The College Workout

Rejection Hurts - Helping Your Senior Deal With It

Amy Jasper Friday, February 28, 2014

Rejection is never a good feeling. Many teens get their first big taste of it when college admissions decisions begin rolling in. As adults we know that there is indeed life after rejection, so it is very important to help impart that perspective to your son or daughter and not spiral into despair with them. What to do when the news isn't good:

  • Let your teen be sad and disappointed. It hurts to put your all into a college, only for them to say “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • Don’t let the sadness linger. Dwelling on the negative is never helpful. Move-on to Plan B.
  • Focus on and celebrate acceptances. 
  • Revisit schools; compare programs, financial aid, scholarships, and other key factors. Make an informed decision and embrace it.
  • If more options are needed, there are schools that still accept applications in March and April.
  • Deposit at the school of choice by May 1st and be excited about it.
  • Celebrate again! Be proud! Your kid is going to college!

College Fun Fact #1

Amy Jasper Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Did you know....

The largest public university in the United States is Arizona State University with a total student population of 73,378 with 80.9% being undergraduates.

The largest private university is New York University. NYU has a total of 50,917 students with 19,401 of them being undergraduates. 

A Taste of VA Private Colleges

Amy Jasper Monday, February 24, 2014

Southwest Virginia is a beautiful corner of the state that boasts several private colleges. They represent a diverse collection of small colleges, each having a great deal to offer.  I was fortunate to experience them first hand as I toured several in that area. Here's a snapshot of my visits...

 An excellent mass communications program at Emory & Henry gives students a rich media experience not found at many larger programs. Washington and Lee is the only top tier liberal arts college to have a nationally accredited commerce school, the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. They also have a speaking (as in saying hello to everyone you pass) tradition on campus. The Batten Leadership Institute at Hollins University prepares young women to deeply explore their own leadership potential. Hollins also has a national powerhouse riding program. Roanoke College has a unique and dynamic core curriculum and close faculty student relationships that all students speak of proudly. Ferrum College is a close-knit family like community with several opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and is one of only two schools in Virginia with a horticulture major (the other is VA Tech). The Jefferson College of Health Sciences offers a BS in Emergency Services with two possible degree tracks: the Paramedic/Firefighter Track and the Paramedic/Critical Care Track. Of course these schools have more many attributes then I have mentioned. Click on their websites for more information. 

 As this small sampling proves, there are colleges to meet the various interests, priorities and goals of college bound students. This year I will continue to visit colleges across the nation. Look for College Spotlights in future newsletters and here in The College Workout. 

SCAD - The University for Creative Ideas

Amy Jasper Monday, September 02, 2013

What happens when you mix modern aspiring creative professionals with one of the South’s most historic and beautiful cities? That would be Savannah College of Art and Design. SCAD offers a full university experience (numerous student organizations and championship intercollegiate and intramural sports program including a world class equestrian facility) in a charming and renowned historic district abundant with parks. Savannah is also nicely situated near the beaches of Georgia and South Carolina.

When I approached the admissions office (above picture) the beauty of the building itself was stunning and a clear introduction to the schools commitment to historic preservation  - nearly 70 SCAD facilities, encompassing more than 2 million square feet, are woven into the fabric of Savannah's National Historic Landmark districts, one of our nation’s largest.  When I entered, I was surrounded by interesting artwork, eye-catching fashions, unique furniture, and movie quality animations. Not your typical college admissions office décor and SCAD is far from your typical college. Offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university, SCAD successfully prepares talented students for creative careers through programs and signature events such as shopSCAD, Working Class Studio, the Sidewalk Arts Festival, SCAD Style, the annual SCAD Fashion Show, the Savannah Film Festival, and the award winning SCAD Museum of Art.

Founded in 1978, the school set out “to prepare talented students for professional careers, emphasizing learning through individual attention in a positively oriented university environment. The goal of the university is to nurture and cultivate the unique qualities of each student through an interesting curriculum, in an inspiring environment, under the leadership of involved professors.” (SCAD Mission Statement). Thirty-five years later, SCAD is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit arts university in the nation, awarding degrees (BA, BFA, MA, MFA) in more than 40 areas of study. Examples of majors and minors include animation, accessory design, equestrian studies,  fashion marketing, photography, and urban design. Campuses are located in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste. SCAD prides itself not only in giving students an excellent arts education, but also effective career preparation. Yes, one can create and also pay the bills.

Curious if the art school experience is a fit for you or your student? SCAD Summer Seminars are weeklong workshops for high school students giving them the opportunity to gain a valuable educational experience while developing their creative vision. For the more focused art student, they offer a five-week summer program for rising seniors to enroll in two college-level classes and have the opportunity to build or enhance their visual arts portfolios.

SCAD helps students master the fundamentals of their field through a core curriculum of foundation studies and general education courses that teach skills necessary for success at SCAD and beyond. Undergraduate portfolios, auditions, writing and riding submissions are not required for admission but are accepted from applicants who wish to be considered for achievement scholarships.

Social Media - It's a Small World After All

Amy Jasper Monday, September 02, 2013

Social media has made ‘it’s a small world’ far more then a figure of speech or a ride at Disney World. Many colleges have ways for prospective students to be connected to their potential schools by FB, Twitter, blogs, and various other mediums. Whether you are a senior preparing to apply to colleges or a 9th, 10th, or 11th grader, you need to be keenly aware of your online presence. A great rule to follow is: only post pictures, videos, or comments online that you would not be embarrassed to show your grandmother or have plastered on a bill board on I-95. Apply this to all sites that you participate – FB, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. Also create an email address that is basic and professional. Applying to one’s dream school with the email address or is not a good look. It is a fact that some colleges and employers do indeed Google applicants or checkout their FB page. How many? We’ll never truly know… but better safe than sorry.

Financial Aid 411

Amy Jasper Tuesday, January 15, 2013

                                    Financial Aid 411

Cringing at the thought of paying for your child's college education? Often times even the best laid out plan, 529, or other savings, is not enough to cover all the costs.

The financial aid process is a different experience from one family to the next. Here are some key things to remember as you embark upon this sometimes overwhelming journey.

  1. Start planning early. Explore tuition and total costs of prospective colleges. Complete Net Price Calculator's to get approximations on what the cost may be for you.

  2. Go to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website and apply for a PIN. It is necessary to file online.

  3. File your taxes as early as possible. The earlier the better as many colleges and universities have financial aid deadlines on or before March 1st.
  4. You may be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This allows the FAFSA to electronically retrieve needed information directly from your tax forms.
  5. Several colleges also require the CSS Profile form to be completed in order to receive non-federal financial aid. Visit
  6. Apply for financial aid whether you think you qualify or not. Many scholarships that are based on merit still require that you complete the FAFSA.
  7. Consider all avenues for scholarship and grant monies. Check with your employer, your social organizations, your place of worship, etc.
  8. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Check with your child's school for financial aid workshops or special days designated to assist families with the process.

Beware of financial aid scams. There is never a fee to file the FAFSA. The CSS Profile has a $25 fee (waivers can be applied). Never pay for a scholarship or financial aid service. More helpful information can be found at

Goucher College - Creating Global Citizens

Amy Jasper Monday, January 14, 2013

Location. Location. Location. Goucher College definitely has a location that is appealing to a variety of people. It sits on 300 beautiful sprawling acres yet is only 8 miles from downtown Baltimore. It is walking distance from Trader Joes, Barnes and Noble, and a mall that Macy’s, Apple, and many other stores call home. 

Though not Quaker, Goucher values the Quaker ideals of equity, and justice; and students and professors are all on a first name basis.  Goucher has an innovative multidisciplinary approach to the liberal arts tradition. In 2006 it became the first college in the nation to make study abroad a requirement for all undergraduate degrees. Classroom learning is discussion based with International Studies, Psychology, and Education among its most popular majors. The college also has non-traditional majors such as Peace Studies as well as Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Symbolic of the very essence of Goucher is the landmark Athenaeum. It crosses boundaries, creates harmony, and is LEED Gold certified. This striking building takes mixed used space to a new level. It houses the library, computer commons, amphitheater, art gallery, a cardio-fitness loft (what better way to break-up a late night of studying then hopping on the treadmill), a gourmet café, and the Community Service and Multicultural Affairs Center. It is in the center of the very residential walking campus and serves as its hub. Goucher’s 1,500 students are involved, happy global citizens.
FOr a change of pace they can take courses at Johns Hopkins, UMBC, Loyola, or Towson. All of which are within 15 minutes and a free shuttle ride away. Students speak of how good the food is and how vast the options are. There is a kosher dining hall, a coffee house, and all night dining options as well a more traditional cafeteria.

Goucher has 18 Division III intercollegiate sports and a highly successful Division I indoor and outdoor equestrian program that finished 7th in the country last year.

Goucher admissions process is test-optional. Of admitted students who submitted their scores, the average SAT range was 1030-1270 and the average ACT range was 23-28. The average GPA was a 3.1. It is one of the schools featured in Loren Pope's "Colleges That Change Lives" (CTCL). Find out more about Goucher at and

What to Do With Those PSAT Scores From Last Month

Amy Jasper Monday, January 14, 2013

What To Do With Those PSAT Scores From Last Month…

By: Beth Harrison - Owner and Primary Consultant, Prep for Success 

Let’s start with the facts- what is this PSAT/NMSQT really?

