5 Tips for High School Academic Success

Report_card_2 You don’t need to read our blog to know that getting good grades will help you get into college.  But here are five tips you might not have thought of, tips that anyone from “A” students to “C” students can use to be more successful in high school. 

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1.  Get to know your high school counselor (and when you do, be nice).

Your high school counselor is not only a resource for you, but can also be your advocate with teachers and colleges.  So before you pick your classes, meet with your counselor.  If you have a question about college, ask your counselor.  And if you happen to have an extra batch of fresh-baked cookies lying around, bring some to your counselor.  We’re not saying you should schmooze with insincerity; we’re saying that you should acknowledge, appreciate and benefit from your counselor’s willingness to help you. 

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February News for Friends and Family

Lunch_group_16February Retreat

We had our first retreat in February (and by "retreat," we don’t mean a military operation in which we withdrew our forces). Our Orange County, Los Angeles and New York offices retreated to a classroom in Irvine for two days to discuss some of the finer points of college counseling.  What are some of the finer points?  Things like financial aid, crafting appropriate college lists, and improving our process for getting our seniors through applications.  And a scavenger hunt. 

This photo was taken during the "lunch" portion of day #1, lunch being an especially finer point of college counseling. 

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January News for Friends and Family

Table_7 The 2007 Collegewise Holiday Party

We don’t need much to have a good time at Collegewise.  Just good friends, good food, and of course, Snoop Dogg* (doesn’t everybody need a little more Snoop in their lives).

The Collegewise 2007 Holiday Party at The House of Blues on the Sunset Strip was a rousing success.   A total of 22 Collegewise employees and significant others attended which, as Kevin pointed out, may not seem like a lot of people if you work at Google who, at last count, had roughly 6,845 more employees and who-knows-how-many-more significant others than we have.  But Collegewise has experienced our own Google-like meteoric rise since the first holiday party which took place in 2001 with two employees in Kevin’s living room.  So our little holiday party was pretty exciting for us.

*Yes, Snoop spells "Dogg" with two Gs. 

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5 New Year’s Resolutions Colleges Want You to Make

Resolutions_01012007 Lose weight?  Stop biting your nails?  Quit selling your little brother’s possessions on Ebay?  Sure, you can make those resolutions (and your little brother will probably thank you).  But they won’t help you get into college.  Here are five resolutions that colleges would love to see all future applicants make. 

1.  Learn what you love.

What’s your favorite subject?  Who’s your favorite teacher?  What subject would you like to know more about?  Students who have answers to those questions are engaged learners.  That’s why colleges love high school students who enjoy learning new things both in and out of school.  They know it is those students who will ultimately thrive in the college community of learning.  So if you have a favorite class, make an effort to participate.  If you have a favorite teacher, make the most of that experience.  And if you want to learn more about anything from calculus to cooking, take a summer school course.  Always be on the lookout for what you would love to learn.

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You, too, can be a crazy fan!

Gonzaga_2We all know that Duke has some wonderfully crazy basketball fans.  There just aren’t many places where students will camp out in tents (in the cold) to get tickets.  But as hard as it is for a Duke student to get a ticket to a Blue Devil basketball game, it’s even harder for a high school student to get an acceptance letter from the Duke admissions office. 

Sports fans, however, can take heart.  Check out rivals.com’s rankings of the 16 schools with the best home-court advantage (based, of course, on the fevered pitch of their fans).  Sure, there are some highly selective schools on the list like Duke and Notre Dame.  But there are also a lot of great schools where you’ll need to be on the top of your game to get tickets, but needn’t be at the top of your class to get accepted.  Check out the pictures of fans at schools like Wisconsin, Illinois, New Mexico, and perennial Collegewise cool school Gonzaga.  As their fans would say (scream), Go ‘Zags!

New Year’s Resolution #1

In_n_out_logo I visited In-N-Out Burger not once, but twice during the recent Collegewise holiday.  And I was struck by two things.  First, their grilled cheese is just delicious.  Second, every single employee at every In-N-Out Burger that I have ever visited seems so happy to be working there.   I don’t know if it’s the type of people they hire, the training they do, or the way they pump that delightful burger smell throughout the restaurant.  But those In-N-Out workers are some of the most friendly, effusive, engaged employees I’ve come across in just about any business.  And I think their pleasant disposition is a sincere one.  They like where they work and they like what they do.  They always make my In-N-Out experience that much more enjoyable.

So what does this have to do with college?

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December News for Friends and Family

Slo2 College Tours

The Irvine counseling quartet of Jennifer, Margot, Allison and Kyle recently returned from a tour of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara and UWT (the University of Wine Tasting, which was their favorite of the three, by the way).

UCSB alumn Kyle proved to be an adept tour guide for her alma mater, as the counselors are now able to point out the best chili dog stand, the most ideal spot for beach tanning, and of course, the best field for weekend mud football. 

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Nice Kids Finish First

Be_nice Good things happen to nice kids. 

During application season, the Collegewise counselors are a little bit like the legend of Santa Claus.  We know which kids have been naughty and which have been nice.  We notice the seniors who were on time for all of their appointments, who always returned our phone calls, and who said, “Thank you so much” after our meetings.  And while we don’t treat them any better or work any harder for them than we do for our few naughty kids, we do notice them.  We’re human, after all.   

College admissions officers are the same way.

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5 Things Seniors Can Still Do to Help Them Get Into College

Timer Seniors, whether you’ve already submitted your applications, or if you’re planning one final application assault over the holiday break, here are five ways you can still improve your chances of admission to college. 

1.  Keep working hard in school

We know that might sound like the same old advice, but the truth is that a lot of colleges ask to see your first semester senior grades before they make admissions decisions, and those grades can absolutely impact your chances of admission.  Of all the things you can do to improve your chances (or not do that will hurt your chances), this one is the most important.   

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November News for Friends and Family

Suite_240_3 The New-and-Improved Collegewise Los Angeles is Open for Business

In spite of a lack of significant photographic evidence to substantiate this claim, we really do have a new office space in Los Angeles. It’s big and beautiful with windows and offices and we can’t wait to show it off on our blog and in person.

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We’re still working on more photographs.  Arun has spent quite a bit of time agonizing over where to hang each individual college pennant and poster, if they should be arranged by color or college conference, and whether or not posters should be framed (and if so, with or without backing?–so many decisions!). In the interim, he didn’t want us taking pictures until those decorations are hung in the office with care.

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