0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Check Out Continue Shopping


    Misguided Strategies and Rejections

    Misguided Strategies and Rejections

    When the learning-curve talks, people should listen! 


    There are several ways to be told "No". 

    I remember the first time I asked a girl out on a date like it was yesterday...she said- "No".

    First kiss attempt..."No".

    I tried out for the H.S Varsity Basketball team..."No".


    There are "No's" and there are "Rejections".

    I was born in Tennessee. I wanted to attend the Univ. of Tennessee..."Denied" (same as rejected, ha).

    Okay, UVA..."Denied".

    Somewhere along the way, I got a date, a first kiss, an acceptance into Clemson. I tried out for their golf team..."No". 

    Who forgets those early no's, rejections, denials? Not me. I remember them better than the yesses.

    I was visiting with my Therapist just last week. She asked me- "Do you have scars left from any teen-age rejections?" 

    I said- "Yes!" (I won't mention her name to protect the guilty, ha)

    My wonderful therapist said- "That answers some real questions."

    Do you still remember when you were rejected by that boy or girl, team or group of friends? If you really felt it, you will never forget it.

    As parents, if we felt the pain then and can still remember it now, maybe we need to think about that as we formulate a college application & admission strategy for our kids. 

    Sure, it's perfectly okay to get a denial or two, but how about 6, 8, 10, or even 15 denials? Does that bother you? Not likely because it's not your pain, rather, it's your child's pain. 

    Your child’s future or sense of self-esteem should not be bet on a shot in the dark to YOUR dream school (not a typo…your dream school, not theirs).

    Stick with me here. This is a constant theme ringing throughout America and beyond. People applying to 10, 12, 15, 18 colleges on a whim that just maybe their child was suddenly a qualifier for admissions into "reach" schools or that applying to more schools would create greater opportunities for a reach-school acceptance. 

    The "just maybe" strategy was born in the "Test-Optional" era. It's a terribly misguided strategy filled with fallacies and predictable, painful results.

    I've seen and heard so many parents gloating over the names and numbers of colleges their child applied to. But those same parents typically go silent a few months later upon receiving the predictable admission decisions.

    All that effort and energy going into writing several supplemental essays and then submitting 8, 12, or even 15 applications to mostly "just maybe" schools would yield much greater results if used on the 5 - 6 top priority and realistic colleges of your child. 

    And quite frankly, getting four of six acceptances surely beats getting a stream of ten or twelve denials.

    In full disclosure here, a dad-client of mine and I were just having this discussion last weekend. He inspired this memo and helped me craft the message.

    He did something very unusual, and yet, very effective...perhaps even brilliant. The family strategy was to apply to six colleges with two being their daughter's top priority colleges. The other four applications combined match and reach schools. Upon receiving the first two decisions, both acceptances to her top two schools- Texas A&M and Northeastern, they withdrew the other four applications.

    Most people would ask, why would they do that? Dad instinctively knew that his daughter could live her life knowing that she was 2-for-2! There was no further need to add possible rejection into the mix. She'll be off to Northeastern in the fall. I love that.

    On the contrary, each year I receive so many random calls from unhappy parents sharing their woes upon learning of their child being denied many times over, including denials from their top choice schools. They must look to me to have a sympathetic ear.  

    If the learning-curve could talk, it would say-

    Ditch the just-maybe strategy. Don't chase the test-optional policy. Rejections are not your loss nor your pain. Rather, the pain is felt by your child and is a forever-pain.

    Focus your effort and energy on the few schools having the desired academics, student culture, living environment, and influences that will help your child unleash the massive potential they have within themselves. If you do this, you'll enjoy forever-satisfaction!

    Validate & Prioritize

    Validate & Prioritize

    "You can do what you love and fail. But you can also do what you don't love and fail...and that's a lot worse."- Sean Cleveland, a great colleague of mine!

    I love that quote...thanks Sean!

    Parents most often validate and prioritize their own interests for their kids, over the interests of their kids. It's been the way of parenting for a long time...maybe forever.

    It works well when it comes to pack-survival, but not when it comes to creating successful opportunities and satisfactory outcomes for kids as they're turning into young adults.