  • A shorter, slightly easier practice SAT
  • Offered in schools in October to Juniors, Sophomores and even some Freshmen
  • Scores are not sent to colleges, and do not affect admission, but schools can buy lists from the College Board based on certain score criteria, which is why you may see an uptick in mail/email from schools.
  • Comprised of the same multiple choice Critical Reading, Math, and Writing questions the SAT does but does NOT have the written essay that the SAT does
  • The PSAT is considerably shorter than the SAT. The SAT has 10 Sections: 3 Critical Reading, 3 Math, 2 Writing, 1 Essay, and 1 Experimental Section. This adds up to 3 hours and 45 minutes of testing. The PSAT has only 5 Sections: 2 Critical Reading, 2 Math, and 1 Writing. This adds up to 2 hours and 10 minutes of testing.

For most students, the PSAT is nothing more than a practice test that provides an occasion to learn about the SAT- what it will look like and how they might perform if they were to take the SAT. For a few students, the PSAT is a larger opportunity. The second half of the acronym PSAT/NMSQT stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT is used as a qualifier for several scholarships, the two most prominent being the National Merit Scholarship and the National Achievement Scholarship.

While some great changes were made in 2010 to the way the College Board reported PSAT scores to make the data more accessible, it still may be daunting to decipher or to know what to do with the data from here. For juniors, now is the time to begin preparing for the SAT. Use this report to review the questions you missed and to inform your study plans. If you’re already doing well in some sections, don’t ignore them- these may be your best opportunities to see score increases. If you’re not achieving scores as high as you’d like, start studying now!

For more information on PSATs, SATs or the ACT, or to register for a PSAT Review Session, please contact Prep for Success by email at

PSAT Review Sessions are 3.5 hour long sessions that review questions from the actual exam and offer students strategies to improve their scores.

Saturday, January 19th 9:00am – 12:30pm

Happy New Year Seniors!

Amy Jasper Monday, January 14, 2013

Right now there are two kinds of college bound seniors. One has already been accepted into the school of their choice and has decided to attend. The other is still applying to colleges. Both are perfectly fine positions to be in but require different plans of action. The following steps in these winter months will keep you on track for a happy spring.

 Seniors Who Can Kiss the Admissions Process Goodbye:

  • Congratulate yourself on a job well done!
  • Say Thank You – Remember you did not get to this point on your own. Thank those who supported you in this process, wrote letters, proofread, paid for application fees, took you on college visits, etc.
  • Apply for Financial Aid - Complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.
  • If you were admitted under binding ED, be sure to withdraw your applications from other schools.                                                  

 Seniors in the Homestretch of the Process:

  • Be sure to adhere to deadlines, as many are January 15th or February 1st.
  • Don’t let your energy fade. Put as much into these last applications as you did others.
  • Give your college list a final review. Think of admission decision worse case scenarios and be certain you have choices you can be happy with.
  • Apply for Financial Aid - Complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.
  • Be patient... it's a virtue.

Campus Spotlight: The College of William & Mary

Amy Jasper Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Sean, a junior from Long Island, began talking about his major in Neuroscience and his Biology/Chemistry minor, it was clear that he fit a stereotype of the William & Mary student. When he passionately spoke about his neuro-degenerative lab research on Huntington's Disease, there was no doubt that this was a brainy (no pun intended) kid who loved to learn. However it was when he began talking about his non-academic passions: collecting food from local restaurants at night to be used to feed the hungry, cheering on the Tribe football team with a painted face, or playing a mean game of ultimate Frisbee with his hall mates, it became evident that his experience reached far beyond the classroom and included a great deal of fun.

Self-described as being "Smart, Fun, and Diverse," William & Mary seems to live up to all three descriptors. There is an intellectual culture that not only promotes classroom learning but also the application of thoughts, ideas, and passions to other dimensions of the college experience. Hundreds of student clubs and organizations (including an alive and well Greek system) offer a multitude of options for social and/or active fun, service, and activism. This is a place where students that represent a variety of life experiences and ideas are celebrated and contribute to the diverse fabric of the school.

As a college that prides itself in being the second oldest in the country, the alma mater of four US presidents dating back to Thomas Jefferson, and the home of numerous firsts, William and Mary is very much a part of the here and now. They value a worldview, so much so that among Virginia state schools it has the highest percent of students who study abroad. Students are involved in cutting edge research and learning opportunities, faculty accessibility is a reality, and a passion for learning is a must. Students are encouraged to explore the curriculum, and in true liberal arts fashion, writing exist regardless of the subject.

William and Mary is a state school, in Williamsburg, Virginia. It accepts the Common Application with two supplemental essays. Admission is competitive. 80% of admitted students with a class rank are in the top 10% of their class. The middle 50% range for the SAT (CR+M) is 1240-1450. The middle range for the ACT is 28-32.


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