Welcome Back! It’s Time for Letters of Affirmation

It is a cool January morning here in Houston, but we are back from our winter break.  Most of the high school seniors have completed their applications at this point, but for those who have not, it is time to get moving.  If you have completed your applications, you should consider sending a letter of affirmation to those schools where you are awaiting a decision.  If you applied via regular decision or were deferred after applying for early admission, now is the time to update your prospective colleges on your first semester achievements.  How were your grades? Did you complete any special or interesting projects? Have you started something new and important?  Write the admission officer for your region and... Read More »

How to Gain Admission to the College of Your Dreams

Each year some highly qualified students are rejected by colleges they should have been accepted to.  Yet mysteriously, some less-qualified students are accepted by schools that were seemingly beyond their reach. Do you want to know why? THEME, NOT NUMBERS IS THE KEY TO ADMISSIONS SUCCESS. Grades and standardized test scores are only the first standard by which admissions will decide to take a candidate seriously. Admissions’ interest in a particular student is only maintained if the application has a coherent theme.
"All roads lead to and from the theme." -Karen Spencer, Georgetown Admissions Officer
The families that have not understood this critical point (THEME, THEME, and THEME), will be surprised and disappointed by letters of rejection. If you rely on the data from... Read More »

The Inside Story of How Colleges Evaluate Extra-Curriculars

May 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Admission Tips

As college admissions have become drastically more competitive, the focus on extra-curricular activities has increased as well. Students today are getting involved in their high schools, communities, and on the playing field and in performance much more than ever before. Parents are programming their children from very early on to "get involved." High School counselors preach everyday, "more clubs, more activities, more service." Some of my clients have given me resumes that are 5 pages in length! And they haven't even graduated high school yet! At the same time, many students get overwhelmed by the wide variety of extra-curricular options and fail to get involved with anything in depth. Other students will ignore extra-curriculars entirely until... Read More »

Secrets of Choosing the Right College(s)

March 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

Few families are exposed to anything but surface-level information about prospective colleges. Become an informed consumer! Be very cautious about investing 50-200 thousand dollars in a college education. Be certain that you receive value for your money. Don't follow the masses and then assume things will work out as hoped for. Each family must have convincing evidence about basic but crucial issues. Is the school strong in the student's area of interest? Most 18 year- olds do not know their future major. Few high school students and families explore the details of possible majors and how these might lead to a career path. Choosing a school without informed, developed plans for study is risky. What academic domains are... Read More »

Writing A Top Notch Application Essay

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Application Process

The biggest and most common mistake application essay writers make is  hiding themselves from the reader.  In an application essay, you are writing in a personal tone. Be naked and honest! Let a reader get to know you.  Paint a picture of some important pieces of your life.  Let your personality shine through. In the essays you write for English or history classes, you can distance yourself from the personal by using the 3rd person nomenclature.  Not in a personal application essay! In the 1st person voice, what is written and implied is only you. Interesting ideas, sharply worded sentences, correct word usage and writing mechanics are not only needed, but mandatory.  To make a positive first impression on the reader, one... Read More »