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Junior Year is Critical
Early Decision? Early Action? Regular? Arghhhhhh!
Choosing an ivy could cost you
Paying money to join honor societies
Pulling all the pieces together

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College Talk Blog

Junior Year is Critical

All years of high school are important to preparing for college. Ninth and tenth grade are years when students jump-start both their GPA and their activity resume. Eleventh grade is the year that students ramp up college efforts with visits, essays and an ever increasing amount of rigor in their courses and leadership in their extra-curriculars. Twelfth grade is the year students continue to add rigor to their course schedule and more leadership to their activity resume.

Too often, both students and parents are unaware of the important role that each year of high school plays in preparing students for college.

Early Decision? Early Action? Regular? Arghhhhhh!


The fall 2018 college admission season has officially begun. Students are agonizing over which admission timeline to use. Should they apply early? Will applying early help or hurt their chances of admission? Is there a penalty to any of the timelines? Can they use one timeline for all colleges?

When I talk with parents, some use the terms early action and early decision interchangeably without realizing there is a difference. They too are wondering what their teen should do. Some pressure their teen to get everything done quickly and file early not realizing this advice could compromise essay and application quality.

Choosing an ivy could cost you

Some of the most accomplished students and parents I meet believe that they must enroll in a highly prestigious or ivy league college to be successful. However, most are unaware that such decisions can increase their costs depending on their income. The reason is twofold:
1) the majority of such colleges have migrated to a need-based aid philosophy
2) all students who apply to such schools have such similar achievement that it is hard for most students to stand out. 

The same student applying to a wider variety of colleges will find excellent quality and a variety of costs and merit aid offers.

Paying money to join honor societies

The families I work with are emailing and calling this week asking one question: Should they sign up for membership in a national high school organization that promises to help promote them scholastically? They are asking because the association has deadlines and they are worried that they will miss out on a critical opportunity for college admission success. They say they are feeling pressure to make a payment and join soon.

My answer to the families is that the only honor societies that have been recognized by colleges to which my clients apply have been the National Honor Society at high schools and the subject honor societies at their high schools (science, social studies, Spanish, French, Latin etc).

Pulling all the pieces together

Getting into college is sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, except that not all the pieces are in the box. Students and their families are expected to find them. And to make matters more interesting, students and parents hear great advice from people who have gone through the process, myths about processes and programs from people who know what used to be true and sometimes they just wonder what they don't know that they need to know to make the right choice.

The best way to approach the college process is to write down goals before beginning the process.