College Visits

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

“Live Q&A with Brown Admission and a Current Student, Big Future Days, NACAC Virtual College Fairs, Furman Virtual College Visit.”

This language has become the new normal for the “College Visit.” The past year has created an explosion of virtual visit options. While nothing can replace the experience of stepping foot on a campus, these new options have made visiting colleges much easier and more accessible. Students can do a live tour right from the comfort of their own bedroom. They can “meet” one-on-one via Zoom with admissions counselors, students, even faculty. While eating breakfast, they can attend a panel discussion or webinar and learn about a school’s values, offerings, and opportunities. 

Needless to say, this is a different way to see and experience colleges than what we were used to only a short time ago. The rite of passage of visiting colleges over spring break came to a screeching halt last March, and what constitutes a “college visit” may never be the same.

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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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College applicant learning remotely

End-of-Summer Tips for High School Students in the Age of Covid

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

This summer has been highly unusual, to say the least. I hope you have had some solid down-time and found creative ways to safely socialize with friends. Maybe you’ve even had opportunities to dig into a favorite activity or pastime. A range of high school school plans will be rolled out over the next month, and whereas there are differences between them, it is safe to say that none are “normal.” And there remain a lot of unknowns. That said, we have spent the past four months educating ourselves, speaking to admissions counselors, attending webinars, huddling together as a team, and doing whatever else we can do to stay up-to-date and make sure that we are prepared to properly advise our students and families. This will certainly be a school year like none other. Yet, there are concrete steps you can take to maintain a smooth college process. This blog post contains valuable tips for all high school students.

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What Counts?

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

What counts?

I’ve been thinking about this question for some time now. Come to think of it, I’ve been pondering it my entire career. The concept first arises when a student is gearing up for high school. Suddenly “It counts.” What does that mean? Did everything that preceded this moment somehow not count? In many ways, “What counts?” has become the essential question of college admissions—and the one I am probably asked most often. I think most of us in college counseling and admissions have a sort of sixth sense about it. We’ve used our inner compasses for years, and usually the answers are pretty clear. And yet, too often, “What counts?” is overly influenced by “What will get me in?” 

But maybe now something has changed.

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