Dear high school Juniors,
Needless to say, your college application process will be different than other years. Since standardized tests have been cancelled this spring and there is uncertainty about summer and fall test dates, you will need to find other ways to demonstrate your academic strengths. Now, more than ever, character and the positive impact you have on those around you will be paramount. Trust me, character counts! As an example of this, take a look at the recent message that Harvard sent to future applicants. Take a look at the important factors they consider besides grades and test scores: Growth and Potential, Interests and Activities, Personal Character and Contributions to your Community.
Here are some suggestions of steps you can take today to help you as you complete your applications this coming summer.
All my best wishes to you and your family.
Be Well, Be Kind,
The November 1 Early Decision or Early Action deadline is right around the corner, I know. If you are a fall season athlete or an artist/performer you may still be in the middle of post-season competition or rehearsals for upcoming performances. Congrats if you are! That means you and your teammates have been working hard and hopefully having a lot of fun. You are probably feeling a lot of pressure to get your applications in so you can "be done with this process". To put a little more pressure, many colleges have moved their deadline for scholarships and Honors programs to November 1. This week may be tough if you still have more work to do on your applications. Don't be shy about advocating on your own behalf if you need to ask your teachers at school for an extension on a project or homework or to reschedule a test. Trust me, there will be several times during college that you will have to ask the same of your professors. This is a valuable skill to build; advocating on your own behalf. The other important skill is to keep things in perspective. While some colleges on your list have a Nov 1 deadline, other great colleges on your list will give you until January 1 and even January 15 to complete your Regular Decision applications.
I am also going to put in a plug in for one of my favorite blogs: GROWN AND FLOWN.COM Their blog offers valuable and funny wisdom from moms who have been there, done that. Their latest blog endorses Frank Bruni's book "Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania". Awesome book, please read it if you can.
Please stay calm, stay positive and at least wear your costume and eat candy if you have to sit at your computer on Saturday night.
This is the very first writing assignment I give the students with whom I have the privilege and joy to work. I ask them to journal about this question; or write 3-4 pages of free-flow...stream of thought...no self-editing...one long run-on sentence if need be. And this is where the magic can happen. You see, most 17 and 18 year olds don't often feel invited to articulate an answer to this question. Our society seems to be mostly concerned with these other questions: What are your talents? What have you accomplished? Where do you want to go to college? What do you want to be when you grow up? Sadly, focusing on these questions alone robs them of the opportunity to truly discover their "essence". Understanding their uniqueness and authenticity is critical to finding the right-fit college where they will thrive, discovery themselves, and prepare to follow their dreams and aspirations. So, there you have it...the first assignment I give a student when they register for my essay writing workshop. If you would like to learn more about the work that I love, visit me at www.FalkenbergAdmissionsAdvising.com oh, right....you are already on my website. Welcome!
Over the last ten years I have worked with dozens of students through every aspect of their college search and application process. They each had widely differing aspirations, backgrounds, levels of maturity, challenges and talents. However, they all had ONE thing in common—they were teenagers. Today, this means they were ultra-busy young adults in the making, trying their best to juggle demanding academic schedules, activities, family commitments, sports, clubs and a little bit of fun with friends. In reality, teenagers also tend to procrastinate a bit, have challenges making big decisions and sometimes even contradict their parents for no particular reason. Believe it or not, if a family waits until the student’s Junior year or (gasp!) Senior year, it is too late to create the kind of educational options and opportunities they always dreamed about. This is the primary reason why I begin working with students during their Sophomore year of high school. I help them best plan their courses to be aligned with their academic and career interests. If they have no clue what career path they would like to pursue, we spend many hours exploring careers, assessing their strengths and passions and planning summer and school activities that will provide clarity and direction. The summer between 10th and 11th grade is critical in this process, and especially in preparing for standardized tests. The summer between 11th and 12th grades needs to focus on college visits and essay writing. Yes, that’s correct, college application essays should be completed before Senior year begins. If the student is a fall athlete, the urgency is even greater.
During this work, I get to know each student very well, so I can best guide them in authentically representing themselves in their admission applications. In all honesty, when each of my students sends in an application for admission, it feels just like it did when my own children were applying to their dream schools. This is why I limit my practice to a total of 15 students, because they each deserve my undivided attention. So there you have it…..there is magic in FIFTEEN and TEN.
Falkenberg Admissions Advising and Curreri College Counseling partner to offer college application workshops in Newport Beach, CA.
LAST MINUTE UC APPLICATION WORKSHOP FOR SENIORS ONLY SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH, 2016If you are a last minute procrastinator and need help with your UC application, this is the workshop custom designed to meet your needs. This workshop will be facilitated by Cathy Falkenberg and Karen Curreri, M.S. Call 310-613-5926 for details
TEN REASONS WHY FRESHMEN AND SOPHOMORES SHOULD BE SEEING A COLLEGE COUNSELOR
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH, 2016 This lunch time seminar is designed for parents of eighth grade, freshman and sophomore students. Come join Cathy Falkenberg and Karen Curreri M.S. and find out why early preparation is the key to successful college admission outcomes
HOW LEARNING DISABILITIES OFTEN GO UNDIAGNOSED - THE IMPACT THAT OVERSIGHT HAS ON COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18,TH 2016
Parents are invited to join Dr. Michelle Matusoff, Karen Curreri and Cathy Falkenberg to find out more about learning disabilities. This workshop will also cover the special considerations students with learning disabilities must be aware of when preparing for college
THE RECRUITED STUDENT ATHLETE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016
Parents are invited to join Cathy Falkenberg, Karen Curreri, M.S. and a Division I NCAA Compliance person to learn special college admissions and recruiting considerations for all student athletes
CCC also offers the following services:
Executive Functioning Tutoring for students with ADHD and organizational issues
Hypnosis for performance anxiety
Advanced Classes for accelerated students
After school homework club for middle and high school students
Please call Karen Curreri (310-613-5926) firstname.lastname@example.org or Cathy Falkenberg (614-202-8047) email@example.com for more info
Congratulations to all high school seniors who submitted November 1 Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) deadlines! We celebrate with you and commend you for your hard work. Hitting the “submit” button feels great, but it doesn’t let you off the hook. This complicated college admissions process also serves to demonstrate that you are prepared for the independence and planning skills that a successful college career requires.
