Admissions Officer Advice: How to Support Your Child in College

Former Admissions Officer Lauren will give you the tools to help your child succeed and wind up at the college of their dreams.

Date 12/14/2021
Duration 1:01:01

Webinar Transcription

2021-12-14 Admissions Officer Advice: How to Support Your Child in College

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on how to support your child in the college process. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with the presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start some missed submitting questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists, Lauren. Hi, everyone. I am thrilled to be presenting with you this evening. My name is Lauren Lynch. I’ve been in this field for over 20 years. Um, I’m originally actually a psychotherapist having gotten my master’s in social work and moved into the field of education. Uh, done admissions work at Williams college.

I worked as the director of college counseling at a DC area high school. I’ve worked in, uh, various college consulting companies and firms and [00:01:00] joined CollegeAdvisor at the very beginning. Uh, back when it was bullseye, I am thrilled to be here with you. I, I do want to say that I think my, hopefully the biggest impact I can have on you and with you tonight, um, is that I’m also a parent.

I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and I have a son who is a junior in high school. Um, so I am happy to answer questions from the more professional and. Possibly the more personal perspective. What I’m going to do tonight is try to just talk for probably about half an hour. I’d like to leave a lot of time for questions at the end.

Um, so definitely ask questions, come up for you, feel free to, um, put them aside and, and bring them up when we have time for Q and a at the end. Um, I do want to say before I move on to the next slide, I do want to say that my, my title of, um, letting go, it’s probably a little bit of a misrepresentation.

When I was [00:02:00] telling my daughter who’s in college, that I was doing this webinar. She, she asked me if I was going to disclose to everyone here that I FaceTime her every day. Um, and that we talk on the phone all the time. So letting go happens in, in, um, ingredients. Um, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

My goal tonight is to help orient students and families who are on this call about how to differentiate the roles and tasks and responsibilities. Um, this process is in a lot of ways, a family unit process, you we’re all preparing for the inevitable departure of the student as they head off to college.

You’re also preparing though for the home to reshape itself, um, around that vacancy and one of the primary things, I really try to help the students I’m working with keep in mind and, and the families as well is that this is not just about a, child’s going to college. This is about a child really learning something.[00:03:00]

Absolutely imperative life skills of independence, shaping values, learning to be a self-advocate learning, to articulate and identify areas of strengths and interest and passion. So for the student throughout the process of the application process or throughout the process of applying whether the student’s in eighth grade or in 11th or 12th grade, it’s important to really hone in on the areas of interest, the things that differentiate that student, what brings the most excitement academically?

What are the activities that a student is involved in outside of the classroom that might shape their experience and perspective on the application process? Um, for those parents who are concerned that your child does seem to have passions and vocations, but are not necessarily, um, Followers and not necessarily involved in organized activities.

I definitely want to [00:04:00] reassure you that that’s absolutely fine. Colleges are looking for a depth of interest. They’re not looking for a student who is perhaps more formulaic, but less compelled by the activities they are involved. We’re also hoping that the students throughout the process is doing the work necessary to both identify colleges of potential interest and ultimately to create and shape a college list.

I will say that this is one of the primary ways that students, um, access our services and find us most helpful, uh, because it can be overwhelming. There are 4,000 colleges and universities out there. It can be very, very difficult to find how to begin the process. And, and how does shape even the interaction between looking at colleges, doing college research and how to determine which colleges will fall into which category on a student’s list in terms of which schools ultimately might be safety [00:05:00] schools or match schools or reach schools.

One of the reasons I stopped working in a high school. And again, one of the things that I think really recommends a company like ours or other college consulting companies out there is that as I’m sure you all know when you’re in a high school setting, everyone seems to have blinders. Um, probably no matter whether your high school is 4,000 people or 400 people, you’ll find that students tend to apply to the same certain narrow band of schools again, and again and again.

Uh, so one of the things that can be very helpful is to be creative in the process to really focus in on the personal fit between the student and the college or university that might end up on that ultimate college list. It’s also a hundred percent, the student’s responsibility to fill, fill out the required applications, then to go through the steps, to create a finished application process from beginning to end, the [00:06:00] most important component of this is the writing for almost every college you are going to have at least one main college essay to write.

Most students might have anywhere between six and 12 or 15 supplemental essay questions as well. I will tell you right now, this is the student’s responsibility. A parent cannot be involved in the writing process other than as someone to maybe help do some grammatical line edits or just be a sounding board as the student is brainstorming ideas, please, parents do not try to direct your student in a particular direction, um, in terms of content of the writing.

And absolutely certainly do not do any of the students writing for. The parents’ roles are really in a way to support the student’s process as your child is going through this process. They are, they are really figuring out their [00:07:00] own identity. Um, there is a psycho analyst, um, Margaret Mueller who talked about separation and individuation between children and parents.

And she was speaking of it in terms of infancy as the stage of development, where children are learning to really diff differentiate themselves and see themselves as their own unique individuals. This process, I think is round two of that version, where your child is going to experience the process differently, have to really do some thorough self evaluation and figure out the steps necessary to get to their end goal, which may not necessarily at least overtly align with yours.

