Homecoming, senior prom, graduation…seniors often feel on top of the world. There is well-deserved excitement associated with the last year in high school and the college years ahead. But seniors also must navigate the complex world of college admissions. Seniors may be uncertain of their goals, they may question if their college list is truly balanced by probability of admission, or want some guidance writing their college essays. If parents have been helping their student, it may be time for them to step back and give their child the benefit of an objective assessment.
Doing College offers just the right kind and amount of support for your high school senior to make steady progress toward their educational goals with confidence.
The Initial Working Session for Seniors
The process starts with the initial working senior session. Parents and students complete intake forms and provide Doing College with current school transcripts, testing information, and student activity and experiences information. These materials are completed and sent to Doing College prior to the session so we can prepare a personalized agenda. This session accomplishes the following objectives:
- Explain how colleges make admission decisions with a focus on your student’s goals and priorities.
- Provide an overview of the admission process and senior timeline with a focus on your student’s goals and priorities.
- Identify any gaps that can still be addressed to strengthen the application, as well as showcase your teen’s unique talents, abilities and experiences.
- Provide guidance for senior year course selection—if high schools will not permit a student to alter their schedule, we can consider online or other options.
- Review standardized test scores to date; if needed recommend additional testing to reach score goals in a realistic timeframe with proven strategies to maximize success.
- Review student activities and experiences and make specific recommendations for making your ordinary experiences extraordinary.
- Provide an overview of financial aid, including need-based and merit-based aid.
- Provide up to 8 family selected college profiles to help you understand and interpret college statistics in ways that are most meaningful to your student both in terms of fit and probability of admission.
- Offer resources to support college-bound athletes, arts focused students, students who learn differently and those with other unique circumstances.
Following the senior session, you are ready to select between Comprehensive Services and Customized Clusters.
Comprehensive Services is the perfect choice for families that want expert and personalized guidance through every step of the college admissions process. This premier level of service provides families with unlimited access to expert guidance and resources. Although each step is compressed into a shorter timeline, the same strong results can be obtained with good organization and focus.
Seniors who are well on their way in the admission process can select from Customized Clusters of Services that are hours-based, the most common being 5, 10 and 15 hours. At the Initial Working Session for Seniors we can identify the set of services that precisely fit your needs. Partial guidance works best when your teen already has a balanced and best fit college list, and needs help with selecting a major or area of interest or essay guidance.
“Huw is absolutely loving Becker. Again, another brilliant recommendation on your part that we would have had no clue about if you had not suggested it. Huw has transferred to the pre-vet program this semester, and is doing amazingly well. I had no clue as to what potential he had, as the grades he was getting in high school did not reflect his abilities. Well now I know. And you saw it at the start and I give you credit for that amazing insight of yours. He is taking advantage of every opportunity he comes across, and thriving in ways I never dreamed possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
“We came to Elizabeth late in the senior year, and I’m so grateful for everything that you’ve done for Eric. You have done all you said you would and more! He followed your list of steps to a “T”, and because of this he got into UCSB speaks, which speaks volumes about your expertise and knowledge. We are 100% satisfied and I have recommended you to other parents. You’re an amazing person and such a supportive woman. We’re truly blessed to have been able to work with you. I’m looking forward to the next 4 years as we watch Eric grow. We’ll continue to retain you for help getting into med or grad school.”
Son, Eric Yoshida
University of California Santa Barbra
Students and their families are excited to have a college list as soon as possible. But good things take time.
The assessment phase begins with a Parent-Advisor Session which is a private, parents-only interview that gives you the opportunity to discuss your goals, expectations and priorities, and identify the college factors that are most important, including college affordability. This interview helps me to better understand your teen by offering essential insights that only a parent can provide.
Subsequent Student-Advisor Sessions are a series of private meetings with your student that lead up to the college list. These sessions accomplish the following:
- Using a variety of assessment approaches, evaluate your student’s natural talents (aptitudes) and interests which provide insights into college majors and linked career paths
- Build upon the earlier student activities and experiences worksheet to develop a student resume useful for college applications, fairs and interviews
- Using a diverse set of tools and strategies, help the student identify what college factors are most important to them and why
- Additional sessions for college-bound athletes, arts focused students and others with special needs or unique circumstances to identify those factors that will lead to college success
Now that all the assessment information is gathered, Doing College takes one last step to ensure we are all on the same page.
A concise summary of the collected assessment information is presented in the Consensus Session with parents, student and advisor. The goal of this session is to ensure that that there is agreement on the factors that will guide our college search and development of a preliminary college list that is well-matched to your teen’s needs and interests and abilities.
“Elizabeth, I got my official acceptance letter to Stanford as well as the chance to go there to meet my future academic advisor and the whole synchronized swimming team. I am very excited to be a part if such an elite team of girls, while also studying at one if the top schools in the country.
I wanted to say I am very thankful for all the help you were able to give me throughout this long process. It was tough but I am grateful that you were there to help me through it all. You were so incredibly supportive and I am forever grateful!”
THE COLLEGE LIST
What happened 5 years ago or even one year ago is not what we can count on happening when your student applies to schools this admission cycle. A complete assessment lays foundation for Doing College to research best fit colleges for your teen and produce a preliminary list of schools.
In order to provide the most optimal college list for each client, Doing College makes a significant time investment in interviewing admissions representatives, researching and touring hundreds of colleges and universities to find the best matches for our clients. This extensive effort ensures that ever changing college trends are taken into account in the development of your teen’s college list.
