Hats off to the Class of 2017

As the 2016-2017 cycle comes to an end, it is important to be able to answer the following questions as to why you have chosen your college choice.

1. Location – Is it the best place for you to spend you first semester away from home?
2. Academics – Does the college offer your academic interests?
3. Activities – Do the extracurricular activities allow you to pursue your hobbies?
4. Financial – Will this choice put a financial burden on your family and/or you in the years that follow?
5. Excitement – Why are you so passionate about this college?
6. Growth – How has the college admissions helped you grow?

These six topics are extremely important to think about when finalizing one’s college choice. I am beyond proud of all my students and their acceptances. It makes me happy to know that Williams Educational Consultants is helping students learn about college options throughout the United States as well as careers, college majors and community opportunities. Don’t forget to celebrate your chosen college by wearing your college spirit wear on May 1st, National College Decision Day!

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Agnes Scott College
American University
Andrew College
Appalachian State University
Auburn University
Augusta University
Bard College
Boston College
Case Western Reserve University
Charleston Southern University
Clark University
Coastal Carolina University
College of Charleston
College of Charleston
College of Coastal Georgia
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
Cornell University
Curry College
Eckerd College
Elon University
Flagler College
Florida State University
Fordham University
Furman University
George Mason University
Georgia College & State University
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
High Point University
Indiana University-Bloomington
James Madison University
Kennesaw State University
Landmark College
Lawrence University
Lesley University
Louisiana State University-Shreveport
Loyola Marymount University
Lynn University
Mercer University
Miami of Ohio
Mitchell College
Muskingum University
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Northeastern University
Oglethorpe University
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Purdue University-Main Campus
Rhodes College
Rollins College
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Saint Louis University-Main Campus
Samford University
Sarah Lawrence College
SCAD
Skidmore College
Southern Methodist University
St. Olaf University
Suffolk University
Texas Christian University
The University of Alabama
The University of Tampa
The University of Tennessee
The University of Texas at Austin
Tulane University of Louisiana
UC-Irvine
UC-San Diego
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Arizona
University of Georgia
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Kentucky
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Miami
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Mississippi Main Campus
University of Missouri
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Georgia
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
University of Rochester
University of South Carolina-Columbia
University of Virginia-Main Campus
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Valdosta State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wake Forest University
Wellesley College
Western Carolina University
Western Michigan University

NACAC COLLEGE FAIR – ATL 3/19

Please be aware that the National Association of College Admissions is having a college fair in Atlanta on March 19th. Although this fair can be overwhelming due to the number of college presenters, presentations, high school students, etc., this fair is well worth your time. Check out the registration site here. Read the list of college fair tips below which I have gathered from various college websites:

1. Visit at least 3 schools you’ve never heard of. You’re there to gather information, so gather as much as you can.

2. Print a sheet of sticky labels that have your contact information on them in order to expedite the information card process. Make sure that these stickers include the following: name, high school graduating year, high school name and state, home address, student email address, and date of birth.

3. Ask about the person standing behind the table -Don’t assume that the person standing behind the college fair table is an alumnus of the institution. College Counselors are drawn to representing universities for various reasons and many will work for schools they did not attend! If you’re looking for other ways to connect with current students or alumni, make sure to check out the school’s website.

4. Get business cards. Ask the college representatives for their business cards. You may want to get in contact with them again if you have further questions.

5. Attend information sessions. Many college fairs offer information seminars on topics such as financial aid, the search process, applications, etc. These sessions will give you the opportunity to ask questions about the college planning and admission process.

6. Follow up. Once the college fair is over, you should read over the college pamphlets that you received and the notes that you took. For the colleges that you are really interested in, follow up by taking virtual tours of the campuses and scheduling onsite college visits.In addition, if you have the Admissions Representatives information, send them an email and thank them for the information they provided you.

In addition to the above tips, try to learn the layout of the program. Be sure to know the programs that are being offered and where most of your colleges of interest are located. This information should be on the NACAC site. Be sure to post your experiences here!

Subject Tests

How many of you have heard the words, “Subject Tests?” These are assessments that can be recommended, required or highly suggested to take for college admissions. The goal behind these exams is to showcase a student’s strength and interest in a subject matter. College Board has created over 20 subject tests in five subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematic and sciences. Each test is an hour long and consists of all multiple-choice questions. The score ranges from 200 -800 points. The best preparation that one can get for this type of exam is to take the relevant course needed, work hard and do well in that class.

Subject tests are given approximately six times during the school year. However, there are some tests that are only offered during specific months. For example, Language with Listening is only offered during November. You do have the choice to take whichever exam you feel you will do well on, but you can only take up to three tests per test date. In addition, you cannot sit for the Subject Test and regular SAT on the same test date.