So how can you support your child? Let them do some of this independent thought process. Let them figure out what those passions are, what those potential areas of fit might be between them and colleges on their list. [00:08:00] And be that supportive voice, knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are. Um, for example, you may have a student who has organizational issues, um, and while they might be good at the bigger picture, they might struggle with some of the more detailed oriented, even creating an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of applications.

So that might be something you’re not, you know, that’s not a college application you’re working on. It’s the infrastructure, it’s the framework, allowing them to then do the work. That’s going to be the most meaningful and, um, growth oriented part of the process independently. One of the most complex roles of being a parent at this point is sitting on that very fine, uh, Razor’s edge between, um, wanting the best for them, um, feeling pretty certain that you know, the best [00:09:00] for them, but also understanding that they are trying to figure out these things for themselves, manage your own anxiety.

I think, especially, um, I know, you know, parents are ruthless. I don’t think we intend to be unkind to one another, but everyone is in everyone else’s business asking what your child’s sat scores were and what schools are on their list. This can be very anxiety provoking. It is not your child’s job to take on that anxiety and present themselves in a certain way so that you can feel better or more capable or like you are performing better as a parent in this process.

It’s also really important, very early on to have honest conversations with your kids about what your rules and boundaries are. For example, um, I have a lot of friends who made the determination as constant conversation about college applications, overtook every car ride, dinner [00:10:00] conversation, every quiet, peaceful family moment was suddenly dedicated to friction around the college process.

Um, a lot of people say we will set aside half an hour, a week to check in, um, you know, I want to know how you’re doing. I want to know what steps you’re taking. We will set aside this half an hour. And outside of that, what you do is your responsibility. Um, The other more kind of concrete conversations to have though, are a lot of families are going to have really hard financial boundaries around the kinds of colleges that are going to be possibilities.

Keep in mind that a lot of out-of-state schools are going to be more financially forthcoming and ultimately perhaps cost you as a family, far less than in-state institutions. So definitely as a parent, it would help to do your research. Um, so that as you’re having these conversations with your kids, you can be supportive and allow them to dream big.

As long as they know that ultimately the decision between five or [00:11:00] six different acceptances may come down to which one is most financially feasible. Uh, I know at CollegeAdvisor we have a very experienced, um, financial aid and scholarships team available to assist families and, and help shape that kind of information and, um, formulate some of those expectations.

Um, a lot of families don’t want their kids to be farther away than a car ride. You know, a six hour car ride, an eight hour car ride. If those are the circumstances that you were operating under, it’s really important again, that you have that honest conversation with your children. Um, and ideally also allow some room for conversation around that.

What we see a lot. Um, and it’s not at all unexpected is that there’s often a lack of alignment between a student and a parent. And I, and for those of you who are legal guardians, foster parents, um, I’m not just talking about biological parents here. I’m talking about [00:12:00] within the family unit, um, between the adult caregiver and the child, there’s often a sense of disconnect.

Um, That can be really, really difficult because it’s hard to know sometimes is it a personality, friction, a stylistic friction, or are there really bigger issues around the process that need to be addressed? Um, so remember, you know, as you all know, as, as the caregivers for your, for your children, they are very intuitive, they are very much picking up on any of your negative experience with experiences with this process, your fears, your anxieties, about their ability to handle the application process, or perhaps ultimately handle college itself.

Um, and that is going to add to their overall stress. Um, try, I think the best advice I can give is try to be the listener. Um, really have a conversation with [00:13:00] them about what their goals and ideals are. Um, Uh, heartbreaking and, um, very, very frequent occurrence in our work that we work with families and students, where the parents are absolutely determined that their child is going to be a doctor or a lawyer.

And the child has a deeply artistic soul and really wants to be in the artist. Um, those things are not easily reconciled. They are a source of, of, of difficulty, not just in the college application process, but also in terms of the sustenance and the easiness of the, of the parent child interactions. Um, one of the things that I think could be helpful for parents in this process when you’re faced with that kind of, um, disconnect is to understand that college, although absolutely helpful in shaping the ultimate career path for your student, um, is not in and of [00:14:00] itself going to be the greatest determinant in where your child.

Down the road, the quality of the fit between your student and the school, they attend their ability to thrive at that institution, their ability to be challenged and supported intellectually. And personally, those are going to be the greatest elements in terms of giving you that reassurance, that whether they start off as an, as an artist, they may still end up as a doctor that they’re going to have that time, that growth, that intellectual Renaissance, that will allow them ultimately to get to those goals.

But that part of that process has to be their own evolution, uh, and their own commitment to that outcome. One of the greatest issues we, we encounter as well is, um, a real difference in organizational styles, study styles, um, kind of approaching deadlines. Um, I remember a friend of mine [00:15:00] actually was in great distress that her child was always, the room was a mess and the kid had loud music playing and was doing homework.

