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Success Tips


Prospective Students Tour Georgetown University's Campus in Washington

Your college student is coming home for Thanksgiving. Prepare for re-entry

If you're the parent of a college student who's returning home for Thanksgiving, chances are you have a greatest-hits list of activities — face time with relatives, watching favorite movies — you can't wait to do together over the break.

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Success Tips


Prospective Students Tour Georgetown University's Campus in Washington

Why It Might Make Sense to Shell out for Help with Those College Applications

Gaining an edge in the fierce competition of college applications now comes with a price some parents are willing to pay — even if it's $20,000. With school counselors spending an average of 42 minutes per student on college planning, parents are turning to professionals who help with college strategy and essay prep.

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Stanford University

5 Myths About Early College Applications

High school seniors across the country are beginning to feel the pressure of impending college deadlines. Although the application deadline of most U.S. colleges and universities is January 1, the ‘early round’ of admissions ends on November 1 (or sometimes 15th). At my college consultancy, we encourage all of the students we work with to apply to an early decision school and a few early action schools. I’ve found that many students have misconceptions about the early decision process based on things they read online or heard from their peers and even guidance counselors. Here are the five worst myths and misconceptions I’ve come across:

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The Holistic Admissions Process Can Be Confusing

The Holistic Admissions Process Can Be Confusing

The holistic admissions process can be confusing to both college-bound students and their parents, but identifying what college admissions officers are looking for in students’ applications can actually be pretty simple.

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5 Things to Keep in Mind This College Admission Process Season

5 Things to Keep in Mind This College Admission Process Season

It Should Be an Enjoyable Process and as Stress Free as Possible

The college admissions process can produce a lot of unnecessary stress for high school seniors. While it’s normal to feel anxious about the process, it’s important to keep in mind that knowledge is power when applying to college and knowing what to expect and keep in mind as you complete your admissions journey this fall is the key to having a successful admissions season.

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These Are the 25 Best Colleges in the U.S. Right Now

These Are the 25 Best Colleges in the U.S. Right Now

College is a great investment — if you choose the right school. MONEY identified and ranked more than 700 leading institutions that are worth the cost; these are our top picks.

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Strategies for the ACT and SAT

Strategies for the ACT and SAT

The SAT and ACT are the most often used exams for college admissions in the US, and given that they are standardized, they must be taken under strict time constraints. Students can struggle with the limited amount of time per question, leaving points on the table when they’re unable to finish certain sections. Simple pacing strategies, however, can help students improve their test performance and overall scores.

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2018-19 Common Application Guide

2018-19 Common Application Guide

The 2018-19 Common Application is officially live, and the college admissions process for the class of 2023 is already well underway. There’s a lot that students need to know when applying to college, so here’s an in-depth look at the 2018-19 Common App, including essays, updates, and more.

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Essay Writing Tips

Top Essay Writing Tips From Former Admissions Officers

Here’s What College Bound Students Need to Do to Write a Great College Application Essay

It’s college application crunch time for high school seniors, and there are probably more than a few of you who are behind on writing those application essays. Don’t get stressed! Our team of counselors is here

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Person Writing in a Pad

Top Essay Brainstorming Tips

The summer between junior and senior year is the prime time for college bound students to start brainstorming and writing their college application essays. The Common Application has already released the essay prompts for the 2018 admission season.

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College Map

Freshman Orientation Tips

Orientation is a great time for you to meet potential friends, get to know your school and ask any questions you may have, but there’s still a lot to learn. As great as orientation is for giving you the basics, there’s a lot that you’ll learn along the way during your freshman year. So, we talked to some collegiettes to give you all the details about what you won’t learn during orientation, but what you should know before you head off to freshman year. 

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Testing

The New Summer Test Date Can Help Rising Seniors Finish Their Testing Before The School Year

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Juniors: Still need to take the ACT but worried you’re running out of time? This year will mark the first administration of the July ACT, which will be held on July 14.

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Graduates

Here are 10 top college majors, according to Princeton Review

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Trying to choose a college major that'll pay off down the road? Computer science, communications and political science top the list, according to the most recent study by the Princeton Review.

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5 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Opening a Bank Account

From signing up to classes to going out for the school paper, there's lots to do when you arrive at college. Picking a bank account may not be top of the list.

But taking the time to make a smart choice can save you.

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Guard Against Late Spring ‘Senioritis’

TIPS FOR PARENTS TO HELP THEIR STUDENTS AVOID SENIORITIS:

  • Keep your students engaged: Insist they do more than just show up. They should complete all assignments and continue to participate in classes and extracurricular activities.
  • Understand expectations: Talk with teachers and check in to make sure your child is keeping up. You and your child still have time to make the next few months productive.

