Monthly Archives: August 2014

Get Wisdom from a parent regarding the college process

What did you find most challenging about the college process and how did working with Wendy Williams help you? What advice would you give another parent about the college process?

The college selection process was pretty overwhelming for us. Even though we had great councilors at our school, Carli’s “undecided/undeclared” status did not make for easy answers. Choosing Wendy to help us absolutely made for a much smoother process. Wendy did so much work with Carli to really understand what she was looking for – and Carli is not your typical kid. I know we all say that, but Carli had requirements around some unusual topics. She wanted a challenging, respected, diverse school near whitewater rivers, a different ideological culture from where she grew up, a cool urban feel yet not too big – and a must was an authentic coffee shop. Well, this is the sort of challenge that Wendy is made for – with Wendy’s guidance and evaluation tools in hand we visited many campuses that helped Carli come to terms with her needs and wants. An objective – and in Wendy’s case, very approachable – professional really helps with some of the friction that families can encounter in this process. So here we are, with Carli off to her first year of college at The University of Vermont and she couldn’t be more excited and optimistic about the next four years.

Lola and Tom Beisel

Get Wisdom from Bed Bath & Beyond

As Manager of Bed, Bath & Beyond, you must have a lot of students and parents coming in for help with their new living environment. What have you found to be the most important items to purchase for college students? Do you have any advice for parents who are trying to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for their student? 

What 3 items are a must have for students who are living in dorm rooms?
1.)  STORAGE!!!  Moving from a large bedroom to a small living space presents challenges.  Look to get any kind of storage solutions to help make your dorm organized.  Over the door storage, over the door hooks, hanging garment storage, slim line hangers, double closet rods, and storage totes are some of the many options out there.

2.) COMFORT- There are not many places in a small place to relax.  The mattresses provided are thin and have an uncomfortable plastic  exterior.  Look to get padded mattress pads, fiber or feather beds or memory foam bed toppers.   In addition, futons or comfortable seating can provide an area in the dorm for down time between classes. 

3.)  FOOD- Having a small refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker can help make dorm life seem like home life.  The ability to grab a quick breakfast in your room or a study pick me up makes dorm living more enjoyable.

What advice do you have for parents who are helping students get comfortable in their new living environment?
Helping your child get set up and organized in their new space is important.  Once they are unpacked and organized, it’s time to go.  Let them have time to get comfortable in their new space and meet new friends.

Try not to be a helicopter parent,  No Hovering.  The college experience is not just about studying and getting a degree.  The college experience teaches life skills, managing finances, being accountable for deadlines, managing work vs free time and navigating social relationships and skills.  Let go and see what happens.  Mistakes are not failures but lessons.

Answers provided by Erin Fitzgerald, Manager of Bed Bath & Beyond

GA College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)

We all know the importance of selecting great schools for children to attend. Today, the Georgia Department of Education released breaking news about a new school ranking system! It is called the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)

It grades schools on a 100 point scale of preparedness students gain graduating from high school with rigorous content knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge. Read more about this below!

Application Timeline – EA, RD, ED, EA-R

Students are getting back into the swing of school this month and are gearing up for the college application season. With September coming in just a week or so, I wanted to take time and clarify some terms that might be confusing for families who are applying for college in 2015. I hope the below information helps you and your student when choosing which option to choose for deadlines. Regardless of your decision, students need to complete and submit their application before December 1st in order to be reviewed for scholarships. In fact, in some cases, students need to be applying by November 1st! Please be sure to read through each of your colleges to be clear as to their scholarship policies and deadlines. Remember if merit scholarships are important to you then you might NOT want to apply ED to any institution.

This is a non-binding agreement. Early Action Deadlines for most colleges are typically October 15th or November 1st. Applying Early Action will eliminate the college from looking at the student’s senior year first semester grades. This admission plan is non-binding and offered by a lot of colleges. The student will receive a decision notification around mid December. Students applying under Early Action may also apply to other colleges and does not have to accept or refuse the EA offer of admission until May 1. Some examples of EA colleges are University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of South Carolina.

This is a non-binding agreement and should only be used if the student is confident about their college who offers this plan. Early Action Deadlines for most colleges are typically November 1st. This is when a student applies before the regular decision deadline as well as applies only Early Action to ONE 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 senior year first semester grades. If you feel that your grade point average will improve and that you need to show another semester of good grades then applying early could hurt your chances of acceptance. The student will receive a decision notification around mid December. Students do not have to accept or refuse the EA offer of admission until May 1. Some examples of EA Single Choice colleges are Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, etc.

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: (1) Single Choice, in which the student is allowed to apply to only one college and (2) First Choice, in which the student may apply elsewhere but agrees to withdraw other applications if accepted by the ED school. This plan is 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.

This admission plan does not have an actual hard deadline. Therefore, it is important to apply as early as possible. University of Alabama is an example of a rolling deadline. Rolling or early notification is an admission plan that promises an early notification to the applicant. The student is not obligated to attend, if accepted.

Regular Decision is the normal process by which students apply by published deadlines, like January 1st, with 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.

Tips For The 2014-2015 Application Season

The Common Application went live this morning at 8:00 a.m. ET. Today is a great day to login to their website,, and create your account. You can even add a few schools that you plan on applying to this fall. As the application season begins, it is important to remember that your applications take time and require additional documents like teacher recommendations, college supplements, activity lists, standardized tests scores, high school profile, etc. Therefore, you cannot wait until the last minute to start this process.

Here are some tips when beginning your application(s):

1. Keep Track – Be sure to keep record of all your usernames and passwords. I would encourage you to create a word document that is labeled College Usernames/Passwords and use it to record all of your important login information.

2. Create A Calendar – Make a calendar of all your deadlines either on a desk calendar, a word document, an excel spreadsheet or on your telephone. If you use your calendar on your phone then I would recommend creating alerts in that calendar so that you are reminded of deadlines at least 2 weeks earlier than the actual college deadline.

3. Find A Quiet Place – Find a place to work on your applications either in your home, a coffee shop or your local library where you can concentrate. Having this designated work environment will give you structure.

4. Create A Folder For Each School – This will be a great place to store your completed applications as well as any information that you might receive from that college. It is also a good idea to put a label on the outside of the folder with information like the Admissions Officer’s name and contact, deadlines, applications requirements, etc.

5. Fill In The Mindless Questions First- Begin filling out the information on the application(s) like your family background, academic history, testing information, etc. now. This part of the application requires little thought and is easy to complete.

6. Start Your Essay(s) Now! – There is no reason to wait. The writing portion of the application is the hardest and will take the most time.

7. Know The Requirements – Double-check all application requirements, especially for standardized testing. October might be the last time for you to be able to take SAT Subject Tests. Please be certain that you are aware of all of your school’s requirements and their testing policies.

In addition to the above tips, you might want to check out a few cool apps that can be downloaded to your phone. However, if you use any phone application that has a list of college essays and or deadlines, it is imperative that you also check the actual college website to verify all information.

Take a look at the below:

1. All College Application Essays
2. Naviance Student
3. ACT College Search
4. Things
5. Dictionary
6. College Guide
7. College Confidential
8. Peterson’s College Guide
9. Dropbox
10. Pages

The above apps might help you stay organized and give you helpful information. Please remember to always look at the college specific website for the most up to date and correct information.