Roberta Lachman and Joan B. Weiss
“I just heard that I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO WELLESLEY COLLEGE!!!!!  Thank you so much for everything you guys have done to help me have the options that I have right now…”
 (USC, Class of 2018)
"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!"
(Mother of William, Wash U, Class of 2019)

"So happy to recommend you; we are crazy about you and think you're super talented!"
(Mother of Jet, Cal Poly Pomona, Class of 2019)

"Thank you for all you've done to keep Alexis on track and inspire her to present her attributes to schools in a creative, thorough and timely fashion."
(Mother of Alexis, accepted to 9 colleges so far)


Juniors:  What are your summer plans?  Have you started building your college list?
We Can Help.
Heard About the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success?

If you haven’t, you’re not alone.  The Coalition is a new group of colleges and universities whose mission is to make college more accessible and affordable, especially for underserved kids. Members of the Coalition include public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents, and private colleges that provide financial aid to meet the full, demonstrated need of every domestic student they admit.

One way that the Coalition will accomplish its goals is by creating a site with free tools that will allow all high school students, from freshman year forward, to begin formulating a college plan and assembling information that they will need for their applications.  By providing a college tool that targets students long before senior year, Coalition members believe they will improve access to college for all.
One part of the site, which should be available this April, is called The College Locker – a private virtual storage space where students can upload artwork, projects, essays, and awards that they have accumulated during each year of high school.  When the time comes to apply to college, all those stored items will be easily transferred to the next tool – the Application.
The Application will be accepted by all members of the Coalition.  As with the Common App, students will be able to apply to multiple schools using this one portal.  The application portion of the site should be available over the summer.  The Coalition hopes it will be a simpler, less daunting form that will encourage students to dive in.

To view the 91 schools that are part of the Coalition, click here.
Another tool planned by the Coalition is a collaborative platform, which will allow teachers, mentors and counselors to send information about the student to the site and to read materials already there.
If you’re wondering, as we were, if this affects whether or not these schools will still take the Common App or their State’s application, the answer is yes, they will.  College Fit 360 will stay on the case and keep you updated as more information about the Coalition becomes available.  In the meantime, if you want to read more, click here
Shout Out to
Parents of Juniors:

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!
Peeling the College Onion
Students can access lots of college info from the comfort of their own bedrooms.  You can read about courses, majors, and activities. You can read student reviews and even take virtual tours.  You should do all of the above.
But no matter how much time you spend surfing the net for information about a school--and let’s face it, you could spend a long, long time--there comes a moment when you need to make it real.  That means visiting the campus.  Because until you set foot on campus, you won’t know if a place is truly for you. But don't trust us.  Listen to what some students had to say:

Bianca said, "After visiting my dream school, I was highly disappointed. Something about the atmosphere and interacting with the students didn’t satisfy me. But when I visited the college I’m at now, I felt an instant sense of comfort ... I knew this was the campus I had to attend, and I do not regret my decision."

Julian said, "In the end, the most important thing for me was getting a feel for the environment. … Some schools are intensely competitive. Others incorporate two extremes, partying hard and studying hard. The college visit will give you a gut feeling as to what is most comfortable for you."

According to Gregory, "Looking online and through college catalogs helped me narrow down which institutions matched my academic needs, but I didn’t realize that [my college] was the place I could call home until I stepped foot on campus and stayed overnight with a student."

If you can take your student on a college trip early in the process, he can visit a variety of campuses and get a feel for his likes and dislikes. But if you don't visit before he applies, you may find it absolutely necessary to visit one or two campuses once he gets in, so that he can make the most informed choice possible.
On your visit, you and your child will certainly want to take the tour and attend the information session.  But you can go far beyond those basics by calling ahead to get help planning some or all of the following activities:

  • An interview with an admissions officer 
  • Sitting in on a class or two
  • Talking to a professor (or two) in your child's chosen major(s) 
  • Talking to a coach in your student's chosen sport 
  • Talking to a student or counselor in the career center 
  • If at all possible, have your child spend the night in a dorm with a current student.  (Check to see if anyone else from her school is attending the place you’re visiting and would be willing to host her.)
Have your student take advantage of some informal ways of peeling the onion, as well, by:
  • Reading the student newspaper and listening to the college radio station
  • Trying to find other student publications—department newsletters, 'alternative' newspapers, literary reviews 
  • Eating in the cafeteria 
  • Asking a student why he chose this college, what his favorite part about it is, what he dislikes, and how he spends his weekends
  • Eavesdroping on students to hear what they’re talking, or complaining, about 
  • Wandering around the campus by herself 
  • Spending time in the library
  • Reading the bulletin boards in the student union and in the academic department he's interested in
The campus your child chooses will be his home for the next four years.   Making sure it fits his needs is essential.

We have a great College Visit Worksheet that we would love to share with you.  Email us if you're interested.

