3 Ways Your Guidance Counselor Might Be Sabotaging You

Local college financial aid, admissions planning workshop

Recent College Planning “Secrets” Workshop

Fair warning, this is a bit of a “mini-rant.”

But I need to get this off my chest, because it’s been going on for far too long…

…and it’s hurting our kids’ futures.

Be honest – we choose colleges for the dumbest reasons.  Just because a particular college “went deep” in the NCAA tournament, or is in The South, or happens to be festooned on the rear window stickers of cars in your neighborhood, does NOT mean that it’s a “good school.”

Even US News & World Report rank is seriously flawed – not to mention easily manipulatable.  I wish guidance counselors would explain this to their students – and parents.

The next gripe has to do with getting our kids’ hopes up about their chances of admission at top colleges.  It’s easy – and, frankly, a bit lazy – to use a tool like Naviance and proclaim, “These are your Safeties, Targets and Reaches.” How helpful is this?

You be the judge.  Naviance factors two things: academic credentials (grades and standardized test scores) and how your child stacks up compared to his/her peers from that high school.

However, academic credentials are weighted approximately 60% (!) in the overall admissions decision.  In other words, Naviance ignores 40% of the elements that admissions officers examine.  How comfortable can you feel?

College admissions is more marketing than meritocracy!

Even if you don’t like it.

Even if it’s “not fair.”

The other fatal flaw is that your kid is facing competition from all over the world, not merely from your particular high school.  I know you and your kids are curious about where you stand, but how are you supposed to rely on this microscopic amount of information?

You’re competing with thousands of kids with the same grades and scores, Naviance shows you a handful of them, artificially chosen.

Problem 3 is that most kids – and parents – don’t have a serious college planning discussion until late in 11th grade, when they have “The Meeting” with their guidance counselor (and walk out with the same list of colleges as the family who met with her before them).

My issue is that kids start creating their “body of work” that admissions officers will judge as early as 9th grade. By the time you meet with your guidance counselor, at least half of the choices and decisions about classes, extracurricular activities, what to do over the summer and so forth will already have been made.  Whoops!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing individual guidance counselors, although I know that many will take what I’ve written this way.  Guidance counselors are part of the system, but most of them are hard working, they have far more to do than meet with kids about college, and most genuinely mean well.

Look, I listed only three problems here, I didn’t get into financial aid, scholarships, college essays, negotiating with colleges and a LOT more stuff that needs to be addressed.

I’m conducting a free workshop on all of the above this Wednesday night, in Garden City.

http://lockwoodworkshops.com/

Discussions topics include:

  • Which types of savings accounts “penalize” you in the financial aid formulas, which do not count against you at all

  • What to do at the 11th hour if you’ve saved in the wrong places

  • The inconvenient, politically incorrect truth about what college admissions officers REALLY want to see (hint:  it’s not just super high grades and ridiculous standardized test scores)

  • How millionaires can get discounts of 48.6% off the cost of college

  • How to “10X” odds of admission, even if your kid didn’t cure a deadly disease last summer or build a village in a Third World country over winter break

  • WARNING:  your guidance counselor’s, accountant’s or “financial guy’s” advice may have SABOTAGED your chances of aid

  • The new changes to the FAFSA financial aid form and what they mean for your family

  • The surprising truth about what admissions officers are REALLY looking for

  • Little-known financial aid “loopholes” for business owners

  • Negotiation secrets: How a mild-mannered college planner got an extra $30,000  – per year – out of a top West Coast college AFTER its “final” offer

We added more seats last week, so please send this invitation along to any of your fellow parents who are facing the same obstacles and have the same questions.  As long as we have room, they’re welcome to come!

http://lockwoodworkshops.com/

I hope you can make it, especially if you have a Class of 2018 or 2019 kid.

