College Move In Day- Freshman Year

Hello Everyone!

For those of you with a high school student that will be heading off to college in the fall, how are you doing? It doesn’t matter if it is your first or your last child (or one somewhere in the middle) to go away for college, there will be a range of emotions, that mostly you just have to power through.

Last August, we moved our newly-turned 18 year old son, JP, into his dorm at Sonoma State University, in Northern California. By we- I mean my husband and I, my mom, AND our good friends with their 12th grade son. It was definitely a bittersweet experience, as I could remember my parents moving ME into the dorms at SSU when I was a freshman.

The word for the move-in itself was HECTIC! It started when all 3 vehicles pulled into the lot. Even though we were given some directions on where to park, there were so many cars, parents, and students, and no spots available close to his dorm. That meant we all had to park somewhere different, which made the unloading of the trucks quite unorganized. Basically, everyone just grabbed a box, or a trash bag garment bag, and started making their way to his room. (We did find out where his room was located before we started the unloading process.)

During our many trips back and forth, we met the only unknown roommate and his parents (he knew the other 2 as they all attended the same high school). Leaving the heavy lifting for the others, I started to help my son get through the accumulating boxes and bags by making his bed. (It helped that we had labeled all of the bags, so we knew where to find the sheets!) While I worked on this, the rest of the trucks were unloaded. It did help having so many people. One worked on setting up the printer in the living room, one unpacked all of the snacks into the pantry/hall closet, and my son was able to put all of his clothes into the dresser and closet. Surprisingly, we were done unloading and unpacking in just an hour!

Now at this point, what to do next really depends on your student! SSU offered a parent/new student BBQ that afternoon, but JP didn’t really want to go. He told us that he would be just fine hanging out with his roommates. Taking his lead, we all said goodbye, and actually went to do some sight-seeing along the beautiful Bodega Bay coastline. We did text him a few times throughout the evening to check in, but basically started the giving-him-space-adult thing! We were available then, as we are now, but can’t/won’t pry into all of the details of what he is doing. That is definitely the hardest part of sending your child off to college; you go from thinking you know everything as they are living under your roof, to realizing that you don’t know much, and learning to be happy with the snippets that they do share. (We are pretty lucky though, because our son texts or Facetimes us almost everyday!)

The next day, as we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us, we got an early start. Before we left, we did stop by the dorms for one last hug, and a goodbye. The feeling of driving away and leaving your child behind to start their adult life is overwhelming…so many emotions go through your head! Mostly we as parents just felt excited for his experience…we had done all that we could, now HE gets to make his own path, and learn even more along the way.

*Update: JP is doing well in college. He just started a job at Chick-Fil-A, and picked his on-campus apartment housing for his sophomore year. He continues to make us proud!

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Why Hire an IEC?

We’ve been enjoying many of your responses and the inquiries that you have been making. But, now that you know a little bit about us and what an IEC is, the next question that many of you are asking is–Why should we hire an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC)? IECs are able to provide personal and individualized services in your search for the right college fit. Sure there are high school guidance couselors who can also assist in the process; however, their main purpose is to make sure that the student is focused on passing their classes (9th-12th grade) and fulfillng their requirements for graduation. Some assistance will also be given with general college information, such as: testing dates, letters of recommendations, and possible college fairs. Truth be told, an IEC can and will provide the same information as that of a guidance counselor; however, with an IEC, more detail and attention will be given to each of the clients. It’s a personalized experience. IECs can clarify the quite confusing and frustrating process of searching, applying, and choosing the right college for the student. Assistance with applying for financial aid, writing personal statements, and researching and writing scholarships are just some of the individualized attention an IEC can and will provide. One of the most beneficial attributes of an IEC is that they have the “time” to research, visit, and inquire about the colleges that your child is most likely interested in attending. Time is so crucial (and many say that “time is money”) and sometimes there just seems to not be enough of it. An IEC is able to assist in making college a realistic option, all with the intentions of making sure that the college the student chooses is the right “fit” for them.WordItOut-word-cloud-1532311

What Does “The Right Fit” Mean?

The Right Fit

In our last post the final statement we wrote was…”In the end, IECs work for the student and family to make sure that the process is seamless and that the right FIT occurs.” Well, what does that mean, “The Right Fit”?

