Individualized College Counseling
We know that each student is unique and distinctive, as such, we tailor the college search to suit the individual academic as well as social needs of each applicant. We will be available to students and parents by office visits, email or phone throughout the planning and decision making process. Our goal is to help each student present his or her abilities and talents in a genuine and positive way.
Data Collection And Credential Review
We will review grades, the rigor of the academic program, test scores, non-academic activities and interests and other accomplishments. These areas of consideration can play a major role when deciding which colleges a student should research.
Exploration Of Self-Assessment And Goal-Setting
The completion of extensive questionnaires will help us to get to know the student and hopefully will help the student to better know him or herself. We will have several meetings in which we further explore academic interests, extracurricular activities and educational goals. Because we believe that parents have a significant influence in the college decision making process, we will request their involvement. Our discussions will center not only on their ideas and insight, but also their financial preparedness.
Counseling For Standardized Tests
Although colleges and universities take a variety of views concerning the SAT, Subject Tests, ACT, IB and AP testing, it is important that they be a consideration in college planning. We will counsel the student regarding how to plan for which tests to take, strategy of preparation, scheduling of tests, frequency of testing and evaluation of the results.
Guidance For Extra Curricular Activities
Because colleges are looking to build a diverse freshmen class and ultimately a well rounded student body it is necessary that they weigh a student’s activities outside of the classroom. We will advise students with regard to extracurricular activities and how to represent them in an application. Such activities are not limited to athletics, art and music, but also include volunteer and community service, summer experiences and work. In some cases students have not kept a balance or have yet to find that outside interest. The depth or lack of such activities may need to be addressed.
Based on criteria, credentials, interests, and goals, we will identify institutions that meet the student’s needs. There is rarely only one college that will be suitable. Rather, there are usually a number of excellent schools at which a student can be challenged and happy, and yet not overwhelmed. Our goal will be to recommend a spectrum of colleges that will include a few colleges where there is a strong likelihood of acceptance, a few where the criteria are met, but acceptance is not assured, and if requested, one or two which will constitute an academic reach. When forming the list we will always be looking at the total cost, potential financial aid assistance and scholarship availability. We will encourage the student to apply broadly so that at the end of the admission process there will be an opportunity to choose among a number of offers of admission. Although we will pinpoint strengths and weaknesses of each college the final application decisions will be the student’s to make.
Preparation For College Visits And Interviews
Although it is not always possible, we consider campus visits a valuable component in the college decision process. Visiting a school in person can often be the piece that convinces a student that a school is definitely a good match, or it is not! To that end we will offer suggestions for scheduling visits and advice about what to look for during a visit. We will help the student practice for interviews with an eye to likely questions asked by admission counselors as well as questions the student might ask.
Personal essays are an important element of the college application because it is the one place where the student can let his or her personality come through. A major component of our counseling is helping brainstorm essay topics that will allow the student to share his or her passions, strengths and values in an effective and distinctive way. We will encourage the student to start early and to write as many drafts as needed. Our critique of essays will be with an eye to the overall topic, grammar, spelling and the flow of ideas and thoughts.
Organization Of The Application Process
Keeping track of deadlines is a major part of the application process. We will help establish a timetable in order to track multiple deadlines for testing, recommendations, essays, application completion, financial aid, scholarships, etc. We will help the student to understand the expectations of college admissions, what information should be included and how to present as clear a picture of the student as possible.
Financial Aid And Scholarships
As the cost of a college education has increased faster then inflation it has become increasingly important to search for colleges that are affordable. As we formulate the list of colleges for consideration we will include colleges in which the student may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of merit aid. As part of our services we will help direct students and parents to sources of financial aid, both federal and private. We will make sure that there is an awareness of the deadlines for the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. If essays for scholarships are required we will be available to give advice and critique.
Guidance And Discussion Of Final Choice
Once the acceptances are received we will help review the options and the original criteria established. We will encourage the student to choose the institution that will challenge him or her intellectually and yet provide a college experience that will give the student confidence and maturity in his or her adult life. We will provide guidance if the student is deferred or placed on a wait list. We will also be available to discuss financial aid packages if requested.
Services We Do Not Provide
Today’s College Solutions believes that the strength of a student’s application is based on the quality of the student’s academic performance, test scores, essays, achievements, talents and community contributions. These are the qualities that will make the student a competitive candidate for the college of his or her choice. Therefore, there are a few things that we cannot and will not do. Specifically, they are:
Write or substantially revise application essays.
Knowingly misrepresent a client’s credentials.
Accept compensation based on offers of admission.
Lobby admissions officers in behalf of candidates.
Promise any form of financial aid or scholarships.
Guarantee admission to any institution.