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"Independent Education Consultants, Guidance Counselors and the Electronic Application."

Allen Millett
Director of University Relations, CollegeLink.com

Wednesday, December 1, Noon EST

Welcome to washingtonpost.com's E-Campus Discussion Lounge. This is the place to meet experts in the field of education from our sponsoring institutions who address your needs by providing useful and timely information on a variety of education-related topics.

Al Millett has been encamped at CollegeLink.com for the past 7 years, where his role has been liaison between CollegeLink.com and the college participants (currently 1000 participating colleges and growing). From his experience, Al sits squarely between the colleges, students and counselors and has gained much insight into each of those groups as it pertains to the application process.

Leslie S. Goldberg, M.Ed. is an educational consultant and Certified Educational Planner and is also certified as a guidance counselor in the state of Massachusetts. She has helped students find appropriate schools and colleges in her private practice in Hingham, MA, for 13 years and was nominated for Counselor of the Year for the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.


washingtonpost.com Advertising: Welcome to another E-Campus discussion with Allen Millett. Allen's special guest today is Leslie Goldberg. Al and Leslie, thank you for joining us. For those who weren't with us last week we'll ask Al to get us started by explaining how a student can apply to college electronically.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: am Thanks again. The electronic application process today is easier and faster than doing paper forms that have been done in the past. With CollegeLink you can complete a single biographical form and choose the colleges you want to apply, answer their unique guestions then send the file electronically back to CollegeLink. We then will send a replica application back to the student either as a PDF file via e-mail or by paper. The student then signs the form and sends off to the college. We currently have 1000 colleges that participate with us today.

washingtonpost.com Advertising: Leslie, as an advisor and counselor, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the electronic application?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg What would we do without electronic applications? No one can even find a typewriter these days, and the process is made so simple by using a computer. The online applications (sent directly to the colleges without review) are a little riskier, because we all make typos, and by using a system like CollegeLink the student and consultant can easily review for errors. Of course there are other electronic applications as well.

Alexandria, VA: My wife has been taking classes for years and desperately wants her degree. At 29 she has decided that interior design is her calling. The problem is the nearest accredited program is at the University of Richmond, a long haul from our apartment near Old Town Alexandria. Also, most of her credits do not apply to this program. At this point she is feeling like she should add up all credits and figure out the shortest point to a degree -she has somewhere around 110 credit hours-.
I suggested that we send an email to guidance counselors a colleges asking them for advice. We have electronic copies of her transcripts that we could scan and attach to the email in hope that the counselors could take the time to review her situation and make an informed recommendation. Is this out of line for us to do? Is this within the scope of what a guidance counselor's job should be? Would it be more appropriate to simply request information about specific programs the university offers?
When I went through school I had a checklist of required classes to achieve my degree. Our best case scenario would be for a counselor to look at the credits my wife has, assess which program she has the most credits for, and send us a checklist for that program so we can start planning her upcoming semesters -and registration at that school-.
This is a very important issue in our lives and any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much,
Dan Breckenridge

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Dan, one thing you need to know is that the folks you might contact at the colleges are the admissions counselors, and specifically those in transfer admission. If this doesn't pan out you could call an educational consultant in your area (the Independent Educational Consultants Association has a list. They can be reached at (800)808-IECA.)

Alexandria,VA: Will applying this way increase my chances of acceptance? How?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg The students profile wouldn't change, but the ease with which an admissions counselor can read your application is certainly enhanced. A messy application will negatively affect your chances.

Great Falls, Virginia: My question is about transfering. What are the most important factors I should weigh to help me decide if it's in my best interests - what tips can you provide that would help me do it successfully. One more thing - my college GPA is better than my high school GPA. How much of a plus is that.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg The reasons for considering a transfer a many, and specific to each student's situation. If you have an associate degree your high school record most likely will not be considered; however if you have less than 30 credits it most likely will. Each transfer officer at the various college and universities is a little different, so you need to either work with an educational consultant or call each of the colleges yourself. Ask for the transfer admissions officer.

Springfield, VA: What about submitting additional materials, such as newspaper clippings, along with the electronic application? Some larger universities say everything must be submitted at once.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: am With CollegeLink you receive back the replica applications for signature so you can include any information you want to supply the colleges. Sending a complete package is very important. The more compete the early the applcation and your file will be reviewed.

Bowie, MD: I am curious as to how receptive colleges are to use your service? I thought the application process gave the student opportunties to see the college.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: am The choice of which colleges you are applying to should be after you visit each of those schools. The colleges that participate with CollegeLink support our process because it makes their process easier. We can give them the file electronically and they also receive a paper copy with the student signature. We also promote that the application
should be complete.

lsg The college selection process is one of the most important decisions students will make. You wouldn't buy a car without seeing it, and this certainly a bigger lifetime decision than a car! Please take the time to make this a process, not a snap decision. If working with a consultant is appropriate, the consultant has travelled to most of the campuses in this country, and will have an up-to-date idea of how to match you with the setting where you will thrive.

