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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Being Successful Includes Finishing Strong


by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder Celtic College Consultants

Follow Through

Among other things, it's a key element of one's golf swing and bowling technique, not to mention personal relationships, academic work, business projects, parenting, and more!

Follow through means doing ALL of the parts of a task well, even those "little bits" at the end of the task for project. These seemingly trivial tasks often mean the difference between good, better, and BEST.

How does a person learn to follow through?

First, one must become aware of these tasks, so often overlooked and ignored. At the end of a long effort, it is all too easy to get the main portion of it finished, look a the unfinished tasks, and, in fatigue, decide they aren't important enough to do. Once in a while we are right and nothing notable happens when we skip them. Many times, however, we only learn to notice these tasks after repeated failures. The consequences of skipping them might be lost time, money, or damage to our reputation. Unfortunately, many of us will suffer these consequences several, even many, times before we start to realize that our lack of follow through has not served us well.

Do you want your teen to fail over and over again because of a lack of follow through?

I don't, and I suspect you don't either. That's why I hold my clients accountable. Each of them schedules his or her own meetings, and deals with the consequences of missed meetings, last minute rescheduling, not being prepared for our planned discussion, and other mishaps. One of my many assets in your teen's life is that I am not the parent. I am an outside, trusted professional. I can, and do, say things to teens that parents can't say, or say a "million times" but are not heard. My best client families communicate with me well, which enables me to convey the parents' sentiments to their child, who either hears the message for the "first" time or, because I am also saying it, finally receives the message they have heard from their parents. 

There are countless more ways I hold teens accountable and teach them to follow through, complete their tasks well, fulfill their responsibilities, and begin to reap the rewards of a job well done rather than sort out the mess that happens when they fail to follow through and finish well.

I look forward to speaking with your teen when he or she is in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. Summers are KEY times to do college prep work; don't lose out on those many rich opportunities!

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Financial Aid, Another shake up is on the horizon


by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, founder of Celtic College Consultants

With some colleges costing more than $90,000 per year, more families need financial help than ever before. A few years ago, Congress passed a law which has been incrementally been implemented. The final major shift is due to be incorporated into the FAFSA for the 2024/2025 school year. Major changes are coming.

24/25 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023

Because the Department of Education had to completely re-write the processor, the FAFSA will NOT be available October 1, as in recent years. This is how it used to be. Until recent changes, professionals like myself used to work every New Year's Day filing FAFSA forms. This year we will likely see a reprise of that activity.

As of yet, schools with ED (Early Decision) application programs have not stated how they plan to handle this situation. ED applicants must sign a contract as part of their application. If they are accepted by their ED school, they agree to withdraw all other applications and attend their ED school. These schools typically require the CSS PROFILE form so can use that information to create an initial offer of financial aid for these students. Should your teen decide to apply ED, be sure to read all the fine print.

The EFC is being replaced by the SAI

The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is the number calculated by the former FAFSA formula. Colleges could not award aid exceeding the difference between the COA (Cost of Attendance) and the EFC. The FAFSA formula has been significantly modified and, in some ways, simplified. The SAI (Student Aid Index) will replace the EFC. The SAI can be negative; the minimum EFC was $0. The lowest SAI is -$1,500.

Major changes have been made to the FAFSA Formula

1. The value of businesses and farms are now included. Previously, businesses with fewer than 100 employees were not included as an asset on the FAFSA. Moving forward, ALL businesses and farms will be included. Details about how to value a business have not yet been provided.

2. Non-taxed income will no longer be considered. This is a MAJOR change. Gifts from grandparents and others, child support payments will NOT be reported as income. Income is assessed between 25% and 47%. Child support payments received will now be considered as an asset and assessed at 5.65%.

3. There will be no asset questions for students eligible for free or reduced price lunch programs, whose parents' AGI is less than $60,000 AND their return includes no lettered schedules, and for students whose parents' AGI is less than $60,000 and their only lettered schedule is schedule C and it shows a gain or loss of less than $10,000.

4. Family size will depend on income tax dependents. If your situation is different, or not accurately reflected by the number of dependents on your return, you will need to notify the financial aid office(s) and ask them to take it into consideration.

5. The number of students in college is no longer considered by the formula. However, several other changes to the formula have been made. Experts in this area have been running test cases and have determined that the SAI is not much different for families with two in college. There are, however, significant differences for those families with three or more college students. If this is your situation, do notify the financial aid offices for all of your student children and ask them to consider that fact in your situation. THIS CAN BE CONFUSING; the question about the number of students in college remains on the form, despite it no longer being part of the formula. Please note that the inclusion of this information on the FAFSA form enables colleges to use this information in their process of allocating their institutional funds. The FAFSA formula/SAI is only required for the distribution of federal funds (Pell, SEOG grants, federal loans, etc.)

6. The housing choice question has been removed from the FAFSA. This is odd; colleges do need this information. Expect to see it on the application for admission and/or other forms required by the colleges.

7. The new FAFSA includes optional questions on race and sex. These are for statistical purposes only and will NOT be sent to the colleges. This information will only go to the Department of Education.

8. For students whose parents are divorced, the determination of who their parent is, for inclusion on the FAFSA, has changed slightly. Previously it was the parent with whom the child resided most of the time. It is now the parent who provides the most financial support for the student. If that parent is married, both the parent and his or her spouse's income will be considered, while the other parent (and his or her spouse, if applicable) income will not be reported nor considered. Be aware that most of the colleges using the CSS PROFILE form do require the "non-custodial" parent to also provide income and asset information. 

Keep in mind that the PROFILE form is a completely separate form and process. The PROFILE information is used by colleges to allocate their own institutional aid.

9. Verification will not be randomly selected. Over subsequent years, as the Department of Education (DOE) accumulates data, it is likely that those with certain situations will be more likely to be verified (audited). As more data is gathered, the DOE identifies the situations most likely to be erroneously reported on the form.

10. Pell grant qualification is going to change. Many families currently receiving Pell grants, including some receiving full Pell grants, will no longer be eligible. This is particularly true for farmers and business owners. At the same time, it is expected that many more families (about 2/3 of FAFSA filers) will be eligible for Pell grants. There is significant discussion between financial aid officers regarding how to make up the shortfall in funding dollars for these newly qualifying students. It is considered likely that a number of colleges will not be able to bridge this gap, making college unaffordable for even more students.

There are more changes. These are the most significant of them, and the ones that will impact more families.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Hearing from Colleges (aka Marketing!)


By Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder, Celtic College Consultants

Every year, inboxes, mailboxes, and now, phones are barraged by messages from colleges seeking to introduce themselves and interest teens in themselves. For years, the College Board (the PSAT and SAT company), through its Student Search Service, has licensed student names and contact information to colleges. Recently, has used different strategies to make the same sorts of connections between prospective students and colleges.

With the advent of online testing, which will fully roll out during the next school year for the PSAT and SAT tests, the College Board's data will now be subject to new privacy laws which regulate the use of online data. According to Eric Hoover's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (12 May 2023), the number of student names colleges can license from the College Board is expected to drop by 40%. Students who only take in-school exams (those given by their schools/school district), don't take any exams on national testing dates and who don't opt in to the Search Service will not be accessible to the colleges. Consequently, colleges will have to completely rethink and overhaul their student recruitment strategies.

Perhaps the idea of student recruitment sounds a little foreign to you ears. That's understandable. With the focus on being admitted, many students and their families fail to realize that most colleges are actively recruiting applicants. Most have no idea that the marketing materials they receive are tied to the tests that the student has taken. In fact, colleges have been able to license student information, and to set the criteria for the data they desire. For example, a college can contract for all male students in a given state (or zip code) with a score in a particular range, and an indication of certain majors. Because of this, there is often some correlation with the student's interests which makes students feel recruited, feel wanted, and get the idea that the college wants them and will accept them if they apply. Such efforts have included pre-completed applications, application fee waivers, and other strategies. 

Colleges are businesses. As such, each needs to enroll a certain number of students and collect a certain amount of revenue from them in order to continue to operate. Additionally, with the rise of the ranking services, which consider low selectivity (percentage of applicants who are accepted) as a factor, increasing the size of the applicant pool is in the college's best interests. At times, some colleges have solicited applicants from students they know they are very likely to reject, solely to increase their rankings and, in turn, attract more affluent applicants, which will increase the college's bottom line.

