Example 1: "Above Average Grades, Medium SAT's, Average Activities"
College Match Educational Consultants consulted with this student, an above-average junior at a Catholic preparatory school. Her family background is Asian/American (Indian); her grades and testing are slightly higher than average, 3.6 GPA with an SAT score of 1220. This client exhibited no specific talents or abilities beyond the norm, except that she'd traveled to 35 countries with her parents.
College Match Educational Consultants developed positioning for this student's college applications based on "comparative advantage": her points of difference versus other students in the applicant pool, and on what each college's specific needs. College Match Educational Consultants supported this position by developing a theme; this client's theme was "diversity support and maintenance". Her proposal of value was supporting diversity. As she put it to her colleges: "I see myself as a worldly and insightful honor student who uses my diverse background as an Asian American to create an atmosphere of harmony at my school among various groups and people of different interests".
Specifically, College Match Educational Consultants' Strategic college matching ™ process with this client included the following steps:
1) Initial assessment: College Match Educational Consultants gathered information for this assessment from our meetings with student, and from parent, and teacher interviews. College Match Educational Consultants gathered key information about this student's vision, personal values and "attributes". Interviews were performed with this client's coaches, teachers to describe the student's academic and social image and personality attributes.
2) College Match Educational Consultants identified colleges that matched the student's values and that support her larger vision and goals. College Match Educational Consultants used both qualitative and quantitative assessments to determine the best college "fit". (Typically, College Match Educational Consultants' data analysis consists of: reviewing college admission trends, college and university "unmet needs assessment" to identify any potential weaknesses or needs that are not being met by existing applicants; psychographic profiling of current applicant pool; admissions data tracking (10-year period); outcomes-based assessments of colleges including, PhD productivity, jobs, graduate school admission rates and types; qualitative interviews with current students, administrators, alumni and experts on specific colleges.)
3) Collected and developed Strategic college matching ™ "proof points". Using an activity sheet, College Match Educational Consultants collected and examined the client's extra-curricular activities in order to classify them in terms of relevance to selected colleges. College Match Educational Consultants highlighted specific activities that had potential to be unique and appealing to colleges. College Match Educational Consultants reviewed these activities in light of colleges' un-met needs. In this case, College Match Educational Consultants also advised the client to further develop her "proof points" including, specific scholarships and research projects as part of the extracurricular mix to signal to colleges a high level of academic and extracurricular preparation, beyond other applicants. College Match Educational Consultants identified and highlighted this client's special talents including, athletic ability, performing arts, and an at-home science project. Proving each claim of value to colleges is key. College Match Educational Consultants helped this client to create activity options to showcase her specific abilities and claims of value to colleges.
4) College Match Educational Consultants worked with this client on her junior and senior year course selection. College Match Educational Consultants identified courses that supported this client's main theme of value. In addition, these courses passed a test both in terms of difficulty and in terms of conveying the client's strengths in the best possible light to the colleges on her list. Tutoring referrals: the client needed math tutoring so referred her to someone who could help her improve her math for the SAT.
5) College Match Educational Consultants arranged college visits for this client of the appropriate range and type. College Match Educational Consultants also helped this client prepare for each visit. Because College Match Educational Consultants has performed them on behalf of colleges as a formal part of the interviewing process, College Match Educational Consultants know roughly the types of questions that are likely to be posed and the order in which they will flow. (College Match Educational Consultants imparts this basic information to each student during a rigorous interview process in which College Match Educational Consultants role-play with each client until satisfied with the outcome. Students are coached to be natural and to stay "on theme" with their main arguments reflecting their strengths.)
6) College Match Educational Consultants followed up with this client during every step of the process; meetings were held at least once per week (in office, or by phone). "To-do" lists were consistently generated, due-dates and milestones assigned and checked on a weekly basis. One of the most important parts of our service is coaching our clients to succeed; if they need help overcoming an obstacle College Match Educational Consultants make certain that they have the tools and information and then College Match Educational Consultants show them how to accomplish the goal (and based on what are clients tell us, a great deal of empowerment can be derived from this process).
7) Essay development: this client's essay topic was "achieving the American Dream on my own terms" This meant reflecting on the differences between her parents expectations, like attending Harvard for example and her own need for acceptance and involvement as the first generation to be an American in her family. College Match Educational Consultants edited her essay for spelling and grammar but made sure that our recommendations for changes made the essay more readable but did not effect or detract in any way from the essay's unique "voice".
8) College Match Educational Consultants drafted "talking points" in a letter to this client's recommenders that highlighted her strengths. In bullet point format the letter listed off key skills and "proof points" which supported claims from her application's theme. The letter asks the recommenders to support this theme in their letters on her behalf to each college. Our approach helps concentrate the theme and supports the application by adding much needed overall consistency of message. Recommenders receive a cover letter that describes the client's goals and her positioning, a list of colleges along with relevant due dates, and an activity sheet containing a full accounting of the client's academic awards and honors, volunteer work, athletics, art/music accomplishments, etc.
9) College Match Educational Consultants assisted the client in submitting her applications; College Match Educational Consultants proofed them and then had her keep track of logistics such as mailing out all supplemental applications and sending "thank you" notes to recommenders.
Her first choice, Bucknell University accepted her as well as Hamilton College, Syracuse and Santa Clara. The client was accepted to all colleges that she applied to except for USC and NYU. To assist with decision-making, College Match Educational Consultants reviewed her goals, her values and requirements for a "great" college experience. College Match Educational Consultants recommended another round of college visits; based on these, she narrowed her choices to Bucknell University and Santa Clara University. The client now attends Santa Clara University.
Example 2: "Medium Grades, Low Test Scores, Top Activities"
This client is female, Mexican American and the first generation to attend college. Attending a respected Catholic high school in suburban area (the family lives in a comfortable middle-class suburb just north of a major US city). During this initial meeting College Match Educational Consultants discovered that this client is dyslexic. This client's grades are slightly low--3.4 GPA (however, within context of a learning disability, this GPA would be considered higher than average). College Board tests showed some weaknesses: an early SAT practice test earned her 1150 on the SAT. Her activities included abundant leadership, volunteering and interestingly, leadership of a high school cheerleading squad and dance team.
College Match Educational Consultants developed an information hierarchy for her college applications, including the Supplements. To do this College Match Educational Consultants had our client form a basic theme or "top-of-mind" position for her applications. The client's position included the following statement that differentiated her from other applicants-- 'Intellectually capable, first generation Latina who adds substantively to in-class discussions, thereby improving their meaning and effectiveness" was what College Match came up with together. In concert, all of the client's teachers were given "talking points" that echoed this same theme or "value" proposal.
Specific steps in the Strategic college matching ™ process included:
1) Initial consultations to determine College Match Educational Consultants continued the process of looking at her vision for her life and her values. College Match Educational Consultants carefully gathered her extracurricular interests-- one of which was cheerleading. Not only was this client a top cheerleader, she also used this position to train students how to lead by running her school's annual leadership retreat. Aside from The client's frequent writing and spelling errors brought by her dyslexia, she was able to communicate her opinions and ideas forcefully and was very willing to write papers and express her ideas in front of her classmates. An example of her interest in writing was the research paper that College Match Educational Consultants recommended that she write concerning her keen interest in women's rights from a historical context.
2) College Match Educational Consultants counseled her to take the ACT instead and let her know that her extracurricular activities (cheerleading, student leadership) would most likely play a very large role on her applications to colleges
3) College Match Educational Consultants worked with this client on developing her main essay for the Common Application. Taking this client's passion for social justice, College Match Educational Consultants helped her come up with a topic for her essay that touched on the social implications of being the first to go to college and what it is like to be Latina. More importantly I worked with her to help her define what it was like to be somewhere in between cultures--not fitting in exactly with her new world and definitely not fitting in with the world where her parents originated (she was "Village Princess" in her father's hometown in Mexico). In her essay, the client stressed the role that higher education might play in her life.
The client was accepted ED to University of Puget Sound and although she withdrew applications to her other schools, Gonazaga, Willamette, Evergreen, Redlands, one accepted her and granted this client an additional $10,000 in scholarship support.
Example 3: "Top Academics, Low Test Scores, Above Average Activities"
A junior at an inner city high school this client come to College Match Educational Consultants with a strong academic record: 3.9 GPA. She was also the first in her family to attend college. She was born in Mexico and came from a single parent household (4 siblings). During our initial consultation College Match Educational Consultants observed much academic and social strength but also found a major weakness-standardized testing—the client's PSAT score was just below 1000. She is a well-organized student who is socially and politically active at her school—she was involved in politics and had thought about running for class office. She coached junior varsity volleyball and created pre-teen volunteering program in her community called Helping Hands (she won volunteer of the year award, Lutheran Community Service). There's been an interest in science as emphasized by the Gregor Mendel award for meticulous scholarship in genetics given to her by Upward Bound). Finally, she is an administrative intern for Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.
