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  • Jeannie Borin

    Title: Founder & President

    Company: College Connections

    • verified

    Years of Experience
    15

    Colleges I Attended
    UCLA & UC Berkeley
    Degrees
    Master's Degree, Professional Degree
    Professional Affiliations
    WACAC, HECA, IECA, NACAC
    About Me
    Jeannie stays on the forefront of current and innovative trends in college admissions and education. This is evident by her vast social and national media presence, membership in the most highly regarded college admissions organizations, public speaking, and attendance at professional college conferences. She also visits colleges throughout the United States building contacts within the admissions staff.

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • We don't have time or money to visit some schools I’m really interested in. What can I do?

       

      College officers understand that not everyone can visit colleges. Between plane fare, rental cars and hotel stays, it can get costly. Students can visit colleges in their area to get an idea of college life and what they would like. Many college representatives travel and provide needed information during college nights. Attend college fairs to meet college reps and get questions answered. Do research on the internet as most colleges have thorough websites with information. Speak to other students and know that social media is active at colleges with online chats, interviews and webinars. Lots of information will make your eventual decision that much easier.

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

       

      Larger universities (over 6,000 undergraduates) offer some advantages over smaller colleges, and are good for students who can advocate for themselves. If a student wants personal relationships with professors and smaller classes then a smaller college would be a better match. Larger public universities can be state funded and therefore charge less tuition. However, smaller colleges may have large endowments with more money to distribute in grants and aid. More students and more alumni can mean more money. That gives large universities a multitude of resources, the ability to hire top faculty and sustain state of the art academic programs and recreational/athletic facilities. Smaller colleges may have more of a “community feel” and great resources as well.

    • If I haven’t found the right extracurriculars, can I still appear to be a dedicated student?

       

      It’s important to portray yourself as a diversified individual on your college applications. The essays and activity resume are great ways to show other sides of yourself not represented in your grades or test scores. It is good to try different activities in order to find what you like most. Once you do, focus on that activity so that by 11th or 12th grade, you can show some initiative and leadership. Simple daily occurrences and hobbies can make for great essay topics. I am reminded of a pre-med student who loved magic. He taught himself numerous tricks and eventually did fundraising shows for his favorite charity. He wrote a great college essay about it!

    • What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

       

      What seems to be the most obvious are common things students overlook during their college admissions process. I have seen the strangest email addresses that friends may think are just right. Students should use their name as an email address when communicating with college representatives. This may make them more familiar and also expresses interest in that college. Another mistake I encounter is that students are often set on just applying to specific selective colleges. It is important to research admission requirements and create a balanced list that includes colleges where students are likely to gain acceptance. Applying too close to deadlines is stressful and makes it more difficult to prepare well thought out applications. My advice –meet and beat all deadlines!

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

       

      With summer upon us, many students are convinced they need to travel to a third world country to do their community service or attend a program at an elite college to increase their chance of acceptance. Neither of these scenarios is accurate. Students seem to think that they need to add countless activities to their activity resumes when in fact college officers prefer to see fewer activities with more depth and continuity. Families rely too heavily on publicity and rankings. If they haven’t heard of the college, it can’t be good. Put your antennas up and explore the thousands of colleges out there!

    • Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions?

       

      Here are some things to look out for while you tour different colleges. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many buildings, programs and informational tours. A preplanned checklist of what you want to see is a good idea.

      Here are some bullet points of different things I look for in touring the many colleges I see each year:

      – Admission Criteria

      Requirements and What to Include with Application

      When to Apply

      GPA & Test Scores (if required)

      Scholarships Offered

      Student Support/Counseling Center

      – Academics

      Professor Availability

      Popular Programs

      Average Size of Class (ratio to student)

      Possible Internships

      Study Abroad Opportunities

      Available Technology

      Library Facilities

      – Campus Life

      Greek – Fraternities/Sororities

      Weekend Activities

      Special Campus Events

      How Many Students Live on Campus? Commute?

      Sport Events

      Dining Facilities

      Party Scene

      - Campus Setting

      Where is College Located?

      Too Remote? Too Urban? Near a City?

      What is Surrounding Community Like? Campus Town?

      - Look of the College

      Dorms and Nearby Housing

      Lecture Halls & Classrooms

      Clean, Easy Access, Transportation

      Libraries

      Security & Safety, Campus Police Availability

      Current Building Projects

      How Well Are Current Facilities Maintained?

      Recreation Center

      While you visit, here are some additional suggestions:

      Take a campus informational tour

      Set up an interview with an admission officer

      Audit a course

      Speak with a professor or representative at the department in your field of interest

      If you are pursuing athletics, talk to a coach in your sport

      If possible, stay overnight in a dorm with a friend or relative

      Pick up the campus newspaper

      Spend time in the Student Union and eat in the cafeteria

      Speak to students and ask questions

      Find the center of campus and have a seat for 30 minutes

      Take a look at the college bookstore

      Ask a student what he/she loves and hates about the college

      Tour the community surrounding the campus

      Ask a student if you can see their dorm room

      Ask yourself if you could feel at home at this college

      Take lots of notes and pictures

      Enjoy yourself!

