Professional college counselors guide students effectively throughout the college application process. Beginning as early as high school, a college counselor helps build a collegiate profile, assists with class selections, encourages effective community service, study abroad experiences, and extracurricular activities. The college application process can be complex; having a strong college counselor to guide you through it alleviates stress and ensures both short and long term success.

It is never too early or too late to meet a college counselor! Ideally, at Growing Minds we meet with our students before or during their freshman year of high school, and then check in periodically throughout a student’s academic career; however, we understand that various financial, academic, social, and community service obligations do not always permit families to consult with a college counselor at the outset of a student’s high school career, and we accommodate each family accordingly.

The vast majority of colleges require that students take either the SAT or the ACT. However, there are colleges that are SAT/ACT-optional, meaning that you can decide whether or not to submit standardized test scores. For test-optional colleges, students should evaluate each college individually and only submit scores if those scores will have a positive impact. 

The standardized testing requirement is an ever-evolving one. More and more colleges are talking about removing the testing requirement, based on the philosophy that it is not correlated with college success. Additionally, COVID-19 is clearly impacting on the  standardized testing process. Because this is uncharted territory, we recommend signing up to take either the SAT or ACT and taking it as soon as it becomes available, with or without writing.

The SAT and ACT are standardized tests that are used in the college admissions process. They are both weighted equally by colleges, so there is no advantage to taking one over the other. Students are only required to submit one of these tests, either the SAT or ACT. Each student should determine which test is more tailored towards their individual strengths and weaknesses. At Growing Minds, we have created an SAT/ACT Assessment that is designed to help students make that determination.

Yes! Some colleges will ask for a “seventh semester transcript” which means that they require your first semester senior grades before processing the application. Even if admitted through an ED or an EA, which technically admits a student prior to official senior grades, each college is admitting the student based on a conditional promise of an expected grade point average.

The answer to this question varies from student to student. Generally speaking, at Growing Minds we recommend that each student apply to five “reach, ” five “target,” and five “backup” schools.

Visiting a college campus is an ideal opportunity to really absorb the university environment. It can help students identify general college preferences, such as size, location and setting, while also pinpointing specific connections to a given college campus.

At Growing Minds, we provide a list of various community service opportunities based on individual interests and strengths. We update our list regularly and remain connected with various organizations both locally and abroad.

At Growing Minds, we recommend students reach out to teachers at the end of their junior year of high school for letters of recommendation. The number of letters required varies based on the university and major to which the student is applying. Generally speaking, at Growing Minds we suggest that students have two letters of recommendation (from high school teachers) and an additional letter of recommendation from an employer or mentor.

Early Decision: If a student is admitted, he/she is contractually obligated to attend and is required to inform all other colleges/universities of the acceptance. The benefits of applying Early Decision is that students will hear back from the selected college before January 1st.
Early Decision II: If a student is not admitted to his/her ED school and wishes to commit to another school, he/she can do so with the same binding contractual obligations as Early Decision. This application is typically due Jan 1st
Early Action: Many colleges offer an Early Application period, somewhat like a first-round, where students can apply if all of their materials are ready to submit. Typically, the Early Action deadline is November 1st, but it does vary from college to college. Students can apply Early Action to as many colleges as they wish, and students are NOT obligated to attend if admitted to any of them. The benefits of applying early action is that students will hear back from those colleges before January 1st, rather than having to wait until March/April for admissions decisions.
Restricted Early Action or Single Choice Early Action: Some colleges offer this application option. It is similar to Early Action, except a student may ONLY apply to this ONE school early. The rest of a student’s applications must be submitted Regular Decision (see below). If admitted under this application type, students are NOT obligated to attend.
Regular Decision: Every college offers a Regular Decision application period. This is when all application materials are due approximately January 1st (each college has a specific deadline for regular decision applications, and students should be aware of that date for each college they are applying to).
Rolling Admissions: There are colleges that accept applications on a rolling basis and respond within a two-week period, assuming that all supplementary documentation is received and processed.

At Growing Minds, we take each student’s individual experiences and academic journey into account before assisting with essay drafting. The requirements of a high school student’s personal statement differs profoundly from that of a transfer student, which, in turn, differs from that of a graduate student. Regardless of the requirements, we ensure that each essay has an element of creativity and individuality that allows him/her to shine. It is imperative that the personal statement not be an objective piece or a platform upon which to repeat a resume, but rather a creative outlet that conveys a subjective lens into the student’s personality, activism, creativity, and collaborative spirit.