Finding the right college and checking to see if it “fits” right is a lot like clothes shopping: the clothes might look great when you are looking at them through the window, but when you go in to try something on, it doesn’t quite fit. Sometimes, that piece of clothing just looks better on the hanger than it does on you. Making sure that the school you attend provides you with sound academic and social opportunities is imperative. In regards to these two areas, factors such as the availability of majors, internships, study abroad programs, and research opportunities may affect your academic satisfaction. In addition, there are other areas that might be of concern to you as well, such as: athletics, size of campus and class sizes, distance from home, Greek life, urban versus rural setting, etc. Granted that there is no such thing as the “perfect” fit, but it doesn’t hurt to see if you can get close. It’s better to find those imperfections now rather than $15,000-$60,000 later.

There are way too many stories out there where kids have gone off to college (whether it be in state or out) and are immediately wanting to go back home because of their discontent with the school. A lot of students come back saying, “I didn’t know that the school didn’t offer the program that I wanted,” or some even come back saying, “The campus just felt too big and impersonal. I didn’t like that I only saw my professor in lecture in a group of three hundred.” Some of these realizations could have been avoided if a little bit of research had been done.

Here are some things to think about when looking at colleges and figuring out if the school is the “right fit” or not. (This was taken from Judith Christie, a college planning consultant from Oregon.)

First, before you start your college search have a heart to heart talk with yourself along the following lines:
1. Think of why you want to go to college in the first place.
2. Think about what you expect from your college experience, socially and academically.
3. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time for honesty – not the way you wish you were, but how you really are.
4. Think about what interests you and what you enjoy. Not what will make you a lot of money or what your parents want, but what gives you satisfaction.
5. Give some thought to what you don’t know and want to learn.

Second, look at the different colleges in a realistic way:
1. Arrange your priorities in a list of importance. What has to be right about the school and what can you, in your own mind, negotiate.
2. Keep focused on what is important to and for you.
3. Remember what is great about a school for one student may not be the same for another.
4. Look at colleges that meet your most important priorities and ones that offer the best chance that these priorities will be met – most of the time.
5. Look at the overall quality of the college or university. Don’t look at a college through a telescope but rather through binoculars.
6. If you are an athlete be sure that the college fits your needs beyond your sport.

Third, have a range of schools to pick from:
1. You may have a “first choice” because to you it is the “right fit”, but the truth is that there can be, and should be more than one “first choice”.
2. Your final list should contain colleges – be they reach schools, probable admits or safety schools in which you would be happy academically and socially.
3. The proof that there is not just one school for you is that statistics show that for most students the school they end up attending usually turns out to provide them with a very happy and successful college experience.

What is an Independent Educational Consultant?

It is now the month of March and those of you who have gone through the college application process are now patiently (or impatiently) waiting for acceptances and dreading those “other” letters. We are keeping our fingers crossed for each and every one of you. With that said…

We wanted to spend a little time here to re-familiarize you with who and what an independent educational consultant (IEC) is and does. An IEC is a professional individual who is contracted by a student and their family to advise in the area of college planning and/or college counseling to find the right fit for the student. In other words, IECs provide individualized services to aid the family in educational planning. Whether it be looking for a vocational/tech school, a community college, or a four-year university, IECs are there to listen to the family and their desires for “what’s next” after high school. They provide extensive experience and thorough knowledge of the schools and colleges. This relationship can provide assistance in deciding factors such as cost, location, social life, and most importantly–curriculum.  In addition, IECs supply an objectivity to help families understand all of their options when making a decision during a time that is extremely confusing and stressful. The IECs’ main purpose in working with students is to make sure that the decision the student and family makes is one that will nurture and foster the student’s academic AND social growth; there needs to be a balance. IECs are well aware of the important criteria within the application process and common mistakes to avoid when making recommendations for placement. IECs follow the “Principles of Good Practice” of the IECA, and there is a rule of thumb that families must understand–it is that “IECs [members] neither guarantee placement nor outcomes.” IECs are not affiliated nor work under contract with a given institution, providing complete objectivity when searching for a program/school. With an IEC, the student and family have the opportunity to explore a wider variety of options and discuss possibilities with a knowledgeable professional who can provide insight to help ensure that the best decision is made. In the end, IECs work for the student and family to make sure that the process is seamless and that the right FIT occurs.

