Funding a College Education

Check out these scholarship resources for students:

Changes to the Common App & Other Important Info

Students: Please be aware that some essays are being cut off when uploaded to the Common Application. As a result, some changes are on the horizon to help the Common Application keep page with the digital age:

Rise in applications to certain colleges – drop in applications at others. See what’s hot and what’s not.

Visting College Campuses

Parents and students – take some time on school vacations to visit college campuses. Many people decide to visit schools in the summer. However, it’s best to see the campus “in action” or in session. You won’t get a feel for campus life otherwise. If you are really interested in applying to a particular school, arrange for an overnight stay. This has to be done well ahead of time with the admissions office. Go on a tour of the school, but be prepared with a list of questions to ask, including:
What is the student-professor ratio in classes
What percentage of the professors have a Ph.D.?
Describe security on campus.
Is there a hospital nearby?

Here’s some other information you might find helpful:

Be sure to visit the town or city near the college. Have lunch, visit attractions, just spend some time getting to know where you are going to spend your college days.

Here’s a new twist to college visits – personalized tours:

Sophomores and Juniors: Prepare Now

I’m often asked what “undergraduate” high school students can do to give them a better chance to get into college besides getting good grades. Colleges are looking for a well-rounded students and that includes participating in extracurricular activities. Many students associate extracurricular activities with sports. However, there are many other after-school clubs and organizations that students should get involved in, such as school plays and the newspaper. You don’t have to be an actor or writer to be a part of the “action”. You can help design a play’s set or collect advertisement revenues for the paper. Is there a Young Republican Club at your high school? If not, why don’t you start one? Remember to write about your experiences in a diary or just make notes, so you will have something interesting to write about on your college applications. It’s a good idea to take a look at the Common Application to find out what information on extracurricular activities are required.

Early Decision Trend

More colleges/universities are determining their freshman classes by December through early decision. Juniors – pay attention. Ivy league schools are filling 45% of their freshman roster this way. Applicants should consider applying ED to increase their chances of getting into the college of their choice. However, you can only apply to one college ED. This takes planning and preparation. As I’ve said before, the time to begin those application essays is in August before the senior year. Read more about this tend.

Tutoring Offer: Parents of Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors

If you are reading this blog – thank you. If you have looked at my website, you will see that I am an experienced teacher and English tutor.

If you are a parent of a freshman, sophomore, or junior and your teen is struggling in English classes with writing, grammar, note-taking skills, and other skills and grades are slipping, it may be time to get your child tutored. Research has shown that individualized, one-on-one tutoring is one of the most effective ways of increasing student achievement. My approach to tutoring includes:

Planning a program that will address his or her individual needs.
Giving positive reinforcement and encouragement to bring out his or her strengths.
Helping students learn to write and use grammar effectively.
Monitoring their progress and emailing you after each meeting to update you.

Colleges and universities accept students who can write well and use the English language effectively. Your teen’s grades in English are very important and impact their getting into the college of their choice. I am offering a one-time special on tutoring: four sessions for $170 ($42.50 per session). I usually charge $45 per session. For those of you who aren’t in the Boston, Mass. USA area (metrowest), we can connect through Skype. Please email me at or call me at 617-584-5295 to set up a meeting.


Blog #15: Summer Experiences and the College Essay

What Summer Experiences Are Best to Write About?
I bumped into a friend whose son is a sophomore in high school. What should he do this summer that he might eventually write about on a college essay, she asked? We talked about him going on a trip to a foreign country to learn about other cultures. She wondered if colleges might think that a parent was trying to “buy” an experience for a teen. My thoughts were that a summer job/experience/trip should be based on the teen’s interests, passions, and goals. Going to Mexico to volunteer in a health clinic or teaching guitar to youngsters in a village in Costa Rica is a great idea – but is this truly what interests the teen? Also, one doesn’t have to travel far to find an opportunity to understand cultural differences/poverty/homelessness – they are right in your community or one nearby.

Blog #14: Keeping the College Application Process In Perspective

What’s Important?

Thank you to all the new readers of my blog – welcome. If you are a college-bound student or a parent of one and worried/nervous about whether or not you/your teen will get into college, take a deep breath and relax. College has to be a good fit for the teen. Going to a school that a teen is not going to be happy at is a recipe for disaster – and an expensive one. With the sky rocketing cost of colleges and universities, a wasted year or one where a teen comes home after a semester not wanting to return, can result in their being discouraged and off-track educationally. When they do transfer to another school, they may find that credits don’t transfer that easily. Some schools still have openings in the spring after deadlines have passed. Others take students beginning second semester, allowing students to work or do an internship in the fall. At this time, they won’t feel so pushed or stressed, have more time to spend on applications, and appreciate a breather before beginning their college careers. If the college they enter isn’t their top choice, they can apply to transfer to a school of their choice – many students are able to get into prestigious schools as sophomores.

Blog #13: Parents and College Essays

Help with Final Edits of the College Essays

It’s very important that your child get feedback on his or her essay. Teens may be reluctant to “share” their essays with parents. If there is a close relative/family member, such as a favorite aunt or an older sibling, get him or her involved. Encourage your child to read the essay aloud to this person. Many errors – grammar, missing content, paragraphs in the wrong position – become readily apparent and changes can be made before it is sent out. Reassure your teen that your help or the help of others is not criticism but support for him and her to reach their goals.