Summer Activities for College Applications

Balancing Summer Activities: Engage and Relax!

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

Summer is almost here. What  a welcome relief it’ll be–from the cold and, hopefully, from the difficulties of  this past year. Sunshine and daffodils blooming will brighten the day. But that also means it’s now time to start thinking about your summer! Close your eyes and envision it. The sun on your skin, longer days and warmer nights, a dip in the water to cool off, ice cream cones and some well-deserved and long-awaited downtime with friends. 

We’re all craving it–but it’s also important to carve out some ways to be productive. Consider further exploring one or more of your budding interests. This can be a job, a volunteer position, a team, or something else. Be creative in your pursuits! This is one of those rare times in your life when you have an extended, unstructured period of time, so be sure to take advantage of it.

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Standing Out in Your College Application: 5 Can’t-Miss Tips

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

You can easily feel like “just a number” when navigating the college admissions process. But colleges really do want to know the real you, and they provide many different opportunities to authentically demonstrate your talents, accomplishments, interests, and ambitions. As with everything in the college process, the key is to start early. Knowing the nuances of the application process and laying the groundwork in your early high school years make the actual application process much less stressful! Here are 5 tips to help your college application stand out: Read more “Standing Out in Your College Application: 5 Can’t-Miss Tips”

Planning for College Premium Prep

When should you start the process of planning for college?

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

Planning for college can feel like a daunting project that’s easy to put off. Where should I begin and how? What do I need to consider now to make sure I’m in a good position later? How has the admissions landscape changed, and how will it likely change over the next few years? Do I need help navigating this process and, if so, how do I find the right guidance and when do I start?  Read more “When should you start the process of planning for college?”

College Board Test Changes

Big (and Welcome) Changes in SAT Testing!

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

Yesterday, the College Board announced several key changes to their testing infrastructure:

  1. The discontinuation of SAT Subject Tests.
  2. The discontinuation of the optional essay section of the SAT.
  3. The creation of a more flexible SAT that can be administered digitally.

Whoa! These are three major changes that will have real implications for the college admissions process, starting immediately. Let’s tackle them one at a time.

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Private College Counselor Return to Campus

Breaking: Colleges are Coming Back!

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

In our conversations with universities, admissions offices are expressing renewed optimism about Fall 2021 and a return to normal operations. Many factors are playing into this optimism, including promising vaccines and a year of experience in understanding how daily college interactions can be performed safely.

This is exciting news for high school students who have undoubtedly been watching the news and talking to older friends about how not-normal the college experience has been since the pandemic struck. Classes are just one component of the total college experience, and being on campus–engaged in activities–is a huge part of what makes college such a special and exciting time. We are just as excited about this return to campus as you are!

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College Admissions and Covid

College Admissions and Covid, Part 1: Standardized Testing

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

The past seven months have presented a fair share of challenges for everyone. No process, business or individual has gone unaffected, and this includes the college admissions process. The ways in which this process has been impacted are countless, and the stress it has caused for our high schoolers is very real. The dynamic between college admissions and Covid can add another level of uncertainty to a process that was already riddled with anxiety before the global pandemic hit. 

Now that the future is so unclear, students’ anxiety has understandably grown. Your high school experience has been dramatically impacted, as has the college admissions process. 

Here’s a closer look at what has changed and what you need to know.

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5 Ways to Optimize Your College Process

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

Throughout my career, I have been a big proponent of “the match.” There is a school out there for everyone, and finding that school is much more a matter of knowing yourself and learning your options than following over-hyped rankings, supposed prestige, or what others in your community are saying. To abide by that philosophy means having to search and discover according to your criteria. This requires first identifying those criteria and then setting your own course through the college admissions process. Translation: you need to do a lot of homework, and there are no shortcuts. Developing a list of schools can be a daunting task, as the variety of colleges and programs can seem endless. Narrowing down is the key, but being open-minded, exposing yourself to different types of schools, and understanding your specific wants and needs are the crucial first steps. Look inward before searching outward. For this blog post, I’ve compiled five ways to optimize your college process.

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Humanities Now!

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

When it comes to college admissions, schools are always attempting to stay ahead of the curve. They try to anticipate what’s coming, what the world will soon need, examine their own trends, and adjust accordingly. The most popular disciplines are of course the ones with the most applicants and majors, often resulting in increased support and funding in those areas. But schools also hope to correct disparities in their application pools and maintain a balanced and intellectually diverse student body. From a college admissions perspective, the shift toward what are commonly called STEM fields has resulted in a glut of prospective students competing in those fields, while competition among students focused on time-honored but less “hot” areas like history, English, philosophy, and the arts has dropped significantly. Colleges know the value of the humanities and are actively looking for students devoted to them. If you’re passionate about such things, don’t hesitate to buck the STEM trend. There are benefits—both now and later.

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10 Tips for Visiting Colleges

By Alyse Levine, Founder & CEO of Premium Prep College Counseling

There is no better way to learn about a college than to visit it in person. Can you picture yourself there? Will the academic and extracurricular options satisfy your needs? Is the atmosphere appealing? Can you imagine this place as your home for four years? Students today can gather endless facts about the schools on their list and do “virtual tours” of each from anywhere. Yet the truth remains that, if you want to get a real feel for a particular college, nothing beats walking across its campus, attending information sessions, talking to students and admissions representatives, and touring specific departments, programs, or facilities. The campus visit is also the primary way to “demonstrate interest” in a school (see our previous blog-post covering this important topic), and it can be the most fun part of the college application process too! Though each school is a bit different in how it handles visitors, there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when planning and executing this phase of your process. Here are ten tips to make the most of your college visits…

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