College Counselor’s Corner: On the March

Dear Parents,

Sure enough, March is coming in like a lion. But for college applicants awaiting their decisions, will it go out like a lamb? Many colleges aren’t announcing admissions decisions until the very end of the month—some even later. So here are some things parents and students can do in March.

Learn How to Handle the Tough Questions

“So, where is Andrew going to college?” Andrew has no idea, and his parents are understandably in panic mode. Of course, Andrew’s friends are all set. So, what does he tell people when they ask the dreaded question? The Washington Post published a very timely article, “Tired of People Asking You Where You’re Going to College? Here’s What to Say.” The main idea: Acknowledging and responding to uncomfortable questions helps sharpen social skills. As for the dreaded question, the Post interviewed independent school counselors and consultants. Their advice to applicants:

  • Emphasize that there’s a range of schools on the target list rather than a first choice.
  • Deflect the question by asking the adult about his or her college decision-making.
  • Say that the information will remain private until a decision is made.
  • Come up with a somewhat humorous response to use under the right circumstances.


By the way, the article mentions the benefits of a high school forum in which alumni share their stories with applicants. We do this very thing each year at The Hudson School!

Stanford wait-lists students, but rarely does it offer them spots.

Prepare to Wait (Even Longer)

Wait lists are not for the impatient. When it comes to college admissions, they rarely yield the desired outcome. In The College Solution, Lynn O’Shaunessy addresses the likelihood of getting of a wait list (i.e., not too likely), supporting it with statistics from colleges such as Harvard and Notre Dame. Importantly, she suggests reasons colleges place large numbers of students on waiting lists to begin with (i.e., keeping yield numbers high, showing selectivity, keeping alums happy).

I have actually counseled a few students who were waitlisted and eventually were offered a place in to top colleges (e.g., Harvey Mudd, University of Virginia). But having seen disappointments as well, I urge students to communicate with admissions and move on. If you have questions about how to handle a specific wait list, please email me.

Ask a Shark

Are you and your student (still) debating majors? Why not ask Mark Cuban for his advice? According to the killer shark, liberal arts might be the way go. Speaking to Business Insider, Cuban states, “I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering . . .  when the data is all being spit out for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data. And so having someone who is more of a freer thinker.” Cuban identifies English, philosophy, and foreign language as just some of the majors that will do well in the future job market. (See last week’s College Counselor’s Corner.)

Indiana University: Known for its Kelley School of Business

Mark Cuban graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, by the way, and it sure didn’t hurt him.

Here’s the missing piece: the liberal arts major is also going to have to love business or at least the application of the data! In a Business Insider article on workforce automation, an AI recruiter states, “The best thing a college student can do to ensure they will succeed in an automated workplace is to chose an industry they love, and ensure they focus on learning creativity and communication skills”

Integrate SATs into Your Summer Plans

Just when your students think it will be safe to go back in the water, there’s danger lurking.  College Board is adding a summer sitting of the SAT, administering its tests on August 26, 2017. The advantage for the student, of course, is to take the test unburdened by schoolwork. Here’s a registration link and a useful list of Subject Tests.

Regarding SAT Subject Tests: It’s important for the student to take the tests when the material is fresh, which is usually June, not August. If a student is a prospective engineer or Georgetown applicant, the tests may be required. (Some colleges accept the ACT with Writing instead.) Of course, we don’t know which colleges will change their requirements for the next application cycle.

Coke or Pepsi? SAT or ACT? The ACT will add a July test beginning in 2018.

Learn More About Scholarships

University Parent, an ad-supported online community, seeks to answer “What is the best way to find scholarships?” It recommends a three-pronged approach: using scholarship search engines, looking locally, and examining merit aid sources at particular colleges. (Important distinction: Merit aid is not based on financial need.) Cappex has a great tool to search for merit aid by university.

Meet the Neighbors

St. Peter’s University received its largest-ever grant, $3.8 million, from the U.S. Department of Education. It will invest the funds in innovative technology and a new STEM Engagement Center.

On April 1, 2017, there will be a college fair from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, 225 Morris Boulevard in Jersey City. The fair is sponsored by the North Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority the Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County.

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is hosting a program called Splash, and would like to invite The Hudson School students to its campus in Newark, NJ on Saturday, March 25th, 2017. Students must sign up before March 13th when class registration closes. For more details, see the website.

Here’s to success in March!



Nina Berler

College Counselor

The Hudson School

2017-03-09T14:06:45+00:00 March 7th, 2017|
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