Um, and the mom would get enraged because how can you possibly be focusing when there’s so much, um, disharmony all around you? And of course the child was a straight a student in a full AP curriculum. And that was a really good reminder. Um, W stylistic differences do not determine outcome, really be respectful that even if your child is approaching the process differently, you might still achieve the same results.

Um, and again, I think this goes back to having really clear boundaries and expectations about how to get the work done and how to get the work done in a timely mutually respectful. Um, I will say that that is probably one of the, the reasons families say more often than anything that they come to us for help is that they want to be that [00:16:00] supportive person and are so grateful to give over the kind of day-to-day management and organization and pulling out the calendar and laying out the timeline for all of the tasks and obligations around the process and letting someone like me take, take that part over.

So you can just focus on the really good stuff with your, with your kid. One of the kind of, I think important conversations is to have a very real, uh, thoughtful exchange about what success means to you and to your child in the college application process, but also in the future, uh, when they’re done with college, what would a successful four years look like for them, for you?

It might mean that financial stability, they get a job right out of college. For them, it might mean something very different, but I think having a clear conversation about that can really help ease a lot of the tension around the more immediate process in the college [00:17:00] application. Uh, spectrum. In ninth grade, your child’s primary responsibilities, uh, you know, for the student, it’s about figuring out high school.

Often kids are in bigger schools, they’re changing classes. There’s a lot more students. There’s a lot more clubs and organizations. It’s a huge learning curve. The academics might be more intense and more demanding. So how are they adjusting to that? How are they learning healthy self management in terms of.

Friends who are going to be, um, supportive and, uh, not harmful. How are they going to start identifying and connecting with activities and academics that are going to be particularly compelling to them for the parents? A lot of this is, oh, and I realized there was a financial price tag on this for not, and not every family is going to be able to provide the same level of support, but you know, what do they need?

Tech-wise do they need a calculator for math? Are you able [00:18:00] to get them a computer or at least try to get a Chromebook or, or, you know, some kind of resource from school for them? Is there anything you can do to create kind of a quiet corner? If they share a room, is there somewhere they can study where they can just have a dedicated space?

Um, one of the things as parents that I think is important here also is let them do some exploration. Um, I would not kind of. Try to direct them in one way or another too early in terms of activities, engagements, um, because not everything at this stage is about getting into college as they develop, as they identify and deepen their relationship with some of these clubs and activities.

Yes. That will have an impact on the application process. But at this stage it might make sense for them to try four or five different clubs or, you know, do some independent artwork, afterschool things that are restorative meaningful for them, uh, and might ultimately shape their process. But [00:19:00] night might not immediately tangibly seem like they have an impact on college, um, outcomes.

In 10th grade. Um, this is when students start looking forward a little bit more to college itself. Often this is when families come to us and they get to sign up, um, maybe to shape summer experiences and activities, maybe to make sure that the, the course, um, Uh, the course curriculum is, is going forward in, in the appropriate way, in terms of increasing rigor every year, appropriate class choices.

This is a great time for students to begin some, uh, college research. I am a huge fan of the college guidebooks. The Princeton review or the Fisk guide. I personally love those. I love giving them to students and having them, mark them up and have fun with them and, and do some exploration. Um, one of the great things about COVID is that now virtual tours and [00:20:00] info sessions are all available online.

Um, so great opportunity for students now, and then to do a little bit of casual college research. If you are planning family vacations as parents, this is where you can, you can step in and, um, start, you know, booking some, some tours and info sessions. Some of the areas that I think parents, um, I think it’s completely appropriate for parents to be involved are the kind of infrastructure framework, um, as your student is thinking about sat or act prep.

Ask around to friends who have older kids perhaps, and ask them if there are any organizations or resources they used help get that information for your child. Um, if possible you are the wheels or you might help arrange carpools if your child’s involved in athletics or some clubs or organizations outside of school that they need to get to.

And from, um, you [00:21:00] know, if you’re, again, if you’re going on a family, Look online for the, at the, um, in the admissions portal at the schools that the student might be interested in, in the areas you might be going. And go ahead and book those info sessions. Just a quick, quick note on college research, I usually recommend we all in this field will recommend that students and families look at many colleges that do not necessarily seem like they would be appealing.

So, uh, if you have family in a certain area and you’re going on a trip and there’s a college there that you think your, your child won’t be interested in, or, you know, student says no way, this doesn’t suit me, just do a quick drive-thru um, see what it’s about. Take a tour of the campus. You might be surprised.

And at the very least it will help down the line is you’re shaping and continuing to refine the college list to have a better sense of which schools appeal to the student and why. Um, [00:22:00] As we get into 11th grade, this is when things start becoming much more concrete and pressing, uh, students are working hard academically.

They’re trying to really, um, achieve a level of success that is going to impact admission outcomes. There. Workloads are getting more demanding. They are aware. Students are keenly aware and junior year of how important this year academically is. Um, most juniors are starting to do SATs or actsh. Um, now this year, most colleges are still test optional.

Um, w I am not certain what’s going to happen next year. I’m definitely recommending that every student take testing and take it seriously. Um, because even if college is continued to be test optional, some colleges may use testing, um, for merit aid, um, evaluation, uh, and at the very [00:23:00] least those of you who are younger in the process, and, you know, we don’t know what’s going to happen down the line in terms of whether testing is going to be required.

