7 Great Ways for Parents of High School Students to Spend Their Tax Refunds

May 15th, 2014

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average tax refund this year is roughly $3,000, reported CNN (4.3.14). Here are some great suggestions on what to do with the refunded money for parents of teenagers who plan to attend college:

1. Pay for tutoring. The importance of grades for colleges cannot be ignored. The GPA is the single most important part of a college application. Not only that, colleges want to see a challenging high school curriculum. If a student needs help in one or more subjects, spend some money on tutoring. (It may even pay off more in the form of scholarships.)

2. Put money into a 529 plan.
Even if a child will be a junior this year, it’s not too late to make a tax-preferred investment for college. Many states provide a tax deduction for 529 contributions even if it is only a short time investment.

3. Invest in a summer enrichment program.
Summer enrichment programs can help propel students toward college, as well as help them gain acceptance into a school of their choice. Students can explore a subject of interest or bolster volunteer work credentials. There are programs for all interests, including engineering, career exploration, robotics, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, music, drama and test prep. Nearly every school, including the Ivies, offers a summer program for high school students, allowing students to experience life on a college campus. Some programs offer college credit.

4. Go for the test prep. Next to grades, test scores are one of the most important factors in college admissions. Look into test prep courses with a (SAT word alert) splendiferous SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Test, AP and/or TOFEL tutor who can help boost a student’s confidence and increase the test scores.

5. Visit colleges. College visits can be costly but worthwhile. A student just may find their top-pick school is nothing like they imagined. Visiting a school may also increase chances of gaining admittance and of getting a better award package, if only slightly. Taking the time to tour campus shows commitment.

6. Encourage summer college courses. Summer college courses can give a student the opportunity to attend school classes with undergraduate students or other select high school students and earn college credits.

7. Hire an independent college counselor. An expert college advisor like one at International College Counselors can give a student the individualized attention to properly tackle the college admission process. From help choosing colleges, going on interviews, editing essays and applications, refining extracurricular activities and more, an expert private college advisor gives students the tools they need to find and get into the college of their dreams.

About International College Counselors International College Counselors is an independent college admissions company that helps students in the U.S. and all over the world find, apply to, and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The college counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college admission process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.

VIP Applications: What are they?

May 5th, 2014

A number of high school seniors may already be receiving personalized e-mails or letters congratulating them for qualifying for a special “V.I.P. Application.”

VIP Applications are applications sent from colleges to certain students, encouraging them to attend their school. The VIP applications offer a fast-track, simplified application process and often stress the offer being good for a “Limited Time.”

The students receiving this mail are typically those with SAT scores that fall within a certain (high) range. Students who are out-of-state high-achievers are also common recipients.

Other schools send these applications to students who “qualified” simply by requesting information or visiting campus.

VIP Applications also come under the names “Presidential Select,” “Select Scholar,” “Priority Application,” and others.

These special applications are a marketing ploy with benefits for both the school and the student.

BENEFITS TO COLLEGES
Colleges use these VIP Applications to appear more “selective.” These applications help increase a School’s applicant pool as well as strategically raise the average SAT scores of their applicants. These applications also increase a School’s chances of enrolling students from this desirable pool.

BENEFITS TO STUDENTS
VIP applications are quick and easy to fill out. Many times the student’s name and address are already filled out on the form accompanying the letter or on the form that is easily assessable via the email. Typically these applications don’t require a long essay and applying is free.

Since students are urged to return the application or apply online earlier than the college’s regular deadline, students often get the chance to receive an early acceptance to a school. Having an acceptance so early in the application process can ease anxiety.

An acceptance is not a binding commitment.

College advisors at International College Counselors also note that receiving a VIP Application is not a guarantee that a student will be accepted.

If you received a VIP Application, feel flattered and complete it if you have some interest in the school. It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of. Though, if you’re not a good fit for the school, expert college advisors at International College Counselors would not encourage you to attend.

For more information on VIP Applications or any other college applications, clients of International College Counselors should contact one of our expert college advisors. We can also help you determine if a college is the right fit for you.

You’re all VIPs to us!

FOR MORE INFORMATION
International College Counselors is an independent college admissions company that helps students in the U.S. and all over the world find, apply to, and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The college counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college admission process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.

College Admissions Tips for Students with Learning Disabilities

April 30th, 2014

Almost every accredited university provides support services for students with learning disabilities. These services vary in quality and extent from school to school.  For students with disabilities, it is imperative to find the school that is the best ‘fit’ in providing programs, policies, procedures, and facilities that meet your needs.

Below are some tips on choosing a school that suits your needs and goals — and what you need to do to make them choose you.

Review Your Needs

Sit down with a knowledgeable adult or counselor and review your needs. The goal is to better understand how your disability will influence your college choices. Questions to answer include:

  • How does my disability affect how I learn?
  • What are my academic strengths?
  • How do I learn best?
  • What strategies do I need to help me learn?
  • What facilities may I need?

Once you have these questions answered, the next move is to begin building a college list.

Investigate and Choose Schools

Students with disabilities should follow the same steps for choosing and applying to a school as any other student.  Preliminary research can be accomplished via internet searches, visiting colleges websites, checking out college guides, going on college visits, attending college fairs, and asking around.   Make a list of all the schools that interest you.

Then make a separate list of what your college must have to accommodate your needs.

For each of the schools you are interested in, contact its disability services office to determine if the college has the services and accommodations that can meet your specific requirements. Most colleges have an office that provides services to students with disabilities, or a person who coordinates these services.  Once you contact the office and get your questions answered, put a check next to each school on your list that can accommodate your needs.

Questions for the disability services office may include:

  • Are basic skills, study skills, time management, or organizing classes offered? Are they available for credit? Can they be counted as hours toward full-time status? What is the cost?
  • Is there a support group for students with disabilities?
  • Is there adaptive technology available?
  • How many disability specialists work with the program full time and part time?
  • Does the school offer specialized academic advising for students with disabilities?

Make sure to visit each school’s website for college disability services to get an idea of eligibility requirements, resources, services and accommodations, documentation required, available academic support and policies.

Make Yourself a Strong Candidate for Admissions

Do this by succeeding to the best of your abilities!

It is important to know that a school cannot deny your admission because of your condition if you meet the basic requirements for admission, including application deadlines, grade point averages, and college entrance exam scores. In fact, you don’t even need to tell a school you have a disability on your application, unless you want an academic adjustment.

What you must do is keep your grades up and become involved in extracurricular activities—just like any other student. Disabled or not, students must meet school standards for admission.

To Tell or Not to Tell

Whether you should reveal your disability early in the admissions process is up to you. The best filter may be: Will it hurt my chances?” or “Is it helpful to know?”

Disclosure early in the process is often recommended for applicants who need to provide context. For example, a student with disabilities may need to explain why a standardized test score appears low when compared with outstanding grades. However, applicants with strong grades and test scores should think twice before disclosing any learning issues, especially if there were no academic repercussions or if they are no longer relevant.

The Application

If you decide to disclose your disability, you can either describe your disability in a letter to the appropriate school personnel and keep a copy of the letter, or call attention to your disability in your main essay. If you choose to disclose your disability in your main essay, the essay must be positive and show how you can succeed. Do not try to write an essay designed to make an admissions officer feel sorry for you; this doesn’t work.

Testing Adjustments

Students with disabilities can receive special accommodations on standardized tests including the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP Exams and PSAT/NMSQT. As a student with a disability, you can request accommodations when you schedule your exams.

Be prepared to send copies of your psycho-evaluation, testing records, and any other assessments of your disabilities directly to the school or testing agency.

Stay positive

The college admissions process can be daunting for any student, but it can be entirely manageable if you start early and take it step by step.  The more information you have, the more “educated” your decision can be.

For more information and for other locations, visit http://www.exploringcollegeoptions.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION

International College Counselors is an independent college admissions company that helps students in the U.S. and all over the world find, apply to, and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The college counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college admission process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.

 

7 Ways High School Students Can Make the Most of Their Summer

March 26th, 2014
Spring break is almost here. That means it’s time to start thinking about summer.

