Importance of Extracurriculars after Supreme Court Decision

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 18, 2023


Extracurriculars Still Matter for High School Students

photo courtesy of Byram HIlls High School Facebook page.  

Summer is a great time to get involved with extracurricular activities, a crucial piece of the college application!

There are 3 components that are valued by the most selective colleges:

  1. Metrics – GPA, Rigor, SAT/ACT, Recommendations
  2. Main Character Essays and College Specific Supplements
  3. Extracurricular Activities
    1. School-Sponsored Extracurriculars – Sports, Clubs, Theater, Dance, Debate, Model UN, Band/Orchestra, Math, Chess, Robotics, Science Research, Newspaper, Yearbook, etc.
    2. Other Extracurriculars that are local, but outside of school—volunteer, work, internships, summer courses, research, starting something (business, non-profit or for profit), working on a political campaign.

For rising HS Seniors, summer is the time to start college applications and look back and compile their high school year extracurricular activities. And this time is not wasted as most colleges weigh extracurriculars as a key factor in their college decision.  In fact, most colleges look for student involvement in activities through a lens of longevity and leadership. 

Read More

Topics: college preparation, college admissions, admission advice, college process, college activities plan, SAT prep, ACT prep, college test prep, high school senior, high school junior, high school sophomore, college application, college freshmen, extracurriculars, extracurricular activities, high school freshman

4 Things to Consider for Decision Day (May 1st)

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 14, 2023



Read More

Topics: College Costs, College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, high school senior, College decision Day

Getting properly engaged (with extracurriculars)

Posted by Neal Schwartz on March 24, 2023



There is a lot of pressure for students to do extracurricular activities. Many colleges view EC’s as a critical element of the application. There are varying degrees of a student's engagement level: Is the student doing enough in this regard? Are they following their passions? Or are they doing the activity because they were told to?

I pose the following critical question to get to the core: Who owns the extracurricular activity?

It sounds like a crazy question…shouldn’t the answer be “Of course, the student owns it?”

But, consider the possibility that the parent owns the activity:

The image of a parent working on their elementary or middle school students school project is something many of us can relate to. To the parents, they may remember their own experience gaining assistance on building a volcano that used some type of baking soda to erupt or a 3D view of a scene from history—maybe something like George Washington crossing the Delaware River in a boat. Once the student is in high school, the academic grades become even more important—especially for college admission—and extracurricular activities compete for the student’s available time. It becomes tempting for some to take “shortcuts”. This may be simply a parent wanting to stem the tide of tears when a complex high school assignment is behind schedule and the student struggles to complete it in time. Time for Super Mom or Super Dad to step in and save the day!

From a practical matter, is the student the one asking how they can help volunteer for a community service organization, or is the parent the one that sets up the activity? Although most parents would say that “helping” their son or daughter is their only option, this support may include some long-term harm. What will happen when their kid is in college and the parent can no longer “own” or get involved with the activity?

Read More

Topics: College Applications, Community Service, college preparation, college admissions, high school senior, high school junior, high school sophomore, volunteering, extracurricular activities

The 5 W's of College Visits

Posted by Neal Schwartz on February 16, 2023

college visits:

Who, What, where, when, and Why


One of the most revered times for a parent is the college visit. When done properly, it can be one of the best experiences to get to know your child beyond their activities and schoolwork. Most important is that the focus of the visit is solely on the child applying for colleges. It’s not about mom or dad’s busy career(s) or about a sibling and their life. Most importantly, it is about choice—the ability to choose any academic focus at any one of hundreds of colleges. Oh, and they will likely be living somewhere else for four years. And doing (or not doing) their laundry and making (or not making) their bed.

We are approaching the time of year when parents take students on college visits. I was prompted to write this particular blog post because it seems as if college visits follow some secretive set of rules. My thoughts are to try and bring some pause and reflection to the process with the hope of making it a more productive experience for all.

Read More

Topics: College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, college tours, college visits, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, high school sophomore, small liberal arts college, vacation week, college info session

ChatGPT and its impact on the College Process

Posted by Neal Schwartz on February 01, 2023

How will ChatGPT affect college applications?


Read More

Topics: College Essays, College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, chatgpt, Artificial Intelligence, personal statement


Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Contact us: