Exploring Early Decision and Early Action

Exploring Early Decision and Early Action

Early decision (ED) and early action (EA) plans can be beneficial to students who have thought through their college options carefully and have a clear preference for one institution.

Counselors need to make sure that students understand the key distinction between the two plans:

  • Early decision plans are binding: A student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college.
  • Early action plans are nonbinding: Students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.

Approximately 450 colleges have early decision or early action plans, and some have both. Some colleges offer a nonbinding option called single-choice early action, under which applicants may not apply ED or EA to any other college.

ED plans have come under fire as unfair to students from families with low incomes, since they do not have the opportunity to compare financial aid offers. This may give an unfair advantage to applicants from families who have more financial resources.

ED Applicants

  • Apply early (usually in November) to first-choice college.
  • Receive an admission decision from the college well in advance of the usual notification date (usually by December).
  • Agree to attend the college if accepted and offered a financial aid package that is considered adequate by the family.
  • Apply to only one college early decision.
  • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • Withdraw all other applications if accepted by ED.
  • Send a nonrefundable deposit well in advance of May 1.

EA Applicants

  • Apply early.
  • Receive an admission decision early in the admission cycle (usually in January or February).
  • Consider acceptance offer; do not have to commit upon receipt.
  • Apply to other colleges under regular admission plans.
  • Give the college a decision no later than the May 1 national response date.

Apply Early

A student should apply early to an ED or EA plan if the student:

  • Has researched colleges extensively.
  • Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.
  • Has found a college that is a strong match academically, socially and geographically.
  • Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT scores, GPA, and class rank.
  • Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time.

The Benefits of Applying Early

For a student who has a definite first-choice college, applying early has many benefits:

  • Reduces stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision.
  • Saves the time and expense of submitting multiple applications.
  • Gain more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college.
  • Reassess options and apply elsewhere if not accepted.

The Drawbacks of Applying Early

  • Pressure to decide: Committing to one college puts pressure on students to make serious decisions before they’ve explored all their options.
  • Reduced financial aid opportunities: Students who apply under ED plans receive offers of admission and financial aid simultaneously and will not be able to compare financial aid offers from other colleges. For students who absolutely need financial aid, applying early may be a risky option.
  • Time crunch for other applications: Most colleges do not notify ED and EA applicants of admission until December 15. Because of the usual deadlines for applications, this means that if a student is rejected by the ED college, there are only two weeks left to send in other applications. Encourage those of your students who are applying early to prepare other applications as they wait to receive admission decisions from their first-choice college.
  • Senioritis: Applicants who learn early that they have been accepted into a college may feel that since their goal has been accomplished, they have no reason to work hard for the rest of the year. Early-applying students should know that colleges may rescind offers of admission should their senior-year grades drop.

Applying Early and the Chance of Acceptance

Many students believe applying early means competing with fewer applicants and increasing their chances for acceptance. This is not always true. Colleges vary in the proportion of the class admitted early and in the percentage of early applicants they admit.

Higher admission rates for ED applicants may correlate to stronger profiles among candidates choosing ED. Students should ask the admission office whether their institution’s admission standards differ between ED and regular applicants, and then assess whether applying early makes sense given their own profile.

The Ethics of Applying Early Decision

The Common Application and some colleges’ application forms require the student applying under early decision, as well as the parent and counselor, to sign an ED agreement form spelling out the plan’s conditions.

Make it clear in your school handbook and at college planning events that your policy for early-decision applications is to send the student’s final transcript to one college only: anything else is unethical.

Top Merit-Based Scholarships

Top Merit-Based Scholarships

This article rticle was written by and 

Merit scholarships can be awarded by both colleges and universities, as well as private organizations. Below we have organized the top merit scholarships into the following groups:

Merit scholarships at public colleges & universities

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

  • Alabama offers a wide range of merit programs available to students both in-state and out

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

  • ASU offers a number of generous need- and merit-based scholarship programs for students

Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

  • Offers the National Scholars Presidential Scholarship to National Merit Finalists and National Achievement Finalists
  • This program awards full-tuition scholarships to students both in-state and out-of-state, along with several other perks (including a $1,000 technology stipend)

University of California- Berkeley

  • UC-Berkeley offers scholarships based on both need and merit

University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)

  • UC-Boulder offers a variety of merit- and need-based scholarship programs to both in-state and out-of-state students

Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)

  • Several merit programs are offered, the largest and most prestigious of which is the President’s Scholarship
  • The President’s Scholarship is offered to 50 of the top high school senior applicants

University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

  • The University of Michigan offers mostly need-based, but several merit scholarships as well

University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

  • Several full-tuition merit scholarships available to students both in-state and out-of-state

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

  • For UVa’s Jefferson Scholars program, in-state scholars receive $26,000 each year, and out-of-state or international Jefferson Scholars will receive an annual stipend of over $53,000
  • This program creates a network of current scholars and alumni, along with providing a variety of structured enrichment opportunities to scholars

College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)

  • Merit programs include the 1693 Scholars Program and the Monroe Scholars Program ($3,000 research stipend, special housing option)

Merit scholarships at private national universities

Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)

  • Offers a full-tuition merit scholarship (the Presidential Scholars Program) to 15 students
  • No separate application is required to be considered for the scholarship, although students must apply through the Early Action application process

Boston University (Boston, MA)

  • BU has generous scholarship opportunities including both need-based and merit-based scholarships

Brandeis College (Waltham, MA)

  • Six separate programs available, five of which are for incoming freshmen (with one for rising juniors)

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Carnegie Mellon University offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students on the basis of both merit and financial need

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

  • Case Western Reserve University has several scholarships that students are automatically considered for, as well as scholarships by additional application

Duke University (Durham, NC)

  • Duke offers 9 merit programs which include full-tuition scholarships

Elon University (Elon, NC)

  • Elon offers merit- and need-based programs to students

Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

  • Check out the Georgetown Incentive Scholarships for need-based aid with a merit component

Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)

  • A number of merit scholarship programs are offered, including several specific to the arts (look under “Academic Merit Awards/Scholarships”)

New York University (New York, NY)

  • NYU offers a mix of merit and need-based programs for students

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)

  • The Rensselaer Medal Scholarship is a 4-year, minimum $15,000 per year merit scholarship

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)

  • SMU offers merit scholarships up to full tuition & room/board!
  • Other scholarships also include awards for students in specific majors (such as Engineering, the arts, and STEM)

University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

  • UChicago offers merit scholarships and scholarships specifically meant for first-generation college students

University of Miami (Miami, Florida)

  • A number of full-tuition merit scholarships are offered, including the Isaac Bashevis Singer Scholarship and the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship

University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

  • The University of Rochester offers a wide variety of merit scholarships for all different types of students

University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

  • USC offers a number of full-tuition, half-tuition, and quarter-tuition merit scholarships

Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)

  • All students are considered for partial tuition scholarships by simply submitting their application
  • There are 130 full tuition scholarships awarded that require a separate scholarship application (that is due on December 5th)y

Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

  • Full-tuition awards plus summer stipends for study abroad, research or service projects will be awarded to 250 students; other, smaller merit programs are also available