High school students who want to stand out on their college applications should consider the summer an ideal time to add some resume gold.

There have been changes over the past few years in what admissions officers are looking for. For one thing, colleges are no longer giving extra points to students who build huts in Costa Rica. They are looking for summer activities that tie in with a student’s overall narrative. Activities that allow students to take a leadership position or connect with an interest in an academic area are ideal. There are many choices of summer activities that raise the APA (application point average).

Summer is coming up fast so here are some ideas for high schools students to make the most of the summer.

1. Attend an Enrichment Camp. There are hundreds of different summer enrichment programs, from the local to the international and, between them all, they offer thousands of opportunities. There are art camps, athletic camps, academic programs, adventure based programs, volunteer programs, leadership programs, and more. Some come with the opportunity to earn college credit. A number of programs give high school students the taste of life on a college campus. Importantly, the camp that is chosen should tie in with a student’s long-term goals. Many of these programs exist. Below is a glimpse of two of them.

For rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors, the Boston University Summer Challenge program is one example of a program that allows students to explore existing interests, investigate new topics, examine subjects not offered in high school, and maybe even determine a college major. The two-week, residential summer program offers a preview of college life. Students participate in lectures, discussions, individual and group work, project-based assignments, and field trips.

Another summer program is the Columbia University Summer Program for High School Students. This three-week program allows college-bound high school students to follow a curriculum designed to meet their interests, talents and needs. Each day students will participate in independent study and tutorials, private meetings with instructors, extracurricular activities, and use of the university’s libraries and other facilities.

2. Get a summer job. Summer jobs are great ways to gain valuable real-world experience and earn money towards college. However, in a tight job market, a high school student’s best bet may be the internship. Any job is good, but working in a challenging job that shows colleges’ leadership skills and-or ties in with a student’s academic interests are best.

3. Become an intern. An internship is unpaid (or token payment) work experience that provides students with an opportunity to gain experience in a field of interest. What isn’t gained in cash, is gained in experience, friends, and networking connections. Think of it as a summer course. With persistence and luck, a student can even land an internship in a dream career.

4. Do volunteer work. It can be profitable to work for nothing. Students can make a difference, gain experience make networking connections, and explore interests. Students get more points if the volunteer work links with an area of interest. For example, if a student is interested in a career in medicine, he or she can volunteer at a hospital or nursing home. The choices are endless and the hard work and time can pay off. Colleges and scholarship funds truly adore students who can demonstrate that they make the effort to help others. Then there’s always the fact that doing good is a wonderful reason to volunteer in itself.

5. Take virtual classes or attend a dual enrollment program. Virtual classes and dual enrollment programs offer students a chance to explore something new. Both can help save time and money if the classes count both for high school credit and college credit. Depending on what college is attended, the credit may reduce the course load per term or even allow early graduation.

6. Dive into a language immersion program. There are a number of programs both in the U.S. and abroad. Perfecting a second or third language is always worthwhile. The additional benefits of study abroad programs are cultural immersion and a greater understanding of the world. However, colleges look favorably on any language immersion programs.

7. Start a business. Launching a business or collaborating on one can be a great learning experience and even set a student up for success. The general recommendation is that students start a simple business with an immediate and obvious customer base. The idea is to generate a profit. Students with a passion for business who want to learn more about entrepreneurship may consider attending a program to help them get started. Nova Southeastern offers an Entrepreneurship Summer Camp and Personal Enrichment, called ESCAPE. Similar programs also exist.

Don’t forget to add some down time into the summer. All students need time to relax, recoup and regenerate. They need energy and enthusiasm for the fall.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS:

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com.

10 Ways of Handling the Other March Madness: College Acceptances and Rejections

March 24th, 2014
March madness is here. Anxiety is in full swing.
Surprising to many, the craziness has nothing to do with basketball and brackets.  Students and parents are thinking of college admissions. It’s around that time acceptance letters are on their way – or will soon be on their way. Parents need to be the supportive rock, even if they’re suffering from anxiety, too.   This time is about the student; it is not about the parent.

