Greetings High School Students and Families!
Your school year is well underway. As a college advisor, I’ve met with all my clients to set their strategic educational and college admissions plan for the year. Our goal is to adjust course selections, extracurricular opportunities and summer plans affording each student the opportunity to navigate high school enhancing solid time management skills, a love of learning and mostly -to engage fully for joy and discovery.
If you didn’t meet with your guidance counselor – perhaps this is a great time to reach out to me to explore and assess your first quarter. You’re invited to schedule your College Admissions Planning assessment with Online College Counselor Bonnie Rabin, PhD to create your college plan – staying on target — reaclizing your academic and personal goals.
In particular ongoing assessment will help you stay on target with your goals. Juniors- may have taken the Oct PSAT (or have plans for January) but should also be creating a test taking strategy — preparation and dates for for SAT/ACT and SATII Subject tests for May/June. Are you also preparing for your AP exams — now – rather than cramming in April? It’s fair to assume that the “test optional” policies dominating this year’s cycle of college applications/admissions will revert to the policies in place before our pandemic. In short- you’ll be testing testing and testing. I also remind everyone who has NOT yet finished Aleg II that is simply premature to hire a SAT/ACT prep tutor- as you haven’t learned the mathematics you’ll be tested on – just wait. I have recommendations for tutors if you feel you are ready — everyone is working virtually for the foreseeable future. Finally, if you need assistance with securing approval for testing accommodations – please reach out. This process can take a while and GCs are pushing back on students who are “A” students- that’s not the point! If you require an accommodation- let’s get your registered with the College Board and ACT organization.
Juniors ’22 – College Research should be taking place NOW and we should be meeting with your guidance counselor regulary – at least every 4 to 8 weeks to discuss your research on majors so you are learning about potential areas of study and potential campuses where the questions that intrigue you most can be studied fully. College Fairs are cancelled – but we will plow forward learning about majors and anticipate college campus visits are going to be precluded for the foreseeable future. Not to worry- we have the luxury of time on our side for now. If you read my piece about college essays- you know that college specific essays often ask applicants to address prompts about your emerging interest in a major. Doing your research and getting yourself involved in the exploration before your senior year will make that task easier and greatly increase your chances of a college acceptance. This is part of my work with you.
For most of you – first quarter grade reports should or will soon be available. There should be no surprises!!! If you are struggling with time management, difficult concepts in one or more classes or things just don’t feel right in any of your classes/schedule, please reach out to me ASAP to discuss options and plan solutions. Please call me!
I’m hearing from many of my clients and also read a ton about teens and virtual learning- people are tired of sitting staring at a screen for hours upon hours- eyes hurt and feeling “connected” is challenging. I read a great piece earlier this week of an interview of high school students. There were two interesting suggestions. 1) If you have the luxury of being able to move about in your home – do so- don’t’ sit in one room all day- change it up within your home (I realize siblings and parents are also on zoom) and 2) Don’t mute yourself – stay live on video and audio so you can join freely and make the “virtuality” seem a bit less distant. Engage – try to feel like you aren’t living plugged into the matrix (you’re not Neo) but this is where you must be ready to adapt and engage for now.
Regardless of whether things are going as expected or whether there are some “bumps”, please keep focused on your longer- range goals- embrace learning and discovery and aim to adapt learning strategies that work for YOU—hence being more successful academically and more joyful. Independence means accountability- and both are important goals to embrace.
Here’s a few key to-do items which are a part of your strategic educational plan and goals for success this year!
Grades: Students- you parents didn’t ask me to remind you. As you know, your GPA continues to be your most important focus. If you have an issue with a teacher, keep in mind, you are the only one responsible for your success. Your best “revenge” is success! You will feel empowered if you can master the material in a class being taught by an unkind or even unapproachable teacher. Contact me for suggestions if you feel that your grades are slipping. Also read my earlier newsletter with a wide range of specific solutions for mastering concepts in your most difficult classes.
COLLEGE FAIRS- While these are typically great practice for you to talk with admissions representatives in anticipation of college interviews during your senior year – this year, your best option will be to attend some of the virtual campus presentations. The presentations are often followed by open/live Q&A sessions with currently enrolled students. While clearly not a replacement for a campus visit- it’s an opportunity to learn not only about academics but the vibe that students feel for their campus. During your senior year- it is my hope that the typical fall overnight campus visit programs resume.
Please review my earlier blog on attending virtual college fairs.
Extracurricular Activities and Your Resume–
Your “Brag” Sheet. Your resume is essential for summer program applications and the common application as well as a resource for your teachers preparing your recommendations. But it’s also a planning document- helping you build and develoip your path to an academic area of study.
