GAP YEAR – STARTS WITH YOU!

A successful gap year meets personal goals – so it is important that you look internally to see what it is that you hope to gain in the next semester or year away from traditional classroom experiences!

1. Why do you want to take a Gap year abroad?

  • To see new parts of the world or learn a different language?
  • To explore different points of view?
  • To build confidence and develop problem-solving skills?
  • To see if a career or area of study is a good fit?
  • To contribute to a cause you care about?
  • To network and connect with new communities?

2. Have you studied a foreign language?

  • Is it a language you’d like to pursue?
  • Do you want to learn a different language from the one you’ve studied?
  • Do you want to embrace the culture that you have studied for the last four years?

3. How long is your ideal gap program?

  • Go for a semester.
  • Go for a year.
  • You can even pair any two-semester programs to create a full-year program that’s uniquely you.

Even though your head and heart might be set on a GAP YEAR Program for your first year out of high school, Williams Educational believes that every student should check with his or her colleges first before differing to see if a GAP YEAR Program is in your best interest. Some colleges have their own GAP YEAR programs too! Don’t just defer, be active in your educational journey and ask questions!

THE OWL INSTITUTE

Opportunity for Wisdom and Leadership

In 2020, I wanted to do something different for myself and for others, so I launched The Owl Institute in hopes to learn, grow and build a community for parents, students, counselors, educators, etc. I feel like in my 15 years plus as an Educational Consultant, the conversations have shifted. I have shifted. I began my career as a single woman and am now married with three children. Things shift, conversations change, but I see what is happening to our children, and I want others to talk about it too. However, I want to do more than just talking about the obvious: anxiety, stress, fear, etc., I want to be proactive. This is why I launched The Owl Institute, a private Facebook group. This group allows us to not only talk about our concerns, but it also gives us the freedom to learn from one another and an opportunity to be a leader in our community. Kicking off this group was a bit scary because it meant more planning, more work, more to-dos on my calendar. 

But it has been worth it!

This past January and February, I launched my program with a great book, Love Languages for Teens by Gary Chapman. I had followers read beside me as I posted about each chapter or highlighted main ideas. We had a few great discussions and grew in members. I could not have asked for a better start to this forum and am thankful for all who contributed. As we finish this book, I want to highlight the five love languages and provide the link for your son or daughter or yourself to take the online assessment.  
 
l. Words of affirmation – using words to build up the other person. 
2. Gifts –says more than the present…sometimes the gift is in the packaging!
3. Acts of Service – Doing something for someone else that you know they would like. 
4. Quality time – Giving someone your undivided attention.
5. Physical touch – showing expressions of love.

Take the online assessment by clicking on the link below: 
https://www.5lovelanguages.com/discovery-ages-teen/

Chapman writes a very powerful thought in his conclusion: “Teenagers need parents who will walk alongside, speaking the teen’s love language with a sincere desire to learn with the teenager how to take responsible steps after failure. Parents who do this will indeed be successful parents.”

If you would like to continue the discussion and find out what The Owl Institute is reading next, come join online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/theowlinstitute.

metro-Atlanta College Fairs

Please be sure to look at the fairs below to see if any of your colleges of interest are attending college fairs near you. Plus, you might find a college fair that you would like to attend and get acquainted with new schools too. Regardless, it’s important that you stay involved in your college process and connecting with schools is a great way to be active!

1. The Fall 2019 Probe Tour includes 64 college fairs over 11 weeks covering all across the state of Georgia, click here for the schedule.

2. CTCL has offered a national series of information sessions and college fairs, click here to see when they are visiting Atlanta! Each session begins with an enlightening 30-minute presentation on today’s college search process, which is followed immediately by a college fair that lasts for approximately 1.5 hours.

3. In the spring, National College Fairs allows students to interact with admission representatives from a wide range of postsecondary institutions. Click here to find out when this fair will be in Atlanta.

4. Giving College-Bound Students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics the opportunity to interact with Admission Representatives from a wide-range of Postsecondary Institutions to explore the college admissions process; and connect with Industry Partners to learn about STEM Careers and internships. Click here to see when they will be in Atlanta.

