Counseling Help for Rising High School Seniors

Question_markThe summer is almost over and high school students’ minds are returning, perhaps reluctantly, to the school year at hand.

As independent college counselors, we’ve been getting more incoming inquiries, particularly from rising seniors or their parents, about getting the senior year right in terms of preparing for the college admission process and taking the right classes this year.

A couple of inquiries that are on point:

“Immediate questions about course selection for Senior year….what do colleges look for as far as rigor in your Senior year in HS? Our daughter is looking at competitive colleges, but concerned about GPA, Class Rank and SAT scores as emphasized on CollegeBoard website.”


“Hi, I am a rising senior in high school. I am interested in finding out more about the college admissions process. I would like assistance in the essay, interview and selection process. Please contact me to discuss.”

It’s not too late to get your ducks in a row in terms of taking the right courses in your senior year and rounding out your extracurricular experience. The counselors here at JD College Consulting have real work high school counseling experience as well as deep relationships with dozens of college admissions professionals.

Don’t’ wait until Thanksgiving to consider college options. We can get started helping you today.

High School Students – Prepare for the Summer and Next School Year:

Well high school students, the year is almost over. If you’re not a senior, you have a summer ahead of you that does not include going-to-college prep. Or does it? While it is riley-mexico-1important to have some fun and forget about school for a while, the long game dictates that there are some things that you can do to help your personal development and maximize your chances of getting into a good college.

  1. Do something. Securing a summer job, internship or volunteer opportunity improves your resume and application – for any student. Adding summer experiences to an Activity Resume shows initiative and that you are a well rounded person.
  2. Academic classes for enrichment or advancement can still be signed up for at this point and preparations made for getting to and from those classes.
  3. Make a summer reading list. Most schools require some reading but simply reading newspapers, current events magazines or other periodicals can be done to stay sharp.
  4. For some students, SAT and ACT course preps need to be signed up for to take in late July or early August in advance of the Sept ACT and/or Oct SAT.
  5. Student going into grade 12 should begin finalizing their college list. Make time to complete a rough draft of the Common Application (CA) for practice, and to see if you are lacking anything. The updated CA for next year will be available shortly.
  6. Plan some visits to schools for the summer, or do some long-term planning of college visits for the fall, so you have time to work around your parents’ schedules.

Finally, if you aren’t sure what you could or should be doing this summer, you have a couple of weeks left to talk to your guidance counselor. The doctor is in.

It’s Not Too Late – Space Available College List from NACAC

If you are a high school senior pondering a change of plans about where to go to college next year, it is not too late. If you thought you weren’t going to attend college next year, but have had a change of heart, you may be in luck. Also, current college students wishing to transfer may still have time. Some institutions still have availability for incoming freshmen or transfers.

According to NACAC:

“At least 210 colleges and universities still have space available for qualified freshman and/or transfer students and all have financial aid to offer, according to the results of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students. The survey queries NACAC member four-year colleges and universities on the availability of space, institutional financial aid and housing as of May 1, 2013. Now in its 26th year, the survey is designed as a tool for counselors, parents and teachers as they assist students who have not yet completed the college admission process.”


NACAC list of space available colleges for 2013/14.


If you have questions about last minute admission opportunities, please let us know. We are here to help.

5 Things to Teach High School Seniors Before College

Hello, parents of high school seniors.

It is March 20th. That means if your senior has chosen to go to college, you have 5 months to teach him a thing or two, or five, about what it is going to be like on campus without mom and the team doing the behind the scenes work. I don’t know about your child, but I run into a lot of Gen Y kids who have a lot to learn about taking care of themselves. I also run into a lot of high school seniors who think they know everything.

stresses-studentIn the event that your high school senior is not already be a high-functioning adult, here are 5 things you could work on in the coming months:

Laundry – It’s not going to do itself. Take a weekend or two in the next few months to supervise your teen doing his laundry for himself. In that way you can avoid him returning home at Thanksgiving with a huge bag of dirty clothes, suitcases full of faded multi-colored ruined stuff or a big laundry bill.

Shopping for essentials – If you drive your student to school yourself in August, or fly with her, you will probably do this then. A better idea is to do a dry run or two from home before you leave, and the bright lights of Frosh Week are in your teen’s eyes.

Shopping for food – You know that there are many considerations in food shopping, some of which your child hasn’t considered yet. Nutrition, cost, calories – a dorm food plan will take care of some of this but I don’t remember seeing an actual dorm room without some extra food supplies.

The value of money – Even if tuition, room, board and books are taken care of, your teen will have to manage day to day and entertainment expenses. We suggest sitting with your student and putting a budget on paper before she leaves. The sooner she starts thinking about how much everything costs, the better she will be able to deal with budget shortfalls.

How to get help when you need it – Teachers, parents and guidance counselors have banded together to ensure a good high school result for your teen. In college, there is much less help and support available unless a student asks for it. In addition, the early warning system for when a student is failing or falling short is much less robust. You can plan ahead with your child and develop a plan for what to do if results are as strong as expected.

The real list is longer than 5 things, and perhaps much longer depending on the child. At JD College Consulting, we do periodic group programs and individual programs  for soon to be freshmen looking to get ahead of the game. Email us for more information.