A free webinar for future STEM majors

If you’re considering pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and would like some advice about choosing the best path (and college) for you, I hope you’ll join us for the following free webinar. STEM’s Many Branches: Selecting Your STEM Major (And Getting In!)  Tuesday, April 17, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. […]

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Promised peaks, occasional valleys

The problem of seemingly pervasive feelings of loneliness on college campuses is earning increasing concern from counselors and parents. Frank Bruni’s New York Times piece, “The Real Campus Scourge,” revealed a survey of 28,000 college students, 60 percent of whom said they had felt “very lonely” over the last 12 months. And Cornell University freshman […]

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What’s the harm in overparenting?

This 12-minute NPR piece with Julie Lythcott-Haims features interview clips as well as segments from a popular TED Talk, “What’s the harm in overparenting?” It’s well worth the listen for parents, and I thought one of the most important reminders came from a casual mention that wasn’t even the primary focus of the segment: “The […]

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Six tips to treat PowerPoint presentation pain

Counselors (and parents), if you’re planning on using PowerPoint for your next presentation, please consider Seth Godin’s six tips in his recent post, “Words on slides.” Not surprisingly, some of the very same tips are part of the recommended slide preparation for those delivering a TED Talk. If you’ve ever sat through a talk where the presenter […]

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Are you tired of college talk?

The process of getting into college dominates many families’ conversations. Progress in classes, test score check-ups, activities and honors, and the elusive edge to gain admission to the dream college—it’s no wonder that even many of the highest achieving teens seem to disengage from these conversations the longer they go on. If your family is […]

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How to evaluate your involvements

Too many students use the same metric to evaluate the ways they’re spending their time outside of class—will this look good to colleges? Most knowledgeable counselors—and colleges themselves—will tell you that this is the wrong metric to use and the wrong question to ask. There is no existing list of activities, hobbies, or other uses […]

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What is your contribution worth?

I’ve written often here that high school students don’t have to be the valedictorian, MVP, first chair, etc. to stand out, that your impact isn’t limited to your accolades, and that even role players can make vital contributions. But I can imagine some students’ and parents’ skepticism, wondering how riding the basketball bench or scooping […]

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How to demonstrate your leadership skills

“Leadership skills” are one of those traits that garners a lot of mentions in college applications and essays (e.g., “During my tenure as Student Body Treasurer, I developed leadership skills…”), but often without specific examples to substantiate them. Just holding a position or office isn’t evidence of leadership. Neither is just holding meetings every Tuesday […]

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Old news, new audiences

One of my oldest friends from college who has a son just starting his college search asked me for my take on an article from his local paper. Entitled “Test Perfection Isn’t Enough,” it described a staggering level of competition where, to use the article’s words, “perfection doesn’t guarantee a spot at Stanford, Princeton, or […]

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Multiple deposits put your admission at risk

Most colleges require admitted students to declare their intention to enroll by May 1, and to do so by sending a non-refundable deposit. If you’re in the enviable position of considering offers of admission from multiple desirable colleges and you have trouble picking just one, you might be tempted to buy time and place deposits […]

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