5. Giving Arts Students the Opportunity to meet with Colleges, Universities, Festivals, Conservatories and other Postsecondary Arts Institutions. Plan to Attend one of these FREE Fairs Today! Click here to see when this fair will be in metro-Atlanta.

6. Are you an artist who would like to have an admissions representative check out your portfolio or even better yet, do you want to learn more about schools who might offer what you are looking for? Check out the National Portfolio Fair in Atlanta! Click here for more information.

If you decide to attend one of the above fairs or even all of them, I suggest that you reach out to the admissions officer either via email or phone prior to the event to let him or her know that you will be visiting their booth! Secondly, register for the fair online, if possible. Finally, after the big event, follow-up with the admissions officer to keep the conversation going!

Thanks & Have a Great Day!

Wendy Williams, M.A.|Educational Consultant

Certified MBTI Practitioner
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WILLIAMS EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS

770•633•1478 Office

www.williamseducational.com

College Deadlines

August 1st is around the corner and that means college applications will become available to the Class of 2020! With applications opening up, I thought it might be helpful for families to know exactly what EA, ED, Rolling, RD, etc. really mean. Here is a quick overview of college deadlines and decisions!

Some students will need to complete and submit their application before December 1st in order to be reviewed for scholarship opportunities. In fact, in some cases, students need to be applying by November 1st! Please be sure to read through each of your college’s application procedures and requirements to be clear about your school’s scholarship policies and deadlines. Remember if merit scholarships are important to you then you might NOT want to apply ED to any institution. 

EARLY ACTION (EA)

This is a non-binding agreement. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s first semester grades senior year. This admission plan is non-binding and offered by a lot of colleges. It’s a great way to get an answer early!

EARLY ACTION SINGLE CHOICE or RESTRICTIVE (EA-Single Choice)

This is a non-binding agreement and should only be used if the student is confident about attending this college. There are exceptions to this rule. Students may apply to another college with early deadlines for scholarships or special academic programs as long as it is non-binding. In addition, students may apply to public universities with a non-binding early application or rolling option.  Applicants may apply to other colleges and universities under their Regular Decision Option as well. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s first semester grades senior year, but if accepted then your student has an answer early!

EARLY DECISION (ED)

This is a binding admission plan that requires an early application (typically October or November) and promises a reply by December or January. There are two types of ED plans: ED I and ED II. ED I is usually around November 1st and ED II is January 1st. These plans are recommended only if the applicant is absolutely sure of his or her college choice. If accepted, the student is ethically obligated to attend if sufficient financial aid is offered. Some schools like Emory and Vanderbilt have two rounds of Early Decision allowing a student to have flexibility.

ROLLING or EARLY NOTIFICATION

This admission plan does not have an actual hard deadline. Therefore, it is important to apply as early as possible. Ole Miss is a great example! They released their application in July and some students already have their answer!

REGULAR DECISION 

Regular Decision is a process by which students apply by published deadlines, like January 1st, with the promise of receiving an admissions offer by April 1st.

Please be aware that it is your student’s responsibility to decide when to apply to his or her college choices. If your student decides an ED or EA SINGLE CHOICE plan then he or she will need to have your signature and their Counselor’s signature stating they understand the ED or EA Single Choice Agreement. This is a form that will be part of the college’s application.

It is critical to have a game plan and to know what your high school guidelines are as well. Don’t wait, know your schools, know the dates!

Is your child street smart?

Last week, my husband, son, and I traveled to Philadelphia for an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) meeting. I decided weeks ago that this trip would officially mark our oldest son’s first college visit. The Class of 2024 was finally an option on the dropdown box of the colleges’ visit websites. YES! I could officially register him for tours, and show a college “interest” by starting early. I would take care of two items with this one visit: college tours and an IECA symposium.

Although this trip marked official visits for a few very well known universities, they were not his first tours. My son has touched the bricks of many college campuses since he was born. I remember one of his first visits – The Citadel. He was just a toddler. No, he wasn’t visiting the campus officially, I was. As an IEC, I attend schools often with my family!

