How to Audit Your Child's Extracurriculars

Before we get too far into the new school year, I encourage you to perform an extracurricular activity audit with your 8th, 9th, or 10th-grader. Sounds like a blast, right?

This will either reinforce that you're on the right path, or open your eyes to a world you never knew existed.

Extracurricular activities are a critical component in the college admissions process - especially for very or most-selective colleges (Top 75).

Admissions Screen #1

There are 3 primary factors that determine whether or not your child will pass through the first admissions screen:

  1. GPA
  2. Rigor of course work (number of AP, Honors, IB classes)
  3. SAT or ACT score

As you move up the selectivity scale, the holes in the screen get smaller and smaller.

Admissions Screen #2

Once your child gets through Admissions Screen #1, admissions officers will then review their extracurricular activities:

  • sports
  • clubs
  • theater
  • music
  • family support (child or elder care)
  • job
  • summer experiences
  • internships
  • shadowing
  • volunteer...
Continue Reading...

PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 5 | Tips & Strategies for Writing the College Essay

prepwell podcast Oct 26, 2019

Show Notes:

In this episode, I discuss how to start, structure, and finalize a winning college essay. We start with how to generate ideas (brainstorming, essence objects, timelines, factoids), how to decide on a format (narrative or montage), how to be memorable, how to bookend your essay, and how to keep tabs on grammar, syntax, craft, spelling, word count, alignment, and feedback. I provide two sample essays from my private PrepWellers that illustrate these principles. If you are in the middle of drafting your college essay, or you want a preview of what’s to come in the near future - give this episode a listen. 
 
Check out The College Essay Guy for great resources on writing your college essay. 
If you want to support the show, here are three immediate steps to take.  
  1. Subscribe to the podcast where ever you listen to podcasts
  2. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook
  3. Give us a review
  4. Share this episode with a friend
  5. Join...
Continue Reading...

Will Mia Get into MIT?

 

As a college admissions counselor specializing in students with big ambitions (e.g. Ivy League, Military Service Academies/ROTC, Athletic scholarships), I have seen dreams realized, shattered, and everything in between.

Case Study

In this case study, I reveal what goes through an MIT college admissions officers' mind as they review Mia's application. What do they care about, what do they disregard, what jumps out, and what factors might seal the deal for her (for good or bad)?

Mia just finished her junior year at a big public high school in CA. She has a great GPA, killer SAT score, nearly perfect SAT Subject Test scores, and some impressive extracurricular activities.

Will this seemingly extraordinary application stand out?

Here are the summary findings for Mia:

Objective Academic Metrics:

Excellent.

  • SAT: 1520
  • GPA: 4.4
  • SAT Subject Tests: 800 and 790
  • AP Cal BC: 5
  • AP Physics: 4
  • Rigor of classes: very

Extracurriculars:

Very strong. A combination of academics, work, STEM camp,...

Continue Reading...

PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 4 | How Extracurricular Activities Impact the Strength of Your Child’s College Application

prepwell podcast Oct 20, 2019

Show Notes:

In today’s show, I discuss strategies and recommendations for Extracurricular Activities that take 2-3 years to plan and execute. They are not short-term gimmicks or shortcuts. Pack a lunch.
 
If you have a child in 11th or 12th grade, it may be too late to implement these strategies to full effect.
 
This podcast is primarily for conscientious parents who are trying to help their aspirational 8th, 9th and 10th graders do the right things now to help them be successful later (2 or 3 years from now) in the college admission process. Here’s what we’ll discuss:
 
Topic 1: What Activities are Considered “Extracurricular”?
 
Topic 2: How Most Families Approach Extracurricular Activities 
 
Topic 3: How Most Families Should Approach Extracurricular Activities
 
Topic 4: How Important are Extracurricular Activities in the Admissions Process
 
Topic 5: How Thinking...
Continue Reading...

Will Rohan Get into USNA or ROTC?

 

As a college admissions counselor specializing in students with big ambitions (e.g. Ivy League, Military Service Academies/ROTC, Athletic scholarships), I have seen dreams realized, shattered, and everything in between.

Case Study

In this case study, I discuss whether Rohan has what it takes to get into the United States Naval Academy or win an ROTC scholarship. These insights can be applied to similar service academies (e.g. West Point, Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy).

Click these links to find out more about military service academies and ROTC scholarships.

Rohan just finished his junior year at a big public high school in MA. He hadn't thought much about applying to a service academy and didn't even know what ROTC was. No one ever introduced these two options to him. Now, as Rohan begins to prepare his college applications, he is struck by the amount of work required during the process.

Will Rohan be too late to submit a solid application?

