International College Counselors Weighs in on College Admissions: Then and Now

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Mandee Heller Adler, CEO and founder of International College Counselors, sheds light on the differences between college admissions now and when parents of current high school students went though the process.

International College Advisors

International College Counselors

Parents are in for a surprise if they think college admissions is anything like they experienced it.

Parents are in for a surprise if they think college admissions is anything like they experienced it. The whole process has changed. Colleges are more selective and students are more competitive. Unsurprisingly, the Internet has led to big changes in the approach, said Mandee Heller Adler, CEO and founder of International College Counselors.

Some issues that the college advisors at International College Counselors have addressed the most this year with both domestic and international students include

1. Obsession about majors. Many schools encourage students to declare majors right when they come in. Many parents discourage students from considering majors in which there isn’t a clear path to a high-paying (or, at least, some kind of) job. And many students think it’s a point of special pride to do a double (or sometimes even triple) major. Not to mention picking up a minor or two on the side.    

2. More applications. Students are applying to more schools. International College Counselors recommends that students apply to 6-8 well-chosen schools, though many decide to apply to 12 or more. Applying to a larger number of schools likely means students have more options if they aren’t accepted into their top choices. The Common Application also allows students to apply to more schools much more easily. (It was a lot harder to manually type on the given page).

3. SAT (and other standardized test) Seriousness. SAT review classes are much better attended than in decades before. Many new test prep products exist and the Internet offers hundreds of test prep methods.

4. Longer time to degree. The four-year college degree has largely faded. Now students commonly attend college for five, six, or even seven years. Some reasons: more onerous requirements, weak advising, students working while at college, and students taking more semesters off. Students planning to spend more than four years in college need to keep in mind that states may place caps on the number of semesters students can attend while paying in-state tuition.

5. Community college explosion. Community colleges are flourishing. They are attracting students who are interested in getting associate degrees or some college experience before transferring to four-year colleges. But in a new twist, some students at four-year colleges now are picking up courses at community colleges from time to time–when they want to be closer to home, need less expensive credits, want to take classes with a professor rather than a TA, or can’t get into classes they need at their own school.

6. New online opportunities. Distance-learning institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, and Devry University are no longer the only colleges that offer students a chance to get a degree online. A diverse range of schools including Oregon State, Florida State University, University of South Florida, Penn State, Drexel, and the State University of New York (SUNY) system all offer undergraduate online degrees.

A number of big-name schools are also offering massive open online courses (MOOC). This is something great: top-notch professors in the home living room at no charge! Check out Coursera, Udacity, edX and others for classes from universities that include Stanford, MIT and Harvard.

7. Social media considerations. College admissions has been greatly affected by social media. The vast majority of schools use some form of social media as a means of recruiting applicants and communicating with them. Students can also use social media to showcase their talents with blogs, video and more. On the flip side, schools are known to look at an applicant’s online presence as they make their admissions decision, so be aware of this.

8. Information flooding. It has been said that there is almost too much information available for current applicants and their families. Students can learn about schools in hundreds of ways from websites and student reviews to virtual college fairs and numerous rankings from different sources that all give weight to different criteria. Students can also discover many schools they may never have known about back in the days of the 10 pound college guidebook, the primary (and in some cases only) college search resource of the “old days”.

It may not be as easy as before, but it’s not impossible to navigate. If you feel you need help contact an expert college advisor at International College Counselors, contact an expert college advisor at 954-414-9986.

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 200 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.


International College Counselors provides expert college counseling on undergraduate and graduate college admissions, financial aid, tuition, essays, and college applications to domestic and international students.

The college counseling and college coaching services are tailored to address the goals, needs, and dreams of each student. Mandee Heller Adler, founder of International College Counselors, is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and also received an MBA from Harvard Business School. International College Counselors’ achievements include being recognized as one of South Florida’s Top 100 Small Businesses in 2012.

International College Counselors has offices in New York, New York; White Plains, New York; Miami Beach, Florida; Miami, Florida; Hollywood, Florida; Coral Gables, Florida; Palm Beach, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela.

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Cheree Liebowitz
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