With hundreds of schools seen and even more to view, I seem always to have a child in tow! As a mother of three children and a consultant, I continue to watch and listen to the world’s opinions regarding college admissions, high school rigor, and extracurricular overload. As I continue to guide families with their educational choices, I can say that I do not want to be a name brand parent, a helicopter parent, lawnmower parent or any other “type” that you may read about in various media blogs across the nation; I just want to be the best parent that I can be for my boys.

Parenting is not easy. I think we can agree on that. As parents, we have good and bad days. We suffer from doubts and fears of our own. Often, we pray for their health, safety, and wisdom. Every parent that I have ever seen in my office wants the same thing – for their student to be successful, happy and healthy (and not always in that order!) So, as I was walking the busy streets of an urban campus last week, my son asked me an excellent question which made me think.

The question is not as important as the answer. For years, I have always suggested to families that a tour of campus should include the dining hall, a conversation with an admissions officer (hopefully for your region), and some conversations with current students. I have a list of things that students should think about before their official visit, and parents should ask admissions officers or financial aid officers, but something dawned on me while we were walking the streets of Philadelphia.

The college tours are an opportunity for life skills. Parents should let their reigns of parenting become a little less tight — In today’s world, our children need us to teach them about life more than anything. So it is with this article that I hope you will take time to allow your campus visits or even your next big vacation to be a platform for helping your student (preferably middle school and older) how to navigate the streets of a foreign city.

  1. It’s time to “Hail A Cab” or “Call an Uber.” Allow him or her to figure out what it is like to use public transit. However, in doing so, teach your child essential tips. For instance, do not get in an Uber or a Lyft or any other vehicle if the person’s car does not match the criteria given to you at the time of “call” or if the license plate is different. Additionally, you called for a Cab or an Uber so you must have a destination in mind. Be sure to follow on your own phone’s map so that you see where you are going. Please don’t leave it up to the driver to be in charge. Take some responsibility in the back seat for your safety!
  2. Get lost in the city. NOW, I’m cautious when I am telling anyone to “Get Lost” in a strangers city. What I want you to do with your child, is allow them to navigate the streets by looking at their phone (or yours if they don’t have one yet!) and follow a map so that they get comfortable navigating in an unfamiliar place. One day you will not be with them, and it is always easier to do something the second time around than the first. So make it possible for your child to lead you. If you have difficulty passing the baton to anyone, just know you’re teaching your child life lessons and that you will get that baton back!
  3. Let your child to pay. It’s your money, of course, but teaching your son and daughter the habits of physically handing someone money or leaving a tip is an act we hardly think about today. Do you remember the first time you paid for something? I don’t! The best thing is not only to do your child’s paying for something to show that traveling is often expensive, but it can also help with both social and math skills! Also, better yet, if you’re touring internationally, well, then there could be a change in currency.
  4. Travel with a charger. It’s a good idea to have a backup battery to take with you as you are touring the city or campus grounds or anywhere outside of your hotel room. I recommend that you get in the habit of asking your child, “How much life do you have left on your phone?” Asking three or four times a day will help them understand that phones unplugged from the wall might not last as long as they thought. Funny story, our son’s phone outlived both my husband’s and my phone daily! You can guess who had an Apple or a Samsung!
  5. Get to know your child. Students hardly ask questions on tours – parents do! Look around you as your touring a college campus. Most students are walking with their heads down or looking at their phones. Let’s face it; a campus tour is not the most exciting thing to do even if it is your alma mater! So…how does a parent engage their child on a college trip who only hears how great campus is or how hard it is to become a student or how not to get FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out!)? Think outside of the box, your family’s box! Think about what your student enjoys and talk about the campus activities that he or she would be interested in pursuing, especially when they are hundreds of miles away from you! Ask your child if he or she likes the buildings or statues on campus. Does your child like art, history, music? Find ways to engage their senses while touring the school. You have a responsibility too.

Parents, we need to prepare ourselves for their college transition as well as our student. Give them some grace and allow them to not like a tour or a school. They don’t have to ask a question. No one is running back to the Director of Admissions or the regional officer to say that, “Johnny really should be here because of his inquiries!” If you have questions, ask them for yourself! Everyone else is on these tours.