How to Help Your Child Deal with College Admissions Disappointment and Fear

1. Lay the groundwork.  Before the acceptance letters come, parents need to let their child know how proud they are of him or her for getting through high school and wanting to go to college. Make sure children know they’ll have a great experience no matter where they go.

2.  Stay supportive.  After the letters arrive, whether a child gets into a first choice college or not, parents need to stay supportive. This is a hard time for a student whether they get into their first choice college or not. For students who get rejected, this may be the first time they’re dealing with major disappointment. A parent’s job is to stop this from damaging their self-esteem. For students who get in, after the initial euphoria, they’ll start thinking about what going to college really means. Leaving home, leaving friends, leaving a comfortable routine, having to find themselves, and make their own way is difficult. Understandably, this may feel overwhelming.

3.  Talk it out. If your student is rejected from the first choice college, allow your child to vent their emotions. Talk about it and turn it into a teachable moment. Be sensitive and acknowledge the pain of disappointment. Then help your child, one, accept that he or she didn’t get in and, two, move forward with the opportunities that do present themselves.

4. Let your child know that getting into a first pick college is important, but if they don’t it’s not the end of the world. Let them know you won’t love or like them any less and they shouldn’t love or like themselves any less either. College is a step on a long road. It’s a big step, but college is not the final destination. Let your student know a lot of the college admission process was out of his or her control. While the process is fair and thorough, college admissions are subjective. Perhaps even more than most students and parents realize. High scores aren’t the only thing that counts. Subjectivity comes into play as admissions officers compare the applications. Maybe the band really needed a new bassoon player.

5. Once all the results are in, call or meet with your student’s International College Counselor advisor, as needed.  An expert college counselor can go over the pros of the schools a student was accepted into and there are a number of colleges still accepting applications.

6. Don’t let your child take denial personally. Someone at the college just didn’t think your child was the right fit at the time. Your student may actually be better off someplace else and it’s just not apparent right now.

7. Remind your student to thank the people around him/ her that made a college acceptance possible.  Every student’s success had a lot to do with a parent driving hours and hours of carpool, a teacher writing a thoughtful college recommendation, a coach staying a little bit longer after practice to go over a drill, and a principal making sure the student got the classes he/she needed.  No child gets into college on his/ her own.

8. Celebrate the college acceptance letters your child does get. Getting into any college is something to celebrate. Talk through how the child will let his/her friends know.  Will their happiness lead to greater disappointment for others?  How would they like to be told of good news by their peers? How should they handle good news for them, but also the disappointment around them?

9. Think to the future.  Although jitters are normal, really worried students should relax a bit by knowing that he/she can always transfer. Our recommendation is to keep this as a back pocket option and not as a goal. If a student goes to a college with the intent of transferring, he or she won’t be able to enjoy the full college experience they can have. Many students find that once they settle in, they’re actually very happy.

10. Do something nice. Students are at the end of a long journey. When all the letters are in, celebrate the end of this intense time.  Go out for a nice dinner as a family, or give a student a meaningful gift. Make this time positive.   We wish all of our students luck with the admissions decisions. No matter what happens, after the madness, there will be a calm. _____________________________________________________________________  

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS:   This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com.

Essay Prompts for the Common Application 2014-15

March 24th, 2014
Juniors, we have some good news to announce! Unlike in years past where the essay prompts were cloaked in secrecy well into the summer, the Common Application has revealed its essay prompts for the 2014-15 application cycle. Students who like to plan ahead can now choose from one of the five options below to write their essay for the Common Application.

For those families who are part of the International College Counselors family, your counselor will begin working with you on the essay during your next meeting. The prompts are designed to encourage reflection and introspection. If the essay does not include some self-analysis, then the response to the prompt is not successful. All five essay choices have a word limit of 650 words, and the Common App is very strict on this. Here are the five prompts with some general tips for each:

Prompt 1: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The word “identity” is key. Students are being asked for a story or something in their background that made them who they are today. Background can be a broad environmental factor such as growing up in a military family, living in an interesting place, or dealing with an unusual family situation. A “story” could be an event or series of events that had a profound impact on a student’s identity. Whatever way this prompt is approached, students need to reflect and explain how and why their identity was influenced by the background or story. In picking a topic to write about, students must think of something that they “believe their application would be incomplete without.” This means the background or story told absolutely needs to be unique to the individual.

Prompt 2: Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
Students who choose to answer this question must show their ability to learn from their failures and mistakes. How a student describes his or her response to failure is the critical part of this essay. The answer should include what a student felt, learned, and how they grew from this experience. A good essay will have introspection, honesty, self-awareness, and strong critical thinking skills The recounting time of this essay is basically a plot summary. Students should use as few words as possible on this part – without sacrificing quality. Make sure the essay leaves the reader with a positive impression. If the essay does not show that the student is a better person because of the failure, then the response to this essay prompt is not successful. Schools are looking for students who do not blame others for their failure. They want to see that a student has assessed a failure, learned from it, and moved on.

Prompt 3: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
The “belief or idea” this prompt refers to could be a student’s own, someone else’s, or that of a group. The belief or idea can take many forms: a political or ethical belief; a theoretical or scientific idea; a personal conviction; an entrenched way of doing things (challenging the status quo); and so on. It is not important if the student’s challenge was successful. With this prompt colleges are looking for students to reveal one of their core personal values and show personal growth. The best essays will be honest and reflective as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final part of the question does not have to be “yes.” Perhaps, with retrospection, the student has discovered that the cost of an action was too great. While colleges are looking for an issue that is important to a student’s identity, students should stay away from controversial topics. Colleges want students who will fit into a diverse campus community. This means the answer needs to show thoughtfulness, sensitivity, analysis and open-mindedness.

Prompt 4: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
Students have lots of options for a “place or environment” to describe. These can include a house, a barn, a classroom, a stadium, a stage, or even an imagined space. The main challenge isn’t the place that’s chosen but how the student analyzes “why” he or she is content in that place. What is it about the space that makes it special? To do this, a student needs to be introspective and share what it is he or she values. This question is not necessarily asking students for a place where they feel peaceful. The word “content” can mean more. It can also be interpreted as a state of satisfaction. An adrenaline junkie might be most content when skydiving, and a dancer might be most content when performing in the spotlight. The description part of this essay should be kept simple. Students should use as few words as possible on this part – without sacrificing quality. The end of the prompt is most important.

Prompt 5: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
This prompt is good for students who want to explore a single event, accomplishment or achievement that marked a clear point in their personal development. Students must be careful to avoid the all-too-common “hero” essay like a season-winning touchdown or star turn in the school play. The essay is to show a student’s personal growth and analytical thinking. To identify the correct “accomplishment or event,” to write about, the discussion of growth needs to have enough material for self-analysis and deep thought. The best choice topics will be a significant moment in a student’s life that also gives admissions officers a peek at something the student values highly. The mention of “culture” in this prompt gives a student the opportunity to talk about personal culture and diversity. A student should feel free to connect the “accomplishment or event” to a context that is specific to their cultural heritage. Describing the accomplishment should take the least amount of words. A strong essay will show off the student’s ability to explore the significance of the event. A student will need to look inward and analyze how and why the event caused him or her to grow and mature.

End Notes Via the essay, the school is gaining a piece of information that it will use to judge the student as a whole person. In any essay, the student wants to come across as an intelligent, thoughtful person who will contribute to the community in a meaningful and positive way. Students must also demonstrate a strong writing ability. We encourage all Juniors to start thinking about their essays.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS: This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com.

How To Work with Your High School College Counselor

March 24th, 2014
A high school guidance counselor can be very helpful when applying to college. Guidance counselors are there to help students succeed.  They may help students plan their high school schedules, find “best-fit” colleges, fill out applications, write letters of recommendation, find scholarships, and more.

Students, at your meeting, be friendly, but respectful, and let your counselors know their efforts are appreciated.  Most counselors deal with many students each day, year after year, and whatever a student can do to make herself or himself stand out in a positive way can motivate counselors to give them extra assistance.  The relationship with the counselor should be treated as the kind of personal network-building that will help a student succeed in college and in their professional career.

