3 Reasons High School Juniors Should Visit Colleges During Spring Break

Attention High School Juniors: If you’re not leaving the country for Spring Break, you are likely to be within a few miles of a college campus or two. That is good news since junior year Spring Break may be the best time to get a few college visits in. Let’s take a look at JDCC-University-Sydneythree reasons why:

  1. Atmosphere – Sure you can visit campuses during the summer after your junior year, but if you do, there will be precious few students there. If you go during Spring Break, which is almost always at a different time than the college break, you will get to see the campus when it is full of students doing what they do on a typical day. Visiting the dorms, student activity centers, library and athletic facilities has a very different feel when there are real students running around.
  2. Motivational tool – Perhaps the best way for a high school student to be motivated is to have a clear idea of what she is working toward. Seeing a dynamic, bustling campus that could be home away from home for the next 4 years could be a great motivation for finishing high school strong.
  3. High School Seniors are busy – Many students will have a summer job after junior year, and most students become too busy to do visits during senior year, or find that it is too late with application deadlines rapidly approaching. Getting visits done in junior year can take away a lot of the stress.

In summary, junior year break is a great time to see different campuses. By getting an early start you can build a list of what you’re looking for in a campus, even if you don’t end up having an interest in the schools that you do visit.

Need help getting a list together based on your strengths and interests? Email us.

When to Start Planning for the College Admission Process

The following post originally appeared at www.mytowntutors.com

 

Parents and high school students frequently ask, “When should we start planning for the college admission process?”  Not surprisingly, our answer is the sooner, the better.

Let’s take a look at what students and parents should be doing, in an optimal case, each year of high school to prepare for college admission.

As a freshman

In 9th grade, the focus should be on academics and building a solid GPA. Begin charting a 4-year plan for future courses, including Honors and AP courses. Your high school counselor can help make sure that the courses you take will get you on the right road to a solid college and major.

Freshman year is a great time to start considering extracurricular activities. If you are unsure, talk to a counselor about which ones fit your interests and stand out on a college application.

As a sophomore

10th grade is all about continuing academic success, including preparing for the PSAT.

As you are talking to friends and family, begin making mental or written notes about colleges or universities you hear about, or visit with them when they come to your high school.

If you can, start discussing possible majors with your counselor. Discuss which courses for the next two years will be optimal, and begin to build a list of which schools might be appropriate.

As a junior

11th grade is the last full year of grades that colleges see. Take the most challenging courses you can this year. Honors and AP level courses are preferred in multiple academic classes if possible.

Develop a testing plan with your counselor:

  • PSAT administration happens in October, and National Merit Scholarships are tied to these scores
  • Are you going to take SAT or ACT?, and when
  • AP tests will be taken in May
  • SAT subject tests should be taken if corresponding honors courses were taken (for admission to most selective schools)

Start you college visits over Spring Break and continue through summer. Work with your counselor to make sure you aren’t missing any local college fairs, and confirm that schools you may visit are appropriate given your grades and interests.

It is also not too early to start looking into college financial aid and FAFSA. Most counselors will have a wealth of knowledge about options.

As a senior

It is important in 12th grade to finish strong academically. Most colleges will see and rely on 1st Marking Period grades, but offers can be rescinded if grades slip, even in the final marking period.

Work with your counselor to ensure that you secure strong teacher recommendations, on time. Continue to look at scholarship and financial aid options.

And finally, your most important job in senior year other that getting good grades is completing the college application process – thoroughly and on time. Your counselor can help with the nuts and bolts of completing the applications, meeting relevant deadlines, how to showcase extracurricular activities and writing compelling essays.  It is important to keep in mind that the college preparation to application process takes four years, not a couple of weeks.

The roadmap above has you relying heavily on the support and resources of your high school guidance counselor.  The timeline that your counselor uses may be different that that above, or more critically, she may not have enough time to work one on one with you at each step.  If the latter is the case, we encourage parents and students to seek out a qualified independent counselor to assist with the process, in addition to the support you get from your school.   A partnership with a counselor can be invaluable every step of the way.

