I can guarantee you that there’s no magic formula for being accepted into a selective university, but I can guide you to navigating the college application process as well as increase the likelihood that your student will be successful throughout high school and have a seamless transition to their undergraduate community.
the class of 2025 and beyond will be balanced across intended majors, gender, location and a host of other factors. Your student has the intelligence to succeed at several colleges, but recognize that a freshman class cannot be comprised entirely of female Biology majors from your zip code. If rejected, it’s truly nothing personal nor necessarily a statement about a student’s inability to succeed.
A student’s GPA and the curriculum are still the most weighted factor in rendering an admissions decision.
Universities seek out students who have taken on leadership roles and who have a variety of genuine interests. That said, every student must reach a bar of academic accomplishments to be a viable candidate.
Confused about whether to take AP, AICE, IB or even dual-enrolled classes? Once you recognize that there’s very little difference in curriculum choices across high schools across the US, your focus shifts to selecting electives taken beyond the core required curriculum (4 years English, 4 years Social Studies, etc.). Challenge and explore!
BE your authentic self!
A final note-for Sophomores (’24) and Juniors (’23):
Universities would like to be your first choice.
I’ve written about “demonstrated interest” which can be expressed sincerely by knowing what ignites your interests in Biochemistry or Politics, etc. so that you are an informed consumer. That’s right ….you’re a consumer!! While there are a few thousand campuses you can study these and other traditional and unusual majors, it’s essential to do your research.
Learn how to read curriculum maps to understand everything that distinguishes one university from another. Let me help you discover how to conduct the research that will allow you to find a perfect fit academically, socially and even within your your financial means.
Reminder: SAT, ACT, AP/IB/AICE and TEST PREPARATION SERVICES
I’m sure you set aside one of my earlier newsletters that contained absolutely EVERYTHING you need to know about standardized testing and college admissions. Here’s the link to my recent newsletter.
Ask me which tests are reviewed favorably during the admissions process for specific majors. There is considerable variation across colleges and even within colleges by majors.
Let’s create your plan for test preparation and test taking- there are more exams than you may be aware of at the moment – and colleges that de-emphasize standardized tests.
Avoid redundant test preparation-hand holding isn’t for everyone. If you must have help preparing for your SAT/ACT, ask your tutor if they will be providing you customized or off-the-rack resources. I have a list of recommended tutors that have worked with several clients.
Please don’t assume that a high or perfect GPA earned in 6 AP classes in your junior and senior years will land you an acceptance letter at the selective college of your dream. Very simply- it will not. If you are a regular reader of my newsletters and blogs- you’ve heard me over and over talking about taking the time in high school to discovery and be joyful.
College Admissions Officers want to know two things about every applicant —
1 Who are You ?
2 What “Problem” do you want to solve- what do you want to learn with others on our college campus?
A Perfect GPA isn’t sufficient to gain an acceptance to a highly selective college nor is it necessarily the best way to leverage your high school career at the expense of other introspective opportunities. Everyone applying to highly selective colleges has a high GPA and the same transcript.
Please don’t wait until the end of your junior year to realize you have a 4.0 and a 1500 SAT but you have only the National Honors Society and 50 hours of assorted unspecific community service hours to note as the “activities” of your Common Application.
Take the time throughout high school to engage in the activities that bring you joy and allow you to share something about your unique self!
I’m positive I can help you think of many ways to engage beyond the clubs at your high school – LET’S CHAT!
As an educator and college counselor with over 30+ years of higher education experience guiding young adults, my message is straightforward- it’s about the importance of young adults finding the joy in all that they do. Teens attend classes, engage in student clubs and navigate life within their communities– all of this shapes emerging personal and academic interests.
Young adults who spend their time engaging in the activities that they love are not only successful during the college admissions and college application process, but are more purposeful students and community members once arriving on their high school and college campuses. Happiness can never be overrated! You may be a tad bit suspect about “happiness” after so many months of social distancing and perhaps even illness within your home. I cannot overstate how stressful the pandemic is for all of us- but we know that hope and joy about our future can carry us through this difficult time.
CONFIDENCE, ENGAGEMENT AND MOTIVATION RESULT WHEN OUR YOUNG ADULTS ARE ENCOURAGED AND SUPPORTED TO EXPLORE AND FIND THEIR UNIQUE AND JOYFUL PATH.
About 90 to 95% of my clients began work with me before their Junior year. A handful of students reach out during their senior year. Many have huge dreams and goals that often include acceptance to a highly selective university. And while their GPA may be near-perfect and they possess the desire and ability to succeed academically at selective universities- I am saddened to inform students with no recognizable connection to an emerging academic interest that their chances aren’t strong. If I only had met them 6-12 months sooner- I could have helped by suggesting ways to spend time to deepen academic discovery and increase chances of academic and college admissions success. This is the case for aspiring business, STEM- engineering, pre-med, Humanities, pre-law, artists and any major. For that matter- if we had more time I can help each student engage in academic discovery to avoid being one of the 25% of undergraduates who change majors — sometimes resulting in the need to spend a fifth year to earn their undergraduate degree.
Juniors– Class of 2023-
FINISH YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY BEFORE SUMMER BREAK!
June WRITERS BLOCK DATES, information and registration:
I hope your holiday season is not only safe — but meaningful. So many of us are thankful for arriving healthy at the holiday table.
As we continue into the holiday season, we are also well aware that not everyone is as fortunate. There are so many things that we can be thankful for, including the gift of life itself – especially during this terrible pandemic where so many families have lost a loved one. While some of you give thanks through words/prayers, I again encourage you to also consider expressing your gratitude through acts of kindness and charitable giving. Locally, food insecurity affects many and I hope you will reach out to organizations of your choice to contribute and do so generously.
Many blessings to everyone for a healthy, safe and joyous holiday season.
DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGIC EDUCATIONAL & COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PLAN FOR SUCCESS?
ARE YOU ON TARGET?
8th to 11th Grade families
It’s time for your mid-year strategic educational check-up to assist with summer plans and confirming course planning for the next academic year.
This is also the appropriate time of year to review extracurricular activities as you begin to plan your summer. Continue to engage and explore your interests- let’s talk!
With over thirty years of experience as a university professor & admissions committee member you’re invited to leverage my extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities to BUILD YOUR COLLEGE PLAN!.
I wish all high school and undergraduate students ongoing joy, peace and success for the second half of the 2021-22 academic year.
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni Representative
Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Brown, Bowdoin, Wellesley, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, London School of Economics, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, and many more!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. is the founder and principal educational consultant of College Career Consulting, LLC. She has over 30 years of experience as a university faculty member and shares her knowledge, professional resources and support with students who are ready to advance their lifelong educational and career journeys.