quality.

Because we equate college quality and career success, we often throw caution out the window when considering colleges.

Advantages of Additional One-to One Support

Last week a parent told me that a counselor at a private school discouraged him from hiring a college consultant. The counselor, he said, reminded him that the private school had a college counseling director and a college seminar. The parent appreciated the counselor's advice but had been through the college process with another child and decided to add the support of a private college advisor for himself and his rising high school senior. 

In this case, the well-intentioned school counselor was trying to save the parent money by encouraging him to use only the resources of the school.