College Match Educational Consultants helped this client develop a top-level theme or message of value to her colleges. For this particular client the message was "leadership" both in terms of being the first in her family's history to attend a four-year college but also the first to lead as Class President. Her theme became "Building community through social activities and mentoring". College Match Educational Consultants' client's "proof points" for this were her numerous extracurrular involvements including, running the local chapter of a non-profit that organizes prom dresses rentals for low-income high school students, teaching Brazilian dance classes, tutoring other students in math and science and helping to run social events for her senior class as student body leader.
Specific steps in the Strategic college matching ™ process included:
1) In our initial meetings, College Match Educational Consultants made some key observations about this client's academic record. One is that her writing was not as strong as it needed to be for a top tier liberal arts college or university. This factor was largely due to the fact that this client's first language was Spanish. While her writing in English was adequate for her high school, College Match Educational Consultants believed this client needed to improve reading and writing to catch the attention of some writing-oriented competitive colleges. College Match Educational Consultants reviewed her life's vision: "to help my fellow Latino's" and "become a respected leader" or "professional in my community". She also wants to mentor other ESL students and attend college and possibly graduate school as part of her path toward this ultimate goal. College Match Educational Consultants stressed the need for liberal arts as a basis for leadership and communicating her ideas effectively, both in verbal and written form.
2) Testing strategy: our initial consultation uncovered a major weakness in the area of standardized testing—the client's PSAT score was just below 1000. Upward Bound scheduled her to take the SAT in June. Instead, College Match Educational Consultants recommended that take a practice SAT to generate a baseline score and if the score is not above 1200, College Match Educational Consultants recommend that she wait and enroll in a SAT prep course (Upward Bound has been encouraging her to go ahead and take it anyway in June; College Match Educational Consultants recommended against this course of action).
3) College Match Educational Consultants recommended that the candidate support her scientific interests and abilities by conducting scientific research in the real world. College Match Educational Consultants helped identify an internship at the Biomedical Institute and pointed her toward conducting her own research experiments in biotech. College Match Educational Consultants also discussed the possibility of entering for example, Intel Science competition. Follow-up included searching local science and biotechnology organizations for high school research programs including, a university cancer research center; College Match Educational Consultants also looked for summer camps in science and engineering at Ivy level schools that supported her interest in science and technology. Another proof point that College Match Educational Consultants recommended was in the area of leadership: this client ran and was successfully elected "Class President" her senior year.
4) Another recommendation was to develop a bridge between her high school and her upcoming college experience. College Match Educational Consultants identified and helped this client apply to a number of summer bridge programs including, Carleton College, Carnegie Mellon, Brown, Stanford and summer enrichment programs. Our review criteria for these programs included looking at places offering environmental science courses.
5) Improving client's writing and vocabulary. College Match Educational Consultants contacted several summer writing programs and managed to obtain a writing tutor (an English professor) from University of Washington to assist this client with her summer writing study including, composition and grammar. (In addition, College Match Educational Consultants recommended a summer reading list complete with SAT "vocabulary novels".)
6) College Visits: College Match Educational Consultants scheduled college visits. College Match Educational Consultants contacted Admission Offices of colleges to organize overnight stays and classroom visits at Reed, Claremont McKenna, Occidental and Whitman. Interview prep: College Match conducted mock interviews to prepare her for meeting with Admission Office representatives. Part of the mock interview includes determining what her best argument for admission is (in terms of her points of difference versus other potential applicants to a particular college; for example, first generation status, leadership qualifications, diversity factors (Latina), academic interests (sciences and sociology), her research in biotechnology and finally, community building by bringing different groups within her high school together for Prom or volunteer activities). College visit "reconnaissance": during each college visit College Match Educational Consultants asked this client to speak with at least 10 students, asking each of them about what they liked and disliked most about their college. Students' 'dislikes" at colleges are greatly importance to College Match Educational Consultants in terms of helping define "unmet needs" at each college in light of an applicant's strengths (e.g.: weaknesses equal admission opportunities).
