Posts Tagged ‘college counselor’

Great Ways for Parents of High School Students to Spend Their Tax Refunds:

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average 2012 tax refund is roughly $3000. Here are some great suggestions for what to do with the money you get back if you’re a parent of a teenager who plans to attend college:

1. Pay for Tutoring. The importance of grades for colleges cannot be ignored. The GPA is the single most important part of a college application. Not only that, colleges want to see a challenging high school curriculum. If your student needs help in one or more subjects, spend some money on tutoring. (It may even pay off more in the form of scholarships.) If you need help finding an amazing tutor, contact your International College Counselors college advisor for more information.

2. Put money into a 529 plan. Even if your child will be a junior this year, it’s not too late to make a tax-preferred investment for college. Many states, including Florida and New York, provide a tax deduction for 529 contributions even if you’re investing for only a short time.

3. Invest in a summer enrichment program. Summer enrichment programs can help propel your student toward college and gain acceptance into a school of their choice. Let your student explore a subject of interest or bolster volunteer work credentials. College advisors at International College Counselors know there are programs for all interests, including engineering, career exploration, robotics, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, music, drama and test prep. Nearly every school, including the Ivies, offer a summer program for high school students, allowing students to experience life on a college campus. Some programs offer college credit.

4. Go for the test prep. Next to grades, test scores are one of the most important factors in college admissions. Please contact your college advisor at International College Counselors for the name, number and email address of a (SAT word alert) splendiferous SAT, ACT, SAT subject test, AP and TOFEL tutor who can help you increase your test scores.

5. Visit colleges. College visits can be costly but worthwhile. Your student just may find their top-pick school is nothing like they imagined. Visiting a school may also increase chances of gaining admittance and of getting a better award package, if only slightly. Taking the time to tour campus shows commitment.

6. Encourage summer college courses. Summer college courses can give your student the opportunity to attend school classes with undergraduate students or other select high school students and earn college credits.

7. Hire an independent college counselor. If you are not a client of International College Counselors, what are you waiting for? Our expert college advisors can give your student the individualized attention to properly tackle the college admission process. With new offices now in Coral Gables, Boston, Miami, New York and Palm Beach Gardens, and advisors who speak fluent Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, we can better meet your needs. From help choosing colleges, going on interviews, editing essays and more, we will give your student the tools to find and get into the college of his or her dreams.

If you need help evaluating and choosing a summer opportunity for your student and/or want information on tutoring, and are a client of International College Counselors, please give your college advisor a call or send an email.

The Other March Madness

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

March madness is here and in full swing. 

Students and parents are biting their nails and experiencing butterflies in the stomach.  However, they’re not even thinking of basketball.   They’re thinking of college admissions.

High school seniors know that the acceptance letters are in the mail – or will soon be in the mail. 
Realistically, there is little a parent can do to lessen the anxiety.  Chances are moms and dads are feeling anxious themselves.  

Parents, it’s your job to be the rock.  It’s your job to be supportive.  Even before the acceptance letters come, let your child know how proud you are of him or her for getting though high school and wanting to go to college.  Let them know you think they’ll have a great experience no matter where they go. 

And, parents, after the letters arrive, whether your child gets into a first choice college or not, remain supportive.  This is a hard time for a student whether they get into their first choice college or not.  For students who get rejected, this may be the first time they’re dealing with major disappointment. Your job is to stop this from damaging their self-esteem. For students who get in, after the initial euphoria, they’ll start thinking about what going to college really means. Leaving home, leaving friends, leaving a comfortable routine, having to find themselves and make their own way.  Understandably, this may feel overwhelming. 

It’s your job to help guide you child through their emotions.  This time is about your child, it’s is not about you. 

How to Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment

1. Talk it out.  If your student is rejected from the first choice college, allow your child to vent their emotions.  Talk about it and turn it into a teachable moment. Be sensitive and acknowledge the pain of disappointment.  Then help your child, one, accept that he or she didn’t get in and, two, move forward with the opportunities that do present themselves.

2. Let your child know that getting into their first pick college is important, but if they don’t it’s not the end of the world. Let them know you won’t love or like them any less and they shouldn’t love or like themselves any less either.  College is a step on a long road.  A big step, but not the final destination.

3. Add up what really counts.  The college admissions officers are looking at numbers.  A GPA, an SAT score, and the number of AP courses. Numbers have little to do with your child as a good person.  Besides, it’s too late now to change the numbers, so beating yourself up isn’t going to make anything better. 

4. Let your student know a lot of the college admission process was out of his or her control.    While the process is fair and thorough, college admissions are subjective.  Perhaps even more than most students and parents realize. High scores aren’t the only thing that counts. Subjectivity comes into play as admissions officers compare the applications.  Maybe the band really needed a new bassoon player.

5. Don’t let your child take denial personally. Someone at the college just didn’t think your child was the right fit at the time. Your student may actually be better off someplace else and it’s just not apparent right now.

6. Celebrate the college acceptance letters your child does get. Getting into any college is something to celebrate.

7. Remember a student can always transfer.  Our recommendation is to keep this as a back pocket option and not as a goal.  If a student goes to a college with the intent of transferring, he or she won’t be able to enjoy the full college experience they can have.  Many students find that once they settle in, they’re actually very happy. 

We at International College Counselors promise.  No matter what happens.  After the madness, there will be a calm.  


International College Counselors is a US-based company that provides expert college counseling for international students on undergraduate and graduate college admissions, financial aid, tuition, essays, and college applications. Mandee Heller Adler, a graduate of Harvard Business School,
along with her staff of college admissions advisors, tailor the college counseling and college coaching services to address the goals, needs, and dreams of each student.

U.S. News College Rankings and Their Meaning

Monday, June 8th, 2009

U.S . News & World report first published their America’s Best Colleges issue in 1983.   Since then, parents and students have been using this issue as a way to sort out schools in an organized way. 

Of course, as soon as the issue comes out, colleges see them too.  And the forces there begin strategizing how they might raise their college up in the ranks in the next issue.

U.S. News bases its rankings on multiple statistical measuring sticks, each weighted differently, and spread across seven major categories. These include: academic reputation, student selectivity, student retention, faculty resources, financial resources, alumni giving and graduation rates.

Clemson University’s fast rise in rankings from “38’ to “22” gives s a clearer picture of how rankings can be manipulated for more harm than good in terms of influencing public perception and student choice. 

As the New York Times reports, Clemson centered on reducing class sizes — many of them to below 20, a U.S. News benchmark. Clemson, according to the article, has also “more or less” stopped admitting “full-time, first-time undergraduates who are not in the top third of their high school classes” and is “constantly reassessing its SAT average through the admissions cycle.” 

The university has also reported to U.S.  News that it has ratcheted up the faculty salaries by about $20,000, which it has achieved by actually increasing spending (paid for largely through increased tuition), continues the article. 

Clemson also runs “multiple definitions to figure out where [they] can move things around to make them look best” in the rankings. The university has also encouraged as many alumni as possible to send in at least $5 to help bring up their giving rate.

In a separate article, the rankings of U.S. News have been criticized for making up numbers in the absence of real data.  In this case, Sarah Lawrence’s president, wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that because her college no longer collects or examines SAT scores, U.S. News officials have said that the magazine will just assume that the average SAT would have been one standard deviation (about 200 points) below the average of Sarah’s Lawrence’s peers.  In the rankings this translates to a college losing points in the category of “selectivity” because the report assumes that not using SAT score means a college is admitting less capable students.  Of course, this shouldn’t be presumed true. 

In this college counselor’s opinion, U.S News rankings are nothing more than beauty pageant as valuable as  Miss America.  The only way to truly rank colleges is in what the value is to you. Prospective students and families need to assess what really counts which is how well a college meets a student’s learning style and academic interests, how available the faculty are outside the classroom, whether students can get the courses they need to graduate, and what graduate schools and employers welcome its graduates.

If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them.  Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.

Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors




The original article sourced by the times and by me can be seen at


The other article referenced can be found at


In this interesting article, mathematicians have taken on the U.S. News & World Report for a whole different take on the rankings:

College: Then and Now

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I came across an article I found interesting.  It lists the 17 biggest differences between college today and college 10 years ago and it’s amazing what a difference a decade can make. As a mother of two children under 5, I can only imagine how much more it will change in the next 10 years. 