Um, it’s really important whether or not you’re working with us to get very, very organized. This is for the students in terms of how you’re going to approach this process in terms of narrowing down the list to maybe 10 to 12 schools that you will ultimately apply to beginning to organize spreadsheets, get familiar with the main application process, whether it’s the common application or the coalition application, um, or the UC platform, for example, which is its own application are applied tech.

Um, but you’re also, again, going to have a number of supplemental essay questions, brainstorming those early, thinking creatively about them before you start. The writing process can be very, very helpful for parents. A lot of this again is just being the cheerleader, [00:24:00] really recognizing that this is the year, um, in terms of mental health, that takes the biggest toll on our students.

Um, it is incredibly stressful, especially kind of the, the cusp of, of junior spring into summer into, um, senior fall can feel very, very overwhelming. So there are things, again, in terms of helping with logistics, I registered both my kids for the act and sat. Um, I could’ve made them do it, but this was something that was very easy to me.

It’s not creative. It’s not about independence. It’s about, let’s just get this part done. Um, so. I think also the biggest thing, if it’s, if it’s financially viable is to think about getting outside help, um, as a reassurance to your student, um, our advisors really partner well with our students to be that support system, but also helps shape a really successful [00:25:00] outcome because you’re working thoughtfully, proactively, and creatively with someone who’s really taking the time to get to know you and really individualize, individualize this process, both in terms of your work habits, your work style, but also your ultimate goals and your aptitudes.

For senior year, um, our students right now, um, obviously most applications are due by January 1st. Um, so the fall is incredibly busy. Um, very, very overwhelming for, for students. Um, the more organized you are the summer leading into senior year, the better you’ll be because you’ll get a lot of your work done, but you’re continuing to work on applications.

You’re submitting applications, perhaps you’ve submitted to rolling decision or early action or early decision schools. You are working on that penultimate and ultimate college list. Um, and you [00:26:00] are writing a lot of essays and rewriting and refining and really taking time, um, to, uh, to make sure that the writing is reflective of your genuine voice.

Um, In terms of parents, again, this is you were sitting on pins and needles. You want them to work faster. You want them to work harder. It’s very hard to believe that this process will get finished and get finished in time. And certainly there may be circumstances where that does not happen. I’m not advocating that parents be.

So hands-off that your child is kind of floundering out there and nothing is getting accomplished. It is, uh, a terribly, um, complex balancing act between supporting their autonomy and also trying to help keep that framework in place so that they can be successful. Um, One of the things you’re going to find if you were [00:27:00] not already the parent of a senior, is that, um, family and friends think they’re being really helpful when in fact it can feel very intrusive for the student and for you to have people constantly asking about where have they applied and where are they applying.

And, um, so kind of make that possible for, for your student to have some space from that. And ideally you as well, um, including just saying to people we’re not discussing the college application process outside of the family, which I am a huge fan of. Um, I think this is the part of the process where. You know, parents really have to appreciate that your child, you, you know, whether or not this child is your biological offspring, um, w w w they are going to have a lot of similarities with you, and they’re going to have a lot of differences.

And in this process, these are really manifested and can be very, very hard for a parent to [00:28:00] metabolize. So again, just being constantly aware that they might get to the finish line and it may look nothing like how you want it to look. Um, one of the other things, um, about this process, and especially for seniors, you as a parent, your child is not just going to college, they’re growing up.

Do they know how to do laundry? Um, do they know how to get cash out of an ATM? Do they know how to write a check? Um, do they know how to kind of take care of healthy meals in a, all you can eat, um, dining halls situation, um, do they need to get on birth control? Do they need to get their vaccines? Do they need to get their, you know, medical situation taken care of these?

There are a lot of things about them being prepared and moving on that you, as a parent can help facilitate, um, and help support them in so that they are fully prepared to be [00:29:00] capable and make really healthy, strong, and happy decisions in college and beyond. And for parents. I mean, I think this is a very bittersweet time, um, where your child is, is growing up.

Um, and it’s a beautiful gift and it’s also a profound boss in, in some ways as well. I think that the, the ultimate kind of takeaway, um, I’ve probably worked with 500,000 families in this process more. Um, I have read far more college applications than that. Um, I have worked with students and families who were ultimately maybe disappointed by their choices.

Um, maybe didn’t get into their first, maybe didn’t even get into their second choice school. And I’ve worked with families who, you know, got their first choice school right off the bat. Um, What I can say [00:30:00] with absolute certainty is I’ve never had a student. Jen, I keep in touch with a lot of my students.

And a lot of my families, I’ve never had someone come to me after the fact years later and say that their life was ruined because they didn’t get into the school of their choice or that their life was ruined because there was friction with their parent around the process. The end result is going to be the child, having a successful outcome.

If they are committed to having that success successful outcome, no matter what that looks like, time is a movable thing. As we all know, um, this can feel stressful. It can feel. Monumentally difficult. And like, it will just always be this pressing weight. You will absolutely get through it. Your journey that you imagine for your child, uh, almost certainly is not the journey they are going to have and that’s okay.