I saw a Mom running after the tour guide talking about “Johnny” and the efforts he is making in high school and the classes he is taking and the long list of other statements to ask, “Does he have a chance?” A tour guide is not going to have that answer. Trust me; the guide is glad that he or she is not in your student’s shoes because guides are thrilled that they are on the other side of the admissions frenzy! They want to show off that they are in college and why they like their school. They have no clue if your student will get an acceptance or a rejection.

So as you embark on your next summer vacation or campus tour with your family. If you have a child in 8th grade or higher, think about engaging him or her on your trip by allowing them to see and feel what it is like to be an adult! One day our children are going to be adults, so help them prepare for their future by giving them opportunities to learn some street smarts and safety!

Thoughts on “Operation Varsity Blues”

I want to address the news that broke yesterday afternoon. Most of you have probably been watching the news or reading articles regarding “Operation Varsity Blues.” 


I am not shocked by the news nor am I surprised that so many are accused of these allegations. However, I am sad about what we are learning. As an educational consultant who has been practicing for a while now, I take a lot of pride in how my counseling, mentoring and guiding students can help families find the “right fit institutions” and not trying to fit your child into an institution. Unfortunately, the Admissions Process is an unhealthy system, and I do not know how to make that specific system well again.

However, I do know how to help my families and will continue to provide support and guidance in working one on one with my students and their families to navigate their journey into an academic program. My intention has always been to help students their academic, social, emotional and mental goals. At Williams Educational Consultants, I pride myself on helping families choose wisely when it comes to their educational choices. I want my students to feel strength through their passions, interests and help them build a powerful toolbox that will help them succeed not only in college but in life. 


I am proud that a few of my associations that I am a member of have responded to this crisis. A few have posted how important ethics are in our service with families. I want to share these links with you. As always, you are in good hands, and I will continue to provide the best counseling possible for your student! Thank you for allowing me to have a positive impact on your student’s education!

IECA: Read below:

IECA Stresses Ethics and Personal Fit to Guide Students in

Choosing a College

The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and its members are committed to helping families find the most appropriate college for their students, and assist families in navigating the application process. Following a comprehensive code of ethics, IECA members are professionals who understand and adhere to high ethical standards in all their interactions with clients and institutions and are compensated by and work exclusively on behalf of their client families. 

In response to the breaking news of an FBI probe and Justice Department charges for 50 people—college officials from elite institutions, wealthy parents, coaches, and others—in a long-running admissions bribery scheme, IECA CEO Mark Sklarow said, “The charges presented today exemplify the intense anxiety that even some wealthy parents feel about their children being admitted to their preferred colleges.”

Parents and students should keep the following advice in mind as they begin their college search.

·         The college search and application process should be a fun and exciting time for students and their families. If anyone in any setting is exerting pressure or causing undue anxiety and pressure, be cautious. If you are told someone has “inside” information, can pull strings, provide shortcuts to admission, or give you a special advantage (for a fee or otherwise), you are being misled.

·         There are many great postsecondary options for every student, and no student should be made to feel that they must become something they are not to get accepted. The “best” school is the school that fits a student academically, socially, and financially. Being and presenting one’s authentic self and demonstrating one’s own talents and abilities is a way of ensuring the right college fit. This is central to what an ethical independent educational consultant does.

·         The vast majority of admissions officers, school counselors, and IECs are ethical and compassionate professionals who dedicate their careers to advising students and families.

If you decide to seek help with the college search and application process outside of the school setting, ensure that you hire someone who is a member of a professional organization, such as IECA or NACAC, that requires them to abide by the highest ethical standards. A fully vetted independent educational consultant (IEC) will be solely concerned about an individual student’s well-being and helping to gain admission to a school where they will thrive and succeed on their own merits. 

