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  • Kris Hintz

    Title: Founder

    Company: Position U 4 College LLC

    • verified

    College Specializations
    Bucknell University, Emory University
    Years of Experience

    Colleges I Attended
    MA-Columbia U Teachers College (Psychology, Career Development & Counseling) MBA-The Wharton School (Marketing) BA-University of Pennsylvania (Psychology)
    Master's Degree
    UCLA College Counselor Certification
    Professional Affiliations
    National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC),
    Prior Job
    Nabisco (now Kraft)
    Prior Title
    Group Business Director (Marketing)
    About Me
    I hold a UCLA Certificate in College Counseling (2010), MA in Psychology from Columbia U (1996), an MBA in Marketing from Wharton (1980) and a BA in Psychology from U Penn (1978). I have 12 years of executive marketing experience (Nabisco, Coca Cola, Quaker, Clorox). My firm helps students apply to college and grad school, and helps college students with career placement. I authored "Navigating the Road to College: A Handbook for Parents" available on

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  • Admissions Expertise

    • Are guidebooks, relatives, and rankings useful in choosing a school?


      Yes, yes, and yes. The guidebooks I recommend are: The College Finder by Steven Antonoff (lists of schools known for excellence in specific majors), Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope (a way of looking at schools based on student engagement, along with 40 good examples). Rankings such as US News & World Report are certainly a place to start to see which schools belong on the radar screen overall and for specific programs such as business and engineering. Relatives and friends of the family can offer some perspective, depending on their own backgrounds and how in touch they are with college selectivity TODAY (not in the 1970's---things have changed).

    • Are there activities/organizations that impress highly selective colleges?


      First of all, remember that your most impressive credentials are your GPA, the rigor of your course load, and your standardized test scores. NEVER sacrifice any of these credentials for extracurricular activities, EVER.

      Once you have achieved a strong threshold of quantitative accomplishments (GPA and SAT), then extracurricular credentials can be a tie-breaker for highly selective colleges.

      The obvious activities (and we're talking about one or two, not six....depth not breadth):

      Leadership and commitment in a varsity sport (one, not three)

      Deep involvement in a performing arts activity (music, acting, dance, tech theater)

      Leadership and commitment in one community service activity (scouts, church)

    • Can colleges revoke admissions offers? What behaviors can cause this, and how can students protect themselves?


      Of course they can. A letter of acceptance usually includes a provisional statement, saying that the offer of acceptance is contingent upon academic performance consistent with the student's performance to date (that earned the acceptance at this school). If a student gets a bad case of "senioritis" and stops working in second semester of the senior year, the student needs to be aware that the college acceptance might get pulled. They get midterm and final year grades from your high school, for this very reason.

      Admissions can also be revoked if a student does something unethical. For example, if I student is accepted at a binding Early Decision school, but does not withdraw applications at other institutions, and then gets into one of them and decides to go there instead of the ED school. Both schools will probably find out through the high school guidance department, and the admissions world is a small world anyway.

      Of course, if a student does something illegal, such as shoplifting, being arrested for underage drinking, drug use or DUI, all of these behaviors can cause an admissions offer to be pulled. How does the college find out? From your high school, of course. Your high school guidance department is honor-bound to deal with the colleges in an upfront, honest way. If they know that an accepted student has done something unethical or illegal, they will feel obligated to tell the college.

      So, if you're fortunate enough to be accepted to the school of your dreams, don't blow it by doing anything stupid.

    • How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?


      A college consultant provides a neutral third party, who can moderate conflict between parents and teens in this intense process. I meet with parents and teen in the beginning to work on the initial college list, and then with just myself and the student as we move into the essay part of the process. In the parent-teen phase, I do a great deal of listening, and offer my expertise to answer questions that both parties have. Often, parents don't know as much about the college process as they think they do, and having a consultant in the room helps them to back off and become better listeners themselves. I try to help the parents listen to their own teenager, and sometimes they gain a new perspective on the strengths and goals of their own child. I also help the student to see that the college process is not just a form of torture made up by his parents, but is a necessity in ushering in the next phase of his or her life. Sometimes I feel ilike more of a shrink than a college consultant!

    • How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?


      Many colleges offer non-evaluative interviews with alumni, either on campus or local to the applicant. You can set up such an interview through the admissions office. The purpose of these interviews is to "sell" the school and help answer questions that an applicant may have, rather than evaluating the applicant.

      You might talk to your high school guidance counselor about students who have graduated recently and attended the college you are interested in. Friends of the family may also have children who are attending (or did attend) colleges on your radar screen, who would be more than happy to talk with you about their school.

    • How important is it to visit each college and network with the admissions reps?


      Would you get married without a date? Would you buy a house without visiting with a realtor? Of course not. Neither should you apply to college without visiting, to determine whether its programs, physical campus, and student atmosphere are a good ft for you.

      In addition to helping you decide if you can picture yourself at this college for the next four years, it is important to visit to demonstrate your interest to the college. Admissions people need to predict yield, and it is important to them to be able to guess whether you would really enroll at their school if they were to offer you acceptance. If you have visited and interviewed at the school, and you mention this in your supplementary essays, admissions will realize there is a likelihood you might really attend their school if accepted.

      You do not have to "network" with admissions reps. But you do have to visit, and let them know in your application that you have done so.

    • How many schools should students apply to?


      If a student is applying to a college Early Decision in the fall, the answer may be one. However, an ED school can only be selected after a thorough college search (with visits) during junior year, since it is a binding commitment. You can apply to other schools during the fall while applying to an Early Decision school. If these schools are Early Action or Rolling Admission, they could "cushion the blow" if you are deferred or denied by your ED school. However, if you are accepted to your ED school, you must immediately withdraw any applications you have submitted.

      If you are not applying Early Decision, I recommend about eight schools, some of which may be Early Action or Rolling Decision so you can get early feedback. However, of this eight schools, six should be closely clustered around your target (schools that have similar SAT and GPA to yours, as indicated by Naviance, College Board, or the schools' websites). You do not want four reaches (that you will probably miss) and four super safes (where you would not be happy attending). Six targets, one slight reach, and one likely, is a better bet.

    • How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?


      For the visual arts, applicants need to be working on portfolios from the beginning of junior year. It is a good idea to take a course in portfolio development, either in your high school or in a summer pre-college program. In the NY area, for example, check out portfolio programs at Pratt or FIT. Check out college counselors who actually specialize in this area, who can help you develop a portfolio and even set up a website. When you visit colleges, meet with the arts department to find out the portfolio requirements.

      For the performing arts, applicants need to plan on a second application layer beyond just applying to the school academically: the audition process. During junior year, begin to identify (and visit) colleges and develop a "master plan" for applications and auditions. Work with a coach to choose repertoire and prepare for your auditions. Consider developing a personal website to showcase your performances.

    • How should you approach a college visit as an accepted student?


      Due diligence is the key. See if you can do an overnight visit, where you can see what campus life is really like at the school. Make sure you sit in on some classes to get the "feel" of what it would really be like to go to college there. See what the surrounding town or urban area is like, how easy or difficult it is to get to the city a suburban college brags about being near.

      If you know what major you want to pursue, meet with professors in the department. Make sure it has a robust, full program in your major. Will it meet your needs for all four years? Will you have enough opportunities to "do your thing" whether that means participating in performing arts programs or doing scientific research?

      You are about to spend $200K. Make sure you will be spending it wisely.

    • Does class size matter?


      Faculty-student ratio is an important measure of the quality of the classroom experience. Of course, every college student will probably have to endure a few large introductory lecture hall classes, but small seminar-style classes should become the student's norm by junior year to optimize the college experience. For $50K a year, shouldn't that be expected?

    • Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?


      That depends on many factors. First, the personality and culture of the student and his or her relationship with the family is paramount. A student who is very close to his or her family, who has strong emotional needs for coming home frequently, would probably be happier attending a college within a three hour driving radius. There may be expectations of frequent home visits for families from some cultural backgrounds.

      Second, the student's extracurricular activities may involve the family. If the student participates in sports and the family enjoys going to his or her home games, or if the student is in the performing arts and the family attends his or her concerts or plays, it may be important to be within that magic three hour radius.

      Third, the family's financial situation and/or time flexibility may dictate geography. Air or train travel adds cost to the college bill. If the parents do not have time to drive eight or more hours one way to pick up a child at school, perhaps the student should consider a college nearer to home.

      All that said, you only go to college once, and part of the college adventure may include exploring a different part of the country. Willingness to consider colleges outside of your geographic comfort zone might open up more academic options as well.

    • What are some tips for college visits?


      Play the role of an anthropologist, observing a new culture. Sit in a campus eaterie or hang out on the green. Watch the students. What are they wearing? What are they talking about? Do they seem enthusiastic and engaged, or cold and isolated? Do they seem shallow, intellectual, school-spirited? Homogenous or diverse? As Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."

      Most importantly, ask yourself this question: can you picture yourself here, with these kids, for the next four (transformative) years of your life?

    • What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?


      You may first want to get standardized "at a glance" information from sources that cover all the schools, such as College Board, Merit Aid, US News, Kiplinger. Then you can dig in to each college's individual website for more in-depth information.

      The most valuable information the college's website can give you is:

      1. Majors and minors by school

      2. Specific admission information (i.e., performing arts auditions, test-optional alternatives, early notification programs, honors college and special programs). Supplemental essay information is sometimes available, but often you can only get that through Common Application.

      3. Specific financial aid and merit scholarship information and deadlines.

      4. College visits (Info sessions and tours, interviews).

      5. Student organizations, club & intramural sports, and community service organizations.

      There are no tricks to navigating a college website. Some websites are great, some are poor---with no relationship to how good the school is!

    • What are the quickest ways to research colleges?


      If you know what you want to study, start with academic programs. The College Finder by Steven Antonoff will help you identify colleges that should be on your radar screen for specific majors. Antonoff also has a website called US News & World Report ranks some undergraduate programs, such as engineering and business.

      If you know that affording college is going to be an issue, identify "best value" colleges from Kiplinger's website. You can also do a quick search of merit scholarships at colleges you are interested in at

    • What if you can't visit a school?


      Meet with the admission reps who do a "road show" in your local area or even at your high school. Seek out an opportunity to do a local interview with an alum; these are non-evaluative but very informative and they show interest in the school.

      Most colleges have virtual tours on their own websites, or you can also get access to virtual tours and videos through UNIGO, You University TV, and Campus Tours. So you will be able to get a visual, realistic flavor of the school even if you cannot visit.

      That said, once you have learned everything you can about a school through the above vehicles, try if you can to visit at least before you enroll. No one wants a mail-order bride. This is a big decision you are making, and it is important to see the campus up-close before making a final decision.

    • What should students consider when choosing between a small and large school?


      Usually size is related to whether the school is public or private, and the choice of public or private is driven by affordability. If your family's financial situation requires that you attend a public university, you may still be able to find a small campus environment. For example, the SUNY system (State University of New York) is comprised of small to medium-sized campuses throughout the state, as opposed the typical model of a huge flagship campus with a few less selective satellites.

      Generally, small schools offer a better learning environment for students, because they facilitate more intimate classroom settings and more personal connection with faculty. Many high school students believe they want a large school because of spectator sports, but that does not mean they will thrive in such an environment---many freshmen feel lost in large, anonymous lecture-hall classes and consequently flounder and fail. In fact, many small and medium sized schools offer great spectator sports, "school spirit," and all the benefits of a large school.

      If affordable, I would encourage a student to consider a small to medium size school to gain the most transformative college experience.

    • When should students start the college search?


      It is okay to visit a campus or two in your sophomore year, but this is an intense process and you don't want to get too burnt out on it too quickly. So I suggest beginning to develop a college list in fall or winter of the junior year, with visiting throughout the second semester of junior year. In the summer, you can begin to develop an application strategy (i.e., choose an early decision school if appropriate, decide if you want to apply early in any non-binding programs), begin your essays, and begin the Common Application when it launches Aug 1.

    • Who should come with you on college visits?


      A parent who can hold back on offering opinions while the student absorbs the experience and determines whether or not he or she can picture attending that school for four years.

      It may be good to make one college trip with one parent and another college trip with the other parent. Such "mixing it up" allows for variation in the parent-teen dynamics, and sometimes the student will have a different "take" on a college visit just because of the chemistry of whoever is along on the visit.

      It is okay to have siblings along, unless the sibling dynamics is highly conflicted and toxic, distracting the applicant from the task at hand. Sometimes the younger sibling inwardly decides he or she is interested in that college---making it easier when he or she is later going through the college search!

      Sometimes a student can go with another family who is looking at the same college for a friend in the same grade in school. This can be fun for the students and they can also compare notes on the college they are visiting.

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


      If we are talking only about public universities, the only real benefit of in-state vs out-of-state is paying less tuition. But sometimes a student who needs to attend a public institution is better off at an out-of-state school, if that school is the better choice for the specific program the student is interested in. Or, perhaps the student wants a certain kind of school atmosphere that is not available in his or her in-state university. For example, maybe a student from Pennsylvania wants a small campus; Penn State University Park, the flagship campus of that state's university system, may be too big. The student might select the equally competitive, but smaller, SUNY Geneseo, one of the most selective SUNY campuses, which only has around five thousand students.

    • What trends have you noticed in admissions?


      The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conducts an annual admissions trends survey. In recent years, one of the factors becoming more important in the admissions decision, according to this annual study, is "demonstrated interest."

      As more pressure is placed on admissions counselors to predict their enrollment "yield," they are more concerned with how genuinely interested each applicant is in their school. In other words, if they offer you acceptance, how likely are you to actually enroll?

      This trend has strong implications for applicants. It is important to show commitment to the school when answering supplemental essays. It is important to visit the school (and mention your visit in your essays), demonstrate that you have met with admissions reps who come to your local area, and seek out the opportunity to do an interview (even a non-evaluative one with an alum).

    • How can you get in off the wait list?


      If the college is still your first choice, express your interest to your guidance counselor and communicate it directly with admissions as well. Beyond that, that is all you can do. Do not pester the admissions department; they know you would like to move off the wait list.

      Make sure that a deposit is sent in by May 1 to a school that has outright admitted you, and which you would very much like to attend. Wait lists are a long shot! You need to de-invest emotionally in the wait list school, and wrap your mind around the most likely outcome.

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


      DormAid, gives entrepreneurial college students the opportunity to start and run their own business on campus. DormAid, founded by Michael Kopko at Harvard in 2004, provides laundry pickup/delivery, room cleaning, bedding services, and water delivery. It offers direct on-campus services at 25 universities. It seeks to launch on 50 additional campuses. Launching the business on one's own campus would be convenient way to make money, and would give a college student entrepreneurial, managerial and marketing experience that would be attractive to future employers.

    • Is it okay for parents to help edit their child's college essay?


      Take a look at a statement the student must check before signing the Common Application: “I certify that all information submitted in the admission process—including the application, the personal essay, any supplements, and any other supporting materials—is my own work, factually true, and honestly presented…” Does that mean that you cannot have an English teacher or a parent review the grammar? No, in my view, checking the mechanics with a knowledgeable expert is part of being a conscientious applicant. But when parents start “re-writing,” it becomes a slippery slope.

      Even a sprinkling of well-intentioned re-writing could call the student’s authorship into question. You don’t think admissions people can tell the difference between a high school writer and a parent? Think again. Reading essays is what they do for a living! If your teenager does not have stellar verbal skills, as evidenced by lackluster English grades or SAT scores, but his or her personal statement reads like a Pulitzer prize-winning novel, don’t you think the admissions reader will raise an eyebrow? If the student’s academic record is incongruent with the essay, the admissions reader could doubt the veracity of just about anything on the application. It is not worth it to raise such a question in order to submit a better essay.

    • What are some tips for acing the college interview?


      A college interview is NOT an interrogation. Since most college interviews are non-evaluative, the interviewer will quickly shift gears and ask what questions you have about the school. Take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about the college and its programs. Asking well thought-out questions that exhibit a thorough understanding of the school also demonstrate serious interest. Questions that are too superficial (easily gleaned from the website) might communicate a lack of interest.

      There is only one mistake in a college interview: having NO questions.

    • Does the college interview really count?


      Interviews are offered at elite private institutions, such as Ivies, and small liberal arts colleges that take a holistic approach to admissions. Most interviews are conducted by alumni who represent the school regionally, since admissions staffers are busy reading applications. They are typically optional, non-evaluative, and offered throughout the country so as to not require long distance travel for applicants.

      If admissions says the interview is non-evaluative, then it is non-evaluative. Positive comments from the interviewer certainly add a nice little halo effect, and certainly, a disastrous interview would raise red flags. But I would not lose sleep over college interviews.

    • Can I get extra time on the SAT if I have a learning disability?


      Yes, but you need to get accommodations at least six months in advantage. Whether or not you are classified (504 or IEP) in your high school, you need to also be evaluated by an outside learning consultant and have your specific learning disabilities documented. This documentation needs to be sent to College Board (for the SAT) or ACT Inc. (for the ACT) several months in advance of the test date.

      If you are not classified in high school, or have been de-classified, and seem to be performing okay academically without being given extra time on tests in high school, it is unlikely you will get accommodations on the SAT or ACT. But if you believe it is necessary, go see a learning consultant, get tested, and make the request.

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


      Start collecting things that your high school student would otherwise lose: test results, transcripts, awards, sports accomplishments, community service hours, and exceptional essays. Don’t go crazy, don’t insist on your teen’s involvement, just quietly do it, so everything will be organized in one place when your son or daughter needs it. Chefs call this approach “mise en place” (everything in place). Get the ingredients ready so you’ve got them right there when you need them.

    • How can parents help students with the application process?


      Parents can help students with the application process by being informed themselves, getting their kids started early on, and providing basic "touchpoint" structure to the process. Micromanaging is not necessary nor advisable, since it is toxic for the parent-teen relationship and does not improve the student's application as much as the parents may think it does.

    • If your parents are too involved, can they hurt your chances?


      Yes. The most obvious misstep for parents is practically writing the essay for their kid, which may call into question your authorship. Take a look at a statement the student must check before signing the Common Application: “I certify that all information submitted in the admission process—including the application, the personal essay, any supplements, and any other supporting materials—is my own work, factually true, and honestly presented…” So if your essay sounds like it was written by your parent, the admissions people may doubt your authorship, therefore your integrity. This will hurt your admissions chances.

      There are other helicopter missteps, such as pestering the admissions department. Neither the applicant nor the parent should not bother admissions ad nauseum (although calling or emailing with legitimate questions is certainly fine). If the parent is calling, it does not project the image of a professional, confidence, grown-up applicant who can self-advocate.

    • Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?


      No, because colleges want to protect the student's privacy (just like HPPA in healthcare). A student has a login to go online to access his or her grades, and the parents can only see the grades if the student shares the login info with the parents.

      Given this situation, it is important for college students to develop independence and ownership of their college performance. This is ultimately the goal, isn't it? Autonomous adulthood? Parents can help high school students develop those "independence muscles" so that they will be more prepared to be truly independent in college.

      If your student is not quite ready for total independence freshman year of college, it is essential for you as a parent to have the kind of relationship with your young adult that will promote openness about his or her college performance. Your student has to give you permission (and login info) to see his college record, so if you want to see it, you have to have a good working relationship with your kid.

    • How should I deal with my parents stressing me out?


      The best defense against interfering parents is credibility. What I mean by that is, don't just plead with your parents to leave you alone and give you space. Independence is earned by showing your parents that you can handle yourself, your grades, your job, without so much micromanaging.

      I once heard a parent of a high school student say, "As long as he gets A's, he knows we will leave him alone." That's what I'm talking about. If you want your parents to get off your back, bring home a 4.0. They will feel kind of silly bothering you if you have perfect grades.

      Manage your college process yourself. Research the college websites. Register for your standardized tests. Fill out the Common App when it launches in August. You can do all these things---it's not that hard. The more you rise to the occasion, the less your parents will bother you, guaranteed.

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