    However, I see the beginning of a shift to occur. It's possibly inspired by the parents' response to the Covid-isolation of their kids.  

    In the last two years or so, I see a significant increase in a parent's willingness to better understand their child's deep internal passion and desire. And it's a beautiful thing.

    So, here's my greatest tip ever.

    The key to enabling your child to live the life that they most want for themselves, rather than the life you may want for them, is to be open-minded to hear their interests, validate their feelings, and prioritize their desires in life's most important matters
    COLLEGE, for one. Just make it about them.

    I simply call it- Validate and Prioritize!

    Parents need to establish parameters, boundaries, and standards in raising children. But it's just as important to encourage and facilitate the child's exploration and self-discovery. 
    This will lead to profound realizations which will then guide the pathway to a child's life success and satisfaction.

    My greatest tip ever-

    Validate and Prioritize, make it about them!

    The Merit in Merit largely gone

    The Merit in Merit largely gone

    Scholarships that used to be awarded for academic achievement,

    are now nothing much more than "sticker-price discounts". 

    The typical merit scholarship award in most colleges today has become a direct reflection of the need to discount their price in order to fill their seats. 

    For a clear example, the top ranked 50 colleges don't offer scholarships. Why not? Because they don't have to. There are enough parents willing to pay the full asking price to enroll their child into these schools. The perceived value in these colleges will assure them of a full freshman class each year. 

    These same 50 colleges have led the tuition, room & board, run-up in cost over the last 15 years, doubling in total cost. The next few hundred colleges have similarly followed suit by running up their costs as well. For them, it's a superficially-driven, price inflation strategy without having the perceived value to support their cost.  

    For these colleges, people are not willing to pay full price, nor should they. They have had to resort to using the merit scholarship award as a price-discounting tool to incentivize families to enroll. Otherwise, they would fall short of their enrollment-needs. In Admission Offices, this is called "Enrollment Management". It is tightly applied, which means they wouldn't do it if they didn't have to.

    Hence, merit scholarships are typically awarded as a discount off the inflated tuition cost of a college in order to achieve full enrollment.

    A note about Certificate Value-
    Top tier colleges build a layer of cost into their price based on what they refer to as "certificate value". It's the value people place on putting the college name on the diploma.

    Certificate value is highly marketable for top tier colleges coming at a steep price for the parents. 

    Test Optional- Inside the Numbers

    Test Optional- Inside the Numbers

    When it comes to applications, nothing that is offered as "optional" should be considered optional.

    Statistics are coming in for this application cycle, no surprises. For most colleges, the number of applications are up while acceptance rates are down. Why?

    The Common App and college's "test-optional" policy make it easy to submit more applications. I've heard way too many stories of students submitting 15-20 applications. Accordingly, top schools have been deluged with applicants applying "test-optional" in blind-hopes of parents that their child is suddenly a qualifier. When in reality, colleges easily see through this resulting often in a quick minute quick. Why would it be any other way?

    At $75 per application fee times 60 denials per hour, they have a potential $4,500/ hour return...hmmm.

    I am certain of one thing- acceptance rates for test-optional applicants are far lower than applicants who submit qualifying test scores. Think about that if your child is planning to submit applications without test scores. I have one firm belief when it comes to applications, nothing that is offered as "optional" should be considered optional.

    Test-optional skews the numbers. It can increase the applicant pool by 50% while increasing fee-income by $750,000 - $1,500,000.  It can lower the acceptance rate by 1/3. It's a big win for the colleges, but not so for the applicants.   

    When acceptance rates decline, creating this sense of being "highly selective", tuition costs increase and scholarship awards decline...just look at those numbers over the last three years. 

    It appears to me that the test-optional policy has gained major traction in colleges. It has become a massively effective Sales & Marketing policy. With the growing buy-in of parents who view test-optional favorably, it's likely to stick around for a while.  

    Lastly, please don't fall for the belief that colleges no longer value the SAT/ ACT. They definitely value standardized testing. Why? Because test-scores of incoming freshmen represent the fourth highest weighted factor of 15 factors that go into the college rankings. And one thing you can be 100% certain of...colleges greatly value their ranking!

    Worthy of Pay and College Graduates

    Worthy of Pay and College Graduates

    Those who feel entitled will struggle with their sense of worthiness. 

    Worthy of Pay- a topic that I love. All throughout my life, I've worked extremely hard to be worthy of pay, going back to my early caddying days at Aspetuck Valley CC; extending to my time in the USAF, to being a CPA, to managing Saugerties Packaging, and then to being a valued College Advisor/ Mentor.

    Being worthy of my pay is most important to me. I never once thought that I was "entitled". Rather, I always knew that I had to be very good at what I did, better than others! And I knew that my work had to be of value to others.

    I don't get the sense that most college graduates from recent years feel the same way. I think most of them feel entitled to substantial pay, typically far more than they are worthy of being paid. Hard work has often been replaced by the passive mindset of entitlement.

    College outcomes are predictable, good and bad. Good outcomes are years in the making, reflecting a long-term, mindful, forward-thinking approach. Bad outcomes come by default, often leaving it to whatever happens, reflecting a misguided approach. 

    College graduates who feel entitled usually return home unemployed. Those who consciously work hard towards becoming valuable are landing desired jobs with big pay. My college graduates are living proof!  

    Let's see how it works. I think a primary purpose of college is to expand one's perspective, knowledge, experience, cultural diversity, and overall intelligence.

    Expanding perspective requires the student to openly listen and learn from the perspective of others without judgement of them; it must come genuinely from a conscious intention to do's a starting point towards worthiness.

    Expanding knowledge requires the student to master the content of their classes, extending the effort beyond the textbook to better understand its application and relevance in today's's the next step to enhancing worthiness.

    Expanding experience requires the student to connect with the academic community of the college; participate in clubs and contribute to the college culture; be involved and engaged with various activities on campus; be actively interning and always networking... it's a big step towards building worthiness.

    Expanding cultural diversity requires the student to connect in a meaningful way with people from around the world coming from various cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, genders, and wealth positions. It requires the student to learn and appreciate the belief system of other people, without regard to being in agreement with them. It requires purposeful and willful becoming worthy!

    These requirements cannot be overstated. We live in a multicultural, global-minded world of activities, businesses, governments, beliefs, and perspectives. 

    Let's see where "intelligence" fits in. People mistakenly believe that they are intelligent because they are smart. But really, one has nothing to do with the other. 

    People can be born smart, typically measured by one's learning ability and validated by their high grades and test scores. But no one is born intelligent, rather, it's a forever evolving, learned and developed skill reflecting someone's ability to think. It's often referred to as "critical thinking". One's critical-thinking ability is a major variable in being worthy of pay.

    A person's intelligence is not static, rather it's either expanding or shrinking every day. The only way to ensure it expands is by consistently seeking to expand your perspective, knowledge, experience, and cultural diversity. Absent of that, intelligence shrinks...along with worthiness!

    I've heard for years people say that they deserve a big paying job coming out of college, after all, the degree proves they think. It might be what the college said back in those information-sessions. It might be what parents paid tens of thousands of dollars for
    "certificate value" it's called.

    Meet Tomas, he said to me last week upon his graduation- "Certificate value doesn't build careers."

    Brilliant Tomas...I totally agree!!!

    Tomas is from Medellin, Colombia. He came to me a few years ago upon completing his studies at a Colombia University. COVID hit, delaying his plans. We worked very hard together for two years to get him into the M.S.- Business program at Georgetown Univ. which began last fall.

    In December, Tomas thrust himself into a national job competition for a Management & Leadership position with a major global company. He was up against higher GPA students coming from more prestigious undergraduate programs. However, Tomas is trilingual, multicultural, global-minded, and internationally-experienced...considerably more so than most others.

    With purposeful intention, Tomas built his intelligence by gaining perspective, knowledge, experience, and cultural diversity. It was years in the making.

    Soon after the interviews, Tomas received a call offering him an amazing opportunity, accompanied by a substantial financial package. His years of hard work were rewarded handsomely. 

    Tomas' ultimate goal is to return home one day as a role model to the youth of his community. I am sure that he will do that! 

    Congratulations well deserved!!!

    Being worthy of pay is a lifetime of mindful intention in a daily effort driven by meaning and purpose to expand their perspective, knowledge, experience, cultural diversity, and
     intelligence...worthy of pay!