 

Upcoming Event: FREE College Planning Seminar in Skillman NJ

***This event has been postponed until next month due to an unforeseen issue with the venue***

If you have a child who is a high school sophomore or junior, the college search process may already be stressing you out. Worse yet, you may not have started planning your child’s post high school future.

Are you sure the School Counselor will have enough time to accurately assess your students’ options?

Get a head start on college planning.  Attend a free seminar, “First Steps to College Planning” on January 24th to learn how to evaluate college choices, tackle the basics of the application process early, and to learn what you can do now to help increase your child’s chances of gaining acceptance at the best school for his or her needs.

JD College Consulting is an independent college counseling service that works together with high school students and parents to obtain real results.

Come learn how JD College Consulting can assist you and your student throughout the entire college search process.

Date: January 24, 2013

Time:  6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where: Otto Kaufman Community Center, 356 Skillman Road, Skillman NJ 08558

RSVP: rzidar@s2rsolutions.com

Reservations are strongly recommended. Please let us know if you would like to attend.

High Schoolers – Visit Campuses During the Break

If you’re a high school senior who is planning to go to college, you are already up to your neck in the application process.  If you are one of the fortunate ones, you may already have received good news regarding early admission.

Rutgers-stadiumIf you are a sophomore or junior, the application process, starting with deciding where to apply, has probably not even started.  The next few weeks could come in very handy to get you ahead of the game.

During the holiday break, whether you stay home or go away to visit relatives, there are bound to be a handful of colleges within a short driving distance. Do yourself and your future a favor and go visit a couple of them. It doesn’t even matter if the campus is closed or that it is not an “official” visit.  In fact, that may be better.  The guided tour and orientation that you would get in an official visit will include carefully packaged information that the college wants you to hear.  With an informal walk through, you can let your instincts be your guide.

Make notes about what you like and don’t like about each school that you visit. Does the school look and feel too big or small? Too urban or too rural? Can you walk or would you need a car? If you don’t plan on having a car, is public transportation readily available? Is there shopping nearby? Does it look safe? Too staid? Can you imagine yourself living here for the next four years?

Getting an idea of how a school’s environment fits your personality before you apply, rather than building a short list strictly based on academic or other credentials, can put you ahead of the game in terms of making good decisions about which colleges you will target. Get out there and take a look.

Need more questions to ask or things to look for? Give us a call or drop us a line.

Do High School Senior Grades Matter?

Many parents at this time of year worry about the same thing – their high school senior kids slacking off before they reach the finish line.  “Senioritis” is alive and well.  If your child has not yet been accepted to college, senior grades are obviously important.  Keep in mind, though, that despite what you may have heard, senior grades matter even if your son or daughter has already been accepted.

In a report earlier this year, NACAC reported that in 2009, 21 percent of colleges reported that they had revoked the acceptance letter of at lease one student. In 65% of those cases, the reason cited by the college was poor senior grades.

If that’s not enough to convince students to push hard for good senior grades, remember the very simple fact that every student’s high school transcript is part of their permanent academic record.  Who else may look at senior grades as a basis for making a decision?

  • Financial Aid offices
  • Scholarship boards
  • Graduate Schools
  • Employers

If the progression of a student’s grades from junior to senior year shows a clear choice to slack off during senior year, decision makers might question when else the student might choose to put in less that his best effort.

Simply telling your child to work harder might not have the desired effect.  At JD College Consulting, we can help you put together a plan, working together with you and your child, to make sure that a case of senioritis does not derail an otherwise promising college acceptance scenario.

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Event: FREE College Planning Seminar in Flemington NJ

If you have a child who is a high school sophomore or junior, the college search process may already be stressing you out.

Are you sure the School Counselor will have enough time to accurately assess your students’ options?