Villanova University

  • Villanova University awards a number of scholarships based on students’ academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and leadership skills. Awards range from $500 all the way to the prestigious Presidential Scholarship, which covers full tuition, room, board, general fees, and textbooks for eight semesters

Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)

  • WFU has a wide variety of merit programs available to incoming students, including general merit scholarships (such as the Reynolds Scholarships) and scholarships recognizing achievement in art, dance, debate, music, and theater (Presidential Scholarships for Distinguished Achievement)

Washington University in St. Louis

  • Washington Universities’ Danforth, Ervin, and Rodriguez Scholar Programs are all merit-based scholarship programs ranging up to the full cost of tuition

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers merit scholarships to students ranging from $10,000 per year to $25,000 per year

Merit scholarships at small liberal arts colleges

Denison University (Granville, OH)

  • Denison offers over 1000 scholarships to first year students
  • Scholarships range from $2,000 to $46,000

Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

  • Merit scholarships range from $15,000 per year to the full cost of tuition
  • Kenyon awards merit aid to about the top 15% of admitted students
  • Scholarships for students talented in art, creative writing, and music are also available

Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)

  • Merit scholarships awarded to approximately 50% of U.S. first-year students
  • Macalester (unlike many top schools) also offers merit scholarships to International Students
  • Merit awards range from $2,000 to $64,000 over four years

Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)

  • Grinnell offers several merit scholarship programs which range from $10,000 to $50,000 per year

Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)

  • Oberlin offers merit scholarships based on academics and also “contributions to the student’s school and home community.”

Private merit scholarships

Cameron Impact Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Graduating  high school seniors in the USA
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: End of October of each year

Coca Cola Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Graduating  high school seniors in the USA
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Deadline: End of October of each year

College JumpStart Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Students in grades 10 to 12, as well as traditional college-age and adult learners
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 15 and October 17 of each year

Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Current high school seniors who are citizens of the United States are eligible to apply
  • Amount: 500 awards worth from $4,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: Mid-November of each year

Equitable Excellence Scholarship 

  • Eligibility: High-achieving United States citizens or legal residents in the 50 United States, Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico who are seniors in high school planning on attending a two or four year college or  university
  • Amount:  $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000
  • Deadline: Mid-December of each year (after 10,000 applications are submitted, scholarship closes, so apply asap!)

National Merit Scholarship Program

  • Eligibility: High school juniors and is based on their PSAT score
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: Early October of each year

Tips for applying to merit-based scholarships

Here are six important things you need to know if you want to win a college merit scholarship:

Choose the right colleges 

One of the biggest mistakes students make when building their college list is not paying enough attention to merit scholarships. As a rule of thumb, you want to identify colleges where your admissions “stats” align with the percentage of students winning merit scholarships.

So, if a college offers merit scholarships to 25% of applicants, you should be in the top 25% of applicants as far as test scores and GPA. Scattergrams are a great way to assess how your GPA and test scores stack up.

Research the specific scholarships

College merit scholarships can vary from college to college. At some schools, all admitted students are automatically considered for merit scholarships.

At other colleges, students will need to complete an essay, separate application, or interview as part of the scholarship application process. Some colleges will even offer merit scholarships for students who have a specific talent in art, music, theater, or another area. 

Cast a wide(ish) net

If you are serious about winning a merit scholarship at a specific college, you will need to cast a wide net. While being towards the top of the applicant pool will generally make you a strong candidate for merit scholarships, there are no guarantees.

This is why we recommend that you apply to 10 colleges where you will be seriously competitive for merit scholarships. This will increase your odds of having a few merit scholarship offers to choose from.

Mind your deadlines

Some colleges will ask students to apply by a specific deadline to be eligible for merit scholarships. Make sure that you are applying by the necessary deadlines (remember, this deadline may be different than the admissions deadline).

Don’t forget to apply for need-based financial aid too

Remember, you can apply for both merit scholarships and need-based financial aid! Make sure that you submit your FAFSA and any other required financial aid documents such as the CSS Profile by the necessary deadline.

This will ensure that you are being considered for all potential scholarships–merit and need-based–at the colleges on your list.

Read the fine print about scholarship renewal

Certain schools might require you to submit evidence that you’re maintaining a certain GPA or meeting other requirements to remain eligible for your award.

It’s essential to stay on top of any continuing obligations to your school’s financial aid office.

Need-based financial aid will also need to be renewed, so make sure you understand what the FAFSA renewal process entails!

5 Ways To Help Teens Develop A Strong Work Ethic

5 Ways To Help Teens Develop A Strong Work Ethic

When you think of the most successful person that you know, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is their strong work ethic.

Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s teens, that is one of the last things that usually comes to mind.

“Teens are lazy.” “Teens are entitled.” “Teens don’t know how to work for things anymore.”

Sound familiar?

But as parents, we don’t want these stereotypes to be true of our teens.

We want our kids to be productive members of society. We want them be strong employees that contribute to the bottom line. We want them to develop healthy habits and motivation so they can accomplish great things. We want them to be happy.

So, what do we do?

We must give our children the tools they need to become successful individuals, but it can be hard to help teens develop a strong work ethic in this challenging world full of distractions, such as social media, videos, peers, and world chaos.

Trying to help teens develop a strong work ethic isn’t an easy thing to teach.

Here are a few ways that you can help encourage a strong work ethic in your teens, and set them up for a bright future.

Model a Strong Work Ethic

Leading by example may sound a little simplistic, but it truly is one of the best ways to encourage a strong work ethic in teens. Make sure that they understand that everything you have and everything that you provide for them is a product of the work that you do.

Talk with them about how you set goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Explain your process of prioritizing work and fun, and how sometimes you have to make tough choices.  As they see your behaviors, such as hard work, self-discipline, and dedication, they’ll be more likely to emulate those traits.

Make Personal Responsibility a Priority

As parents, our initial instinct is to protect our children from failure and disappointment, but this means our teens are not developing grit and resilience either. Teenagers often struggle with taking initiative, and procrastination can easily become second nature to an adolescent. Keeping them motivated to take personal responsibility for their chores, school work, and activities can be a struggle. Lay down the ground rules that these things are their own to manage and you will not make it your business to ensure these things are done.

There is a great quote that says, “When you make a choice, you also choose the consequence.” It’s important you allow your tweens and teens to experience the consequences of missed assignments, being sidelined for forgetting sports equipment, or not receiving their allowance for incomplete chores. We never want to see our kids fail, but there may be times that we cannot swoop in and save them, so the best gift we can give is teach them how to stand on their own two feet.

As their sense of personal responsibility to take care of things that matter to them grows, so will their work ethic.

Teach Them How to Balance Commitments

Many teens balk at the idea of dedicating themselves to a task for fear it will prevent them from having fun in their life. Help them to coordinate their schedules and teach them how to prioritize so that there is room for the things they must accomplish along with things that they enjoy.

Many college students struggle with time management during their freshman year as they never had to manage their schedules. Some find it challenging to meet deadlines, produce quality work, and take care of their personal needs. Many professors and employers often cite that this young generation of employees has a poor work ethic, is laden with excuses, and lacks self-motivation. While some of this is the result of the pandemic, as parents, we must shoulder some of the blame.

Parents can help their children develop a good work ethic by demonstrating work-life balance whenever possible. Share your experiences of great teamwork in your workplace or any situation when possible, and discuss what happens when coworkers let you down so your teens can understand that actions have consequences for all involved.

Try to show your teen that there is a time for work and a time for play. The always-on culture of the last decade has not been a good example to our teens and tweens, and many have watched the adults in their life burnout during these challenging times.

On the flip side, we have also seen many quit their jobs without even giving proper notice. Granted, sometimes it is because the employer did not value the employees, but encourage your teen to do what’s right within certain boundaries. This also includes talking to your teenagers about what makes a good workplace culture, including how they handle the schedule, vacations, employee morale, promotions, etc. Talk to them about what makes a good boss and leader so they can aspire to be one someday.

Work ethic also includes integrity, so we need to show our kids how to find balance and professionalism. Job satisfaction often comes when you find a position that allows you to grow in your job without sacrificing your personal life.


Teach Them Good Workplace Etiquette

It doesn’t matter what the job is, there are certain aspects of a strong work ethic that translate into any job whether it’s working as a ditch digger or in the top floor of a law firm. Here are some skills to work on with your teenagers that demonstrate a strong work ethic and make a good employee:

Practice punctuality: It’s great to be on time, particularly for shift work, but if you can’t make it happen, always make sure you call ahead and let your manager know. Chronic tardiness is often a reason why young people get fired.

Complete tasks before you leave: At my daughter’s first retail job, her manager taught her the value of ensuring the “floor” is ready to go for the next day’s shift even if they need to stay a few minutes extra. Finishing the job–and a willingness to go the extra mile–is an important part of your work ethic.

Be respectful to all team members: Employers like people who can get along and don’t add negativity to their workplace. Teach your kids to keep their personal and work life separate.

Have pride in their work: It doesn’t matter what the task, if an employee is doing sloppy work, it looks bad for the employer. Talk to your teen about having a high standard for their work, and that managers often notice it.

Be amenable to constructive feedback: sometimes teens are known to be overly sensitive. Talk to your teens about keeping a positive mindset and being receptive to others’ ways of doing things.

Honesty: You may think this goes without saying, but talk to your teens about the value of honesty in the workplace. Many retailers have to search bags before their employees leave because theft has gone up, and what may not seem like a big deal to your teen could be a firable offense.

Allow Them to Experience the Results of Hard Work

Be generous with praise and acknowledge effort in everything your teen does, whether it is in school, at a job, or in an extracurricular activity. When appropriate, offer rewards for a job well done or bonuses when they go above and beyond.

Developing strong work habits at the onset of your teen’s employment career can make the difference as they move into adulthood. Help them to recognize the feelings of achievement that go along with completing a tough project or reaching a goal that they have set for themselves. Though hard work isn’t always acknowledged in the “real world”, learning to appreciate the internal results of their accomplishments will be incredibly beneficial in the long run.

Best Tips for a Successful Undergraduate Experience

Best Tips for a Successful Undergraduate Experience

Harvard Professor Richard Light has spent a lifetime studying what leads to the most “successful” undergraduate experience. Over 20 years of research enriched by the views of nearly 2500 students led to advice he shared…

According to Dr. Light, successful college students will

  1. Get to know one faculty member reasonably well each term or semester. Research shows this is the single best way to engage fully in the life of the campus.
  2. Explore at least one entirely new topic or course every semester. Replicating your high school class roster is not particularly productive or satisfying.
  3. Develop a strategy for making tradeoffs between “investing” in new classes or activities and “harvesting” the benefits of known skills. Successful students experiment with the new but also continue to build on what they know they’re already good at.
  4. Focus on time management. Students who make adjustments to and are aware of issues in time management are far more likely to succeed in college.
  5. Pick classes in the first or second year that will support choosing a major wisely. Knowing something in advance about departments and majors saves time and aggravation in the long run.
  6. Try to relate what goes on inside the classroom to life outside of class. Forming these kinds of connections gives more meaning and depth to academics.
  7. Engage in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. There exists a very strong correlation between campus involvement and overall student satisfaction with college.
  8. Seek out diverse views. Successful students will reach out to people whose views do not necessarily correspond to their own.

Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil, LMSW, IEC


4 Steps to Quality Extracurricular Participation

4 Steps to Quality Extracurricular Participation

Extracted from article published by Niche

Are you looking to choose, diversify, or deepen your extracurricular activities? Here are the 4 mantras:

1. Be true to yourself.
Your extracurricular activities should show colleges where your passions lie, so pursue enjoyable activities that genuinely interest you.

If you absolutely love science, participate in activities like the Science Olympiad, Physics Club, and/or Robotics Team. You can also attend science-related summer camps, develop your own research and experiments, and job shadow someone in a science career that interests you.

If reading and writing are your cup of tea, work on your school’s literary magazine, join the Creative Writing Club, write your own novel or short story collection, and start a book club.

Not sure what you’re interested in? Experiment with a few different types of activities, then narrow it down to your top 3-4. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one category or area of interest, but don’t spread yourself too thin.

Remember that you’re not trying to find the most impressive activities or check every box. What do you love? What “makes you tick?” Once you’ve figured that out, pursue it.

2. Commit!

We mentioned above that it’s fine to experiment with several different activities at first. But at some point, you need to narrow your focus to 3-5 activities that you especially enjoy.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus, commit. Colleges like to see dedication and commitment to a few key activities over an extended period of time. It’s a definite plus if you can devote yourself to the same activities for most of your college career.

3. Take on leadership roles or otherwise add value.

Once you’ve committed to a few activities that interest you, try to take on leadership roles or otherwise add value in these areas.

Colleges don’t only want you to participate when you come to campus; they want you to contribute. Your extracurricular activities should demonstrate that you’ll use your interests and talents to make a difference on campus. The best way to show you’ll make a difference in the future is to make a difference right now.

Become a club officer, plan a special event, run a committee, or generate a new idea. Or if a club doesn’t exist that you’d love to join, start it yourself! Whatever you do, make sure that you contribute in a meaningful way. Keep track of your contributions so you can mention them when you apply to colleges.

You might want to have an ongoing document that lists what activities you participated in, leadership roles you had, contributions you made, problems you solved or helped solve, etc. This will help you develop your activity summary when you apply to colleges, and it may even give you some great ideas for your college application essay(s).

4. Deepen and develop your interests over time.

Colleges also like to see growth over time. Each year, your interests and involvement should deepen or develop.

This can include strengthening your leadership role in an organization or becoming more involved (leading a committee, planning more events, recruiting others to join).

It may also include spending time on your own to further explore your interests or sharpen your skills. Take related college or online courses, job shadow or find internships, go to relevant summer camps, or check out books on the subject from your local library.

Colleges like curious, passionate students who take initiative. Make use of the resources and opportunities available to you and explore your interests on your own time. By doing so, you’ll indicate that you’re just the sort of student colleges want on their campuses.

