College Counselor’s Corner: Showcasing Performance

Dear Parents,

Just as we can’t control who wins Academy Awards, we can’t control college acceptances (although we’d really like to). But we can encourage our students to do their best, providing them with our support and counsel. At The Hudson School, our head Paul Perkinson often says, “Work hard. Be kind.” I recount this message in parent meetings, extending it to the college process. To be rewarded, students need to keep their grades up and share their passions with others.

So will students take control of their own performances (and get recognition, too)? Check out the information below.

Teacher Recommendations: Elaborating on Student Performance

Barnard uses teacher recommendations to gain insight into student intellect and engagement.

Recently, Her Campus reported on the importance of the teacher recommendation. The author, an undergrad at Barnard, included some insightful comments from Barnard’s Associate Director of Admissions, Kelly Sutton-Skinner: “We’re not only learning about a student’s intellect and how they engage with academic content, but we’re also learning about their personalities and…what kind of presence they are in an academic environment.” The article explains that the teacher asked to write a recommendation may not necessarily be the easiest grader; in fact, it’s sometimes better to have a teacher who can address growth and improvement.

It is never too early for students to think about the best teachers to write their recommendations. Certainly, juniors should have them locked up before they leave for the summer.

Social Media: Showcasing Performance (Outside the Classroom)

This week, I took part in a webinar sponsored by ZeeMee, a Silicon Valley company that enables students to embed a profile on certain college applications. (See my article on social media in the college process from late last year.) ZeeMee, which is free, is built on the premise that Gen Z students know digital media and will readily use it to communicate their story. I will be coming into junior classes in the fourth quarter to explain how ZeeMee can be used. Why not show those admissions officers that their performance in and out of the classroom makes them worthy of a spot on the team?

Raise.Me: Rewarding Performance with Scholarships

At a meeting last week at the Lawrenceville School, I heard good things about Raise.Me, another growing platform. Raise.Me allows students to follow colleges and accumulate points known as micro-scholarships for everything from APs to extracurriculars. (Each of the partner colleges creates its own unique micro-scholarship program.) On a predetermined date during the senior year, Raise.Me submits student data to colleges, and they match or raise the value of the micro-scholarships for admitted students.

So far, 400,000 students have signed up. Partner colleges, including Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin, Tulane, Northeastern, and Penn State, are paying for site usage. I’ll continue to watch Raise.Me and will encourage your high school student (except seniors) to sign up and test it out.

College Curriculum: Ensuring Career-Related Performance?

Students can enjoy the beauty of Williams while studying . . . statistics!

Nothing about merit-based scholarships is contentious. But college majors? Now, that’s the source of much discussion, especially relating to the liberal arts. A recent Inside Higher Ed article, “Liberal Arts Students Are Getting Less Artsy,” analyzes trends in majors at leading liberal arts colleges. It notes that the decline in liberal arts majors coincides with adoption of STEM majors and double majoring (e.g., economics and political science). At Williams, where the number of art and art history majors are down, new majors include Arabic, environmental studies and statistics. Davidson has added a digital studies program. Wellesley noted a 29 percent increase in math and science enrollments, particularly in computer science and neuroscience. Barnard launched a new curriculum this year based on six modes of thinking: technologically and digitally; quantitatively and empirically; social difference; global inquiry; locally (i.e., New York); and historical perspective.

Looking back, many Wellesley grads surveyed said they would’ve liked to have taken more courses in the arts, languages and non-Western cultures and fewer in STEM. The debate continues.

For those who want to boost artistic performance, Penn State School of Visual Arts is hosting an open house.

Students desiring financial rewards might like Trading Day, hosted by Stevens on April 28, 2017. Participants will use Bloomberg terminals on an authentic-looking trading floor.

Those wanting to boost their academic profiles should check out Columbia’s for-credit options. There’s also Columbia Engineering’s SHAPE program, which has a priority deadline of February 28.

Remember: College Night at Hudson is Wednesday, March 15, at 7:00 pm. Email me with your RSVP and questions.


Nina Berler

College Counselor

The Hudson School

(201) 659-8335 x119

2017-03-02T16:50:55+00:00 February 24th, 2017|
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