The College Interview—A Reliable Step in the Admission Process
Counselors' Corner
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3d ago
by Nicholas Amato, Jr. Our guest columnist is Nicholas Amato, a veteran of the college world, who has a different view on how to take Artificial Intelligence out of the admissions equation. As we see more and more colleges opt to be test optional, the essay is playing a major role in the admissions process. That leads many parents seeking the help of professionals that will work alongside their child in constructing a well written and thoughtful essay. Along those same lines, The New York Times reported colleges are now wrestling with a new app that will construct a writing assignment ..read more
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The Common Bond That Ties
Counselors' Corner
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2w ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. A representative from College Board was talking about some boilerplate changes to the SAT—changes in registration procedures, notifications of new products—but she held almost all her enthusiasm for what she clearly saw as a big deal. “As you know, we’ll be recentering the SAT this year” she gushed, even though she was battling a head cold. “We’re very excited about all the prospects this change will have for students, counselors, and colleges”, and she discussed those in great detail. We took a break, and I felt compelled to share the excitement she had generate ..read more
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The Brussels Sprouts of College Admissions
Counselors' Corner
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3w ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. New Year’s Day is kind of quiet around my house. Not quiet, as in “everyone breathe quietly, Daddy’s head hurts when he even blinks”. It’s more like the quiet that comes once the rush of something big is over. Like the quiet of eating pumpkin pie for breakfast by yourself the day after Thanksgiving, or finishing off the last bacon-wrapped date after the admitted student event. It’s a time to revel, a time to dream without feeling compelled to look ahead— a time to just be. That was how this New Year’s started, with a roaring fire that started at noon and stayed ti ..read more
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The 2022 Year in Review
Counselors' Corner
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1M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. In a year where everyone pretended COVID isn’t a thing, the college counseling world saw a modest return to a sense of normal that is somewhat unfounded. Here are the highlights: Welcome to the Family, Test Optional The honeymoon period after the COVID-based shotgun wedding between test optional admissions and thousands of colleges has led to some settling in that’s unsettling. While some colleges are returning to requiring tests, those that were forced to join the test optional bandwagon in 2020 seem to have found a way to assimilate the twist into what is, in es ..read more
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Test-optional Admissions and Data
Counselors' Corner
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1M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. Test-optional admissions is once again in the news, as a prominent college announced last week they would once again require submission of test scores starting for everyone applying in Fall, 2023. This announcement adds to the small, but in some cases notable, number of colleges that have announced a return to testing. Like the announcements before it, this notice is raising the hackles of many respected members of the college counseling community. Their rationale is fairly sound; the tests have long been accused of being racially and socially biased, and claims e ..read more
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The Number One Reasons Many Colleges Don’t Admit You
Counselors' Corner
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2M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. This is a time of great waiting and wondering by high school seniors who are eager to hear about their college applications. Despite assurances from the grown ups that students have worked hard and made good choices, there is an abyss between hitting Send and hearing back that often gets filled by one question: Will I get in? If these same caring adults have been honest with their seniors, the real answer here is “It depends”. In case they were hoping for something more than two words of, um, assurance, why not try a review of the key factors for most (that’s most ..read more
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A Gratitude Tale of Two Students
Counselors' Corner
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2M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. It was near the top of a tall pile of emails, but deep enough into the list that my speed-skimming abilities had kicked into gear. Since it started with the ubiquitous “You don’t know me, but…”, I was ready to delete, but for some reason, I kept reading. “You don’t know me, but I attended one of those college seminars you hold at the local public library. I already had a list of colleges, but something really struck me when you said not to be happy with what you knew—that it was important to look around the edges of your list, see what else was out there, and ..read more
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Ninth Graders and College
Counselors' Corner
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2M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. I have to admit, I’m not crazy talking to ninth graders about college. No matter what I say, these discussions almost always end up centering on test scores and essays—and ninth grade just isn’t the time to worry about either. Promise me you won’t be thinking about these things, and let’s focus in on what you can work on—being a great person. As far as colleges are concerned, there are three things to focus on in ninth grade, and all of them have something to do with being more of who you are. The first one, at least as far as colleges are concerned, is grades. Co ..read more
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Need a Breather? Try College Farming
Counselors' Corner
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3M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. The first major college application deadline has come and gone, and you’re taking stock. Students ignored your deadlines, they ignored your advice, and everything they asked you to do they wanted done yesterday. that makes it all too easy to wonder if you’re really making any difference at all. Fair enough. Here’s what I think.  1. It would be great if kids leapt out of their chairs and said “What a life changing suggestion! Thank you!” This doesn’t happen— kids rarely acknowledge our work made a difference in their lives, even when we do. This means counsel ..read more
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The Two Challenges of This School Year
Counselors' Corner
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3M ago
by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D. News from Washington solidifies what most educators already knew—this is going to be the year of returning schools to business as usual. With healthcare leaders announcing plans to treat COVID with an annual booster—much like people get a regular flu shot—the days of mask alerts and online school days largely seem behind us, and educators will get the chance to focus on what they were trained to do—help young people move on with their lives. That isn’t to suggest the impact of the COVID pandemic is behind us. Reports suggest that four million- four million—childre ..read more
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