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College Counseling Expert Articles

College Counseling For Connecticut Parents: Your biggest day to day purpose will soon shift

“This is it…” so said Shelley, a mom in Essex, Connecticut as we started college counseling for her daughter.  I had worked with all three of Shelley’s older children through the years of attending Valley Regional High School through their different colleges and even into career counseling for the oldest.   Shelley knew what older […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Parents: Juniors start now.. and sophomores too….!

“We are in panic mode…” so said yet another parent of a senior.  Her daughter from Madison’s Daniel Hand High School is a strong student, a good kid etc. but she like most was frozen in place due to the pandemic and did not start the college process until senior year began. The pandemic creates […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Parents: The Write Your Own Movie Script Discussion

“Travis has done nothing.”  Kathryn a mother from East Lyme, Connecticut noted about her son’s college search.  She then relayed what I’ve heard so many times through the years – particularly about boys – that he tunes out discussions about college.  She had heard about our college counseling from other parents at East Lyme High […]

Career Counseling For Connecticut Parents: The need for advice

I am a lawyer by training.  I left full time practice in 2000 to pursue my calling as an educator-counselor and started The Learning Consultants in an effort to help parents with their college counseling, test prep, and tutoring needs.  I was suddenly an entrepreneur and was faced with doing my now more complicated taxes. […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Parents: 5 Tips On What to Avoid in The College Admissions Process

“Dina told me that she hated [college]…”  Lynn noted as she relayed the thoughts of her friend who had referred The Learning Consultants for college counseling to her.  Lynn’s son attended Old Saybrook High School in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with Dina’s son who was a couple years older and quite different than Lynn’s son. I […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Parents and Students: Juniors time to start the college process

“I wish we started last year….” another parent said as she left our Old Saybrook office after a college counseling session. Year after year, I have heard some parents lament that they should have started college counseling earlier.  But this year – obviously due to Covid – this is the most common comment I hear […]

Career Counseling For Connecticut Parents: The Need for Good Grades in the Global Economy

To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, who paraphrased Bill Gates: Twenty years ago, from a purely career-financial perspective, if you had the choice of being a “B” student from Brooklyn or an “A” student from Bombay, you would choose the former because America’s economic domination was so thorough that opportunities were […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Parents: The Challenge of Affluence

“I figure what’s the worst that can happen.  I’ll come back here and live in a big house by the water.”  said Liam a completely honest junior from Guilford High School. This was a decade ago.   I had pressed Liam about the obvious: did his family situation dull his motivation?  Liam’s response was surprising […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The Major Life Transition For Launching Into Adulthood

Several years ago, Denise, a mother from Old Lyme, Connecticut, relayed some troubling news about some of her son’s friends who had graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School.  Three had dropped out of college and while each might go back she thought they were heading down the wrong path as their dominant way of earning […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The College – Life – Crossroads

“He’s given more thought to mastering Call of Duty than which colleges interest him.”  Terry, a mother of a student from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, in Old Lyme, Connecticut, lamented as she described her son Liam.    Since I wrote Motivate Your Son, I am often the last resort for parents (often mothers!) who are their wits […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: “I want to go someplace warm…”

Blake, a junior from Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut had one dominant theme in mind during our first college counseling session: “I want to go some place warm!” I’ve heard this demand with increasing frequency from my Connecticut college counseling clientele.   Our career advisory services are designed to help students (assuming they […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Students: The Long Game is college to career

“I’m not paying for some frivolous degree.” Tom, a parent of student from East Lyme, Connecticut said about a decade ago.  I remember the tension in the room.  My work as a college counselor is designed to help parents/students reach their goals.  My preferences are not part of the mix or I’ll simply state my […]

College Counseling for Connecticut students: The reason for those bumper stickers

“That’s part of my brand.” So said a Harvard student to my daughter as he was trying to woo her with his impressive credentials.  He was a clown but he was stating some part of the truth. I’ve grown away from the prestige seeker I once was.   The self-esteem that seems attached to name […]