The College Board is creating a new recruitment tool called Connections. Starting in Fall of 2023, students taking school-day exams will be asked to share their cell phone numbers with the College Board. They will then be sent a link to download an app onto their phones. The up side for students is that they will be able to use that app to get their test scores as well as some general advice about applying to college. They can also opt in to Connections, to see profiles of colleges. Students can further choose to share their personal information with a particular college or university. This is a huge shift and is likely to net significantly fewer potential students than the current system.

Projections show that a 38% drop in the number of available student names will happen over the next four years.

Despite test optional policies, affluent families still tend to have their students take the ACT and SAT. Top scores on these tests tend to correlate to families with the wherewithal to hire tutors and/or take test prep courses. Students from affluent families tend to pay more for college than those with financial need. Therefore, those students tend to be highly desired by colleges, especially schools more dependent upon tuition revenues. is a new online tool which is a bit like LinkedIn. Students make profiles then are able to accept connections from colleges interested in them. It offers students yet another way to connect with prospective colleges. It also makes it possible for students to connect with college consultants. It, however, does not provide a comprehensive, student focused, college prep, selection, and application mentorship service like I do and my fellow professional college consultants do.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Why Go to College?

by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder of Celtic College Consultants

Colleges offer an amazing array of opportunities from design your own courses to design your  major, to interdisciplinary approaches to a topic to double majors to various experiential learning offerings, and on and on and on. With such a dizzying array of choices, it is all too easy to get lost in the maze from the first day to the graduation stage. In fact, many students do just that, as they mosey from one semester to the next without any clear, well considered goal in mind.

According to the great philosopher, Socrates, the unexamined life is not worth living. Therefore, let us take a few moments while we are in high school to examine our lives in order to begin to formulate a goal. Once a goal exists, the possibility of creating a plan to achieve becomes a reality.

How does a teen profitably examine him- or her-self?

The teen years are fraught with difficulties. Bodies and brains are developing, maturation is beginning to manifest, one's horizon decidedly expands beyond the family; it's a time of massive transition. With all of those changes, many fall prey to anxiety, insecurity creeps in as they seem to not be as wonderful as other kids, and paralysis regarding the future can set in.

It is precisely into this quandary that I intrepidly enter. As a trusted mentor who is a parent but not their parent, is a counselor yet independent of the school, I am able to enter with a gravitas which is real but not stifling. 

I help teens come to know their core personalities. I affirm their core strengths, academic, leadership, social, etc. I identify possibilities for them. I guide them through exploration and evaluation of possible careers and majors and programs. I help them see for themselves, recognize what resonates within their hearts, and let go of what doesn't. I add the practical (what needs to happen to get from HS to that career, can you earn a living doing that?, is the field viable/will anyone be hiring in that field?, etc.) as well.

Working with a professional like myself, teens grow in confidence, clarity, and conviction about who they are and why they want to go to college. That completely shifts the criteria for college selection from random guesswork to focused benchmarks.

Let's collaborate. The national average time to earn a bachelor's degree does not need to continue to be 6+ years. With clear goals, some won't go to college, because it's not the right path for them. Those who do go, will go to schools that have the programs they need to both thrive as individuals as well as become equipped to succeed in their chosen fields.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Summer time travels - College Prep on the go!

 by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder of Celtic College Consultants

Summer trips are wonderful opportunities to deepen and refine your students' interests. Experiential learning has been shown to significantly improve college outcomes. Your student(s) will also be able to refine his/her/their ideas about what they want to study at university. This clarity gets them on track to complete their degree in four years, rather than six (the US average!) and to be more articulate during campus visits and "Why do you want to study your major?" admissions application essay questions. For all these reasons, and more!, incorporating your teens' interests into your travel plans is beneficial! Don't forget to plan some fun family activities (crafts, games, sports, etc.) into your trip to make it memorable and enjoyable for everyone!

Here are a few ideas to get you started...

Do you have a budding history buff? Visit battlegrounds, monuments, museums, and other places of historical interests. Attend (participate, if you can!) re-enactments and other events. Need some sun? Visit the place of the first Catholic Mass in North America. The first Mass for which a record exists took place during the second voyage of Christopher Columbus, on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1494, at the temporary shelter that would serve as a church at La Isabela, 30 miles west of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. If you'd rather stay in the US, the Mass offered by Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales on September 8, 1565 was the first Mass in what would become the United State. It was conducted when Spanish Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore to establish the city of St. Augustine in what is now Florida. Or, visit the Alamo, the California Missions, the Shrine of St. Joseph in Montréal, Canada, or.... (you get the idea)

Is someone in your home interested in space, astrophysics, planetary geology, astronomy, or a related field? Houston might right for your trip. Visit NASA's Johnson Space Center's Visitor Center and the George Observatory (be sure to purchase your tickets online ahead of time!) The Houston Museum of Natural Science also awaits your exploration. Of course, Cape Canaveral and environs in Florida is another good place to explore. Did you know that the Northern Lights were recently seen in Wisconsin? Have your teen do some research into his or her interests and help you plan a trip that will be interesting for your whole family.

Language immersion is integral to developing proficiency. French speaking opportunities abound in Montréal. Spanish speaking opportunities exist in many places. Conradh na Gaeilge groups exist in many places in the US and around the world, for those interested in learning the Irish language. If German is your passion, take a trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan, about 90 miles north of Detroit. Mandarin and Cantonese have communities in New York City and San Francisco. If Arabic is your language, find a Maronite community and reach out to the priest. There is a Maronite rite Catholic parish in San Diego (a great place to visit for many reasons!) as well as a number of parishes in New York (city and state) and in the Detroit area.

By now, I think you've gotten the idea. Take trips. Explore interests. Visit campuses. And make memories! The journey to college can include fun and adventure!

College Visits Worth Making

by Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS
Founder, Celtic College Consultants

Choosing a college is a complex tasks. Many people focus on external factors like reputation or rankings but fail to do the in-depth student focused analysis required in order to identify colleges where your teen can not merely get a degree but can also thrive during his or her college years. Students who thrive graduate with more confidence and are better prepared to deal with life after college with all its opportunities and challenges.

Students need to be engaged, connected, challenged, and cared about. On campus, these needs can be met in various ways. Ideally, they are met in through a variety of experiences. Every student is different so the optimal cluster of opportunities will vary significantly from student to student. Nonetheless, there are several modalities common between them.

Academic connections can be built with other students, professors, graduate students, tutors, as well as through clubs, internships, research and exploratory opportunities, and short and long term off campus trips of various kinds. Rich, lively discussion groups (both academically focused and interdisciplinary) are actively fostered in and out of the classroom on some campuses. These can be manifested through honors colleges, living/learning communities, and other campus groups. Explore those in his or her field of interest. Find some that appeal to your teen. Even introverts need to have some connections!

Becoming connected, challenged, and cared for can also happen through the faith community on campus. Working together to serve the poor, to pray, to deepen one's faith, to prepare for worship services, to go on retreats and mission trips and the like are all examples of ways nurturing relationships can be built on campus. Don't forget to visit the Newman center or campus ministry office when you visit campus. Does it feel like a "home away from home" for your student?

Intramural sports, clubs of various kinds, and other ad hoc groups on campus can also be a rich source of affirmation and belonging for students. These are often completely unrelated to academics, which can provide a healthy balance. After all, even the most dedicated students are not studying machine, but are human beings! Whether it's quidditch, golf, swing dancing, chess, kite flying, or something else, encourage your teen to find his or her niche on campus.

Lastly, immersive educations which include high impact practices often make a decided difference between attending college and thriving on campus. Unfortunately, many, many collegians never have even one of these experiences. Look for them as you explore perspective colleges: internships, service learning, hands on learning, project based learning, study abroad, and other experiential learning opportunities. These have been shown to have a positive and often profound impact on students' lives. Finding good mentors (academic, personal, spiritual, etc.), being involved in long term projects and activities, forming connections in multiple campus communities also have a significant impact on students' well-being and college outcomes.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Signs that Your Child is Ready for College

By Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder of Celtic College Consultants

Experts have noticed that there are signs we can observe in high school students which are pretty reliable indications of whether they are ready for life on campus, or not. The fact that a student is accepted into a university is not an indication of his or her ability to be successful on campus. Admissions looks for academic prowess and intellectual curiousity and, to some extent, leadership skills. They do not evaluate each applicant's "soft" skills.

How do you know if your teen is ready for college?

Living on campus is quite different from living at home with a supportive family, friends, teachers, familiar places and groups. How can we discern whether our teen is emotionally ready? Are they mature enough? (And how much can we expect them to mature between now and when they move onto campus?) Are they ready to build a new network of support people and friends, as well as academic mentors?

There has been a significant flow of students onto campus, then back home again after a disastrous first semester or year.

What happened when I put what my son needed ahead of what "everyone" was doing

It can be difficult to be realistic with ourselves. It's easy, as parents, to just flow along and assume our child is ready for college, just like his or her peers. When my oldest son was a senior, he applied to several schools, was accepted, and was offered some hefty scholarships. At the same time, our family had gone through major upheavals during his high school years and, as I watched, he began to unravel psychologically during his senior year. We discussed it several times through the winter and into the early spring. Finally, I sat in prayer, in silence away from home, and looked at the signs of anxiety and immaturity he was displaying. On the one hand, I saw an intelligent, curious, capable Eagle Scout. On the other hand, was a boy with a wounded heart, some serious uncertainties about navigating socially, and fear about moving to the other side of the country, where he knew no one, to a campus we had visited and truly liked. When I was honest, I could see that he needed time. He needed to step out of the "typical" flow and sort himself out. I can't tell you how relieved he was when I sat down with him privately and gently asked what he thought about not going off to college right after high school. His whole demeanor changed. He had been pushing himself to do what he thought was expected. His perception of my expectations were heightened because of my work as a college consultant. And I had to put his needs before my "bragging rights." Ten years later, he still hasn't decided about college. He has a stable full time job that can become a career, and he is much more stable emotionally. Having five younger siblings, but no father, he stepped in in some ways to help anchor the family and help his siblings on their own journeys to adulthood.

Questions to Start to Assess Your Teen's Readiness for College

1. Who is driving?

The college application process takes months and has many facets. Who is leading the way? Are you finding yourself (or your college consultant (me, I hope!)) dragging your child through the process? (If you are having to push him/her through the process, is this new, or is procrastination typical behavior for your teen?) Is he or she discussing college and major possibilities with you?

If your teen isn't the one making the decision to go to college (and why to go), either on his/her own or under the mentorship of myself or one of my colleagues, that is a red flag. If your teen isn't finding interesting and desirable opportunities on the campuses under consideration, that's a concern. Either s/he isn't doing the research into the possibilities or s/he may not be really interested.

2. Can your teen cope with setbacks?

The teen years are full of changes and transitions. Academic, social, and romantic successes and setbacks are plentiful. While this can be rather intense during the teen years, these sorts of occurrences continue in adulthood, and are a normal part of life.

Notice how your teen handles these challenging moments. When a quiz or exam result is not as good as was expected, how do they handle it? What do they do when relationships encounter difficulties or end? Are music, drugs, alcohol, or self-harm their primary method of coping with these situations? How do they handle doubts? Do they find a compassionate sounding board or do they seek someone to "rescue" them and solve their problem for them? Can they handle problems without parental help? Having a strong relationship with your teen is important; nonetheless, s/he needs to learn to manage without us, too.

The inability to cope with setbacks well is something that could well undermine your teen's ability to be successful on campus. Room- and dorm-mate conflicts will happen. Relationships will break down. And academic challenges will be plentiful.

3. Can your teen manage self-care independently?

Basic life skills must be in place before our teens move away. Setting times to retire and to rise, taking care of personal hygiene, organizing one's tasks, and keeping their room and desk in order are absolutely essential skills teens must have in order to be successful on campus. The ability to determine what and when to eat is another basic skill some of our teens lack. 

When the opportunity to drink alcohol, use drugs, or do wild and crazy things arises, is your teen able to make responsible choices? Can s/he exercise self-control? Is s/he able to handle the consequences of their decisions? I was ever so grateful that, as a 17 year old freshman at Northwestern, I absolutely knew how to handle alcohol and get myself out of uncomfortable situations. I watched other freshmen end up in situations they didn't want to be in. Having learned from my parents and extended family, I was able to manage difficult situations successfully.

Another area teens need to be able to manage is making travel arrangements. Whether s/he needs to get off campus for a medical (or other) appointment or travel to a conference or home for a visit, your teen needs to know how to organize a trip. S/he also needs to be able to manage a budget for the trip, and for the semester.

Lastly, our days of advocating for our teens are coming to an end. They need to learn how to advocate for themselves with teachers, doctors, in social situations, etc. Learning to ask questions and get the information and assistance you need can be daunting. Be sure your teen can do these things.

4. What to do? When to do it?

The rhythm of life on campus is completely different from typical high school and work routines. Some independent homeschoolers have a college-like routine. Everyone else must adjust. Life on campus requires strong time management skills. A college student's week can look like it is full of free time and opportunities to have fun. In a sense, it is. In another, this is a serious deception.

For some, this unfamiliar need to organize their work and schedule their days will cause them to take charge of their lives and capitalize on the many opportunities available on and off campus. For other students, the flexibility will lull them into thinking they have plenty of time to "do it later." These students end up being led through their days by the next fun sounding event, rather than doing their work in the stages and time frames they need to perform at their highest level. 

Teens who regularly miss turning in assignments, or typically procrastinate then cram for tests or churn out sub-par papers are throwing up red flags that they are not yet ready for the demands of college life. These teens have not learned to manage their time and their work and will seriously struggle to be successful when they get to campus.

5. Help!

Teens need to become aware of the times when they need help, whether it is a ride to an event, a session with a teacher or tutor to clarify concepts, or medical appointments or counseling support. Parents are conditioned to notice these needs and arrange for the necessary help. Teens need to both learn how to assess their own situations, noting problems, then seek appropriate help. They also need to be able to ask for help determining what options there are for getting the assistance they need. 

Related to this is the ability to rebound after problems and failures. During high school, teens need to demonstrate that they can recover from their failures and learn from them. In fact, failures are among the best learning opportunities offered in life. They need to seek help as needed, too, and from the proper sources. Asking a friend to talk you through the pain of a break up might be adequate; asking that friend to talk you through the pain of a broken arm certainly is not.

6. When Everything Falls Apart

Teens (and adults!) make mistakes. The prefrontal cortex of the brain (the decision making center) is not fully developed yet.  Therefore, their ability to make good judgments is still developing, as is their ability to control their impulses. Given that, making the kinds of decisions they will be able to make when their brain is fully developed is not a reasonable expectation. However, some basic exercise of good judgment as well as the ability to take responsibility for their misjudgments is key. 

Sometimes parents respond to a situation with some sort of statement like, "Do that again and you won't be going off to college next year!" to impress the gravity of the misjudgment on their teens. Many are quite shaken by what has happened and will make changes. Those who do not are showing signs that they are not ready to live independently just yet.

7. Trial Independence

Opportunities to manage themselves when away from the family are great opportunities to see how they do and to highlight areas that need further skill development. Camping trips, retreats, conferences, summer programs, visits to relatives and trusted family friends are all opportunities for our teens to manage themselves, show that they can handle various situations, and make good decisions. These occasions are encouraging both to you and your teen.

8. Danger! That's Risky!

College life offers many opportunities to engage in risky behavior. Consequently, collegians need to assess the riskiness of various choices on a continual basis. Is your teen able to consider the consequences of his or her choices and actions? Has s/he shifted from the "What will happen if I get caught?" way of thinking to considering what could go wrong if I choose this particular course of action.  Realistically and holistically evaluating the possible outcomes is essential.

9. What's Their Plan?

As mentioned above, some students just go with the flow of "everyone" and head off to college. These students are there, but they don't have a focus or a purpose yet. That's a shame. It can also lead to a 6 (or more!) year path to earning their undergraduate degree. Students who go to college are people who are in an environment rich with opportunities for personal, scholarly, and spiritual growth. Those who are on campus because their parents want them there or their friends are there are not poised to make very much of those opportunities. 

Given the expense of college, it astounds me, year after year, that so many arrive on campus without much of an idea about why they are there. Taking the time to create plans and goals that are realistic and well suited to the student is essential. When I work with students, I spend time with them in Spring of senior year exploring the opportunities on campus, including social, academic, spiritual, and more. I help them define concrete goals for what they will look for and participate in when they arrive on campus.

For more information about the many benefits of working with a college consultant, and for information about meeting with Ms. O'Brien to discuss your student's needs, please visit her website: