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  • Deborah Shames

    Title: Independent College Search Consultant & Transfer Admissions Advisor


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    Colleges I Attended
    Cornell University, BA 1989 NYU, MA in Applied Psychology (concentration in Counselor Education) 1992

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?


      You should have absolutely no expectation of privacy online.  Your words and pictures should not portray unethical, illegal, or unflattering behavior. Even with the privacy settings you (hopefully) place on your own account, when posting on another wall, you don’t know who might read it, save it or maliciously use it against you.  While I doubt admissions officers have the time to look you up on Facebook, why risk it.   As my mother always says, don’t put anything in writing that you would be embarrassed to have your grandmother read 10 minutes, 10 weeks, or 10 years from now! 

    • I want to make the most of campus visits. What should I do, look for, and ask while I’m there?


      As a potential member of a specific college community, it’s important to know what you can live with and without.  I always advise students to talk to “real” students, not just the tour guides.  Ask them where else they applied and why they ultimately chose this college.  Ask what  has been their most memorable academic experiences to date.  Ask what they would do with a million dollars to improve something about their school.  Ask what surprised them when they got to campus that they would want a prospective student to know.  The answers may surprise and enlighten you, helping you to make a sound decision as to the best fit for you.

    • What makes a school large or small and what are some advantages and disadvantages of each?


      Smaller schools are often more willing evaluate you holistically, evaluating more than your GPA and test scores.  And the vast majority of test-optional colleges are smaller schools.  You need to know yourself as a learner.  If you want to know your professors, that’s much easier to do at a smaller school.  If you want discussion-based classes, they’re easy to find at smaller schools, but at larger schools (over 10,000) you might not have them until junior year.  You can find Greek life, sports and rah-rah, and friends anywhere, but the academic experience, for which your parents are paying big bucks, will largely be determined by the size of the school. 

    • What are the most accepted or exaggerated myths about the college admissions process?


      Many kids and parents believe fabulous standardized test scores will make up for mediocre grades.  Great test scores without the academic achievement to support them tell the admissions people one of two things: “Johnny has the ability, but he’s lazy” or “Wow, Mom and Dad paid for a great testing tutor because this test is teachable. “  Neither one of these will help Johnny in the application process; he is better off spending that time and effort working on his grades and mastering his coursework!  In the end, the success in the coursework is what the colleges need to see to feel confident a student will succeed at their institution. 

    • How can parents help students with the college search and application process?


      Getting in is, ultimately, less important than getting out of college, so more than anything the student needs to be able to be successful academically and socially in the school they attend. Try to keep the lines of communication open and let them discover, through thorough research, why a school is or isn’t a good fit. Work with your student to set up a calendar of deadlines (Microsoft Outlook can be set to send you reminders). Make a chart of deadlines and requirements for each school and check them off as they are completed.  Try to enjoy the journey! 

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