Posts Tagged ‘broward college counselor’

For High School Sophomores: A Mid-Year College Admissions Checklist from International College Counselors

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Sophomores: graduation may seem a long way off, but you’re permanent record is being written now. Colleges will be looking at how you spent this year.


Work on Your Academic Performance

Now is the time to work hard. Set the goal of moving up an academic level in your junior year. Keep your grades up and you may be able to move from honors to AP or from regular to honors. This step up is what colleges want to see.

Prepare early for your midterm exams.

Evaluate your performance. Are you having problems focusing or understanding the material? Could your writing skills be improved? Ask your teacher what you can do to improve.

Evaluate your study skills. Work on your concentration and time management. Next year, will be your most important high school year academically.

Start preparing now for the SAT/ ACT

If you take on the SAT little by little, it won’t feel so overwhelming later.

Review your PSAT test results. They will give you a good indication of what you need to work on.

Read. Read. Read.

Work on your vocabulary. If you learn a word a day between now and next year, that will put you 365 words ahead.

Evaluate your Extracurricular Activities

Explore your Interests. Try out some new activities. Drop the ones you hate. This is the time to find your niche.

Get involved in the activities you like.

Colleges will be looking for true involvement. This means that at the end of four years you will, ideally, be able to demonstrate to the admissions team some level of accomplishment, initiative, commitment, and leadership.

Beware the sophomore slump

It’s natural to feel like you’re losing interest. Now that you know that, do everything you can to stay focused!

Psyche yourself up about college

Start doing a little no-pressure research. Take a look at colleges online. Don’t know where to start? Start with those you heard about and those with sports teams you like. Take a virtual tour or two. If your family goes on a trip somewhere, see if you can tour a campus away from home. College websites can tell you who to contact.

Consider what you may want to major in.

Introduce or Re-introduce yourself to Your College Counselor

Schedule a meeting for sometime next semester with your high school guidance counselor or your International College Counselors college advisor.

Prepare for the meeting by taking your class schedule. Tell your counselor you want to get into a good college. Ask what you need to do to accomplish that goal.

Meeting with your counselor is also a good relationship building move. For the next two years, this person is going to be one of the most important in your life.

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 200 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit

10 New Year Resolutions for High School Students

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The New Year is a great time to reflect on the changes we want to or need to make.  If you’re a student looking at ways to improve yourself and make the transition to college easier, International College Counselors offers a few more resolutions you might want to add to your list. 

1. Stop procrastinating. How often have you underestimated how much time it will take to get something done?  Then, how sad are you when you don’t have the time to do your best. At some point, the procrastinator has to write four college essays in one night – on top of completing schoolwork.  Usually, this doesn’t turn out so well. If you finish a project earlier than you thought you would, then consider yourself ahead.

2. Commit yourself to getting good grades. Good grades are entirely necessary to get into a good school unless you’re a top notch athlete. The best case scenario is that you have good grades from the beginning. However, if you start off badly and improve your grades, colleges will give you points for this. Many admissions officers won’t look at your application if your grades are too low or show a steady decline. Spending a night studying while your friends play Wii may not excite you, but you need to look at this long-term. Think of it this way, grades are a bridge. They will serve you to get into a college where you will have more freedom.  In college, grades may not be as important as in high school.
3. Don’t do it all.  It’s better to concentrate on a few things and excel in them than if you join every sport, activity and club that you can cram into your schedule. Anyone can join 10 clubs and be marginally involved in them all. Schools are looking for commitment that shows you’re willing to stick with something and make the most of it. 

4. Keep a calendar. Deadlines creep up quickly.  And the closer the date, the more you’ll feel the pressure.  Most students don’t do their best under pressure.  And colleges, scholarships, federal aid, and standardized testing services are not going to be sympathetic to any excuses you have about missing a deadline.   If you miss a deadline, you miss an opportunity.

5. Take standardized tests early. You won’t know how high you can score until you take the test. Wait too long and you won’t have enough time to retake it. And many things can affect your test score on any given day, including the state of your health, and you can’t plan not to get the flu or food poisoning.  Taking the test early will also allow time to take a test prep course if necessary.

6. Do your research. Know what the choices are when it comes to colleges.  This way you can avoid any coulda, shoulda, woulda regrets later in life. Research could be as simple as visiting a school’s website. 

7. Try something new. High school is a great time to spread your wings.  It’s about new experiences and self-discovery.  Want a certain internship, there’s no harm in calling up and asking if they have any room for an eager high school student to work there.   Want to try a new sport or activity, go ahead and try it.  You’re not expected to leave high school knowing exactly what you want to do, but this is a chance to start narrowing down your interests. You’ll never know what you like – or how good you are at something – until you try something.

8. Be excited about going to college.  Wherever you go to college, you’re going to meet new people, learn new things, and have a great time. That’s reason enough to be excited whether you end up attending a first choice school or a safety.  

9. Do what your college counselor tells you.  Students:  We at International College Counselors are here to get you what you want out of life.

10. Banish the self-doubt. Doubting your own abilities only holds you back from achieving what you want to achieve.  Just say no to these thoughts and others like them:

“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not as smart as my classmates.”
“I’ll never get better than a 2.7 grade-point average.”
“I’ll only get into a community college anyway”
 “There’s no point in thinking I’ll get into my first choice college.”
HAPPY 2011!

Grants, General School Scholarships, and Loans. Oh my!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Parents. There are ways your student can go to college for free. Even to the best colleges in the country. Westinghouse scholars, Olympic champions, and tween founders of multi-million dollar companies all qualify.

But, there’s hope for the rest of us! It’s all about maximizing your financial aid and minimizing your costs.

Top ways the expert college counselors at International College Counselors recommend to make college more affordable include:

1. Government Loans
As International College Counselors wrote about in our last blog, the US government loans money to every student who needs it. To receive FAFSA aid, a student (or parent) needs to fill out and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( This federal application for financial aid is also used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school.

For our clients with the United States from San Francisco to Miami, our expert college counselors recommend that ALL students fill the FAFSA out regardless of their house-hold income, if they even have the remotest need.

2. Grants
Grants are better than loans because students don’t have to pay the money back. (Free money!) But they’re not available to everyone.

Pell Grants are federal grants awarded strictly on the student’s financial need. Other federal grant programs include the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (also based on financials), and grant programs for students with good grades in competitive high-school programs or specific fields of study, such as math, nursing or teaching. States and colleges also have their own pools of grant money. Like loans, grants are awarded based on the FAFSA results.

3. General and School Scholarships
For students who are seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen, whether in public school, private school, or home schooled (meaning everyone in high school) scholarships are available. They’re highly desirable because recipients do not have to pay them back and a good number of scholarships are not based on financial need.

Thousands of scholarships are available. Sources of scholarships can be national organizations, employers, corporations, professional associations, local clubs, contests, and the schools themselves. The trick is finding the ones that best match the student. If you’re not a Native American there’s no point in going for the scholarship. You’d be better off knitting a clever outfit out of wool, measuring less than 4’ 10” in height, having the last name Zolp. All are scholarship worthy. Here are the details on those scholarships and other unusual scholarships.

There aren’t many of these scholarships with unusual eligibility requirements, but it doesn’t hurt to see what may be out there. Some scholarships are based on financial needs. Others are awarded to students with special abilities qualified as academic, artistic, or athletic achievement. Still more are reserved for people who have certain religious affiliation, ethnicity, memberships, hobbies, or special interests.

School-specific scholarships, where a student can usually receive the largest amount of scholarship aid, are typically given to top athletes, top test score recipients, and other outstanding students. In order to apply for these scholarships, you need to contact each school individually. A rule of thumb is that if you are in the top 25% of the admitted class, there could be some scholarship money waiting for you. So, a student who can get into MIT with no scholarship money may receive a full ride at Georgia Tech (still a great school!), and a student who can get into Penn could get a full ride at Drexel (a terrific option!).

