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By Lisa McLaughlin | April 9, 2010
This year is being touted as the most competitive in history for college admissions. And we shouldn’t be surprised. While it’s true that the economy is wreaking havoc on colleges across the country, this isn’t the sole reason behind the dramatic decrease in acceptance rates. We have ourselves to blame for much of this. The discourse on college admissions is too focused on rankings and name-dropping. Too many kids are vying for precious spots, and there’s a skewed understanding of which schools are really “good.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | January 8, 2011
I have a New Year's resolution that we can achieve together. It's really quite simple: Let's be mindful of the language we use to describe colleges and the college admissions process. First, let's be conscious of our use of pronouns. Saying, "we won" might be an acceptable way to describe your favorite sports team's amazing victory, in which you only played the role of spectator. However, using the pronoun "we" to describe "your" child's college admissions experience should be avoided.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | March 12, 2011
It should come as no surprise that the most important factor in college admissions is grades in rigorous courses. So unless your student is going to be a recruited athlete or an actress on Broadway, extracurricular activities should never trump academics when it comes to ensuring that your child is the most competitive applicant for college admissions. Unfortunately, you really won't know how far your child's talent will take him until much later in his high school career. And, you should always keep in mind that your star athlete might tear his rotator cuff junior year and have nothing to show on his record but low grades, an easy course load and sub-par test scores.
NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | March 31, 2013
This week: March Madness, Part Two. Following a big response to last week's column about college admissions, I now return to the topic with some words of wisdom from someone who has built a career helping students and their parents navigate through the insanity. Paul Kanarek is a top executive at Princeton Review, the giant test-prep firm. He's a well-known face on the college admissions advice circuit in California, and travels extensively to exotic locations to oversee the company's international operations.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | September 10, 2011
I always expect our phone lines to be busy the first two weeks of school. It's true that reality sets in for families after the long summer break, as they realize it's time to figure out the college list, college entrance exams and applications. But that's not the main reason I hear from so many clients at the beginning of the school year. Instead, I get a barrage of calls from students complaining about a class that is way too hard, a teacher who is way too mean or a schedule that is way too overwhelming.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | October 15, 2011
I've spent the last month sharing with our local PTAs a new presentation that I've named, "The New Reality of College Admissions. " As attendees enter the room, I feel the tension rise. It's obvious they feel overwhelmed and anxious about navigating the path to college admissions with their teen. I walk to the podium, pick up the microphone, smile at the audience and encourage everyone to take a deep breath. We inhale and exhale together as laughter embraces the room. Our nerves are calmed, at least for the moment.
NEWS
December 11, 2001
I'm 1320, who are you? Our society has finally gotten to the point where individuals have become nothing more than numbers. From Social Security to drivers' licenses to SAT scores, it becomes increasingly obvious that mere numbers are being used to portray individuals. From the point of view of a teenager, this reality is pretty gloomy. As any college-bound student who has filled out any applications knows very well: One's name must always be accompanied by one's Social Security number; SAT scores and grade-point average are just about indicators of intelligence; and hours of community service and weeks per year are far more important than how that time actually benefited someone.
NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | March 22, 2013
It's March Madness time! I don't mean the college basketball tournament, although the annual rite of collective lunacy to which I refer does involve college, and it is a tournament of sorts. It's the anxiety-ridden, teenage acne breakout-prone, parent stress-attack month when high school seniors across the land await the final news on their college applications. The Sweet Sixteen in this case would apply to the often outrageous number of schools some kids apply to. I could go on all day milking this metaphor — the Final Four represent the top schools in a student's bracket — but you get the picture.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | June 25, 2010
A few months back, a parent requested that I send her sample essay prompts, those asked frequently on college applications. She wanted her son to get a head start on writing his personal statement. He was 12 years old. And then, it happened again. This time, the call was from a frantic mother. "I want to register my daughter for test prep," she said. "She's a terrible test taker and needs all the help she can get." After further discussion, I learned that the daughter was a fifth-grader.
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NEWS
By Larry Gordon and Jason Song | February 10, 2014
The recent expulsions of 11 students from an Orange County high school because of a cheating scandal appeared to be a forceful stand against academic dishonesty. But that discipline also has focused attention on the murkier questions about whether, and how, colleges should be informed about applicants' histories of misbehavior. College admissions officials say the expelled students and others in similar situations should come clean quickly to schools they've applied to, and they should be prepared for the consequences, including the possibility of having acceptance letters revoked.
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NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | March 31, 2013
This week: March Madness, Part Two. Following a big response to last week's column about college admissions, I now return to the topic with some words of wisdom from someone who has built a career helping students and their parents navigate through the insanity. Paul Kanarek is a top executive at Princeton Review, the giant test-prep firm. He's a well-known face on the college admissions advice circuit in California, and travels extensively to exotic locations to oversee the company's international operations.
NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | March 22, 2013
It's March Madness time! I don't mean the college basketball tournament, although the annual rite of collective lunacy to which I refer does involve college, and it is a tournament of sorts. It's the anxiety-ridden, teenage acne breakout-prone, parent stress-attack month when high school seniors across the land await the final news on their college applications. The Sweet Sixteen in this case would apply to the often outrageous number of schools some kids apply to. I could go on all day milking this metaphor — the Final Four represent the top schools in a student's bracket — but you get the picture.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | October 15, 2011
I've spent the last month sharing with our local PTAs a new presentation that I've named, "The New Reality of College Admissions. " As attendees enter the room, I feel the tension rise. It's obvious they feel overwhelmed and anxious about navigating the path to college admissions with their teen. I walk to the podium, pick up the microphone, smile at the audience and encourage everyone to take a deep breath. We inhale and exhale together as laughter embraces the room. Our nerves are calmed, at least for the moment.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | September 10, 2011
I always expect our phone lines to be busy the first two weeks of school. It's true that reality sets in for families after the long summer break, as they realize it's time to figure out the college list, college entrance exams and applications. But that's not the main reason I hear from so many clients at the beginning of the school year. Instead, I get a barrage of calls from students complaining about a class that is way too hard, a teacher who is way too mean or a schedule that is way too overwhelming.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | March 12, 2011
It should come as no surprise that the most important factor in college admissions is grades in rigorous courses. So unless your student is going to be a recruited athlete or an actress on Broadway, extracurricular activities should never trump academics when it comes to ensuring that your child is the most competitive applicant for college admissions. Unfortunately, you really won't know how far your child's talent will take him until much later in his high school career. And, you should always keep in mind that your star athlete might tear his rotator cuff junior year and have nothing to show on his record but low grades, an easy course load and sub-par test scores.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | January 8, 2011
I have a New Year's resolution that we can achieve together. It's really quite simple: Let's be mindful of the language we use to describe colleges and the college admissions process. First, let's be conscious of our use of pronouns. Saying, "we won" might be an acceptable way to describe your favorite sports team's amazing victory, in which you only played the role of spectator. However, using the pronoun "we" to describe "your" child's college admissions experience should be avoided.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | June 25, 2010
A few months back, a parent requested that I send her sample essay prompts, those asked frequently on college applications. She wanted her son to get a head start on writing his personal statement. He was 12 years old. And then, it happened again. This time, the call was from a frantic mother. "I want to register my daughter for test prep," she said. "She's a terrible test taker and needs all the help she can get." After further discussion, I learned that the daughter was a fifth-grader.
NEWS
By Lisa McLaughlin | April 30, 2010
Senioritis: n. Defined as daydreaming about the dog days of summer when freedom reigns. A clear dip of grades is illustrated by procrastination on homework, and evident to teachers whose classroom seats are not as full as they used to be. It doesn’t help that we live in beautiful Southern California where seniors can’t wait to hop on their beach cruisers and head to the beach at 56th Street on the Newport Peninsula. While this phenomenon is not new to our vernacular, the implications of senioritis are far more disastrous.
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