Greetings Students and Families,

Whether you’re a high school senior (20) finalizing your college short list and already in progress submitting your college applications  or perhaps you’re a sophomore (22) or junior (21) starting your research on college majors and universities to plan out  your campus visits,  there’s a few points I’d like to cover today:

Finding the perfect college “fit” – what factors should you be thinking about?

How to research colleges and majors –
Understanding Academics & Leveraging Your Personal Strengths and Passions

In two separate posts, I spoke about What Admissions Representatives Consider:


While Seniors (class of 2020) have finalized their short list and immersed in college applications, Juniors- class of 2021 may have just started to explore colleges and yes, some students have had their short “list” since middle school. Students in 8th (2024) to 11th (2021) grades will can reduce confusion about which campuses may be a “best” fit if the high school years include a healthy balance of relevant and appropriately set of academic challenges and extracurricular experiences for discovery.  In  COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ASSISTANCE: WHO ARE YOU? EARLY COLLEGE PLANNING!   I spoke about the importance of early planning to allow for discovery.  Early college advising and student-centeredcollege planning actually increases your chances of college admissions success by clarifying a student’s educational goals and taking the steps throughout high school to build a foundation based on actual experiences both within and outside the classroom.   SCHEDULE AN EDUCATIONAL & COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PLANNING ASSESSMENT with Bonnie Rabin, PhD

I often meet young adults who seem to think they have already decided the field that they want to study as undergraduates and even as graduate students! Their enthusiasm is wonderful, but at times these early academic/career choices rest upon preconceived notions about their interests and  misinformation about a given field of study.  Sometimes, well meaning parents may “push” students towards a path that may leave a less-than-confident young adult less likely to explore all the available educational and career options.  At 15, 16, 17 and even 22 or 28 – young adults should feel the excitement over the endless realm of career paths rather than feeling boxed in.   EXPLORE EXPLORE EXPLORE!!

Students arrive at our first meeting not always ready to think outside their comfort zone.  As young adults, high school is the time to learn more about EVERYTHING and rule out nothing.  The essential process of  discovery includes exploring a variety of academic disciplines many of which may yield a rewarding and joyful educational and career path.   Given  my curriculum expertise at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I continue to  encourage students to explore to find a unique path.

At many of my initial meetings, families arrive with an (unsolicited) list of universities.   Selecting a college prior to first knowing more about what potential majors are truly a good “fit” for a student’s interests and strengths will create a situation for a missed opportunity.

With a few hundred academic majors and nearly 4000 undergraduate colleges, it’s very unlikely that the high school curriculum and extracurricular experiences enjoyed thus far have put all of the available and amazing options on your student’s radar.

THAT IS STEP 1 your   College exploration process!!  Let me help your student explore undergraduate curriculum maps and  faculty research institutes to discover the “problem” they want to solve? Where will your student make an impact!?  Did you know that colleges are more likely to accept students who have well-defined interests and show “informed interest”?   College applications often ask students to respond to college essay prompts “why us – why this major?” leaving the student who has experiences in a better position.

The “fit” between a student and a university is based upon three pillars:


The university you attend should provide an outstanding academic experience in your intended major/minor fields of study, along with appropriate internship and career placement opportunities. This is paramount to selecting where to attend.

There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.

Your evaluation of academics should move beyond published lists of college rankings. The most important steps include learning how to navigate through the “Academics” and the “Research” tabs to fully explore the curriculum maps, degree requirements and the research projects faculty are conducting. As a former university professor with 30+ years of experience on curriculum planning committees, I’m able to help your family assess “academic fit” and effectively explore your academic options to balance each student’s current and emerging interests and strengths.


The social fit is important as each student is looking to find a “home-away-from-home” for their next four years. Is the campus inviting, inclusive and are there opportunities for ongoing social and emotional growth?

This is exactly why students visit university campuses before enrolling. Your Educational and College Admissions Assessment will help you hone in on the criteria that are important to you.  Let me help you understand how to have an informative and meaningful campus visit.


Every family faces unique financial circumstances and we factor those into the choices of where to apply and enroll. Additional details are noted on our financial aid page and in several recent blogs. If you’re ineligible for financial aid, merit aid remains an important option to explore.

THERE ARE MANY CAMPUSES PROVIDING an EXCELLENT EDUCATION offering deep discounts on tuition given your “admissions profile”.

Finding Your Passion:

There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult!  With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.

As a former university professor, I’ve designed and approved accredited curriculum programs for several universities.  Having spent thirty years advising thousands of students, I invite your family to leverage my knowledge of curriculum requirements and discover an academic area your student will be truly passionate about.

