Yearly Archives: 2018

No 4.0 GPA? College is still possible!

Reading the newspapers or listening to other parents, you’d think that the only kids who get into college are those with a 4.0 GPA and a list of accomplishments most adults don’t yet have.

This is simply not true!

In my 20-plus years of working with high school students from all levels of accomplishment, I know that there are colleges for everyone who wants to attend, and work when they get there.

Here are some tips to finding the colleges that value YOUR accomplishments:

  1. Be realistic: If your GPA is 3.0 or lower, don’t aim for the most selective colleges – the 24 – 50 colleges whose names everyone knows. Recognize that in many cases these colleges are not better than ones no one has heard of, and they are definitely not the best for you.
  2. Know what colleges are looking at: they’ll look at your unweighted GPA in your core classes, and at what’s available at your high school. If a student tries to stretch within the curriculum and earns B/B+ in Honors or AP classes, that student is preferable to someone who took only standard level classes and got all A’s.
  3. What you do outside of the classroom is almost as important as what you do in it. Get involved in your school community through clubs, sports, fine arts, and community service. If nothing at your school interests you, find an activity outside of school to become actively involved in. This could be tutoring, a job, community service, Scouting, Big Brother/Big Sister, religious groups, or any of the other opportunities that exist in all communities.
  4. Take the time to really think about your application! Make sure that it is both accurate and complete.
  5. Answer the questions asked in the essays and don’t repeat what can be seen elsewhere in the application. This is your chance to become a human being to the college. Don’t rehash your activities or use it as the place to explain why you are not a good test taker.
  6. Choose your recommenders carefully. They should be teachers who really know you as a person and like who you are. Give the teacher the courtesy of asking well in advance if s/he is willing to recommend you.
  7. Work with someone who knows the college process and can help you navigate it to present yourself in the best light, while still being honest.

I work with students from all parts of the academic spectrum and find that it’s often easier for students not in the top 10% of the class to find the right colleges for them. These students are realistic, know how to work for their grades, and are multi-dimensional. For more insights, I recommend the following resources:

Finally, if the worst happens and none of the colleges you have applied to accepts you, a list is published each year after May 1st of colleges that still have room in their freshman class. Many of the names on this list would surprise you.

If you need more help with this or any other aspect of college planning, please call me at 803-487-977 or email to [email protected].

 

Why Your Kids’ Grades Don’t Mean Nearly As Much As These 5 Things

I am always surprised when a parent brags to me about their high school student who works so hard on school work that there is no time for anything else. The next statement is usually something

about the student having straight A’s which shows that “hard work pays off.” Unfortunately, that is simply not the case! Good, even great grades are no substitute for the following 5 things:

1. A curriculum in which the student has stretched his/her intellectual capabilities by taking the most rigorous courses offered and earning solid grades (A or B) in them. It makes no sense to take every AP or IB course offered and get C’s in them.

The course weighting is no substitute for accomplishment. If a student tries a class at that level and does not do well, move on and drop back to the course work where he can be successful. I once had a student who had a 4.0 GPA and aspired to the most competitive colleges in the country.

Unfortunately, the student had taken none of the Honors or AP classes offered at her highly-ranked high school. The family believed that having straight A’s was better than showing intellectual curiosity or attempting to stretch within her options.

2.  Extracurricular involvement that shows the student has interests in girl sccoutsboth her school community and outside it. Whether the student is active in a religious organization, Scouting or Student Council does not matter. What matters is that she is showing that she can function as part of a larger community and cares about others besides herself.

The activities a student participates in is also one of the two places in the application that the student becomes a person. The essay is the other. That’s why a student should participate in what is interesting to her and not try to find things that “look good.”

3. Work experiences that indicate that a student is responsible, able, disciplined and dependable. That job could be babysitting, bagging groceries, lawn care, or working on his own business detailing cars. All of these show that the student is able to be responsible to someone other than himself, has the time management skills to get to work and can develop a work record that lasts more than a few weeks.

4.  Participation in some form of team activity can also indicate an awareness that there is something more important than herself. That Playing socceractivity can be band, chorus, theater, or athletics – all show that the student can work harmoniously with others.

5. The ability to put the world in perspective. It breaks my heart when I hear these high-powered, high-stressed kids tell me about their dark thoughts. They question if anyone loves the person they are, or just the glory they can bring to the family. These are solid students with marvelous minds, but they have no time to socialize because their parents tell them that perfection is attainable if enough time and effort is given. Then, the student may fall apart emotionally.

