Applying to College; College Admission: From Application to Acceptance

Valerie Velhagen of Albuquerque's Eldorado High School is Counselor of the Month

Valerie Velhagen thought she would be a professor or a lawyer like her father. But some time off before graduate school -- working in her father's law office and studying for the LSAT -- lead her to take a different path. Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a long way from Brooklyn, New York, where Velhagen was born and raised. But after graduating from Massachusetts' Brandeis University with a BA in English and Pennsylvania's Duquesne University with a Masters in a program centered on existential/phenomenological psychology, Velhagen, now the College and Career Readiness Counselor at Albuquerque's Eldorado High School, made her way from New York's largest borough to the city on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Juniors, Rest, Relax, and Research

Juniors, as you head into winter break, our advice is to relax, rest, and enjoy family and friends. Continue researching schools during your downtime. And as friends return home from their first year at college, have some conversations with them about their experiences -- both about college and the application process. Happy holidays!

Juniors: For testing, get to know the basics

"Have a plan and never go into a test cold; always know the basics." -- Natalie Bitton, college counselor at Lycee Francais La Perouse in San Francisco

Juniors, with the ACT and SAT upcoming, here are some suggestions for getting to know the basics:

Read through the instructions (available on the SAT (College Board)and ACT websites) so you don't waste time the day of the test figuring out what the "No Change" response means on the ACT English section or how the SAT math section "grid-ins" work.

Refresh your knowledge on subjects where it's been a while since you've studied them, such as geometry. Take some practice tests under actual test conditions. Free practice tests are available here on the ACT website and here on the College Board website.

Scope out the location where you will be testing so you're not late. 

Winners of College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step

Thank you to all those who wished us a Happy Anniversary as we hit the one-year mark of publication of College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. We'll be in touch over the next few days to get the mailing information from the ten lucky well-wishers who were among the first to respond! And thank you again to all our readers -- students, parents, counselors and admission officers -- and remember that we love to hear from you at all times!