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Early decision news: the wait will soon be over

December 11th, 2018

December is here and while it is a glorious time filled with much anticipation of the holidays, it can also be filled with tension as students who applied Early Action or Early Decision anxiously await their college admission decisions.  

While waiting is often the hardest part of this entire process, try not to worry too much.  Many of you will receive just the news you are looking for.  Yet no matter what happens, there are other excellent educational institutions around the country which might be the right fit and your applications are already well under way.    

The article referenced below was written for the U. of Pennsylvania’s admission blog by Olivia O’Dwyer, a student at Penn, as an open letter to students who applied Early Decision.  In this note, O’Dwyer tells about her experience on ED decision day and what she took away from this time.  Her genuine and candid advice is a great reminder that the college admission process is a small stepping stone in your journey to become who you want to be.  We believe everyone will find her words worth taking to heart.

We wish everyone the best possible outcome and while we hope for good news right alongside you, we are confident that you will be well placed in college whether or not the near-term news brings joy.  

Article referenced below published on December 8, 2017 by University of Pennsylvania, written by Olivia O’Dwyer

Hello, readers!

If you’re reading this and you applied Early Decision to Penn, or to any other university – I know exactly how you feel. Even though it was almost exactly a year ago now, I can still be brought back in a second to those final few weeks, then days, then hours of anxiously awaiting my decision. Everything seemed to hinge on that moment, opening my email to a confirmation or rejection.

Read more at University of Pennsylvania >>

How to handle Uncle Bob and Aunt Bertha during the holidays

November 27th, 2018

Navigating through holiday social events while keeping track of application deadlines, topped with interrogations by family members about your future plans, can be a bit overwhelming.  It’s a little bit like filling your plate with turkey, stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce and then trying to make room for the sweet potato casserole!

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, now is a great time to reflect on conversations had with family and friends.  And with the winter holidays quickly approaching it is important to find balance while remaining productive, enjoying some time off while continuing to check things off your “to-do” list.  

The article we share below has many great tips and tricks to help guide you through the rest of the holiday season.  December is a month when many students will hear the outcome of Early Decision and Early Action applications and for seniors, waiting can often be the hardest part of this process.  Keeping busy and having a plan can help you through this time.  

Article referenced below published on November 14, 2018 by Counselors’ Corner, written by Patrick O’Connor.

Completing college applications can be hard work, work that often runs through the holiday season. Since everyone else is taking some time off, this would seem to be the perfect opportunity to hang out with your family, especially since this could be your last Thanksgiving/New Year/Kwanzmasakah as a full-time occupant of your parents’ home. How could this possibly be a bad idea?
“My friend,” says you, “you clearly don’t know my parents, or my Uncle Bob.”
And yet, I actually do. Here are the three keys to thriving (not just surviving) this holiday season:
Read more at Counselor's Corner >>

Extracurricular activities: why should you be involved?

November 14th, 2018

The world of college admissions can be overwhelming, leaving many to wonder how they can stand out as college applicants.  Of course having a strong academic record (transcript and test scores) is top priority, but showing that you are invested in something outside the classroom has major advantages.  

Boarding schools figured out this secret to success generations ago; by requiring significant involvement in sports or arts and encouraging engagement in other extracurriculars, they help students become their best selves … and better college applicants. 

Many students have heard me say that becoming a great person, an accomplished person, leads to becoming a great applicant.  And it’s important to hold the priorities in that order.  Extracurricular activities provide many opportunities for growth.  Learning how to balance a school schedule with the demands of activities gives students structure and a sense of responsibility. Filling your time with things you are passionate about teaches many life lessons, including leadership and a sense of teamwork. 

Simply put, if you are involved in meaningful ways and can demonstrate that you’re having an impact on your school and community, you’ll be a stronger college applicant and a richer, more interesting individual.

If you want a great read on this topic, writer Linda Morgan for the Seattle Times breaks down what colleges are really looking for in an applicant. 

Article referenced below published on March 23, 2018 by The Seattle Times, written by Linda Morgan.

Remember when high school kids could count on their dazzling grades and brilliant scores to secure a spot at a respectable, if not top-notch college? Those days may be over. Schools now look beyond academic prowess when deciding whether to admit students, and attach sizable weight to the scope and breadth of an applicant’s extracurricular activities.

That’s why Roosevelt High School senior Tim Yeh considers the hours he spends engaged in after-school projects as time well spent. Yeh, who attends Shoreline Community College as part of Washington state’s Running Start program (students earn college credits along with their high school degrees), feels that committing to outside activities are a “big part” of getting into college.

Read more at The Seattle Times >>

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Fall is admission recruitment season … for boarding schools, too!

October 30th, 2018
Each October Lexington has the good fortune of hosting admission officers from boarding schools around the country, thanks to The Lexington School’s annual secondary school fair.  I look forward to the event as quite a few of the school representatives take time to visit my office, as well.
School visitors this year included:
Baylor (TN)
Brehm (IL)
Brook Hill (TX)
Cushing (MA)
Darlington (GA)
Forman (CT)
Gow (NY)
Groton (MA)
Madeira (VA)
Marianapolis (CT)
McCallie (TN)
Millbrook (NY)
Ridley (Ontario, Canada)
Webb (TN)
Woodberry Forest (VA)

Just as with college admission, finding the right fit for boarding school is key.  Some of the schools are single-gender; some are for students with specialized learning needs; some are for “high flyers” and some can work successfully with students at a wide range of academic levels.  Their settings are varied and the feel of each campus environment is different.

I love to hear admission directors’ updates about students and faculty, campus life, facilities, successes and challenges.  We also discuss bigger-picture issues, and one that featured prominently this year was the increasing evidence in student anxiety and how schools are providing programming and counseling.  There are so many interesting parallels between boarding school and college life, and these discussions connect the dots in fascinating ways.

I have always felt that the two sides of my consulting practice, boarding school and college, compliment each other and these fall conversations with visiting admission directors reinforce the benefits.

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