"Wait, what? Jimmy got into Berkeley? Are you serious? My son has the same GPA and SAT scores - maybe even better. He took just as many weighted classes as Jimmy. Why didn't my son get in? They both have the same profile."
This is one of the most common questions I hear from the PrepWell community and from random people around the water cooler, lacrosse field, and locker room.
I'd like to shed some light on this question by comparing three students that I counseled privately this year in my Private Mentoring program.
[FYI: I run a program where I work closely with a handful of PrepWell Academy students who opt to move from the online program to a full-service program in junior year].
What accounts for the difference in outcomes?
There are several factors at play here (e.g. extracurriculars, leadership, letters of recommendation, demonstrated interest, major preference, parental involvement, etc.)
However, I believe the biggest difference-maker is when a student...
Hello, PrepWellers. Welcome to the first-ever episode of the PrepWell Podcast. I hope you enjoy the show and stick around for all the exciting things to come. I wanted to start off by giving you some background about me and why I started this podcast.
I created the podcast to help me communicate with you in a more meaningful way. Sure, I routinely send emails and post to social media – but these outputs often feel rushed and superficial.
As a busy parent with four kids myself (three going through the college admissions process as we speak), I wanted to create an option for parents who would prefer to listen to my in-depth commentary and advice at their own pace. The longer format allows me to convey details and emotions that can’t be transmitted in a bullet-pointed email or filtered Instagram post.
Since the subsequent shows are packed with my personal opinions and advice on how to help your child (and you) navigate the college admissions process, I thought...
To listen to the full podcast, please visit:
In my opinion, a love of reading is the single biggest academic skill a child can develop prior to high school. A child's relationship to reading impacts their academic trajectory more than any other single factor.
In a prior blog post, I offer 10 Tips on how to raise an avid reader.
Today, I have to admit that I have failed to achieve this goal for my 8th grader. He will read when he has to, but there is no spark - there is no love of reading.
I have tried many of the techniques and failed. Maybe I wasn't disciplined enough, or I assumed he'd be like his brothers, or I was just too tired to follow-through on the technique.
As a former Navy SEAL, giving up is not in my playbook, so I began looking for more options.
Here are some things I considered:
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.
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 Pete's profile. Pete just finished his junior year at a big public high school in NY. He has a pretty good GPA. pretty good SAT score, has taken pretty hard classes, is a pretty good lacrosse player, and has pretty good extracurricular activities.
Are you getting my drift?
Pete is "pretty good" at just about everything. This is the profile of a lot of high school students these days. That's why we call him "Pretty Good Pete". He has a closely-related friend named "Pretty Good Pamela."
Assume a group a college applicants have similar:
but participate in different "Extracurricular Activities" that could be categorized as Typical or Non-Typical Teen Activities.
TTA (Typical Teen Activities)
NTTA (Non-Typical Teen Activities)
If your child has any inclination to serve their country, consider two compelling paths that lead to graduating from college as a military officer (at little-to-no cost).
What are the options?
If your child wants to serve as a military officer in any of the branches, service academies and ROTC programs are two great places to start.
What do these programs have in common?
Yes, a free (or nearly free) education. With the rising cost of college, these programs are becoming more and more competitive. And with options like attending Harvard and Princeton on an ROTC scholarship, people are paying attention.
What are service academies?
What is Early Decision?
Early Decision (or ED) is a binding agreement between a student and their ED school. A student admitted in the ED round (usually in mid-December) must retract all other applications and make a deposit to the ED school.
[Note: Students may only apply to one ED school]
[Note: ED is different from Early Action or Restrictive Early Action]
[Note: RD is Regular Decision]
The trend in applying ED is on the rise.
Here's what you need to know:
Who normally applies Early Decision?
Why is it easier to get into a school by applying ED?
As applications are reviewed by college admissions officers, they must survive several "screens" to make it to the end. The more selective the school - the less porous the screens. This week, we address the first two screens in the process.
Outcomes on these three criteria will dictate the "selectivity" of colleges to consider.
When (and if) a student gets through Screen #1, the more selective schools dig deeper.
Next stop: Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular Activities include anything that happens outside the classroom:
On the Common Application, there is room for 10 such Activities. The activities should be listed in the order of importance to the student. Space is limited (50 characters for the position and organization name and 150 characters for the...