Category: For Parents
Many high school students wonder what college life will be like. They wonder about the social aspects and the academic challenges that will await them. Thanks to college summer programs that are offered by many top-ranking colleges and universities across the U.S., students no longer have to wonder what college life will be like; instead, they can experience it for themselves in the form of college summer programs.
Top colleges across the nation offer summer programs to high school students. Frequently known as college discovery or college enrichment programs, students can spend a few weeks to a few months participating in programs that focus on an array of subjects from mathematics to the arts. Some schools even offer athletic programs for interested students.
It’s your senior year and you're probably feeling just as excited as you are exhausted. You don’t know what the future holds, but you’re hoping that college is your next big step. After all, you’ve paid your dues: you’ve taken the standardized tests, made good grades, volunteered when needed, and also took on extracurricular activities from sports to band – all to impress a panel of strangers who hold the key to your future in their hands.
Clearly, the college admissions process can be an emotional rollercoaster. And at this point in the process, most students will decide that they’ve done all that they can do to convince admissions to select them over another candidate.
Blaming senioritis, seniors everywhere will convince themselves that their last year of high school doesn’t really matter to colleges. Many students will be tempted to slack off and will make the mistake of cruising through their senior year, hoping to avoid taking anything that could be considered academically rigorous.
But before you write-off your senior year as nothing more than a waiting period until your “real” life starts, consider using your senior year instead as a way to prepare for the academic rigor of college. Furthermore, enrolling in certain types of courses can help you earn credit in high school that you can use later in college.
Below are a few ideas of what courses to take during your senior year and why...
The summer after your junior year does not have to be filled with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to sit around worrying and wondering if you’ve done everything you need to do to be noticed and hopefully selected by the college of your choice. In fact, if planned ahead of time, the summer after your junior year can be the perfect opportunity to participate in a few activities that will not only make your summer memorable, but also help add substance to your college application.
While your peers worry about making a last ditch, herculean effort to impress the college admissions office by prepping for yet another standardized test, consider using your summer vacation to invest your personal time in activities that not only interest you, but will serve to impress an admissions officer or two.
Let’s say that you’re a top ranking student. You’re in the top 5% of your class due to your high GPA. Your SAT, ACT and AP scores are enviable. You also are well-rounded and your extra-curricular activities are just as important to you as your academic pursuits. You excel in high school. In fact, your guidance counselor frequently tells you that you’re one of the best prepared students in your graduating class. And as a result, you’re going to be recognized with an award for outstanding achievement the following day.
But then you go to school the next morning and you find out that you’re not in the top 5% of your class any more. Confused, you try to find out why. And you’re given a conflicting and arguably ridiculous excuse that the formula used to determine high-achieving students has changed. The school no longer cares that you have a high GPA, your test scores aren’t important, and your extra-curricular activities are just seen as well, extra, but not really necessary. And because of the school’s new ranking system, you go from being in the top 5% of your class, to barely ranking at all.
You’re confused, upset, and outraged. And rightfully so. You worked hard for what you achieved and now a random new way of ranking has made you seem less competitive with your peers.
You’re probably saying to yourself, this won’t happen to me, right? Well, probably not, but for many colleges and universities that were once seen as top colleges, this is exactly what happened, virtually overnight.
In the news, all over social media and everywhere else in between, you’ll see posts or articles about the rising cost of college. For many people, the trouble isn’t getting into the college of their choice, the issue is being able to afford it. College can be expensive: Between books, tuition and housing, the average American college student is looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars on their college education. It is extremely common to hear college graduates speak of the debilitating, anxiety-inducing student loans that they struggle to pay month to month. Crippling student debt is a scary reality for many college hopefuls, but don’t fret! There are ways to offset the burden of college expenses and arguably the best way is to apply for and hopefully, be awarded scholarships. Below are a few tips to help you begin your scholarship search.
During this campaign season, we have seen an extraordinary battle of ideas regarding higher education. One of the more interesting ideas currently being promoted actively by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (and supported by President Obama) is a policy proposal to make community college free for everyone.
On its face, this seems to be a no-brainer – after all, what could possibly be wrong with offering free community college to every American citizen? In theory, it should increase not only the lifetime income potential of students who take advantage of this, but it would also greatly increase the skill set of millions of current and future workers.
Despite these benefits, I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
After concluding my 15th year of working with high school seniors, with many of them getting admission letters into Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale – it’s becoming increasing apparent that top students are obsessed with the Ivy League. For many parents and students, admission into an Ivy League school is a stamp of approval of their hard work in and out of the classroom. In many instances, students and parents see an Ivy League admission letter as a punched ticket to success for future aspirations. I often joke with my students that getting into an Ivy League school today is like unwrapping the golden chocolate bar from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
One of the most frequent questions I get from the students I work with is whether or not they should spend their summers going to faraway places to enhance the college application. In fact, the number of students who have been asking about this has grown exponentially in the last 10 years.
As a general rule, I counsel my families to not spend inordinate amounts of money on travel just for the sake of enhancing the college application. There are five considerations I think you should consider if you are only travelling internationally to enhance the college application: