“…Once in a while you get shown the light
in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

(I’ve got a 1965 vintage Frank Quilici Topps baseball card I’ll give to the first person who can identify where the above is from – no googling allowed!)

Holy Coronavirus Batman! Hope everyone’s staying healthy and happy, and being smart about all this brouhaha. Although many (most? all?) of you have some time off school for the next couple weeks (at least!), the College Guy perseveres at work during this hiatus in his virus-free Portland office, so if any/all of the following piques your interest and makes you want to know more, email me or phone me at one of the numbers in my signature below.

With most sports, shows, libraries, YMCAs and rock gyms shuttered for the time being, what’s there to do with your time?

Here are some suggestions (in no particular order):

  1. Prep for the SAT/ACTStudents in Maine (and the 11 or so other states that do “in school testing”) are taking the test on April 14th. Everyone else should be planning to take the test on May 2nd or June 6th. Go back and reread my January “College Guy Rant” where I give suggestions for preparing for the test using the free Kahn Academy program. (You can find it on my web page as well – URL in signature below.)Prepping for the SAT on Kahn will also prepare you for the ACT, which I suggest everyone plan to take on June 13th (unless you’re already signed up for the April 4th test administration). This is pretty late-breaking news – the ACT is making BIG CHANGES starting in September (when I’ll suggest you take the test for a second time – scores tend to go up the second time around), including an option to test on-line rather than paper/pencil, AND an option to retake individual sections of the test (rather than the whole shmegegge again) and receive a “superscore”. This is huge – expect SAT to follow shortly with similar changes.

    You can read all about the changes in the ACT here:
    ACT September 2020

    Remember that both the SAT and the ACT are DEEPLY FLAWED tests which don’t measure your smarts or your likelihood for success in college. In fact, in the opinion of the College Guy, they’re terrible tests. HOWEVER, they can be an important factor in determining where you get in and also how much money a college is likely to give you, so think of them as annoying but necessary evils. Take ‘em both (some folks will do better on the SAT, others on the ACT, and colleges will accept either one) twice – once this spring and a second time in the fall.

    So go ahead and budget some of your down time to do some prepping.

    (…and if you’ve not yet linked your Collegeboard account with Kahn Academy to get a customized prep system using data from how you did on the PSATs, here are instructions for how to do it:
    Steps linking Collegeboard and Kahn Academy accounts

  2. Do a resume. Not a bullet pointed, one page professional job the way you’ve been shown. (Note to student: You’re not a professional, so why pretend to be one?). Those of you who’ve met with me have seen examples and templates of 2 – 3 page “chatty”, annotated resumes which say to a college admissions office (as well as to a potential employer, coach, summer program or internship opportunity, scholarship and recommendation writer): “Hey, look me over and you’ll be impressed!!” (albeit in a cool and graceful manner).If you haven’t had the pleasure of my company (what are you waiting for??!!) send me an email or give me a call and I’ll share the examples with you. No charge!
  3. Write your first essay. The seven common application prompts for 2020-21 have been announced, which I shared with you in my February rant (you can read it on my web page: www.collegeplacementservices.org) about essay writing. In that communique I offered to read and critique your draft efforts for no charge, and several eager beaver early birds have actually taken me up on my offer. Some of those attempts were pret-ty pret-ty pret-ty darned good (anyone a Larry David fan?). Don’t be bashful if you want to try your hand and get some feedback from me. I know a good essay when I read one! Share in an email or via google docs, and you’ll hear back from me.
  4. Think about a job AND a volunteer internship for the spring and summer. It’s not to early to start putting out feelers – always include your resume with applications and inquiries – it’s an impressive “calling card”! Remember that colleges like to see that you “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” when it comes to explaining your academic interests.
  5. Research Colleges and work on your college listsAgain, those of you who’ve met with me know about “Top 10 Lists” and “The 4 Step Process”, and hopefully you’re making headway. My clients also know that this ain’t as easy as it seems. Winnowing 6 – 12 colleges you’ll eventually apply to from the 2,400 options (in the US alone – don’t forget Canada!!!!) is a challenge, and if you feel like you haven’t a clue it’s because you’re smart enough to know that there is no right way to do it!!! All that talk you’ll hear and read about ways to “find the right fit” is nonsense. You can find “the right fit” when you’re buying sweaters and jeans and shoes – it’s not so simple for the college process.BUT, you’ve gotta do it, and the College Guy can get you pointed in the right direction and with the proper tools if you want to take the time to talk with me. Read on…

    …which brings me to the last college-related item you should consider during your time off:

  6. Meet with the College Guy!!!!If you email, text or call the College Guy with your questions, comments, concerns, wishes and overall curiosities I’ll respond. Promise. I like helping folks understand the process you’ll undertake over the next year including researching, selecting, applying to and (for parents especially!) paying for college. I also work with students who want help planning gap years. There’s no charge for any of the above, and if you go to my web page (URL in signature below) you’ll see a contact form to request a free consultation I’ll be glad to offer you via Skype, FaceTime, Discord, Zoom or, for you Southern Maine readers, face-to-face at my virus-free office on St. John Street here in Portland.And in the process I’ll tell you what people actually pay me for!

In conclusion, stay safe, enjoy your time in this unprecedented (and very weird) societal slow-down as we do our parts to “flatten the curve” and protect the most vulnerable among us. Read a book, take walks, work out and put a smattering of effort in to the items I’ve listed above. You’ll thank me for it next December when you’re applying to colleges.

Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.

From your health conscious collaborator, your germ-free grammarian, your hand washing honcho, your vaccinated evaluator,

Gary