Archive for April, 2015

Spring Rites of Passage for the College Bound

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Many high school seniors have heard back from some of the colleges to which they applied. The most competitive colleges will be sending out their letters no later than April 1. All students (and parents) will then have thirty days to make their final college decision.  

If you are a client be sure to FAX both your acceptance letters and subsequent financial aid letters to us as they come in. We will then help you make your decisions based on both academic and financial criteria.  If you have done a “Dry Run” earlier in the process, we will update the numbers.

Unfortunately, every year I hear about families who experienced something like this family did. There are many uncertainties in our world, but this does not have to be one of them. If you have college aspirations, take the time to discuss the options in paying for college as a family unit. In fact, call us to learn how thousands of families are paying for college from income alone, and not borrowing a nickel.  

Attention juniors and sophomores. Two other spring rites are for you. If you have a list of possible colleges (and you should) try to do some college visits while classes are still in session. If some of the colleges on your list are too far away, they may be coming to you!

March, April, and May is ‘College Fair’ time. Check the National Association of College Admission Counselor site here for the date, time and location near you! There are several college fairs coming up in many states.  For instance, Anaheim, CA is on April 23.    

Some of the so-called Elite colleges do not participate in such marketing efforts but check each college website for their travel plans. In addition, you should also check out the location for the group of 40 colleges that have been identified by the late Loren Pope in his popular tome, Colleges That Change Lives

The second spring rite is actually a four-season ritual. Yes, I am referring to the ubiquitous standardized tests. There are a plethora of ways to prepare including no preparation at all. But if you are looking at possible merit scholarships or very competitive colleges, then you should prepare. Would you compete in your favorite sport without practicing? 

But if you want to practice with unequivocally the best test prep yet, we can help. Take the demo here with 30 practice questions. For the PSAT, SAT, ACT and Math II tests, I believe there is NO better way to prepare outside of individual tutors like Kris Fox, Ann Turner or Jan LeClair. Each has been part of the PFE team for years. 

If you have any questions, I look forward to answering them for you.

Best wishes for college success…and beyond.

Eric

Are You a Procrastinator?

Monday, April 20th, 2015

If you are, you may put off reading this. That would be your first mistake. To all you college bound students, you will soon be taking a milestone step in your life journey. Hopefully it will be the college of your dreams. Even if it is not, if you have done your research properly, all will work out fine. Thousands of college graduates have learned, in hindsight, that it was meant to be and it wasn’t bad after all.

They quickly learned in the first month of college that a professor’s expectations and assignments given would be nothing like those from teachers in high school, even those AP classes they took that were supposed to prepare them for college level work. Those that got through in four years quickly learned how to get organized and stay focused.

If you were a last minute kind of student in high school, that may have worked. But college is a different world. If it is not, then you may be at the wrong college. Because if you are not challenged, you will not grow intellectually, spiritually or socially. But I digress.

The phrase, “I’ll do it later” is probably the biggest killer of college success. Chances are, you will not get it done later. If you do “wing it” later, it will be sloppy and not your best effort. This causes stress and sets you up for the kind of anxiety that leads to dropping out of college because of low grades and/or illness.

The day planner that your proud grandmother gives you at high school graduation won’t do you any good if you are constantly putting things off. Sometimes students (and adults) put things off because they are intimidated by them. It manifests in the subconscious. You are afraid of failure so you set yourself up for failure. The solution is to simply get started. Break the task into manageable chunks and schedule time for each task.

Maybe it is long blocks of time that you find intimidating or tedious. No problem. You can do anything for 25 minutes. Am I right? Work with NO distractions. Put the electronic gizmos away and out of sight and sound. That includes the ear buds. No, you don’t work better when you listen to “music”. 🙂

Buy a timer and set it for 25 minutes. Focus on the task seriously for that period. As you  begin to see something accomplished, whether it is a writing or reading assignment, you will begin to feel better about it. Dare I say, even inspired to do more. You also will soon realize that by tacking homework when it is assigned is soooo much easier than waiting until the 11th hour.

Still stuck? Another technique you can apply is to blatantly lie to yourself. Tell yourself that you don’t have to do the entire thing. You are just going to read a couple of paragraphs or just draft an outline. What will happen is that you will get some momentum going and realize that you can do more than you first thought.

Reading a few paragraphs becomes finishing the whole chapter. Outlining the paper becomes drafting the first paragraph and so on.

You are not alone, the majority of humans find a reason to put things off that we either don’t deem important or don’t like even if we know it is important. Even administrators at the most selective colleges like Princeton University realize that procrastination needs to be addressed. Look here to see what they have done to help their undergraduates.