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Underclassmen. You’re Already Ahead of the Game.
The smartest thing a young high school student can do is start thinking about the college application process. It’s not because you can start on personal statements or pick an early decision school.
 It’s because the path to success requires a series of academic and extracurricular decisions along the way and its hugely beneficial to have an expert at your side to help you make those decisions. We have deep expertise at every stage of the college admissions process, starting with course and activity selection in your first two years of high school.
Here are the ways that we can help you build the structure that will become your personal narrative and keep you ahead of the application process:
narrative assessment
An overarching point of view
Every student has a story to tell, a picture of academic desires, extracurricular achievements, life events and their impacts. One of our most important roles is to help students shape those raw experiences into a cohesive narrative, one that clearly and powerfully communicates what matters to them.
The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to gather experiences that will improve your standing as an applicant when it comes time to apply. It’s never too early to start on this journey.
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course selection
A RIGOROUS APPROACH
At some highly selective college admissions offices, the difficulty of the courses you take is as important, or maybe even more important than the grades you get. Colleges want to see that you’ve pushed yourself to take the hardest classes available at your high school. Will the courses you take as a Freshman and Sophomore affect what you can take as a Senior? Yes, most likely.
We’ll help you identify what courses those are for your academic narrative and make sure you are positioned to succeed in them.
extracurriculars
making highlights
Extracurricular accomplishments speak to college admissions officers in a way that grades and test scores can’t. But crafting the right extracurricular profile can be a delicate balancing act. You want to support your narrative by shining in leadership and character, without over-extending or appearing surface-level only.
As an underclassman, we work to identify areas of interest and turn them into impressive extracurricular achievements. Starting early enough can lead to the kind of third-party validation of your accomplishments that colleges have a hard time saying no to.
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college admissions advising for seniors
write a great personal statement
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standardized tests
Knowing the score
A test-optional movement may be coming, but until the most highly selective schools do away with standardized testing it remains a critical component to the admissions process. We offer free SAT and ACT diagnostic tests that can put you on the road to improved test-taking skills.
And if you need to get hooked up with a private tutor we can recommend some excellent ones.
recommendations
Quality endorsements
One of the most valuable endeavors a Freshman or Sophomore can undertake is the development of their school citizenship. Who are they when they walk the halls? Are they an important part of the community? Do they have meaningful relationships with teachers and administrators? This isn’t the natural bent of most students which is why it stands out so much.
Start late and your teachers think you’re angling for a recommendation. Start early and develop an authenticity to your relationships that naturally lead to great recommendations come senior year. We help students develop these kinds of relationships with actionable steps that make character-building seem effortless.
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college advisors
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summer
summer days
There is nothing like the summertime to further develop academic and extracurricular interests. One summer activity early in high school can build to others later. Whether you’re looking for a formal internship, a summer study program or a part-time job, we can make sure that the choices you make are more meaningful than random.
Thinking about how you want to round out your story is what drives these decisions and the sooner you start, the better options you’ll have.
college list
better input, better outcomes
If you want to wind up with quality options at the end of your college application process, you have to start by choosing quality options at the beginning. And the earlier you start, the most you can make of your college visits. No underclassmen need to make any binding decisions - but getting clear on what you want in a college is invaluable.
And when it’s time we’ll help you build a college list that will reflect your student’s academic aspirations, but also their sense of place - and the family’s financial aid strategy. ”What schools have the best programs in your area of study? Which schools are the most generous with merit aid? What is your Plan B if Plan A doesn’t happen?
It helps to identify the right questions before you start looking for answers. We help build lists that encompass all of the answers, so you’ve got great choices when acceptances roll in.
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personal statement
750 words about you
Although you don’t need to worry about your personal statement early in high school, there will be times when you’ll need to write essays to gain acceptance to a prestigious summer program or even a leadership opportunity at school. When this happens, we’ll be there to help you tell the right story.
And eventually we’ll be helping craft the college personal statement. If your entire application is a narrative, your personal statement is your opportunity to articulate that story as clearly as possible. You can’t write an essay in a first draft. It might take a dozen tries. We’ll work with you to make sure that version you finally land on presents you to colleges in the brightest light possible.
applications
EVERYTHING ELSE FOR ADMISSION
As a team, we’re always keeping an eye on the big picture of your high school narrative. But when it’s time to dive into the details of your college applications we’ll be there for all of it. From supplemental essays to early decision strategy, your personal admissions advisor will guide you every step of the way.
Financial Aid strategies, interview preparation, wait list management - everything is included in our underclassmen packages so that you have a seamless journey through high school and into college.
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college admissions advising for underclassmen
What we know from helping thousands of students get accepted into highly competitive colleges is that those who start early are the most rewarded.
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