Asian and Asian American parents have a special affinity for the Ivy League. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we’re often very critical of statements and articles about the highly selective college admissions process in the press. We’re critical because there is an enormity of inaccurate information out there about this process and we aim to correct this. Today, we came across an article by lawyer and author Allison Singh (who also notes that she was a rejected college applicant in spite of the fact that she ended up attending one of the finest — if not the finest — university in the nation) that is not in the least inaccurate. While this may come as a surprise to many, we have only praise for this May 14th piece on “The Huffington Post” entitled “College Admissions and the Asian-American Parent.”
In the piece, Ms. Singh discusses how Asian American parents are all basically culprits of using “The List.” “The List” consists of “The Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley. Maybe Duke, if all else fails…maybe.” We would add a couple of other schools (have you ever walked around UCLA?) but Ms. Singh is spot on. Chinese American parents — and even more so parents in China whose children will be attending university in the United States, rarely stray from “The List.” They are obsessed with brand recognition and they consider the “US News & World Report” rankings “The Bible.” It’s all about status, as Ms. Singh writes.
Are there Asian and Asian American students at highly selective liberal arts colleges like Williams College, Amherst College, and Wesleyan University? Sure. But these universities aren’t on the same playing field for this group of parents, unfortunately. Amherst College — in spite of offering one of the greatest educations in the world — just doesn’t make “The List.” It’s not Harvard. It’s not MIT. The fact is that brand recognition matters. Universities invest millions to build their brands. They employ folks just to bolster their brands. The day that Asian and Asian American parents stray from “The List” is a day we don’t foresee happening anytime soon, though our Asian and Asian American clients always stray a little (though they quite often also apply to “The List” schools too).Categories: College Admissions, Ivy League, Parents Tags: Asian American Parents and Ivy League, Asian Americans and Ivy League, Asian Parents and Ivy League, Asians and Ivy League, Ivy League and Asian Parents
There’s an article on “The Huffington Post” by Hilary Levey Friedman about whether or not parents are prepared should their child be rejected from the college of their dreams. What will they say to their child who had dreams of attending Princeton but didn’t even make the waitlist? What will they say to their child who had dreamed of studying in Manhattan on Columbia’s iconic campus? What will they say to their child who worked so hard for so many years in the hope of getting into one of the best universities in the country…only to fail to do so? Parents should be prepared for these outcomes as the vast majority of students applying to highly selective colleges don’t get into their first choice college (hey, what can we say, the majority of college applicants aren’t clients of The Ivy Coach).
We’re not here to give parenting advice but the best strategy is likely to be supportive of your child, to help convince them that one or many of the schools that they did gain admission to can indeed by a college or colleges or their dreams as well. They just have to check it out some more, get to know some students who go there, take a look at the beautiful campus, and get excited about all of the academic, athletic, and social opportunities at the school(s). Just because this school may not have been an initial dream school doesn’t mean it can’t become the dream school through the backdoor.
Ms. Friedman writes about how basically not every child is a winner, how there’s only one spot at the top of the podium, and how parents need to help their children come to terms with wherever they end up placing — in college admissions and in life. College admissions, after all, is a cutthroat process but so too is the job market. If you don’t achieve your dream job right away, there are other opportunities out there. And maybe the new path you choose will lead to a new dream job. Or maybe it too will lead to the old dream job. College rejection is, in this way, a great microcosm of the real world.
While you’re here, parents, check out this video on parental stress in the college admissions process.Categories: College Admissions, College Decisions, Parents Tags: Ivy League Rejection and Parenting, Parents and College Rejection, Parents and Ivy League Rejection, Parents Dealing with College Rejection, University Rejection and Parents
There was an article a couple of days ago in “The Stanford Daily” by Justine Moore in which our Founder, Bev Taylor, is quoted entitled “Connections to University can affect admissions decision.” Indeed money and influence can affect one’s chances for admission to Stanford! In the article, Bev speaks about how the children of major university donors can have a significant edge in the admissions process to Stanford and other highly selective universities. Admissions officers at these universities, after all, will look for reasons to admit what are called “development cases” rather than look for reasons to deny a student’s case for admission (the typical approach since admission to Stanford is highly selective).
