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  • Esther Walling

    Title: College Counselor
    Company: Thomas Jefferson High School

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    Years of Experience

    Colleges I Attended
    Shasta College -AA University of Southern California - BM CSU Long Beach - MS
    Master's Degree, Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree
    Pupil Personnel Services Credential
    Professional Affiliations
    Prior Title
    President of College Counselors of Los Angeles 2000-2001
    About Me
    I've worked in the Inner City of Los Angeles for the last 25 years with Latino and African American popultations. I was in Orange County, CA for three years prior to that.

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  • Admissions Expertise

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


      Get a list together of the questions you want to ask, the departments you want to visit and the classes and special sites you want to see. Ask to see a dorm room, the cafeteria or local eating establishment. Try the food, not just the fast food resaturants, but what they cook in the cafeteria. Talk to students and faculty and make sure you are familiar with the counseling and admissions staff. They will be the ones who will review your application. Ask as many questions as you can about student life and by all means pick up a school newspaper. Make a comparison chart for all schools you visit and representatives with whom you speak. It's your choice for the next four years of your life. Try to make it the most enjoyable and don't get blindsided by things you forgot to ask about.

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


      I had a young lady who was qualified in every respect for application to UCLA, except her legal status. That worried her to no end. The day I intimated she "got in" was one of the most outstanding moments of my career.  You've never seen eyes get so big and begin watering out of excitement and happiness, nor received the tightest hugs and jumping up and down. Later, I got a phone call from this same young woman about completing her classes at UCLA a quarter early. In the midst of her celebration and wearing her sash from UCLA, she presented me with a birthday cake. I LOVE MY JOB!

    • How can I work with schools to boost my financial aid? Are there other sources of student aid?


      Considering the student’s parent lost their jobs in the current year, he/she is going to have to contact the Colleges and Universities to which they have applied and as quickly as possible. Money gets disbursed rather quickly after their deadlines.  Be sure to access all free scholarship search engines including CAPPEX, Zinch, FastWeb, Scholarshipexperts.com and College Board.  Contact local community organizations, Rotary, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Eliks, Lions, Moose, Masons, Odd Fellows & Rebeccas.  Yes it’s an odd sort of list, but they are all benevolent societies and into helping students succeed.  They may have some extra money available for such instances.

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


      Avoid scholarship search companies that charge money. This is generally a sure sign that it's a scam. If they say they will do everything for you, guarantee that you'll get money, ask for your credit card or bank account number, or tell you that you've been selected by a "national foundation" or you are a "finalist" in a contest you never entered, RUN FOR THE HILLS. Better yet run to the more reliable search companies that don't cost anything, Cappex, Zinch, Fastweb, Scholarshipexperts, Scholarshippoints, even College Board and ACT. You'll find more scholarships tailored to your interests and qualifications than the "pay us" companies. Don't let them tell you you can't find this information anywhere else. You just did!

    • What if students can't afford any of the schools they were accepted to?


      We face that a lot here in California especially with our undocumented student population. I contact the financial aid office at the student's choice school's and plead their case as best I can. I just spoke with a young lady today about this. She's going to apply to community college as well as her first choices as well as apply for as many scholarships as she qualifies for. It's a difficult situation, but being prepared for all possibilities is the best offense in my opinion. I also recommend that students work and go to school. Maybe they won't take but one or two classes when they begin, but they won't get out of the habit of studying while working to help pay for their education. I does develop time management skills rather quickly.

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