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College Search Now announces Fall, 2019 complimentary college search planning programs for college bound high school students and their parents:

BECOME A SAVVY COLLEGE CONSUMER
September 9, 2019
7:00pm

Newtown Public Library
201 Bishop Hollow Rd. Newtown Square, PA 19073

It is “ok” to register at the door, but reservations preferred. There is no charge.
For Reservations, Questions, Directions:
Contact Mr. Clark at 610-304-7119 or 610-642-4873, ext. 52 or email us

In 2018-2019, David Clark’s three complimentary evening college planning workshops for college bound high school students and parents were attended by more than 15 families from more than four school districts in Chester County.

When did paying for college become like buying a used car?

Only with a college education are you urged to look at price last.

We follow a logical step-by-step procedure with all high-priced consumer purchases except one, a college education. Why not start your college search that way, because that is almost certainly where you’ll finish your search.

When you shop for any high priced consumer product (for example, a car) you START with the price, make several “need vs. want” calculations from there, and arrive at a final decision that offers what you need at a price that is within your family’s financial resources.

But value is there for the savvy consumer. Examples include:

  • co-op programs (Drexel, Northeastern) where valuable paid internships are a requirement.
  • five college consortiums (Amherst, Mass; Claremont colleges in California) in which a student may take courses at five different campuses.
  • PG or “Gap” year programs for the student who may get little out of the college experience right now.
  • colleges for whom the SATs or ACTs are optional (more than 25% of four year colleges).
  • non-traditional college settings for those of us who learn in at a different pace.
  • service academies or ROTC programs where part/all of expenses are paid for by the US taxpayer.

When you visit a campus, work hard to find out the following:

Non-negotiable

  • graduation rate within 4 years? within 6 years?
  • job placement by major? for the previous year’s senior class?
  • level of support services? academic? medical?

Nice to know and you’ll find it out soon enough if you enroll

  • who teaches freshman courses, full professors? TAs?
  • % of grades that are A or B?

Be an educated consumer. If you view a college education as an investment, why approach the college search any other way?

 

Next blog posting? Essential information that will help your entire family with the college search process.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.


Need a speaker for a community organization meeting?
Mr. Clark offers these popular evening college planning programs for college bound high school students and parents.

TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE DECISIONS.
The workshop will include help in de-mystifying how colleges make admissions decisions and tips for finding financial aid.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.
This workshop will present tips on financial aid, on paying for college and on planning for those college tuition bills.

BECOME A SAVVY COLLEGE CONSUMER
So little time, so many choices. Use the college search to make priorities and focus options.

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How college works

How college works.

“People, rather than programs are decisive” in giving a college education value. (HOW COLLEGE WORKS-Chambliss. Harvard, 2014.)

Hmmm. Interesting thought…after all that time, effort and anxiety spent throughout high school nervously searching for the right march of college setting. Is it strong in my prospective major? What about career focused internships? Retention rate? Graduation rate?

NY Times columnist Frank Bruni makes a similar point in his fascinating book on just this topic; WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU’LL BE (Grand Central Publishing, 2015). At one point Bruni refers to Michael Lindsay’s 2014 study of 550 corporate CEOs, college Presidents, and elected leaders.

One finding?

The undergraduate colleges attended by these accomplished leaders was varied and showed no pattern.

No Ivy league tilt.  Nope.

Research done on the colleges themselves suggest a similar, related, point. Dan Chambliss, a professor at Hamilton College (NY) headed a ten year longitudinal study funded by the Mellon Foundation to answer this question:

What is the key to making an (expensive) college education work for you?

The conclusion of Chambliss’s research?

The most important single factor? The personal connections you make: with a professor, your advisor, and other students in your major. (see HOW COLLEGE WORKS-Chambliss. Harvard, 2014.)

What does this mean for your college search?

Be an educated consumer.

Do your research.

Visit campuses.

Talk to people: a neighbor who attended the college that has your interest; a counselor with expertise in the college search.

Ask tough questions.

 

Next blog posting? Tips on becoming a savvy college consumer.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

Many readers have found my post on the PG and Gap year to be helpful:
The “Gap” year – an option in the college search process


Need a speaker for a community organization meeting?
Mr. Clark offers these popular evening college planning programs for college bound high school students and parents.

TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE DECISIONS.
The workshop will include help in de-mystifying how colleges make admissions decisions and tips for finding financial aid.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.
This workshop will present tips on financial aid, on paying for college and on planning for those college tuition bills.

BECOME A SAVVY COLLEGE CONSUMER
So little time, so many choices. Use the college search to make priorities and focus options.

Share

College controversy

An advantage for disadvantaged applicants.

What we know

  • The College Board, purveyors of the SAT college admissions test taken by more than two million students annually, is now sharing with college admissions offices a proprietary Adversity Score for each applicant.
  • The College Board has long known that there is a direct connection between income and SAT scores.
  • It is also true that ethnic groups have a wide variation in test scores. Asians and whites outscore Latino and African-American test takers.
  • Diversity has long been a goal of college admission departments.
  • The College Board has historically struggled with the foundational goal of leveling the playing field for minority and low-income college applicants.
  • The recent cheating scandal has increased the public pressure on the College Board to treat all students fairly.
  • The College Board is in a highly competitive environment with a competitor, the ACT, which recently surpassed the SAT for the first time, in total number of test takers.

How does it work?

  • Fifteen factors –not all publically available- are used to create each student’s adversity score, on a scale of 0-100.
  • The Adversity Score is not available to the applicant but is made available to every college to which they apply.

Unintended consequences.

  • More pressure on Financial aid budgets, already failing to keep pace with tuition increases.
  • In a time of demographic shifts, the sharp reduction of the college age segment of the population will cause competition between colleges for full pay students to increase sharply.

Next blog posting? How college works.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

Many readers have found my book reviews to be especially helpful:

Helpful Readings – Surviving the College Search Hysteria

Helpful Readings on the College Search Process

Book Review of Michael Lindsay’s ‘View from the Top’


Need a speaker for a community organization meeting?
Mr. Clark offers these popular evening college planning programs for college bound high school students and parents.

TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE DECISIONS.
The workshop will include help in de-mystifying how colleges make admissions decisions and tips for finding financial aid.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.
This workshop will present tips on financial aid, on paying for college and on planning for those college tuition bills.

BECOME A SAVVY COLLEGE CONSUMER
So little time, so many choices. Use the college search to make priorities and focus options.

Share

A college search tip for high school juniors

Make the College Fair experience work for you.

The College Fair experience is as much a part of the landscape of the college search in America today as is unsolicited mail. You know all the ingredients; a cavernous and impersonal facility; rows and rows filled with representatives of college admissions offices both near and far; and hundreds of high school students brought in by school bus.

You may be there with some friends from high school or your parents; so, where to start? The sponsoring organization is likely to be an organization of college admissions professionals from high schools (the “guidance counselors”) and colleges (the “admissions officers”).

There is little doubt this “shopping mall” approach to the college search serves the interest of the colleges more than it does the students and families. When you leave, you’ll have a plastic bag, affixed with a college’s logo, filled with glossy publications that will almost certainly end up in the same place the unsolicited literature you got in the mail. If your hope was to gain a bit of knowledge and possibly reduce your family’s college search anxiety a bit, think again. Too much information will end up being just as stressful for you and your parents as was not enough information.

How to make the college fair work for you?

Step one: Before the college fair.

Have a game plan, a strategy, before you go. Do some research. Find a list of the colleges that will be attending and spend some time sorting through that list. Any that you have already identified as a place you have an interest? Any new-to-you that match what you may be looking for-enrollment? programs? part of the country?

Step two: During the college fair.

Be sure to find the booth of the colleges that you highlighted in your “Before” research. Stop at each college’s booth and introduce yourself to the admissions representative. This is not the time to ask detailed questions, but it is a good time to show interest and to make contact with someone who may be able to answer more detailed questions by email or over the phone.

If the college did not make your pre-college fair qualification, save your time and pass that college by.

Step three: After the fair.

Intensify your research. On line? Whether it be the College Board’s “Big Future” website, a website offering student insight like “CollegeNiche” or another source altogether, dig a bit deeper. Know someone, a neighbor, the sibling of a classmate who attended? Inquire there.

Remember, be an educated consumer now, when it matters. You’ll be glad you did.

Next blog posting? Does a college education still have value?

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

Many readers have found my book reviews to be especially helpful:

Helpful Readings – Surviving the College Search Hysteria

Helpful Readings on the College Search Process

Book Review of Michael Lindsay’s ‘View from the Top’


Need a speaker for a community organization meeting?
Mr. Clark offers these popular evening college planning programs for college bound high school students and parents.

TAKE THE MYSTERY OUT OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE DECISIONS.
The workshop will include help in de-mystifying how colleges make admissions decisions and tips for finding financial aid.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.
This workshop will present tips on financial aid, on paying for college and on planning for those college tuition bills.

BECOME A SAVVY COLLEGE CONSUMER
So little time, so many choices. Use the college search to make priorities and focus options.

Share

Announcing New Offering

Announcing a one day program for High School Seniors:

COLLEGE APPLICATION ASSIST

  • Individualized transcript review.
  • Application completion support.
  • Personalized application essay workshop.

Available space will be limited.

when? Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 10:00am-1:30pm
where? Paoli Executive Green-One, Ste. 304; 41 Leopard Rd., Paoli, PA. 19301
who? David Clark, Ed.M.; Independent College Admissions Consultant, Member: PACAC and HECA

Questions? Directions? Cost?

Phone: 610-304-7119 email: david@collegesearchnow.net

Bonus!
Registrants (and parents) who have paid the registration deposit by October 10, 2018 may attend-at no charge- a one hour College Financial Aid seminar held at the conclusion of the College Application Assist.

David Clark, Ed.M.
41 Leopard Rd., Suite 304
Paoli, PA. 19301

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

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A truth college admissions offices would prefer you did not know

Recent articles in the WALL STREET JOURNAL (1/31/18, “Some elite colleges review an application in 8 minutes”) and the CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (2/1/18 “Reading an application in 10 minutes?”) shine a spotlight on a reality.

Truth #1: In a highly competitive environment, college administrators want to see “numbers” out of the admissions office.

Truth #2: Colleges market themselves to increase the total number of applications without increasing actual number of students accepted.

Truth #3: Colleges trumpet “holistic“ admissions practices that look at the “whole student”; admissions staff are under pressure to read through essays and personal statements as quickly as possible.

Truth #4: Turnover in college admissions staff is high.

Truth #5: Colleges profess disdain for the rankings (ex: US NEWS & WORLD REPORT) but total number of applications is an important factor in these AND it is true that the LOWER the acceptance rate the HIGHER the placement on a ranking.

Truth # 6: High demand and stagnant supply is a perfect way to keep prices (a.k.a. cost of college) high.

What does this mean for a college bound high school student and her family? Be a savvy consumer. Don’t feed the frenzy. Research carefully, visit several campuses. Control what you can control.

Remember this; the most important single data point in an applicant’s folder is the quality of the applicant’s high school academic program. Are you challenging yourself? In an area of interest –a possible college major-are you taking the most demanding academic level your school offers?

 

Important offering! I am available to work with families and college-bound high school to construct a personalized and individualized College Application Roadmap.

Next blog posting? Make the college fair experience work for you.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

Many readers have found these earlier e-newsletters on “How college admission decisions are made”to be helpful:

How the admissions office makes its decision-part one

How the admissions office makes its decision – part two

 

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Be An Educated Consumer: Tips on College Financial Aid

Tips on college financial aid.

The big picture: Prior to World War II , a college education was a luxury available primarily to the children of the privileged. Less than 10% of high school graduates applied to college. Today, a college education is a cultural, social and economic necessity. The numbers don’t lie; the income, over his/her lifetime, of a college graduate is twice that of a high school graduate. Access to this career path is supported by numerous state and federal programs, much of it available to students from families who cannot afford to pay all college expenses out-of-pocket.

Make no mistake, a college education is not cheap. For many families it is the greatest single expense they will encounter and for families who own their home it is the largest expense other than home ownership.

But prices vary widely and the college marketplace cries out for savvy consumers. Think about how you buy a car; a balancing act between “want” and “need” and what you can afford ends with a judgment as to what segment of the automobile marketplace to pursue. Selecting a group of colleges to which to apply should be no different.