The more you know about your interests and your strengths, the more likely you’ll embark upon a path that is joyful and rewarding. 

The subject areas introduced in high school are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Consider:

STEM: computational biology, nanotechnology, animal science, food science, viticulture and enology (the art of grape growing and winemaking)

BUSINESS: business analytics, information systems, fashion marketing or financial engineering

HUMANITIES/SOCIAL SCIENCE blends including bio-molecular archaeology, cognitive science, technical writing

FINE ARTS: scientific photography, costume technology, industrial design or even bakery science

These are just a few examples of fields where great innovation is occurring in a multi-disciplinary way – Be Inspired!

How do parents and students select their “best-fit” colleges and decide where to apply and if accepted, where to enroll?

Great choices begin with student inspired research!  


Establish Educational Goals: A student’s initial exploration of the 4000 potential colleges shouldn’t be driven by name recognition but through a guided and purposeful exploration of college majors, followed by a review of the “social” fit.

Whether you love or hate science, want to change the world, enjoy drawing, solving problems, singing or surfing the web, a student’s passions and interests should ALWAYS direct the college research process.


  • What subjects do you really enjoy and do the concepts come naturally to you?
  • What are your personal strengths?
  • Are you a natural problem solver?
  • Are you creative?
  • Do you enjoy  interactions with and helping others?
  • Is having a broad based education important to you or would you rather prepare yourself for a very specific occupation (or be honest- income level)?
  • What types of news stories on your twitter and Facebook feeds do you actually gravitate towards?

Answering these questions helps you to navigate through the curriculum requirements for majors currently on your radar and those you haven’t yet considered.

My recent blog : 2024 Acceptance Rates: Myths to Understand I shared some important information to hopefully clarify why you should NOT be concerned or focused on these data. For the curious, the newsletter did conclude with a chart of the previous two years of acceptances rates at several universities.   Has your college counselor discussed what colleges are a best “Fit” for you – academically, socially and financially?

If you didn’t see your colleges of interest on my list, you can find more information by reviewing these statistics at individual college websites. Acceptance rates do provide a baseline metric in building your balanced college list of reach, match and “safety” choices. Students please focus your efforts on creating a list of universities that fit you in these three ways: “academic”, “social” and “financial”.

Acceptance rates are aggregate numbers that give you a sense of the degree of competitiveness of a given university, but it’s more important for you to research the academic profile of the most recently admitted class as an indicator of your chances of acceptance to a particular college. You’ll find this information, along with acceptance rates available at the university website.

An invaluable source of information on application numbers, acceptance rates and some fascinating statistics on admitted students is available in the COMMON DATA SET INITIATIVE where colleges can voluntary release this information in detailed reports aimed at providing accurate information about their incoming class profile. The easiest way to find this information is to search for “University Name + Common Data Set”. The reports are exceedingly and overly detailed.

Another option, although slightly less reliable is College Navigator . Again, the point to be appreciated and understood is that aggregate acceptance rates vary widely by major, gender, location and your actual academic profile. So please don’t focus on aggregate numbers which aren’t personally relevant to YOU.

Finally, another informal indicator of your chances of acceptance and which I previously mentioned is Talk.CollegeConfidential where a few hundred discussion threads provide self-reported “results threads” of student profiles of admitted, waitlisted and denied applicants at nearly every college.

Here’s the link to the results thread for:

Talk College Confidential Results Thread Stanford RD ’22

Whether you’re starting high school or a rising senior (2020) getting ready to begin the College Application process, please reach out to discuss your educational aspirations and how to create your COLLEGE PLAN for success.



In my recent blog post I outlined some factors and myths about the Early Decision and Early Action college application options.


The intent is simple- Early Decision is designed for students who are convinced that a specific college campus is the perfect fit (in all respects—academic, social and financial) and the college is your top choice!

But buyer beware….

If you’ve already visited campus having spent a solid amount of time speaking with faculty and students and have given the same  level of consideration to at least one or two other colleges, ED can be a wise educational decision.  First-impression bias is dangerous.  If you fall in love with the one and only campus you visit- ED is NOT the way to approach your college planning and college admissions process. Please visit an alternative and compare your options.

Applying ED is not a decision to be made lightly, and as noted in the blog, please don’t be misled or misguided by lists of acceptance rates leading you to believe that applying ED doubles your chances of an acceptance.

8th to 11th Grade families 

This is also the appropriate time of year to review extracurricular activities.


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 2019-20 academic year.
Warm regards,
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni Representative
561.509.0021  or 833.MY.ESSAY