by Dr. Trama - Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

When next winter rolls around, we’ll have a more in depth look at the Financial Aid process and how to best navigate it. For now, however, since most students have received their financial aid awards, we’re going to talk a little about making sure your bill for the coming year is covered. Some students will find, for whatever reason, that the amount of aid they have been awarded will not cover the whole cost of the coming year. If that’s the case, private loans are one option available for students to pay their bill for the year. Because private loans tend to have higher interest rates than federal loans, they are best viewed as a last resort, only when all […]

by Dr. Trama - Monday, June 25th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

Colleges want you to succeed academically and socially, and they know that those two areas of life are not mutually exclusive. In order to help you deal with the overwhelmingness of meeting new friends while exploring campus, finding classes, learning to live on your own, and managing your schedule, most colleges host first year experience programs. These programs are designed to help you meet people while you transition to a new environment. Since these experiences will determine your initial impression of college life, you should get a feel for what a college offers in terms of a first year transition program. It’s always better to ask admissions representatives what their colleges do to help students acclimate to campus life. If […]

by Dr. Trama - Friday, June 22nd, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

You brought your daughter’s clothes and possessions to her new dorm room, and now you’re carrying empty bins back to your car.  You’re driving cross state while your son tries to figure out which poster is going over the bed, and which is going over the desk.  Every parent experiences a moment when they realize their college-bound child won’t be coming home. Letting go is difficult, but that doesn’t mean the reality of it should be ignored – by either the parent, or the student.  Parents and students should make a conscious effort to ease the transition between high school and college.  The summer after senior year, a potentially drawn-out goodbye, can be structured to prepare everyone for the coming […]

by Dr. Trama - Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning, Collegiate Success

Between the excitement of graduating high school and the anticipation of embarking on your college career there lies two glorious months of summer.  Finally, some time to yourself to enjoy the weather, friends and countless other carefree activities, right? WRONG. The summer before your first year of college will allow for plenty of time to partake in the aforementioned activities, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if all you do is relax and hang out with friends.  Ideally, this summer should be a blend of nostalgia and preparation.  So fondly remember your high school years and spend time with the people that contributed to your best memories, but also do the following: Visit your college roommate You will know who […]

by Dr. Trama - Monday, June 18th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

You’ll know what to do with your summer if you take a moment to consider what motivations all admissions officers hope to discover within their future students.  First, remember that colleges see their mission as developing minds, and stimulating intellectually-grounded lifelong relationships.  (Making students workforce-ready is a secondary goal.)  So, they most desire students who pursue knowledge, at least in part, for intrinsic reasons.  Students who are intellectually active during the summer, in some institutional capacity, demonstrate the sort of intrinsic motivation that colleges desire. College applicants stand a better chance if they have demonstrable, self-selected, intellectual interests on their resume. Choosing to engage in summer learning opportunities best demonstrates your commitment to your interests.  If you’re history-buff, volunteer at […]

by Dr. Trama - Friday, June 15th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance, College Preparation & Planning

Every year, mothers and fathers take their high school juniors and seniors on college visits.  Parents know that they need to do this.  The visits help their children build human connections to schools that would otherwise be imagined as a jumble of acceptance rates, possible majors, climates, and sports teams.  Nothing turns a school into a real place, a potential home for four years, like a college visit.   And though parents might not always like to admit it, the college visits matter for them as well.  In a matter of months, their children will leave home and begin to experience new “firsts” without them.   The college visit will be one of the last significant shared experiences between parent and child […]

by Dr. Trama - Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

1. Write your story Every college will want you to write about yourself, no matter the specifics of their essay questions.  If you write a personal statement about how you’ve become who you are, using details from your life, you’ll be able to modify that essay for all your applications.  It’s much easier to think about this question before school begins. 2. See how colleges will see you Fill out a little bit of The Common Application every day for a week.  This very thorough application can serve as the prototype for all other applications.  In the college’s eyes, this application is you. 3. Talk to your teachers Yes.  Talk to your teachers during the summer.  Letters of reference come […]

by Dr. Trama - Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

As the calendar stretches into June, most seniors are on their way to graduation. They know where they are going, and are preparing for finals, prom, graduation parties, etc. But what about those students who are still on waitlists? Many schools will extend their waitlist into August, as there are invariably issues that arise that make it impossible for students to attend in the fall, and will offer any spots that open up to the students that have chosen to remain on the waitlist. If you’re in that position, what can you do? In short: maintain dialogue with the school. The school knows that you’re busy with sports and your activities. They’ve already considered you, and know that you will […]

by Dr. Trama - Thursday, June 7th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

When many college applicants think about the best schools in the country, they think of schools like Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale, Duke, Stanford, and MIT.  When these schools think about the best college applicants, they think of standardized test scores.   While student transcripts are the most important part of a college application, standardized test scores serve as sort of truth test for competitive colleges, who need to find which transcripts are worth considering.  Applicants who are excellent test-takers – who can earn SAT scores in the 730s on Verbal, Writing, and Math sections, and in the 740s on their SAT Subject Tests – will surely have their transcripts respectfully considered at most of the elite schools listed above. […]

by Dr. Trama - Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 College Preparation & Planning

Most parents and students think that SATs are a fact of life for every college-bound teen.  Is this true? Yes, and no.  No, you can’t ignore them, but your score isn’t some predetermined measure of your intelligence either.  There are strategies and options to consider when you see the SAT on your horizon, and many of your decisions will come down to how far ahead you’re planning.  Commit to college early-on – as a freshman – and you will be more prepared to deal with the SATs by the time you’re a Junior. First and foremost, know your options.  You can take the SAT, or you can opt not to take it at all.  If you decide to take the […]