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Roberta Lachman and Joan B. Weiss
My son applied to thirteen schools.  EVERY letter he received referenced what a great essay he had.  I know if he hadn't worked with College Fit 360, that would not be the case!"
 
    -Shari
(Mother of William, Wash U, Class  of 2019)

 
Rising Seniors:  How's your college list?  Working on your essays?
We Can Help.

  Remember the Reader  

If your child is a rising senior, with any luck, he has begun to give thought to writing the essays that will accompany the college applications he submits in the fall.  Even if your kid is unsure of where he’ll apply, for many students the chances are good that they will ultimately need to write the UC and Common App essays, so they can start there—now! 

Once the process has begun, there are a great many things to consider.  One that is often overlooked is the reality that the student is writing each essay for an audience--an actual human being who will read and make judgments based on the end product.  Placing himself in that person’s shoes, will guide your student in choosing a topic and deciding how to write about it.
 
College admissions officers use the essay portion of the application to get a sense of who each student really is.  They are looking to understand his personality, character and values, potential for growth, passions, love of learning.  But they don’t want to get him just for the sake of getting him. To do their jobs well, they need to make the right choices in recommending students for admission.   What they’re looking for really boils down to two key issues:

Will this student succeed at our school?  Does he seem to have the  smarts, writing skills, personality, character, and attitude to feel comfortable and achieve on our campus?

Will this student contribute to our campus community? Will he be involved and engaged?  Will he bring diverse viewpoints/skills/talents that will add to the richness and vitality of our school?

So as your child begins the essay process, make sure that he gives thought to the two overriding questions that will be on the minds of the people deciding if he’s a good choice for their school.--and that the answer will be an unequivocal yes!


  The Fast Track to an M.D.  

When all the other kids stopped playing doctor, did yours continue to wear a stethoscope around her neck and carry a reflex hammer in her hand?  For kids that know they want to be physicians, there are some nifty programs that can get them there faster and/or without the anxiety of having to apply to medical school.  There are plenty of combined BS/MD or BA/MD programs that guarantee acceptance into medical school, provided you maintain a certain GPA after acceptance into the program.  The details of each university’s program are different, and most take 7 or 8 years to complete. 

For students in a really big hurry, however, there are a handful of programs that you can finish in a mere 6 years! (That’s a savings of 730 days – 731 in a leap year!)  Check ‘em out:

University of Missouri, Kansas 
Students begin clinical experiences in the first two weeks of the program.In the first two years of the program, 75% of a student’s time is spent fulfilling bachelor’s degree requirements (in liberal arts, biology, or chemistry), while the final four years are concentrated on coursework for the MD.

Admission requires a 3.0 GPA (average admitted student has a 3.8) and SAT/ACT of 1090/24 (average is 1380/31)
 
Howard University  
To be considered for the program, students must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and minimum ACT of 26 or the equivalent SAT score.

In the first two years, students complete a minimum of 86 hours of specified courses in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences, take med school pre-requisites, and begin their clinical experience.  To move into the College of Medicine in year 3, students must have a minimum  overall GPA of 3.5, a minimum science GPA of 3.25, and a minimum total MCAT score of 24.

Northeastern Ohio Medical University
Admitted students average a 3.88 high school GPA and 31 ACT score.  In years 1 and 2, students take premed coursework and bachelor’s degree coursework at an accelerated rate at University of Akron, Kent State, or Youngstown State.  To move into the med school part of the program, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.4, a minimum GPA of 3.4 in science and math classes, and an MCAT score of 125 or higher in each subtest.
 
Accelerated programs are not for everyone.  In considering this avenue, students should reflect on their commitment to this career path, other academic interests they might wish to pursue, and the type of college experience they desire, then make an informed decision. 
Shout Out to Parents

Host A College Night
Invite a gaggle of your high school parent friends for a night of college info and Q&A.  We'll bring the knowledge and the chips, and thank you with a $100 discount on a consulting package.
If that sounds like fun, click here!

P.S.  Got a PTA or employee group that would benefit from some College Talk?  Let's put it on the calendar.

  Better Safe Than Sorry 

It's probably not the first thing you'll think about, but campus safety should be an important consideration when it comes time to make a college decision.  Particularly in an era when we hear so much about sexual assault on college campuses, parents need to do some digging into issues of safety on-campus and in the area surrounding a campus before they send their children away from home for the first time.

Many individual college websites contain information on campus safety policies and crime statistics, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. You can get additional information about crime on and off campus on  The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education and the FBI websites.  And for qualitative evaluations, check out Niche to read what students have to say about campus safety and the area surrounding their schools. 

While web research is a good starting place, you will probably feel most confident about information straight from the horse's mouth.  Talk to people on the campus--students, women's groups, safety officers, admissions officials--and get their views on questions like

  1. What does the college do to keep the campus safe?
     
  2. How does the school communicate with students in an emergency?
     
  3. Does the school have police on campus or its own security teams?
     
  4. How does the school handle reports of sexual assault or sexual harassment?
     
  5. What crime prevention programs are in place?
     
  6. How do you protect students who live off campus?
     
  7. Is alcohol and drug abuse a significant problem on campus?
     
  8. How do you protect students during a natural disaster?

For students about to leave for college, click here for tips on how to stay safe. 