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May 1 College Decision Day Brings Relief, Excitement And Big Worries About Money

May 1 is an exciting day for many high school seniors. It's decision day, when students commit to college and send in those deposits— to hold their spot on campus.

Across the country, schools celebrate the achievement in different ways. Some hold assemblies where students get up and announce their decisions. In other places, students wear their college gear a T-shirt or ball cap or sweatshirt.

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Financial Aid Award Letters: What to Look For

Your financial aid award letter has arrived.

You open the letter expecting to see exactly how much you’ll have to pay for that education but instead, you’re left scratching your head. The aid package is broken down into a combination of loans, awards, grants and work-study. At first glance, it appears that the majority of your costs for the next four years will be covered, but it’s hard to say.

This scenario unfolds for millions of families each spring, and many find that financial aid letters are not always what they seem.

Here are some early tips for making sense of them, so you’ll be prepared when the letter does come.

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Colleges Accepting Applications

THIS LIST BELOW IS FROM COLLEGE BOARD

COLLEGES ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS UNTIL: 4/15

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Tips from the Experts: What to Do If You Get Put On The Waitlist

Students and parents usually have a good idea of how to proceed if they receive an acceptance or rejection from a top-choice college. But what should families do if an applicant is put on the waitlist?

As high school seniors across the globe weigh their admissions decisions, it can be difficult to navigate the process when the decision isn’t as clear-cut. Being waitlisted is a gray area; you’re not rejected, but it will be much later in the spring before you learn if you have been accepted. It’s necessary to take into account that the chances of being admitted off the waitlist at a highly selective college are pretty slim. That being said, it’s not impossible.

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Record 42,742 Apply to Harvard College

UPDATED: February 14, 2018 at 1:38 a.m.
Harvard College received a record-breaking 42,742 applications for admission to the Class of 2022–setting a record for the fourth consecutive year and exceeding last year’s pool by more than 3,000.

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It's Never Too Early to Start Thinking About College

Recently, I have been hearing parents say, “we don't think about college until the spring of junior year."

Unfortunately, the emphasis on junior year performance lulls many students into thinking that if they’re serious about getting admitted to a good college, junior year is the time to kick things into gear. There are a wealth of things you can do in your first two years of high school that will not only be significant accomplishments in and of themselves but also set you up for extremely successful junior and senior years.

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Glenbard School District African American Female Summit College Fair.
Own Your Future Event

I participate in the Glenbard 87 School District African American Female Summit College Fair. One hundred Females grades from freshman to seniors from all four of Glenbard high schools. These ambitions black young females have been identified by their counselors as college-bound students. They shared a common goal to graduate in four years with as little debt as possible

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Glenbard 87 School District African American Male Summit College Fair.
Minority Student Achievement- Own Your Future Event

I participate in the Glenbard 87 School District African American Male Summit College Fair. One hundred black young men grades from sophomore to Seniors and from all four of Glenbard high schools. These wonderful black young men have been identified by their counselors as college-bound students. They shared a common goal to graduate in four years with as little debt as possible.

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8 College Admission Trends Worth Watching in 2018

Every year the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) releases its State of College Admission report, with information on what admission officers are looking for in applicants.

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Think About Your College Timeline In the New Year

New Year’s is a time for resolutions and reorganization. If you’re the parent of a high school freshman or sophomore, or particularly if you’re the parent of a junior, now is the time to understand and start implementing the college timeline.

There is no need to be intimidated. With proper planning and execution, you have plenty of time to research and visit colleges and complete the applications.

If you anticipate that your child will be applying to any of the more selective colleges and universities, the earlier you initiate the process, the better.

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If You Can Get a College Interview, Don’t Tank It

The interview was once an important staple of the college admissions process. Young men dressed up in jackets and ties, young women wore short heels, a proper dress, hose and pearls, and they sat down for a formal interview inside the college admissions office. 

Not so today. It’s just not possible with today’s application numbers.

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Video Presentations in the College Admission Process

Last Saturday, I spent the morning coaching one of my wonderful students through the process of producing a 1-1/2 minutes video about himself to support his college applications. You make of heard of some highly selective colleges giving students this option. Last Year, Yale allowed students using the Coalition’s Application to submit a document, image, audio in response to a prompt. Mr. Aubin heard about that option last year; he submitted a short video documenting his Eagle Scout project. The content of the video impressed Yale’s admissions committee. Mr. Aubin, is now a freshman at Yale. Parents and Junior’s, will you be producing a short video next year?



Learning Disabilities: How To Succeed In College From Day One

Students with learning disabilities can learn much from this former college President. He overcame his own academic struggles and offers help for college-bound students.

