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General F.A.Q.s

College Questions about Planning and admissions 1. Our child has an excellent high school guidance counselor who works with them already, why do I need to seek an independent counselor on the college admissions process?

2. We live in another state than Project College, how can that work?

3. We have a friend we could talk to who just had their son/daughter go to college. How is Project College different?

4. How do colleges compare applicants?

5. Our child has maintained a C average … can Project College really help?

6. When is the best time to begin working with Project College?

7. What can I do to prepare for college admissions?

8. Why choose Project College?

9. My parents attended one of the Top Colleges that I am think of… that means I should be granted admission if I apply to this school also, right?

10. I’ve always understood that the more activities and clubs I’m involved with, the better I am as a candidate for college admission. Is this correct?

11. What should I expect to encounter from the college admissions process?

12. Is it important to visit colleges before applying?

13. How much importance should I give to college rankings?

14. How many colleges should my son or daughter apply to?

15. When should I take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT?

16. Can I, as a parent, stay involved in the process?

17. I don’t even know what I want to study or what career I want... how can I possibly plan for college?

18. I can find almost everything on the internet, why do I need your help?

19. You have to be rich to hire an independent counselor to assure their kids get into the top colleges, right?

20. Should we just simply plan to send our kids to a cheaper school?

21. As a parent, I'm worried we'll have to tell our kids that college is just too expensive.

22. Do you work with international students?



Our child has an excellent high school guidance counselor who works with them already, why do I need to seek an independent counselor on the college admissions process?

High school guidance counselors are an excellent resource for your child that should never be ignored. They work very hard to support their students and have relationships with your child that can be invaluable when addressing college preparation tasks and we therefore make every attempt to work with them and not replace them. We first attempt to determine the activities planned/completed for your child then supplement those efforts with any additional activities needed for your child to succeed.

Unfortunately, the fact though is that many of today's high school guidance counselors are just too overworked and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of students they support. A recent study by the NACAC places the ratio of Guidance Counselors to students in most US High Schools somewhere between 1/300 and 1/500. Some school districts report numbers over 700 to 1! In addition to addressing your child's college preparation needs, they also have other responsibilities…

• General administration
• New student registration
• Schedule development
• Course selection and course registration
• Monitoring student academic progress
• Facilitate Instructional Support Team meetings
• Attend parent/teacher conferences
• Consultations with teachers, administrators, parents and students
• Provide mediations for students to help resolve conflicts
• Assist with freshmen year transition
• Development of Four Year Plans
• Individual counseling and small group counseling
• Academic counseling
• Personal counseling
... and more!

As a result, it is often nearly impossible for them to give your child the attention that he/she needs. We at Project-College will work individually with you and your child to ensure that all your needs are met in a successful and timely manner!

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We live in another state than Project College, how can that work?

Many of our clients are in different states. Many of the resources we will bring to bear on your behalf are in different states. Using today’s technology, communications is not a problem as we can utilize video cam conferences, netmeetings, calls, etc. to communicate and many of the personal evaluations will be done by the student on their own. Rarely do extensive Projects have all their stakeholders and resources in the same place.

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We have a friend we could talk to who just had their son/daughter go to college. How is Project College different?

Project-College combines both expertise in the academic counseling field along with proven Project Management methodologies to offer you a complete and broad solution as compared to one friend’s experience.

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How do colleges compare applicants?

Colleges do not share a specific formula when comparing candidates but they commonly review the following: From your high school records - What subjects have you taken? How many years of each subject? Have you taken Honors, Advanced Placement, or special summer courses that were challenging you? Average GPA in your five major academic subjects? Class ranking? Letters of recommendations from your counselors, teachers. From standardized test: Test scores, including SAT I, SAT II, ACT, and AP. From your application: including special talents, honors or awards, skills, interests, leadership abilities, major or area of interest, extracurricular activities, especially clubs and teams, community service, work experience, internships, summer activities, visit to campus, and, in many cases, communication or brief essay demonstrating your interest in the college, special concerns. In person interviews and one or more personal essays

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Our child has maintained a C average … can Project College really help?

Without a doubt! Grade-Point-Averages are but one aspect of what a college looks for in a candidate and our processes are designed to help maximize all of the students’ strengths while minimizing any possible weaknesses. We can also help suggest other areas to focus on, in addition to efforts toward the academics, which will help differentiate your child to prospective colleges.

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When is the best time to begin working with Project College?

If you are asking this question … the time is probably now! In general though, when you start High School, but whatever year in high school you are in, we can help!

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What can I do to prepare for college admissions?

I know this might sound obvious BUT the best answer is for you to work to the best of your ability. Colleges look at your cumulative GPA as of the completion of Junior year, and many schools ask to see the first semester of Senior year grades.
Prepare for the SAT or ACT exams. Take sample tests and take advantage of all available online resources. Take a challenging academic course load such as honors, enriched, or advanced placement courses. Participate in extracurricular activities, community service, and even volunteer work in your area. Utilize your relationships with teachers, coaches, and employers who may be willing to write letters of recommendation. Make sure that you keep an ongoing record/log of all activities, summer programs, honors, and awards.

Project-College can also be a valuable asset in your efforts!

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Why choose Project College?

