How students can build resilience in an unpredictable future

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 28, 2022

It can be said without a doubt that it’s a very difficult time to be a student. This generation of students is faced with so many unpredictable factors, that it puts even more strain and stress on them than most of them can handle. The pandemic has made them more isolated, less social, and perhaps more fearful.

In addition, this year’s college admission statistics have brought a new level of uncertainty to current high school seniors making final decisions. But this unprecedented college landscape also extends to younger high school students, as they look at admit rates as low as the single digits. 

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Topics: college counseling, holistic college admissions review, college planning, independent students, resilient students, academic stress

Pick up these essential study habits before college

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 19, 2022

Essential Study Habits for College


We don't expect high school to look like college but taking a closer look at some of the core differences can be extremely valuable. Simply put, students' high school study habits may not always be applicable to college. But if you start early, you'll be able to make small adjustments to make a big difference. Some of the main differences between high school and college are the amount and type of coursework and frequency and length of classes. So, it's important to refine habits to apply to this new context. 

First of all, generally in high school, courses are everyday, which makes for a more consistent rhythm of studying. However, college courses can just be once or twice a week, so that means homework and readings will not be due immediately and there will likely be less "regular" work. This can be a trap to students who think that less work means less effort needed. However, the work given in college often requires more research, reading and preparation and cannot just be done last minute. So, procrastinators will have to set a schedule for themselves to complete work thoroughly and on time.

Next, the type of work is different. Worksheets and quizzes can be replaced by essays, which requires students to integrate multiple skills and not just memorize facts. Readings are much longer, and students are expected to complete them quickly, without chapter-by-chapter guidelines. The difference between reading a chapter at a time for a discussion and a whole book is that there is a lot more of a chance to get off course. So, it's helpful to make outlines of the main points of each chapter to simplify the process.

A lot of students blindly re-read texts and highlight or underline here and there and consider that "studying." However, this way of revising is passive and doesn't test students' comprehension, but merely their recognition of things they've seen before. Instead of being able to explain what a character's role is in a text, rereading just allows students to recall surface-level details.

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Topics: college counseling, transition to college, college planning, study habits

Is a pivot on the horizon for selective college admissions?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 05, 2022

When it comes to college, competition seems only to be getting more intense. Students are pressured by expectations to get perfect test scores, have unique and incredible talents and be accomplished and successful just by the age of 16 or 17. How long will students be able to live up to these expectations? According to a recent article by Jeffrey Selingo in the Atlantic, “The College-Admissions Process Is Completely Broken, but it doesn’t have to be”, the college admissions system might not be able to hold up for long.

Colleges already responded to the pandemic with measures meant to ease minds like test-optional policies, but in the long run that didn't eliminate competition, just changed it temporarily. (Note that M.I.T. just went back to a test required model)

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Topics: college counseling, test optional, college application, holistic college admissions review, teacher recommendations, college planning, college acceptance, college rejection, college fit, college waitlist, jeffrey selingo

What if I don't get accepted to my dream school?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on March 23, 2022

Generally, there are two types of high school students: those that have no idea where they want to go to college, and those that know exactly where they want to go and where they “belong.” A lot of these students become fixated on their dream schools, either because of reputation, legacy, or a dreamy, beachside campus. Whatever the motivation, students shouldn't let a particular school become too much a part of their identity, because what happens if they don't get in?


Here's a common story of how things can happen at school. You get good grades, you do tons of unique extracurriculars, volunteer work, foreign languages, musical instruments, and you still don't get into your dream school. It seems like you’ve checked off all the boxes and would be the ideal student. So, what's the deal? Are you still not good enough to get in, or are there other factors coming into play? With the increased applications at most competitive schools, it is a mathematical reality that there will be more rejections and waitlisted students than anytime in history.

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Topics: college counseling, test optional, college application, holistic college admissions review, college planning, college acceptance, college rejection, college fit, college waitlist

Will a Summer Program help me get into college?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on March 15, 2022

As we approach spring, it's a wise idea to start thinking ahead to the summer. After all the uncertainty of the past two years, students and parents are ready for an escape. That's why many students opt for summer programs at universities or outside organizations to spend a few weeks away, take a class and be immersed in campus life. Many choose this option because they think it will give them an advantage on their college applications.

While many of these programs promise academic enrichment and a competitive environment, it is important to consider that the cost of such a program might not correspond to its "admission value." One determining factor is whether the program is run by a college or by an outside organization. Although some outside organizations may have fine programs, it is smart to try and assess that. No matter what, there is nearly universal agreement that these programs are only valuable if the student sees and learns something they will take with them, but rarely will it mean a leg up to get into that college from an admissions perspective.

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Topics: college counseling, career path, college planning


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