When I left home for a Midwestern college many moons ago, I was a shipwreck waiting to happen. In high school I was such a slow reader that I could never complete the SATs and as a result my scores were embarrassingly low. My grades, too, were mediocre and the only reason I got into a good college was because of a persuasive high school guidance counselor.

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Playing Sports in College: How to Help Your Athletic Kid

One of the most significant and stressful times for families of college-bound students is the college search, and it’s more complex when your student is also an athlete. You’ve probably talked to other parents in the stands about recruitment and playing sports in college, but when it comes time to support your athlete, it helps to have a road-map. I just watched my son final at his college conference championship swim meet after a semester of top grades at his choice of an idyllic New England college. The path to these results were neither straightforward nor drama free. As your student explores the difference between competing for DI, DII and DIII schools, studies hard for the SAT and ACTSs, and redoubles their sports effort, there are some things you can do to help your student athlete land at a college where they’ll thrive.

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Pet Peeves: College Admissions Officers Reveal What Bugs Them Most

Imagine yourself on the other side of the college admissions desk.

It’s not so glorious, apparently, or at least you need to be thick-skinned and good-natured.

Joseph Connolly, a guidance counselor at New Oxford High School in New Oxford, Pa., wanted to know the pet peeves of admissions officers.

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3 College Admissions Trends to Look For in 2017

By Patrick O'Connor Ph.D

By Patrick O'Connor Ph.D

Most schools have only been in session for about a month, but many high school seniors are already experiencing Hump Day in their college applications. The first few days of the school year were filled with excitement about the prospect of going to college, and filling out a college application even seemed kind of fun. But now that homework is starting to build up, and students are on their twelfth draft of their college essay, it’s getting a little harder to be excited about college — especially since right now, just graduating from high school seems like a pretty remote idea.

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3 College Admissions Trends to Look For in 2017

By Ishan Puri

NICHOLAS MONU VIA GETTY IMAGES

By Vincent Nicandro

Last year, we talked about three trends in college admissions to look for 2016. Now that the 2016 admissions season has come and gone, our attention here at Synocate is \focused on helping our future Class of 2021 get into their dream schools. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize the directions we expect to see the college admissions landscape shift towards in the upcoming 2017 season. Here are three important trends to look for as you start applying to colleges this year.

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Making College Years Count

Years back, a college degree, which only a subset of society pursued, was the route to employment. If you obtained a bachelor’s degree, then you were almost guaranteed a job upon graduation, and that job was typically the stepping stone to one’s career. Times have changed. During the 2017-2018 school year, colleges and universities are expected to award some 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees and 790,000 master degrees, and 20.4 million students will attend American colleges and universities for the first time, all of which means that competition for jobs among college graduates is fierce.

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Last words of wisdom: Incoming Freshman

As students finalize their packing, bid farewell to high school friends and try to convince mom to stop crying, here are some parting thoughts on a healthy and smooth transition to college.

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7 Options to Consider if You Didn’t Receive Enough Financial Aid

The reality of paying for college is that many families find themselves struggling to cover the entire college bill, despite having already filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and receiving federal, state, and school-based financial aid and scholarships. If you find yourself in this position, here are some ideas to consider and places to look to help fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school.

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4 Standout College Application Essays on Work, Money and Class

The New York Times - May 12, 2017

Each year, we issue an open casting call for high school seniors who have dared to address money, work or social class in their college application essays. From the large pile that arrived this spring, these four — about parents, small business, landscapes and the meaning a single object can convey — stood out. The fifth essay in our package appeared on The New York Times’s new Snapchat Discover, and you can view it at this link by pressing the arrow/play button.

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Good Study Habits

Author Loren Francis

Good study habits are essential for School and college success. It’s expected, that by the time you reach college, you will know how to budget your time and study effectively. The best time to develop and perfect your study skills is through middle and high school. Establishing a routine will ensure all assignments and projects are complete and that you do well on exams.

Having an after school routine will guarantee that your homework gets done in a timely fashion. Often, students put off homework until right before bed, then find that they’re either too tired to complete everything assigned. When you get home from school, it’s ok to take 20-30 minutes to unwind from the school day, grab a quick snack, and get yourself organized to begin your homework. Here are five tips for developing good study habits:

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College Visits This Spring

The spring semester is a popular time to visit colleges, especially as juniors start to narrow down their college lists, and seniors squeeze in some last-minute visits before admission decisions are announced at the end of March. The college visit is an important opportunity to not only get a live look at colleges, but also get some insider information that you might not otherwise find in your traditional research.

It’s important for parents and students to plan ahead and do their research before visiting a college, but there are some questions that students should plan to ask while on tour.

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Rising Seniors Start Planning and Writing Your Essay

The Common Application (www.commonapp.org) just announced the essay prompts for the 2017-2018 college admissions season.

