by Erica L. Meltzer | Jul 31, 2017 | Blog, College Admissions
The following post was written by a friend and colleague whose son recently went through the college admissions process. I asked her to share her insights into the experience, and she was generous enough to write this post. So for all you parents of smart B students who would rather be playing World of Warcraft than writing their college essays, know that there is hope. Spoiler alert: the writer’s son got into college, no one had a nervous breakdown, everyone is still on speaking terms and, perhaps most importantly, no one will have to go into permanent debt to fund his education.
Do you remember your own college search? Perhaps like me, your 17-year-old self probably got very little guidance from your parents. Did you take the SAT once or twice? I took it once. Did you get test prep? I didn’t. I was pretty passive about the whole thing. However, let me ask a question that is even more revealing of the difference in generations… Did you use a typewriter to do your applications? Even if your 17-year-old self would have appreciated the convenience of the online Common App, I bet he or she would look at the high school senior standing in your living room and be totally aghast at all the sturm und drang. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Apr 15, 2017 | Blog, College Admissions, Parents, Students
The short answer: In terms of giving you a leg up on Ivy League and other highly selective college admissions, probably not.
The long answer: It depends.
The reality is that summer high school programs effectively function as cash cows for (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Dec 22, 2016 | Blog, College Admissions, Parents, Students
Ah, Christmas break… A whole week to sleep late, hang out with your friends, and stuff yourself with leftovers. Unless, of course, you’re a senior trying desperately to finish your college applications. Even if your main essay is done, you might still have a bunch of supplements waiting to be done. And if that’s the case, then chances are some of those supplements include the perennial “why this college?” question.
In some cases, you may not be able to answer entirely truthfully (I needed another safety school, my parents are making me apply), but even assuming that you actually want to attend most of the schools you’re applying to, this question can be hard to get started on.
If that describes your situation, this post is for you. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Nov 5, 2016 | Blog, College Admissions, Parents, Uncategorized
The New York Times Education Life section has published a very important article about some of the hidden costs of college. It focuses on the fees that schools tack on for everything from orientation to “student excellence,” and that families paying for college may not even be aware of until they get the bill.
Apparently, many of these charges used to be covered by tuition but in recent years have been increasingly shifted to the “fees” category, where they can no longer be covered by scholarship money. (more…)
by Erica L. Meltzer | Sep 26, 2016 | Blog, College Admissions, Students
A few years back, a student with whom I had done a handful of SAT tutoring sessions asked me to help him with his college essay.
He was applying to a number of very selective schools, and while he was a solid, highly motivated candidate with excellent grades and recommendations, his scores were strong but not amazing. He did have a hook, but he was by no means a shoo-in. And since he wanted to go to medical school eventually, financial aid was also a consideration. The essay could be a real tip factor for him.
Understandably, he wanted it to be great.
Luckily, he had a clear — and very good — idea for a topic from the start, and we spent several weeks going back and forth with drafts, comments, etc. The usual. We hit the usual bumps and organizational issues, but all in all, it was pretty straightforward. When my student got stuck, I’d get him to just talk it out, and then let him take that material and mold it into something more coherent. (more…)