Tips For Talking To Your Middle School Child About Their Learning Disabilities

Tips For Talking To Your Middle School Child About Their Learning Disabilities

Published by the Churchill Center and School

Explaining a learning disability diagnosis to your child isn’t easy, but it’s important to take this opportunity to create an open and honest dialogue. While every student is different, there are steps you can take to make this conversation more comfortable and helpful for both parent and child.

  • Be Open and Honest with Yourself

    A learning disability diagnosis can be tough for some parents. You may feel guilty, alone, or confused about how best to help your child. To combat feelings of isolation and inexperience, seek out a community of parents who can relate to your situation and offer personal advice.

  • Get Informed

    The more you know about your child’s specific learning disability, the better. Plenty of great resources are available from your local library or online. We recommend Churchill’s Learning Disability ResourcesUnderstood, and LD Online.

  • Frame It as an Ongoing Conversation

    It’s impossible to answer all of your child’s questions and concerns in one conversation, so don’t feel like you have to. Think of this as a gradual, informal, and sequential discussion that will take place throughout your child’s life.

  • Be Open and Honest with Your Child

    Self-knowledge is critical for your child’s self-esteem and motivation. Knowing that he or she has a diagnosed and treatable condition is comforting — especially as opposed to the alternative of not knowing what is wrong or why school is difficult. With that in mind, don’t hide or sugarcoat the issue for your child.

  • Explain What the Disorder Is (and Isn’t)

    “Dyslexia” and “ADHD” don’t mean much to a young child. Take the opportunity to explain what the disorder is and how it affects the way they learn. Also clear up any misconceptions that your child may have about the diagnosis, for example, “I’m stupid,” or “Dysgraphia will go away when I get older.”

  • Try Not to Overwhelm

    Keep your child’s vocabulary in mind when explaining his or her learning disability. Use words that are familiar to him or her — for example, you may describe ADHD to a five-year-old as “wiggly,” but introduce more clinical terms for an older child, such as “distractible.” Aim to provide small, digestible amounts of information in a series of conversations rather than cramming in all the details at once.2

  • Give Them Someone To Relate To

    It’s easy for a child with learning disabilities to feel isolated and alone. Talk about people the child knows who has dealt with similar diagnoses — whether a parent, neighbor, or teacher. Remind your child that while it isn’t always easy for this person, they found strategies that help.

  • Stay Positive

    Amidst all of this conversation about what your child can’t do, be sure to remind them of all the things they can do. Point out specific strengths, for example, “You’re great at multiplication tables,” or “Skating and hockey are easy for you.

  • Identify Your Child’s Support System

    It’s important for children with learning disabilities to know that they are not alone. Make a list of all of the people who are there to support your child — whether parents, siblings, teachers, tutors or otherwise.


Responding to Common Myths Children Have About Learning Disabilities


MYTH: I have a learning disability. That means I’m stupid.

Fact:Your learning disability may make certain tasks harder, but it does not mean you’re not as smart as other students. Things that are easy for you may be hard for other students.

MYTH: My learning disability will go away when I’m in high school.

Fact:You’ll find ways to make it easier to do the things that are hard for you, but your learning disability is something that will stay with you throughout your whole life.

MYTH: I’ll never be able to do the things that are hard for me.

Fact:You may have to work harder than the other students in your class, but there are strategies you can learn that will help you do the things that are hard for you. Plenty of people with learning disabilities learn to read, write, do long division, and any of the things that are tough for them.

MYTH: It’s unfair for me to get special accommodations, like extra time on tests.

Fact:Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same thing. According to the law, students with learning disabilities are allowed to have certain accommodations to help them succeed in school. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or guilty about using these resources.

MYTH: Not many other children have learning disabilities like me.

Fact:Studies show that 10-15% of school-aged children have a learning disability. There are plenty of students with learning issues similar to yours.1


How Multiple Intelligences Shape Learning

How Multiple Intelligences Shape Learning

Written by Katherine Lee for VeryWell Family

You may have heard the term “learning style” used to describe how a child learns (as in, one child learns best visually while another learns best through movement). The problem with such characterizations is that all kids learn through various methods—sight, touch, etc.

While a child may absorb information better through one approach at one point in time, that same child may learn something else better through another approach. Labeling children as having just one learning style is inaccurate and limiting. A much better way to understand the individuality of how kids learn is to apply the concept of “multiple intelligences.” In 1983, Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, disputed the idea that people are born with a single intelligence that can be measured—such as with IQ tests—and cannot be changed. According to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MIs), there are at least eight different human intelligences, and all human beings are born with varying degrees of each. Gardner also asserts that people have unique and distinct intelligence profiles that are shaped by biological and environmental factors. For example, one child may have stronger musical intelligence and mathematical intelligence while another may have stronger linguistic or interpersonal intelligence. These distinct MI profiles are different because of individual experiences and genetic variations.

What Are the Multiple Intelligences?

Gardner defines the eight types of MI as the following.3 Everyone has all of them, but they exist on a spectrum of weak to strong ability in a combination that is unique to each person.

  1. Spatial: Visualizing, creating, and manipulating something in a space, such as what an airplane pilot, architect, or chess player may do.
  2. Bodily/Kinesthetic: Using one’s gross motor skills or fine motor skills to express oneself or to create, learn, or solve problems; involves coordination and dexterity and the use of one’s whole body or parts of the body, such as the hands.
  3. Musical: Expressing oneself and understanding and creating through music⁠—by singing, playing musical instruments, composing, conducting, etc. Involves musical abilities such as sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, tone, and timbre.
  4. Linguistic: Being attuned to the meaning of words and the sound, rhythms, inflections, and meter of words, the way a poet might. May involve reading, writing, speaking, an affinity for foreign languages.
  5. Mathematical/Logical: Understanding and recognizing the patterns and relationships between numbers and actions or symbols; possessing computing skills; having the ability to solve various problems through logic.
  6. Interpersonal: Being attuned to other people’s feelings, emotions, and temperament. Individuals with high interpersonal intelligence are often associated with leadership and tend to be good at communicating with and understanding other people and are good at working with others. Sometimes referred to as social intelligence.
  7. Intrapersonal: Awareness of one’s own feelings, thoughts, anxieties, and traits, and the ability to use that understanding of oneself to control one’s own impulses and behavior and make plans and decisions.
  8. Naturalist: Understanding nature⁠—plants, animals, the environment, etc.⁠—and identifying, observing, categorizing, and understanding distinguishing features. This intelligence helps us use elements and patterns in the natural world to create products or solve problems.


How Parents Can Use Multiple Intelligences

Parents know that kids have unique abilities, interests, likes, and dislikes. One child may devour books and love to dance, another may love animals, and a third may love music and math. That’s the beauty of human beings⁠—we are such interesting and different creatures, and any parent who’s seen a child develop a keen interest and obsession with something knows that kids are very much individuals.

But it’s important not to label a child as being one thing or another. “We have a tendency to try to label kids, such as with IQ tests, and when you do that, you tend to pay less attention to their fluidity,” says Mindy L. Kornhaber, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

For example, when you say a child learns best by working with their hands, you are ignoring the fact that all kids learn through all kinds of different methods, and that how they learn best or what they are good at can change over time.