Freshman and Sophomores
Students in their Freshman and Sophomore year should stop in or schedule a quick appointment with their counselor at some point during the school year. At the meeting students should:

  • Introduce themselves.
  • Briefly go over their goals.
  • Review their schedule and make sure they’re on track to graduate.
  • Ask for recommendations on extracurricular activities.


Juniors
 
Students in their Junior Year should meet with their counselor in the spring.  A twenty-minute appointment should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

What to Bring to a Meeting 

Counseling time is limited, so come prepared!

  • Preliminary resume – Students should bring a resume to their meeting.  The resume should outline their goals, both in and out of the classroom, what they’ve done during the summer, and their college goals.
  • List of qualities the student is looking for in a college. The school college advisor may help build the college list.

Some Questions to Ask

  • What is my current academic standing?  Students should review their current transcript with the counselor, identify any weak spots, and discuss how to maintain or raise their grade point average or improve themselves in any other areas.
  • Do you know of any good scholarships available for me?
  • Am I on track to complete the core requirements for graduation?
  • What do you think of my target school list?  Do you have any other school suggestions?
  • Should I take the ACT? The SAT? Or both? If a student has already taken one or both tests, then the scores should be reviewed with the counselor.  A guidance counselor can help students weigh the pros and cons of each test, offer constructive advise on the scores, and recommend resources for test-prep.
  • Do you review essays and applications?  If so, what is the timeline?
  • Will you be writing me a letter of recommendation?  If so, what materials would you need from me?
  • What should I do to make myself more desirable to college admissions officers? Students should ask about community college courses and summer opportunities including internships, jobs, and summer programs.

  How to get the Best Recommendations From a High School College Counselor

  • Talk about accomplishments, hobbies and plans for college and the future.
  • Discuss any “red-flags” on the transcript, like low grades during the sophomore year.  Student should explain why they had difficulty and discuss how they’ve changed and improved since then.
  • Let the counselor know EXACTLY which college a student wants to get into.  A counselor can often make phone calls on a student’s behalf.  Also, if the college is coming to the high school, a counselor may help schedule a private meeting with the admissions reap.

As a reminder, many high school counselors do not love independent college counselors (IECAs); so students do not need to tell their high school counselors they are also seeking outside help.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS: This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.  For help from an experienced college advisor who can help a student in English or Spanish, please contact the expert college counselors at International College Counselors at 954-414-9986.

New Must Read Book: From Public School to the Ivy League

March 12th, 2014

International College Counselors is pleased to announce the release of Mandee Heller Adler’s new book, From Public School to the Ivy League: How to Get into a Top School Without Top Dollar Resources. The book is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

The new book provides parents and students with the tools and resources they need to understand and navigate the college admissions process. Specifically addressing the needs of public school students and their families, it is an easy-to-follow guidebook that a student could use even without the help of an adult.

After graduating as the salutatorian of Miami Beach Sr. High, a Florida public high school, Adler went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with two degrees. She then received an MBA from Harvard Business School. Adler wrote the book she wished she had had to guide her when she was applying to schools. The book is comprehensive, yet readable, quick, conversational, and to the point. With the help of the book, students will be able to be their own best college counselors.

From Public School to the Ivy League offers advice on topics that include:

  • Choosing high school courses
  • Maximizing academic and extracurricular opportunities
  • Finding the “right fit” college
  • Getting summer jobs and internships
  • Studying for and scheduling standardized tests
  • Navigating social media
  • Completing the college application
  • Revealing the inside admissions process

You can’t change the system, but you can change your approach.

Pick up your copy of From Public School to the Ivy League at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

College Board Announces New Changes to the SAT

March 5th, 2014

This week the College Board announced new changes to the SAT. The new SAT focuses more on the important academic skills and delivers “no new mysteries.” New changes won’t go into effect until the spring of 2016 so this only applies to Freshman and middle school students.

