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By Rabbi Louis Fliegelman, Director of Guidance

I was thrilled to see the launch this week of our college admissions process for juniors and their parents. Some 65 people–including parents and students–joined us Wednesday night for an informative and powerful presentation from admissions officers of some of our top, local universities. This annual forum provides juniors and their parents with a rare opportunity to hear firsthand what college admissions officers from selective schools are seeking from applicants. It also gives these college reps an insider’s perspective on our outstanding academic program and the quality of graduates we produce.

We were fortunate to hear from the following admissions officers, speaking on the following topics:

  1. Loyola University: What do college admissions officers look for in perspective students’ applications?
  2. University of Chicago: How do students enhance their personal statements, college essays and activity resumes?
  3. Northwestern University: How can parents and students approach the college search efficiently?

In addition, juniors started our six-week college admissions program, Decisions, with Dr. Vernon Hein and myself. During students’ free period once a week, we discuss topics like building a college resume, writing application essays, the common app and more. We do a phenomenal job of preparing our juniors to apply to college and also appreciate the opportunity to get to know the students throughout the course so that we can best help them achieve their college admission goals.

Following are some of the key takeaways from this week’s program:

  1. Visit the schools of your choice: There’s nothing like seeing to believe. Spend a day at each campus you think you might be interested in and ideally, spend a Shabbat there. The more time you invest in researching a college, the more likely you are to know if it is the right place for you. Tour campus, check out the dorms, the cafeterias, some classes and talk to students–especially Jewish students with your similar background.
  2. Meet with admissions officers: Admissions officers speaking at our program said there is nothing like having a “face” to an application. Be sure to stop by the admissions office when you visit a campus to ask questions and let them get to know you. Obviously, meet with the college reps that visit our school as well!
  3. Communicate: Students are more likely to end up in the best college for them if we collaborate together to better prepare for college decisions. We do everything we can to ensure students present their best possible selves–through applications, essays and recommendation letters. But we need to be in touch regularly with students and parents to make this process successful.

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