Um, they might end up in the same place. It just might [00:31:00] take them a more circuitous, a more creative, a slightly more unorthodox route to get there. Um, I think that one of the things we all know, and we all have experienced is how hard change can be. Um, the upshot of this kind of change though, is that it’s profoundly exciting and it can yield wonderful unexpected results, both for your child and for the family unit as.

As you let go. And as they move on, um, it is absolutely okay to have fears and sadness, just let them be yours and let your child have, have the space for their own fears and sadness. Um, I think that with the kids, I’ve worked with the biggest theme that people talk about. You know, parents are worried, is my child going to be safe and as much how I’m going to be healthy and are they going to do well academically?

And this is the right school for them. Kids are worried about sleeping in a room [00:32:00] with other people and using a communal bathroom. Those are the things that they’re most fearful about. So just be aware that there is, there is often a discrepancy between, um, your more primal fears and their more practical ones.

Um, I think it’s great to have conversations about the elements of this process that they’re most excited about and that they’re most fearful of. And I think it’s absolutely appropriate for you to share yours with, with your child as well. I think it’s illustrative of the commonalities, um, that exist in that realm, um, between you and your children and also the differences.

And, um, I think it can also, you know, one of the things that I think is a wonderful exercise is even to kind of write some of this down your hopes and fears for them and have them write it down and kind of, you know, every year go back and revisit that, um, and, and make it a process of, of self reflection and growth as well.

And, you [00:33:00] know, This is not your turn to go to college. Um, maybe you are also in the process of applying to college or getting a graduate degree and I’m so wonderful. Your only job right now is to help support them as they go through this process. And you are going through the process by their side, but yours is a very different journey and a very different experience.

Thank you so much for that, Lauren. I, uh, I wish that you were along my side when I was applying to college as a first gen college applicant back in 2012. Um, so that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found, um, Lauren’s insight and information helpful. Uh, please remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab.

Um, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through the [00:34:00] questions you submit in the Q and a tab, um, post them in the public chat so that you all can see and then read them out loud before our panelists, uh, gives an answer as a heads up. If you are having a hard time, um, submitting questions via the Q and a tab, please double-check that you join the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.

Um, so Lauren, first question we have is how do you deal with conflict between your feelings as a parent and the child’s design. Uh, such a great question. Um, and, um, it’s funny. I was actually just thinking about that because my kids are so different. Um, so my daughter’s process was one thing entirely and hers was much more streamlined, partly because she’s a tremendous writer, partly because she’s a recruited athlete.

My son is the most stubborn [00:35:00] human being in the entire universe. So my ability to be involved in the process, um, you know, your, your question really, really triggered that, um, I think one of the ways, one of the things that can be helpful is to really have clarity around the larger framework. Um, I think what a lot of kids chafe at is feeling really micromanaged and that it’s their job to take care of your anxiety or kind of reassure you that they’re doing what you want them to do.

Um, I think it’s, it’s a wonderful magic trick of a parent to help a child start feeling like what you actually want them to do is really kind of what they want them, what they want for themselves. And so one of the things that I think can be really helpful is to just even, you know, take out a calendar.

And say, you know, what do you [00:36:00] want to have in place by, you know, if your child’s a junior at this point, you know, what do you want to do by having placed by the end of the summer? Um, and I think in my experience, I am very, um, my kids and I are very close and we talk a lot, but I think that one of the things that helps actually is to even have an honest conversation, like, Hey kid, I’m feeling really frustrated because to me, this is really important.

And it, I can’t tell if you are feeling like it’s not, can we kind of talk about what’s what’s happening? That’s making you feel differently about it than, than I. Um, I will say though, one of the things that, again, I think parents find profoundly helpful is being able to kind of hand off, um, because a lot of your anxieties apparent a lot of what you’re feeling and a lot of what you’re worried, your kid isn’t feeling is that sense of urgency.

Like if this doesn’t [00:37:00] happen, then that’s not going to happen. And then they’re not going to get in. And, you know, um, and then I think being able to just. Give it to someone else who is going to be much better able to encourage that forward progress and really have the kid, um, you know, buy in on the outcome.

Um, I think can, can ease a tremendous amount of that anxiety. Um, we have maybe a handful. I mean, I probably work with 60 to 70 families. I have a handful of families where I know the parents. Most of the time, they are just so relieved to say, like, you, you do this, this is your job now. Um, and it, and it’s very successful.

Awesome. Um, thank you. So the next question we have is my daughter is interested in one of the three local schools near us, including a community college. [00:38:00] Should she still get outside? Yeah, that’s a great question. Not necessarily. I mean, I think outside of. Sometimes comes down to personalities that, um, it can be really helpful to have someone else if your child is not one of those students who is just super duper organized on top of things, like, you know, for sure they’re gonna hit all the deadlines and get all the essays done and get all the work done.