The Common App is shaking things up just a bit for the new year. There are prompts that are exactly the same as the previous two years, some with minor changes, and a few new options.


How Students Can Stay Smart Online When Applying to College

By Ivywise

This year’s Kaplan survey of college admissions officers was released last month, and its findings, that more college admissions officers are looking students up online, have sent many students and families into a panic.

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Think Before You Post: Admissions Experts' Social Media Tips

BY JOCELYN GECKER Associated Press

This June 16, 2017 photo shows social media app icons on a smartphone held by an Associated Press reporter in San Francisco. Google yourself. Curate your online photos. And as one private high school advises its students: Don't post anything online you wouldn't want your grandmother to see. AP spoke with experts on the role of social media in the college admissions process. They offered tips for students on what to post - and not post - if you're trying to get into college. Jeff Chiu AP Photo

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A Stanford Dean on Adult Skills Every 18-Year-Old Should Have

Wednesday June 14

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the skills every 18 year old needs? Answer by Julie Lythcott-Haims, Author of NYT bestsellerHow to Raise an Adult; former Stanford dean; podcast host.

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COLLEGE DECISION DAY: 11 THINGS TO DO NOW

HAS YOUR TEEN ALREADY DECIDED WHERE HE WILL SPEND THE NEXT FOUR YEARS OF HIS LIFE? MAY 1 IS NATIONAL COLLEGE DECISION DAY, A DEADLINE FOR ALL HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS TO CHOOSE WHICH COLLEGE TO ATTEND.

This is a moment to rejoice. Your child was accepted to college and all of your effort and his have resulted in this success. There may be some small disappointments, there may euphoria and there may be some big decisions ahead, but this is one of life's big moments and it should be noted and celebrated. Let your nearly grown child know just how proud you are and acknowledge how much of his effort it took to get to this moment.

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10 Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Student Loans

by Maggie McGrath,
FORBES STAFF

As is typically the case, the majority of Americans are professing that the new year will be “the year” they get their finances in order. Never mind the fact that an even larger majority reported that they had failed to follow-through on last year’s self-improvement quests; 2016 will be the one in which they finally prioritize paying off debt and building their savings.

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Road to College: Student Shows Improving Standardized Test Scores Takes Practice, Not Money

by CARMEN CUSIDO

Standardized test scores matter — higher test scores greatly increase a student's chances of getting into better, more competitive schools, resulting in more choices for scholarships and financial aid. While teens may get discouraged from re-taking standardized tests if their initial scores are low, the good news is that practice and the use of free online sample prep and testing can make all the difference.

Just ask Jazmin Regalado of New Mexico.

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A mom writes her college-bound son a goodbye letter as he prepares for freshman year:

A – ALARM

Set it! But not so loud that it also wakes up your roommate. Even for naps. Set it when you need to be at work, have a test, etc. (USE YOUR PLANNER TOO!!)

B – BREAKFAST

Eat it! Maybe you don’t normally eat breakfast. But you need to have an awake brain in your classes. One of the best ways to be ready for class and for exams is to eat. Brain power. Doesn’t matter what it is – pop tarts, cereal, scrambled eggs. Never go to class on an empty stomach. Never study on an empty stomach, never go to class hungry (you get the picture).

C – CLEAN YOUR ROOM

You are living with a stranger for the first time ever. You are sharing a space. Be respectful, pick up your stuff. Clean the microwave and wipe down the fridge. If you use dishes, wash them right away (no bugs, no smell).

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Why is College Admission Getting More Competitive?

Right now, the angst among high school seniors and their parents is palpable. It is especially true this week with looming Oct. 15 deadlines at UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State and the University of South Carolina, among others.

Almost every parent I speak with wonders, “It wasn’t this stressful when I applied to college. Why is it so much more competitive now?”

There is no denying that many of us parents wouldn’t be accepted at our own alma maters if we were applying today. Standardized test scores have inched up, and acceptance rates have dropped. Why is it so much more difficult to be admitted?

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College Admissions: 6 Ways to Impress Your Interviewer

Fall is peak season for high school seniors to do college interviews. Today, most large schools don’t offer interviews, but small to medium size colleges do. Some are evaluative, meaning they factor into an admission decision; others are informational, meaning they do not. Both demonstrate your interest in the college, which is often taken into consideration. Whether you are traveling to campus to meet with an Admissions Representative or having an alumni interview in your hometown, there are important things that you should do to get ready. 

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Freshman Orientation Tips

Orientation is a great time for you to meet potential friends, get to know your school and ask any questions you may have, but there’s still a lot to learn. As great as orientation is for giving you the basics, there’s a lot that you’ll learn along the way during your freshman year. So, we talked to some collegiettes to give you all the details about what you won’t learn during orientation, but what you should know before you head off to freshman year. 

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