Over the years, I have had the honor to witness first-hand the success of Ridgefield, A Better Chance (RABC). As part of a national organization, RABC offers educationally disadvantaged girls from around the United States the choice to enter into a supportive living and learning environment. Since its inception, our community program has mentored and educated thirty seven highly talented young women. One hundred percent of the Ridgefield ABC scholars have been admitted to a college and/or university as well as continued on with professional and graduate degrees. Where have they headed? The respected list includes Columbia, Michigan, Penn, Wellesley, Swarthmore, Colgate, Tufts, Smith, and Carnegie Mellon. And, with this achievement, these motivated now independent women have been launched into higher education, ready to set a continued path of unlimited opportunity for themselves and their families. Finding the right educational path for girls regardless of their background is one of the priorities of the DEC Network. Learn more about RABC at www.ridgefieldabc.org.
The year has begun at full steam ahead for many clients planning for college, graduate school, internships and jobs. No matter what your direction, here are our three easy New Year’s resolutions to get yourself off on the right track:
1. Understand your strengths and interests. Pure and simple. This may seem obvious to some but to others it is not.
Complete personality assessments such as the Myers Briggs Type Instrument which will highlight your innate preferences related to how you direct your energy, process information, make decisions and live your life. From those preferences, you can read about suitable matches in learning style, majors and careers based on highly accurate statistical studies. Often the findings are just an affirmation of what you and others already know.
Draft a resume, identifying a profile of academic, work and extracurricular accomplishments. The resume emphasis will depend on where you are in your educational and career journey. This process helps you to really think about your identity, creating a succinct description of your experience and adaptable skills that will impress college admissions officers and future employers alike. Communication and leadership characteristics are important. Visit a local book store to pick up resources on how to make your resume shine with these and other action verbs.
2. Do your research and network.
Learn as much as you can about a particular college, job or industry that offers a match to your interests and talents. Study websites to familiarize yourself with the culture, mission, expectations, management, and future direction. Contact as many people as possible with a direct link to schools and organizations. Use networks such as friends, family, neighbors, alumni and more. Don’t be bashful. Others have been in the same place as you so reach out in the form of a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s or a quick call…whatever it takes to get the next best connection. The more you connect, the faster you’ll reach your goals.
3. Create a professional online presence on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
Your media presense is vital in today’s technology based world and serves as an excellent resource for finding opportunities for the next step in your life. Like and link up with as many people as possible and make sure your profile/message is clear from one resource to another.
By accomplishing these three simple resolutions for the New Year, you’re off to a fabulous start to creating a professional profile and media presense, establishing connections and learning as much as possible about exciting options for education and career.
With great pride, we salute our diligent students who have been accepted over the past year to a wide range of public and private universities, liberal arts and community colleges, and professional and technical schools throughout the United States. The variation in size, location, cost, selectivity, mission and career focus reflects our continued commitment to every type of student regardless of demographics and learning style.
During 2012, these educational institutions included but are not limited to American University, Bryant University, Bentley University, Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Denison College, Elon University, Fordham University, Furman College, George Washington University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Hartwick College, Indiana University, Ithaca College, Keene State University, Lafayette College, Loyola Marymount University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Merrimack College, Miami University of Ohio, and Middlebury College.
Mount Holyoke College, New York University, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Norwalk Community College, Pace University, Pennsylvania State University, Pomona College, Quinnipiac University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Savannah College of Art & Design, Stanford University, Tufts University, Tulane University, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, University of Denver, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill.
University of Pennsylvania, University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Vermont, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, Washington University of St. Louis, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Western Connecticut State University, Western New England University, William & Mary (College of), and Worcester Polytechnical Institute.
If you’re on the receiving end of a positive early admissions decision, congratulations. Make sure to celebrate your acceptance(s) and merit scholarship award(s) over the holiday season. Don’t take any of this lightly even if a college is at the bottom of your college list. You’ve worked extremely hard in school as well as throughout the college application process, earning all of the well deserved recognition, whether in your eyes, great or small.
