Author Archives: College Advisor of New York

Kathy Counseling Ivy Day

Ivy Day Take Away

By Kathy Laberge, College Admissions Coach

On March 30th at 7 00 PM the Ivy League released their admission results and in doing so they added more fuel to the already raging fire of confusion about selective college admissions.

But let’s look beyond a collegiate athletic conference and consider the colleges and universities that boast of competitiveness and prestige that is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. These schools, often referred to as “Ivy Plus,” include Stanford, MIT, The University of Chicago, Duke, Cal Tech, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Rice, and Washington University, among others. Perhaps they were not gridiron giants a century ago, but in 2023 they have cemented themselves among the most selective of schools in a country with no shortage of outstanding higher education institutions.

Fortunately, no College Advisor of New York student would ever apply to all the Ivies or “Ivy Plus” schools. Our counseling underscores the truth that a student at home in gritty (way) uptown Manhattan will likely not be satisfied in rural New Hampshire. The student who wants to take advantage of the glorious nature in western New York State will be distressed in urban Philadelphia.  That being said, if we have placed a college on your list of schools then you have every right to apply with optimism. We never suggest a student should apply to a school where they cannot achieve the academic expectations. We think you are capable of admission, though obviously not assured of the same. And we prepare our students that no one is admitted to all their institutions of this caliber.

Yet the number of applications at these colleges has nearly doubled in the past five years. Sadly, current applicants are riding the wave of covid induced confusion. The test optional policies that began during the pandemic have now become standard. High schools, determined to keep student morale high, enacted a strategy that included grade inflation at staggering levels. An impromptu massive experiment in education practices inspired innovation and creativity, but it could not alleviate the loss of learning and the emotional toll that took place during the pandemic. Consequently, the admission offices of selective colleges and universities are seeing an overwhelming increase in applications from students thinking “Hey! You never know.” As we all are aware – things have changed.

As the likelihood of applicant enrollment is gaining importance in the decision making process it is counteracted by a flood of applications from students who are unlikely to be able to complete the school’s academic coursework. Admissions offices are inundated with applicants, in some cases to the point of physical inability to deliver decisions on time. What’s an admission committee to do? How can informed and holistic decisions be made?

These institutions have created their own monster. And while we may not sympathize with them, we must know how to navigate the new rules of the game.

At The College Advisor of New York we have noticed some trends in how colleges assess applicants. Colleges are offering additional rounds of Early Action and Early Decision and at some schools, Early Decision is becoming the new Regular Decision. These practices are penalizing high school seniors. Even today, some colleges have yet to deliver Early Action admission decisions to students. Those results were expected in mid-December. Other schools are so eager to meet their yield goals, they are filling more and more of their first year classes in October and November, thereby restricting acceptance for the teenager who takes their time and truly thinks about where they will be happy or who wants to keep their options open.

Yes, there are strategies to increase your chances of admission. Yes, we can teach you how to submit an application that highlights all your achievements while introducing you to committees as a human being with passions and aspirations in addition to your stats and rankings. But our focus is always on the enigmatic concept of “fit.”  This year alone, we’ve had students admitted to Stanford and Yale, only to turn them down.  We’ve had others who happily selected their least selective, lowest ranked college over other great options.  Why you ask would someone turn down Stanford?  For many reasons.  But the overarching rationale is that they determined, after thoughtful reflection and some solid counseling by our staff, that they would have more opportunities for internships, faculty mentorship, social and athletic endeavors, and an overall better experience at their “safe” or “target” school.  In our humble opinion, this is the essence of college selection. Our clients did exceedingly well this season, and we are proud of them.  ALL of them had excellent options from which to choose at the end of the process.

Admissions has always employed both art and science to construct a new class. While it seems they have now added magic beans and Yahtzee dice to their judgment arsenal, they still hold all the power in the applicant vs institution game. At The College Advisor of New York we even that playing field and advocate for our students. Let us help your family beat them at their own game.

