• Rebecca Eckstein, MA, CEC

Calling All Sophomores & Juniors



If you haven't started your college search, what are you waiting for, a New Year?. You will make decisions about your life that will impact you forever. It is probably the single largest decision that you will make independently from your parents. And, yes, you need to make this all important decision; not your parents. Certainly you need to accept their advice, but you are the one who is going to school. You need their support, but you need to choose the college or university that is best for you. And, you do not need to go it alone. It doesn't have to be scary or stressful with the right help. There are lots of resources out there to assist you in your search for the right college.

In the beginning you need to develop what we call the short list. This list should contain about six schools. One stretch school, four good choices, and one safe school. The stretch school will be very competitive for you academically or athletically. The four good choices are all schools that you would be happy to attend for your four years of study. And, the safe school, is the school that you could see yourself attending if for some reason you did not gain admittance to the other five schools. This is how it works. The safe school should also be affordable. This is what I discuss with my clients on the initial meeting. Then we go over deadlines, checklists and we do an academic assessment to see what type of work you are passionate about. Once we have your assessment, we can determine if your major is aligned with your passions. If not, we study our options. Sometimes, we have to get creative to make it all work, and sometimes I suggest that a student apply to more than six colleges or universities. This is an art and a science which is why it can be daunting.... but it doesn't have to be that way.

After we align your passions with your major, we make sure the schools are a good fit. This can be tricky. We have to honestly determine things like how happy will you be living in a dorm with 3 other students? Do you want to have a car on-campus? Do you want to live at home and commute? Can you afford this college? Will you get in? Should you apply ED? Do you need to take the SAT and the ACT? Do you need a scholarship to defray costs? And, what about those essays? Do you have a grasp of what each college is looking for in the outcome of your finished essay?

These are all items that we will work on over the next year. I will also coach you through the visit and the tour. There are certain questions you should ask to gain a real feel for where you are going to live for the next four years. And, that brings up a very important issue. Will it be four years, or will it be five? Have you studied the graduation rates of the colleges that you plan to attend? That fifth year can be costly. It adds 20% to your bottomline in student loan debt and out-of-pocket costs, and it delays your admittance into grad or professional school OR your first job. This is sometimes a hidden cost that they do not tell you about. I know this is overwhelming, but I can help. Contact me and we will set up a time to talk (www.AdmissionNetwork.org). I can go over all of this with you and your parents. I even keep in touch with my students during college. If there are issues, you have a coach to assist you in working through the challenges of living and learning in a new community. Let's get started soon, time is running out, and your next steps are critically important for your success, not just in college but in life!


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