Attention parents of Connecticut college bound students: “Good colleges” still provide the best way to ensure gainful full time employment

I was at a party recently in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Sometimes I avoid gatherings were parents are because they know of my college counseling work!  This topic was of particular interest to me: one of the parents was lamenting that her son and “everyone that he knows” isn’t working full time, nearly two years after […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Students: Yes, good test scores will increase your chances of admission and merit aid

As reported in US News & World Report “My advice is to assume that the test is preferred,” says Aviva Legatt, an admissions consultant and author of a college admissions book titled “Get Real and Get In.” As always, names and identifying details are changed when I relay college counseling stories: Andrew a student from […]

College counseling for Connecticut’s students: admissions roulette during the pandemic

“I tell my friends that you are Nostradamus when it comes to college admissions.”  Lily, a mother from East Lyme, relayed when she referred me to one of her friends.  I had worked with Lily’s two children through both SAT prep and college counseling.  With each, I went through my analysis for likely admission.   […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Why the college decision seems more important than back in our days

“This really matters much more than back in my day.”  Ted, a father of a Guilford High School student noted. He went to UCONN.  His wife went to UCONN.  His brothers went to UCONN.  He started thinking about how much the decision mattered when he saw what was happening in the economy and when he […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The Investment Is Worth It

Financial advising in relation to college has become an increasing part of my college counseling work. We live in an affluent area.  Madison, Connecticut.  Guilford, Connecticut, Old Lyme, Connecticut, Essex, Connecticut, and East Lyme Connecticut, among other Shoreline, Connecticut towns are comprised of wealthy families, at least compared to the most families throughout the country […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Finding the right environment

“Jake is coming home.  He fell in with the wrong group and he basically failed out.”  Jake’s mom had called in relation to sorting out how he could regroup. “I know you cautioned us…” Jake’s mom remembered our last college counseling session when she relayed that he had chosen a particular college known for its […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: College one of the few “big choices”

“This really is a huge decision.”  Alyssa, a student from East Lyme High School in East Lyme, Connecticut, noted as we were pondering her early decision choice.  Alyssa had the sensibility to know that choosing between Bowdoin, an excellent small liberal arts college in Maine, and Barnard, the Columbia adjacent excellent college in New York […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Parents: A Perspective Related to Mental Health

Of all my identities, father of three (and husband) are the most important ones.  Like most parents, I feel more stressed in relation to my children’s well being than my own.  Despite my decades providing college counseling, I, too, felt stress (and feel stress with my youngest) in relation to the college process. The college […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The Good School Head Nod

A few years ago, had a wonderful lunch with a former intern.  He had been student who graduated from Daniel Hand High School about twelve years ago.  I met “Dan” through our SAT class and, as such, I know a half-dozen of his friends since they all played lacrosse and were a vibrant bunch of […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: We provide reality

“I am going to be an influencer.”  So said Jillian, a student from Old Lyme Connecticut who attends Lyme-Old Lyme High School. Since I provide college-career counseling in the new world of work, I did not scoff at Jillian.   Instagram influencers exist.  Some Instagram influencers earn their living as influencers.   Some earn a […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Wishful thinking Can Lead To Terrible Advice

“My parents told me that where I went to college wouldn’t matter.” Paul lamented as he explained that he was receiving no interviews from Boston based companies.  He was told by both a friend who worked at one of these companies and a recruiter that his “brand” was…. let’s call it Podunk College and that […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Students: Factors Outside of career choice

Ken, a father of a student from East Lyme, Connecticut, had a simple view related to college: figure out what you want to study and attend the highest ranked college in that area. As someone providing college to career advice, I more than understand the logical and linear view of doing so.   Ken was […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Overwhelmed? What are your dominant themes?

Kayla, a student from Valley Regional High School in Connecticut was overwhelmed.  We had worked with her older brother for college counseling.  “Jack seemed to have figured it out so easily.”  This was not exactly true but Jack had two advantages: (1) it was pre-Covid and (2) he went through out college counseling overview, quickly […]

College Counseling for Connecticut students: Find your people

“They seemed like my people.”  Ryan, a high school junior from Valley Regional  (Essex, Chester, Deep River CT) said, many years ago.   Ryan had worked with me for college counseling and SAT prep.  He had several colleges of high interest but when considering early decision, he was not sure which stood out.  I asked […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: We are in interesting times… guidance is needed more than ever

“I figure I’ll just go to college and figure it out.”  Riley, a student from Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT, said many moons ago during one of my first college counseling sessions.  This meeting was before the Great Recession.  His comment did not strike me as unusual.  That’s what many did prior to […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: A college education is the best insurance you can buy

During the height of the pandemic, there were around 50 million Americans unemployed.  I knew almost none.  I asked my friends if they knew people who were now unemployed. They, too, knew almost no one. I then realized, as elitist as it sounds, that most everyone I know had a college degree and, I dare say […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The “Why” College Dialogue

For the last couple decades, I’ve led SAT classes in our Madison and Old Saybrook, Connecticut offices.  I start the class with an unusual question: “why are you here?” Students are initially perplexed.  No one asks them such questions.  Some mumble because my parents made me.  Others answer compliantly: to improve my SAT scores. I […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: “Yield” – Why Defined Interest matters more than ever

“Should I ED?” Matt, a student from East Lyme High School asked. Matt and I had worked together through our Student Mastery Program, through SAT Prep, and now in full college counseling mode. I suppose at this point I was Matt’s mentor, particularly since his parents did not attend college in the United States. I […]

College-Career Counseling for Connecticut Students: We are in the “new world of work”. Arm your children accordingly.

In confusing times, paradoxes dominate. College is less needed (for some) and college is more needed (for many). After the Great Recession, I started Career Counseling Connecticut. I started working with twentysomethings throughout Connecticut as they navigated the work world. Those who did not need college and succeeded in the work world primarily went into […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Is the college experience still “amazing?”?

Those who had an amazing college experience understand.  Indeed, when I started college counseling years ago, parents as well as older siblings of my student-clients from Southeastern, CT usually would have already educated students on the possibilities for a great college experience. I recall one of my clients.  He’s from Old Saybrook.  So I also […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Why college choice matters so much – “fit”

As always, I change the names and identifying details of college counseling clients. “I figure I’ll go wherever…” so said Alvin a junior from Lyme-Old Lyme High School.  Alvin’s initial college list consisted of an eclectic mix.  For sake of simplicity, I’ll focus on two colleges that were on his list: Clemson and Emerson Clemson […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Stop pretending that you don’t care about the name of the college

I was at a party in Old Saybrook, Connecticut when I overheard a parent say “it doesn’t matter where you go to college.”   Having worked with her two older children both of whom worked as hard a possible to attend “good colleges”, in part because of her urging, I had the good sense to […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Why the college experience transforms children into young adults

Maggie was a quiet young lady from Essex, Connecticut.   Attending Valley Regional High in the 2000s, she would later relay that most of her classmates wouldn’t recognize her if they saw her today.  She’s right because I didn’t recognize her.  She had taken an SAT class way back when and when we met a […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Motivate Your Son For College

I wrote Motivate Your Son almost a decade ago.  The principles related to motivation and as part of our Student Mastery Program remain.  The difference now is that when I first wrote about male underachievement it was not the national crisis that it is today.  Men now comprise only 40% of college students.  There has been a […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: The College Major and its Implications

Keith was a good but not great math student from Old Lyme, Connecticut. .  Like many 18 year olds, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his career.   Of all the problems in our school system, I’ll suggest that lack of career education has to be one of the most underrated. […]

College Counseling for Connecticut Students: How much does prestige matter? Part 2

For a broader perspective on prestige in the context of college counseling, please read the prior article.  Suffice to say, my college counseling efforts are designed to align with the goals of my clients.  The following story simply illustrates the point I made regarding “an asset to be leveraged.” As always, all names and identifying […]

College Counseling For Connecticut Students: Prestige – How much does it matter?

An interesting paradigm shift seems to have occurred in my second decade of providing college counseling to students from Connecticut’s affluent suburbs.  When I started college counseling in the 2000s, most parents from Madison, Guilford, Essex, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford, Stonington and other Shoreline towns, the parents were highly focused on the […]

College Counseling For Connecticut students: Why Location Matters Part 2

All names and some identifying details of college counseling students are changed Eric was a student at Daniel Hand High School in Madison.  I had worked with him on SAT prep and knew him quite well.  When we started college counseling, he expressed his interest in applying to schools in the Pacific Northwest.  As noted […]

College Counseling for Connecticut students: College is the biggest life choice for most every high school student – Part 1: Regional Location

As always, all names and occasional identifying details are changed when I provide college counseling stories. Emily was a student from Guilford High School in Connecticut.  We met for college counseling about a decade back.  She wanted to go to California.  As part of my normal college counseling discussion, I tell students that I will […]

College Counseling… for Connecticut students… from Connecticut’s suburbs…from Shoreline or Fairfield Connecticut

College counseling is not one size fits all.  While it never was, post-pandemic and post demographic analysis, this fact is more true than ever. Many articles suggesting “10 tips for college admission!” have 5 tips that are probably not relevant for your particular situation. Our college counseling clients are predominately from Fairfield County and Connecticut’s […]

College Counseling 2021-2022

Through running The Learning Consultants for now… 20 years!…. I’ve always had a sense of dismay regarding half the college counselors I’ve met in Connecticut.   Most went into the field for the right reasons.  Specifically, most wanted to help young people with all important life-changing college decisions. But through the years, I came to […]

The College Process During The Pandemic

There are many pandemic tragedies well beyond the good part of the college process.  I’m sure “first world problem” will be the classification of this particular issue.  But I feel badly for both students and parents who are missing the best part – perhaps the only good part! – of the college application process: visiting […]

College Counseling Connecticut: The College to Career Decision

If your twentysomething is struggling with career issues, you likely feel ill-equipped to help. You might be right. Unless your own experiences have schooled you in the way the New World of Work operates, realize that some part of the way you understood careers has radically changed. More significantly, you now are experiencing that the […]

College Counseling in the Covid Age

During the last few years, The Learning Consultants has been immersed in college counseling.  The pandemic increased this focus by almost double. Confusion is the main reason. Our Connecticut clients are generally a highly educated bunch.   Even they are utterly confused by changing standards regarding admissions possibilities.    But the inability to visit colleges is […]

“I realized my kid is going to college…”

As we have been providing  college counseling for our students during the pandemic, we have been increasingly dealing with highly stressed parents who are confronting the normal massive stress associated with the college process and the altered reality related to the pandemic. Several have walked into our offices and exclaimed in paraphrased fashion: it seems […]

What should we do?! College counseling in the age of the pandemic

I have been immersed in college counseling during the last few years but particularly since the pandemic. There is something… in the air… that the pandemic has accelerated greatly but did not start. Uncertainty. Parents do not know what to do.  More specifically, they do not know what’s best for their children. When I started […]

The college process continues…

The big calamities of the pandemic make the mini-tragedies related to the college process seem really minimal. But for parents of college bound students, the crisis continues. The college process is stressful enough without having to deal with so many unknowns. We have been immersed in college counseling for the last few years and seemingly […]

The CollegeCareer Decision

When I started The Learning Consultants around the turn of the century…. literally… 2002… the “college” decision was tangentially part of the career discussion.  But it definitely was not at the forefront.  The college experience, “fit” for certain colleges, and other subjective college issues (big v. small, city v. rural, fraternities-no fraternities) dominated the discussion. […]

The College Essay: Marketing your child for college admission

Having helped students with their college essays for the last decade, I know the following with certainty: 1.) English class college admission essays are generally not effective 2.) Most parents do not know what makes college admission essays effective but many – in an effort to help – provide guidance to their confused child 3.) […]


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College Counseling during the Post-Pandemic Year

The Learning Consultants has been immersed in meeting with college admissions officials during this post-pandemic year. We are here to provide top college counseling, as always, but we are certain that the need for college counseling is more abundant this year than ever. Most importantly, despite the various noise around the expense of college (which […]

Despite Covid, The College Process Goes On

For many adults, the pandemic has had the weird effect of both changing everything while also delaying major changes.  The former requires no explanation.  The latter requires clarification.  While our day to day lives have had massive change, many adults have delayed moving/changing jobs/marrying.  Those processes don’t necessarily need to happen now and, for many, […]

Rampant Cheating In Online School: Another reason why the “tests” will be a major admissions factor

“Yes, we know.”  So said an admissions official from an elite college on a podcast related to admissions during Covid. The question was: ” are you aware of grade inflation, particularly when cheating has become so rampant in online school?” The official followed up by noting that “in the past, standardized tests have been one […]

Creating the gap year plan

“That was the best decision I ever made.”  “Daniella” said when I recently reconnected with her.  Several years ago, she was a student at The Williams School.  She did not get accepted to any college that she was really excited about and her parents contacted me because they knew my deep experience in crafting gap […]

College planning during the Coronavirus: Anti-fragility During a Black Swan Event

It’s too bad that there are so few alive from the Greatest Generation.  Those folks endured The Great Depression and World War II. They embodied Nassim Taleb’s notion of anti-fragility.   Some things are fragile, breaking when hit with a force.  Some things are robust, staying intact when hit with the same force.  And, some things […]

The Gap Year During College: At least have a plan

While I am a perpetual optimist, experience has taught me to adapt my optimism to forces beyond my control.  I will no longer drive during a snow storm.  I will take precautions if forecasters suggest that hurricanes may hit and I will take seriously notions like the pandemic will stop colleges from opening in the […]

Coronavirus Decisions for High School Seniors

We have a new service designed to help high school seniors. The Coronavirus College-Gap Year Decision Uncertainty has dampened the excitement of heading to college for most high school seniors.  The Learning Consultants has developed a process for leading our clients through the difficult decisions they will face. For most, the gap year – something […]

College… and career….and financial counseling

In the not so old days when we provided college counseling to our Connecticut clients, most parents were focused on “fit” based on socialization, class size, campus, clubs and other factors primarily related to the 4-year experience at the college, as if the post-college career outcome was not particularly important. The Great Recession marked a […]

As Thanksgiving approaches, give thanks for college

Right now, The Learning Consultants is immersed in college counseling for our Connecticut seniors who are finishing their early action and early decision applications and taking on college counseling clients for those juniors who are kicking off the going to college transition. As a parent, you are likely stressed.  But the stress also comes from […]

Is college worth the cost?

This issue is addressed in a recent article in Forbes The resounding answer: “yes”. Some key points: “But could their skepticism about college be right? Not based on earnings. The national arbiter of the data on the value of college degrees is Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown […]

Test-optional: Not so fast…

“Wesleyan was a leader among selective institutions in making standardized testing optional for applicants in 2014. The change allows students more control in how they present themselves to the admission committee and is intended to improve access for underserved communities, students of color, and first-generation scholars who may not have access to standardized test preparation […]

College: The number 1 filter for employers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-8uhMBl6vI  The wishful thinking nonsense of some leads to terrible counsel for others.  “It doesn’t matter where you go to college” must be one of the most ignorant statements spouted off by either well meaning adults who take singular examples, such as their own success, to set forth a general theory or bitter adults who […]

Are You a Bargain Shopper?  

  When it comes to an expensive purchase like college tuition, most parents are!  After hosting informational meetings this month, a recurring theme of concern was the high cost of college attendance and the availability of scholarships to offset this cost.   Can you get a worthwhile education for half the cost?  Or in retail […]

Perfect Fit, Right Fit, or One Size Fits All

  I am a bit of a romantic in that I like to think that there are perfect “ones” out there- the perfect match, the perfect house, the perfect outfit, the perfect shoes, and the perfect job.  This romanticism is not unique to me, there are several websites from Zillow.com to Match.com that promote and […]

Career Counseling as part of College Counseling

After the financial restructuring of last decade our career counseling services grew (and grew and grew).  Having now seen the challenges that twentysomethings face post-college graduation, my work mission has made me realize the connection between high school to college to career success in a deeper way. Now I feel the pain of my twentysomething clients […]

Key Questions Answered

Kathleen Brigham Uberuaga, Director of The Learning Consultants Group, Rye, NY, fielded compelling questions this winter from parents of college-bound high school Juniors.  Five questions, their contexts, answers, and explanations are organized below.   Are colleges reviewing the FAFSA documents of students applying Early Decision during the early application cycle or along with all regular […]

Opening College Doors with the Power of Story

“Once Upon a Time”, “In a Galaxy Far, Far Away”, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”: Had your brain been monitored during the processing of these words, it would have lit up with blood flow.  Science teaches us that our brains are hardwired to love stories.  And a great […]

Preparing for College-Your New 100-Hour Hobby

Just as Junior year begins, high-schoolers should plan on devoting an extra 100 hours over the next 12 months to launching themselves into the exciting arena of college applications. Just as any teenager with obligations knows, putting aside specific hours for measurable tasks is the best way to attain goals.  It would stand to reason […]

Activities Section of the College Application: A Critical Piece of the Pie

Let’s imagine your college application is like a pizza pie.  It has separate pieces with different toppings, connected to a whole presentation on a platter.  Although each piece will be consumed separately, the overall impression of the pizza is a result of the consistency and distinctiveness of the recipe and its lasting taste.  The activities […]

First-Generation Students and the Art of Self-Promotion

In my career as a college counselor and community college instructor, I have witnessed the valuable qualities of first-generation students.  I think it would be a worthwhile exercise to categorize these admirable characteristics and explore their values.  In so doing, my hope is that I can help first- generation students gain self-confidence, parents expand their […]

Supplemental Essays:  Finishing Strong

Filling out college applications is a lot like running a marathon.  It tests your training, perseverance, and endurance; that is the whole point.  Too many high school students treat the supplementary parts of the application as a cool-down exercise instead of the elimination round of final laps where only the strongest runners finish ahead of […]

Financial Aid in a Flash

Flash cards are effective tools for helping one learn and retain detailed information.  And when it comes to understanding financial aid and the FAFSA (free application for federal student aid), I found the idea of sorting together bits of information optimal for helping Connecticut families grasp key concepts. ____________________________________________   FLASHCARD NUMBER 1 What is […]

 Finding the Path to Self-Discovery: Using Shakespeare as Your College Guide

As a mother of four teenagers and a college consultant in Madison, CT, it is important to me, personally and professionally, to teach students and their families how to confidently narrow their college search.  William Shakespeare wrote, “to thine own self be true.” A modern-day version of this sentiment translates to- “Just be yourself!”  But […]

College Admissions Counselors: The Young and the Restless

The “Young and the Restless” is not only the title of one of the longest running daytime television soap operas but is also an apt way to describe college admissions counselors. This crucial population of professionals is young, averaging around 26 years old. This group is also restless, responsible for recruiting and selecting an impressive […]

Color Samples and the College Search

Color Samples and the College Search While gazing at the wall of color samples at the paint store, I became overwhelmed by choices. I took a deep breath and stepped back. After gaining a broader perspective, I realized that the assortment was arranged in a meaningful manner by theme and category. Within its order, I […]