Students don’t have to look farther than their computer to find scholarships to apply to. Several free scholarship databases are available online, offering millions of different scholarships worth billions of dollars. For International College Counselors students, please be sure to look to Naviance for scholarship options. With thousands of scholarships to choose from, any student can find a scholarship to which to apply.
For non ICC students, and for ICC students who would like an additional resource, ICC recommends the scholarship database It’s large, most often accurate and frequently updated. Students should also look to their high school’s website for LOCAL scholarship opportunities. Clearly, a scholarship for students at your school, or your community will be easier to get than one that draws a national applicant pool.

Please remember during your search, if you are considering a legitimate scholarship site or scholarship you will not be asked for any money to apply or receive details.

Florida students should not forget to apply to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides scholarships based on high school academic achievement, and could cover up to 100% of a public college’s tuition.

Scholarships pay off in more ways than just Free Money. College advisors can say with certainty that they also look impressive on your college applications.

Getting out of college with little or no debt is hard, but not impossible, and with initiative, you and your student don’t have to rob a bank to do it.

Next week, I’ll write about How to Apply for Scholarships.

If you need help, contact a private college counselor at International College Counselors to help you with college admissions and finances.

What you Need to Know About Financial Aid

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

If you are looking to receive financial aid, now is the time to start getting your finances in order. The US government loans money to every student who needs it. Two of the most important and most common ways of getting access to government money are the FAFSA and the CSS/Profile.

To receive FAFSA aid, you need to fill out and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( This federal application for financial aid is also used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school.

The CSS/Financial Aid Profile, CSS/Profile, or College Scholarship Service Profile is also an application that allows students to apply for financial aid. It is distributed by the College Board and is much more detailed than the FAFSA.

Most schools require BOTH the FAFSA and the CSS/Profile in order to eligible to receive financial aid.

The FAFSA determines Federal funding and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is set by the government. The FAFSA does not take into account home equity, medical expenses or change in employment.

The CSS/Profile helps determine institutional money, in many cases. The EFC calculation may vary by institution, and can take into account home equity, deductions for medical expenses and provisions for special circumstances.

International College Counselors recommends that ALL students who feel they need aid fill the FAFSA out regardless of their household income.

With both of these forms, it is important to fill them out as early as possible.
The CSS/Profile has varying deadlines depending on the school and becomes available in the fall. If you are applying early admissions or early decision, the CSS/ Profile is often due by November 15. The CSS/Profile can be found at the College Board website:

The FAFSA always becomes available January 1 and should be submitted as soon as data is ready. The FAFSA application can be found at:

If you have specific questions, much like with the CSS/ Profile, the folks at FAFSA are EXTREMELY helpful. Please do not hesitate to call the contact numbers.
FAFSA contact info. CSS/ Profile contact info.

A family should fill out BOTH of these forms each year if you desire aid for college. Be sure to check your specific school’s website for further forms or information. Only rarely are there additional forms, but we never know.

In our next email we will discuss grants, general and school scholarships, and other ways to maximize your finances and minimize your college costs.

For more information on financial aid, please contact International College Counselors to learn more. We would be happy to send you a personalized list of your particular financial aid “to – dos”.

Also, when beginning your FAFSA, please refer to the “Common Errors When Filing for Financial Aid” page in your binder. If you are missing it, please let us know.

How to Help your High School Junior

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Junior year is the homestretch. The critical decisions that are made this year could have a major impact on the next five years of your life –and long beyond. This is the year students start narrowing lists of colleges and career paths. This is the last full year of grades that college admissions officers will review.

Parents need to continue making this college admissions journey fun and positive. For many students, the college admissions process can feel so overwhelming, they become frozen, missing deadlines and forgetting important details. With the right strategy stress can be minimized – it isn’t realistic to believe it will be eliminated. Approach this as a bonding discovery process for all involved. Parents: Let your child know that you’re proud of your child and you’re there to give your support.

