2020 has brought many changes to the college admissions process. Join us Tuesday, August 18 at 5pm or Thursday, August 27 at 5pm as we give you the most up to date information on testing and admissions requirements as well as discuss the new timeline for applying to college.

Topics will include: SAT and ACT testing, high school grades, college requirements, extracurricular activities, GAP year options, remote learning, student recruitment, and financial incentives.

Participants will be able to ask their questions about college admissions and get advice from Avalon’s Jennifer Williams Taylor, an experienced professional and college admissions counselor.

View the recorded presentation here.


Little Steps to Big Change

by Emily, student blogger

Happy August! To my fellow rising seniors: best of luck with college applications, and may our last year in high school be one without regrets.

As is the case with many of my peers, this summer hasn’t been too hot (pun intended). Motivation, sleep schedules, and productivity levels are practically nonexistent…problems that are quite common every summer, but seem to weigh heavier on us this year. Not to mention the stress caused by the unfamiliar territory that is this year’s college applications and online classes. Simply put, things have been messy and will probably continue to be messy for a while.

But this summer break has given me a lot of space and time to think, long and hard, about what needs to change in my life. I have been coming to terms with a few major problems that I’ve struggled with for a long time but always avoided facing head-on. One: I realized that I had become too fixated on the attractive idea of “productivity,” and it just wasn’t working for me. The more I tried to force more work in less time, the less efficient I ended up being, and it was no longer a healthy or sustainable source of motivation. Two: clinging on to my identity was limiting me from living life as fully as I wanted. My sense of self has always been my rock—it grounds me and influences my thoughts and actions. Without it, I’d feel lost. But the more I clung to it the more my identity boxed me in, and it felt like I had nowhere to expand or grow. Three: I easily get sidetracked and waste too much time on trivial things that only lead to procrastination.

Instead of trying to tackle everything all at once, as I always find myself tending to do, I have been starting small. Every day, I try to remind myself not to get too impatient, and that the change I need requires little but constant bits of effort.

I didn’t write to-do lists for a few weeks, and simply told myself to “do something.” If I only wrote one college essay out of several, I let it go and started over the next day. If I didn’t read a chapter of my summer homework but I cleaned out a desk of accumulated clutter or went for a walk, I counted it as an accomplishment. I’m letting go of my self-definition and encouraging myself to do things just because. I started journaling again to record my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and bucket lists. I watch videos about cooking, or drawing, or screenwriting because I have a passing interest in them. I started notebooks for astrology and music because I’ve been wanting to dive deeper into those subjects for a while. After years of putting it off, I am finally decluttering and organizing all my books, mementos, and other miscellaneous items. I leave my phone in another room when I eat breakfast and start my day, and I try not to check it before I go to sleep. I engage more with my family and friends and try to give more than take, listen to others’ stories rather than share my own. When life gets irritating, overwhelming, or uncomfortable, I try to sit with it or journal or listen to music instead of watching YouTube and scrolling through Pinterest—but I don’t actively restrict myself from indulging once in a while, either.

The results so far? Maybe I can’t finish a research paper or annotate an entire book in one day (yet), but by simply doing without monitoring my progress, I’m able to get into the flow and work more effectively. Completing tasks and chores doesn’t feel as laborious as before; they are things that must be done, and it’s just one step after another until an essay is written or the dishes are washed. Life feels a little brighter, a little less gray. The feeling of doing something because I want to in that moment is so incredibly liberating. Instead of sitting in a garden that has long dried up, I want to surf the waves of life and ride the winds of time. Instead of building a comfortable house of bricks, I want to let the wolf blow it down so I can sleep under the open sky for a while.

This summer, I am relearning that there doesn’t need to be a reason or end result in mind every time we do something. You can do things purely for the joy they bring, and life will find its way to you.

We are not perfect and life is not perfect, and that’s okay. It’s okay that your life isn’t how you thought it would be. It’s okay that you aren’t who you thought you would be. We’re human, and sometimes we need to rest for however long we need. And when we feel ready to stand back up and keep moving at our own pace, all it takes is one little step.

We recently attended the National Conference for Independent Educational Consultants Association – IECA). These are our takeaways from the session on Plan B: When College is not the Immediate Next Step.

Presenters: Nicole Oringer, Founder of Ivy Ed, and Kristin White, educational consultant and author of 2 books – “The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to do Between High School and College”, and “It’s the Student not the College: The Secrets of Succeeding at any School Without Going Broke or Crazy”.

Why Delay College?
– Changes due to Covid
– Online learning
– Financial concerns/value
– Health concerns
– Opportunity to make a social impact – internships/volunteer
– Want/need to develop self awareness (college readiness)
– GAP year
– Studies show GAP year students perform better (better GPA) than non-GAP year
– Many international programs are hoping to run and/or are moving programs to the US or
safer locations
– Do I defer? Questions to ask:
– How will my learning experience be (hybrid, in person, virtual)
– Do I want an internship
– Can I take classes locally
– Bridge programs – live on campus but take Community College classes
– Foundation programs – build language skills before taking regular college classes
– Community College/Online degrees
– VERTO – GAP year experience / college credit w/guaranteed transfer options

We recently attended the National Conference for Independent Educational Consultants Association – IECA). These are our takeaways from the session on high performing high school athletes.

Presenters: Katie Andersen and David Stoeckel, The Student Athlete Advisors

Impact on Recruiting
– Recruiting Calendars have changed temporarily:
– DI – Dead period until July 31, 2020 – No in-person contact on or off campus
– DII – Quiet period until July 31, 2020 – On campus in-person contact allowed
– DIII – Case by case basis
*Coaches may write, call (phone or video), email and text

Campus Closures and Quarantine
– no unofficial/official visits, camps or showcases
– Limited ability for student athletes to evaluate schools and programs
– Coaches rely on recruiting video for initial evaluation

NCAA Eligibility Center
– Student athletes must take SAT or ACT to meet Div I or II requirements (even if the
schools decide to offer test optional admissions)
– check www.eligibilitycenter.org for updates

Spring Sports
– 5th year of athletic eligibility
– NCAA is allowing colleges to offer spring sport athletes a 5th year of athletic
eligibility – this will impact future recruiting classes but will not include Ivies

Advice for Student Athletes
– Contact coaches and send video (even if it’s a year old)
– Keep up your grades
– Take the SAT or ACT – NCAA is still requiring testing for eligibility
– Ask college coaches to put you in touch with current players and attend virtual
admissions meetings if you can’t visit campus
– Ask coaches if there will be financial impact on team budgets
Ideas for inspiring your mind and body during Covid-19

We recently attended the National Conference for Independent Educational Consultants Association – IECA). These are our takeaways from the session on Testing in the Time of Covid -19.

Presenter: Drew Heilpern, Summit Educational Group

These are the current planned testing dates:
– SAT – Aug, Sept, Nov
– ACT – June/July, Sept, Oct, Dec

For regular decision – November and December tests are fine

Students should be prioritizing SAT/ACT over Subject tests

– Maintain a sane and sensible testing plan
– Many students peak on test performance fall of senior year so don’t worry about the
lack of testing junior year
– Colleges are keenly aware of testing challenges & these changes are impacting all
students equally
– Deprioritize subject tests – since June tests were cancelled, colleges are not
expecting to see those scores

Statement from Tulane:
“Whatever your school does, we’ll support it. If you have only Pass/Fail grades in the second semester, we’ll totally understand. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in every single way we can. Go to your online classes, do the best you can, make your presence felt, try your hardest. We’ll notice, trust me.”