Sincerely,

Andy “Busted Bracket” Lockwood

P.S.  I know the tone of this message was a little, ahem, “strong,” but our kids are facing severe obstacles and I feel like someone needs to shout til they’re blue in the face about it to get us all to wake up:  Student debt and defaults continue to skyrocket, 50% of kids who graduated college two years ago STILL don’t have  jobs that require a college degree, 93% of employers say that college grads are unprepared to work for them.  I could go on, but you get the point!  🙂

How To Choose A College List

I answer this question from "Gary" - recent webinar attendee

Thought this would be helpful – Gary asked me about the best way to create a college list for his daughter, Class of 2018, 97 average and wants to major in (a very popular major).

In this video, I describe the three “Gets”

For more info:

Brady, Belichick and college planning lessons

I had to do it…

Here are are the top seven lessons about college planning we can learn from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl win for the ages last night (Best game EVA!).  If you’re a non-sports fan, I apologize, but this piece is more about college planning than football.  Here are my lessons from last night:

1. Incredible challenges.  The Patriots season, and Superbowl game, was laden with all kinds of obstacles:  suspension of superstar quarterbackTom Brady, injuries to key players, a 25 point deficit last night, caused by a fumble, interception and a ridiculously fast and well-prepared Falcons defense.  Not to mention history: no quarterback or coach had ever won five Superbowls.

The college process is also full of obstacles:  rejections, deferrals, parent-child drama, peer-to-peer drama, less than stellar grades and standardized test scores, bad interviews, missed deadlines, poor guidance and so forth.  Junior year to first half of senior year is flat out the MOST challenging time in most middle class kids’ lives.

2.Detractors.  The Pats, Brady and Coach Belichick are hated by millions of fans. Pats supporters believe, with some justification, that the commissioner of the NFL also had some kind of weird vendetta against them.  Even some of Patriot Nation turned their backs when they learned of Brady, Belichick and owner Robert Kraft’s friendships with President Trump!

College-bound teens  face detractors in the form of their fellow teens, and, yes, parents of other teens who root against them. Shocking, I know, but I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.  You may not like or believe this, but many parents and teens are ultra-competitive and a little sneaky or secretive about their tutors, college list and plans. And yes, there’s a lot trash talking, behind the back and, occasionally, in front of the faces (or smart phones) of fellow competitor-applicants.

3. Excuses.  The Pats had every reason in the world to have a mediocre season, let alone lose last night:  the aforementioned injuries, including the season-ender to the undefendable Rob Gronkowski, the four game suspension, which led to games featuring their 2nd string and 3rd string quarterbacks substituting for Brady.

Even if you hate the Pats, you have to admit that they never made excuses for not performing up to the standards they hoped to achieve.  They won three of their four Brady-less games and pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in all sports, ever.

It’s too easy for kids and parents to make excuses in the college planning process:  ACT or SAT scores not as high as they should have been because the room was too hot or too cold. Or their tutor didn’t do a good job.  Or teachers giving bad grades because they “suck” or dislike the child for some reason.  Even when kids or parents miss deadlines to apply or file financial aid forms, because “No one told them.”  It may feel good, temporarily, to blame someone else for underperforming, but it’s not going to get you anywhere.

4. Game Plan.  The Pats had a plan for last night’s game. It didn’t look so great when they were down by 25.  But they believed in it, were flexible enough to made adjustments, and, most importantly, executed it, little by little, possession by possession.

Here’s a big issue in the college process: It is highly unusual for college-bound teens and their parents to have any semblance of a strategy, or plan. Instead, they focus on tactics, such as loading up on APs, taking the ACT 12 times, haphazardly coming up with a big project to fill up their activity sheet to “look good” on their college applications.  These types of tactics are arguably necessary, but lack an overarching, cohesive plan because they ignore fundamental questions such as “What is the goal beyond ‘Getting into a good school,” The definition of a “good school,” applying to a set of schools that compete with one another for the type of student your kid presents, “positioning” your child to enhance his/her candidacy, positioning yourself for the maximum amount of scholarships and financial aid, and more.  College-bound families would be smart to stop, take a breath, and do some serious THINKING about what they’re doing, and why.

5. Work ethic.  Sports writers have chronicled the insane work ethics of Brady and Belichick over the years. But my guess is that Belichick does not work harder than his peers, I’ve had three or four NFL coaches as clients over the years, and have always been struck by how much time they put in at the office.  I’m taking 14-18 hour days, six days a week for nine months.