Here are the summary...

Continue Reading...

PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 3 | 10 Life Skills Teens Must Learn During The College Admissions Process

prepwell podcast Oct 14, 2019

Show Notes:

One key insight I’ve learned after working with hundreds of families over the years, is that the particular “college" a student attends, isn’t nearly as important as the “skills" they learn during the college application process. 
 
The process is more important than the prize
 
Which begs the question, what are the critical skills that students need to learn to prepare for college - no matter where they go - Princeton or Passaic Polytech?  And how can I help them learn these lessons?
 
In this episode, I walk through all 10 Life Skills and explain why they will play such a critical role in your child’s future.
 
If you want to support the show, here are a few steps to take.  
  1. Subscribe to the podcast
  2. Share this episode with your friends
  3. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook
  4. Give us a review
  5. Join our mailing list
  6. Enroll your 9th or 10th grader in the program

...

Continue Reading...

Will Erin Get Into Princeton?

 

As a college admissions counselor specializing in students with big ambitions (e.g. Ivy League, Military Service Academies/ROTC, Athletic scholarships), I have seen dreams realized, shattered, and everything in between.

Case Study

In this case study, I reveal what goes through a college admissions officer's mind as they review an application. What do they care about, what do they disregard, what jumps out, and what factors might seal the deal (for good or bad)?

In this blog, I review Erin's profile. Erin is a junior at a public high school in CA. She's an elite soccer player, near straight-A student, member of student government, and involved in community service.

Sound familiar?

Many parents of talented 9th and 10th-grade athletes tell me similar stories. They want to know their child's chances. 

Here's how the story goes:

Hi, Phil. I've heard you're the expert in helping kids get into highly-selective colleges by mentoring them early in their high school careers. Can I tell...

Continue Reading...

PrepWell Podcast - Ep. 2 | Why Highly-Selective Colleges Seem To Prefer Specialists vs. Well-Rounded Students

prepwell podcast Oct 06, 2019


Show Notes:

Why is it that today, many highly-selective colleges seem to be more interested in students who are specialists, experts, or angular versus those who are generalists, jacks-of-all-trades, or well-rounded? 

Because 30 years ago, it used to be the opposite. 

Back in the day, highly-selective schools were impressed by the proverbial “well-rounded student” who seemed capable of doing just about anything - sports, academics, guitar, community service, work.

And the "specialists" were thought to be more on the fringe, narrowly focused, or maybe didn’t have a broad enough base of curiosity to take advantage of a liberal arts education. 

Well, the tides have turned.

In this episode, we explore the implications of this trend and how your child might fit (or not fit) into this new landscape.

Is your child a generalist or specialist? If they’re still undecided, should you give them a nudge one way or the other? Or stay out...

Continue Reading...

Is your Child Well-Rounded or Angular?

 

Back in the day, highly-selective schools were impressed by the proverbial "well-rounded student" who seemed capable of doing just about anything - from sports, to academics, to community service.

"Old School" Well-Rounded Student:

  • 4.0 GPA
  • National Honor Society
  • Soccer player (2 years)
  • Piano (3 years)
  • Vice President of Spanish Club (Junior Year)
  • Soup Kitchen volunteer (various)

College Admissions Officers used to assemble their incoming classes by selecting many of these "well-rounded" applicants. 

Campuses eventually became havens for lots of students who were good at lots of things.

Today, things are different.

In fact, many schools today are not as impressed by generic "well-rounded" students and have turned their attention to more "angular" students.

Angular Students

Angular students take a deep dive into one (or two) core activities  -  often at the exclusion of others - to become world-class in their field. 

"Modern Day" Angular Student:

  • 4.4 GPA
  • ...
Continue Reading...

Prepwell Podcast - Ep. 1 | Waiting Until 11th Grade To Prepare For College Admissions Is Too Late

prepwell podcast Sep 29, 2019

Show Notes:

If your child does what most students do - and waits until 11th or 12th grade to begin thinking about and planning for college - they will be leaving 70% of their application up to chance. For students who aspire to the most selective colleges - this is not an option. This is a recipe for disappointment, frustration, and missed opportunities. 

If you have a child who is considering Ivy League or near-Ivy league schools (like Duke, Stanford, MIT, Vanderbilt), or a service academy, or is seeking an ROTC or athletic scholarship, please encourage them to engage in the process now - and by now - I mean 9th or 10th grade.

Good news: Given how few people understand how this new reality works, your child can use this knowledge to their strategic advantage when it comes to college admissions. This episode walks you through my thesis and uncovers why most people (including guidance counselors) continue to use 20-yr old advice. 

And, if your child really wants to...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Close