Um, not every student and not every family, um, is in, is in that kind of circumstance. Um, I would say that, you know, one of the things that can be helpful on in my experience, students and families who tend to look very locally, there might be really valid reasons for that. Um, you know, mental health reasons, closeness of family unit, whatever that might be.

But in my experience, a lot of that is that families have the concept, the perception that that’s going to be the most [00:39:00] cost-effective route for the student. So sometimes it’s helpful to work with someone outside just to, um, Kind of reframe that a little bit, because again, some private colleges are going to be a lot less expensive than public universities.

Um, out of state might end up costing less than in-state or even further away from home. But for the students and families who are feeling a hundred percent peaceful and certain that these, you know, small schools are the three schools in a small catchment area are the right fit. And those are the only schools your child would be applying to.

Especially if one’s a community college, you may not need to hire someone like.

And that’s, uh, a really great, great segue to a quick little break in the Q and a where I’m going to talk a little more about and how we can help. So for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know that the college admissions process is incredibly overwhelming for parents and students [00:40:00] alike.

And so we have a team of over 280 admissions experts and former admissions officers we’re ready to help you and your family navigate it, um, in one-on-one advising sessions. So in the most recent admission cycles, our students was actually admitted into Harvard at three times, the national rate, and then, uh, were accepted into Stanford at 4.4 times.

All right. So if you’re interested in getting connected with us, you can sign up for a free consultation. Um, by going to and calling the number at the top of the screen or clicking get started, um, once you’re registered for our free web platform, you and your student can explore, um, all of our webinars, including this one will be up on the website.

Um, you can also keep track of application deadlines, search for summer opportunities and more all right through our site. So if you are interested, please do get connected to it with [email protected]. So back to the [00:41:00] Q and a, um, we actually did have a question about, you know, did I, did I hear that going to school out of state can be cheaper?

I’ve always thought it was more expensive. And I know you quickly touched on it, but could you elaborate a little more about how, um, you know, going to school out of state could be a cheaper option? Yeah, sure. And I, I will say that, um, I am. Uh, absolutely an admissions expert and absolutely not a financial aid expert.

Um, but I think there, there are a couple of things. I mean, their colleges happen down months. They have resources. Colleges in the application process admission cycle, the admission office has a sense of what they’re trying to shape in the entering class, in terms of talents and interests and demographics and backgrounds and, and representation.

Um, and some colleges are going to have the [00:42:00] resources to really Ru uh, the kinds of students that they want to yield on campus. Um, when you’re in the application process, there are some colleges that are going to be need-blind, um, and a hundred percent need based. Those are the colleges where they don’t look at whether a student is applying for aid in the application process.

And if you were admitted there guaranteed, you are guaranteed that they will meet a hundred percent of your demonstrated need. There are other colleges that might just meet be a hundred percent. Based meaning they do evaluate. If, you know, if they’re looking at a number of applications, they might make a decision based on financial aid status one way or the other.

And if you’re admitted, they will meet your need. A lot of colleges, um, offer merit or scholarship money. And that’s really where there seems to be kind of the most discretion in terms of a student who might apply to a state college, um, you know, [00:43:00] might be admitted, um, might get a certain amount of money, but for whatever reason, some of these out-of-state schools.

I might offer more money, um, because they have the resource to do so, and they want to capture that particular student in the application process. So that’s why I encourage my students and families who are going to be limited financially to think broadly, um, to shape a list really based on passion student is deeply excited about the 12 or 15 schools on their list and yes, include some in-state schools that you feel really confident financially about.

Um, and then see what happens after the application. Process. See what happens as decisions start rolling in, um, when you can compare some of those financial aid offers and you can even appeal financial aid decisions where you might go to a school of interest and say, Hey, you know, my daughter really, really wants to go [00:44:00] here.

Um, but she got $8,000 more a year from this college. Is there any way you could try to match that for us? Otherwise it’s a real financial hardship for us. Um, you don’t know what the outcome’s going to be, but you can always ask and that’s something that we can help with as well. Awesome. Um, next question we got, which I’m curious to hear your answer as a parent of a student athlete.

How do you motivate a potential scholar athlete to go the extra mile in contacting coaches and following up regularly during the recruitment process? Yeah, that’s a hard one. Um, I think, I mean, I can say from personal experience that, um,

We came out at a little bit differently. So I mean, my daughter knew very early on that she did not want to play D one and she did not wanna play D two. She wanted a small school, so that already started kind of shaping our list. Um, and she knew she wanted a school where she could be a [00:45:00] student first and an athlete.

And she had to really like the coach. Once we started narrowing down the. That process became a little bit easier. I don’t know where in the process your child is. Um, but definitely like attending camps or, you know, being asked to, or signing up for, um, you know, some of the recruiting camps on campuses. Um, it’s a great way to meet the coaches and then it becomes a little bit easier to, to follow up with, um, with emails.

Um, I think we just kind of sat down with her. This was one thing we did have to kind of push a little bit, she was shy and she wasn’t really sure how to frame the communication. Um, and I think this is something that either we or the parent, I think it’s completely appropriate. Um, this is a little bit what I was talking about in terms of life skills.

I don’t think most kids know how to write professional sounding emails. Um, and so that’s something, you know, I don’t feel like that’s [00:46:00] a parent doing something the child should be doing. It should absolutely be the student’s own language and the student’s own words. But I think sitting down with your child and helping them draft up an email that they can kind of, um, um, you know, edit to the specific schools in the specific coaches is something that, that can be very helpful.

Um, our partner company and CSA is also, um, obviously the leading expert on, um, doing re working with recruited athletes or athletes who students who may wish to be recruited. Um, and the NCS NCSA. Great at this, they, this is their thing. They will help the student. Um, first of all, get the attention of coaches, but then also, um, really help in terms of, um, working on the communication and, um, helping the students figure out how to make contact, even if they’re a little bit anxious about doing.

And [00:47:00] I know a few of us in the, the room right now might also already be connected with NCSA and part of, uh, how they found their way here. So, um, for those with, uh, student athletes, uh, definitely, um, you know, taking advantage of NCSA resources, as well as the resources we can offer and the expertise we can offer from on the college application process.

Um, um, I should have said that first because although, um, our process is a little bit different. Um, my daughter had signed up with NCSA and I will say that was the primary way that coaches found her initially. Um, so I would highly recommend finding out more about what NCA has to offer. It’s just, it’s an extraordinary company and they have just tons of different options, um, and can really help with this.

Cause it’s such an overwhelming process. It just adds a layer of complexity. Um, so the next question we have, um, which I think is a really interesting one. How do you help a [00:48:00] child who has a 4.3 grade point average, but does not test well in standardized testing? Like. So, um, the good news, I don’t know what year this child is, but the good news is like for this application cycle, colleges are still test optional.

Um, and I think that’s helped a lot of students who are in that position. Um, the UC. And, and they’re, they’re kind of two directions. Two, two ways. I can answer that. Um, so just to give a little history of, of testing, I mean, everyone in the admissions world has known that standardized testing perpetuates a huge level of, um, inequity and bias in the application process.

So the UC. Made the move this year to eliminate forever, not just because of COVID any testing from their application process, which is huge and wonderful. And I suspect that that will open up the door for a lot of colleges to [00:49:00] follow suit. Um, because there’s been something that colleges have been very deeply uncomfortable with for a very long time.

Um, the other part of that is I think that, um, doing some kind of test prep is huge and I don’t mean super fancy expensive. I mean, students with any means can do test prep. We partner with a free, um, organization that does a lot of online stuff. Um, you can go to the library and get out, um, Act or sat test prep books and just do repetitive testing at home.

Part of success around testing is understanding the strategy, um, and getting more and more familiar with the piece of it and the intensity of it and understanding some of the language, you know, what are they really asking when they ask something this particular way? Um, so I think a level of preparation can really help ease the [00:50:00] anxiety and can also bring out the best in a student because the more mentally prepared they are, the better they’re going to do.

Um, I know also, like we have one of our favorite places to go in the DC areas. There’s used library bookstores that sell used books and you can get act and sat prep books there for like two or $3. Um, and they’re just, you know, maybe a year old so that, you know, that might be a resource that’s. Wonderful.

Um, so next question we have how many schools is a good amount of schools to apply to? I mean, that’s a great question. Um, I think, uh, you know, if a student is applying to a, an early decision or an early action school, um, obviously ultimately that number might look different if they get into a school they’re excited about early on in the process.

Um, typically anywhere between. 10 to 12 schools. A lot of students, [00:51:00] if the student’s list is very top heavy, meaning they have a lot of schools on their list that are highly competitive, that they’re not willing to give up and take off the list. They might end up applying to slightly more schools. My, my goal for my students is they have, um, I feel like things since COVID have gotten a little bit out of whack, um, a little bit more intense and competitive than before.

So, um, I usually have my students now apply to anywhere. Two to five safety schools, um, kind of four to five, just right schools and maybe a couple of reach schools. There’s flexibility within that. Um, but that’s kind of the, the general number. Um, so for those of you who are applying to UC schools, um, the good news is that the UC application, it’s one application that you can submit to all of the UCS, so you can apply to a lot of the UCS, but it’s really just one [00:52:00] application.

Thank you. So the next question we have is a little more specific, but I think it could be helpful to a number of parents in here. So, um, this person shared my son is taking an approach on taking higher level courses, especially APS, however, he’s already in 10th grade and he feels like he’s wasted some time.

And so he’s currently in the process of applying for dual enrollment at his community college. Should he put the time in dual enrollment, even if he’s planning on taking APS for his junior year and I’ll add, um, has he wasted his time? Um, I think my, my, I mean, every, every student is different and I think my question would be one of motivation.

If your, if your son is pursuing dual enrollment, because he’s not feeling challenged, um, because there are specific classes he’s really, really excited about [00:53:00] that the high school just doesn’t offer. Um, because he, he feels like he wants more independence and wants to take on the initiative of that greater challenge.

I’m a hundred percent supportive. Um, I think it becomes a little bit more of a gray area where you have students who are in these highly competitive environments who feel this pressure that they need to keep doing more and more and more in order to be relevant. Um, in the application process. I think there’s a real risk in that.

Um, if your child is in 10th grade and has already accelerating so much and feeling so much pressure to keep taking harder classes, um, w w w w. There, there is some inherent risk in that. Um, is he going to overextend himself? Um, it’s great if students challenged themselves, but it has to be balanced appropriately with what [00:54:00] their aptitudes are, what their genuine interests are, what their ability to thrive and succeed is.

And for students to get very overextended at that young, an age, I think kind of sets up a potential, um, a potential scenario where the student not only might end up not being as successful as he might’ve wished. Um, but perhaps we’ll have some consequences in terms of kind of just generic mental health issues, anxiety, stress, um, and for students to go through the motions and take the joy out of learning at that young age, um, I, I think kind of misses the point of, of getting ready for college and applying to college and going to college, which is that it is supposed to be one of exploration and self discovery.

Um, so I, I guess I don’t [00:55:00] have a clear cut answer. I would say, I would want to know more about why your son is feeling compelled to push himself so hard.

And then another question we had, um, has the pandemic affected the average entry GPA requirements for school? Um, I mean, I haven’t, I can’t answer that definitively. I think a lot of colleges have gotten more competitive in terms of the application process, but I think the, the, the reasons for that are slightly more complex than just having slightly different expectations in terms of GPA.

Um, I think what you, what you have, we’re still kind of seeing the after effects, you know, when COVID hit a lot of students who were supposed to go to college, um, deferred because they wanted an actual college experience. And then you had all of the juniors were supposed to be studying abroad who can’t study abroad.

[00:56:00] So now there’s space limitations. Um, and then you had the application season last year where you had that same number of students applying, but wait, now there’s no testing requirements. You had even more students applying and you have all the students who differed from the year before suddenly wanting to claim their space.

Um, and it became very tight in the, in the bottom of that funnel. So I think inherently, yes, it might’ve gotten slightly more competitive, but I don’t think it’s as simplistic as you need to have a better GPA. I think there’s just so much turmoil still playing its way out from, um, from the pandemic. Um, so I think it will be interesting to see what this year’s application cycle looks like as we circuiting, um, some early action and early decision results.

Awesome. And then, um, I think we have time for one or two final questions. So next we have [00:57:00] is, um, what extracurricular activities are available during COVID for pre-med majors or. Um, that’s a great question. I mean, I think a lot of places are still open for students to, um, volunteer. I know a lot of hospitals have open opened back up for, for student volunteers.

Um, I know a lot of students have initiated their own clubs and organizations kind of pre-med clubs, where they might research different issues. Um, perhaps volunteer at the red cross, um, you know, even volunteering in a community, working with elders, um, bringing meals or helping people get to vaccination sites.

I think there are a lot of different ways to get involved that might be slightly less traditional. Um, students might take, um, summer courses, um, you know, local community college, um, do some exploration and in, um, areas of study that are. More [00:58:00] interesting and perhaps not available in the high school, um, perhaps there are doctor’s offices that are allowing students to, um, to shadow.

So I would say kind of start locally in your, in your own community and, and maybe see, um, check in with the local hospital and see what resources there are there. And related to that for our final question, we got a number of questions regarding extracurricular activity. And so folks are wondering how many extracurricular extracurricular activities do you recommend to be listed on the application?

Um, my child spent so much time on music and sports. They didn’t have much time for other clubs or research projects. What do you recommend. Great question. I love this one. Um, I mean, on the application, there’s 10 spaces. Um, you do not have to fill them all up. It is an absolute, terrible misconception that colleges want to see a student having done a lot of different clubs and activities.[00:59:00]

A student wants to see a college wants to see a student who’s maybe done one or two different things with genuine depth and passion and integrity far better to see the student who’s really in love with music and has played in different, uh, organizations or studies independently. Um, you know, and maybe does athletics at a deep level than the student who’s dashed around like, you know, a mad woman trying to do 20 different clubs and activities.

Just to look good in the application process. Um, so I’ve read really strong applications where students had just a handful of things. Um, for those of you who have students who like private pursuits, photography, or reading, that’s a very legitimate thing to have on a resume students who have to work to support the family or choose to work, to bring in extra money or have household obligations helping younger siblings or helping out with grandma.

Those also were legitimate and really compelling things to [01:00:00] have on an application. Thank you so much, Lauren. Um, for those who we weren’t able to get to your questions, you know, please feel free to get connected to us. We’re always here and happy to answer those. Um, and you know, in future webinars or if you call for a consultation, um, that is the end of our presentation and our time together.

Thank you for everybody who attended and joined. Um, thank you to Lauren for all of your insight and just, um, an incredible presentation. I hope it was incredibly helpful for, um, our attendees. Um, and we are having a few other webinars, the rest of this December as well as webinars on the schedule, uh, in the works of being scheduled for January.

So please do join us for the rest of our December series. Thank you all for joining and have a great rest of your night. Thank you everyone. Good night. Good night. Bye.[01:01:00]