We provide you with a well matched preliminary list of schools along with links to the most important academic, social, cost and environmental criteria that is already balanced by the probability of admission. We call the college list a preliminary list because it is a launching pad for further research. Further research and focused college visits will help your teen decide which subset of colleges will receive an application. Families are encouraged to add their own school picks to the preliminary list. It is a work in progress! After you have completed your research and selected schools to send an application, we call your final list, the application list.
Some students do not need much help to prepare an application list, while others may need more advising support. Students can schedule follow up sessions to review their research efforts and make progress on their lists. Doing College can recommend sequenced assignments to help your student make steady progress.
It is important for your teen to reflect upon and prepare reasons for their selections. This is a critical step and one often missed by families going it alone. It is important for students to not only say, but actually know and demonstrate that a school is a great fit for them. Your teen must take the primary initiative and do the work, not just parents. It is your teen who is going to college! Student research is the only way a student can hope to convince a college, especially a selective college that they are a good match and secure an offer of admission.
“Good news, I am officially enrolled at Northeastern University. The Northeastern Achievement Award for over $30,000 for 3 years is a big bonus and will considerably ease the burden on our family budget. My family and I couldn’t be more thrilled and, you were so right–I think Northeastern will be a wonderful fit for me, and I am looking forward to the experiences I will have there. I want to say thank you for all the advice and assistance you gave me during this process. Your help in the college search and months of essay guidance was invaluable to me. I am so happy with my final decision, and I know I couldn’t have made it here without your help! Again, thank you so much for everything.”
Just like a resume is important when applying to a job, a student resume is important when applying to college. The student resume provides a summary of the student’s achievements and experiences. These are required on the application in one form or another and Doing College’s resume format makes application completion a breeze! The student resume can be utilized to support letters of recommendation, college fairs, visits, communications with college representatives and interviews.
Student athletes, arts-focused students and others with unique achievements can benefit greatly from thematic resume development. These specialty resumes are important to students who have a set of achievements and experiences with a distinctive focus.
As the student progresses through their college years, the resume can be modified for college academics and experiences. Your young adult will not be caught in the junior and senior years of college scrambling to put together a resume for career fairs and interviews!
Starting with essay workshops in the summer through the last application submission in the fall, Doing College offers guidance with each prompt. From brainstorming, through development and final edits and word counts, your teen will learn how to find and project their own voice and ideas. The chance to write genuine essays without hint of packaging or tampering by well-intentioned parents or other adults is one of the most important ingredients for success in college admissions.
To learn more about College Essays, click here.
“I write bearing good news. I have received acceptances to UPenn, Boston College, Villanova, USC, and Boston University so far! I wanted to thank you so much for all of your help through this entire process, and in particular for the help with writing my personal statement. I know that the writing was a huge component in my acceptance to these programs. I have officially decided to attend the Penn program in Counseling and Mental Health Services program!”
University of Pennsylvania
Ideally scheduled just prior to the start of the senior year or during the early weeks after school is in session, this phase of work includes the sessions below.
Organizing Session: Sets up a timeline for submission of applications.
Essay Development Session: Begun in the summer months, this session is a collaborative effort between the student and advisor. Most student prefer working online, but essay work can be scheduled in person for those who prefer to work face-to-face.
Application Review and Guidance: Doing College takes the time to review each unique application prior to submission, responding to unique circumstances, problem-solving, and addressing student questions. It is important to be sure that each part of the application is used to the student’s advantage.
Interview Preparation: Many schools offer students the opportunity to schedule an interview with an admissions representative. Doing College recommends students take advantage of this chance to let the college know them more personally, beyond the application they submit. A mock interview session with Doing College will help your teen feel more confident about how to weave talking about their strengths into the most common questions interviewers ask and prepare some questions for the interviewer.
THE FINAL DECISION
Many families want assistance sorting out offers of admission, so Doing College offers a one-time review of options to help ensure your teen attends a good college. A good college can be defined as one that offers your student a degree path that can be realistically completed in 4 years, even if the student changes majors. A good college offers a strong career center to help the student set career direction and test it early on enough to know if it is right for them. A good college should also have a reputation for helping a student graduate with little to no debt. (Ask us about additional services, which may include a value analysis and student debt forecast, and/or a two year college coursework plan which is especially valuable for dual majors or those that may switch their major.)
Doing College is committed to supporting families through this last, important step until a final decision is reached about your teen’s college home!
“Thank you for all you have helped me to accomplish over the past two years of high school. Starting with a list of pre-med programs that fit my priorities and interests, steering me toward the right test preparation at the right time and working through each application essay until I reached the finish line, you were the vital link to being a successful applicant. Now I have to make a tough decision since I have so many offers to consider!”
“Elizabeth delivers everything she promises and more. She was our guide through the entire college application process until all admission decisions were in. Ryan had many great options to consider and it was a tough decision for our family. Elizabeth and her team did some in depth research for us on each selection, including total cost of attendance over 4 years and the strengths and weaknesses of each college based on our son’s academic interests and the kind of school he always wanted to attend. Big sports, very large school near a major city and strong internship opportunities. Ultimately, we had the scholarship money our family needed to make it work and Ryan was able to make a decision about what college he was most excited to attend!”
Susan and Mike Cohen
Ohio State University