Introducing….

On our most recent college trip, visiting beautiful Pepperdine University!

On a college trip in 2013, visiting beautiful Pepperdine University!

Hello Everyone!

We would like to re-introduce ourselves and our business to you. It has been about a few years since we’ve done this and there has been plenty of changes.

We are now known as KaMi College Consulting, Inc. Educational Consultants, and would like to help you find the best match as far as selecting a college is concerned. We work one-on-one with students [and their families], helping to identify colleges and universities that offer the best opportunities for connecting student learning and student needs, while keeping the student on track through every phase of the college search and application process. We are not employed by any school; we work for you!

KaMi College Consulting is co-owned by Kate Spear and Michelle Choi, both residents of Eastvale, CA. Kate spent over 16 years in the classroom teaching 2nd and 6th grades where she excelled at motivating and working with her students.  Michelle brings over 21 years of experience as a Language Arts teacher both at the intermediate and high school level; however, the last 15 years have been working with high school juniors and seniors. She brings a level of expertise preparing students for collegiate level writing and assisting their clients through the college essay process. Together we offer personalized, professional services to address the unique needs of the student on their college search and throughout the college admissions process.

5 Things You Might Know About TCU…and 5 Things You Might Not!

College Visits are a great way to check out a college for yourself, and see how you feel on the campus. Summer visits don’t give you the usual hustle and bustle feel, but there will usually be some students there, and a quiet, subdued visit is better than no visit at all!

If you are a sophomore or junior in high school right now, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your college visits – a perfect time to see what a school you might be considering is really like without solely relying on their website or brochure.  Seniors might choose to make a visit before they send off their applications, or wait until they have been accepted instead.  With all of the colleges out there, how do you begin to narrow your college search?  Check back with our blog frequently (or better yet-sign up to get our blog sent straight to your email), as we will be posting things we have observed on our most recent college visits.

Today, the KaMi Spotlight is on Texas Christian University, located in Fort Worth, TX.    The pictures are from our visit there in June of 2015.

5 Things You Might Know:

• A campus filled with an infinite amount of school spirit. Their mascot, the Horned Frog, can be found everywhere on campus.

• Division I, and part of the Big 12 Conference.

• Enrollment for 2014 was approximately 10,033 students.

• Cost to attend (2015-2016) is  $53,480 a year.

• The student to faculty ratio is 13:1, with an average class size of 27.

5 Things You Might Not Know About TCU:

• TCU has active and involved students…there are over 200 clubs and organizations and 35 fraternities and sororities to choose from.

• There is a two year on-campus living requirement.

• Besides the many places to eat on campus, a student’s Frog Bucks are accepted at 30 locations around town.

• Students are required to take one class of Religious Traditions, but there isn’t a chapel requirement.

• TCU offers 8 colleges and schools with over 100 majors from Actuarial Science to Writing. Students take a core curriculum that stays with them if they change their major.

TCU offers big-time athletics, opportunities, and experiences in Ft. Worth, the 17th largest city in the U.S. (and where “cowboy meets culture”). If you get to visit here, you will have lots to do and see!

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King Hall- one of twenty residence halls.

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Frog Fountain

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We peeked into one of the classrooms, notice the purple here?

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A common area in one of the dorms.

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Student Rec. Center.

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Head football coach Gary Patterson                                                                           (who used to coach Kate’s husband, John, at Sonoma State).

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A trophy case dedicated to a former San Diego Chargers’ player and former alum LaDainian Tomlinson.

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It’s not everyday that you get to check out the head coach’s office and trophies!

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The view from Coach Patterson’s office…amazing!

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Coach Patterson’s secretary was too kind- she let us take a picture of a championship ring AND her own pendant!

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TCU students get to sit right behind the bench (of the opposing team!).

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The Horned Frog.

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5 Things You Might Know About Baylor University…and 5 Things You Might Not!

College Visits are a great way to check out a college for yourself, and see how you feel on the campus. Summer visits don’t give you the usual hustle and bustle feel, but there will usually be some students there, and a quiet, subdued visit is better than no visit at all!

