How soon should we start working on applying to college?
The earlier you start the better. Starting can have different meanings, of course. In part, starting can simply mean beginning to compile notes on schools or essay ideas, or a file to keep track of activities, honors, and accomplishments.
Can you just help me with the Personal Essay?
Yes, I can and for some students, that is all they seek my guidance on.
In most cases, however, I work with students on the entire package, fine-tuning each part of the application to its maximum potential and then stepping back to ensure that each section supports the others and there are no contradictions or redundancies, that everything enhances everything else.
How do I know what supplements to do first?
An important part of the work I do with students is creating a schedule. If a school is being applied to Early Decision, it is the first application to be completed. If there are applications for Early Action and/or Rolling Decision, they are the second group to be tackled. Regular Decision applications usually have the latest deadlines. Here, too, though, every school has a different deadline.
Step one is to get an overview of all the deadlines. Then we come up with a schedule. From there, a plan of action can be created.
Should I schedule and interview? If so, when?
I always encourage students to schedule interviews. Rarely, if ever, does it hurt the application. With preparation, the interview can be a tremendous asset, enhancing what will be submitted on paper or on-line. It also signifies your interest in that school, giving you a leg up over other applicants. Further, it lets the interviewer know that you are a disciplined and organized candidate.
Do the interview before you submit your application. The interview may provide valuable information that could be integrated into your application. Some schools, however, offer interviews by invitation, only after applications have been submitted and reviewed. In either case, it’s essential to be prepared before each interview with facts about that specific school.
How long is this going to take?
This is completely up to the individual, how long each student wants to spend, how much work is done independently vs. how much the student wants to do with me. Often students use the time they schedule with me as their time to work on their applications. That way they know they have time allotted, and can use the rest of their time for their schoolwork, extracurricular activities, etc.
One way to use time most effectively is to work with me via Skype, in combination with in-person meetings at my home office in Brooklyn Heights.
Do you advise on the college list?
This is really the work of your college advisor. I am available to talk through your thoughts, help you to prioritize and create a schedule for moving through the process of completing all the applications.
Some of the applications require that I apply to a specific college or program within the university. How does this work?
Yes, this is happening more and more, particularly for the larger universities. It requires a more detailed application, in that you have to be specific about how your interests complement the program’s offering. It is not unlike the supplemental essays required by the smaller colleges. It does require a certain amount of time, so be sure to budget for that.