Here are some other International College Counselors tips for parents:

Time Management

• Review your student’s schedule with him or her at the beginning of the school year. The goal is to have your child enroll in challenging classes that will help them prepare for college. If your student is aiming for the more competitive schools he or she must take college-prep classes, including advanced-placement. Care must be taken not to overload on classes or extracurricular activities as junior year courses and grades are critical. A college bound student should be aiming slightly above his or her comfort level. A student needs to show the college admissions team that he or she pushes him or herself.

• Make sure your student meets with a college counselor to discuss college plans and review his or her transcript and experience.

• Help your student keep a calendar. Work with him or her to update it regularly with any important dates and deadlines.

Standardized Tests

• Make sure your student stakes the PSAT/NMSQT again, which is given in October. If your student does well on the exam, he or she can qualify for a National Merit Scholarship

• As quickly as possible, plan the junior year testing schedule. A student can take either the SAT or up to three SAT Subject Tests on one test day, or the ACT. Your student should take the SAT and the ACT tests before the end of their junior year. We always recommend that the student try BOTH the SAT and the ACT. The colleges accept them equally, and students often have a natural inclination towards one test.

• Invest in SAT and/or ACT test review material. Juniors should begin preparing for these tests as soon as possible so that the process isn’t rushed. SAT/ACT test prep can include an online course or traditional class, and practice tests. Make sure your student spends time studying the material for the test. Neither of these tests can be crammed for in one night.

Extracurricular activities

• Encourage your child to remain involved with extracurricular activities. This year is very important. Colleges want to see that a student sticks with something. Encourage your child to assume a leadership role in an extracurricular activity. If your child’s forte is sports or music, consider getting involved in regional, state or national competitions. Colleges aren’t looking for quantity in activities, but quality. And advancement.

College selection/ Application preparation

• Encourage your student to get to know the junior year teachers – and leave a positive impression on them. This is preparation for the all important college recommendations.

• Start narrowing down colleges and universities. Information can be gathered in books and on websites. Try to talk to alumni or current students. In the spring, your student should meet with his or her college counselor to draft a college list. Before the start of your student’s senior year, the goal is to develop a list of 15-20 colleges of interest.

• Talk about career choice(s). These may have a big impact on the list of potential colleges to be considered. The idea here is not to have a student commit to a career path, but to try and narrow down the career possibilities.

• Go on college campus tours with your student. Make sure you take a look at the whole range: public, private, large and small. Consider taking a college road tour over Spring Break. Schedule interviews with admissions counselors at the colleges your student is most interested in.

• Attend any college fairs that come to your area, as well as presentations by traveling college admissions officers.


• Keep talking about financing college if you haven’t already. Talking about money helps students understand how much college really costs, and how they can help defray the costs through applying to private scholarships and getting good grades. Talking about money will also start introducing them to the adult concepts like financial aid and loans. Generally, if you treat your child like an adult now, chances are they will behave more like an adult later.

• Hop on the internet and research scholarships. Then help your student apply to them. Meeting deadlines is a must. Make sure everything is proofread.


• Help your student find a summer opportunity. This could include an internship, job or college program. Whatever it is, start early. You want to beat the competition. Many other students are going to be looking for opportunities, too. Do some networking on your student’s behalf. If your student is interested in medicine, see who is in your network that you might be able to call. The same goes for if your student wants to be a graphic designer or a lawyer.

• Help your student search online for summer school programs for high school students at colleges, if this is the route they choose.

All year round

• Encourage your child to read. It’s the best way to prepare for the SAT and all standardized exams. If they don’t have a favorite author? Take them to the local library to explore popular options within their age group.

Most importantly: Be there for your child. Be present in his or her life. Listen to his or her hopes, fears and goals. Working together can make these dreams more real and much more possible.

Free Webinar: College Admissions Answers

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Our Broward/ Dade/ Miami College Counselors are pleased to announce that Kaplan is presenting a Free Webinar on “The Most Commonly Asked Admission Questions” featuring Mandee Heller Adler on Tuesday April 13th at 8pm.

The link to register is below!

We look forward to seeing you there.

The Team at International College Counselors

International College Counselors
3107 Stirling Road, Suite 208
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312 USA
(954) 414-9986

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