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  • James Maroney

    Title: Director

    Company: First Choice College Placement

    • verified

    Years of Experience

    Colleges I Attended
    Yale University
    Bachelor's Degree
    Professional Affiliations

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • As a high school junior, what are the most important things for me to do before senior year?


      First, prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, and SAT II if required by target colleges). Ideally you would have all standardized tests completed by the end of junior year, so you can devote the summer to drafting your essays and completing applications. Second, continue to compile a transcript with rigorous courses and participate in meaningful activities. Third, visit target colleges to create “demonstrated interest” and learn about schools. Finally, approach teachers who know you best to request letters of recommendation. If they seem excited, get contact information so you can send the recommendation forms when they become available in July.

    • What are some convenient, well-paying jobs for students who need to work while in college?


      Flexibility is why I recommend a campus-based job. If you are working for the school, your employer will be far more understanding if you need to miss some work for an important exam than a private employer will be. Second is flexibility to do your own work while on the job. Often, if you are working late shifts in the library, you can bring your own work along. Cafeteria jobs tend to pay better, but they often do not have as much flexibility. Finally, working in a department that is related to your academic and career interests gives you the bonus of gaining contacts and a potential strong letter of recommendation.

    • What are some of the most unexpected costs for incoming freshman?


      One suggestion is to contact your roommate before buying any furniture/electronics for your dorm room. No need to duplicate, and often there may be a way to buy used furniture at a Salvation Army or Goodwill store close to campus, so you don’t need to lug it all the way there. Finally, watch those nebulous “personal expenses.” I have known several students who went out to eat very often, and spent more than anticipated on entertainment, and depleted their savings in the first two months of school. Set a budget and stick to it. It is good practice for later on.

    • I was rejected from my top school and waitlisted at my second choice. How do I pick a backup?


      First, send a letter accepting your place on the waitlist and updating the college with new activities or awards since you initially applied.  Ask if you can interview, if you haven’t yet.  Also, ask them if you can submit additional letters of recommendation or other supplemental materials.  Next, evaluate your backup schools. Visit them and ask yourself, “Can I see myself walking across this campus to go to class? Can I see myself being friends with these students?”  Talk to as many current and former students as possible.  Then make a list of the pros and cons for each school.    

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