But I marvel at Brady, whose motivation level is off the charts and unexplainable to a guy like me, considering how much he’s accomplished already and what he has going for him – the championships, the supermodel wife, more money than he can spend, the looks. If anyone should feel entitled to slack off a little, it’s Tommy. Yet he still, at age 39 (!), works as hard as any player in the NFL and has a mind blowing off-season routine of diet (green shakes, avocado ice cream) and exercise for hours per day.  Even if you can’t stand him, you have to respect his burning desire to be the best he can be.

Many kids have far more work to do than we parents did, growing up. But if you’re applying to a bunch of competitive colleges, your competition is working at least as hard as you. So if it means taking the AP class instead of honors, or doing one more practice ACT instead of messing around on Instagram or Snapchat, make that “sacrifice.”  (Incidentally, Brady was a terrific student at U Michigan, as was his Falcons counterpart Matt Ryan at Boston College.)

6. Faith.  Reportedly, there wasn’t any panic in the Patriots’ locker room at halftime, when they were down 18 and Atlanta’s defense appeared impregnable.  Disappointment, to be certain, but no yelling, crying or suicide attempts.  Instead, they had faith in themselves, which was the backbone of their resilience and victory.

Many kids today are not resilient. Frankly, a lot of us parents coddle them and try to shield them from adversity, to give them “the best.” It’s not just parents, at least directly, grade inflation in most high schools is rampant, for example.  Everyone has a 92 average an is in National Honor Society.

But this is counter-productive. Predictably, this leads to kids having a lack of confidence, and faith, in themselves, because they’ve never overcome any meaningful obstacles.  Even the slightest bit of negative feedback throws them for a loop.  My message to kids, and families, is that it’s ok to feel like sh*t if something doesn’t go your way, but trust yourself and keep working.  EVERYTHING will work out, so have faith.

7. Coaching. Yes, the Patriots work hard in practice, but I doubt that they work harder than most NFL teams.  To win, it’s about working hard AND smart – i.e. under the eyes of an experienced coach.

The most successful college applicants get coached through the process, too.  Lest you think this is a plug for me and our firm, it’s not.  Coaching can come in all sorts of sizes and shapes – guidance counselors (there are plenty of great ones), parents, even college consultants who are not named Andy and didn’t attend the same college as the greatest NFL coach of all time, “Bells,” as we referred to him back at Wesleyan.  Just kidding, he’s a wee bit older than I (but you just KNOW that someone must have called him that!).

The bigger point is that if you work hard, but dumb, you’ll fail.  Get help from someone with a track record of success that is qualified.

If you are interested in talking to us about our college coaching or other services, we are filling up with Class of 2018 families but still have availability.  You can book a free College Strategy Session here (regularly $249) because I’m all giddy about the Patriots and am in a celebratory mood.

Have a great day, God knows I am!

– Andy “Not Too Old To Be Immature About Sports” Lockwood

P.S.  The link for non-clients to book a chat is:

www.CollegeStrategySession.com

Proprietary “College Guru” Software

Predict your chances of admission, scholarships and financial aid with 90% certainty



Nothing against Naviance™ , but it’s pretty darn misleading.

What do I mean?  Consider the following:

  1. Naviance factors in grades and standardized test scores…BUT academic credentials “count” approximately 60% of the admissions equation.  In other words, Naviance ignores 40% of the factors going into the decision to admit or deny.
  2. Naviance looks at your (your kid’s) chances compared to other kids from your high school who were admitted into each college…BUT you’re not competing with kids from your school, you’re up against competitor-applicants from all over the world.

Our “College Planning Guru” software was designed by Don Betterton, a long-time (30+ years) admissions committee member and Director of Financial Aid at Princeton University, along with two of his Princeton students.

When I speak to Mr. Betterton, it’s like I’m talking to the Burning Bush!

This software considers practically ALL of the elements that go into the admissions decision. There are 20-25, including grades and scores.

What this means for you

When you use our software, you will

  • Get a realistic idea of your odds of admission to the colleges on your list so that you can avoid “Admissions Armageddon” (denied by all of your colleges)
  • Create a balanced and strategic list of schools
  • See how to improve your odds of admission by increasing extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, etc.
  • Handicap your shot of receiving merit scholarships from your colleges
  • Calculate your eligibility for need-based aid from your colleges
  • Feel comfortable and confident that you’ll get into most of your colleges!

The investment

For a limited time you can get access to this “secret” tool that is not available to the public.  Try searching for it, I’ll wait 🙂  (It’s currently being offered for $997)

The investment is only $297, then after 90 days, $47 per month.  You can cancel any time, it’s not a cell phone contract or gym membership!

Enroll today, get clarity and confidence about YOUR college plan, today!

get started today yellow button

Andy Lockwood Interviews Richard Rossi

How to succeed as a doctor, scientist and techie

Highlights from a technology-plagued webinar that almost wasn’t!

On this interview, you will discover:

  • Surprising predictions about the future of medicine
  • A simple tip to help you stand out and succeed in college, grad school and in your career
  • The fatal mistake that causes thousands of highly qualified doctors, scientists and technologists to fail
  • How to evaluate summer programs
  • A special, surprise offer to participate in Richard’s events this summer (Buzz Aldrin, astronaut and Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and several Nobel Laureates have “headlined” in the past!)

For more information about Richard’s organizations, visit or call:

www.SciTechLeaders.com

www.FutureDocs.com

617-307-7425

How To Make Your College Application Stand Out In A “Sea Of Sameness”

Ready for a small dose of harsh reality (how’s that for a loaded question)?

  • Fact: your kid’s grades and standardized test scores will be substantially IDENTICAL to  5,000 other competitor applicants.
  • Fact:  colleges don’t care about “well-rounded” you are, or how many cancer walks or honor societies (participation trophies) you list on your application.
  • Fact: colleges are businesses (you probably “get” this), but here’s something I bet you haven’t considered:
Your kid is in business for himself, whether or not he realizes it!
And whether or not you LIKE it, for that matter.

So what do you do to stand out?

How do you multiply your chances of getting into your “Dream College”? If you have a high school junior or sophomore, you need to hear this.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), we’re doing our final webinar of the year. It’s live and unscripted, anything can happen!
(We’re not set up for a replay, it’s a one-shot deal.)

Here’s what’s on the docket:

  • How to win merit scholarships if you cannot qualify for need-based aid

  • The problem with Naviance® and why it can mislead you into a false sense of security  – and, worse, “Admissions Armageddon”

  • Just how important are grades and scores?  This answer will shock or offend, depending on your personality and what meds you’re currently on

  • Three simple words that describe what admissions officers are looking for on the Common App – but don’t find 99% of the time

  • How to stand out – for the right reasons – among a “Sea Of Sameness” – thousands of kids who look identical on paper

  • Advice for Class of 2018, Class of 2019 and younger families re: how to create a body of work that will make admissions officers roll out the red carpet

  • How *This* system is “rigged” and what to do about it (if you’re unable to tweet daily insults to millions of followers)

  • How to choose a college that will actually help you get a job after college, and avoid coming home to the basement with your tail between your legs and buttcheek-deep in student loans

  • Your questions – we’ll be chatting live!  (Anything goes!)

www.CS4L.tv

(Live, Wednesday night, we are not setting up a replay. Details at that link.)

Information rarely – if ever – discussed in school, even behind closed doors.

Why is this information under lock and key so airtight that even the Russians couldn’t hack it?
The obvious reason is that most of it isn’t politically correct.
I won’t lie, Wednesday’s final webcast is bound to offend some parents.  But, I assure you, 100% of what you’ll hear is 110% true, even if it’s not particularly sugar-coated.
So please forward this email to everyone you could think of who has a Class of 2018 or 2019 kid  – and needs to hear the blunt truth about what it really takes to get into and pay discounted prices for the best colleges in the country!
See ya tomorrow night!
-Andy “‘Trafficker In Inconvenient College Truths” Lockwood
P.S.  Forgot to mention, we’re giving away an Amazon Echo, one of those cool thingies that you can yell stuff at (“Alexa, what’s the weather like?”  “Alexa, order me paper towels.”  “Alexa, force my kids to make their beds”) for one lucky attendee on Wednesday!  How much fun are we?????