Mark Your Calendar

Greater Los Angeles National College Fair
Pasadena Convention Center
Thursday, April 28, 2016
9:00-12:00 and 6:00-9:00

Colleges that Change Lives College Fair
Universal City Hilton
Sunday, July 31
11:00 am and 3:00 pm

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

Dear 9th-12th grade parents:

It's the happy dance time of year, here at College Fit 360!   Nearly every day, we get calls and emails from the students and parents we've worked with this past admissions cycle, sharing good news about college acceptances and scholarships offered.  There's nothing more rewarding than watching this process come full circle, knowing that we played a small part in bringing together a great kid and a college where he or she can flourish.  It's especially satisfying to hear comments about how positive the experience was for a student, how she discovered college choices she would never have known about.  We love to hear parents express amazement (and relief) when their kids are offered financial packages that will allow them to attend schools which would have otherwise been out of reach.  When we help our students evaluate their offers and make a final choice, we feel privileged to be standing alongside them as they take their first step into their adult lives. Soon our job with this year's seniors will be done, and we will have to let go.  Lucky for us, we get to walk this circle once again, with a new crop of juniors that we are just now getting to know.  
Your college sherpas,
Joan and Roberta
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

For high school seniors, this is the time of year when all the hard work of applying to college is a not-so-distant memory, and the joyful task du jour is deciding among college offers.

One of our students, Jason, contacted us this week with an enviable problem:  how to pick among the multiple schools that have invited him to study on their campuses.  With 12 acceptances under his belt, Jason was feeling a little overwhelmed and asked us for help in making a decision.  Although he is reaching the final stretch of the application process, we suggested that he think back to the very beginning.
In order to narrow down their lists, students in the decision-making phase of the college admissions process need to re-think the core issues that helped them assemble a college list in the first place.  They should again visit their needs and preferences in the following areas:
  1. Majors/Programs – While all the schools should have majors or minors in the areas your student is interested in exploring, each school will offer different courses, major requirements, programs, and opportunities. Which does your child find most exciting?
  2. Other Requirements - Colleges have different general education requirements or, in some cases, none at all. Which schools’ requirements does your student find most appealing?
  3. School size – As class size is associated with school size, does your son or daughter learn best in a small, intimate classroom or does he prefer a more populous, anonymous setting?  Whatever the answer, which of the college choices are a match?
  4. Social and recreational activities – Which schools offer the outside-of-class activities that most interest your student?  Consider fraternities/sororities, clubs, party scene, sports, etc.
  5. Location - Where does your child want to live? Consider region, weather, urban/suburban/rural preferences, proximity to home, etc.  Which of the choices are a good match?
Addressing these issues will help students winnow down their lists to include only the best of their best-fit schools.  Now, with a smaller group of schools, they will want to hone in on two more factors, cost and feel, to help lead them to a final decision.
Each school will offer your student a different financial package based on need-based and/or merit-based aid.  These packages often mean that what it will cost your child to attend will differ greatly from both the “sticker price” and what it will cost another student to attend.  In assessing these offers, think about what makes the most financial sense for both the student and the family.  Consider:
  • What it will cost your student to attend.  Make sure to factor in each school’s 4-year graduation rate and how the cost will vary if the student needs more than 4 years to finish
  • How costs will impact the family while the student is in college
  • How the aid is structured in terms of grant and scholarships versus loans or work-study
  • How much debt the student or family will ultimately be taking on, when they need to begin to repay it, and how long it will take to repay
  • How repaying that debt is likely to impact the lives of the student or family in the future
Once your student has noodled her way through the facts, it’s time to address the intangible.  While they often can’t say why, students frequently know they’re on the right campus the second they set foot on it.  Read our article on Peeling the College Onion for tips on how to make the most of a college visit.
Remember, students should not be looking for a perfect school; rather, there are multiple colleges that will be a good fit for each individual, although each will have its own unique charms.  Just as a vacation in Hawaii is undeniably different than a vacation in New York, both can be equally wonderful experiences.

A California College Guide for the B- Student

There are plenty of students with less than a B average looking to attend a 4-year college.  Fortunately, there are many good choices among California's public and private schools.

One of our two public university systems, the California State University system (CSU), requires only a minimum 2.0 GPA to apply. (The University of California system requires a 3.0 or higher.) While the average student accepted at each of the 23 CSU campuses has above a 3.0*, there is tremendous disparity among admitted students at individual campuses. For example, the most competitive CSU campuses include Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach whose admitted students, respectively, averaged GPAs of 3.92, 3.69, 3.53, and 3.52.  Cal State campuses at East Bay, Dominguez Hills, and Northridge admitted students with the lowest average GPAs, respectively 3.1, 3.13, and 3.18.  Admits at the remaining 16 campuses fell somewhere in between.

Most of California's private colleges and universities have no minimum GPA requirements and, therefore, have greater flexibility in their admissions processes. Some of those that B- students might want to look into include the following:
  • University of the Pacific
  • Biola
  • Cal Lutheran
  • Dominican
  • St. Mary's of California
  • Mount St. Mary's
  • Mills
  • Whittier
  • Pepperdine
  • Fresno Pacific
Remember that the GPA is only one element that colleges look at in the decision-making process.  You will increase your odds of getting into any school by strengthening the other parts of your application.  A lower than average GPA may be offset by high test scores, character traits, extenuating circumstances, extracurricular activities, or a special talent/ability.
*The average student applying to college has above a 3.0 GPA.
Spring ACT Test Dates

April 9, 2016
Registration deadline - March 4, 2016
Late fee required - March 5-18, 2016

June 11, 2016
Registration deadline - May 6, 2016
Late fee required - May 7-20, 2016

Sign up as soon as possible; because of changes to the SAT, ACT test seats are expected to fill up fast.
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