Some of the changes include:

  • No longer will points be deducted for wrong answers to multiple-choice questions.
  • The essay will no longer be required. It will be optional. Essay writing students will need to read a passage and analyze how its author used evidence, reasoning, and stylistic elements to build an argument.
  • Anxiety causing SAT words will be replaced with words that are widely used in college and career.
  • The perfect SAT score will be 1600 points, based on a top score of 800 in reading and math. The essay will be scored separately.
  • The nonprofit Khan Academy will provide students with free tutorials in math and other subjects via www.khanacademy.org.
  • Every exam will have a reading passage from one of America’s “founding documents.” It could be the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights or one on “Great Global Conversation they inspire.”
  • Math questions will focus on three areas: linear equations; complex equations or functions; and ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning.
  • Students will be able to use calculators on only part of the math section.
  • The reading and writing sections will cover a broad range of disciplines, including science and social studies.
  • The test will be 3 hours long – 3 hours and 50 minutes with the essay.
  • New programs will help low-income students. Fee waivers will allow them to apply to four colleges at no charge.

On April 16th, The College Board will reveal the new test. For more information about changes to the SAT, go to https://www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat.

For recommendations on tutors for the SAT, contact International College Counselors.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS:

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.

Five Tips for College Bound High School Juniors

February 10th, 2014

Junior year is the homestretch for students in high school. Critical decisions will need to be made during the winter and spring that could have a major impact on the next five years and long beyond. This year students need to start narrowing their list of colleges and potential academic paths. Expert college advisors at International College Counselors understand that college admissions officers look very closely at junior year grades.

1. Prepare and Take Standardized Tests

Waiting for senior year to take the all important SAT and ACT will cause unneeded stress. By taking the tests now, students also have time to assess their weaknesses and address them by studying.  Then they can retake the SAT or ACT in the fall.  Fall will be their last chance.

Students are also strongly advised to take the SAT Subject tests in the subjects that they took this year.  There are twenty different subject tests and each is designed to measure specific knowledge in a particular academic area. The next tests are May 3 and June 7.

“If students wait until their senior year to take the SAT Subject Tests, they may find they’ve forgotten the material,” said Mandee Heller Adler, founder of International College Counselors.

2. Consider Possible Majors

The best way to start a list of possible college majors is to start with personal interests.  These interests can include animals, nutrition, film, medicine, writing or a million more.  It may even be a motivating school subject like algebra or literature. Some students find taking free assessment tests online to be helpful.  These websites match interests with possible careers. Some high schools offer these tests through the school guidance counselor. The idea here is not to commit to a career path, but to try and narrow down career possibilities. Keep in mind, many students switch their major at least once during college.

3. Research Colleges

Information on different colleges and universities can be gathered in books and on websites. Attend any local college fairs, as well as presentations by traveling college admissions officers.  Go on college campus tours, as many as possible. Talk to alumni or current students. Try to look at the whole range of schools: public, private, large, and small. Consider taking a college road tour over spring break. In the late spring, draft an initial college list. Before the start of senior year, a student’s goal is to develop a list of fifteen to twenty colleges of interest. Having an idea of college majors makes the college search easier.  However, students can create a list of prospective colleges even if they do not have a major in mind.

4. Search for Scholarships

Research scholarship opportunities and apply to them. There are many scholarships open to students in their junior year. When looking for scholarships, juniors will also discover many scholarships they may want to apply to in their senior year.  Students who apply to scholarships need to make sure they proofread everything and meet all deadlines.

5. Plan to Maximize Summer

Colleges like to see that incoming seniors spent the summer in a meaningful way. This could include an internship, job, or college program. Whatever it is, students need to start planning their summer now.

Many competitive and prestigious summer programs are available and these cover hundreds of interests including engineering, journalism, and business. The right programs help students learn and also look great on college applications. Students should also consider attending a summer program at a college of interest. While this does not guarantee admissions, it may help a student confirm interest in the school and make an early decision choice easier.

Junior year comes with a lot of stress, but with planning and positivity, it can also be a time filled with excitement about the future,” said Adler.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS:

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com.

 



International College Counselors
4700 Sheridan Street, Suite J
Hollywood, Florida 33021 USA
(954) 414-9986

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