Please use this link to go to our ‘About Us’ page... ...READ MORE

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My parents attended one of the Top Colleges that I am think of… that means I should be granted admission if I apply to this school also, right?

Not necessarily. You are what is known as a legacy. It always helps (at some schools more than others) but is certainly no guarantee. You will have to meet the same admissions requirements as other students. Top Colleges do not admit students simply because they are legacies, but everything else being equal, it’s certainly an asset.

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I’ve always understood that the more activities and clubs I’m involved with, the better I am as a candidate for college admission. Is this correct?

Not exactly. Top Colleges are looking for dedicated involvement, leadership and achievement with regard to extracurricular activities, however, they always emphasize quality over quantity. It is better to be involved with fewer activities (say three to five) over time than to switch activities each year or try to take on too much. This is a situation where sometimes less is more. Four years of participation and leadership in cross country, gymnastics, key club and a service organization would be more impressive than involvement in 10 different clubs or sports with only minor accomplishments in each. The former shows dedication and excellence; the latter appears less focused.

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What should I expect to encounter from the college admissions process?

The college admissions process is above all a learning experience for you and your parents, as you reflect on your needs, interests, strengths, and values. This in depth self exploration will enable you to identify colleges that best fit your short and long term goals. Often this period of heightened self awareness is referred to as a journey. Through guided questions and honest conversations, you will explore options regarding “dream,” “target,” and “safe” college choices.

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Is it important to visit colleges before applying?

Yes, absolutely. For most juniors, a college is just an abstract idea, an image in their minds that over time has becomes associated with a name. Even if a student has been going to visit local colleges, they probably have only a very limited perspective of campus life. When students (and parents) formally visit a campus, however, they experience the actual environment and that goes far beyond pictures on the website. Each campus is different and has its own personality, and if a student is to find the college that best fits them, a campus visit is absolutely crucial.

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How much importance should I give to college rankings?

It’s a factor, more in certain professions than others. The methods of ranking can sometimes seem ‘less than objective though. For example: Some time ago the editors of U.S. News & World Report decided to change their formula to something that they believed offered a better reflection of educational quality. When a number of Ivy League colleges did not appear at the top of the list, they quickly reverted to their old formula. You judge the objectivity there? The bottom line is that the best college choice should be based upon a number of factors that result in the best fit for him or her, and very often the best fit and the highest ranked college are different.

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How many colleges should my son or daughter apply to?

The number of applications will most definitely vary by individual, but the average student applies to between 4 and 7 colleges. Again many factors that are uncovered during our processes may change those figures.

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When should I take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT?

We urge students to take the SAT Reasoning Test and ACT no earlier than January of the junior year.

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Can I, as a parent, stay involved in the process?

Of course! In this Project, the parents are an extremely important resource for both the student and the counselor. No one knows your child better than you do, we recognize and appreciate and often solicit your input throughout the process.

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I don’t even know what I want to study or what career I want... how can I possibly plan for college?

Remember, college planning is a significantly different process from career planning. The undergraduate years will most probably be a time for self discovery. One of the best ways of selecting a major, and even a career, is by identifying those subjects where the student shows a great interest. While it may seem like a big jump from favorite subject to career path, a student's like and dislikes do play a major role in the initial major selection. Keep in mind, a majority of college students will change their major at least twice, some more, and an language major can wind up going to med school while the pre-law major goes to business school.
If a student genuinely has no idea about potential careers, they may want to look at colleges that offer a broad range of academic programs so that they can keep their options open while making a decision. This too needs tom be confirmed and that is one of the processes we employ in your Project.

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I can find almost everything on the internet, why do I need your help?

Yes, there is a wealth of information about college admissions on the internet. Some we use at Project College as well. If you Google the words college admissions, you will get over 3,500,000 hits, but the volume of information available is overwhelming unless you know what you are looking at. Much of it is good and sometimes even excellent information, a great deal is also bad, outdated or completely false and that can hurt you. Quality of your resources in any Project is more important that quantity and Project College will help you identify what resources best fit you as an individual, and not simply someone querying Google.

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You have to be rich to hire an independent counselor to assure their kids get into the top colleges, right?

FALSE! According to nationwide statistics, the typical family who hires an independent counselor is a suburban, public school family, with parents who earn between $65,000 - $100,000 per year. Most families are concerned in finding the best college for their child where that child will succeed both academically and emotionally. Fees for an independent counselor are but a small fraction of the total cost of a college education.

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Should we just simply plan to send our kids to a cheaper school?

You want to send your child to the best institution you can. Don't assume that the school with the lowest "sticker price" is the least expensive. Once we weigh in financial aid programs, in many cases it can be less expensive to send your child to a private university than to a state school!

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As a parent, I'm worried we'll have to tell our kids that college is just too expensive.

Hold off saying that! It's understandable that overwhelmed parents may feel there's nowhere to turn, but in many cases that may just not be true. There are a many ways we can help you find educational funding. The fact is, college is extremely important in this very tight labor market, and your child will have to compete against a vast population of people who have degrees.

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Do you work with international students?

Absolutely. We are able to work with students located all over the world, and use a variety of technologies to stay in close touch with our international clientele. In addition, our flexible appointment scheduling enables us to work with students across time zones.

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