I’d love to discuss your continued opportunities for leadership in current activities as well as enriching your personal and academic interests. There are TONS of online competitions and opportunities in all fields of interest.
How are your extracurricular activities affecting you? Are they interesting? Do these take too much time? Are there leadership opportunities? Let’s discuss refining your activities so you are able to sustain interest in 3 to 5 activities. At least one activity should be related to your intended college major. At least one activity should be something you truly enjoy and look forward to participation. At no time should you hold on to something you resent doing simply because you think it will “look good” in the college admissions process. Certainly don’t participate in any activity that is taking so much time that your GPA is being affected.
Time management– Are you in a rhythm that is working on a weekly and daily basis for tackling the expected homework and also allowing room for quizzes, exams and research papers? Please recognize the importance of leaving time for sufficient sleep and personal activities that bring you joy and opportunities to reduce stress. If you procrastinate while doing homework you end up with less time to truly relax and unwind before bedtime. Let’s talk!
SATII Subject Test and AP Review – Have you purchased review books and/or located a few practice exams so that each time you’ve completed a unit you are ensuring not only that you do well in class, but you are engaged in regular practice for your spring Subject Tests and AP exams ? An extra half hour after each exam October to April will pay off many times over in terms of exam readiness and reducing your text anxiety. If you didn’t learn something well now, reinforce these concepts while they are fresh in your mind.
Especially for JUNIORS: ACT/SAT – Given your target scores, let’s revisit whether you anticipate self-directed regular practice, individual coaching or group practice for Junior Year standardized testing. Let me assist you with either establishing a manageable schedule of self-directed practice or if requested, provide recommendations for tutoring.
To do well on the SAT/ACT you need to have completed Algebra II at minimum- so don’t start with a time consuming or expensive tutor when you didn’t even learn the content.
College research and Summer Plans: Juniors should have a long “short” list and you should be spending time to research your intended college major (and related majors . Take some notes! If the “academics” pass your threshold, then spend the time to explore the social side For example, check out availability of student clubs and the weekend opportunities as displayed on the “student life” tab.
Summer Programs: Take note of any summer programs of interest. While most programs do not begin accepting applications until January, a few specialized and highly competitive programs have earlier deadlines in December. I’d welcome the opportunity to present some options and start to prioritize the type of program you may be interested in attending in this summer. Sadly colleges are already in the dark about bringing students back to campus this spring- and I don’t think they are yet planning summers.
Freshman and sophomores—a 1 -2 week academic program is plenty for now.
Juniors- A 4-6 week program is appropriate especially one in a college that is strongly of interest during the regular admissions cycle. We’ll discuss which schools look more favorably at applicants having completed coursework (earning a transcript) vs. simply enrolling in a “summer program”.
Especially for Juniors: College Visits these are expensive and should be limited to 3 to 5 schools that you can very clearly articulate and make a case to me and your parents for spending money on travel. Most of what you need to know is online. Visits in the junior year are valuable if you want to truly narrow your list for an Early Decision application or can see a large number of schools in one part of the country. You also have time for visits in the fall of your senior year where there are special senior programs that will allow you to shadow a current student. It is fair to say- all of this is on hold until campuses reopen allowing visits on campus as well as safer air travel resumes. Uncertainty uncertainty uncertainty!
It’s a very unusual year as most of my students have decided NOT to apply Early Decision. While that’s your decision- juniors take note– ED means no opportunity to appeal financial aid and it’s meant for students 100% certain of their choice. We will talk more about this later this spring. You may want to refer to my blog a few weeks ago about Early Decision and Early Action.
Again, I’d welcome the opportunity to sit down foryour College Planning Assessment– discussing your classes, extracurriculars and long range goals. Please contact me by email or phone.
Wishing you peace, joy and success in all that you do!
8th to 11th Grade families
This is also the appropriate time of year to review extracurricular activities.
DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGIC EDUCATIONAL & COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PLAN FOR SUCCESS? ARE YOU ON TARGET?
Your Personalized Educational and College Admissions Plan Results in Motivated, Self-Directed & Confident Young Adults Ready to Succeed!
Based in Boca Raton in South Florida, Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD provides comprehensive educational planning and college application advising to students throughout Florida (Boca Raton, Parkland, Delray, Coral Springs, Wellington), Metro NYC, Denver/Boulder Colorado and remotely throughout the US. Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. provides each client with expert guidance and personal attention.
With over thirty years of experience as a university professor & admissions committee member you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities to BUILD YOUR COLLEGE PLAN!.
Please Click to view: GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS I wish all high school and undergraduate students a peaceful and successful academic year.
Warm regards, Bonnie
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions ConsultantProfessor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni Representative
561.509.0021 South Florida
833.MY.ESSAY Online Wherever You Are