College Counselor’s Corner: It’s Almost Time for Seniors to Commit!


On this chilly but sunny Friday, juniors are hard at work drafting their Common App Personal Essays. In Junior Seminar, we talk about how to select the right topic and carry out ideas to create something that’s unique, current and of interest to admissions officers. Those poor juniors! They are probably looking at seniors who have committed to colleges (they have until May 1 to do so) and are green with envy! (You get it; Earth Day is Sunday, April 22.)

Don’t Worry; Be Happy
What’s the next best thing for students contemplating Yale? Maybe it’s taking a free Yale course. As reported in Inc., the most popular course in Yale’s history (316 years) is Psychology and the Good Life. Now, through online education provider Coursera, we can take the course for free, a version called The Science of Well-Being, which Professor Laurie Santos films in her very own home. Who can use The Science of Well-Being? The anxious parents of applicants. Juniors taking the SATs, ACTs, and APs. The thousands of seniors on waitlists (and I mean thousands) . . .

Yale’s overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2022, by the way, was 6.3 percent. Among those making the cut: Olympic figure skater and new World Champion Nathan Chen. (He didn’t need a long list of extracurriculars.)

Happiness is a free course from Yale.

See Me, ZeeMee in Austin!
Next week, I’m off to Austin, TX, where I’ll present at the Independent Educational Consultants (IECA) Spring Conference along with ZeeMee‘s Wlll Powell. Our session, Mastering the Supplemental Sections: ZeeMee, Essays and More!, will feature actual case studies to show the audience how to boost candidate profiles.

Get the scoop on UTA!

Of course, I’ll be checking out the University of Texas at Austin. Moira McCullough, founder of Sweet Travels College Scoops, provides parents and students with an insiders’ guide on where to eat in the hometown of the Longhorns. I’ll be “following” Moira’s advice, walking around South Congress Street (SoCo) and hopefully stopping by Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop for a sweet treat after the presentation.

Following Colleges: A Must
As I meet with juniors, the subject of social media often comes up. But when I ask students whether they follow their target colleges on social media, the answer is typically “no.” Yet on my Twitter feed, I see that Lehigh Admissions is posting about its Accepted Students Day and has its own Tumblr. Duke retweets that it tops the list of the 35 Most Pristine College Campuses in America. And the Common App is thrilled to welcome Pitt, Florida State and Michigan State in the next admissions cycle.

Who’s talking with @lehighadmission?

On a very related note, Alan Katzman, founder of Social Assurity and my inspiration for encouraging proactive use of social media in the college process, joined me at Hudson on Tuesday evening. It was our last of the four college-prep seminars and hopefully inspired some creative thinking. Alan had some very clear messages for attendees, starting with the fact that colleges can and do look at social media.

Unplanned Merit Aid: Could it be Waiting for Your Student?
When Alan began his session, he clearly stated that colleges are businesses seeking to fill all seats. The Wall Street Journal explains that merit awards are an important aspect of colleges’ enrollment strategies. It mentions that an outside firm uses econometrics to help colleges with their “data-driven” enrollment strategies. According to the WSJ, “The scholarships make students feel wanted and let families think they’re getting a good deal, like a shopper who buys an expensive sweater on sale.” Moreover, these colleges know that some elite colleges offer no merit award whatsoever, so they may be able to entice some very strong students. Institutions mentioned in the article include George Washington and Tulane, both of which  admitted a Hudson student this application year.

As mentioned in previous posts, this college counselor is very excited to be adding Tulane to the list of campus visits. I’ll be checking out what NOLA has to offer in early May.

Hot Colleges
How to get a campus building named for you? It’s a no-brainer! At Brown, the Carney alums just donated $100 million to fund brain science research, an area singled out in the university’s strategic plan. According to a news release, “The gift will allow the Carney Institute to accelerate hiring of leading faculty and postdoctoral scholars in fields related to brain science, supply seed funding for high-impact new research, and also fund essential new equipment and infrastructure in technology-intensive areas of exploration.”

Session for Arts Students
Does your student light up at the prospect of a future in theater? The Mason Gross Extension Division of Rutgers is holding a seminar tomorrow, April 21, at which it will discuss the college BFA admissions process. Stephen Agosto, director of the Rutgers High School Musical Theater Academy and senior manager of artistic engagement at the Paper Mill Playhouse, will lead the three-hour session. Check the program flyer for more information.

Fashionable Summers
Hudson certainly has some students very interested in the fashion business. They should check out these summer programs offered at BansonNYC.

Parents: There’s so much going on in the college process. As your student nears the end of the academic year, be sure to get in touch with questions.

Contact Me
Nina Berler
(201) 859-3665 ext. 119
2018-04-20T12:29:18+00:00 April 20th, 2018|
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