To nurture and support MI in your children at home:

  • Spend time with kids and see what they like. Spend time doing ordinary things like having dinner or playing games. As a bonus: regular family dinners have been shown to improve kids’ health and nutrition, build strong emotional and mental skills, and lead to good behavior.
  • Value strengths instead of what kids can’t do. “We tend to see what is lacking when we label kids,” says Kornhaber. Instead of thinking, My child isn’t good at learning to read, build your child’s sense of pride in things that they are good at. “MI helps parents, teachers, and children understand children’s strengths and how these may be used to help them learn and solve problems,” Kornhaber says.
  • Engage your child in different ways. If your child is having trouble writing a paper, boost confidence by drawing out other skills while you help with writing skills. For instance, ask what they’ve learned; they may be able to describe it aloud, suggests Kornhaber. Or ask them to draw a picture of what they learned.
  • Consider the expectations we have today. Young children are expected to read and have basic math skills at younger and younger ages. With added pressures come increased expectations, but that doesn’t mean all first- and second-graders should be soaring through chapter books. Unless you spot signs of learning problems, relax and let your child grow at their own pace.
  • Know that intelligence is a snapshot. Unlike general intelligence, which is measured by an IQ score, a child’s multiple intelligence profile is not static and may shift over time. Expose your child to all kinds of different activities and experiences and allow them to learn and grow in their own unique way.
  • Look at the value of all the intelligences. In preschool, we value and praise everything that kids discover and share. But by third grade, kids are expected to be good at math and reading or they can be labeled as not being good learners. “Only valuing linguistic and math and not other intelligences does a disservice to kids,” Kornhaber says.


College Essay Tips From Admissions Officers

College Essay Tips From Admissions Officers

This article has been adapted from The College Essay Guy, “35+ Best College Tips”

  • 1. know that the best ideas for your essay—the perfect opener, a great twist, a brilliant insight—often come when you least expect them.

That’s why it’s a good practice to keep a reliable collection system with you at all times as you’re preparing to write your essay. It could be your phone. It could be index cards. It could be a Moleskine notebook (if you really want to do it with panache). Just don’t store it in your own brain thinking that you’ll remember it later. Your mind may be a magnificently wonderful idea-making machine, but it’s a lousy filing cabinet. Store those ideas in one place outside your brain so that when inspiration hits you in the bathroom, in the car, on a hike—wherever—you’ll have a place to capture it and come back to it later when you need it.

This college essay tip is by Ken Anselment, Marquette University graduate and Vice President for Enrollment & Communication at Lawrence University.

  • 2. Do not feel pressure to share every detail of challenging experiences, but also do not feel that you need to have a happy ending or solution.

Your writing should provide a context within which the reader learns about who you are and what has brought you to this stage in your life. Try to tie your account into how this has made you develop as a person, friend, family member or leader (or any role in your life that is important to you). You may also want to make a connection to how this has inspired some part of your educational journey or your future aspirations.

This college essay tip is by Jaclyn Robins, Assistant Director of admissions at the University of Southern California. The tip below is paraphrased from a post on the USC admissions blog.

  • 3. Read it aloud.

There is something magical about reading out loud. As adults we don’t do this enough. In reading aloud to kids, colleagues, or friends we hear things differently, and find room for improvement when the writing is flat. So start by voice recording your essay.

This college essay tip is by Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admissions at Georgia Tech. The tip below is paraphrased from a post on the Georgia Tech Admission blog.

  • 4. We want to learn about growth.

Some students spend a lot of time summarizing plot or describing their work and the “in what way” part of the essay winds up being one sentence. The part that is about you is the most important part. If you feel you need to include a description, make it one or two lines. Remember that admission offices have Google, too, so if we feel we need to hear the song or see the work of art, we’ll look it up. The majority of the essay should be about your response and reaction to the work. How did it affect or change you?

This college essay tip is by Dean J, admissions officer and blogger from University of Virginia. The tip below is paraphrased from a post on the University of Virginia Admission blog.

  • 5. Be specific.

Consider these two hypothetical introductory paragraphs for a master’s program in library science.

“I am honored to apply for the Master of Library Science program at the University of Okoboji because as long as I can remember I have had a love affair with books. Since I was eleven I have known I wanted to be a librarian.”


“When I was eleven, my great-aunt Gretchen passed away and left me something that changed my life: a library of about five thousand books. Some of my best days were spent arranging and reading her books. Since then, I have wanted to be a librarian.”

Each graf was 45 words long and contained substantively the same information (applicant has wanted to be a librarian since she was a young girl). But they are extraordinarily different essays, most strikingly because the former is generic where the latter is specific. It was a real thing, which happened to a real person, told simply. There is nothing better than that.

This college essay tip is by Chris Peterson, Assistant Director at MIT Admissions. The tip below is paraphrased from the  post “How To Write A College Essay” on the MIT blog.

  • 6. Tell a good story.

Most people prefer reading a good story over anything else. So… tell a great story in your essay. Worry less about providing as many details about you as possible and more about captivating the reader’s attention inside of a great narrative. I read a great essay this year where an applicant walked me through the steps of meditation and how your body responds to it. Loved it. (Yes, I’ll admit I’m a predisposed meditation fan.)

This college essay tip is by Jeff Schiffman, Director of Admissions at Tulane University and health and fitness nut.

  • 7. Write like you speak.

Here’s my favorite trick when I’ve got writer’s block: turn on the recording device on my phone, and just start talking. I actually use voice memos in my car when I have a really profound thought (or a to do list I need to record), so find your happy place and start recording. Maybe inspiration always seems to strike when you’re walking your dog, or on the bus to school. Make notes where and when you can so that you can capture those organic thoughts for later. This also means you should use words and phrases that you would actually use in everyday conversation. If you are someone who uses the word indubitably all the time, then by all means, go for it. But if not, then maybe you should steer clear. The most meaningful essays are those where I feel like the student is sitting next to me, just talking to me.

This college essay tip is by Kim Struglinski, admissions counselor from Vanderbilt University. The tip below is paraphrased from the excellent post “Tips for Writing Your College Essay” on the Vanderbilt blog.

  • 8. Verb you, Dude!

Verbs jump, dance, fall, fail us. Nouns ground us, name me, define you. “We are the limits of our language.” Love your words, feed them, let them grow. Teach them well and they will teach you too. Let them play, sing, or sob outside of yourself. Give them as a gift to others. Try the imperative, think about your future tense, when you would have looked back to the imperfect that defines us and awaits us. Define, Describe, Dare. Have fun.

This college essay tip is by Parke Muth, former associate dean of Admissions at the University of Virginia (28 years in the office) and member of the Jefferson Scholars selection committee.

  • 9. Keep the story focused on a discrete moment in time.

By zeroing in on one particular aspect of what is, invariably, a long story, you may be better able to extract meaning from the story. So instead of talking generally about playing percussion in the orchestra, hone in on a huge cymbal crash marking the climax of the piece. Or instead of trying to condense that two-week backpacking trip into a couple of paragraphs, tell your reader about waking up in a cold tent with a skiff of snow on it. The specificity of the story not only helps focus the reader’s attention, but also opens the door to deeper reflection on what the story means to you.