Today's College Admissions

Understanding The Three C’s of Today’s College Admissions

By Kathy Laberge, College Admission Coach

Today’s College Admissions

Every year many parents of our students express shock at the fact that they would not, today, be accepted into their own alma maters. The entire college application process has become more competitive, more costly, and more complicated than it was when we opened our doors and began counseling students more than 18 years ago.

Fierce Competition

The Ivy League Colleges, and many other popular/selective schools, have become extremely selective in today’s college admissions process. As one example, Colgate University’s applicant pool increased by more than 146% from 2019 to 2021. As a result, their acceptance rate decreased dramatically from 26% to 12%. Even Northeastern University in Boston – once a safe school for many – accepts only 7% of its applicants, as it now receives more than 96,000 applications. Factors such as grade inflation, the jettisoning of SAT and ACT scores, campus diversity goals, and complicated data mining have turned what was once a mundane rite of passage into the Hunger Games. Colleges intentionally entice a rising number of applications and want to protect or improve their yields—the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll. That yield is critical to the business of the university; it affects their bond rating, rankings, and the quality of their future first year classes. And it is driving many of the changes families are now experiencing.

For some perspective, consider that there are about 27,000 American high schools, ergo 27,000 valedictorians. Ivy League colleges admit about 18,300 freshmen. This means that not even all valedictorians are attending Ivy League schools. Although applications have increased by one-third or more during the last five years alone, available spaces have remained constant at the small set of elite institutions where class size has remained relatively unchanged for the past half century. Today there are simply more students applying to more schools. According to the Common Application, the average student now applies to 6 colleges, and overall, apps this year have increased by more than 36%. High achieving students often apply to 15 colleges, which we do NOT recommend. More importantly, thirty years ago, half of high school graduates were applying to college. Today nearly two-thirds of graduation classes submit applications.

With the huge increase in applications, yields have decreased, so some colleges are now tracking student interaction and using that data in their decision-making processes. The staff knows precisely when prospective students opened an email from the school, how long they spent reading it, and whether they clicked through to any links. They know how long a student spends looking at their website and even at what point in their high school years they began researching their college. Admissions officers say information on demonstrated interest is generally used to decide on borderline candidates and select those most likely to enroll. At The College Advisor of New York, we teach our students how to establish relationships with their college admissions representatives.  We help them understand the various strategies to help them boost their demonstrated interest score. If they follow our advice then they can impact their admission decisions.

Complicated and Stressful

We want our students to stretch themselves, but grade inflation means almost half of American high school students now graduate with an “A” average. The SAT has been redesigned twice since 2016 and another major change is taking place in 2024. Most importantly, the Covid-19 pandemic created a need for test optional admissions. As test scores and GPAs hold less sway, admissions offices are searching for other metrics. This has evolved into the story that softer, more subjective items are deciding factors in admission, and this fiction is another factor in the increase of applications submitted by graduating seniors.  That notion is simply not true at the top 60 or so most competitive colleges and universities. However, at many of the 2,000 4-year colleges across the United States, more than half of the applicants are admitted. The fluctuation in scores and testing protocols makes it more difficult for applicants to properly manage their applications and for admissions staff to assess applicants.

All of this elicits many more questions for our families: Should my child take the SAT at all? Should he try the ACT? What’s a “good” score? To which colleges should he send his test scores? Will my applications be competitive? This is why guidance, goal setting, and reality checks are the cornerstones of our program.


Campus visits, once critical for the student in deciding where to apply, have evolved into costly demonstrated interest campaigns used by admission committees in decision making. One college visit can easily cost families over $1,000. If the prospective campus requires an airplane then that cost can easily triple. The price of application submission ranges from fifty to one hundred dollars per school, meaning merely sending in applications can easily cost over $1,000 for an average student and $2,000 for those who have submitted multiple applications to “Hail Mary schools.” We help our clients save money on these visits by targeting colleges that will be a good fit early in the process. Our staff has collectively visited more than 600 colleges, so we can filter students’ lists significantly, thereby saving our clients time and money.

More importantly, there are now 60 plus colleges that cost more than $80,000/year or more than $320,000 over 4 years. Even public colleges are approaching $30,000/year, and out of state publics now approach $60,000/year in many states. Understanding financial aid and scholarships early in the process – as our clients do – decreases overall costs.

Fixing Today’s College Admissions

So wouldn’t it be nice if colleges would stop advertising to students who have no hope of admission, simply because they want to pad their applicant count? Wouldn’t some clarity of academic expectation in admissions help alleviate all these needless applications and their ensuing literal and psychological cost? Overwhelmed admission officers end up quickly scanning files or deferring early action applicants to the regular admission pool. The confusion generated by these new practices is placing an enormous emotional toll on students.  The students themselves are trying to hedge their bets by applying to more and more colleges. At The College Advisor of New York, we say “Please! No!” You need to be more thoughtful. Admission isn’t the lottery, and fantasizing “You never know, I could get in” is the wrong mindset. We DO know. Let’s focus on quality over quantity. You can only enroll in one school so let’s carefully manage the selection and application process to find the student’s best fit at the best price.

One More College Visit? Yes!

By Deb Coco, College Admissions Coach

The February doldrums are very real in the lives of high school seniors.  The applications were submitted long ago and the waiting is now all but agonizing.  It does feel like a helpless few months, but the window is closing in on the letters you’ve been waiting for and over the next 5-6 weeks, things will begin to take shape.

Acceptances are exciting; you’ve worked hard for them!  I still remember when my daughters opened theirs, and I now love receiving “I GOT IN!” emails from my students.  Your hard work comes full circle.  But that “fat” envelope – or online portal message – contains more than just your letter of acceptance.  It may have merit aid information (if “X” school awards merit scholarships, but there is also most likely an invitation to something called “Accepted Student Day.”

Often, this gets tossed aside with the envelope in all the excitement. You KNOW college “X” is the school of your dreams so why would you visit AGAIN?  Enter a letter from school “Y” with not only an acceptance, but a fairly substantial scholarship.  As Dr. Dean always says, “it’s nice to be wanted” especially with a merit award that will defray the cost of your overall tuition.  “X” dream school offered nothing, (but it is your #1 choice) and “Y” school offers both, but it is lower down on your list.  What they both offer is a chance to level the playing field by opting IN to their Accepted Student Days. 

These events were darkened by the pandemic, but they are back and we are so happy because these visits are extremely valuable.  Accepted Student Days welcome their admitted pool of freshman so you can take another look with a fresh set of eyes.  And believe me, it will look different in the spring . . . there will be Frisbee on the quad, the campus will be buzzing with activity, and you will know you are just a few months from possibly being one of those students – it is intoxicating.  From personal experience, Admitted Student Days played a crucial role in my own daughters’ school choices; they had good options and were just “betwixt and between.”  Some colleges and universities just knock this day out of the park.  They roll out the red carpet, open the athletic buildings, dining halls, auditoriums, residence halls AND will let you attend lectures.  This was ultimately what swayed my children; hearing from some top faculty in their fields of study.  They left knowing “if I might be in that professor’s class, this is where I want to be!” What a WONDERFUL feeling.

So, yes, it is one more visit and it can be time consuming.  However, you are looking at four very expensive years and you’ve worked hard to get this far; it is worth taking the time to truly seal the deal with confidence.  I’ve heard more than a few stories from students who have met their freshman roommates during these days . . . they are well attended and worth it.  And, on the flip side, you might find out that a school you thought looked incredible in September, has lost its bloom – this happens too.  That is never time wasted! 

We are closing in on the final stressful weeks.  Hang tight, think positive, and do not delete that Accepted Student Day Invitation!

Test Optional Admissions

Test Optional Admissions: How it’s Changed College Admissions For All

Since the Pandemic, test optional admissions policies have become increasingly popular in the world of college admissions. The vast majority of colleges now have test optional or test blind policies. These policies allow applicants to decide whether or not to submit their standardized test scores (such as the SAT or ACT) as part of their college application. This can be a beneficial option for students who may not perform well on standardized tests, but excel in other areas such as GPA, extracurricular activities, or personal essays. There is, however, a major, unintended consequence of test optional admissions policies: They have resulted in selective colleges – and other popular schools – experiencing dramatic increases in applications. This, in turn, has caused those colleges to be much more competitive.

Test Optional Admissions: SAT STyle

Not requiring the SAT or ACT has made it easier for students who may not perform well on standardized tests to apply to colleges. These students may have previously been discouraged from applying to selective colleges due to their test scores, but test optional policies allow them to still be considered for admission based on their other strengths and accomplishments. This has led to an increase in the number of applications to selective colleges, as more students are able to apply without the burden of high test scores.

Test optional policies have also led to an increase in the number of diverse applicants to selective colleges. Standardized tests have been shown to disproportionately favor students from certain racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and test optional policies have helped to level the playing field for students from underrepresented groups. This has increased the diversity of the applicant pool at selective colleges, leading to a decrease in selectivity as more students are able to meet the admissions criteria.

Qualified Applicants?

Finally, test optional policies have also led to an increase in the number of applications from students who may not have otherwise applied to selective colleges. Some students may be hesitant to apply to selective colleges due to the perceived competitiveness of the admissions process, but test optional policies may make these schools seem more accessible and encourage more students to apply.

Test optional admissions policies have had a significant impact on the college admissions process, increasing the number of applications and decreasing selectivity at popular, selective colleges. This is one reason why it’s critical for students and families to look beyond the rankings and the brand name schools to find colleges that are a great fit for them. Doing so will increase admissions choices as well as scholarships. At The College Advisor of New York, we work with students to gain admission to selective colleges, while also helping them find “hidden gems,” so that every student has excellent options.

Making Peace With 2021 Admission Results

By Kathy Laberge, College Admission Coach 

Dear Class of 2021, 

It isn’t you, it’s them.  Only the colleges know what they were seeking in a freshman class this year. You have every right to be baffled, disappointed even. This was an extremely confusing year for both applicants and colleges. 

Not a day goes by when our staff doesn’t share stories of our students. We have mentored, pushed (maybe even shoved,) and cheered you on.  Over an admission season we may share our delight in a particular essay or bounce application strategies off one another. And now, in April, we share our excitement at admissions and scholarships, and, also discuss our dismay at a disappointing rejection. We gaze into our crystal balls trying to determine why Princeton accepted an applicant, but Brown did not. Why did Harvard take a student, but that same student was denied at Northeastern?  

These answers are held secret in comfortable conference rooms (and confidential Zoom meetings). Building an incoming class is akin to practicing medicine, a combination or art and science. Every admission officer from highly selective colleges we have ever spoken with has told us they turn away hundreds, even thousands, of viable candidates each year. Colleges decide where to weight their admits and those factors vary annually. Some years they may need more high GPA students, others may be focused on increasing diversity, and other years may demand more students who will pay the full tuition tab. Their decision is not based upon who they want to admit; they are forced to decide which students they must turn away. In short, each year they extend a place in the class to students who meet their needs and those they deem most likely to accept an offer of admission.   

This year the most selective colleges reported some of the lowest acceptance rates in history. Harvard saw a 42% increase in applications and MIT had 66% more applicants than last year. Even New York University, housed in a city plagued by Covid-19, saw an increase of 20%. Admission officers were overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications. Some colleges called in retired employees to review the applications and others had to give shorter looks to submissions. 

Why did we see this increase in applications? Did students reach for dream schools because they were test optional? It is said standardized tests provide a common denominator. They can serve as a triage tool, a way for admission officers to not assess the curriculum at every high school from which an applicant emerges. In a year when many candidates could not submit standardized test scores how can a student be blamed for taking a wild shot at an Ivy? We suspect 2020 offered students time to make their sole extracurricular activity applying to colleges, even though the time and effort required to prepare those applications is astonishing. You can’t win it if you’re not in it, right? Our students were spared this ordeal, but we weep for all the wasted time, money, and emotion that was expended on crap shoot applications.  

The first meeting at The College Advisor of New York is spent stressing our commitment to finding a student’s right fit. We know there are more than (the top) twenty-five excellent institutions of higher learning in this country. A terrific education is available at countless colleges and universities. Competition for faculty positions is fierce and we proudly number some former students on numerous campuses as faculty. Our confidence is not misplaced, we know firsthand how extraordinary these people are.  In fact, the vast majority of our clients were admitted to most of their schools. The “top twenty-five” are overrated.

In a year where lengthy college waitlists are the norm and highly selective colleges have turned away so many promising young adults, we urge you to maintain perspective. College will be grand. You will learn astonishing amounts of information, discover passions you never knew you had, and make lifelong friends. 

It isn’t you. It’s them. So, perhaps they didn’t tender an offer of admission to you. And that? Is their loss. 

Getting to know you was our privilege. 

Dean, Barbara, Ann, Beth, Erin, Deb and Kathy 

Getting In: Open Your College Mail

By Barbara Healey, The College Advisor of New York

Right about now high school juniors and many sophomores should begin noticing that their mailbox is overflowing with unsolicited letters and catalogues from colleges all over the country.  The volume of college mail you will be receiving from college admissions offices over the next several months can be overwhelming.  In addition, your child is likely to be receiving emails from colleges as well.  How do college admissions folks get your contact info? They purchase names from a variety of sources, including The College Board, makers of the PSAT, SAT, and AP Courses, and ACT, the competing college admissions test company. It may seem flattering (I can’t believe how many schools are recruiting my student!) – but that’s not necessarily the case.

In fact, your student is receiving this mail as part of an aggressive marketing campaign on the part of the colleges.  College admissions officers spend millions of dollars each year on “Enrollment Management” practices designed to attract the most applications.

Demonstrating Interest

Demonstrating interest in a college is a key factor in admission decisions at many schools. In our College Advisor Blog archives, we posted an article more than 7 years ago on this topic, but the advice still rings true today. Demonstrating interest in a college is a key factor in admission decisions at many schools.  So what should you do?  If you are receiving mail from a school your student has expressed an interest in, save it.  Open it.  Respond if appropriate. If you are receiving mail from a school that you know does not match your student’s interests (they want to stay close to home; this school is 3,000 miles away), toss it.  Unsure?  Save it and take a look.  All too often, students and parents come to us with a list of 8-10 “brand-name” schools – colleges that everyone has heard about.  But there are so many schools that might be a better fit — academically, socially and financially – and this is your opportunity to learn a little more about them.  We often call these “hidden gems” and Dr. Dean has visited all of them.  Of course, The College Advisor staff is happy to help you identify schools that are a good fit for your student.  Over the past two years alone, we have helped with over 2,000 college applications to more than 300 different colleges in 32 states and 2 countries.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help your student create a custom-tailored list.

College Admissions Interviews

College Admissions Interviews in the Time of Covid-19

By Kathy Laberge, College Admissions Coach

We are now in the last month of 2020 and the year continues to toss twists in our path. Between the challenge of sitting for standardized tests, completing course study remotely, essentially being denied most extracurriculars, and experiencing difficulty conducting campus visits in person, the college search and selection process for the Class of 2021 continues to be challenging.

Campus admission offices are thinking on their feet and recalibrating their evaluation protocols. It has always been a truism that admissions staff evaluate potential candidates during every interaction. An informal conversation while on a tour, an email requesting information or expressing interest, and the number of times a candidate interacts with a college are both evaluative for Admissions and fairly low pressure for students.

Formal College Interview has almost disappeared

But then, the calendar turned to 2020. The days of the formal college interview had almost disappeared. Now, many colleges require or recommend an interview, or are offering virtual interviews. Some schools are requesting applicants submit a two-minute “video portfolio” in lieu of an interview.

It’s always a good idea to seize an opportunity to demonstrate your interest in a school so we at The College Advisor of New York are embracing the silver lining. Our students are being offered more alumni interviews than they have in past years. These conversations have always been used, but they didn’t carry much weight; if a candidate was a clear, poor match for a college then a closer look would ensue. In most cases, the interviewer would merely report their impressions of a student’s personality and goals., This year, even if conducted over Zoom, college interviews could be one of the very few interactions available to candidates.

So, what makes a good college interview?

How can the process benefit both the applicant and the institution?

The answer is in the conversation. The college interview process can be nerve-racking. Students should remember they are interviewing the schools just as the colleges are interviewing them.

The discussion gives the college another opportunity to evaluate students and help determine whether or not to offer admission and merit aid. It provides the college with an opportunity to give more information about the school and answer questions. Furthermore, the interview gives the college a chance to learn more about the student, their interests, and how they will be able to contribute to the school.

As long as the candidate is polite, attentive, and prepared, it should only help chances of acceptance. Also, the interview is an opportunity to learn more about the school and help students decide whether or not it would be a good fit.

There are some questions candidates should prepare responses to in advance. Additionally, students should prepare questions for the interviewer in advance. Feel free to carry a notebook or laptop for recording pertinent points and to consult so the information you want to share is covered. This is not the place to use a notes app on a phone – it just doesn’t look good.

Once both parties are comfortable and have introduced themselves (no handshaking, it’s 2020!) be ready for a conversation.

“Tell me about yourself” is quite common as an opening question and you should have an answer ready. Colleges truly want to know more about you, so paint a portrait of yourself that will separate you from other candidates. Be specific, honest and personal. There will be plenty of time to discuss academics so use this as a chance to reveal what inspires you or talk about one of your passions.

“Why are you interested in this college?” is also a very important question asked in college admissions interviews. In part, it is designed to determine your level of interest a particular school. Your response here should be well researched, specific, and convincing.

You may be asked who you admire, why you want to concentrate in a certain field of study, what you are looking forward to in campus life, where you see yourself in ten years, what you perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses, or any number of other topics. All these are designed to nurture conversation and the exchange of ideas.

The coaching staff at The College Advisor of New York is well versed in interview prep. We conduct mock interviews, but more importantly, we teach you how to compose your responses, how to conduct yourself, and how you – the student – can walk away from an interview feeling better than you did before the conversation began. In short, we help to inspire a sense of confidence in yourself.

The report from an interviewer almost always helps your candidacy because it helps flesh you out as a multidimensional person. Students should view the opportunity as a tool to enhance candidacy and make the best college admissions decision. There really is no downside!

College Applications

My College Applications Have Been Submitted …Now What?

By Erin Wheeler, College Admissions Coach

What happens after my college applications are in?

This year’s admissions process has been exhausting for everyone involved.  Cancelled SAT’s, lack of campus tours, online classes, flexible deadlines, and new admissions requirements have us all going a little crazy this fall.  BUT there is something you can control, and that is your own behavior.  As a student, you CAN control how much interest you display to each college. Showing this “demonstrated interest” exhibits that you are seriously interested in attending their school.  This may help the admissions officers view your application a bit more favorably, especially this year. 

YES, you can (and should!) continue to show that you have a serious interest in that particular college, even after the college applications have been submitted. 

How do you do this?  Here are some simple ideas to try this month:

1 – Send a follow up e-mail to your college admissions counselor

On the college website, go to the admissions section, then look for a tab that says “contact us” or “meet our team”.  Admissions staff members normally have territories they are responsible for handling, which means that all applications from your area are processed by the same person.  Find that person and send a quick e-mail!  Let them know you have applied, are excited to hear back from them, and maybe include a detail about your application that you want to highlight.  Establishing a relationship with that representative is a great way to help your chances for admission.

2 – Schedule a college applications interview

Even though you can’t visit every campus right now, many are offering online interviews with staff members or even a student interviewer.  This is a wonderful way to get some extra time with the admissions folks and let them hear more about you, your achievements, and your desire to attend their school.

3 – Attend a college event

Again, most schools have moved these events online, but you can still participate!  Sign up for a webinar that uses Zoom, communicate during a live online chat, or attend a live student information session. You want the school to know that you are present and engaged during these online sessions.

4 – Take a campus tour

Some colleges campuses are open for small campus tours, both during the week and on weekends.  Even if you checked in the past and the school was closed for tours, please check again!  Schools are working very hard to find creative ways to get prospective students on campus using small tours, self-guided tours, and personal experiences (without a large crowd). 

5 – E-mails and social media

Your inbox is full, we know!  However, it’s important you are engaging with e-mails from schools where you’ve applied.  Are they asking you to set up an applicant portal?  Complete a form?  Please be sure to do those things!  You may also be receiving e-mails with information about your major, invitations to participate in something, or to follow them on various forms of social media.  Please don’t ignore those messages!  Click through them and respond as appropriate.  Many schools DO track student interaction with these types of messages. 

The past several months have changed the way we all live and learn; that is for certain.  But what has not changed is the fact that colleges want to admit students who show interest in attending.  Take the time to communicate with your schools and let them know you would be honored to attend their institution. It is time well spent and will always be an asset to your application. 

Parenting for College Success

Landing The Helicopter: Parenting for College Success

By Kathy Laberge, College Admission Coach 

It’s late August, and we know what that means! Family cars sporting snappy new college decals are loaded with computers, books, school supplies, linens, clothing, and tons of other essentials. Childhood homes are in the rear-view mirror as first year students are transported to their new colleges.

The beginning of college is an exciting and intimidating time for both parents and students. It can be difficult to break certain parental habits, but the new living and learning experience is the perfect opportunity to make a transition. Several College Advisor of New York admissions coaches are proud parents of college and university alumni. We feel your pain and we appreciate your excitement. We’ve been there. And we want to share some hard-earned advice. 

Children in college do not become college students overnight.

They need to learn how to take an important exam, write a lengthy and convincing paper, and deliver a presentation in class. While they are doing the work of education they must concurrently determine how they personally best learn, handle social tensions with friends, manage situations with others who may not be their friend, responsibly supervise their own finances, do laundry, feed themselves, and control their own schedule.

The true business of college, education, is critical.

The evolution from high school senior to college graduate is a long transition. Faculty know freshmen are still essentially high school students at college, at least until those first semester, mid-term grades are posted. Those scores are important, but they are not the final course grade, so if they deliver a wake-up call be thankful, not critical. It can be an emotional blow learning you are no longer at the top of your class. Your child may need to wrestle with his own priorities and create study habits that work for him. In fact, succeeding academically in college typically requires much more work than most students expend in high school.  Very few students make it through a challenging and varied college curriculum with a perfect 4.0. There is no single correct way to master course materials and a bit of trial and error is to be expected.

An excited and expanded mind is the higher education reward.

Let your children be the architect of their own success.

Ownership breeds responsibility. Students should select their courses with the help of their academic advisor and faculty. In most cases core requirements and the required classes specified for a major and will be the primary focus and be spread across eight semesters. The few elective slots will still be challenging so allow your child to dabble in another interest.  

There are no parent-teacher conferences in college.

Professors do not want to hear from parents. However, professors are eager to hear from students, so, remind your child the faculty is there to help them. Professors lament their empty office hours and are disappointed when students do not take advantage of their multiple and sincere offers of assistance. Multiple research studies have shown that students who build relationships with faculty members who share their interests are much more engaged in their studies and graduate at higher rates than those who don’t.

Please protect the last month of the semester.

In many college courses, up to 70 percent of the course grade is awarded in the last month. Do not distract your child with vacation plans, worries about finances, family events, or other activities during the crucial November-December and April-May periods. These are “make or break” times for your child. Respect them. 

The first night, week, month, and semester may be choppy. Chances are you will hear about all the misery and tribulations. In fact, your child may actually begin to talk about transferring, but we strongly recommend letting them struggle through to the end of the academic year. The exciting and engrossing activities typically outweigh the bad stuff, and many kids end up finding their niche sooner rather than later.

