Is Your Student Intrinsically Motivated & on Target?
What’s Included in a Strategic Educational & College Admissions  Plan? 
The back-to-school window is the perfect time for your customized strategic educational & college admissions assessment.  Your student should have an academic and college admissions plan containing actionable items for a successful & enriching school year.  
The past few weeks I’ve been engaging with students to create student-driven plans for the academic year. They shared insights about their summer experiences at college programs, internships and family travels.  One young woman returning from her summer program beamed with excitement at all she had learned. When I asked what classes she was most eager to attend this year, her heartfelt reply: “ALL OF THEM!”.
We spoke  about  how she could extend the summer program energy into her fall semester and together set plans for off-campus extracurricular activities that would continue to ignite her intellectual passion.
Behind her infectious smile, this 8th grade student said how much she had enjoyed learning and engaging with “like minded” peers.   I thought about similar conversations taking place with my rising seniors who had solidified college short lists after returning from their campus visits and summer programs.
Previous readers of my newsletters know that the passion and energy this 8th grade student conveyed about learning is exactly what parents and educators aim to inspire in all our students.
Finding meaningful connections within a community is essential for a student to become intrinsically motivated and passionate about learning!
(Emory bound senior in your household? -That’s the subject of one of this year’s essay topics– “What motivates you to learn!?”).
There’s no place like home.  Where is your academic home?!  That is your path to success!
What are your student’s academic and social goals this year?  

What motivates your student? Successful students are intrinsically motivated!

What positive and welcomed

steps can parents take to help students remain motivated towards goals?

Success begins with a student-led Strategic Educational  & College Admissions Plan with actionable items!
It’s not too early (Freshman) or too late (Seniors) to set goals, build solid time management and learning strategies and discover a hidden academic strength. I invite you to learn more about my role in helping to build your student’s plan!
A Strategic Educational Plan Includes:
  • A Challenging “synergistic” high school curriculum (AP, IB, AICE, Dual-Enrolled??) 
  • Sustained, directed and meaningful extracurricular activities 

    both within and outside of school (Involvement driven by genuine interest)


  • Student directed research to explore a variety of emerging academic and career interests  

    (Customized academic/career discovery exercises focused on your strengths!)


  • Time management solutions

    (Parents- you’re too busy to argue with your emerging adult about homework!)


  • Setting goals for target colleges, majors and scholarships  (Overlapping interests?) 
  • Affordable college choices – FAFSA, CSS Profile, Merit-based aid??! (Yes, you can afford college!)
Motivated, Self-Directed & Confident Young Adults Ready to Succeed!
Let’s get you up-to-speed on some important action items for freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors:
All High School Students (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th):
  • Customized Learning Solutions:
    Review any concerns from the previous academic year and create solutions:     1) learning strategies and study habits for difficult or time consuming classes,

    2) External resources for added support, 3) test-taking skills and preparation,  4) time management techniques, and 5) reducing potential stress from being overextended!

    Whether you have an “A” student or a student who struggles, every student should take stock of how smoothly their “processes” work.
    For example,  earning a “4.0” GPA on 5 hours of sleep a night is not a sustainable (nor healthy) path! Likewise, paying for a math tutor multiple times a week should remind you of the parable about giving someone a fish or a fishing rod !
    Let me help your student create long lasting strategies.
  • High School Curriculum Map: As an educational consultant with thirty years of university experience, I provide valuable pre-college advising to ensure:
    1) a seamless transition between high school classes and your anticipated undergraduate major, and
    2) success in the college application process.*** Foundation courses in high school are important to subsequent undergraduate studies. Understanding the potential impact of taking AP Lang or getting off the “calc-path” to your undergraduate path is essential.
    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.  
  • What’s Your Unique “Story”?!
Extracurricular activities define and shape your high school experiences.  While enjoyable, your activities may also create time management challenges.   Your strategic plan may require refinement to more carefully select quality (not quantity) 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 or DECA) but not at the expense of your GPA and peace of mind.  NEED IDEAS??!!!

500 or 100 hours of Community Service? Admissions staff look for sustained and heartfelt commitments to 1 to 2 organizations.  Multiple hours spread across several one-time efforts will not add  value to an application.  But more important, such efforts don’t help young adult develop meaningful connections within the community.  What’s really important is to engage in a community that aligns with your family’s core values.

Especially for Juniors:
  • College Visits: The upcoming year is an important one for exploring 3900+ potential colleges in the US!.

Juniors should begin the process of exploring major areas of interest. Leverage my university experience and knowledge of a variety of majors. Let’s explore together!

Look for synergies between your high school curriculum, your strengths and potential undergraduate majors of interest!

Whether your student is STEM, business,  liberal arts focused or a  “creative” (music, art, drama & even journalism)–  I’m confident I can introduce you to majors you haven’t yet considered to further inspire academic re-direction and increasing chances of admission!
  • Standardized Test Taking: Your strategic plan should include these exams and also include a schedule of 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.
  • Summer 2018:
    IT’S ACTUALLY NOT TOO EARLY TO START EXPLORING YOUR OPTIONS!   A meaningful post-junior year summer activity increases the likelihood of acceptance at many colleges.  Aside from working on your college application, summer 2018 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.
    Attending a summer college program is an excellent way to demonstrate “informed interest” in the college admissions process.  You may even garner a recommendation from a professor for use in your college application. Financial assistance is available.

Visiting Cornell Summer College Students – Ithaca NYLet me help you to identify a summer college program that “fits” your needs and to help with your summer program application (typically due January to March.)

Review my earlier Newsletter on the merits of summer programs.  Many are free of cost.  I also work with students to customize a supervised stay-at-home program.

Especially for Seniors     Get vaccinated for SENIORITIS! 

Senioritis is a serious affliction.  It can start earlier than you think and it is highly contagious.

Your college admissions to-do list includes
  • Review and confirm you list of colleges
    ?Uncertain — schedule an appointment to discuss your academic interests and “affordability”.   I can clarify some misconceptions about financial aid and merit scholarships.
  • Complete your common/coalition core essay ASAP. 
  • Prepare your activities resume:LEARN MORE: Unique Presentation Matters!
  • Approach two teachers ASAP to write recommendations
  • Register for any standardized tests you want to retake before December 2017
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.   Do you have a complex situation- business income, trust, divorced/blended family- I can navigate your FAFSA, CSS Profile and non-custodial information to maximize your awards.
I wish all students a peaceful and successful 2017-18 academic year.
I invite you to contact me with any questions about decisions you’re facing about your courses, extracurricular activities, learning accommodations or the entirety of your college application process.
Warm Regards,
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions Consultant