Joan B. Weiss and Roberta Lachman
"Just wanted to write you the BIGGEST heartfelt thank you.  We dropped our daughter off at college today.  University of Hartford.  Full ride.  Four years.  We truly believe that the help you provided her with her essays was a significant part of this achievement."
     -Tom and Cristina  (Parents of Ruby,
       U of Hartford, class of  2019)

Seniors:  How are your essays coming along?  We Can Help.
 College Financial Aid by the Numbers

Average published* yearly tuition/fees of in-state public 4-year college

Average net** yearly tutition/fees of in-state public 4-year college

Average published* yearly tuition/fees of private 4-year college

Average net** yearly tuition/fees of private 4-year college

Proportion of full-time students receiving financial aid

Percentage of financial aid in the form of grants

Percentage of financial aid in the form of federal loans

* Sticker price
**Actual price paid by student after financial aid
One Very Cool Thing You Don't Know About Hampshire College
Many colleges have taken the first step toward freedom from the use of standardized tests.  Test Optional schools do not require SAT or ACT scores be submitted with an application.  If, however, a student wants to send test scores, the school will look at them.  Great, you say.  But, if you’re like us, you can’t help but wonder if not sending test scores sends a negative message.

Enter Hampshire College, located in Amherst, Massachusetts.  (Pa'k the ca' in Ha'va'd Ya'd.)  It's part of the Five College Consortium that  includes Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and UMass Amherst.  The bold folks at Hampshire have gone Test Blind, meaning they don't ask for nor will they accept standardized test scores.

Hampshire went test blind this past application cycle and recently revealed the results. Turns out, the news is good!. The percentage of accepted students that enrolled increased by 50%.  The average GPA of incoming students remained stable at 3.5.  A slightly higher number of minority and first generation students applied and were accepted.  And, most importantly, the sky hasn't fallen.

Interestingly, Hampshire is no longer being ranked by U.S. News and World Report, the nation’s most popular college ranking organization.  While we feel that these rankings are spurious, they are, unfortunately, influential. Hampshire was willing to take the risk of not being ranked in order to support what many believe--that test scores are not good predictors of college success.

But not so fast:  the test blind policy doesn’t mean that it’s easier to apply to Hampshire. The school looks at the Common App along with writing samples and challenging supplemental essays to get a feeling for each applicant.  We hope that Hampshire’s approach will encourage other schools to venture into this new, test blind, territory.
Host A College NightInvite a gaggle of your high school parent friends for a night of college info and Q&A.  We'll bring the knowledge and the chips, and thank you with a $100 discount on a consulting package.
If that sounds like fun, click here!
The Object Is Not Getting In, But Getting Out
For parents and students alike, the college admissions process often brings to the surface deep-seated existential anxiety.  The fear sounds something like this: 

What will happen if I/my child doesn't get into... elite college?
...the college everyone in our family has gone to?
...a well-known college?

If you have experienced such rumblings, we would like to humbly suggest that you're asking the wrong question.  If you're playing the long game, the focus should be on graduating and graduating with career and life skills--getting out of college, not getting in

Today's students must be far more active in designing their college experience than we were.  Each student's college journey will be what he makes of it so, in the end, what really matters is that your student find a school where he can feel content, experience success, and be willing to risk trying new things. 

Throughout the college search and application process, encourage him to look beyond familiar names and "good" schools that may not be a good fit for him.  Help him find and apply to schools that meet his unique academic, social, and emotional needs and preferences.  Let him know that you are not invested in his getting into a particular school, but rather having a tranformative experience at a college that's right for him.

