Monday, February 26, 2018

Admission secrets college applicants need to know

Be nice.  That’s one of the many bits of advice offered in a recent “Business Insider” article that warns students and parents that their communication with people at college admissions offices is tracked.  So venting, or being rude, to the person who answers the phone is definitely not a good idea as it will likely get noted in the student’s file. Those cautionary words were attributed to a former Yale University admissions official.
A student seeking admission to an elite university needs an application that’s not just good, but great.  Due to the monumental number of applications received by top schools, you need your application to stand out in the pile.  Otherwise, your application will likely be marked with the acronym “SP,” which stands for standard positive. So consider how you can make your application particularly memorable.  Those words of wisdom were accredited to a former Stanford University admissions reader.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Six years is the new four, students sadly find out

“What is your four-year graduation rate?” This may be one of the most important questions that college-bound students and their parents can ask when considering a potential college.  A recent Money article reported that six years is now the new four, stating “the failure to graduate students in four years has become so commonplace that schools are now showing you their six-year graduation rate.”

Sometimes there’s a good reason for students to take six years to earn a diploma.  Perhaps they switched majors and many of their credits did not carry over to their new course of study. On the other hand, perhaps it was out of their control.  Maybe some of their required courses were not readily available, requiring a longer than expected college stay in order to meet graduation requirements.  Either way, students and parents who are budgeting for a college diploma need to know, in advance, whether to multiply the annual cost of attendance (including tuition, room, board, books and fees) by four or by six.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Shadowing a professional promotes career awareness

A pilot project launched at Immaculata High School, the Career Shadowing Program, provides its seniors with an ideal opportunity to experience their intended career first-hand by being immersed in the work environment.  Twelfth-grade twins Michael and James Dowling, along with their classmate, Sean Doran, shadowed an Immaculata alumnus at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.  Two other Immaculata seniors, Megan Adam and Nolan Leger, were immersed in the world of architecture by working alongside professionals designing renovations for their own school.


As the deadline arrives to register for the March SAT exam, New Jersey students recognize that the bar is high. While the national average SAT score for the graduating class of 2017 was 1060 (out of 1600), New Jersey students scored significantly higher. Statewide, they averaged 1085.  But locally, many high schools posted average scores hundreds of points higher, topping at 1477 at the Middlesex County Academy for Mathematics, Science & Engineering Technologies. 

Also in Middlesex County, the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences placed second with average SAT scores of 1413 and John P. Stevens High School placed third at 1273.

In Somerset County, students at Montgomery High School earned the highest average SAT scores of 1313.  Ridge High School came in next at 1281, followed by Somerset County Vo-Tech at 1231.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


While the majority of college-bound students want to spread their wings after graduating from high school, about 25% start their higher education at their local community college. New Jersey is home to 19 community colleges, including Raritan Valley, Middlesex County and Mercer County in Central New Jersey. Their tuition hovers around $4,500 a year for students who take 15 credits each semester. (There are no room and board fees, as housing is not provided.) For the 2,000 students each year who become NJ Stars, graduating in the top 15% of their class and meeting certain requirements, community college is actually free of charge.

Friday, February 9, 2018


High school students who are dreaming of attending an Ivy League university can have their dreams come true sooner than they planned. All eight Ivy League institutions are offering “pre-college” programs, including the three Ivies that are an easy commute for Central New Jersey students: Princeton University, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Princeton University will be hosting a three week Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) program from July 22nd through August 11th on its iconic Princeton, NJ campus. Students aged 13 through 17 can choose from a wide variety of courses in the Humanities, Math, Science, Technology, Visual & Performing Arts, and Fitness & Recreation. The application deadline is May 15th and tuition ranges from $4,895 for commuters to $5,795 for residential students.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Whether preparing for high school midterm exams, upcoming SAT or ACT exams, or the exams that are looming ahead as a new college semester begins, students should follow some time-honored strategies.
First of all, students should always set a study plan in advance, and adhere to its details. Setting aside specific dates and times to study, and keeping those times sacred, is key to staying on schedule. There are absolutely no advantages to last-minute cramming, but many disadvantages including sleep deprivation and increased anxiety.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


All parents of high school students are invited to attend a local presentation where I will be discussing the highlights of my newly released book, College Planning Strategies for New Jersey Students.

The presentation will be held at the Hillsborough Public Library on Wednesday, June 20th at 7pm. The presentations are free, however advanced registration is required by calling: 908-369-5362.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


The January SAT exam is now history. It was given for the last time in January of 2017 and has been replaced by an August exam that will be administered each year on the last Saturday of that month. So now all eyes are on the March, May and June SAT exams, and a great New Year’s resolution for students is to start the preparations now!