For those admitted under the Early Decision (ED) category, your college search journey has ended with your signed commitment to attend and the college’s signed letter to admit. Follow the instructions from the dean of admissions related to the deposit deadlines and more, and send thank you’s to all the key members of your college journey team. Mentors, teachers, alumni, and admissions officers who provided support along the way will value your words of appreciation and share in the excitement of the news.
Along with all the positive energy, you will also have a major responsibility related to one of the aforementioned instructions; an ethical choice that could have significant ramifications for others. As noted in your admittance letter, you are required to send an email to all other outstanding college applications indicating that you wish to withdraw your application given the ED acceptance. Some students and parents will feel compelled to keep applications out there just to see if a student could get in. Yet, these actions are unethical and unfair to the thousands of applicants hoping to fill a coveted admissions slot. Look around you…this could be a best friend, a high school peer, a distant cousin, a first generation student.
For Early Action (EA) admits, unlike an ED admit, you are not obligated to respond to the college that has accepted you until the posted date on their letter (on or around May 1, 2013). However, do yourself and others a favor by not waiting until the deadline to show your cards. If you know now, in the distant future or at some point before the deadline that you’ll not attend, send in your withdrawal to open up opportunities for others.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve been denied, take a few days to get over the disappointment and continue on with your action plan. With a well balanced college list strategy in hand, there will be other colleges that represent excellent fits and positive decisions to come. Stay grounded and focused with your strategy. Don’t take the admissions decision personally. Be proud of your application and all that it represents. Application numbers continue to increase markedly (Northeastern received 42,000 for 2,800 slots) so colleges must say no to many students like you who otherwise have a track record that proves potential college success.
And, for those in the land of grey; those who have been deferred to the Regular Decision pool, feel proud of the fact that the college has indicated that you are in line with the admissions’ profile of the Class of 2017. Follow closely the college’s recommendations to stay on their radar…continue to update the admissions committee on any positive changes in your application information that would be looked upon favorably such as a new teacher recommendation, upward grade trends, awards and recognition. If the college is your top choice, say so. Communicate with the admissions office in an appropriate manner, but don’t badger them. Also, educate yourself on past deferred admissions statistics for a reality check on your chances of being admitted down the road. If the college admits a very small percentage from the deferred pool, re-evaluate your strategy to include this telling statistic.
The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA-www.iecaonline.com) kicked off our fall conference yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the next several days, we’ll take advantage of the tremendous networking opportunities with admissions officers and colleagues from all over the country. In addition, several educational sessions are available to enhance our student advisement on such topics as college majors, scholarships, financial aid, woman’s colleges, high school research, and so much more. In the spirit of our conference location, we have visited the campuses of Emory, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Agnes Scott, Spelman, and Morehouse. We have also sat in on presentations by other southeast colleges such as Auburn University, College of Charleston, Hendrix College, Loyola University and more. We will return from Atlanta with stronger admissions relationships, updates on admissions statistics, and some great feedback from our college visits and discussions. Interested in any of these schools? Make sure to contact us.
Sent from my iPad
The third and final visit during my Colorado stay included a trip to the University of Denver (DU), still abuzz with the excitement of hosting the first presidential debate. A busy, friendly and beautiful environs, Denver prides itself on offering an expansive range of academic areas to choose amidst state of the art facilities. In their words, “Head to the Meyer-Womble Observatory to track the orbits of asteroids through the highest-altitude telescope in the United States. Develop marketing plans for sustainable businesses in Costa Rica. Advance your degree in an emerging field like nanotechnology or video game design.” With over 5,000 students, the 125 acre campus with national arboretum status is located at the the foot of the Rocky Mountains (7 miles from downtown Denver), offering a plethora of both outdoor and city adventures. The school is also rich in athletic spirit (DI) and cultural/social activities ranging from Greek Life to Habitat for Humanity. Recent average admit rates of incoming freshman include a 3.74 GPA, SAT range of 1220 to 1500 and an ACT of 28. Students admitted to DU are on average, in the top 25 % of the class (50% in the top 10% of their graduating high school class). Read more at. www.du.edu
Where do you find a top ranked university, boasting striking Italianite style architecture on one of the healthiest campuses in the West? Boulder, Colorado. Here students at University of Colorado have access to more than 2500 courses in over 150 areas of study including education, engineering, business, environmental science and communications. Although a large public institution, 85% of the classes are less than 50 students ( 51% are less than 20). To support academic development, students take advantage of Living and Learning Communities, the Honors program, study abroad and internships. They balance academic demands with cheering on their D1 teams (and Ralphie!), engaging in a variety of outdoor adventures and supporting local civic causes. If you’re interested in graduate school, CU offers more than 100 master’s, doctoral and professional degree programs. And, what about life after college? The comprehensive, centrally located Career Services office is available to students for advisement on career counseling, job & internship listings, career & internship fairs, on-campus recruiting, and test addministration. Specialized career services are available for the Leeds School of Business, Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Architecture, and Colorado Law School Career Development. Take a closer look at www.cu.edu.
As part of the NACAC conference, we’ll be touring three college campuses over the course of our stay in the area. First up, Colorado College – a small, highly selective liberal arts school located in Colorado Springs. Picture this… a beautiful “green” campus set amidst the Pikes Peak region with friendly students and not surprisingly, the highly popular Outdoor Recreation club. In addition to hiking, biking, snowboarding, rafting and more, over 75% of the students participate in intramural sports and 80% are active in the arts scene including use of the newest green building on campus, the Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center. CC is unique in its approach to academics with the innovative Block Plan. With eight three and a half blocks per year, students sign up for only one class at a time, completely immersing themselves in both classroom and experiential learning opportunities. Classes are capped at 25 with an average class size of 16. Students spend three hours of flexible class time five days per week for a period of approximately three weeks. With four days off between blocks, CC kids take advantage of the 300 plus sunny days in Colorado. Read more at www.coloradocollege.edu.
Are you considering spending time abroad during your college years? As reported in USA Today, Abroad 101 is out with its 2012 list of top ten overall study abroad programs, top ten academic programs and top ten budget friendly countries. Read more at usat.ly/SEuiSa.
Top 10 Study Abroad Programs
1. CEA: Aix-en-Provence
2. Sant’Anna Institute – Sorrento Lingue
3. IES Abroad: Beijing Foreign Studies University
4. The Education Abroad Network in Sydney
5. University of Indianapolis: Odyssey in Athens
6. The Education Abroad Network: Bond University
7. Semester at Sea
8. AIFS: Richmond in Florence
9. AIFS: University of Salamanca
10. Sol Education Abroad: Latin University of Costa Rica
Top 10 Academic Programs
1. Sant’Anna Institute: Sorrento Lingue
2. University of Oxford
3. CEA: Aix-en-Provence
4. IES Abroad: Beijing Foreign Studies University
5. Semester at Sea
6. CEA: Paris
7. American College Dublin
8. OTS: Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet
9. AIFS: Richmond in Florence
10. The Education Abroad Network: Bond University
Top 10 Budget Friendly Countries
7. Turks and Caicos
We’re here in Denver amidst not just the buzz of the first presidential debate but also the energy surrounding the annual conference of The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC). This year’s NACAC event is set to begin today in Denver, CO with pre-conference work shops, campus visits and more. The benefits of attending are many including sharpening skills from educational sessions, one on one time with admissions officers and networking with colleagues from all over the world. On Friday, the DEC Network will speak on how we integrate social media within our everyday business and client advisement. We also plan to attend sessions on the holistic approach to admissions as well as visit University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Denver and Colorado College. Make sure to follow us on twitter to get up-to-date info on what’s happening during the Conference.