Dear 9th-12th grade parents:

If your student will be entering 12th grade next month, she should be well into the process of college search. Because of the ease of applying to multiple schools with one application, students these days apply to far more colleges than in the past.  But with the work and expense involved in completing each application, how many schools should a student apply to?  Our students frequently apply to somewhere in the range of eight to twelve colleges, but there is no one answer.  In deciding how many schools your child should apply to, ask yourself the following:

  1. Can she explain the reasons why she wants to attend each school on the list?  No college should appear on her list unless it offers her what she is looking for and is a school she would be happy attending.
  2. Will she have the time and energy to do a great job on every application? Quality counts.  Doing a mediocre job in order to complete too many apps is counterproductive.
  3. Is she as enamored of her likely schools as her reach schools?  If your child spends time finding several desirable schools that will likely accept  her, her list is less apt to keep expanding at the top end.
Enjoy the process of exploring the array of wonderful college choices and, if we can be of help, just holler.
 
Your college sherpas,
Joan and Roberta

  Sobering Facts About 
  College Sobriety 
 
As we send our kids off to college, the list of worries swirling around in our heads seems to grow exponentially: Will my child be able to handle the work? Make friends? Stay healthy? Stay safe? But what if your child has already faced the major challenge of sobriety in high school?  The temptations built into college life may seem insurmountable. 
 
The good news is that colleges have begun to recognize the importance of supporting these students.   The Association of Recovery in Higher Education reports that 95% of students involved in collegiate recovery programs maintain their recovery, while relapse rates in the general population range from 40% to 60%.
 
If your child has struggled with drugs or alcohol during his high school years and is about to go off to college, look beyond policies the school may have on drinking.  So-called “dry” schools and schools promising enforcement of underage drinking laws, are no guarantee that drinking or other substance abuse problems are under control.  Be sure to research whether or not the school has an actual “recovery” program and the types of services offered by the program.
 
Many colleges now offer “sober living” environments.  This can mean anything from sober housing to a multi-layered program that includes continued recovery support, crisis management, relapse prevention, and academic assistance for students transitioning from recovery to school.
 
A good place to begin your research is the Association of Recovery in Higher Education website. It includes a directory of schools offering on-campus programs.  For more information about schools with “sober” dorms, click here.
 
An additional concern for many parents is whether or not a student will develop addiction problems once they are away at college.  Again, research the availability of support for this situation as well.  One way you can stay ahead of this problem is to be sure you have access to your student’s school records.  Insist on having your student sign the FERPA waiver that allows this prior to your child beginning school.  Click here for  information on this process.Then, if you suspect a problem, you can check to see if there has been a decline in school performance and/or attendance.  If you don’t have a Ferpa waiver and suspect a problem, Addiction.com suggests the following:
  • Contact the dean of students and ask that he meet with your kid.
  • Contact the student’s residential assistant (RA) and ask what she may have observed.
  • Get yourself to the campus and lay eyes on your kid yourself.
For children who are at risk to relapse or to begin substance abuse, getting help as soon as possible is the key to helping them successfully complete their college education.

  Big (Big!) FAFSA Changes 

So how much is it actually gonna cost to send your kid to college?  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines how much money your family is expected to contribute to your child’s college education, and is used to establish how much your child will be offered in grants, work study, and loans.  This critical part of the application process is changing this year.In years past, January 1 was the earliest you could file the FAFSA; starting with the 2017-2018 application season, the filing date has been moved up to October 1.  So, if you have a rising senior (meaning s/he will be attending college in the fall of 2017), you can apply for aid as early as two and a half months from now.  The earlier date will be a permanent change going forward.
 
This year’s FAFSA will use your family’s 2015 income, rather than your 2016 income, to determine the amount of aid your child qualifies for.  Because most families will have completed their taxes by October, they will not need to estimate their tax information and then later update it.
 
We implore you to file the FAFSA as close to October 1 as possible in order to ensure that you receive the most college funding you are eligible for.  Because of the earlier deadline, your child might not have made final decisions about which schools s/he will be applying to at the time of filing.  That’s okay.  You can list the schools you’ve decided upon, then add any additional schools later.

You and your child will need FSA IDs to file the FAFSA and you can sign up for it now.  Click here  to get started.

  Mark Your Calendar 

Our favorite college fair will be here very soon.  We totally crush on Colleges That Change Lives--a consortium of 44 small, student-centered colleges working together to advance the idea of a fit-focused college search process.  The CTCL College Fair will be held this Sunday, July 31, at the Universal City Hilton at 11am and 3 pm.

This is a mellow, manageable fair, but also very exciting and inspirational for students. Regardless of your high school student's grade, go, go, go !  More info here.

ACT and SAT FALL 2016 Test Dates

ACT
Test Date                     Register by
September 10               Aug 5  
October 22                    Sept 16
December 10                Nov  4

SAT/Subject Tests
October 1                       Sept  1    
November 5                    Oct 7   
December 3                    Nov 3

Make your child's journey to college a thrilling and stress-reduced trek.

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