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Countdown to college: 2 recent grads give advice on the admissions process

Home & Leisure / Education News /

With experience comes wisdom. With that in mind, I consulted with two high school graduates who have just ridden the highs and lows of the college admissions process.

Jessica graduated from Providence High and will attend Appalachian State University in the fall. Daniel graduated from Myers Park High and is a rising freshman at UNC Chapel ...Read more

Countdown to college: Thinking about a gap year?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Every year more and more students and parents talk to me about the pros and cons of a gap year experience. This year, given the current situation with COVID-19, more families are seriously considering other options besides heading off to a college campus in the fall.

Taking a year off between high school graduation and freshman year can be ...Read more

Countdown to college: What's next for seniors — whoops — college freshmen?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

With this weird school year finally behind us, the responsibilities of rising college freshmen are just beginning. Here are some things you should be on top of. Some will be taken care of by your high school registrar or guidance office; some are tasks you and your family need to complete.

1. Pay up

You should have already submitted your ...Read more

Countdown to college: More on the Common Application for 2020

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Last week I shared the first three of the seven Common Application prompts for 2020 and some tips on how to approach each essay. Today, I'll wrap up with the remaining four prompts and introduce the brand-new optional COVID-19 essay.

Here are essay prompts 4-7:

4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be...Read more

Countdown to college: What's up with the Common Application in 2020?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

It's almost time to fill out college applications ... but wait. Even before that, students need to write their supplemental essays and the angst-producing Common Application essay.

Starting to brainstorm essay topics and create first drafts of essays is a great way for rising seniors to spend their unexpected "gift" of time. Using ...Read more

Countdown to college: What about the Class of 2021?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

It seems like all the focus has been on the high school seniors - no prom, no graduation and unsettling news for the fall at colleges. These are all very real concerns and shouldn't be minimized. However, high school juniors - soon to be rising seniors - have a completely different set of challenges.

Juniors lost the better part of their ...Read more

Countdown to college: Great gift ideas to help you say congrats to your grad

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Cash may be still be king when it comes to what high school grads want to see when they open their graduation cards, but if you're interested in igniting a spark of creativity or trying to personalize your gifts, here are some fun suggestions.


Students are constantly connected electronically, so most anything to make that...Read more

Countdown to college: The two biggest mistakes families make in the college admissions process

Home & Leisure / Education News /

For lots of families of high school juniors and sophomores, this whole college admissions process has just kicked into gear. So, this seems like a good time to talk about the typical mistakes students and parents make as they get started.


In my experience, students often underestimate their chances, thinking that ...Read more

Countdown to college: Letters of recommendation, Part 2

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Last week's column covered the basics of letters of recommendation:

Who should you ask for one What should they say that will really make a difference? Where do these letters go? What are the logistics involved in getting them to each of the schools where you'll be applying.

Today we're talking when, why and how: WHEN to ask, WHY letters ...Read more

Countdown to college: Letters of recommendation, Part 2

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Last week's column covered the basics of Letters of Recommendation:

Who do you ask?

What should they say that will really make a difference?

Where do these letter go? What are the logistics involved in getting them to each of the colleges and universities where you'll be applying.

Today we're talking:

Timing, i.e., WHEN to ask? as ...Read more

Countdown to college: Think about which people to ask for letters of recommendation

Home & Leisure / Education News /

I used to insist that students make an appointment with their teachers after school to request a letter of recommendation in person. I used to tell them to read the teacher's body language to make sure they would look at this as an honor and not a chore.

But now, with face-to-face meetings difficult or impossible due to the coronavirus ...Read more

Countdown to college: Is it possible to get off the wait list and get in?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Have you been wait-listed by one or more of the colleges to which you applied? Here are six important pieces of advice.

1. Don't wait.

Waiting (i.e., doing nothing) is the one thing you shouldn't do if you have any interest in possibly attending any schools where you've been wait-listed. If you haven't responded to your wait-list schools, ...Read more

Countdown to college: Worried about the wait list?

Home & Leisure / Education News /

Decisions have been released, and high school seniors are trying to decide where to (hopefully) unpack next fall. Some students were waiting to visit colleges once they were accepted and now find themselves having to make a decision about where to spend the next four years of their lives without having the opportunity to visit and compare.

...Read more