This college essay tip is by Mark Montgomery, former Associate Dean at the University of Denver, admissions counselor for Fort Lewis College, founder of Great College Advice, and professor of international affairs at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Kansas.

  • 10. Start preparing now.

Yes, I know it’s still summer break. However, the essay is already posted on our website here and isn’t going to change before the application opens on September 1. Take a look, and start to formulate your plan. Brainstorm what you are going to tell us — focus on why you are interested in the major you chose. If you are choosing the Division of General Studies, tells us about your passions, your career goals, or the different paths you are interested in exploring.

This college essay tip is by Hanah Teske, admissions counselor at the University of Illinois. This tip was paraphrased form Hanah’s blog post on the University of Illinois blog.

     11. Imagine how the person reading your essay will feel.

No one’s idea of a good time is writing a college essay, I know. But if sitting down to write your essay feels like a chore, and you’re bored by what you’re saying, you can imagine how the person reading your essay will feel. On the other hand, if you’re writing about something you love, something that excites you, something that you’ve thought deeply about, chances are I’m going to set down your application feeling excited, too—and feeling like I’ve gotten to know you.

This college essay tip is by Abigail McFee, Admissions Counselor for Tufts University and Tufts ‘17 graduate.

  • 12. Think outside the text box!

Put a little pizazz in your essays by using different fonts, adding color, including foreign characters or by embedding media—links, pictures or illustrations. And how does this happen? Look for opportunities to upload essays onto applications as PDFs. It’s not always possible, but when it is, you will not only have complete control over the ‘look’ of your essay but you will also potentially enrich the content of your work.

This college essay tip is by Nancy Griesemer, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University graduate and founder of College Explorations who has decades of experiencing counseling high schoolers on getting into college.

  • 13. Write like a journalist.

“Don’t bury the lede!” The first few sentences must capture the reader’s attention, provide a gist of the story, and give a sense of where the essay is heading. Think about any article you’ve read—how do you decide to read it? You read the first few sentences and then decide. The same goes for college essays. A strong lede (journalist parlance for “lead”) will place your reader in the “accept” mindset from the beginning of the essay. A weak lede will have your reader thinking “reject”—a mindset from which it’s nearly impossible to recover.

This college essay tip is by Brad Schiller, MIT graduate and CEO of Prompt, which provides individualized feedback on thousands of students’ essays each year.

  • 14. I promote an approach called “into, through, and beyond.”

(This approach) pushes kids to use examples to push their amazing qualities, provide some context, and end with hopes and dreams. Colleges are seeking students who will thrive on their campuses, contribute in numerous ways, especially “bridge” building, and develop into citizens who make their worlds and our worlds a better place. So application essays are a unique way for applicants to share, reflect, and connect their values and goals with colleges. Admissions officers want students to share their power, their leadership, their initiative, their grit, their kindness—all through relatively recent stories. I ask students: “Can the admissions officers picture you and help advocate for you by reading your essays?” Often kids don’t see their power, and we can help them by realizing what they offer colleges through their activities and life experiences. Ultimately I tell them, “Give the colleges specific reasons to accept you—and yes you will have to ‘brag.’ But aren’t you worth it? Use your essays to empower your chances of acceptance, merit money, and scholarships.”

This college essay tip is by Dr. Rebecca Joseph, professor at California State University and founder of All College Application Essays, develops tools for making the college essay process faster and easier.

  • 15. Get personal.

To me, personal stuff is the information you usually keep to yourself, or your closest friends and family. So it can be challenging, even painful, to dig up and share. Try anyway. When you open up about your feelings—especially in response to a low point—you are more likely to connect with your reader(s). Why? Because we’ve all been there. So don’t overlook those moments or experiences that were awkward, uncomfortable or even embarrassing. Weirdly, including painful memories (and what you learned from them!) usually helps a personal statement meet the goals of a college application essay—you come across as humble, accessible, likable (this is HUGE!), and mature. Chances are, you also shared a mini-story that was interesting, entertaining and memorable.

This college essay tip is by Janine Robinson, journalist, credentialed high school English teacher, and founder of Essay Hell, has spent the last decade coaching college-bound students on their college application essays.

  • 16. Just make sure that the story you’re telling is uniquely YOURS.

I believe everyone has a story worth telling. Don’t feel like you have to have had a huge, life-changing, drama-filled experience. Sometimes the seemingly smallest moments lead us to the biggest breakthroughs.

This college essay tip is by Maggie Schuh, a member of the Testive Parent Success team and a high school English teacher in St. Louis.

  • 17. Keep it simple!

No one is expecting you to solve the issue of world peace with your essay. Oftentimes, we find students getting hung up with “big ideas”. Remember, this essay is about YOU. What makes you different from the thousands of other applicants and their essays? Be specific. Use vivid imagery. If you’re having trouble, start small and go from there. P. S. make sure the first sentence of your essay is the most interesting one.

This college essay tip is by Myles Hunter, CEO of TutorMe, an online education platform that provides on-demand tutoring and online courses for thousands of students.

  • 18. Honor your inspiration.

My parents would have much preferred that I write about sports or youth group, and I probably could have said something interesting about those, but I insisted on writing about a particular fish in the pet store I worked at—one that took much longer than the others to succumb when the whole tank system in the store became diseased. It was a macabre little composition, but it was about exactly what was on my mind at the time I was writing it. I think it gave whoever read it a pretty good view of my 17 year-old self. I’ll never know if I got in because of that weird essay or in spite of it, but it remains a point of pride that I did it my way.

This college essay tip is by Mike McClenathan, founder of PwnTestPrep, which has a funny name but serious resources for helping high school students excel on the standardized tests.

  • 19. Revise often and early.

Your admissions essay should go through several stages of revision. And by revisions, we don’t mean quick proofreads. Ask your parents, teachers, high school counselors or friends for their eyes and edits. It should be people who know you best and want you to succeed. Take their constructive criticism in the spirit for which they intend—your benefit.

This college essay tip is by Dhivya Arumugham, Kaplan Test Prep’s director of SAT and ACT programs.

  • 20. Write about things you care about.

The most obvious things make great topics. What do I mean? Colleges want to learn about who you are, what you value and how you will contribute to their community. I had two students write about their vehicles—one wrote about the experience of purchasing their used truck and one wrote about how her car is an extension of who she is. We learned about their responsibility, creative thinking, teamwork and resilience in a fun and entertaining way.

This college essay tip is by Mira “Coach Mira” Simon, Independent Educational Consultant and professionally trained coach from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), who combines her expertise to help high school students find their pathway to college.

  • 21. Don’t tell them a story you think they want, tell them what YOU want.

Of course you want it to be a good read and stay on topic, but this is about showing admissions who you are. You don’t want to get caught up in thinking too much about what they are expecting. Focus your thoughts on yourself and what you want to share.

This college essay tip is by Ashley McNaughton, Bucknell University graduate and founder of ACM College Consulting, consults on applicants internationally and volunteers with high achieving, low income students through ScholarMatch.

  • 22. Be yourself.