If you are a sophomore or junior in high school right now, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your college visits – a perfect time to see what a school you might be considering is really like without solely relying on their website or brochure.  Seniors might choose to make a visit before they send off their applications, or wait until they have been accepted instead.  With all of the colleges out there, how do you begin to narrow your college search?  Check back with our blog frequently (or better yet-sign up to get our blog sent straight to your email), as we will be posting things we have observed on our most recent college visits.

Today, the KaMi Spotlight is on Baylor University, located in Waco, Texas. The pictures are from our visit there in June of 2015.

5 Things You Might Know:

• A 1,000 acre campus steeped in traditions that go back to 1909.

• NCAA Division 1, Bears, and part of the Big 12 Conference that offers 19 sports.

• Enrollment for 2015-2016 was approximately 16,787 students (undergrad and graduate).

• Cost to attend (2016-2017)  is $59,252 a year.

• The student to faculty ratio is 14:1, with an average class size of 27, though the largest class size is around 150.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Baylor:

• The Moody Memorial Library has a stoplight system inside for noise (with zones like Red=No talking allowed.) The largest collegiate Starbucks in the nation can be found inside.

• Students can choose to live in traditional halls or apartments, or can choose to be a part of the Living-Learning Programs (LLPs) that are organized by academic disciplines or programs. (Some choices are Entrepreneurship, Fine Arts, Outdoor Adventure, or Global Community.)

• Baylor University was founded in Independence, TX in 1845, but moved to the current location in Waco in 1886.

•Each student is required to complete two semesters of Chapel, along with two religion courses.

• The Bear was established as the mascot in 1914, and you will hear students call out “Sic ’em!” as you walk around campus. Your tour guide will probably teach you the proper way to act this out too!

Baylor University is highly ranked for both the school and many of its departments. If you ever find yourself in Texas, make sure to check it out!

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What a great spot to study!

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Baylor claims this 53′ rock wall tops TCU’s.

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So many beautiful brick buildings on this campus.

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5 Things You Might Know about Sonoma State…and 5 Things You Might Not!

College Visits are a great way to check out a college for yourself, and see how you feel on the campus. Summer visits don’t give you the usual hustle and bustle feel, but there will usually be some students there, and a quiet, subdued visit is better than no visit at all!

If you are a junior in high school right now, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your college visits – a perfect time to see what a school you might be considering is really like without solely relying on their website or brochure.  Seniors might choose to make a visit before they send off their applications, or wait until they have been accepted instead.  With all of the colleges out there, how do you begin to narrow your college search?  Check back with our blog frequently (or better yet-sign up to get our blog sent straight to your email), as we will be posting things we have observed on our most recent college visits.

Today, the KaMi Spotlight is on Sonoma State University, located in Rohnert Park, CA.

 


 

5 Things You Might Know:

• A 269 acre campus, in the wine country of Sonoma County.

• Division 2, Sea Wolves, and part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (for 10 of their sports).

• Enrollment for 2013-2014 was approximately 9,000 students.

• Cost to attend (2014-2015) for a California resident is $23,665 a year.

• The student to faculty ratio is 23:1, with an average class size of 25, but “101” classes (general ed.), which students take about 4 of, average 150 students.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Sonoma State (SSU):

• The Jean and Charles Shultz Information Center houses the 3-story library, where students can get free coffee at the Charlie Brown Cafe during finals.

• There are pools by 2 of the dorm buildings and an Olympic-sized pool for athletics.

• A student’s ID card lets them fish at either of the 2 stocked lakes on campus.

• The Green Music Center, only 2 years old,  seats 1,500 inside.  Upcoming performers for Fall of ’14 include Frankie Valli, Bill Maher, Diana Ross, Trace Adkins, and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

• If you have a 3.0 GPA or higher in high school, you are eligible to apply for one of the 150 SSU scholarships.

Sonoma State is considered a “hidden gem” of the Cal State system, go see why for yourself!

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Kate visiting her Alma Mater!

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The beautiful, new library.

