Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Jerry Daniels
21 followers
21 followers
About
Posts

Post has attachment
Stop Being a Part of The Problem

Was Harvard really the best college for the 39,506 students who applied there in 2017? Was Stanford the best school for its 44,073 applicants or UT Austin the best choice for its 51,000 applicants in that same year? I can say with a great deal of confidence that the answer to those questions is no. Our elite colleges have been able to hypnotize the general public the same way diamond suppliers have done. Think about it. What can you actually use a diamond for? They are incredibly hard and therefor can cut through most anything. When was the last time you needed to cut your way out of a reinforced enclosure? They can be fashioned to be pretty, but your average Joe couldn’t tell the difference from cheap costume jewelry. So, what is a practical use for that diamond ring, bracelet or necklace? Now, transfer that question over to our most attractive colleges. What will you have after four years at a diamond school that you can’t get at a glass school?

This comparison was made to insert a little common sense into the federal government’s investigation of college admissions. The extreme admissions measures that are viewed as unfair or malicious by many are a direct response to receiving 20 times the number of applications as there are spaces available at the university.

Let’s switch gears again. Consider the similarity of a college application to a vote in a political race. The more votes that are cast for a candidate, the better chance they will win. What if the candidate has done something the public believes is unfair or malicious? Why do you continue to vote for them if, in your opinion, they need to change their behavior? Just as in the world of politics; we, the general public, have created and maintain this broken college admissions system. Government investigations and the resulting regulations will only serve to add another level of difficulty to the already ridiculous hoops that college hopefuls must jump through.

Just like the situation with our elected officials, typical American families can fix this problem. Well placed votes and applications will result in better political representation and bring common sense back to the college application process.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
How Many is Too Many for a College List?

No doubt you have heard of Michael Brown and the Fox News reporters who labeled him “obnoxious”. I celebrate the hard work he has done over the past several years and even before then, realizing how much an education can change your life for the better. Knowing how time-consuming completing one application to and Ivy or elite-level school can be, I don’t know where he found the time or the money to invest in that many applications. Like I said, his work ethic deserves celebration.

I can’t help but wonder how I would have handled Michael if he had come to me for college advice. Obviously, he has the grades, scores and has the background to qualify as a top candidate for any college in the country. Where I may have rained on his parade is his motivation to apply to 20 colleges. The most a student has applied to that works with me has been 12. She is presently waiting on number 12 to make a decision. The other eleven accepted her. The Naval Academy is that last school. The young lady in question applied to four more colleges than I lobbied for. She was told that all the schools after number eight would be on her own. Of course, that wasn’t the case. Guess my bluff is not as good as I thought.

Just like any other trait we humans have, students are driven to excel at different things. When a brilliant student is motivated to see how high they can fly into the college applications atmosphere, the best thing to do is get out of their way. I have to admit that after hearing the story of Michael Brown as a soundbite on the radio, I thought – what a waste of time and effort. But, after a little more research I imagined how I would feel if someone criticized my greatest accomplishment to date… the view from that position was very different that the one where I sat in judgement.

I am very happy for young Mr. Brown (likely to become Dr. Brown before it is all said and done). He could make me even happier if I see over the course of the next few months that he is using his super power for good and helping students who are not so savvy complete impressive college applications.


If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
The College Application Process: Distance Race or Sprint