We’re confounded that folks are surprised or upset that Stanford keeps an eye towards their endowment. Frankly, it’s the right thing to do. Schools want to “pay back” those who have done well by them. But, as Bev states, it’s also not only about the money. Universities, as an example, want to be proud of their alumni. If the child of the king of a major nation is up for admission and his test scores and grades aren’t very good, that applicant still has a great chance for admission. Because university admissions officers at schools like Stanford know that after his graduation, he will be a player on the world stage. Wouldn’t they want to be associated with someone who will have the chance to change the world? Of course they would. And so that student will likely gain admission.
The article also makes reference to a well known applicant to the Class of 2002 at Stanford – Margaret Bass. Bass’ father was the chair of Stanford’s Board of Trustees and he made donations of $25 million to the university and $50 million to the graduate business school. In spite of low grades and test scores (lower than fellow applicants from her high school and yet they were all denied admission), Margaret Bass was admitted and folks made a stink. Is this surprising to you in any way? Universities are a business. Schools must look after their endowments. In order to be able to offer many students financial aid, they’ve got to get the money from somewhere. If you donated upwards of $75 million to a school, wouldn’t you want them to admit your daughter? Of course you would.Categories: College Admissions, Parents Tags: Admission to Stanford University, Applying to Stanford, Getting into Stanford, Stanford Admission, Stanford Admissions
A professor of plant biology at Cornell University, Randy Wayne, believes that helicopter parents — parents who involve themselves in their child’s academic and social life in college need to essentially take a step back. We couldn’t agree more. Parents should not be calling college professors if their child got a ‘C’ on a biology final exam. It’s absolutely absurd. Parents should not be interacting with professors…period. So we thought it was ironic that Professor Wayne referred to our services at The Ivy Coach in a letter to the editor from a few years ago in “The Cornell Daily Sun” that we just happened to come across by more or less intimating that our services are for the helicopter parent.
Sure, we’ve worked with plenty of helicopter parents over the years, parents who want to do everything to help make sure that their child gains admission to the college of their dreams. But, often times, simply by using our services, the naturally inclined helicopter parents can take a step back. They don’t have to fight with their child about what they’re going to write about in their college essays. They don’t have to nag them about when their applications are due. They don’t have to urge them to get involved in biology research. Because we take on all of those responsibilities. We alleviate the pressure on the naturally inclined helicopter parents. We serve as a stress buffer between parent and child during the stressful college admissions process.
And make no mistake — we are very clear throughout every article we’ve ever written that parents shouldn’t get involved in the academic affairs of their high school children either. Parents should not be complaining to teachers when their children get ‘B’s.’ Remember, it’s these teachers who are going to be writing letters of recommendation to college. We encourage students to be their own independent people, to speak directly with teachers, to develop those relationships. We encourage our students not to be grade grubbers but instead to enjoy learning for learning’s sake. That’s all.Categories: College Admissions, Parents Tags: College Admissions and Parents, Helicopter Parents, Helicopter Parents and College Admissions, Ivy League Admissions and Parents, University Admissions and Parents
For ERB Test help, we at The Ivy Coach recommend Stephanie Sigal, M.A. CCC-SLP. In past blogs, we wrote about the four verbal subtests of the ERB test. Those included vocabulary, word reasoning, comprehension, and similarities. We’ll now discuss the four performance subtests of the ERB: picture concepts, matrix reasoning, block design, and coding. No, your kindergarten hopeful will not have to code software or anything — do not fret or fear. That would be quite astonishing if they could do that for sure!
In the picture concepts subtest, children are given a group of pictures and they have to figure out what goes together. They don’t need to explain their rationale for why the pictures go together. In the matrix reasoning subtest, analogies are presented in a matrix. Children must point to an answer choice. In the block design subtest, timed puzzles are presented with bi-colored blocks. And in the coding subtest, children have to transcribe a code into matching shapes within a set time frame.
Want more information on these subtests? Visit Stephanie’s blog on kindergarten admissions prep for a couple of sample questions and ways to prep for each of the subtests of the ERB. Practicing for the ERB is a great way to spend time with your child and help them expand their vocabulary and communicative skills. And if you’re interested in ERB test help, email Stephanie Sigal at firstname.lastname@example.org. She offers her services in person in Manhattan and via Skype to students and parents outside of Manhattan.
Have a question to ask Stephanie about the ERB? Ask it below and she’ll answer!Categories: Parents Tags: Educational Records Bureau Test, ERB Admissions Help, ERB Test Help, ERB Test Prep Help, Help for ERB Test
While The Ivy Coach does not offer NYC kindergarten admission help, we recommend Stephanie Sigal, M.A., CCC-SLP for your child. NYC kindergarten admission is stressful with so many children trying to secure so few slots at various private kindergartens around Manhattan. It’s unfortunate that parents get so stressed out about schooling when their kids are so young, but many parents accept that this is one of the costs of living in NYC. We’ve been writing about the ERB test to help inform parents what the exam is all about and this post is continuing on with that series.
In our last post, we discussed in detail one of the four verbal subtests of the ERB – the vocabulary section. Let’s discuss the other three now. Word reasoning is one such section. It’s a fun section, one that may not be on the updated version of the WPPSI. It’s a guessing game. Parents can practice for this section with their children by playing “I Spy.” As an example, “I’m thinking of something that has buttons to press, it rings, and you use it to call someone!” The answer, of course, is a phone. Comprehension is another of the verbal sections. This section consists of thought-provoking questions that may revolve around safety (i.e., “Why is it important to hold scissors carefully?”) and understanding how to be a well-mannered kid (i.e., “Why do we say ‘please’?”). Often children respond to questions like this with: “Because i want something.” But it’s really to show others that you have good manners. The last verbal section is the similarities section. In this section, children must answer how two things relate to each other (i.e., “a toothbrush and a hairbrush are both ________.”).
In our next post on the ERB, we’ll focus on the performance subtests. In the meantime, have a question about NYC kindergarten admission? Have a question about the ERB? Post it below and Stephanie will respond. If you’re interested in her services, send an email Stephanie’s way.Categories: Parents Tags: Admission to NYC Kindergarten, Getting Into NYC Kindergartens, Manhattan Kindergarten Admission, NYC Kindergarten Admission, NYC Kindergarten Admissions
While The Ivy Coach does not provide ERB tutoring, we recommend Stephanie Sigal to help your children in Manhattan prepare for the kindergarten admissions test. It sounds ridiculous, right? Aspiring kindergartners having to prep for an admissions test? But in Manhattan, it’s the order of the day and nobody helps these tots get ready like Stephanie does. Continuing on with our series on the ERB exam, here is some information on the vocabulary verbal subtest:
In this subtest of the ERB, children are asked to define a word such as “what are dogs?” Typically, the words revolve around vehicles, animals, and clothing. But the words can become much more challenging, which is why a well-read kid as well as a child exposed to museums and culture will thrive. Carefully select vocabulary-rich books to read to children as part of the ERB prep — use it as a break from structured work. Ask children to provide definitions (as well as predict, work on comprehension, etc.) without making them feel like they are being drilled. They will likely walk away from this time having sort of “experienced” the word. As an example, “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown is loaded with vocabulary words like harvest, peasants, and soldiers. Children also close the book with a deeper understanding of what it means to share and cooperate, if the reader reads effectively.
If you’re interested in ERB tutoring in Manhattan, send an email to Stephanie Sigal. Have a question on ERB tutoring? Post it below and she’ll answer it. And if you happen to live off the island of Manhattan and think kindergarten admission prep is silly, we empathize with you. But in Manhattan, getting into kindergarten is tough and it stresses parents out. Stephanie helps ease this stress.Categories: Parents Tags: ERB Tutor, ERB Tutoring, ERB Tutors, Manhattan ERB Tutor, NYC ERB Tutor
While The Ivy Coach does not offer NYC ERB tutoring, we recommend Stephanie Sigal, M.S., CCC-SLP. The ERB is known in NYC as the kindergarten admissions test for private schools. However, the ERB (Educational Records Bureau), is really the agency that administers a test that they call the ECAA – the Early Childhood Admissions Assessment. It’s ike the College Board for the SAT…just high school students don’t walk around saying that they have the College Boards on Saturday. It’s possible their parents and grandparents do, though. It shows their age.
The ECAA uses subtests of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI). Presently, the ERB is using the WPPSI-III (for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade), but an updated WPPSI-IV was released in September 2012, which is reportedly more child friendly and fun. It is anticipated that the ERB will make the switch in the near future. Presently, eight subtests of the WPPSI 3 are administered to preschoolers. These include four verbal subtests (vocabulary, word reasoning, comprehension, and similarities) in addition to four “performance” subtests (picture concepts, matrix reasoning, block design, and coding).
In the coming days, we’ll go through what these various subtests of the ERB entail. In the meantime, have a question on NYC ERB prep? Send questions our way by posting below and Stephanie will answer them. Looking forward to hearing from you.Categories: Admissions Process, Parents Tags: ERB Prep in NYC, New York City ERB Prep, NYC ERB Prep, NYC Prepping for ERB, Prep for ERB Test in NYC
There are some college admissions counseling firms that offer services to children as young as pre-schoolers. We’re not one of them. But we do receive a number of calls from parents looking to help their children prepare for the ERB. Getting into kindergarten in New York City, after all, isn’t just about buying a trapper-keeper and a new set of magic markers. It’s about mastering the skills necessary to ace the ERB. And we know just the pro to help your child ace this test – Stephanie Sigal, M.A. CCC-SLP.
Here is a sampling of some details on preparing for the ERB from Stephanie’s website: “As a speech-language therapist, Stephanie works with your child at his present ability in kindergarten prep and pushes him to where he still experiences success, but is building new skills. All of the play and work in kindergarten prep begins with building attention as it is a requirement for success in all tasks. Once your child is attending, can he follow the game directions? If following directions in a kindergarten game is too difficult, we may need to practice in a more active game like Simon Says and slowly change the goals to follow more complex commands and settings.”
“Does your child always understand stories that are read aloud? Stephanie helps children to understand storylines in fun and meaningful ways. During games, we may work on defining vocabulary words that your child knows, or we may learn new words. Stephanie uses carefully chosen picture books, kindergarten games, and conversation to expose your child to new words. These tasks and experiences help encourage general knowledge that can benefit a child on the kindergarten admission test and as well as in kindergarten.”
So check out Stephanie’s service offerings as you seek to help your child prepare for the ERB test.Categories: Parents, Standardized Testing Tags: ERB Test, ERB Test Prep, ERB Testing, Prepare for the ERB, Prepare for the ERB Test
Parents of college applicants should not be contacting college admissions offices. It’s as simple as that. Too often, we hear from parents who sign up for a free consultation with us that they’ve previously reached out to college admissions counselors at the colleges to which their children will be applying. Oy vey. What were they thinking? It’s sometimes difficult to tell parents that what they did is absolutely the wrong thing to do but, at The Ivy Coach, we are in the business of telling it like it is. No fluff here.
What do you think a college admissions counselor thinks when a parent of a college applicant reaches out to him? Do you think he thinks, “Boy. I sure wish more parents would reach out to me. It really gives me a better sense of who the applicant is and what she’s all about. If not for this call from her parent, there’s no way I’d click ‘admit.’” We hope you realize this was entirely sarcastic. If not, you might have some larger issues to address. The fact is that there is absolutely no reason — ever — for a parent to reach out to a college admissions counselor. It will only hurt (not help!) a child’s chances for admission.
What it says to admissions officers is that the student isn’t independent, that there’s a good chance their parent wrote their essays, and who wants to deal with a student like this? Will the parent be calling professors as well when their child gets a ‘B’ in Introductory Psychology? How embarrassing would that be. Not the ‘B.’ The call from the parent. Your child is in college! These kinds of calls, this kind of meddling…it needs to end immediately. Don’t hurt your child’s chances in the highly selective college admissions process. Don’t ever reach out to a college admissions counselor even if you think it’ll help. It won’t. We promise.Categories: College Admissions, Parents Tags: Parenting and College Admissions, Parents and College Admissions Counselors, Parents and University Admissions, Parents Contacting College Admissions Officers, Parents Contacting College Admissions Offices