Fact Checking High School “College Night”

Have you been to your high school’s annual College Night meeting yet?

Pearl went last night pre-debate (and pre rant), and is going to report on her experience today on College Talk Tuesday, [12:00]-[12:30] ET.

Spoiler alert – she was not too surprised at what was said…

But she was shocked by what was NOT said!

She’ll share her thoughts today.

www.CollegeTalkTuesday.live

ALSO…..

We are hosting our own Virtual College Night this Thursday on College Success For Less, live and barely scripted!  You’ll have the chance to ask us your questions about financial aid.

We’ll rerun the recording throughout the weekend too (sign up for both live and recorded.)

Note: This will be your last chance for a deep dive on the financial aid and college planning process before the FAFSA is released October 1st.

www.CS4L.tv

Please pass this information along to other parents!

Andy “Just The Facts” Lockwood

Financial aid, college admissions “Crunch Time!”

Last minute college planning, financial aid, scholarships tips for college-bound teens

Hi there

We’re headed into the home stretch for seniors, between struggling with college applications, essays, regular homework, teacher recommendations and those “Back To School” nights…

…Not to mention the official October 1 opening of Financial Aid Season, when the FAFSA and CSS Profile come out (less than two weeks!).

That’s why stress levels for Class of 2017 kids and parents these days are as high as Snoop Dogg!

(Note:  I thought about substituting “Gary Johnson” but went with Snoop Dogg instead.  Each made me giggle.)

Permit me to throw out three quickie, important tips:

  1. Trust your recommenders, guidance counselors to do their jobs – writing up your letters, sending your transcripts to EVERY college…but VERIFY.  A little paranoia goes a long way.

  2. Get a handle on your financial aid deadlines – they vary by school!  Look ‘em up on each college’s website.

  3. Also get a handle on WHICH FORMS each college requires, some want only the FAFSA, others want the CSS Profile also (NOT “in lieu of” the FAFSA, in addition to), still others have their own or additional forms

Failure to do any or all of the above could result in needlessly shooting yourself in the foot re: getting into your top choice colleges,  or getting the grants, scholarships and other financial aid you otherwise deserve!

Here’s a list of upcoming events that we’re holding to help you cope, whether you’re Class of 2017, 2018 or younger.

Please forward this notice around to any/all parents who could use it!!!

Speak soon,

-Andy “Crunch Time” Lockwood

How to read your admissions officer’s mind

Common application essay "insider secrets" revealed

Tonight you can sharpen your psychic powers and learn EXACTLY what admissions officers from top colleges think about your college essay, behind closed doors!

Tonight, July 20th, 7:30pm ET, We’re hosting a completely candid, no-holds barred round table discussion with two former admissions officers from an elite (7.6% admit rate this year), private midwestern college on The College Success For Less Show.

They’ve read thousands of college essays in the aggregate, now they’re willing to pull back the curtain, spill the beans (or whatever goofy metaphor suits you) and reveal the truth about the college essay that you’ll never hear from your English teacher, guidance counselor or read in any book!

You can watch here, there is no charge:

www.CS4L.tv

You will have an almost unfair advantage over other applicants after tonight’s training.  But the best part is that we’ll be chatting live, so you can ask your specific questions to our expert panel!

First up is a prompt-by-prompt dissection of the five Common Application Essay choices, so you can discover – directly – from our “insiders” what they’re looking for in each of the prompts…

….and craft an essay so compelling that YOUR admissions officers will crawl naked over broken glass to admit you (practically)!

(That was a figure of speech, there will not be any adult content on tonight’s show. 🙂

Equally important, you’ll realize what they absolutely HATE seeing in an essay, so you can avoid making critical mistakes that can blow your chances of admission to your top choice colleges!

www.CS4L.tv

Listen, I’ll cut to the chase – the college essay is your last and best shot to explain something critically important on your college application.