For space reasons I am only going to list four of the ways college campuses have changed and these are the issues we find ourselves addressing most with the domestic and international students we work with at International College Counselors.

I’ve listed the two points that interest me the most at the top but otherwise this is exactly from the article. I have also included the URL below for those who’d like to read the entire piece.

1. Obsession about majors. Many schools encourage students to declare majors right when they come in. Many parents discourage students from considering majors in which there isn’t a clear path to a high-paying (or, at least, some kind of) job. And many students think it’s a point of special pride to do a double (or sometimes even triple) major. Not to mention picking up a minor or two on the side.   

2. Longer time to degree. The four-year college degree has largely faded, despite much hue and cry: Today, five, six, or even seven years is more common. Some reasons: more onerous requirements, bad advising, students working while at college, and students taking more semesters off. But the gravy train might be coming to an end: States are beginning to place caps on the number of semesters students can attend while paying in-state tuition. Hey, times are tough everywhere (especially in California and in Florida).

3. Community college explosion. Community colleges are flourishing, with new ones sprouting up all over the place. Indeed, more than 40 percent of U.S. college students now are enrolled at community (or junior or two-year) colleges. As before, community colleges are attracting students who are interested in getting associate degrees or some college experience before transferring to four-year colleges. But in a new twist, some students at four-year colleges now are picking up courses at community colleges from time to time–when they want to be closer to home, need less expensive credits, want to take classes with a professor rather than a TA, or can’t get into classes they need at their own school.

4. New online opportunities. In addition to distance-learning institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, and Devry University, a number of big-name schools have put up selected courses at free, “opencourseware” sites. This is something great: top-notch professors in your own living room at no charge! Check out (for Yale University), (for MIT), (for UC-Berkeley), and (for a general, worldwide directory).  


17 Ways College Campuses Are Changing

If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them.  Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.

 Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors


College Tuition Hikes and What to Do

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Parents or guardians with students who plan to join Florida Prepaid College Plans (which I highly advocate) or get a Bright Futures Scholarship should read this:

An overview:
With universities warning of dire budget problems, the Florida Senate overwhelmingly approved a plan that could give universities the green light to raise tuition by an additional 7 percent, for a total of 15 percent.
Now the House approved it too and it’s being sent to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is expected to sign it into law.
Senate Bill 762 (SB 762) allows all 11 state universities to charge a tuition differential, or supplement, which is a power previously awarded to the University of Florida, Florida State, South Florida, Central Florida and Florida International.
What will happen if they pass this bill?
Bright Futures won’t be so bright next year for Florida’s top university undergraduates, who are likely to be paying a greater percentage of their tuition costs.
The latest budget offer keeps the Bright Futures scholarships at current-year levels and does not increase the funding to match even the base increase tuition of 8 percent likely to be approved this session.  This means 
scholarship recipients will have to pick up the extra tab. The Bright Futures’ scholarship fund is funded by Lottery proceeds and currently allows many students to pay little or no tuition at state universities.
The additional increases for the Prepaid Florida Plan — known as “differential” increases — would not apply to students who attended universities before July 1, 2007. Also, they would not apply to families who had Florida Prepaid contracts before that date.  However, they will raise the prices greatly for parents who want to join in the next enrollment period.  

What can parents and guardians do?
Let the Governor know that you think this is a bad idea. Tuition could nearly double within five years for those with teenagers, and more than double for those with toddlers. 
We voted for them. Now it’s time for them to support us.  They need to find another way to cover Florida´s budget shortfalls so our kids will be able to go to college.
Our kids are our future. Tell Governor Charlie Christ to vote NO on the college tuition hike bill.
For parents and guardians who are not invested in the Florida Prepaid College Plan, even if they raise the costs, it is probably worth it.  Who knows what the economic picture will be in the future and anyone who buys a prepaid plan has a contract with the state of Florida, so your payments will be locked in from the time you sign up, and the state must foot the bill for college regardless of future financial conditions.  You can enroll now in Florida Prepaid but are subject to prices effective October 2009.  These have not been made public yet.  

For information, go to or call 800-552-4723.


Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors 

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

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