Frequently Asked Questions

Let us help you make the most of your college application experienceWhy hire an Educational Consultant?

A skilled Educational Consultant will give each student/client the personalized time and attention that he/she needs to make the most educated college choice. Although high school academic counselors are available at some school, they are often over worked and keep a 1:600 ratio (on avg. in California). This statistic only allows a counselor about one hour to spend with each student during the academic school year. As budget cuts hit most public institutions, students are left to search the Internet for answers about college admission, acceptance rate, test score expectations, essay/personal statement writing and GPA expectations.

Hiring an educational consultant will take the guesswork out of the college admission process, and increase your student chances of getting into the best school for his/her needs.

If my grades are bad, can I still get into college?

Absolutely! I truly believe that every student who is motivated to attend college can and will achieve their dream. Over the past 14 years I have worked with many mixed ability, as well as high achieving students and supported them in going to college. There are many alternative programs and methods to make college a reality.

Do your students/clients get into their first choice of college?

Many college consultants tout a “success rate” based on whether students get into their first or second choice college. But this is a tricky statistic to report and impossible to verify. While it is important for a skilled Educational Consultant to work with each individual student and uncover the students interests and match his/her interests with the best college. If a student has his/her heart set on a college prior to meeting with the Educational Consultant, the consultant will make every effort to support the student and “sell” their skills and abilities to the college of their dreams.

Do college essays matter?

The answer is YES! You bet those college essays matter! And they often help a student not only get into the college, they also help them pay for that college. As an Educational Consultants and an educator, I know the value of a good essay. It’s not only a chance to stand out and get accepted by the college, it’s also a chance to make the college want you even more so that they will throw money at you.

Early decision or regular decision cycle?

Every year parents and students ask whether they should apply to college via early decision or regular decision. This decision is a very important one, especially if you are considering some of the more selective colleges and universities.

Regular decision is the normal process by which students apply by published deadlines, with promise of receiving an admissions decision no later that April 1 of their senior year. Some colleges will give admissions decisions well before April 1, but the student is under no obligation to make a decision about whether to attend until the common response date of May 1.

Early decision is binding promise. Under this program (also known as ED), students apply early (usually by November 1 or November 15, depending on the college), and will receive their admissions decisions early–usually by December 15. In return for this early decision, the student, parents, and school counselor sign a pledge that, if accepted, they will attend that college. The student agrees to withdraw all other applications, and not accept any other offers of admission.

Early action programs are a hybrid. Students may apply early under these early action (EA) programs and receive an early admissions decision. However, the student is under no obligation to accept the offer of admission and can wait until May 1 to select which college to attend. For purposes of clarity, this post will focus exclusively on the differences between early decision (ED) and regular decision.

The bottom line is. Do you want to have choice at the end, or would you prefer to lock in your college selection early?

Division I vs. Division III for athletes?

Being a Division I athlete is a huge commitment. One must eat, sleep, and breathe one’s sport, and a D1 athlete can plan on training throughout the year to stay in tip-top condition. Further, Division I athletes must commit to playing all four years if they want to keep their athletic scholarship.

Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, they do recruit athletes in a different way. Every school with a volleyball team (for example) wants to fill its roster with good players who can take a league championship. Thus many colleges offer other forms of scholarship money to entice an able player to join its team–and its student body.

SAT vs. ACT? What is the difference?

The ACT is considered to be a curriculum-based exam, meaning it is based on a material you may have already seen in the classroom. The SAT is considered to be more of a skills based test. The exam is designed to show that you have the skills needed to well in college. Some would say it is the test that is better for students who are stellar test-takers.

The scoring of the two tests differs as well. The SAT is on a scale of 2400, with each section (Math, Reading, and Writing) worth 800 points. You also receive a score of 2 to 12 for your essay. There is a penalty for guessing on multiple-choice questions on the SAT. You will be docked ¼ of a point for each wrong answer.

On the ACT, each subject test is scored from 1 to 36, and then each of these scores is averaged to create your Composite Score. The Writing test is also given a score of 2 to 12. There is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT. In terms of how your scores are sent to schools, both tests now give you the option to decide which scores (by test date) are sent to which schools. The SAT can send all of your scores on one score sheet, while the ACT sends scores from each test date individually. Both exams allow you send the first four score reports free of charge.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Calculating one’s GPA is a fairly straightforward process – except for the fact that many high schools report “weighted” and “un-weighted” grade point averages. Basically, a weighted GPA takes into account the difficulty of the courses a student is taking, and those taking harder courses are rewarded with extra points in their GPA. Usually colleges strip these points from an applicant’s GPA in order to fairly compare one student against another.

Colleges want the weighted GPA to reflect your class rank, as well as the relative rigor of your high school course load. But they will not use this weighted GPA in comparing you with other applicants.

Furthermore, many colleges today are “stripping” GPAs of any fluff courses, such as PE, art, music, business, or other courses not considered to be sufficiently academic in nature. Padding your GPA, therefore, is not really possible by getting a straight-A average in chapel or woodworking or glee club. Colleges want to know how well you do in your academic core subjects: English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language.

What about financial aid or merit aid?

There are many ways to make college financially possible. There are a plethora of loan programs that students may apply too with or without their parents; there are loans that parents may take out for their kids. In addition, there are many merit based financial aid programs that students and families may be eligible for. As an Educational Consultant, I have resources to assist you in finding the best way to pay for your student’s education.

Is it better to get A’s or take harder courses?

While colleges certainly like to see A’s, they also value a student’s willingness to challenge his/her self with more difficult classes. It’s a matter of balance. Push whenever possible, but not to the point where your ability to be successful is undermined.