While good grades are important for acceptance to college, there are many other things that are more important: intellectual curiosity, a strong work ethic, dependability, and a personality.

How to Decide Where to Apply

Choosing the colleges you apply to is not as easy as it may seem. Too often, students and parents simply “decide” to apply to colleges whose names they know. This often includes institutions that are not a good fit for the student, even though the choice gets a positive nod from their friends and family. The most important thing to remember is that the colleges you apply to should be a good fit and match for you academically, socially, emotionally, and financially. This is not trophy hunting!

How does a family find these colleges? Naturally, I hope that you will get professional help from someone like me who knows the college landscape nationwide, and who has the student’s interests as a guiding force.

When I meet with a student, the first thing I try to learn is how much the student knows about him/herself. I have an in-depth conversation in which I ask questions designed to reveal the student’s learning style, motivation, interests, and lifestyle. I factor into this mix the family’s ability to pay for college and any other constraints, such as a diagnosed learning issue or family requirement.

studentNext, I review the student’s transcript, school profile and test scores. I also recalculate the unweighted GPA so that the student has a realistic view of where he falls in relation to the colleges I recommend. This allows me to narrow the 3500 colleges in the U. S. to about 15 that represent a good fit and match for the student.

After the student has researched the colleges and, hopefully, visited those in which s/he has strong interest, a short list of eight to 10 institutions who will ultimately get an application emerges. The list should include three to four Likely colleges (a 75 percent chance of admittance), three to four Target colleges (a 50 percent chance of admission), and two to three Reach colleges (a 25 percent chance of admission).

The percentages are based on where the student’s grades and test scores fall when considering the middle 50 percent of the college’s published statistics. These numbers represent the Match for the student. If the student’s test scores are an issue, know that there are almost 1,000 colleges in the U. S. who are either test optional or test flexible.

I know that this sounds complicated, but if you take a step-by-step approach to the process, it works well. Remember, just because a college was a good fit for Uncle Harry 25 years ago, it may not be a good fit for you. Similarly, you will get bombarded by advice from well-meaning, albeit, uninformed people about places that would be “great” for you. They do not know your numbers or you as well as they may think. Keep the following in mind:
• Every college is a good college for someone.
• Any college can be a “party school” if that is what you are going to college for.
• Where you go to college is less important than what you do when you get there.
• How well you do is about you, not the college.

Here are some resources to help you get started:
1. For a do-it-yourself primer on college planning: https://www.cklaar.com/service-offerings-and-fees/college-admissions/
2. College Board’s Big Future https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges
3. College Raptor https://www.collegeraptor.com/college-search
Good luck and remember that help is available even if all you want is a beginning list!

If you need more help with this or any other aspect of college planning, please call me at 803-487-977 or email to [email protected]

Class of 2020 ACT NOW!

Now we’re making it more affordable than ever to give saving on college costsyour student a college advantage:

We’re offering 10% off comprehensive contracts that are signed prior to November 1, 2018 for the class of 2020.

An informed decision from a student who is more self-aware and deliberative about their college choice and major could save you the thousands of dollars you would spend if your student changes majors, switches colleges, or drops out.  (And you both still need to pay off those college loans!)

Call or email me at 803-487-9777, [email protected] to learn how I can guide your student to college success!

Why You need to Complete the FAFSA Even if You Don’t Apply for Financial Aid

The 2019 FAFSA becomes available on October 1, 2018 and should be FAFSAcompleted as soon as possible after that date. You can find it at www.FAFSA.gov Even if you do not plan to apply for financial aid, you should file a FAFSA because there are some merit scholarships that you cannot get unless there is a FAFSA on file.  (I know! That is ridiculous but it is fact.)

I came across this tutorial and it may be helpful to you:

https://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/Media/FAFSASimplification/index.html 

Here are some additional tips from a colleague, Jeff Levy, of the California-based Personal College Admissions:

  • About 250 colleges and universities also require you to submit the CSS/PROFILE. This can be accessed and submitted at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/beginning October 1, 2018.
  • The deadline to submit these forms varies college to college. Check each college’s website or financial aid office to find out the final deadline for each. Missing these deadlines will seriously impact your child’s eligibility for financial aid.
  • A growing number of colleges now have a November 1 or November 15 financial aid deadline for Early Decision and Early Action applicants.