Making the financial aid application process work to your benefit is not easy.

A tip: Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov or 1-800-433-3243) and submit it early (October 1st is the earliest FAFSA will be accepted).  The FAFSA gains you access to state and federal government support for college students AND most private and college scholarship programs require it.
Each college you indicate on the FAFSA will receive the Student Aid Report (you will receive a copy, too) on which an estimate is made of what your family can afford for one year of your college education.

A caution: The college “marketplace”, a sellers’ market, has created a confused and complicated process. Colleges encourage this “ignore the sticker price” thinking but under prodding from the federal government each is now required to post a net price calculator on its website to assist savvy consumers.

There is roughly $185 billion (source: THE COLLEGE BOARD, “Trends in Student Aid 2012”) available each year from all sources to help students pay for college. More than 50% of that is available to families without regard to annual income.

Hard to follow? You bet. Worth getting details? Correct again. What to do? Be an educated consumer.

In fact, value is there for the savvy consumer who knows where to look.

Examples of value you will find in the college search include:

  • co-op programs (examples: Drexel in Philadelphia and Northeastern in Boston) where valuable paid internships in the discipline of your college major area are a requirement.Income to help with expenses and practical ‘on-the-job’ experience at the same time! What is not to like?
  • five college consortiums (examples: the Five Colleges in Amherst, Mass and the Claremont Colleges in California) in which a student enrolled at one college may take courses at any of the other colleges, each with its own distinct strengths.
  • PG or “Gap” year programs for the student who may get little out of the college experience right now. Whether it be another year of high school in a different setting (“PG” ) or an intense and maturing work experience (‘Gap”) the evidence is clear that students who defer college for a year get more out of college once he/she does enroll.
  • colleges for whom the SATs or ACTs are optional. More than 25% of four year colleges are “test optional.”
  • non-traditional college settings for those of us who learn in at a different pace.
  • service academies or ROTC programs where part/all of expenses are paid for by the US taxpayer.
  • plenty of sources of cost reduction once on campus: most colleges forgive the room & board charge for dorm RAs. (resident assistants).

Want some college “shopping “tips?  When you visit a campus, work hard to find out the following:

Non-negotiable:

  • graduation rate within 4 years? within 6 years?
  • job placement by major? for the previous year’s senior class?
  • average student loan debt at graduation?

Nice to know and you’ll find it out soon enough once you enroll:

  • who teaches freshman courses, full professors? TAs?
  • % of grades that are A or B?

Be an educated consumer. If you view a college education as an investment, why approach the college search any other way?

Important new offering!  I am now available to work with families at all income levels on constructing a “Road Map to Financial Aid resources.”

 

Next blog posting?  Make the college fair experience work for you.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. David is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there.

**Many readers have found my earlier e-newsletter on the PG and Gap year to be helpful.

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Rigor on American College Campuses in Decline?

Rigor on American college campuses is a thing of the past.

The image of the undergraduate education in the college/universities in recent research is not a pretty one. For many students, freshman year is spent learning skills already covered in high school.

For example, according to Academically Adrift by Arum and Roksa (2011):

  •  more than one-third of freshmen drop out and those that stay show little “improvement in learning” in the first two years of college.

Perhaps more disturbing is the “WHY” suggested by the authors. According to Academically Adrift:

  • students spend more time in social activities than studying and largely avoid academic challenge. Participation in sororities or fraternities, a major social force on many campuses, clearly slows learning.

Paying for the Party by Armstrong and Hamilton (2013), offers kudos for the fact that our country is committed to state taxpayer funded higher education; 70% of college students attend a public institution and almost 80% of college students attend college in the same state where he/she lives.

But, according to Armstrong and Hamilton, the perception of college as a great meritocracy and socio-economic class leveler simply isn’t true.

The college support structure is not geared to the student who really needs it; a student looking for challenge but little experience finding it. Perhaps he/she attended a small town public high school with limited resources or possibly he/she is the first in the family to attend college.

The less affluent applicant on what the authors refers to as the “mobility pathway” has limited financial resources is on his/her own. Few university advisors have the time or incentive to help.

