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

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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.

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 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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PSAT? SAT? Subject Tests? ACT? Which one do I take and Why? -Part 1

Colleges/Universities require some sort of entrance exam that measures the aptitude and/or knowledge of the incoming student. You have the option of taking the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT. How do these tests compare?  Which tests should you take?  To answer those questions you will need a basic understanding of the tests themselves.

Let’s start off with the first one, PSAT/NMSQT:

It is known as the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), and it is a program co-sponsored by College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

One of the great things about this exam is that it provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. There is even an opportunity to enter the NMSC scholarship programs, which is always a plus! The PSAT/NMSQT measures (from one of our favorite websites–collegeboard.com):

  • Critical reading skills: Two 25-minute critical reading sections = 48 questions
    • 13 Sentence completions
    • 35 Critical reading questions
  • Math problem-solving skills: Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions
    • 28 multiple-choice math questions
    • 10 Student-produced responses or grid-ins
    • Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. Students should have basic knowledge of 4 math categories:
      • Numbers and Operation
      • Algebra and Functions (but not 3rd year level math that may appear on the new SAT)
      • Geometry and Measurement
      • Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
  • Writing skills: One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions
    • 14 Identifying sentence errors
    • 20 Improving sentences
    • 5 Improving paragraph questions

    These multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student’s ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.

  • Each of these sections are measured on a scale between 20-80.

By taking the PSAT/NMSQT, you are given feedback about your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for academic success. In addition, you are able to see how you perform on an admissions test in comparison to those who are also applying to college. Another benefit is that you can qualify for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11) based on your scores. Lastly, this exam helps prepare for the SAT. By getting a glimpse of what will be tested and how it’s formatted, you can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT. However, be aware though that the time required to take the PSAT and SAT differ quite a bit, 2-3 hours versus 4–5 hours respectively.

This exam is usually administered in the Fall and on the average usually costs around $14. Certain fees may be added to cover administration fees. Students need to contact their counselor to sign up for the exam. The PSAT/NMSQT can be taken as early as your freshman year of high school and can be taken each year through your junior year. However, it is your junior year scores that will allow you to qualify as a National Merit Scholar during your senior year.

Taking the PSAT/NMSQT definitely has its benefits. And honestly, there really are no disadvantages in taking this test. If you have any questions or want more clarification of this exam, check out the following site:

psat nmsqt

Lastly, be sure to check back with us again because we will cover the logistics behind the SAT next.

The Importance of College Visits

As a kid growing up, going to college was never discussed because it was an expectation, a requirement, and a mandate. Which college was I going to go to? Well, that was easy as well. I was going to apply and attend wherever I was accepted. That was it. The schools I applied to were the ones where everyone else was applying to–all the in-state schools and where it was most popular to attend. Looking at it in hindsight, it was not the best way of picking a school. The main and probably one of the most practical things that I did not do was go on some college/campus tours to see whether I would like the school or not. More so, was that school going to be the right “fit” for me?

There really is no other feeling like that of walking onto a campus and experiencing first hand what it is like to be a college student there. Whether you’re walking onto the quad or into the student union or bookstore, there is an initial sense of excitement that you can’t help feel and just smile. Most colleges provide a campus tour throughout the calendar year. You just need to schedule one and go! They can last anywhere from one hour to  two and a half hours, depending on the size of the group. The way to make the most of the time that you are on a tour is to have questions ready to ask that you could not find the answers to online. Study a little bit about the campus so that way you are a little informed about the school. For the tours, they are usually given by student ambassadors-those students who are currently enrolled there and can tell you first hand what their experience has been like for their first year and on. Because these tours will show you the highlights of the school and campus, it is best advised to spend some time either before or after the tour just meandering around the campus to see what else there is. Take a camera and record your tour, or use some of the wonderful apps out there to journal your trip, such as Vine. Opportunities are also available to attend a class or two for the intended major. In addition, some schools even invite prospective students to stay overnight to experience what it would be like to be a student there: dorm life, social activities, cafeteria, athletics, etc. Be sure to ask and research for these availabilities.

When should you start taking college tours? NOW. Honestly, if college is an option, you should start taking tours after the start of your freshman year. Once one year of high school has been experienced, a student’s level of maturity grows and begins to understand the seriousness and importance of what it takes to go to college. The preparation that is involved in researching and learning about the different kinds of schools that are available to them are somewhat overwhelming. However, by taking some tours in small increments, you’re able to see what the possibilities are.

There is so much more to offer about the importance of college visits that this post can go on and on. Check out the following link at collegboard.com (one of our favorites) and read up on what you can do to help prepare for your first trip out.

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Should You Go to College? (We Say Yes! But, What Do the Experts Say?)

We don’t know if you have been paying attention, but there has been a lot of debate lately on topics such as: Is college worth it? Is college worth the expense? and Does it even pay off to go to college?  We know where we stand on these issues – and according  to Philip Oreopoulos and Uros Petronijevic and their new study “Making College Worth It: A Review of Research on the Returns to Higher Education”, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, college DOES seem to be worth it!  They conducted an entire study on the benefits of higher education, and took a lot into consideration, including student debt and the most lucrative majors.  Here are their findings in a great chart with all of the basics laid out to help you make your decision!