A sneaky thing can happen as you set about writing your essay: you may find yourself guessing what a college admissions committee is looking for and writing to meet that made up criteria rather than standing firm in who you are and sharing your truest self. While you want to share your thoughts in the best possible light (edit, please!), avoid the temptation minimize the things that make you who you are. Show your depth. Be honest about what matters to you. Be thoughtful about the experiences you’ve had that have shaped who you’ve become. Be your brilliant self. And trust that your perfect-fit college will see you for who truly you are and say, “Yes! This is exactly who we’ve been looking for.”

This college essay tip is by Lauren Gaggioli, NYU graduate, host of The College Checklist podcast, and founder of Higher Scores Test Prep provides affordable test prep help to college applicants.

  • 23. Parents should NEVER write a student’s essay.

Admission officers can spot parent content immediately. The quickest way for a student to be denied admission is to allow a parent to write or edit with their own words. Parents can advise, encourage, and offer a second set of eyes, but they should never add their own words to a student’s essay.

This college essay tip is by Suzanne Shaffer is a college prep expert, blogger, and author who manages the website Parenting for College.

  • 24. Don’t just write about your resume, recommendations, and high school transcripts.

Admissions officers want to know about you, your personality, and emotions. For example, let them know what hobbies, interests, or passions you have. Do you excel in athletics or art? Let them know why you excel in those areas. It’s so important to just be yourself and write in a manner that lets your personality shine through.

  • 25. Find a way to showcase yourself without bragging.

Being confident is key, but you don’t want to come across as boasting. Next, let them know how college will help you achieve your long-term goals. Help them connect the dots and let them know you are there for a reason. Finally (here’s an extra pro tip), learn how to answer common college interview questions within your essay. This will not only help you stand out from other applicants, but it will also prepare you for the college interview ahead of time as well.

  • 26. Be real.

As a former college admissions officer, I read thousands of essays—good and bad. The essays that made the best impressions on me were the essays that were real. The students did not use fluff, big words, or try to write an essay they thought admission decisions makers wanted to read. The essays that impressed me the most were not academic essays, but personal statements that allowed me to get to know the reader. I was always more likely to admit or advocate for a student who was real and allowed me to get to know them in their essay.

This college essay tip is by Jessica Velasco, former director of admissions at Northwest University and founder of JLV College Counseling.

8-Step Guide to Start a Club in High School

8-Step Guide to Start a Club in High School

Do you want to start a club at your high school? If your school doesn’t offer a particular club or group that you’re interested in, starting your own is a great way to meet new people and spend time doing something you enjoy. You’ll also get leadership experience that can help strengthen your resume and college applications. Read on to get step-by-step instructions on how to start a high school club.
Overview of High School Clubs
Before you start your own club, you want to make sure that you understand how high school clubs are run and why they’re important.Clubs are a great way for students to participate in activities they enjoy, learn new skills, and meet new people.
High school clubs can cover a wide variety of topics, from math to skiing to protecting the environment and more. Club meetings are usually held after school. Some clubs meet regularly and require a large time commitment while others meet once a month or less. Each club usually has a teacher or staff member who acts as supervisor. Students can also hold leadership positions in the club, such as president, vice-president, and secretary. Many students enjoy being in clubs because they give them an opportunity to spend time with their friends and do activities they find fun and interesting. Colleges and employers also like to see students who have participated in extracurriculars such as clubs because it helps them understand a student’s interests better and shows that the student likes being involved and working with other people. Many high schools offer a wide variety of clubs for students; however, it would be impossible for a high school to offer every single type of club.
Why Would You Start a New Club?
There are multiple reasons why you’d want to start a new club at your school. Some of the most common are listed below:
You Want to Pursue a Hobby You Enjoy
One of the best and most common reasons for starting or joining a club is because it allows you to pursue an activity you enjoy, whether that’s Ultimate Frisbee, baking, or something else. Clubs allow you to practice this hobby, learn more, and get better at it. If your school doesn’t offer a club for the activity or interest you want, then starting your own club will allow you to continue to enjoy this hobby.
You Want to Raise Awareness About a Cause You Care About
If there is a particular issue that you feel strongly about, such as promoting recycling or providing school supplies to students in Africa, you can have an impact by creating a club that focuses on that issue. By starting a club, you can increase awareness of a particular problem, collect money or supplies to donate, and possibly spend time volunteering to help improve the issue.
You Want to Meet People With Similar Interests
Joining a club can be a great way to meet other students with similar hobbies and interests. You get to enjoy your interest with other people and can learn more about it by working with them.
You Want to Gain Leadership Experience
An excellent way to get leadership experience is by starting a new club. You will learn how to create a new organization, recruit members, and get it running smoothly. Colleges love seeing examples of leadership, and being the founder of a club is a great way to show that you know how to take charge and handle responsibility.
How to Start a Club in High School
Now that you know all about high school clubs and why you’d want to start your own, let’s get started! Follow the steps below to start a club that is interesting, well-run, and will last a long time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
Your first step is deciding what you want your club to focus on. You may already know, but if you don’t, think about your interests and activities you enjoy doing. Chances are you can develop a club around each of them! For example, if you enjoy skiing and wish you had more opportunities to ski, you could start a ski club at your school.If you need more ideas for potential clubs, we have a complete list of extracurricular activities, with dozens of high school club ideas.Once you have your idea, check to make sure your school doesn’t already have a similar club. You can do this by looking at your school’s student handbook or asking your academic adviser or someone at the school office.
Step 2: Define the Club’s Purpose and Goals

Once you know what you want your club to be about, it’s time to get more specific. Figure out what the purpose of the club is, what activities you want members to take part in, and what goals you have for the club.For example, if you’re starting that ski club, will the purpose of the club be organizing ski trips? Teaching members the basics of skiing? Discussing skiing gear? A combination of all three? Will meetings just be for organizing trip logistics, or will you also include lectures from ski experts or show videos of ski trips? What do you need to accomplish for the club to be considered successful? Three ski trips a year? Ten members taught the basics of skiing?By figuring this out now, you will be able to provide a clearer and more complete vision of your club when you present the idea to the school and potential members.Other questions to think about:

  • Why do you want to start this club?
  • What is the purpose of the club?
  • What will club members do during meetings?
  • How often will the club meet?
  • Where will the club meet?
  • What are the goals of this club?
  • Do potential members need to try out for the club, or will anyone be allowed to join?