Full disclosure: The above includes excerpts from two previous articles;  e-newsletter #37 from July of 2013 and e-newsletter #51 from June, 2014. Much of the research quoted is from Academically Adrift by Arum and Roksa (Univ. of Chicago, 2011) or Paying for the Party by Armstrong and Hamilton (Harvard, 2013).

Next blog posting?  Financial Aid tips.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there. An archive with a variety of blog postings on the college search process can be accessed there, also.

**Many families of high school seniors have found helpful my suggestions on financial aid:

Article #10 from March, 2011

Article #11 from April, 2011

Article #42 from December, 2013

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Harvard Rocks the Social Media Generation: A College Admissions Bombshell

A college admissions “bombshell” from Massachusetts.

Harvard University rocked the social media generation recently when it withdrew the letter of acceptance to ten incoming freshmen of the class of 2021.

the offense?
Racially insensitive and sexually inappropriate memes sent by a group of high school seniors earlier this spring.

the goal of the meme?
To prove that “smart kids can have fun”, to be edgy, to get read.

why did the college admission world take notice?
When Harvard sneezes, the rest of the world says “god bless you.” Harvard enacted a rarely used provision of all college letters of acceptance which allows the admitting institution to reverse course.

was this a poorly contemplated action to later bring embarrassment to the university, similar to what happened this summer at the University of California-Irvine?
No, Harvard seemed to have little choice.

did Harvard act unilaterally without any warning?
No, it had similar concerns a year earlier with the class of 2020 and issued a warning that time.

does Harvard propose to scan the social media posting of all applicants?
No, it was alerted by a third party to this particular group chat. But, don’t forget, any college has the right to peruse the social media postings of any applicant.

any suggestions for high school students about to apply to college?
Remember the rule; “don’t post anything you would not want your grandmother to read.”

 

Next blog posting? Is rigor on American college campuses a thing of the past?

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there. An archive with a variety of blog postings on the college search process can be accessed there, also.

**Many families of high school seniors have found helpful my suggestions on financial aid:

Article #10 from March, 2011

Article #11 from April, 2011

Article #42 from December, 2013

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The SAT Subject Test

The SAT subject test – friend or foe?

Oddly named, rarely required and unknown to many college applicants, the SAT Subject Tests (a.k.a.the “SAT- IIs”, a.k.a. the “Achievement Tests”) perform an important, and often ignored, function in the college admissions process.

When? Six times a year, on the same date (a Saturday) as the well-known SAT-Reasoning test.

How long?  One hour. As many as three may be taken on any test date. Pre-registration is advised.

What subjects?  There are twenty different tests spread across the five primary high school curricular subject areas; English, History, Math (two different levels of difficulty), Science (Chemistry, Physics and two variations of Biology) and Language (ten different languages with listening available for most but only on the November sitting).

How do the colleges use these scores?  Stay tuned. It varies widely and is constantly changing to include “required “, required but will accept the ACT”, “strongly recommended”, “recommended” and considered”

Wow. That is confusing! What do you suggest? Do your research. Assume nothing. When in doubt call (yes, call) the Admissions rep for your region.

Do not forget: “Recommended “means Required.

Do not forget 2.0: That a particular department major (ex: Engineering) may require the tests when the college of arts & sciences does not.

Do I control if a college Admissions office receives my scores?  Yes.

How can I prepare?  We can help.

​​​Next blog posting?  Harvard rocks the social media generation.

David W. Clark, Ed.M. is an independent college admission consultant who has been working with high school students for more than thirty-five years. His website www.collegesearchnow.net is worth visiting and he can be reached there. An archive with a variety of blog postings on the college search process can be accessed there, also.

**Many families of high school seniors have found helpful my suggestions on how to find excellent college options in the summer after graduation:

Article #14 from June, 2011

Article #35 from May, 2013

 

A reminder:
​A complimentary evening program for college bound high school students and parents:

*Everything you have always wanted to know about college financial aid, but were afraid to ask (planning for those college tuition bills)
September 18, 2017 @ 6:30pm: Henrietta Hankin Library (215 Windgate Dr., Chester Springs PA. 19425)

Reservations, please. Email Mr. Clark at david@collegesearchnow.net.

Need directions? Have a question? Call (cell) 610-304-7119 or (office) 610-642-4873 (ext. 52)

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