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  • Ralph Becker

    Title: Owner & Director
    Company: Ivy College Prep LLC

    • verified

    Former Admissions Officer
    Alumni Interviewer, Yale University
    College Specializations
    University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego, Occidental College, Pomona College, Yale University, Northwestern University, Smith College, Dartmouth College, New York University, Reed College, Swarthmore College, Middlebury College, Virginia Military Institute, Whitman College, Stanford University
    Years of Experience
    Languages Spoken

    Colleges I Attended
    Yale University, UCLA
    Master's Degree
    UCLA, Certificate College Counseling
    Professional Affiliations
    About Me
    Columnist, Kyocharo America, Town News (weekly newspapers Orange County) Author, SAT Vocabulary Series

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  • Admissions Expertise

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


      In September 2008, Kaplan surveyed 500 top colleges and discovered 10% of the admissions officers had investigated Facebook sites, discovering, in almost 40% of the cases, questionable content that reflected negatively on the candidate.  That was three years ago.  Facebook reviews are far more prevalent today and many junior admissions officers are savvy, inveterate users, who, if they need to, can find you on the Web.  If you must post something risqué (raucous parties, inflammatory remarks, drug or alcohol use), out of peer pressure…, make sure your privacy settings strictly control access. Otherwise, yes, you are gambling your candidacy.

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


      Visit the campus while in session.  After a formal visit and information session, explore the campus alone. Many schools, like Tufts, will let you attend classes. If you have a sense of your major, attend a core course. Arranged in advance, some will allow you to stay overnight in their dormitories.  Anything is possible; just ask.  Visit the gym, pick up the newspaper and check the bulletin boards, find out about internet access, go to the library, and talk to as many students as you can, especially over a meal in the cafeteria: they’re relaxed and open to honest exchanges. 

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


      Attributing campus size to available resources might prove deceptive. Pomona College, for example, has only 1,500 undergraduates, smaller than many high schools. Yet, as part of the Claremont College Consortium, containing 5 undergraduate and 2 graduate schools, Pomona has a 2,500-seat concert hall, numerous art studios, interscholastic athletic teams, and a 1.9 million volume library. Pomona students can cross register for over 2,500 different courses, study abroad, participate in exchange programs with Swarthmore College, or a 3-2 engineering program with Cal Tech. Consequently, it pays to investigate a college regardless of size. You might find vast resources among small dimensions.

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


      One exaggerated myth is if you are not admitted into a college by May 1st, your chances of attending college in the fall, or obtaining financial aid should you gain admittance, are low.  The ‘NACAC Space Availability Survey Results,’ contain 279 colleges still accepting freshmen or transfers, with most of the listed schools also offering financial aid and on-campus housing.  St John’s College (Annapolis, MD. & Santa Fe, NM), which features a Great Books core curriculum and places over 85% of its graduates into graduate school is on the list; and, the list is updated and online till July 1st. 

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


      If students discover the schools that they have been accepted to are not affordable, they can appeal to the financial aid office of each college, after reviewing the financial aid packages awarded from the previous year on College Navigator (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/), submit applications to alternative colleges (some schools are still accepting applications well into spring—the list can be found on the NACAC ‘space availability survey’) or they might elect to attend community college for two years and transfer—which is still the most economical path (though the latest $200/unit proposal for classes at Santa Monica College is threatening this option).

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


      One way that parents can help is by determining the costs of the various colleges and clearly calculating what is affordable, and what scholarship and grant money would be needed to be able to attend. The costs, scholarship and grant information for most colleges can be found at College Navigator, which is a government site. Additionally, setting preliminary budgets with their students would be invaluable in helping the students gain command over their finances (this lesson alone is worth the price of an education). Moreover, discovering alternatives to private loans (especially Parent PLUS Loans) would be very helpful.

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