Here are your 5 essential To Do items:
#1. Work on your Regular Decision apps now! If the top college on your list does not make a binding offer of admission, or you did not get the EA result you wanted, you will have to submit the rest of your other applications in the beginning of January. Some ED and EA decisions don’t come until the holidays. Adding to disappointing news a long list of applications to complete can really put a damper on your winter break and unnecessarily add stress to the process.
#2. Keep your school college counselor in the loop. Communicate with your school counselor about the ED and EA results but also about the colleges remaining on your list…well before you leave for winter break. College counselors’ well-deserved break should not be spent sending recommendation letters and transcripts for students who did not get the work done on time. This is especially important if you are working with an Independent Consultant; while they may be available during winter break, they do not have access to your official transcripts or letters of recommendation.
#3. Stay in touch, but don’t over do it. If there are any significant changes to your academic profile such as a special local or national award, change in your 2nd semester schedule, or special circumstance that changes what was reflected in your ED and EA applications, you need to notify the colleges to which you have applied.
#4. DO NOT let Senioritis get anywhere near you yet! Focus on completing your entire Senior year on a high note, especially your first semester…if your grades slack below the level on which you were offered admission, a college has the right to revoke it.
#5 Don’t do anything stupid. Any disciplinary action against you must be reported by your school and can result in revoked admission decisions. Yes, Senior year should be a fun time spent with friends enjoying the last days of high school, but it can easily get de-railed by a criminal or disciplinary charge against you, and even an inappropriate social media incident.
Remember, as you tackle the college admissions process you are taking control of your future opportunities. Stay positive and proactive, and ask for help if you need it. If you are struggling to complete your applications by the deadlines give us a call or send us an email. We are here to help! Cathy Falkenberg: 614-202-8047 www.FalkenbergAdmissionsAdvising.com and Karen Curreri, MS: 310-613-5926 www.CurreriEducationalConsulting.com
I am an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. As such, I must adhere to a very strict set of guidelines and sign a pledge of professional integrity and Principles of Good Practice. To maintain my membership and be a part of this noble profession, I must constantly be a "student of colleges", spend about 20% of my time visiting colleges and universities, keep current on trends in the college admissions world and participate in courses, conferences and webinars. Above all, I keep every single student with whom I work as the center of my practice. I commit to reduce the anxiety that students and families may feel about the college admissions process and help every one of them explore their options and find the "right fit" college. The students do the work; they take the high school courses, standardized tests, participate in sports and school activities, lead their peers, work after school and summers, learn to drive, journey through adolescence and grow into young adults. I am here to encourage exploration, keep them organized and motivated, share crucial information, and cheer them on! Yes...believe it or not, this process can be fun! I would be happy to help your family.
The countdown is now 1 DAY. As my husband and I stumbled over her soon-to-be-packed possessions strewn in the hallway, we looked at each other with the now familiar glance that says, “How you doing?”. We have been asking this question back and forth, without making eye contact so teary eyes do not betray our “I’m OK” answer. Our youngest daughter will soon be settled into her dorm room with her new roommate and scores of new friends to meet. Orientation days will probably keep her too busy and tired to call or email, or even text a quick “Love ya!” But the reality is that in a few weeks the sting of homesickness, the longing for a whiff of the smelly dogs, or the need for the comfort of her spot on the couch might propel her to call me, perhaps with a shaky voice. This too shall pass.
The transition to college, which in my humble opinion begins when your kid is in 6th grade, is a tempest of emotions. What may appear on paper as a methodical and calculated exploration of class offerings, landscapes and financial analysis, is in fact a visceral experience. Honor that, and then keep moving forward. It’s OK to question your parenting up until this point, but know you will have lots of opportunities to parent from afar. Prepare your kid for the reality that college will have many ups and downs (especially around midterms), nothing will ever be perfect, and there will be plenty of people there to help. Encourage your kid to seek the advice and support of adults on campus. Remind your kid that sleep and focus on physical and mental health are a major key to success in college. Give your kid a big hug and say “It's all going to be OK”. Did I say kid?…..I meant to say young adult.
In exactly 30 days I get to move my baby and her belongings into her new freshman dorm at a university roughly 730 miles away from home. She is my third daughter going off to college and I should be feeling like a pro at this by now. But truth be told, I am going to miss the heck out of her and the first few weeks are going to be rough for me and my husband. I tell all of my “newbie” friends that “it will not be so bad, you’ll get used to it” or “focus on the excitement they feel and it will make you feel better”, etc. While I sincerely believe all of that, I am not really looking forward to the first night of Downton Abbey this season with her spot on the couch and her tea cup empty. Fellow freshman parents, lets be clear, this moment is why we have been working so hard over the past 18+ years. It is our job to prepare them, encourage them and nurture them so they can go live their own lives. So lets pat ourselves and each other on the back for a job well done. Write them an awesome letter they can open their first night at school and start baking brownies for the first care package. It will all be OK, but still, please pass the tissues…