Seniors, you are now in a position to “drive” your final college decision. What avenues will you take to choose the best possible educational setting for yourself for the next four years? Read what Brennan Barnard, the director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, NH has to say.
Here is a great article pulled from my archives, written by Lily Altavena that addresses the dilemma of being waitlisted. How should you respond and what should you do? The advice in this article certainly rings true…..
Frank Bruni of the New York Times speaks “frankly” and honestly about the state of college admissions, offering a perspective we all need to take to heart. And yes, there can be a happy ending….
Are you and your child planning college visits during February break or in the spring? Read this article for help with your search:
Many of the students I have worked with in my consulting practice have participated in language and cultural immersion experiences over the summer in such countries as Spain, France, Israel, and Costa Rica. When I hear stories about their travels, I often recall my own time as a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where I spent my junior year abroad many years ago. But, as they say, that was then…and this is now. So I wondered, what would it be like for me, at my current age…let’s just say that I’m well past 18 and 20…, to immerse myself in the language and culture of another country? Fortunately, an opportunity recently arose to do just that!
Just over a year ago, my son and daughter-in-law, Daniel and Jessica, made the decision to move to Costa Rica. There they interned at Rancho Mastatal, located in a town with a population of just 100! Daniel and Jessica lived on a beautiful ranch, but in rather basic conditions; they learned about the importance of farming, and preserving the land, resources, and environment of the country.
After a year of hard and rewarding work at Rancho Mastatal, they decided to look for a permanent home in Costa Rica, and to strengthen their Spanish language skills for their new life. Daniel learned that Guatemala is known for its Spanish language schools and that Guatemala offers an affordable immersion experience for people of all ages. It wasn’t long after Daniel and Jessica decided to spend two months studying at a Spanish language school that I decided to join them: not for two months, but for two weeks.
We began our adventure in early January, in the second largest city in Guatemala called Quetzaltenango, which means “the place of the Quetzal. ” A quetzal is a beautiful bird native to Guatemala. Our school was known as “El Quetzal Spanish School” http://www.elquetzalspanish.com, and was located in the heart of the city.
Quetzaltenango is a lovely old city with narrow stone streets and sidewalks where you needed to walk lest you are hit by drivers who do not slow down for anyone! The main mode of transportation was “chicken busses,” brightly colored, old American school busses packed with locals, many of whom were young women with babies and children. I was a short walk from the “Parque Central” which was surrounded by a large church, businesses, street vendors, an open-air market, cafes, and restaurants. Not many Americans were visiting Quetzaltenango in January, the coldest month of the year with temperatures only in the 30’s at night, but 60’s by mid-afternoon. City life was another opportunity for Daniel, Jessica, and me to converse in Spanish, with one another (Daniel’s rule – no Ingles!) and local shopkeepers and business owners. It is common practice to greet others you meet on the street with “buenos dias” or “buenas tardes” depending upon the time of day. I wondered how that would go over here in the US, greeting and smiling at total strangers.
Each of us lived with a local family who spoke almost no English. I was fortunate to be placed in a lovely home, owned by a widow named Maria. She lived with her grown son Adolfo, her housekeeper/cook, also named Maria, and her thirteen-year-old son, Luis. I had my own bedroom and easy access to the kitchen, where I was served three delicious, Guatemalan-fare meals each day. It was around the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table that I had the best opportunities to comprehend and speak Spanish with my new family.
The first night I was at my new home, it took a few times for me to understand that if I wanted a hot shower, I had to ask that the furnace be turned on, as that is the way water is heated. None of the homes in Quetzaltenango had heat or regularly running hot water! Dishes and clothing were washed outside on a large patio in a big sink and clothing was hung to dry. Although washing machines and dryers exist in Guatemala, only the wealthiest citizens can afford them.
Each day I rose at 7:00 AM, had breakfast at 7:30, and was off to school by 8:00 AM. I studied with my own teacher, as El Quetzal Spanish School offers one-on-one instruction and only enrolls up to 10 students on any given week. Students can start at any time of the year and stay from one week to as long as they wish. My teacher, Lucky, taught me many tenses for both regular and irregular verbs, as well as grammar and, of course, conversational Spanish! We often spoke about politics, weather, activities offered by the school, and our families. In addition to my instruction, there were interactive games with the other students, creating posters, cooking once/week with lunch after class, after school and weekend trips including community service opportunities, homework and exams! I was truly a student again and I loved it!
The very first day I spent at El Quetzal, I was asked to teach a one-hour English class to three girls, ages 10, 11, and 12. Despite my lack of Spanish, we were able to communicate quite well, and the girls enjoyed learning parts of the body via the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” During the second week of class we worked on the song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” I did not imagine that I would be teaching English in Guatemala, but it was one of the highlights of my trip!
Like my US students, my eyes were opened to another way of life, alike, and yet distant from my own. Guatemala is a beautiful country with many mountainous regions, lakes, quaint cities, and historic sites. Shops are filled with colorful clothing and household décor, a reflection of the Mayan heritage of the area. Catholicism is the predominant religion, interspersed with Mayan traditions, and many beautiful churches with a multitude of religious artifacts abound. My homestay was with a comfortably middle-class family, but most live in poverty and families have up to twelve children. However, Guatemaltecos are a warm and amicable people who value family, traditions, and strong religious beliefs. I encourage others of all ages to consider spending time in Guatemala –enhancing the economy via tourism (there are many beautiful places to visit!), studying Spanish, contributing to education and the local community, and volunteering with children and other worthy projects. I look forward to returning next year to continue my Spanish studies and to learn more about this hospitable country!
Students with Autism are populating college campuses. What kinds of programs are available to them and what are their successes and challenges?
Did you ever wonder what advice college admissions professionals share with their own children? Well, now you can read some excellent insight from admissions officers from around the country:
What public university has become the “hot” new go-to school? University of Alabama strives to be like U Michigan and U Virginia as it lures top, out-of-state students to its bucolic campus.
Every year the cost of college rises, with some private schools entering the $70,000 a year level! Where are all these additional fees coming from?
Here is a list of a number of webinars to come in December and January to help families with understanding financial aid. See the webinar to be given on December 15th with a line-by-line demo of how to fill out the FAFSA! http://fsaregistration.ed.gov/events/fsa-webinar-series/event-summary-521b46f4703846a9b6f9bff8169d73af.aspx