Crush It (To the HS Class of 2013)

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Dear HS Class of 2013:

You are not defined by your major, your SAT, your ACT, nor what schools accepted or did not accept you.

You are not defined by what school you chose.

You are defined by what you do when you get to college. And beyond.

Crush it.

-Michael, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, CCR

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.

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10 Random Thoughts About the College Search

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1) Dear Parents of HS Juniors…I wish you knew now what you will know a year from now.

2) IMPORTANT: When a College Admissions Representative refers to an SAT score, they are usually referring to your READING + MATH sub-score. NOT your Reading + Math + Writing score.   I’ve seen too many schools and families talking about two different things.  To the detriment of the student.

3) Every action taken in Junior Year (and in the summer) saves two actions in the Senior Year.  M.Szarek, 2012.

4) Adult students need and deserve as much guidance in the college search as traditional students.

5) Too often, students take ALL or NONE of their Direct loan eligibility.  Often, SOME would have been their best choice.

6) What IS the right price for a year’s worth of higher education?

7) If they don’t want you, you don’t want them.

8) Of the 4000 colleges in this country, there are 17.9 ‘perfect’ schools for your son or daughter.   Okay, I made that up.  But, I bet I’m right.

9) See it with your own eyes.  Visit. Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit.  Visit. Visit.

10) If a picture paints a thousand words, how does that fit into the Common Application Essay requirement?

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.

Mythbusters 101: A Pop Quiz

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Time for a pop quiz.

“Aww, man.”  “Mr. Szarek, come on…”

Ashley, put away your Fiske Guide

Brad, place your copy of Colleges That Change Lives under your desk.

Caitlin, close your windows on your Zinch, Student Advisor and Cappex screens.

Justin, stop deleting those texts and emails sent by unsuspecting admissions personnel and their well-intended consultants.

Let’s see if you’ve been paying attention.  I call this quiz “Mythbusters 101”.  Take out your #1 and #3 pencils and let’s see what we’ve learned…

1) More American High School graduates in 2011 took this standardized exam than any other.

2) True or False.  Most American College Students are between the ages of 18 and 21.

3) (Within 5 percentage points) The percentage of undergraduate American college students attending 4-year private colleges is…

4) The Chivas Regal Question: (Within 3 Grand) The average student at a school that costs $40,000 is actually paying ___?

5) Is it easier to get accepted to college or to graduate from the college to which you were accepted?

6) Does Mr. Szarek believe that you should take out all of your Stafford Loan eligibility or none of it?

7) True or False.  Despite the pictures in most college websites and viewbooks, some college classes are actually held indoors AND not just in laboratories or performance studios.

8) The percentage of undergraduate college students in the United States that attend Ivy League schools is___%.

9) If an Admission Counselor quotes an ‘average SAT score” to you, is it generally out of 2400? or 1600? Or neither?

10) The right amount of colleges to apply to is___________________.

Extra Credit: Please describe how college is simply a means to an end, and college admissions is simply a means to a means.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.

ANSWER KEY/ SPOILER ALERT:

1) ACT

2) False.  18-21 year olds make up about 40%-45% of the American collegiate population.

3) 12.7% (I will accept any answers between 7% and 18%)

4) $23,280.  (Acceptable answers for $20,000 to 27,000)

5) Easier to get accepted to college.

6) Neither.  Most students are best served by borrowing some of their Stafford Loan eligibility.  Each situation is different.

7) True.

8) Less than half of 1%.  I will accept either 0% or 1% (or anything in-between) as appropriate answers.

9) 1600.  Most colleges look at only the Reading and Math components of the SAT for admission purposes.  Be careful with this one in your conversations with admissions professionals!

10) different for each student.  But it should involve schools chosen only after careful research and – as possible – visitations.

As for the Extra Credit question, I would base any ‘best’ answer on the following quote: “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won”.  So, how did you do?  Feel free to post your results (or any disputes re: the answer key) on the comments board!

When Good Tests Go Bad

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Have you all seen the stories about the SAT cheating scandal?

Caitlin: ACT, too.  About 20 kids, at least, in Long Island.  And there are others that that they can’t prosecute because of the statute of limitations.

Who’s the victim?

Huh?

Who do you think suffers when something like this happens?

Justin: What do you mean?   I’m the victim – and Ashley, Caitlin and Brad.  All of us.  This kid gets a score he didn’t earn.  He might get into a school he doesn’t belong in.  And steal a space from someone – maybe MY SPOT!

Which means he might get into a school he’s not academically qualified for.  Which increases his chance of dropping out.  Or, at best, just having a miserable college experience.  And beyond.  But, we don’t even know that the score would be higher than what the student would have gotten.  And – if it is – we don’t know that it would change any admissions decisions.

And he PAID for this.  He paid for something that will either have no effect or place him in a school at which he’s more likely to fail.  Plus, he’s run the risk of a criminal record, ridicule and embarrassment.

Ashley: You’re making it sound like the kid who paid for this is the victim.

Absolutely I am.  Of course, he volunteered to be.  He paid for someone to impersonate him because he didn’t think he was good enough.  He paid for someone to be him because he didn’t respect himself enough to play his own role in life.

But he – and everyone else involved in this nonsense – also showed that they have absolutely NO IDEA how college admissions works.  By paying someone to increase his scores, he may have DECREASED his chance of admission.

Brad: Huh?

When I reviewed candidates and I saw an SAT or ACT score that seemed out-of-line with the grades and HS curriculum, it raised a red flag that otherwise wasn’t there.  It suggests someone not working to their potential.  It suggests trouble.  A “B” student with an average (non-honors) college prep curriculum and a 1050 Reading and Math score on the SAT or 23 on the ACT makes sense.  The same student with a 1400 on the SAT Reading+Math or 32 on the ACT can raise questions – what’s going on here, why hasn’t he performed up to his ability?

Caitlin: The SAT and ACT are just one part of a bigger picture.

Ashley: And they should help tell the story of who you are, not add a chapter that makes no sense.

Brad: Or you might end up at a school that isn’t right for you.

Justin: And your enrollment there might last as long there as a Kardashian marriage.

You’ve been waiting a long time to throw that line in, haven’t you, Justin?

Justin: Hey, I’m not the one writing this blog…

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.