1. Why start college counseling in the freshman or sophomore year? College admissions decisions are largely based on the quality of a student’s curriculum, particularly in the junior and senior years. Colleges look at how well students have progressed in each discipline and how well they have performed in the tougher courses. Course planning in the sophomore year allows for this kind of strategic academic planning. Students can also be counseled about how to build on non-academic strengths so they can show evidence of distinction in extra-curricular activities by the time they submit their applications. Starting early to shape a program of study and identify personal strengths gives a student’s greater distinction in an applicant pool.

2. Why start the college counseling process in the junior year? Most schools begin the college advising process at the mid-point of the junior year so that students can begin building their college list before visiting colleges over spring break. Families often want to begin this process earlier in the year so that there is more in-depth counseling in terms of determining the best college matches for the student. Linda Rue provides an analysis of the academic profile, course selection for the senior year, the standardized testing program in the junior and senior years, and summer enrichment. Once students have their preliminary college list (approximately 10-14 colleges), they research these colleges on line. Working with the counselor, students refine their lists and decide which colleges to visit over spring break when students are on campus. Students also work on interviewing techniques, and how to evaluate a college campus. At the end of the junior year, the student should have a clear idea of their college list; should have completed the standardized testing; have identified two teachers to write recommendations letters; and have an understanding of how the common application works, with special emphasis on the personal essay.

3. Why offer ACT and/or SAT test preparation tutoring?  Your college application package consists of many facets, including your grades, your recommendations, your essay, and your ACT and/or SAT scores. As colleges have become more competitive, students have become increasingly interested in raising their test scores. In partnership with my daughter and former University Professor, Eden Rue, I have been successful in bringing together these facets by offering directed, thoughtful tutorials aimed at each particular student's strengths. Eden focuses on both learning the content covered in the tests as well as learning the strategies for approaching each subject. The number and duration of tutorials varies depending upon the specific needs of each student.

4. What is the benefit of college counseling in the senior year? Mostly the first semester of senior year revolves around completing the college applications as well as getting good grades. Due dates are typically the first of November for Early Action and Early Decision applications and January first or fifteenth for Regular Decision applications. Some students use the fall to take another round of standardized tests, visit additional campuses, or arrange for interviews. But in terms of making important decisions about course selections, senior year is simply too late.

5. What counseling plan has the greatest impact in terms of strengthening a candidate’s chances of getting into a competitive college? The key is long-term planning in terms of building a strong program of study, doing those activities that build on individual strengths, and having a game plan that brings out the best in a candidate. Having a three-year (or even a four year) window allows for this kind of strategic planning.

6. What is the best way for a student to approach the college process? Students who fare the best in this process see it as an adventure that takes careful planning so that each step is done well before moving to the next one. In the junior year, it is important to begin to think about what you, the student, want from a college. Is it close relationships with professors who serve as mentors? Or is it the opportunity to do research at a major university, a very different kind of setting from a small liberal arts college. Students who decide they want eight “first” choices also do well because they know they could be happy at a variety of different colleges which offer what they are looking for. Being open-minded, flexible, and confident about your ability to be successful in different kinds of settings are all healthy ways to achieve success in the college process.

7. Why work with an independent college counselor? For most college-bound students who are applying to selective and highly selective colleges, knowing how to navigate the admission process with confidence is difficult, and can be confusing. The benefit of an independent counselor is in helping students sort out specific college goals that relate to their abilities, values, goals, and career interests. Beginning early in this process can also help the student build the strongest possible academic and personal profile that clearly reflect individual strengths. Making the “match” between the strengths of the student and those of college means knowing yourself as a student and matching these to individual colleges. It is a thoughtful process that requires time, research, planning, organization and energy. Working with an expert can add value to this experience and make the journey one of great personal growth and success.

Linda Rue  cell (912) 659-8669  office (65l) 699-2687   Eden Rue, Ph.D.   (831) 566-0193         Website Design by SO Green