College Counselors Corner: Summer Mode

Dear Parents,

Next week, students take final exams and switch into summer mode—unless they’re college-bound or rising seniors. Those in Junior Seminar are going home with drafts of their personal essay and ZeeMee supplement. While away from Hudson, they can access a shared doc with a suggested college list. Hopefully, their short list will be well in place by September, including Early Decision and Early Action choices.

Touring Colleges this Summer?

While summer isn’t the best time to see a campus, it is often the only option for a family. (Sometimes the students on campus are in pre-college or other special programs and are not part of that college’s student body.) Before you visit a college, look on its website to see whether there are tours and information sessions, and sign up if required. Take photos and notes if you’re touring several campuses, go inside dorms and other buildings, and check out the surrounding area to see whether it’s a good fit for your student.

Testing Update

Penn applicants have their ACT together.

Once upon a time, the ACT was a Midwest test. No more! Education Week tells us that the ACT has surpassed the SAT in popularity, with a volume of 2.09 million students compared with the SAT’s 1.64 million. At the University of Pennsylvania, in fact, more applicants reported ACT results than SAT results. According to the article, “Some believe the ACT will remain dominant, since more states give it for free during the school day, and the jittery students who abandoned the SAT during its 2016 redesign will be hard to win back.”

If your student is interested in retesting, College Board will offer the SAT and some SAT Subject Tests on August 26. The ACT will resume on September 9.

Common App Update: Ready, Set, Input!

The Common App opens on August 1. A Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss recounts anticipated changes to the Common App, including:

  • Self-reporting of grades. In recent years, some colleges that don’t accept the Common App (e.g., Rutgers) have asked students to self-report their high school grades, which can be not only tedious but also prone to error. For the next application cycle, we’re told that students will be inputting their high school grades year by year in the Common App even though colleges receive official transcripts. (Students can already self-report their standardized test scores.)

  • Integration of the Google Drive. This will allow students to access their work and will be a welcome addition.

  • Assignment of advisers. Following the example set by the Coalition App, a rival system implemented in 2016-17, the Common App will allow students to invite advisers to review their applications. Clearly, that’s intended for underserved students. Strauss quoted an independent counselor: “So it’s possible an eager rising senior could have her counselor, her parents, her boyfriend who attends [insert impressive sounding name] University, her lawyer uncle, and her three BFFs to view and comment on her Common App work.”

In Junior Seminar, students set up accounts on the wonderful platform. Colleges that join set awards called micro scholarships for student achievements such as grades and extracurriculars; the student, if accepted, can cash in. Last week, Education Dive reported that some great colleges, including University of Chicago, Grinnell, Harvey Mudd, Penn and Wash U joined the platform.

Parents: Urge your underclassman to set up an account on They even provide financial guidance.


I am often asked about how to research scholarships. At any time, check out national and New Jersey scholarships on Unigo. Cappex is another great resource.

Now Available on iBooks!

Knowing how students need to boost their profile with colleges, this college counselor has partnered with Social Assurity and ZeeMee to create Supplementing the Supplement. It’s available on iBooks. Rising seniors will receive a link from me in the fall. (They can use it on their smartphones!)

College Acceptances

In closing this year’s College Counselor’s Corner, we are pleased to report another year of strong college results. Take a look!

Enjoy your summer. I’ll be around the next three weeks, so if you have any questions about the college process, please email me or make an appointment.

2017-06-02T11:44:07+00:00 June 2nd, 2017|
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