LDGA: 

Gaming and Addiction

If you have a son or daughter that has access to a cell phone, Switch, Computer PC, X-Box or any other gaming device, then you might be dealing with the constant struggle of Fortnite. One of the best things about Fortnite is the dance moves. However, this is hardly why our children are playing this game. Over 40 million users are playing this cross-platform game. Yes, it’s free for any player except for cosmetic upgrades, like outfits, type of weapons, dances and more. As a parent, sometimes it is easier to have my own child pick up their gaming device to play so that I can return a call, do laundry, clean the house, etc. We are all very busy in today’s highly technological world, but I think it is our responsibility to protect our children, and sometimes protection can be provided through a conversation. Please take a moment to listen to this YOUTUBE video about gaming addictions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS-325PCuMU&feature=youtu.be

This past weekend, my son and I played Fortnite monopoly, but we did not pull in triggers or hear any explosions. Instead, we laughed, hugged, counted spaces and danced a lot! And yes, he won both rounds of Monopoly! I hope that this will start a great conversation as to why your son or daughter plays games, including Fortnite and how to make healthier gaming opportunities.

NOTE: I am not saying that your son or daughter should not play video games nor am I saying to pull your child from Fortnite. Even though some video gamers can become addictive to gaming, it is relatively a small percentage of the population. Secondly, some of these gaming options bring together communities, helps with social skills, hand and eye coordination, and more. With anything, it’s about how much one spends doing one thing….and being able to have open and honest conversations when the time spent is too much. #choosewisely #speakwisely

Auburn Theatre Auditions

Auburn would like to get the information about their Auburn University’s Department of Theatre’s upcoming Open house and Scholarship Audition Day.

Theatre has the potential to foster dialogue, alter perceptions, and inspire social change. The Auburn University Department of Theatre is dedicated to the education and professional training of theatre artists, scholars, and audiences within a liberal arts environment. The Department champions the interaction between theory and practice and produces citizen artists who advocate for the arts through their own work in local, national, and international communities. Auburn University theatre students think critically, creatively, and collaboratively and carry their knowledge from rehearsal spaces and classrooms to stages, campuses, and communities worldwide.

Due to Auburn’s “priority admission” application deadline of November 1 and its AUSOM Scholarship consideration deadline of December 1, Auburn University Theatre will now hold its annual on site scholarship/music theatre program admission auditions on Saturday, October 27th, 2018. This is a great opportunity for high school seniors  to tour our facility, meet with theatre faculty and students, and audition for theatre scholarships and admission to our music theatre degree program.

More information about their program can be found at the link below:

https://cla.auburn.edu/theatre/

More information about the auditions can be found at the link below, and I’d greatly appreciate your assistance in alerting students to this earlier audition date.

https://app.getacceptd.com/auburntheatre

 

 

College Search and Sources

How do you learn more about your colleges of interest?

Students are often driven to learn more about colleges through websites like College Prowler, College Data, US News World & Report, and much more. Although these sites can be very helpful, they can also provide information that is inaccurate. So, how do students know what to believe and where to go for the correct information? I hope that my suggestions below will clarify these questions.

  1. What is the source data?
  2. How old is the data that you are reading from?
  3. Are the comments or information valid?
  4. Where are the comments and information coming from? And Why? Is it a thread of questions, is it straight from a university, and/or is it from an upset student?
  5. What is the reason for the author’s bias?

If you are reading an online article or a talk thread, be sure to find out when it was published, who wrote the article and why or why not is it a source of good information. Some articles are strictly feedback from angry students, upset parents or even the other side, happy consumers! When someone criticizes a school or anything about the community, it could be a lack of understanding on a particular circumstance, issue or problem that occurred on campus. Different authors have different opinions. It is important to challenge your own biases by gathering current information from the university. Therefore, visit the college’s website, speak to the Admissions Department and/or Department of interest. A great suggestion is to have the same three to five questions for all of your schools and compare them by answering the questions and verifying your source. Good luck!

 

Georgia Tech – Admissions

  • The Georgia Tech Scholars program is an automatic admission program which offers the first-year admission to Valedictorians and Salutatorians from all high schools in Georgia with more than 50 graduates.
  • Students can self-report their SAT, ACT and other standardized test scores to be used during the admission process, saving them time and money.
  • Tech will be using Slate.org as our high school counselor portal to communicate with you about applicants’ status and decisions, and this service is free to you.
  • Search for your school’s or region’s Admission Snapshot to bring admission and enrolled student statistics a little closer to home.

The above information is helpful for any student who is applying to Georgia Tech this fall!

Please let me know if you have any questions or need assistance!