Each Thursday this summer, we are introducing college students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team . Drop in to discover what we’re reading, where all of us went to school, and our techniques for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find an educational expert that best fits your needs or maybe the needs of your child, we will assist you to consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in a person or your student. Today we introduce Amy Alexander , who else works with students both remotely and in our Manhattan office.
Where are you from?
Amy: Were raised in Hamden, CT. Lived in Washington, DC, San Francisco, New Haven, CT, Madrid, Spain, and Montclair, NJ.
Where did you go to school?
Amy: Yale University, BA; Golden Door University, MS in Human Resources/Organizational Behavior.
What did you study?
Amy: Psycho- and Socio-Linguistics, basically how people and cultures use vocabulary and communication.
Where did you work?
Amy: Yale University Undergraduate Admissions Office, where I handled the territories of Northern CA, ARIZONA, NV, IL, and IN. Procter plus Gamble after college in sales, Montgomery Securities in HR while getting Masters, and then past 17 yrs at ALA Educational Consulting being an independent college advisor in the NY/NJ areas.
What are a person reading right now for fun?
Amy: Just finished Plain Reality by Jodi Piccoult about the Amish and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles about life in the 40s in the Upper Brown crust area in NYC. Now reading Maya’s Notebook by Isabelle Allende, because I love Latin and Spanish Literature. Wish to read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt on vacation soon.
You have a free weekend plus carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything. What do you do?
Amy: NYC to know great music, find some artwork show or gallery, see a good off-Broadway show, walk around Central Recreation area, and eat at a fun eating place for some good wine and foods.
That which was your favorite thing about college?
Amy: The independence and learning to make decisions.
What about your college experience was different from what you expected?
Amy: We didn’t realize how much I would grow and evolve as a person, from a young woman to a full mature in four years.
What’s your philosophy on university admission?
Amy: Ask for help, consider all of your options, be open minded, VISIT, listen to your gut, present yourself plus feel good about that, and find a place to will thrive, without necessarily possessing a brand name attached.
What aspect of the college admissions process do you most enjoy focusing on?
Amy: Interview and essay prep: mock interviews, brainstorming essay subjects, writing the essay, narrowing down the list as fall of senior year nears.
What is the most common mistake the truth is from students that can easily be fixed?
Amy: They haven’t however developed confidence in their own tips, they go after brand name rather than a great fit, and they procrastinate without realizing how cumbersome the process can be.
How do you motivate students to look beyond the institutions they know to find hidden gemstones?
Amy: I ask them questions about who they are, how they think, what they like to do, the way they spend their free time, who these people hang out with, what they read, what their hobbies are, how they understand best, what gets them jazzed. After learning this, I might suggest a school or two these people never thought of and ask them to break. Many include this school on their lists, and some end up choosing this. One example some years back was a boy in all AP classes, really bright, but struggled with a non- verbal learning disability. I suggested a small and nurturing environment, Wittenberg in OH. He had never heard of it, neither had his parents, and they were skeptical at first. He or she chose to apply to the big names, Tufts, and similar, but included Wittenberg. Ended up going there and it changed his life. He loved this because of the professors, the atmosphere, and the style.
What are some schools that you think are great fits for different kinds of college students?
Amy: Depends I guess on what you think about different. If you mean alternative, i then would suggest Evergreen State, Hampshire, Bennington, Lewis & Clark, Oberlin. If you mean LD, then Curry, Lynn, Landmark, Mitchell, Dean. If you imply schools that would accept and foster all different kinds of kids then most likely a larger school in an urban region, such as NYU, USF, U IL-Chicago, for example.
What in your mind makes a good university essay?
Amy: One that presents plus reflects who the student is inside: how they think, what’s vital that you them, what defines them. What makes them unique and only can be information?
Exactly what are some important things you’ve learned in your time as a college counselor?
Amy: In my 17 years advising HS students and families about university admissions, I would say it is most important for parents to listen to their kids. Pay attention to their wants and needs, be up front with them about financial plus geographic restrictions and limitations early in the process, and let the student guide the procedure. Also, it’s important to be patient along with students and families because it can be a daunting, stressful, and overwhelming process.
Exactly what would you say to your high school self if you could coach him/her with the process?
Amy: I did coach personally, as neither of my parents went to college. This is why I got into university advising in the first place 18 years ago. We wasn’t afraid to ask questions, and set about researching and finding solutions, getting on a bus to go for an job interview by myself, filling out apps by myself, and so forth But I know most kids at 17 or 18 are not like this. And I know the process has become a lot more complex in recent years. I would encourage high school students to ask for help, to ask questions, to get online and do research, to start early and learn as much as possible, to start doing a self- inventory and figure out what makes them tick and what environment would help all of them reach their goals and where they’d feel challenged and comfy at the same time, and lastly to present a true image of themselves throughout the application. Also, choosing the college that is a good suit is the ideal. Getting rejected doesn’t imply you could not have handled the work or deserved to get in, it just means the more selective the college, the much less predictability of getting accepted. They have to create a class from many different sources plus strengths.
Amy Alexander is a member of College Coach’s team associated with college admissions specialists . Amy received her college degree from Yale University plus her master’s degree from Golden Gate University. Prior to joining University Coach, Amy worked as a senior admissions officer at Yale.