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Stevenson Hall

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Brand new recreation center

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Indoor track in the Recreation Center

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Indoor basketball courts

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Rock-climbing wall

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Zinfandel Village, one of the many housing options on campus

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Two rooms (2 students in each room) that share one bathroom and a living room

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Living room

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One of the pools at the dorms, next to Zinfandel Dining Room

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One of the lakes on campus, and also where graduation ceremonies are held

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Tennis courts

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Baseball field

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The door was open, so we snuck a peek into the indoor baseball facility!

Summer Vacation…Make the Most of It!!

Well, it’s March and Spring Break is almost upon us! And you know what that means…time to start thinking about summer vacation!  For most teens, now is the time  they are starting to think about sleeping in, hanging out with their friends at the beach, and not worrying about their homework.  However, for a college-bound teen, now is the time to really start thinking about how you can make the most of this time off!

Today, that means Summer Camps!

I want you to to look at your summer through the eyes of an admissions counselor.  How do you spend your time off, and does this help to show what you are interested in?  What types of interests do you have? If you think that you have an idea about what you want to study in college, summertime is the best time to experiment! Summer is not the time to pad your resume with meaningless experiences just so you can say that you did them.  Summer is a time for you to really look into what it is that interests you!

Have you heard of the website Collegexpress.com? This is a great website for you to do some research on colleges: size, what majors they offer, athletic programs, ranking, scholarships, etc.  In addition, this website is a great place to start your search for a summer camp, near or far, for you to delve into an experience that will help shape your future, and your future college choice/major.

My son, JP, is a college freshman right now.  Three years back, he expressed an interest in Marine Biology.  I started my search at http://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/summer-programs/, looking for a summer camp experience involving Marine Biology. I checked out a few that were listed on this site, and then found a camp offered at Sea World.  This 5 night camp offered a hands-on look at Sea World jobs, which is exactly what he was thinking he would like to do.  He spent two summers at this camp. Listening to the trainers getting choked up explaining the criticism they have received really affected him, so much so that he used these feelings when writing his Common App essay to apply to colleges. I sent him to this camp to explore and investigate his interest, before he had to pick a major. The added bonus was being able to use that experience in his writing as well.

Sleeping in and recharging your “batteries” before the next school year is good too, but just know that you can’t get that time back.  See if there is a way you can spend some of your summer trying out something new!

5 Things You Might Know About The University of Hawaii at Manoa… and 5 Things You Might Not!

If you are a junior in high school right now, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your college visits – a perfect time to see what a school you might be considering is really like without solely relying on their website or brochure.  With all of the colleges out there, how do you begin to narrow your college search?  Check back with our blog frequently (or better yet-sign up to get our blog sent straight to your email), as we will be posting things we have observed on our most recent college visits.

Today, the KaMi Spotlight is on The University of Hawaii at Manoa, located on the beautiful island of Oahu.

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5 Things You Might Know:

• A 320 acre tropical campus located in Honolulu, HI.

• Division 1, Rainbow Warriors, and part of the Western Athletic Conference.

• Enrollment for 2013-2014 is approximately 20,000 students, which includes close to 6,000 graduate students.

• Cost of tuition (2014-2015) for a Non-Resident is $28,632 a year.  However, U of H at Manoa participates in the WUE Program which could bring down the tuition costs to $14,760.

• The student to faculty ratio is 14:1.

5 Things You Might Not Know About U of H at Manoa:

• All students take an Intro to Hawaii Pacific class to learn cultural information.

• Currently finishing construction of a new student recreation center, to open in Spring of 2014.

• Known for their Biology and Marine Biology programs.

• About 70% of the students are residents of Hawaii.

• Class sizes can range from 6- 250, but average 25-35.  Honors classes are capped at 30 students.

This school is very diverse, and while on the larger size, has a very friendly feel!

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Welcome!

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The odds of a freshman getting a parking pass are very slim…good thing these buses take you wherever you need to go on the island!

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The Queen Lili’uokalani Center for Student Services- and where you will begin your tour of the campus.

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The view out the window of the main dining area.

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Murakami Stadium, on the lower end of campus.

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Tennis courts, parking structure, and Stan Sheriff Center.

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These round buildings are the freshman dorms.

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These towers are upper division housing.

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5-story Hamilton Library.