    • How important are college rankings when choosing a college?

       

      College students should use rankings as one factor while researching colleges if those rankings include essential variables such as; quality of faculty, retention rate, academic programs and career placement. Too often, rankings are viewed without  consideration of  other vital factors for a successful college experience. “Reputation” of a college can be a misleading marketing tactic. Rankings frequently do not include immeasurable aspects such as; cost, financial aid, course offerings, campus life and geographic location. Rankings can be considered but should not be the sole basis on deciding where to attend. If possible, a campus visit is best.

    • Tuition aside, what benefits and drawbacks exist by going to school in-state vs. out-of-state?

       

      It’s hard to ignore the financial benefits of attending a state university. Other advantages include the numerous activities outside class such as clubs and social events as well as increased academic options. Generally in state colleges have a more diverse student body than smaller privates. Some private colleges don’t have the multitude of resources available at larger publics. Large classes can be a drawback for some but many prefer it. Some state budgets have mandated increased tuition, faculty and course cutbacks, which make many private colleges more attractive.

    • In all of your years working with students, what were some of the most unexpected admissions successes you witnessed?

       

      One is a very special girl with a heart of gold. Her numbers (GPA/test scores) were slightly above average, but her creativity, resume, compelling essays and the way she applied her learned knowledge soared. She, in fact, inspired me. She is at her first choice school, accepted at many, and thriving. A boy comes to mind that dealt with and overcame a cancer diagnosis, but stayed the course. His grades suffered and he was academically behind his peers. However, his application document was pristine. He discussed overcoming adversity in the most profound way. He is excelling at his first choice college and will be a junior this fall.

    • How do I understand my financial aid package and which tips and tricks can maximize my aid?

       

      The only true financial aid involves grants and scholarships from the institution, though universities generally will list federal loans, subsidized or unsubsidized, and work-study programs as part of the aid package. Break down each offer into the three areas listed above (grants, loans, and work study) so you will know exactly what you are being offered. Do you want to have the least amount of out of pocket expenses, even though you will spend time in a work program and have loans to pay back when you finish school, or is it more important to you to accept the offer with the greatest amount of grants and scholarships that do not need to be paid back? Your decision becomes a matter of personal choice.

    • What are the best ways to prepare for the SAT and which study methods are worth paying for?

       

      The best way to prepare for the SAT is to get some strategic advice, obtain individualized guidance and take practice tests. Many students take test prep courses which are good for learning about the test, the timing, various sections, and how it is graded. Individualized tutoring help can be most effective because the student’s errors are carefully analyzed so that similar mistakes are not made on the actual test. Online practice tests are the most cost effective and in some cases provide excellent guidance.  The E-prep Program is unique in that a video screen appears that explains a student’s mistakes and clarifies the questions. Information and discounted rates are here: http://college-connections.com/online-test-preparation.html

    • To find scholarships, where should I look, what's needed of me, and which ones seem craziest?

       

      Apply for as many scholarships as you can. You need to be willing to make time because there are required essays, forms to complete, deadlines to be met, and recommendations that must be sent. Fastweb.com, Finaid.org and Scholarshipexperts.com are two reliable websites where you can begin your search.  Scholarships are available from private corporations to community organizations. Students should check with the financial aid offices at their colleges of interest to see what scholarships are available through that school. Sometimes, essay prompts are similar so you may be able to reuse one strong essay.

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

       

      On campus jobs are preferred in that students can often work flexible hours in close proximity to where they live and attend class. A few suggestions would include: university tour guide, working at the bookstore, in the alumni office, or career center. Students also gain employment doing IT support and assisting those in navigating social media. Working in a restaurant, as a bank teller and house sitting are other possibilities. Some students start their own businesses whether it is delivery of cleaned laundry or food. It is great if students can connect their job with their career interest and do something they like.

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

       

      In addition to tuition, housing, computers and books, there are hidden costs that can put a dent in your college spending budget. Some things to think about include purchasing software required by some courses, additional library fees, late night food items and concert tickets. Be aware too that tuition rates may change while you are a student and there could be some healthcare costs (many colleges offer insurance plans for students). Decorating your dorm room with a new carpet, longer dorm bed sheets and a small fridge and microwave can run into more dollars. There are also fees for sporting events and parking passes. Add on travel expenses home too. Budget carefully and spend wisely!

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

       

      The college admission process should be somewhat of a passage from childhood to adulthood. Parents should assist with some organization, give encouragement, make suggestions and support their child. Reward their accomplishments but allow your child to take ownership of their college process. Parents can plan college visits, call financial aid offices to learn of opportunities and be a sounding board for their child’s concerns. Listen and read their college essays (if they let you) and give constructive advice. If a college admission office needs to be called, the student should do it. The college process helps prepare students for the independence they will have when they are in college. 

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