Overnight it seems as though your baby boy or girl has turned into a rising senior in high school. Guess it’s time to begin preparing for college, right? Wrong, that should have started when they started working on their first high school credits. For some of them that was seventh grade.
The problem is not with getting applications and essays written; it is all those missed opportunities that slipped past because the focus was not on the long-term goal. Consider how different your decisions might have been about attending that meeting hosted by three in-state colleges if there had been early conversations about college and they had shown an interest in one of them. Maybe the stress of taking the SAT or ACT for the first time would not be so high if you had taken advantage of the free evaluation given by the local test prep agency down the road. Those problem areas could have been identified a couple years ago and eliminated by now. The blank page on the application that asks your child to list volunteering and community service activities would have a couple entries had you known that colleges considered it to be an important part of child development. And, you would have insisted they stay in debate or track had you realized there was a whole section in the application is dedicated to extracurricular activities.
There are all sorts of little things that can be done four, five or even six years before high school graduation that can impact how attractive a student is to a college. Just like those little things we call bricks can be stacked on top of one another by a skilled mason to become impressive and beautiful buildings. Consider the difference in what a skilled artisan of any kind could produce when given four years instead of four months to complete a masterpiece…
Too many of my clients claim to work better under pressure. What they have yet to realize is that the thing they believe to be pressure is actually focus. The “have to” or “do or die” situation forces them to block out all distractions. The cell phone is turned off, the TV is no longer an option and sometime even music is even banished from the work area. Their project is given their full attention and they burn through it as if it were nothing. That same thing could have been done two weeks before when it was assigned, but all those distractions were more important until crunch time.
Be assured that all is not lost. Use the resources you have in school and even a private college planning service if needed. Don’t wait any longer. Identify what needs to be done and help your young adult put together a schedule to complete all required paperwork in a timely manner. This is not something that can wait until the deadline.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Technology Changes Everything

If you were about to travel to a country where you don’t speak the language and I suggested you needed a babel fish, would you know what I was talking about? This is an easy question for anyone who has read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy. The reason I ask is that several technologies are in use and currently being developed to translate in real time. They actually allow you to have a conversation with someone speaking a different language. When you combine that with having access to just about any form of public information worldwide, practically anything is possible.

So, what does all this have to do with education and getting a college degree? Consider that there is no longer any need to take a foreign language… That will free up two years of secondary school to take different classes. What then would fill the void left when foreign language was removed from required high school coursework? Another change that could, and likely should take place in the near future is the elimination of the Technology course requirement. Really, how many adults can stand toe-to-toe with an eleven-year-old when it comes to using technology?

As processors get faster and our lives are increasingly permeated by scientific advancements, many of the things that have been staples in our education system will no longer be necessary. Don’t expect the requirements to undergo drastic change right away. My lifelong experiences with any education system is that they move quickly on very few things.

If the last of your children are already in high school, then you will probably not have worry about changes like these. Parents with younger children need to prepare for a secondary school experience that will undergo a great deal of change over the next 10 years or so. Be prepared to voice your opinion about the things you want your kids to know. Needless to say, that if you don’t speak up when asked, then you can’t complain about any bone-head decisions that are thrust upon your school system and your child.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
One More Thing To Do Before High School Is Over

Just about everything is set. Your preferred college has accepted you and offered an incentive or two to attend their school. You are on track to be exempt from your finals, the preference for summer orientation is open and the path looks clear to begin working on your undergraduate degree in the fall.

One thing that I will encourage you to do is make a profile on the LinkedIn website and fill it out as completely as possible for a high school graduate. Once that is done, invite people you know to become a member of your network. Words like network and networking may not be very important right now, but they will eventually impact your life more than you can presently imagine.

Just consider for a moment what you do when you have a question. The easy thing is to ask whoever is in the room with you at the time. The very next thing is to pull the computer from your pocket and ask Google. Guess what, potential employers do that too. They default to social, and in this case, business media to learn about potential interns and employees. An impressive web presence on the leading business networking site can get you noticed.

Consider the reverse of the previous scenario. You are looking for an internship or a job after graduation from college. You have identified several decision makers of companies that would be great fits for you. How do you get noticed when you know that your application and resume will be one of hundreds the company receives? Find those decision makers on LinkedIn and see if you have any of your contacts know them. An introduction from someone who knows you both regularly determines who is granted an interview.

This is the most important function for a job seeker. Other benefits of the LinkedIn profile can help people in business keep their contact information updated as well as inform them of promotions, anniversaries and relevant expert information. This is a no-brainer so follow the advice of a very successful and recognizable company and “Just Do It”.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
The Process Never Ends…

You are finishing up your senior year; a great college has accepted you and even offered you financial aid to attend, your grades are good, you are in a good dorm and the next four years are set – at least it looks that way. Does your financial aid cover all your college expenses? Probably not. Why settle for having only part of your expenses paid? Look around for local scholarship money, ask your college financial aid counselor if there is anything else you qualify for, develop a profile on a scholarship site and work on decreasing your expenses as much as possible.

Be sure that you check your email daily and respond promptly to all the messages that come from your college. Your orientation date and time as well as dorm check-in time and suggested room furnishings are all details that will become very important. Also, will you have a private room or will you have a roommate? This is one of the biggest challenges that some students will face in college. Brush up on your diplomacy skills. If you have a roommate, you will need them.

Let’s say you are ambitious and responsible and the transition to college is as smooth as silk. You lucked out and landed a roommate who is on track to be made a saint and all your classes seem like a review of your senior classes from high school. Life is good until you get word from home that there has been a tragedy of some kind. It could be a very ill parent, the death of a close friend, a bad accident involving a relative or any other event that could sidetrack you. What will you do? Did you take the time establish a support system at your school? The Academic Affairs office is a one-stop shop to make sure you have a safety net to catch you if there is ever a need. They can direct you to counseling, tutors, writing labs and can alert all your professors with a message from you should you need to leave campus quickly for any reason. I sincerely hope that you never need the kind of help just mentioned, but you don’t want to have to go searching for it if you do.

I know that you have worked hard in highs school to get that elusive acceptance from your favorite college, but this is not the finish line. It is yet another new start, so get out there and continue to compete.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Always Get A Second Opinion

When I saw the article titled, “Financial Fitness: Shopping around for financial aid to ease college debt”, I thought that it was just another jumble of well-known facts rearranged to complete an assignment given to a novice journalist. Thank goodness that I give most things the benefit of the doubt.

In this article, Kevin Klug responds to typical financial aid questions using language that everyone can understand. The refreshing part of his responses was that he tells the reader why it is important to do the things he suggests. I was also surprised to see that he suggests a good place to start the process is with award letters themselves. Just this month I was contacted by a client who was totally confused about which college was giving them the best deal AKA, the lowest cost of attendance. Mr. Klug offers a way to compare award letters that actually makes sense to someone not familiar with financial aid awards. It is made very clear that you should be aware that all the money included in a financial aid offer is not free money. Loans only defer the expense of attending a college.

The thing that most impressed me is that the overall tone of the article was calming. With so much hype and stress already attached to the college application process, this message stood out as a voice of reason when making some of the final decisions about where your child and your money will reside in the fall. Heeding the words of this article could mean that significantly less of your money will follow your child off to college.

Just consider that a prestigious private school offered your child $25,000 each year for four years in scholarship money while the state school three hours away offered them $5,000 each year for four years. If tuition and fees at the private school are $50,000 per year and the state school tuition and fees are $25,000 per year, your child can still attend the state school for $5,000 less per year. This is an over-simplified example of what an actual financial aid offer might look like, but you get the idea.

You can find this article at http://fox11online.com/good-day-wi/financial-fitness-shopping-around-for-financial-aid-to-ease-college-debt. I suggest you take five minutes and read it. The benefits could range into the thousands of dollars over the next four years.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Watch And Learn

By the third week in February, even the students who got started late working on their college applications are mostly done with the process. If there is still work to do, it is usually applying for scholarships. This form of financial aid could have originated from the colleges or from independent organizations. Either way, completing the scholarship applications is important and as competitive as the college applications.

For enterprising juniors and even sophomores, now is the time to whip out your notepads and take stock of what the seniors are doing. Volunteer to lend a hand as they get all their papers and words prepared to compete for scholarship money. Find out how they discovered the opportunities to secure this additional funding for college. Gleaning this valuable information is easy if the senior in question happens to be a sibling or a close relative. Even if you do not have a relative going off to college in the fall, you will still have opportunities to get a taste of what will be required of you next year.