It’s an answer to a fundamental question…

…except, strangely, this make or break question appears NOWHERE on your application.

Failure to answer it dooms your candidacy from the get-go.

What is the “secret” question your admissions officer wants you to resolve?

“Why should we chose YOU, compared to the other 5,000 competitor-applicants with the same grades and standardized test scores?!”

Tonight is your unique opportunity to learn the truth, directly from the source.

www.CS4L.tv

Please pass this invitation along to anyone who could benefit from this info!

Hope you can tune in tonight!

-Andy Lockwood

P.S.  Several folks have asked about a replay.  I’m going to ask our celebrity guests if they’re cool with it – but they are still friends with many of their admissions officer colleagues and may not want this insider information out there on the Interwebz.   Currently, nothing is planned, so I can’t promise anything, unfortunately.

Why do college applicants make this mistake?

Free webinar reveals how to become an "Incomparable Applicant" even if you have the same grades and scores as 5,000 other competitor-applicants

fb How To Become anIncomparable Applicant*Mini-Rant Alert*

I spoke to a mom and dad last month, Our older daughter is at [state university], she didn’t get in anywhere else she applied.  We have another son, you made one comment that will help prevent a second disaster.

Before I share what I told them, let me give you a little back story.

I see this mistake ALL the time.

Kids – and parents –  go all loopy in 11th grade

They’re inundated with SAT and ACTs, daily barrages of emails and “snail mail” brochures from colleges they never heard of, incessant, hyper-stressed chatter from peers and other parents who may or may not be attempting to psych you out under the false belief that you’re competing with each other (Sooo….are you sure you’re ED’ing to Penn?)

My reactions fall somewhere along the continuum of bemused to depressed when I hear how kids – and parents – choose their college lists.

How do kids pick schools?

Here are some of the factors that affect kids’ college list composition:

[Warning:  the following contains explicit TRUTH.]

Sports.  The year following a deep run in “March Madness” (the NCAA men’s basketball tournament) or a strong college football bowl appearance, applications spike at those respective schools.

We in the biz call this the “The Flutie Effect”, which put Boston College on the map.  I can still recall exactly where I was watching the “Miracle in Miami” game – at my friend Ben’s house, upstairs.  (Not sure how I feel about this, especially because I have no idea where I was when Reagan was shot, when any Supreme Court decision was announced or where Pearl told me she was pregnant those four times.  It’s all about priorities.)

Rank.  When US News & World Report publishes its latest, hot off the presses “Best Colleges” edition, schools at the tops of the 89 or whatever categories see more application action, and in turn rush out new marketing materials to brag to easily impressed kids and parents (“Named to the Top 100 Fastest Growing South-Southwest Colleges That Start With The Letter ‘P’ for Two Consecutive Years!”).

Spoiler alert:  US News does not consider items like quality of education. But they do factor in peer reputation, alumni giving and, of course, selectivity.  (If so many people want to go there, it must be a great school!)

Recruiting.  Kid/parents get suckered by overtures from admissions officers whom they encounter at college fairs and high school visits.  Job Number 1 for them is to get applications submitted, even if means minimizing or obscuring the truth about chances of getting in.  I know you have a 22 on the ACT, but your Etruscan National Honor Society honorable mention mitigates your score and makes you a strong candidate!

Finally, there’s guidance counselors.  I’m bracing myself for a slew of hate mail (I do read them, so bring it on!), but I warned you I was going to be truthful.

Is there a reason why they recommend the same 25-30 “Rear Window Sticker” colleges to 90% of kids?

There are several, but I don’t have space to discuss them.

But I have time to point out one problem – over-reliance on Naviance.  This college selection software helps you match up your grades and scores against other kids from your high school who were previously admitted to the colleges on your list.

But there’s one teensy problem. Actually, two.

#1. Grades and scores count, but only approximately 60% of the admissions decision.

Naviance ignores 40%.

What’s in that “yuge” chunk?  Everything else, including

Your essays

Your extra-curricular activities

Your recommendations

Your volunteer hours

What “special” category you fall into – e.g. underrepresented minority, international student, legacy, recruited athlete.

If you’re curious why kids with lesser grades and scores get into top colleges at the expense of more heavily credentialed applicants, this is why.  Or, let me put it another way:

College is not a meritocracy

Colleges admissions officers reserve anywhere from 67-80% of their incoming classes for special categories.  That’s not a typo.

If you don’t fall into one of these groups, you have to work even harder to get in, because the special group kids tend to have lesser grades and scores, which drag down the averages published by colleges.  You need to be at the top end of the range to feel good about yoru chances.

The second “fatal flaw” with Naviance is that you are not competing with kids in your high school – there’s no quota.  I know that may not make sense, but it’s da truth – I swear by the College Board.

You’re competing with kids all over the world. But Naviance couldn’t care less.

For several years now, most colleges have been aggressively recruiting international students from China, other parts of Asia and the Middle East to 1. Diversity and 2. Get paid full price (most international students don’t get any aid).

If you’re wondering why yesterday’s “joke” colleges are today’s “Dream Colleges,” it’s largely because there are about the same number of seats available, but more students competing for them.

Even if someone suggests building a wall around Asia and the Middle East, this trend will continue.

Colleges need cashola.

Failure to understand how admissions really works is why guidance counselors, and Naviance, give a false sense of security when you assess which colleges are safeties, targets and reaches.

It’s the main reason why “Admissions Armageddon” plays out for tens of thousands of high school seniors each January.  I predict that last year’s Targets will be next year’s Reaches.

My favorite basis for choosing colleges

But the reason I’m most fond of, or most frustrated by (depending on my mood, bipolar much?):  It just felt right.

Uh huh.

What “felt right?”  The tour (sales pitch)? The information session (sales pitch)?

The way the buildings were laid out (close, far, not too close, not too far, close yet not invasive of your personal space)?

A $250,000 good feeling.  Please.

Then comes the summer, college applications and essay questions that read as if sadistic psychologists from the local asylum, or university administrators, huddled to create a list of prompts to confound teens (What sets your heart on fire?  How will you “community?”  Seriously.)

Anyhoo, I have a solution to this mess.  Think of it as a clear path.

Pearl and I are hosting a show on “How To Become An Incomparable Applicant” next Thursday as part of a promotion for our product, The Incomparable Applicant Toolkit and (application only) The Incomparable Applicant Coaching Program.

SIGN UP HERE

You will discover:

  • How to choose a college list strategically, not based only on brochures featuring smiley, clear-skinned multi-ethnic coeds frolicking on the quad or “Rear Window Sticker” appeal

  • Questions to ask, people to see on college visits beyond the cliche overly caffeinated tour guides and solicitous, eager beaver admissions officers

  • You have the same grades and scores as 5,000 other competitor applicants – now what?  Tips to distinguish yourself – the right way – on your applications

  • How to write a college essay that “Sells,” not “Bores”

  • Naviance on ‘Roids – the proprietary system our clients use and trust to create a balanced list that accurately reflects chances of admission

  • Overlooked sources of scholarships

There is no charge to attend. It is a training class.  It’s not an infomercial.

As noted, we will be offering the opportunity – discounted – to enroll in either our Incomparable Applicant Toolkit or apply for our personalized Incomparable Applicant Coaching Program.

I will go over details of each at the end of the webinar only for people who are interested (so please don’t reply to this email asking about them – I’m keeping a lid on things. So there :).

Oh, what was the advice I gave to those parents?  I told them that their son should engage in “Atypical Teen Activities,” meaning don’t just do the same old, same old stuff that everyone else in high school does.

Take one, max two, things that he enjoys and “plus” it – accentuate them to almost an extreme level.

I’ll give a couple examples on the webinar.  

Speak soon,

-Andy “College Rants R Us” Lockwood

P.S.  Please forward this to anyone and everyone who needs this info!

P.P.S. Our presentation next week is geared toward “rising senior” Class of 2017 families, but Class of 2018 are welcome to join too. The earlier you start learning this stuff, the more choices you’ll have when it comes down to college nitty gritty!