Step 3: Register Your Club With the School

Most high schools require clubs to go through a process to become school-approved. This may be as simple as filling out a form, or it may require discussing the club with teachers or school staff.Without school approval, you likely won’t be able to have club meetings or post information at school, which can make it difficult to recruit members, so learn how to properly register your club and make it official. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask your academic adviser, a teacher, or someone at the school office. Your student handbook may also have information on registering clubs.Before you register your club, make sure you have completed the previous steps so that you can answer questions about the club, why you want to create it, and what club members will be doing. After getting your club approved by the school, a teacher or staff member may be assigned as the club supervisor. If not, ask a teacher you know well or who you think will have an interest in the club to act as supervisor.Your school may also require you to write bylaws for the club, which will explain what the purpose of the club is, how people can join the club, if and how club elections will be held, and more. If your school does require you to write bylaws, they will often give you a template to fill in to make the process easier.
Step 4: Spread the Word
Once you know what you want your club to focus on and have gotten it approved by the school, it’s time to recruit some members. If you haven’t already, figure out a time and place to hold your first meeting. You may need to get permission from your school to host the meeting in an empty classroom or another place. Mention your club to your friends and people you think will be interested. If your school allows it, create and post flyers a week or two before the first meeting that briefly state the club’s name, purpose, and time and date of the first meeting. Try to make these flyers eye-catching and interesting to look at. For a ski club, including a color photo of a person skiing down a mountain and a heading like “Love to ski? Want to learn how? Join Jefferson High School’s new ski club!” can catch students’ interest and convince more people to attend the first meeting.
Step 5:
Hold Your First Club MeetingDon’t try to do too much at your first meeting; your goal should just be to introduce the club and answer any questions people may have. Introduce yourself, state what the club’s purpose and goals are, what members will do, and any potential ideas you have for future activities and events. Also, providing snacks is a great way to get people to love you and your new club.To continue with the ski club example, for its first meeting, you would explain the purpose of the ski club, whether that’s organizing ski trips, teaching people how to ski, or another focus. Review (before the meeting!) the answers you gave to the questions in step 2 and discuss those if you’re not sure what to talk about. You can then give a brief overview of what activities you’d like members to be able to participate in, such as ski lessons, weekend trips, etc., and then end by showing pictures of ski spots the club may visit to get people excited about future meetings.After you’ve spoken, people who are attending the meeting a chance to introduce themselves and give their opinion on what they think the club should focus on. Have a list where potential members can write their e-mail addresses to stay informed on future club news.At the end of the meeting, let members know where and when the next meeting will be held.

Step 6: Assign Duties and Plan Events At one of the first few meetings, you should assign leadership roles to help keep the club running smoothly. Common officer roles include:

  • President: Leads and supervises the club with help from other officers.
  • Vice President Fills in when the president is not available.
  • Secretary: Takes notes during meetings, maintains club records and keeps members updated on club news and events.
  • Treasurer: Manages the club’s budget and expenses

Hold elections or nominate people to fill these positions. Once you have your club organized and a leadership structure established, start planning activities for club members. These activities can take place during club meetings or at special events outside of meetings. Potential ideas to consider include bringing in guest speakers, planning club outings, organizing fundraisers, and hosting discussions or lectures.You probably want the first activity to be somewhat small to prevent you or other club members from getting overwhelmed with planning and to increase the probability of it being successful. For a ski club, the first activity could be a day trip to a nearby ski slope, and, eventually, you could work up to a weekend trip to a resort a few hours away. In between ski trips, you could plan to have guest speakers come and discuss skiing, test out ski gear, and hold fundraisers to help cover expenses.

Step 7: Establish a Budget
Most clubs require some money to stay running, even if it is only a small amount to cover printing costs and snacks. Some clubs may need a much larger budget if they use a lot of materials or go on trips.Your treasurer should develop a budget that gives a rough estimate of the expenses your club will expect to have. Things you may want to have in the budget include printing fees, food and drinks, travel expenses, gifts for guest speakers, and any materials you may need. Schools often provide stipends to official clubs, and this may be enough to cover your expenses. If not, consider fundraisers or club dues to raise enough money to keep the club active. For a club that has a lot of expenses, such as a ski club that offers ski trips, you will probably use a combination of school stipends, fundraisers, and member dues to help cover costs.
Want to go on a ski trip? Better start saving your pennies.
Step 8: Keep Your Club Going!
Now that you have your club up and running, it’s important to make sure it lasts. Keeping your club around for the long term will ensure that more students get to enjoy it, and it will also look more impressive to colleges because it shows that you can commit to something and have the skills to keep a club running long-term. In order to keep your club going, make sure you continue to follow the above steps and recruit new members, assign leadership roles, stick to a budget, and plan activities and events to keep your club exciting. It can also help to have a special event at the end of each year, whether that’s a party, weekend trip, or important guest speaker. Doing this will give members something to look forward to and help keep people interested in the club.
Final Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Starting a club is a lot of work, so make sure you have enough time to devote to it before you begin the process.
  • Don’t try to do everything all at once. It’s okay to start small and have your first few meetings focus mostly on getting to know each other and brainstorming ideas. Trying to plan too many things right away can be exhausting and overwhelming.
  • Encourage group members to voice their opinions, and make sure you listen to their ideas. Taking multiple viewpoints into consideration will help your members enjoy the club more and can give you great ideas for future activities.
  • If there are similar clubs or organizations at your school or in your community, you may want to consider working with them. This can help spread the word about your club, help members meet new people, and give you more options for interesting activities.


College Interviews: Practice Questions and Strategies

College Interviews: Practice Questions and Strategies

Article written by Big Future

Why is a college interview important?An interview is a chance for you to meet with someone who represents the college. It’s a great way to show your interest in the college, to start a relationship with people there and to show what you’re all about. Here are some types of questions you may encounter and tips for answering them.

1. Questions about your fit with a college

Interviewers may ask questions like these:

  • Why do you want to attend our college?
  • What can you contribute to our college campus?

Why they ask: They want to know that you’re really interested in their college. They also want to know what you can bring to the campus.

Your answer strategy: college-fit questions

Talk about what you’ve learned about the college and why you feel it’s the right place for you. (Remember that you have to research a college ahead of time to answer this type of question well.) Discuss your extracurricular activities and achievements that show your character.

2. Questions about your personality

Interviewers may ask questions like these:

  • What three adjectives best describe you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why they ask: They want to see that you can think and speak about yourself.

Your answer strategy: personality questions

Give examples of how your chosen adjectives describe you. Talk about how you’ve used your strengths to accomplish something. Talk about how you overcome your weaknesses. For example, you can say, “I have a hard time learning new languages, so I set aside more time to study them.”

3. Questions about activities, interests and goals

Interviewers may ask questions like these:

  • What activities do you find most rewarding?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • What do you want to do after graduating from college?

Why they ask: They want to get to know you better and learn about what’s important to you.

Your answer strategy: interests questions

Think about the why: Why are those activities the most rewarding? Why is a book your favorite? If you have a major in mind, talk about why you’re interested in that subject. Discuss how you think college can help you meet your goals. Be sincere and honest in your answer — don’t say things just to impress the interviewer.

4. Wide-ranging questions

Interviewers may ask some broader questions. For example:

  • If you had a thousand dollars to give away, what would you do with it?
  • What’s your opinion on the immigration debate (or another topic in the news)?
  • If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?

Why they ask: They want to see that you are informed and curious and a careful thinker.

Your answer strategy: broader questions

Stay up-to-date on news and current events. Do you have strong opinions on certain issues? Can you explain your position? Try to spell out your system of values to yourself and think about how you apply it.

5. More college interview tips

  • Have a conversation. Don’t try to memorize a script.
  • Ask questions. Do express your interest in the college.
  • Be yourself. Don’t try to answer questions based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear.
  • Prepare. Do practice interviews with friends or family. Take turns asking questions.
Weil College Advising

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