If you have been able to complete most of the tasks in my preparation curriculum, you should be acquainted with a number of seniors. Consider the clubs you belong to, the athletic or academic teams you compete on or the charitable organizations where you volunteer your time. The lines that can strictly divide students into grade levels at school are not as prevalent in the smaller groups just mentioned. Any senior who is attempting to make excellent grades, participate in organized activities, volunteer on a regular basis and complete applications in a timely manner will welcome a helping hand now and then. Offer to help them out and let them know that you are trying to get a ready for the time when it is your turn to go through this process. You might be surprised at all you can learn.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
The New Definition of Royalty

If you haven’t read the article published in the Washington Examiner on February 13, 2018, (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/exorbitant-admissions-consultant-fees-highlight-a-college-obsessed-society/article/2648956) you should. It doesn’t matter whether you have a child in college, getting ready for college or no child at all. The article speaks to how far some wealthy parents are willing to go to insure their children are set apart from, “all those other people”.

The family and unfortunately, an exorbitantly priced college admissions consultant are involved in a law suit. I will not even mention the amount of money they are fighting over because the amount is so ridiculous that I can’t believe consultant actually asked for it and that any parent would listen one second longer to them after hearing it. This kind of thing I would expect to see in The Onion but not the Washington Examiner.

This is just another example of how crazy the race to “get in” has become. My job depends on parents wanting the best for their children and helping them get an edge on their competition. But, if a parent came to me inquiring about exclusive prep schools and only ivy colleges, my first response would be to ask why. I begin with all my clients by developing an understanding of where the student would like to be when the education is done and they are gainfully employed. Once we are all on the same page about the goal, appropriate steps can begin being made to achieve it.

Would I like for families to pay me enough so that I could work with only three students to see that they made all the right choices about planning for college? Sure, but only touching three lives with the gift of knowledge that I have been able to gather over the last 40 years is not my idea of giving back or leaving this world better than I found it.

How many students from lower income families who have the ability to be captains of industry and agents of change in our society might get lift behind because the price of good information was too high? I know what that looks like. It is not always the best filter to use when making shrewd business decisions, but there are rewards other than those of monetary gain. The subjects of this article are as far remove from me as the characters in the science fiction novels I read. I hope they are for you and your family too.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...

What Do Colleges Consider A Foreign Language?

I was impressed when a conscientious young client asked me about using American Sign Language (ASL) for his foreign language requirement. Having had clients take this route in previous years to satisfy the foreign language requirement for college admissions, my reply was that most colleges will accept ASL for this requirement.

That is when the little voice in my head started making noise. This is the first time someone had actually asked me about what counts as a foreign language in college admissions and I couldn’t point to documentation to support my response. Not long after my reply to the student, I heard from a parent saying that a friend had asked the same question while visiting a college and the reply was that ASL did not satisfy their foreign language requirement.

It didn’t take long to discover that this issue has been debated for a very long time and that colleges differ greatly in their opinions. There is also no comprehensive list of colleges that believe ASL is significantly different from spoken English. I provided the family with the available list of colleges that accept ASL for admission and cautioned them that there is a possibility some colleges that end up on their preferred list of schools may not accept ASL.

The simple solution is to have an actual, spoken foreign language on the transcript. That is not always the easy solution. Students who struggle with the languages offered on their campuses or do not have qualified teachers instructing the languages they want to take can complicate course selection decisions. Hearing impaired relatives and friends or pursuit of a career requiring proficiency in sign language can also make for tough course decisions. Few students have a short list of colleges to which they will apply as freshmen or sophomores, so checking with all the colleges on the list is not an option either.

My advice is to take ASL language if there is a compelling reason to do so. There are plenty of colleges out there that will accept it for your foreign language requirement. If the decision is more of a whim than a need, you need to understand that your college choices may be limited.

If you would like to read more about college admissions, take a look at my blog page: http://danielsec.com/site/?page_id=7
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded