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    The Early Decision Dilemma

    The Early Decision Dilemma

     The ED admissions policy is designed to eliminate your options.

    Welcome to my brief series on-
    Understanding the Motives of College Policies

    "ED"- the Early Decision Application is a college policy designed to serve their interests, not yours. 

    ED allows the student to designate one top preferred college for which to apply under special circumstances. It requires the student and a parent to agree to withdraw all other applications upon receiving an ED acceptance and to make the deposit by January 31st.

    This puts the student and family in a highly compromised position. Upon withdrawing all other applications, the student eliminates their options. This is exactly what the college wants to have happen. 

    Such is the case now in thousands of families across the college-bound world. 

    Without having options, the student-family was left to make the January deposit and accept the full-cost price of the college.  

    The policy is driven to provide the college with two major benefits.

    1. The college achieves a much higher conversion rate of acceptances to enrollments.
    2. The college increases its number of full-cost paying students.

    This policy serves the interests of colleges in fulfilling their business model. They are in total control and they love it.

    I'm not against using ED as a strategic move to support the student-family goals. I am opposed to withdrawing applications and eliminating options in supporting the financial goals of colleges.

    Why? Because 17-year-old minds can change many times in the six months from when they submitted their ED application in October to now when most families make their final college decision. Therefore, I like having options!

    Being that choosing a college is one of the most important decisions of a lifetime, purposefully eliminating options doesn't make sense to me.  

    When considering college policies, it's beneficial to know the motive of the policy and how it affects you.

    Test Optional... really?

    Test Optional... really?

    Every policy in the Admissions Office serves the best interests of the college.

    Welcome to my brief series on- Understanding the Motives of College Policies

    Because it is so misinterpreted, I'll begin with the college's "Test Optional" policy.

    A big part of my programming is facilitating college visits for my families. College visits play a major role in making the right college choice.

    March and April are busy months for college visits. Getting them right is very important. It's not enough that you just show up for a tour. 

    My students are required to meet with admission counselors. They are tasked with being well-prepared. Being prepared requires asking a series of strategic questions, such as,

    1. How have admissions changed since COVID?

    2. How important are SAT or ACT scores?

    3. Besides GPA and Test scores, what's the next most important thing that you look for?

    4. How do you distinguish among top students?

    5. What are the typical common mistakes made by applicants?

    6. What are the most important personal skills needed to be successful here as a student?

    The questions are designed to engage the admission counselor in a meaningful conversation hoping to gain their interest in the student.

    You'll hear a variety of responses. Caution! We can't always take what they say literally.    

    Upon returning from their college trips, every student, with relief in their voice, proclaims-  "The colleges are test optional. I don't have to submit SAT scores." 

    Right, most colleges have retained their test-optional policy. Why so? It increases the number of applications and lowers their acceptance rate.

    Colleges love this policy. It's a big win for them. But not so for the students who apply without test scores.

    Often, students who apply "test-optional" are denied within seconds of opening their application.

    Please, don't expect them to tell you that!

    All you have to know is the motive behind the policy to interpret its implications correctly.

    The motive here is simple- lower the acceptance rate to enhance the perception of a school's "selectivity." 

    I have a policy. Nothing on the application that says "optional", is optional.

    Getting Students College-Ready ... will your child be ready?

    Getting Students College-Ready ... will your child be ready?


    Few students are ready two months after high school graduation to enter college and make it worthwhile.

    Let that sink in for a bit and ask yourself- how will my child become college-ready to make its cost worth it?

    Dropping off your child at college is the first step in the next phase of their life. 

    Just because it shows up on their life's calendar as "time" to go to college, doesn't mean they are ready. The reality is that few 18-year-olds are ready for the rigor and challenges lying ahead. 

    Why not? Because they don't have the proper mindset and plan for success. Predictably, most students get behind early and struggle to catch up.

    How do they get ready? The answer is too long for this memo. That's why I scheduled a webinar. 

    Register for my webinar on Tuesday, May 2nd, at 7:00 CST / 8:00 EST to learn how your child can become college-ready. 

    In the meantime, here are my 3 secrets to "winning..., earning..., receiving..., and achieving..." that I will share in detail on Tuesday evening.

    1. Master the Content
    2. Establish Credibility & Substance
    3. Mold your Mindset; Build your Profile

    Join us Tuesday evening, April 2nd.

    How to be in the 10% 

    For 8th -11th grader families who want to win preferred admissions, earn top scholarships, receive desired job offers, and achieve great success.

    Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 7:00 pm CST, 8:00 EST

    Click here to Register

    CST- your room opens at 6:45 pm
    EST- your room opens at 7:45 pm

    Duration: 60 minutes, including Q&A

    I'll see you on Tuesday.


    One Thousand Times Waking Up...

    One Thousand Times Waking Up...

    One thousand times doing anything is a lot! 

    Making the Final College Decision

    This time of year, I am constantly asked-
    "How will we make the final decision?" 

    This is a great question. Why? Because if you're not asking it, you're much more likely to make the wrong decision than those who ask it.

    The best school, college prestige, and highest ranking often dominate the decision process. 

    I'm not disputing people's interests in those things, but I can say this with 100% certainty. If your child is unhappy and unmotivated with the college environment after a month or two, its prestigious name and ranking will wear off fast.

    When it's decision time, I will ask the student-

    Where do you want to wake up 1,000 times to the sounds, sights, smells, and feel of a college?

    Parents, I understand your interests. However, the student has to wake up someplace 1,000 times, be motivated, and not be overwhelmed. The difference will feel like the width of the Atlantic Ocean.

    One thousand times waking up ... let that settle in before making a decision. Your child will be thankful.

    Factors to Never Consider

    Factors to Never Consider


    One of the two most important life decisions is choosing a college. 

    "I have friends who will be going there and I'm going to room with my best friend!"

    Oh no... I've heard that way too many times. I've also heard a year later that they are no longer friends.

    It seems time-appropriate to post on this topic-

    Factors to 
    never consider in choosing a college:

    • Friends are there
    • Boyfriend or girlfriend is going there
    • You love the sports teams
    • To please your parents
    • Sounds impressive to friends and relatives
    • Looked beautiful during a springtime visit
    • Nice dorms and food court

    Factors to always consider in choosing a college:

    • Education includes- experiential learning, study abroad, research, internship opportunities
    • Correlation of studies to career interests
    • Positive influences and influencers
    • Sophistication of study culture
    • Supportive environment- feeling of belonging
    • Appeasing to the senses- air, sounds, sights, smells, safety, and security
    • Appeal and interest in the local community
    • Desired location for job prospects, networking
    • Likelihood of achieving expected outcomes
    • Cost as it relates to finances and budget

    Choosing a college is one of the two most important life decisions ever... choose wisely!

    The other important one? Choosing your life partner... I'm no help there, ha!