How to get started with the FAFSA:

  • The FAFSA belongs to the student, although many parents complete this FAFSAform on their child’s behalf. To begin the FAFSA, the student must create their own FSA ID (Federal Student Aid identification number). This ID is like an electronic fingerprint, and each person wanting to access a student’s FAFSA will need their own. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do this:
  • ttps://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/attachments/050415FSAIDReplaceHowToCreateFSAIDGuideATTACH.pdf
  • Parents wanting to complete the FAFSA on their child’s behalf will need their own FSA ID.

 Who should file the FAFSA and/or the CSS/PROFILE:

  • Anyone wanting to receive need-based aid who believes they might qualify
  • Anyone who thinks they may require financial aid at any point during their child’s undergraduate career. Many colleges will not consider a financial aid application from a current student admitted as a full-pay freshman if they did not submit the FAFSA
  • Anyone who expects to have two or more children in college at the same time, which significantly lowers the threshold for need-based eligibility
  • Anyone applying for merit aid at institutions that require either the FAFSA or PROFILE for consideration for such awards

If you have any questions about whether or not you should file, please contact me directly during the next few weeks: [email protected] or 803-285-1920.

College Smarts is Ideal for Budget-Minded Students

Are you a parent or student who is interested in learning more about  college admissions, but you need a cost effective alternative to personal consulting?

To give all families access to my deep knowledge and years of experience, I’ve launched “College Smarts.”  This 5-module,on-line learning series will lead you through every step of the college applications and admissions process:

  1. Finding the college that’s right for you.  There may be some schools that are a very good fit for your student that you’ve overlooked.

2. Make your college visit count. With tuition costs for a four-year degree ranging from $93,600 to $185,200, you need to do a thorough job of visiting each school.3.  Make your essay come alive and showcase your talents.  A mediocre essay may not keep you from being accepted at a school, but an exceptional essay may get you admitted to a school that otherwise wouldn’t have accepted you.4.  Craft a complete & accurate college application.  It’s amazing how many applications have simple errors on them.5.  Understand FAFSA and the complicated financial aid process.

So, why go through this complicated process alone, and worry:

  • If you’ve overlooked a college that would be a great fit
  • What  you forget on the application
  • About a so-so essay
  • Which school is offering the best deal?

Each module is just $49 each, or all five modules for just $149 – a $249 value!

To purchase your College Smarts program, CLICK HERE

College Application Summer Training Camps

Does your student procrastinate? Are you concerned about their ability to get applications completed and essays written? Is it stressing you out and straining your relationship with your student?

Did you know that application errors may result in a rejection? It’s amazing how many students DO make mistakes!

Charlotte Klaar, PhD, Director of Klaar College Consulting, is offering these
College Application Summer Training Camps at The Studios at Loom, 120 Academy St., Ft. Mill, SC.

August 7 & 8 – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

By the end of these sessions, your student will:
1. Have written the primary college essay and have it professionally edited (while maintaining the student’s voice and ideas).
2. Completed the Common Application and the activities resume.

Each session is limited to 10 students so that Dr. Klaar can give individual attention to each student. The cost for each 3-hour session is $150. All payments are due at enrollment. Registrations are limited so students can ask questions.

Interested? Email Dr. Klaar at [email protected].  Registrations are limited.  Download flyer at right.

A Certified Educational Planner with 20-plus years of experience, Dr. Klaar is one of the nation’s top college consultants and has led hundreds of students to college success!

Need admissions help? Get it at this free webinar

Need College Admissions Help?

Join our FREE College Admissions webinar and get the answers you need!

Wednesday, March 7 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET

  • Help with your FAFSA form?
  • Looking for Financial Aid?
  • Need Help Applying for Student Loans?
  • Getting Writer’s Block on Your Important College Essay?

Dr. Charlotte Klaar, PhD, one of the nation’s top college consultants, has led hundreds of students to college success. Dr. Klaar’s College Smarts program can do to the same for you!

After all, there’s a lot at stake for you:

  • Tuition for a 4-year degree ranges from $100,000 up to $185,000!
  • There are more than 3,500 colleges nationwide.

Register now

“Essays are not about facts and figures – they’re about the student. Charlotte helped Carolyn discover her inner passion which brought out her creativity and personality in her essay – a guidance counselor with 500 students wouldn’t have done that. Charlotte helped us understand what was important to highlight about our daughter’s strengths and accomplishments in her college applications – and that’s what got her accepted!”  – Proud parents of Carolyn W., MD

Register Now    Not available on January 24? Register anyway, and we’ll send you a link to the recorded webinar.

Are you interested in checking out the College Smarts program without attending the webinar?  Visit College Smarts.