Get a head start on college planning.  Attend a free seminar, “First Steps to College Planning” on December 5th to learn how to evaluate college choices, tackle the basics of the application process early, and to learn what you can do now to help increase your child’s chances of gaining acceptance at the best school for his or her needs.

JD College Consulting is an independent college counseling service that works together with high school students and parents to obtain real results.

Come learn how JD College Consulting can assist you and your student throughout the entire college search process.

Date: December 5, 2012

Time:  6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where: 5 Walter E. Foran Blvd., Ste. 2010, Flemington NJ

RSVP: rzidar@s2rsolutions.com

www.jdcollegeconsulting.com

Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend.

Last Minute College Application Help

You may have heard that due to the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy, many colleges have extended admission application deadlines.  A deadline that you thought you were going to miss may now be attainable.

JD College Consulting is happy to help area students with last minute guidance or instruction.  If your application is incomplete or you are unsure of how to complete some aspect, give us a call at (609) 454-5931.  We can help area students (NJ, PA) in person, or students anywhere via telephone or Skype.

 

Why Hire an Independent College Counselor?

If you are reading this, you are probably wondering whether you should hire an independent college counselor to help guide you and your child through the college application process.  While relying on a combination of your high school counselor and do-it-yourself is a decent option, hiring a professional may be a better one.  Let’s walk through the reasons.

Your high school counselor doesn’t have enough time

The average caseload for a high school counselor in the in U.S. is 250 – 500 students.  Let’s say the average is 375.  If the average high school counselor spends 8 full hours per day counseling (they don’t), that comes out to 3.8 hours per student per year.  Your child probably needs more time and attention than that.

You and your child have big college goals

If your child wants to attend a school that may be a stretch for her, you are going to need a perfect application and some behind the scenes help.  A professional counselor can give valuable advice and maximize your child’s chances of getting full consideration.

The cost is low

In most areas you can get a good college counseling package deal for $2,000 – 3,000.  That may seem like a lot of money, but compared to the $200,000 or so that it costs for a 4-year education at a private school, it is really quite reasonable.  The cost of making a mistake can be much higher.

Your high school counselor doesn’t have enough experience

Not every high school counselor has a lot of experience.  If your child is assigned to a newer counselor, he might need extra help or a mentor with deeper experience

Your high school counselor doesn’t have the right contacts

If your child really wants to get into a particular school, you might need someone with deep contacts at that university, or a lot of experience with that school’s admission process, to seal the deal.  Experienced counselors generally have numerous contacts at many schools around the country.

Your high school counselor doesn’t understand or appreciate your child’s extracurricular activities

Musical abilities, athletics, and other extra curricular activities carry different weight at different schools.  Going the private counseling route, you can choose a counselor who knows how to market your child’s unique ability.

You didn’t go to college

Many parents who didn’t attend college themselves can be very intimidated by the application/admission process.  Knowing that you hired an expert to help guide you can make up for most of the knowledge that you lack.

Reduce stress

The college application process is stressful for parents and students.  Having an experienced partner who can create an action plan for your family can lower the stress level immensely.

You have choices

You probably can’t change the high school counselor assigned to your child.  Your choice of independent counselor is almost limitless.  You can choose one with the personality, experience and contacts that best suit you and your child.

Independent counselors do not grow their business if they are not successful

This may be the most important one thing to keep in mind.  Independent counselors are very dependent on positive word of mouth and referrals.  They will get neither if they do not produce results for parents and students.

Counselor test drives are free 

Ask your friends and neighbors if they know any counselors, or do a Google search. Contact a few and see for yourself whether they make you feel more confident about your child’s chances in the admission process.

Making an investment now to have an expert on your team can pay dividends for the rest of your child’s life.

At JD College Consulting, we offer time, experience and knowledge that go beyond that of the high school counselor.  At the same time we work together with high school counselors to support the student from early high school to college application to admission.

While our program does not guarantee admission to the college of your choice, it can help maximize your chances.