Our important initial goal is to get to know you well — to learn not only about your skills, talents, and accomplishments, but also about your values, interests, motivations, and dreams for the future. From there, we can help you to develop strategies for strengthening your academic and extracurricular profiles as you go through high school.
The foundation of wise and effective college admissions planning is assembling a balanced and appropriate set of “core colleges” to visit, evaluate, and ultimately apply to. Most likely, this list will change as you go through the process, and will end up consisting of ten or twelve colleges — all of which are “good fits” for you. Clearly, the better the fit between you and your core colleges, the better your chances of getting multiple acceptances and the more likely that you ultimately will be happy with the college you choose to attend.
In helping you to research, select, visit, and evaluate your core colleges, we take care to identify what is important to you in a college — and why. Based on our understanding of who you are and what you are looking for, we are likely to suggest that you broaden your search to include some colleges that you haven’t yet considered. That is an interesting and worthwhile part of the exploration process. We also can help you to do the kind of research that is necessary to find out whether the schools on your initial list really do have the kinds of academic and extracurricular programs and the types of social environments that would be good fits for you.
Very importantly, we help you build your set of core colleges "from the bottom up" to create a list that is balanced. We first select three or four “safety schools” (to which your acceptance is very likely), then add three or four “good matches” (to which your chance of acceptance is around 50-50), and finally complete the list with three or four “reach schools” (to which your acceptance is reasonably possible, though not probable). That’s the kind of realistic approach that will improve your chances of being admitted and ultimately being happy where you end up going.
Once you have developed your initial list of schools, we guide you to arrange and prepare for campus visits. After your visits, we discuss your observations and experiences at the various colleges and how you reacted to them. Then we help you refine your list to reflect any changes in your approach that result from the visiting process.
Building that balanced and appropriate set of core colleges will make the applications process more realistic and fruitful. Once you have established your final list, we can guide you and keep you on track in completing and submitting the applications. We also can help prepare you for interviews, help you to decide among your acceptances, and deal with waitlist issues, if necessary.
What We Do
Our services are divided into three phases:
In Phase One we get to know you—including your academic and extracurricular profiles, as well as your other interests, goals, and dreams for your future. Then we strategize with you to strengthen your academic and extracurricular profiles, with a view toward maximizing the impact of your applications. For a more complete description of our Phase One Services, click here.
In Phase Two we assist you to get organized, to research and choose your list of appropriate colleges, to decide whether an early decision or early action application is advisable, and to plan and get the most out of your campus visits. For a more complete description of our Phase Two Services, click here.
In Phase Three we assist you with preparing for interviews, essay and personal statement brainstorming and feedback, obtaining more meaningful letters of recommendation, understanding financial aid issues, and completing your applications. After admissions decisions arrive, we help you choose from among your acceptances, and if indicated, to appeal financial aid packages and deal with waitlist issues. For a more complete description of Phase Three Services, click here.
When to Start
Ideally, Phase One should begin after eighth or ninth grade. Starting at that point provides valuable additional time to formulate and implement a strategic plan to strengthen the student’s academic and extracurricular profiles during the remaining high school academic years and in the summers in between. For those students who come to us after sophomore year, we combine Phase One assessments and planning with the Phase Two and Phase Three implementation.
Starting Early: Elite Athletes; Performing and Visual Artists; Students with Learning Disabilities
College Dimensions LLC
College Admissions Counseling for Effective Applications
Dona Heller, J.D.
College Dimensions LLC