If you think your child is experiencing a dilemma, please resist the urge to solve the problem. Express your support and perhaps brainstorm options for assistance. If your son or daughter does not know how to find help on campus suggest they ask their Resident Advisor (RA). Every campus offers extensive student life resources. There are safety nets available for academic, physical, emotional, and any other problem you can conceive.

Problem solving skills are one of the unsung achievements earned at college.

The two most important aspects of college for your student are: 

  • That he or she develop a true interest to enjoy throughout life, and
  • That he or she develop a strong sense of independence. 

Let your child grow into his or her passion. Parents can now sit back and enjoy their rewards! 

Athletic Recruitment Process during Covid-19

Athletic Recruitment Process during Covid-19

By Dr. Dean Skarlis, President

Seeking to play a sport in college adds much more to the already complicated college admissions process. Students and parents need to educate themselves on the intricacies of the process. This has become even more important during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Are you really a college athlete?

Many of the students with whom we work play a sport in high school. For a variety of reasons, most of that group will not play in college. In fact, less than 7% will continue to play in college. Most decide not to, and some are not able to play at that level. When we work with a student athlete, we first ask them how likely they are to play at the college level. I can tell within the first 5 seconds of their answer whether they will or not.

Each student should first ask themselves how serious they are to play going forward. If the answer is a resounding yes, then the most important thing you should begin doing is contacting college coaches. I’ve seen some theories suggesting that athletes should start with as many as 60 colleges. I think that’s too high, but it does imply two things:

  • First, college coaches won’t find you, especially given the current crisis. You have to find them.
  • Second, you have to cover your bases. You can’t just send a few emails and hope one replies.

Working with Student Athletes

We work with 8-10 student athletes each year, and I tell each of them that they must mount a campaign to attract college coaches. This will be even more critical in today’s environment. More importantly, you have to evaluate which level at which you think you can play. This can be difficult, but it speaks to the importance of contacting many schools. Each athlete should have a list of colleges at the Division I, II, and III levels on their preliminary list. The importance of doing so is enhanced by our current situation, especially for those students who play a spring sport. Because some college seniors may stick around for another year, there may be fewer roster spots at each level, so making sure you look at all levels will help you find a spot.

While there is much uncertainty in the athletic recruitment process due to the current crisis, there is plenty of room for optimism going forward for high school juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. For example, one survey from “Front Rush” found that 66% of college coaches expected to maintain all athletic scholarships for their athletes. In addition, the survey revealed that 55% of coaches did not think their current college seniors would use their extra year of eligibility, which bodes well for current high school athletes. As you may know, the NCAA approved an extra year of eligibility for current college seniors who play spring sports like baseball and lacrosse. This means that some students may opt to spend another year in college next spring.

How COVID will Impact College Athletic Recruitment

We do believe that the current crisis will move back the recruitment process for all sports significantly. Many coaches have cancelled summer camps, showcases and ID camps. As a result, you need to step up your communication with coaches. Begin by sending them emails describing briefly the position you play, your club or travel team and other facts about your sport. If you’ve already been in contact with coaches, we recommend continuing the conversation. Each sport has its own recruitment rules, so we recommend checking the NCAA website. While you’re there, you should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Regardless of your sport or level, continued communication with coaches is essential.

Keep Your Grades Up

Most importantly, students should continue to learn and do well academically. No matter the sport, and no matter the level (Division I, II, or III), the first question most coaches will ask you is: “Do you have good grades?” This has not changed. And even though many colleges have now begun to offer test-optional admissions, athletes will still be required to take the SAT or ACT. The timing of taking these exams depends on your year in school and your academic curriculum, but in general, the earlier you take them the better.

Navigating the athletic recruitment process is fun, exciting and often challenging. There are many potential pitfalls that you must avoid for a successful outcome. In general terms, the earlier you engage with coaches, and the more communication you have with them, the better. If you or your child is an athlete who wants to play in college, please contact us today!