Even with your family’s exceptionally busy schedule, hopefully your summer has been a relaxing and productive one in anticipation of being recharged for a successful school year.

Now is the perfect time to schedule your one-on-one strategic back-to-school conference!  Receive a thorough educational assessment and create your personalized strategic educational and career plan to include specific steps for academic success and to prepare you for the college admissions process.

Be prepared!  Be Inspired!

What should your strategic educational plan include?

All High School Students (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th):

  • Customized Learning Solutions: Review any concerns from the previous academic year to address specific issues related to learning strategies and study habits for difficult or time consuming classes, test-taking skills and preparation, time management and potential stress from being overextended!     Create your manageable plan BEFORE you begin the school year! 
  • High School Curriculum Map: As an educational consultant, I provide valuable pre-college advising to ensure 1) a seamless transition between your high school classes and your anticipated undergraduate major, and 2) success in the college admissions and application process.  For example, wise planning of your Advanced Placement courses can make a significant difference in the classes you are prepared to enroll in as an undergraduate.
    Your transcript matters most!  The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annual State of College Admissions report confirms that universities continue to indicate that the high school transcript (your curriculum and GPA) is the single most important factor in the college admissions process.

It’s critical to select challenging yet manageable courses for success in the college admissions process. Let me guide you to building a strategic curriculum balanced by complementary extracurricular pursuits.

A partnership between students and their teachers, parents, high school guidance counselors and an educational consultant is essential not only for selecting the most appropriate courses, but such a partnership makes it easier to problem solve throughout your high school.

  • Who Are You? What’s Your Distinct “Story”?! Extracurricular activities define and shape your high school experiences.  While enjoyable, your activities can add stress from time management challenges.   Your strategic plan may require refinement to more carefully select and limit the number of extracurricular activities.Participate in activities that truly bring you enjoyment and provide opportunities for leadership, growth and potential exploration of personal or academic interests (i.e. FIRST Robotics, DECA, Debate team, etc.) but not at the expense of your GPA and peace of mind.

Whether you’re involved in sports, volunteering, the arts or working within an organization, seek ways to make an even stronger commitment to the activities you enjoy and are passionate about.  Aim to explore participation in state-wide or national competitions.  Although you may not place at events, participation is an important indicator of commitment to the activities you pursue. Take note of interesting experiences or people you meet that may serve as the basis for a unique essay to include in your college application or scholarship applications during your senior year.

Especially for Juniors:

  • College Visits: The upcoming year is an important one for exploring colleges.  You’re invited to read my earlier blog on researching colleges and major areas of study for a potential 3900+ college visits during the spring!  4000+ Colleges – Where to Visit, Apply & Enroll

Leverage my experience and knowledge of a variety of traditional and unheard of interesting major areas of study. Let’s explore together!

  • Standardized Test Taking: Your strategic plan should include scheduling these exams and also include scheduling regular and ongoing weekly preparation for your:
    a) SAT or ACT    b) SAT II subject tests    and  c) Advanced Placement exams.

Don’t wait until April to begin reviewing for your important SAT II subject test and Advanced Placement exams.   You do not need pricey and expensive third-party test preparation services.   Let me help you customize an ongoing manageable and student self-directed test review program.

Parents and students: I’ve motivated even the “laziest” of students and I can mitigate the tug-of-war between parent and student when it comes to test preparation.   Self-motivation is an acquired skill and one every high school student should have in preparation for success as an undergraduate.   Student confidence and maturity are built upon a foundation of self-motivation.

  • Summer 2016: A meaningful post-junior year summer activity increases the likelihood of acceptance at many colleges.  Aside from working on your college application, summer 2016 is an opportunity to work for pay, to volunteer, to work on a performance interview (arts/music) or attend a competitive summer program at a university.Many colleges offer amazing courses and programs for high school students.  Several schools offer non-binding early action admission to students who have enrolled in summer programs.  Attending a summer college program is an excellent way to demonstrate “informed interest”  (See my blog: Admissions Trends and Tips) and you are able to demonstrate you are capable of handling courses at a competitive college.  You may even garner a recommendation from a professor for use in your college application. Financial assistance is available.

Let me guide you in identifying a summer college program that “fits” your needs and help you with your summer program application (typically due January to March.)

Especially for Seniors

First, congratulate yourself for all you’ve accomplished in three years of high school.   You’re not done yet!  Get vaccinated for SENIORITIS!  This is a serious affliction.  It can start earlier than you think and it is highly contagious.  (Sadly, although done with love and the best of intentions, “parental hovering” seems to delay recovery.)

Your senior mid-year grade report, especially the grades you achieve in your challenging AP classes will be factored heavily into the review of your admissions application. Admissions offers can be revoked as can internal and external scholarships if your senior grades depart significantly from grades earned through the junior year.

Your college admissions to-do list includes

Advanced Placement Exams:  If by chance your Senioritis vaccine fails to protect you, think ahead to college. Having AP placement credit can save you college tuition and/or enable you to enroll in more interesting courses during your freshman year if you meet the minimum AP score threshold at the college you attend.

Let me help you design your strategic plan to include an ongoing AP review plan including specific resources and a timeline to realize the target AP scores required to receive college credit at the college you may be attending Fall 2016  (The most competitive schools require a “5” and some schools may require as little as a “3”).

It pays to Complete Your College Applications ASAP:  At some institutions, admissions committees can read applications on a rolling basis.  From my experience as a faculty member reviewing college applications, I can tell you with absolute honesty that there’s an unconscious and favorable bias to reading files submitted before the rush of tens of thousands of last-minute applications.

Some schools have early application deadlines to be considered for in-house merit based scholarships.  EARLY EARLY EARLY!

Financial Aid Eligibility and Scholarship Search: Parents of seniors this is the time to review what you can afford and explore the actual cost of your child’s college education given your family EFC.  Having spent three decades as a university professor, I have the inside experience and knowledge to maximize your financial aid award! If you are eligible for financial aid, I am confident we can negotiate to increase your initial financial award.  LEARN MORE

Students, finish your college applications so you can devote time and attention to submitting scholarship applications.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars of specialty scholarships go unclaimed every year.   My proprietary approach will help you make the most clear and effective presentation of your strengths for success in the scholarship application process.

Do you have a strategic plan for success?

With three decades of university experience advising undergraduate and graduate students, it is my pleasure to help young adults uncover their academic strengths and personal interests.   Given my extensive knowledge of undergraduate and graduate curricula and degree requirements, we will collaborate to determine a personalized strategic plan to set and realize long term educational and career goals.  You’ll receive the ongoing support you need including customized solutions to yield effective habits for time management, classroom learning, test taking and coping with academic stress. One of my goals is to impart my clients with the skills to become confident and mature decision makers.


Be Inspired! Contact me to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Best wishes for a successful school year!

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Educational, College Admissions and Career Consultant