7) Filling out the Common Application: College Match Educational Consultants organized this client's college applications by theme. For example, College Match Educational Consultants built a specific architecture that emphasized this client's position or message of value into each application (e.g. this client's message was "leadership and community building on-campus"). For example, this client's message was "community building and leadership on campus". Essay development: one of the more important aspects that College Match Educational Consultants counseled this client was the essay. In the main essay, this client was counseled to write about a pivotal moment. She chose a very personal moment involving considerable personal and emotional trauma. Normally, an essay would focus on the positive aspects of a client's life. In this case, however, a moment of great personal anguish provided a clearer picture of our client's emotional strength and resolve. Through her perseverance the reader was able to draw a very clear indication of this student's character and leadership abilities. Supplemental applications: these were filled out with particular emphasis on answering the question "Why I want to attend college X". College Match Educational Consultants helped the client develop an argument based on her strengths that she brings to the colleges as well as her needs, in return, from them (for example, many of the colleges on her list hoped to increase ethnic diversity of their freshman classes but at the same time worried about interaction among students of differing ethnic, social and economic backgrounds). College Match Educational Consultants coached this client to address this need by showcasing her leadership as president of her class and by sharing examples of her "community building" such as her leadership as a Prom dress exchange volunteer; both roles required her to bring together students from differing circumstances to achieve goals. For example, many of the colleges on her list wanted to increase ethnic diversity and at the same time ensure that the various socio-economic groups interact. Our client addressed that need by showing how her Prom dress drive and her role as Class President required her to bring students together from very different circumstances, using activities and volunteering as a basis.
Whitman, Mt Holyoke, Evergreen, University of Puget Sound, and University of Washington accepted this client. At the time of her acceptances, this client also won an undergraduate science achievement award and a $3000 Boeing and MESA SENSES scholarship for women going into science and engineering.
Following an exhaustive scholarship search the principal of her high school awarded her a scholarship for $2,000; another community member donated a new laptop computer.
This client chose her first choice, Whitman College, where she was awarded a merit scholarship of $15,000.
Example 4: Boarding School: "Average grades, above average test scores; diagnosed learning disability and behavioral disorder"
College Match Educational Consultants consultant was retained by the parent to work with this 11th grade student facing expulsion for aggressive behavior. The student is at a public high school. On numerous occasions the student was aggressive toward his peers, finally resulting in formal expulsion from school for threatening behavior toward fellow students.
It was determined, based on school reports that he was having conflict with other students regularly. He was getting into fights, being bullied other students, and had made several verbal threats. His background was he had some conflict before this and ultimately was suspended. Student is from a single parent home, raised by his mother. He is the oldest and lives with his brother. Parents are divorced, and his mother in a single parent home raised student. Some history of mental illness resulted in earlier treatment. Previous aggressive behavior noted in school. Student was initially placed in a wilderness program to address his behavior of "acting out".
College Match College Consultants's boarding school consultant met with the parents of student and student to discuss success of the wilderness program. Also discussed a transition program, after wilderness. Our approach was to complete education and locate a small school with a therapeutic environment the student to complete high school and provide support a nurturing environment.
The student presents a picture of a good academic student, who needs emotional growth and support. Our recommendations to the parent were to provide a structured and yet supportive environment. He was recommended to a program with 24-hour therapy to maintain to address his emotional growth issues and locate a smaller school to achieve success in school.
The consultant discussed with the student his goal's, which included: completion of his high school education, and his control of his anger. College Match Educational Consultants also discussed the student discussed his plans attending college. Our approach was to work on therapeutic goals in treatment while addressing his educational goals.
The consultant addressed both areas with the student and parent. An interview was held with both the student and parent separately and together. College Match Educational Consultants discussed possible placement options and reviewed with the student and parent the possibility of entering a therapeutic program. The family agreed to consider several programs but narrow the best program and the length of placement.
The consultant gathered information during the decision making process between the parent and the student to: formulate the best options for the student and parent. Information from the school, psychologist and other professionals was gathered prior to the placement. Discussion on cost and tuition were addressed and College Match Educational Consultants discussed option for available.
College Match Educational Consultants also discussed his behavior in school with the principle and school guidance counselor. College Match Educational Consultants determined, the school knew little regarding his emotional growth challenges or his academic performance During placement College Match Educational Consultants requested bi weekly updates on his progress and contact with the parent to address his progress in treatment. College Match Educational Consultants also regular asked for trail reports on the student to monitor his academic progress.
College Match Educational Consultants worked with the student and parent on his treatment during the 13-month program. Student is now in his 5th month at school. He is doing excellent work (A- average) and completing goals established by the team. Success has been contributed to the best placement options, agreement by the student for intervention, and a positive supportive learning environment. Student will be graduating next January and is considering college as a viable option for his future success.
College Match Educational Consultants is an educational planning firm that provides families and students with an individualized, strategic approach to their futures in three distinct areas: K-12, College, and Graduate School. College Match Educational Consultants consultants are members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and National Association of College Admission Counselors. College Match founder, David Montesano, and his team consistently receive high approval ratings from clients. This year, 90% of clients were admitted into their top choice college and the average amount of merit award received was $17,300 per client, per year. For more information: http://www.collegematchus.com - (206) 799-4986.
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