College Counselor’s Corner: Getting the Power Back!

This week, you may have felt the effects of the storm, especially if you lost power. That may apply to students in a different sort of way. Seniors may have been deferred from their top-choice colleges or are simply waiting, not knowing their fate. For juniors, March is a rather intense month as well, with pressures to keep up grades, prep for SATs and ACTs, and maybe visit colleges. Here’s some information and insight to guide you through the next few weeks.

TomorrowSaturday, March 10, many juniors will take their first SAT. For those who missed the deadline or weren’t ready, there will be another SAT on Saturday, May 5. The next ACT is April 14, and students must register today, the deadline. A few notes on testing:

  • Students should take both tests and repeat the better of the two.
  • Expect that your student will probably have to take the exam a few times. That’s a function of gaining test-taking experience and having the right attitude on test day.
  • Students with APs should probably forget about the May date. Your student will be overloaded and probably distracted.
  • For students needing SAT Subject Tests, the best time is usually June since the coursework is fresh in their minds.
  • Summer testing can be really helpful, so plan accordingly. The ACT will offer a July 14 test, and College Board will have an SAT on August 25.

By the way, I devoted a good deal of Junior Seminar today to the SAT essay, which allows the students to practice an important type of writing and analysis.

This week, the Wall Street Journal published “The Truth About the SAT and ACT,” an excerpt from a book that’s been receiving some buzz in college-prep circles. I don’t necessarily agree with the their thesis: “Admitted, rejected, waitlisted? It often hinges, in now small measure, on those few hours spent taking the SAT or the ACT, the other widely used standardized test.” Neither do the many colleges that have gone “test optional.”

Nevertheless, the article underscores the importance of identifying gaps that really can deeply affect a student’s college and post-college success. Here are some quotes I may be sharing for a while:

  • “… fundamental skills in reading and math matter, and it has been demonstrated, across tens of thousands of studies, that they are related, ultimately, to job performance.”
  • “They (the tests) evaluate a student’s capacity to read and interpret complex prose, think critically and reason mathematically.”
  • “Gaining simple familiarity is one of the surest ways to achieve quick increases in scores.”

Do I ever agree with the last point! Your student needs a solid understanding of the structure of the test and question types.

Decisions (Finally?)
Nearly all seniors should receive decisions by the end of the month, but not all colleges have posted actual dates. Students should watch their emails for notification date and time. I find that following colleges on social media is also quite helpful.

If your student is placed on a waitlist, there is a specific way of responding to that college. Get in touch with me if that’s your situation. The common reply date for all colleges is May 1and your student should always secure a spot.

Sweet Travels to Austin
In the last post, I mentioned Moira McCullough, whose business, Sweet Travels, includes hot spots for dining in college towns. I can’t wait to try Gloria’s Latin Cuisine and the Kerbey Lane Cafe next month in Austin. Other than seeing the University of Texas, I’ll be hosting a workshop along with ZeeMee as part of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) Spring Conference. The topic: Mastering the Supplemental Sections: ZeeMee, Essays, and More! 

Can’t wait to check out the University of Texas!

Related to my presentation topic, I read U.S. News‘ “A Complete Guide to the College Application Process” with interest. It omits exactly what I work on with so many wonderful students: stellar supplemental materials. I am sure Alan Katzman of Social Assurity will have something to say about that since he advises on social media strategies for college-bound students. Alan will speak in the final college seminar at Hudson, Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 pm.To register, just submit the form at

College Visits Gone Virtual
Sometimes, being glued to a smartphone can have a positive outcome. That’s the case when prospective students use ZeeMee to discover authentic life on campus. No smartphones in class, of course! To quote ZeeMee: “If you want to see what #CampusLife is like at the school of your choice, what are you waiting for?! Download the ZeeMee app and start following real students . . .  on campus at your favorite #college/#university!”

Remember: College Night, Tuesday, March 20, at 7:00 pm, is mandatory for junior families.

So what else? After a bit of March Madness, spring is sure to come.

Contact Me
Nina Berler
(201) 859-3665 ext. 119
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College Counselor’s Corner

2018-03-09T12:46:19+00:00 March 9th, 2018|
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