Mark Your Calendar

Campus Pride LGBTQ-Friendly College Fair
October 10, 2015

Los Angeles Performing And Visual Arts Fair
Saturday, October 24, 2015
1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
UCLA - Ackerman Union

National Hispanic College Fair
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Los Angeles location TBD
Dear 9th-12th grade parents:
Seniors are in the thick of it.  Most Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are a heartbeat away.  UC and CSU applications need to be in by the end of November.  College lists need to be finalized, essays written, recommendations solicited, applications completed, and on and on. 
While there's no doubt that college applicants need to get their hustle on, it doesn't mean that they have to resign themselves to a season of stress.  Help your child cope with all the moving parts by offering a few organizational tips:
  • College Spreadsheet - Create a spreadsheet, neatly detailing relevant info on each school being considered.  In addition to particulars like location, size, and programs of interest, include columns for all relevant dates and deadlines.  Having all the important data on one screen/sheet, will make searching and comparing a lot less overwhelming.
  • Essay List - Have your student make a complete list of all the potential essays (with prompts) she will need to write.  The University of California requires two.  For Common App schools, there's one main essay, but each school typically has supplementals, as well. And don't forget the essays hiding in some colleges' online applications.  The list should be exhaustive and include word count limits and deadlines.  You'll be amazed at how much easier a list makes it to prioritize the essay writing process and determine crossover between the various prompts.
  • Work Appointments - Have you ever noticed how most people automatically elevate the importance of appointments? Your student will benefit from making appointments with herself to get her work done.  Blocking out specific days and times to do specific tasks will make it much easier for her to pace herself through her school and college work. Strongly suggest that she include these appointments on her calendar or in her day planner. Working by appointment will not only help ensure that she keeps to a schedule, but will make her more efficient, as well.
Your college sherpas,
Joan and Roberta
To Add or Not to Add?  That is the Question.
At the end of the Common App, the UC application, and others, there’s an opportunity to add some additional information about yourself.  Here’s the Common App prompt:
“Please provide an answer below if you wish to provide details of circumstances or qualifications not reflected in the application. You may enter up to 650 words.”
While this is not a required part of the application, you may be wondering if you should add something.  The answer is a definitive yes and no.
If your application contains everything you wanted to say about your academics, your extracurriculars, and who you are, by all means DON’T add anything.  Repeating yourself won’t enhance your application.
However, if there's an issue or circumstance that you feel has not been communicated in the application, but that could help the reader get a better picture of who you are, then DO add something.
Some examples of things that are appropriate to add:
1. Transcript issues:  Did your grades drop one year due to a family issue or an illness?  Explain this, and comment on how you’ve regained your footing.
2.  Attendance at more than one school:  If you changed schools or attended multiple schools, you may have not have had the same academic opportunities at each school.  It would be helpful to let the reader know that you didn’t have access to AP courses or Honors courses during some portion of your high school career.
3.  An extracurricular that breaks the mold:  You may have talked about your editorship on the literary magazine.  But if you also had a short story published in a literary journal, make sure you tell the admissions staff about it.   If you participated in orchestra all four years, great. If your orchestra traveled to Vienna where you won a youth orchestra award, here’s your chance to talk about it.
4.  You have a learning difference:  Disclosing a learning difference and talking frankly about how you’ve handled it and managed to maintain your grades can be a good thing.  It shows self-awareness and maturity.  It also shows that once you’re on campus, you’ll be prepared to self-advocate.  This kind of confidence is valued by admissions staff.
5.  You have a physical disability:  Again, being clear about how you make your life work while managing your disability is a positive.
6.  You have a job:  If you have been working significant hours in order to help your family meet expenses, this is the place to talk about it, especially if it has affected how many outside activities you’ve been able to take part in.
7. You have family responsibilities:  Some students help out with childcare or eldercare and are therefore needed on the home front.  If this has affected you during high school, here’s the place to describe your experience.
8.  AP test scores:  If you haven’t been able to report these anywhere else, and they are in the 4-5 range, mention them here.
9.  Something about you that simply doesn’t fit anywhere else:  If you are going to add something, be sure that it is significant, has had an impact on you, and enhances or clarifies your application.  If you’re unsure if it’s worth putting in, ask your counselor.

Make your child's journey to college a thrilling and stress-reduced trek.

College Fit 360 offers
a choice of services:

one-on-one counseling
group counseling
via Coll-Edge Counseling Circles

Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
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