Gaithersburg,MD: Application fees can add up, especially when applying to several universities - as you stated last time, the average is about 5.5 per student-. Can these fees be waived?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: The fees for applications to the colleges can be waived if the school's guidance counselor agrees that the fee waiver is appropriate and signs off on it.

Philadelphia, PA: Ms. Goldberg,
When you counsel an individual on choosing a college what do you suggest they focus on?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Students of course need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, their profile with regard to G.P.A., standardized test scores, leadership postions, extracurricular activities and athletics, honors, etc. My feeling is that you can still have a perfect match statistically, but the student can still be unhappy. Students will be most successful where they are happy and involved, so a lot of thought has to go into matching the personality, interests, values, and comfort level of the student. This is where professional help comes in if the guidance counselor either doesn't know the student well, or hasn't visited many colleges.

Arlington, VA: I am currently taking college courses in the evening and have been for the past 10 years. Once I graduate I want to attend grad school,do you think that I will be nixed because it took me so long to finish undergrad?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Absolutely not! Grad schools know that non-traditional student make very strong candidates, assuming you did well over those years.

Mc Lean: Hello I'm a student at a private high school. Will my record be viewed differently than that of a public school student?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Your transcript will be accompanied by a school profile, which will explain that your school is independent, and information about how many go on to four year colleges, what the grade distribution looks like, how many AP courses are offered, etc. Some colleges have specific admissions counselors who only deal with the private schools, and others work geographically. You will also be compared with those other students who are applying from your school.

Monterrey, Mexico: How much weight do graduate school admissions officers give to undergraduate GPA compared to work experience?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg I guess the only way I can answer this is to say that it depends on which colege and which major you are talking about. For business schools, the work experience is very important, for expamle, but so is the GPA!

Silver Spring, Maryland: Allen and Leslie, just how important are SAT scores?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Once again, the answer is that it depends on where you are applying. There are now a number of colleges that do not require the SAT 1; however they might require the SAT 2 and/or the ACT. There are others that do not require any standardized testing. You need to consider each individually since there is no blanket answer.

Saddle River, NJ: Does CollegeLink offer this service for students applying to secondary schools as well?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: am Not as of today. We are thinking about this for future years. Also grad schools should be added for this coming year. Watch for info on our web site...www.collegelink.com.

Wooster, OH: What is your opinion of scholarship search services?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: am My own feeling is I would use an educational service or consultant first. I have heard mixed feeling about search services...I'd like to sit face to face with a consultant.

lsg There is a lot of free advice at major public libraries and in your guidance office. It just takes a lot of digging, though, and if you are using someone who only does financial aid make sure they were a financial aid officer at a college first.

Chicago, Illinois: Does work experience add anything to the value of a law schol applicant?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Of course work experience can add to the student's profile, but grades and test scores must be strong as well.

Fairfax,Va: How important do you feel the campuus visit is in the process? Also what's the best way to approach it in order to get the most out of it? Thank you.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg The campus visit is probably the most important aspect of the college admissions process. You should try to visit when the students are on campus if possible (not during the summer unless you go back) and plan on seeing no more than two campuses in one day. It can be very overwhelming. Plan on an interview if they are available, and assume about 2-3 hours per visit. We could write a book about this now, but there isn't the time! Feel free to call me or another consultant for more information or read one of the many books on the market on this subject!

Silver Spring, MD: Recently married and applying to grad schools. I've heard night school could be hell if you'e not single. Any advice for the non-bachelor types on taking out loans versus paying your way through grad school?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg I did my own graduate work with three children and a husband! I suggest you look into the possibility of a graduate assistantship which might help pay for your courses and give you experience at the same time. There is never a perfect time, except when your desire and motivation will take you through the difficult days, and a supportive spouse will help as well!

arlington, va: I am thinking of attending grad school and I am concerned about the Gmat's. WHich schools are more concerned with scores over interviews and essays? I am a strong writer and I feel that I could be a strong candidate for grad school but I am worried that I will not do well with the GMAT.

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg It is really inappropriate for me to discuss names of colleges in this format, but you can get a guide and call each institution, or engage the services of a consultant.

dc: what direction can you provide regarding scholarship money...what's the best way to learn what's available?

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Please refer to the other question about scholarship money. You can also search the net, but be very careful: anyone asking for money to do scholarship work should be considered with caution. (It sounds like an oxymoron, actually!)

Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg: lsg Thanks for your thoughtful questions. We hope you had the opportunity to learn not only from your own answers but those written for others. If you would like more information about our educational consulting services you can call (800)696-5684, and we will be happy to send you information or answer a brief question for you.

am Leslie, thank you again for being with us today. Our next session will be on Thursday the 9th of Dec. If you have any questions about ColleegLink, please don't hesitate to call us at 800-394-0404. See you next week.

washingtonpost.com Advertising: Our thanks to Allen Millett and Leslie Goldberg. Join us for another discussion with Allen on December 9. Our E-Campus talks resume on Friday at 1 p.m. EST when our guest will be the Dean of American University's School of Public Affairs, Walter Broadnax, discussing careers in public service. Thanks and join us then.

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