Not all students take the Subject Tests, in fact there is a smaller percentage that sits for this exam, then the regular SAT Test. If you want to further show a college your deep passion and interest in a particular subject matter, than this test might be useful for you. If you score well, in the 700 -800 range, then you can help yourself stand out in the College Admissions process. Not to confuse you, but some colleges will accept the ACT in lieu of the Subject Tests. This is yet another reason why starting the college admissions process early is important!

Again, not all colleges require the Subject Tests. It is important to reach out to schools of interest to inquire about subject tests requirements. In my past years experiences, colleges like Georgetown, the Ivies, top tier liberal art schools and schools that are recruiting student athletes recommend students to take 2 to 3 subject tests.

Please click on this link to learn more about these standardized tests. Reach out to Wendy at Williams Educational Consultants to learn more!

Decision Letters, Now What?

I hope that each of you have enjoyed 2017 thus far. With February approaching in just a few days, I wanted to remind each of you that decision letters and notifications are coming your way! I get a lot of questions around this time about these notifications and I thought blogging about this part of the process would be a great way to answer some questions…and also give some advice. The most popular type of admissions letters include words like, accepted, waitlist and denied. Below are the three most common phrases that students read in their admissions letters:

“Congratulations, you have been accepted!”

If your letter reads these words, then congratulations! You are officially going to college! Unless you applied Early Decision, you do not need to let the college know that you will be attending their institution until May 1st. However, if you know that you want to attend this university then you should go ahead and send in your deposit in order to start your housing process. Remember, you should not send in multiple deposits. Please be cognizant when making this decision as it is an important one! In addition, some students might let his or her other schools know that they are attending another university and wish to withdrawal their application. Only do this if you are 100% certain that you agree with your financial obligations to attend the school that you have chosen and be sure that you love that school too!

“The admissions committee has met and your credentials meet the requirements that we are looking for in our upcoming class. However, we received a record number of applications and at this time are placing you on our waitlist.”

If your letter reads these words, then you need to read the letter carefully to understand what steps the college wants you to take. For example, they might ask you to place your name on the waitlist portal that they created or they might ask you to send in additional information. For students who are waitlisted, if this is your top school, it is critical that you think through this process carefully. I might suggest that you do one of the following steps, if not all:

Remind your regional admissions officer that you are still interested.
• Write an additional essay
• Request a teacher or community member to write another letter of recommendation.
• Be yourself, but let the school know if you have received any additional accolades or how you are excelling in your senior year.
• Request that your counselor reach out to the school directly.

“After careful consideration, I am sorry to inform you that we are unable to offer you a place in the class of 2017.”

If your letter reads these words, do not get upset or angry. It is okay to be disappointed. You worked hard and I am sure that your application was great. I have no explanation as to why you were not given a seat, but I can tell you that this process works out exactly the way it should. Stay strong, believe in yourself and know that you will have plenty of options.

Although the above statements are the most common in admissions decision letters, you might receive a letter with something a little different. Some colleges offer acceptances in the spring instead of the fall. Other colleges might offer an opportunity to start at a community college and others might offer a conditional acceptance. I have even seen letters that offer study abroad options during first semester prior to joining the class on campus in the spring! Regardless of what you received, know that this process does not define you or your future. You define your future, not some admissions coommitte in a conference room reading an application! Stay strong and know that soon this process will be over!

Written by Wendy Williams, MA ~ Educational Consultant & Advisor

Tips to Cut the Cost of College

Parents always say, where has time gone? That they cannot believe their child is getting one step closer to college. What your not hearing parents say is the stress they are starting to feel with the thought of what college is going to cost and can they afford the school their child wants to attend.

Whether you are buying a home, leasing a car or paying for college, one key element that plays an important role in all of these circumstances is being an educated consumer. One way to look at the cost of college is comparing it to a plane ticket and that everyone pays something different. Understand and learn how to help cut the cost of college.

• If paying for your child’s tuition is going to be difficult, make sure you obtain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) before taking the leap into the college process. Colleges use your ECF to calculate your financial aid eligibility. Use the following link to help you see what you will need to contribute to your child’s college costs.

• Use a net calculator BEFORE applying to colleges. Why before applying? Because you don’t want to have your child excited about attending a school and than realizing they can’t because the costs are exorbitant. Net calculators will help you determine what the cost will be after scholarships and/or need based aid has been applied. Most colleges and universities participate in the federal financial aid system so they should have a net calculator on their website. The one downside of the net calculator is some schools use a federal template which isn’t always accurate, so you might want to also speak with the school.

• Apply for merit based scholarships. Merit scholarships are awarded on the basis of achievement rather than need and no two merit scholarships are the same. Merit scholarships are the most highly visible scholarship opportunity that is available for high school seniors.

• Understand what need based aid versus merit based aid is. Need based aid can come from either the federal government or the state government. The federal government defines financial need by comparing your income and savings to the cost of college. Merit based aid is not based on what a family’s financial situation is but what your students talents are. This form of aid is commonly given through scholarships as stated earlier.

• Always ask for more money if you feel the award is low. You can contact the college and appeal the amount awarded because you received a better award from a different college or just because you want more money. Also, look for your EFC on the award letter (which is typical in very small print). Knowing your EFC will let you know if the award is actually going to help financially or not.

• If you are able to, ditch lousy test results. This will save you valuable time and money. Have your child apply to test optional schools if their test grades are poor. About 40% of the top liberal art colleges are test optional. Go to the following link to learn more about this. http://fairtest.org/

• This next tip is pretty much common sense but needs to be said regardless. Save as much as you can. No matter what, being in a stronger financial position is beneficial, especially these days.

• Need financial aid? If so, Federal Direct Student Loans are the way to go. There are several great factors about using federal student loans such as you do not have to start paying the loan back immediately, they offer low interest rates, there is no interest charge, no credit check is required and you don’t need a cosigner. See the following link for more information.

• Don’t rely on luck. No matter how good your students grades are, how well their test scores are or what extra curriculum activities they are involved in, never think financial awards is a guarantee. Always take the time to thoroughly research what scholarships, grants and awards are available at the college your student wants to attend.

• Remember, it’s important to have a game plan set before you start applying to colleges. By understanding your finances, what tools to use to help determine college costs and what aid is available to you whether it’s through a scholarship or a loan will make applying to college much easier.

Written by Jacqueline Barney

Quick and Helpful Facts About Our College Of The Week:

Georgia Institute of Technology

*Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia Tech is a leading research university dedicated to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology.
*Tech is home to more than 21,500 undergraduate and graduate students.
*Students can choose a degree through the colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
*Students can get involved through intercollegiate and intramural sports, campus traditions and over 400 student organizations.
*Georgia Tech encourages all potential students to visit and experience the Tech campus!

Jessica, a sophomore at Georgia Tech, absolutely loves the location, football game days and the advanced resources available to students. If she could change one thing about Tech, it would be to make sure professors can balance work between research and students. Jessica encourages all upcoming college freshmen to consider Tech as a top choice!

For more information regarding Georgia Tech and its admissions, be sure to check out gatech.edu/admissions

Go Jackets!

Volunteer Opportunity – Get Motivated – Help Other with Kids Boost

Ready for something bigger and better?!?
Written by Kristen Stocks, founder of Kids Boost

So you’ve worked hard over the years to maintain a decent, if not great, GPA. You may have even already taken the dreaded ACT or SAT or are planning to take it soon. And chances are you probably are involved in activities in school… maybe things like student council, sports, band or academic clubs. But are you looking to do something different, maybe something bigger or better? Are you looking to do something fun but impactful all at the same time?
Did you just say yes? I thought so…

What I’ve learned is that most teenagers do want to do something to give back to the world – something bigger and more meaningful than anything they’ve done in the past. This is the reason I started Kids Boost. I wanted to create a way to help kids and teenagers use their gifts, talents and interests to give back to something that is important to them. So this isn’t the situation when an adult is telling you to sell wrapping paper to improve the library at your school… this is the opportunity to do something YOU enjoy for a charity of YOUR choice.
Here’s the deal… Kids Boost will give you $100 and help you turn it into more for a charity. We will give you resources that you may need along the way and a coach to help if needed. You will also have your own webpage to help spread the word and to help generate donations for your cause.

Here’s an example of how it works: Ethan is 16 years old, loves basketball and is super competitive. Ethan also has the desire to help Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta because his neighbor was treated there for cancer a few years ago. Kids Boost gave Ethan $100 and helped him come up with a way to turn that money into more for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Ethan decided to have a free-throw-athon with his basketball team to raise money. He talked to his team and coaches and picked a day they could use the school gym. Each player was challenged to get pledges from friends/family for each free-throw they made in a 30 minute window. Ethan also asked a few local restaurants to donate gift certificates to use as prizes for the player who scored the most free-throws and the player who collected the most money. Ethan used $25 of his $100 startup money to buy drinks and snacks for the event. The remaining $75 was put towards his money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Ethan’s hard work paid off in a huge way. He raised $875.00! Ethan presented a check for $700 to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (80% of his total) and the other $175.00 (20% of his total) goes back to Kids Boost to allow another kid the opportunity to participate. So his hard work not only helped Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, but it also helped other kids and charities… because some of the money he raised will keep the Kids Boost cycle going. Ethan and his team had a fun day and made an enormous impact on the community. Ethan was also able to add this experience to his college applications which made him a well-rounded candidate with great philanthropy experience.

Want to learn more?!? Check out www.kidsboost.org to get more information and to sign up. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Kristen@kidsboost.org. I would love to hear from you and to help you do something amazing in the world. You are capable of much more than you even know!

Quick and Helpful Facts About Our College Of the Week: Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University

Located in Kennesaw, GA, KSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees and is the third largest university in Georgia.KSU consolidated with Southern Polytechnic State University this past January to create one of the most respected institutions in higher education. In the fall of 2014, KSU had 32,500 students enrolled.
KSU has 18 NCAA Division 1 athletic teams, including its recently added football team, as well as multiple student organizations.

Be sure to make your reservation in advance for a campus tour to learn even more about KSU!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Daniel Papp, President of Kennesaw State University. I spent a lot of time with him learning about new programs, upcoming organizations and opportunities for not only the students but the community at large. I am very excited about KSU. This is a school that is no longer under the radar. The campus has grown and it will continue to expand!

For more information regarding KSU and its admissions, check out kennesaw.edu.

See you in Owl Country!

College of the Week

Quick and Helpful Facts About University of Georgia:

This public college, located in Athens, Georgia, sits on about 40,000 acres and was home to 35,197 students in 2014. Students can choose from 22 Baccalaureate degrees in over 140 fields. UGA’s motto is “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” It was ranked 21st in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 “Best Colleges.” UGA offers more than 600 registered student organizations, such as athletic clubs, honor societies, religious organizations, social gatherings and greek life. Last year, UGA’s incoming, freshmen class average SAT score was 1800-2060 and ACT was 30. The best time to tour UGA is on a weekday in the Fall, Spring or Summer when classes are in session and students are on campus.

A Student’s View:
Alex is a senior at UGA and pursuing a Psychology major. After a recent interview with our friend, Alex, we learned he loves the sense of community on campus at UGA, how there are always student organization events in Tate Plaza and how involved the student body can be! If Alex could change anything about UGA, he would add a couple more busses to the routes and update the interior of some of the classroom buildings. Overall, Alex continues to have a great experience at UGA!

For more information regarding UGA and its admission be sure to check out admissions.uga.edu

Go Dawgs!

Important Tips For Summer

Congratulations on completing your junior year and becoming seniors! As you begin your summer, I want to remind you of a few things that are important for you to be working on this summer.

Standardized Testing: It is important to continue studying for fall exams. As a senior and depending on your college application timeline and college choice, you have opportunities in the fall of your senior year to take a few more tests: SAT: October 3, 2015 – Register by September 4; November 7, 2015 – Register by October 8; December 5, 2015- Register by November 6. ACT: September 12, 2015 – Register by August 7; October 24, 2015 – Register by September 18 or December 12, 2015- Register by November 6.

College Visits: As you start to narrow your college list, you will need to visit at least 3 to 5 schools if possible. This summer is a great opportunity to see the campus, take a tour and get a feel for the college experience offered. If you like the campus, you can always go back when it is in session to see all the students who learn there.

Summer Plans: By now, you should have your plans for your summer mapped out. All I ask is that you look at your calendar and make sure that you are not spending more than one week of time doing nothing active. Summer is a great time to build your resume. Think about a job, volunteering, academic opportunity or taking dance or music lessons. Think outside of the box this summer and get creative!

Engage Colleges: Summer is a great time to request information from the colleges that you find interesting. Requesting information will add you to their mailing list and show that you are interested in their campus. You can take this a step further and contact the Admissions Representative for your area and find out if he or she will be here in the fall! Try to setup a meeting time and if nothing else, find out what campus fair the Representative will be attending.

College Applications: Do not register for the Common Application yet. If you register now for the common application, it will be deleted as they take it down every year to reboot the portal for the next application cycle. Some colleges release their application early. As I get updates, I will post information here. However, summer is a good time to call the admissions team and ask when they will release their application. I encourage you to do this so that we can setup a timeline for your applications!

Scholarships: Summer goes by fast and one thing that can slow it down is researching scholarship opportunities. I encourage you to take this very seriously. Please look for 5 to 10 scholarships that you might be able to apply for.

College Majors: Take time to research the college majors of interest and be aware of what courses one would need to complete their major. One of my favorite websites is mymajors.com.

Resume: Sit with your parents and talk about the last 3 years. Begin drafting your resume. If you have accomplished any unique research papers or projects or have been featured in the newspaper, etc., this is the time to gather all of that information so that you can send it to your colleges in the fall.

Informational Interviewing: Talk to your friends who just graduated. Ask them how they made their decision and what they chose. Ask them for any tips for your senior year; advice for your applications; recommendations on interviewing skills, or things they wish they had done differently. Ask your parents to connect you to anyone who might be in a career that you are interested in looking at further. Take time to find out why he or she chose their career and how the choice was made. Summer is a great time to get advice from others!

Print this list and put it somewhere you can see daily or set reminders for you to complete each item by a certain day. Summer will be over before you know it and application season will be in full gear. Take time this summer to get ahead and stay on top of your to do list!