The Montclair Dispatch College Counseling Series–Part 5

This is part five of a six-part series discussing the college process.

Accomplished High School Graduates // Photo Courtesy of Studio042 Photography
Accomplished High School Graduates // Photo Courtesy of Studio042 Photography

All advice and instruction are provided courtesy of Barbara Gottesman, whose company, College Help! Organization and Advising Services has helped hundreds of high school students in Montclair, Glen Ridge and surrounding towns and counties over the years.  She helps navigate the application process, so students can find their place in the college or university that is right for them. It’s important to note that college isn’t for everybody. Barbara is also an excellent asset for students who feel that college is not the right place for them. There is a multitude of great options for students not interested in or ready for college immediately after high school.

By the end of June every year, around 650 to 700 students from Montclair High School (MHS), Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA), Immaculate Conception, and Lacordaire Academy graduate from high school.

And that number does not include Montclair students who attend high schools outside of the township such as Seton Hall Prep, Saint Peter’s Prep, Mount Saint Dominic Academy, Kent Place School, Newark Academy, and boarding schools. Many of these rising college freshmen are competing with the rest of the nation–and the world–to attend the country’s top colleges and universities. And every year, our high schools consistently send their students to top schools, some of which have acceptance rates as low as 5%.

For many students across the United States, the college process is often the most stressful aspect of their high school careers. Whether it’s the ACTs, the SATs, the Common App, the CAAS, the Universal application, a college’s individual application, garnering teacher recommendations, or writing supplemental essays, an enormous amount of time and energy can be devoted to landing at the right college or university. It doesn’t have to be so time-consuming.

Part five will describe the steps for a student to take during the fall of their senior year. This advice will help students and parents stay organized while seniors balance their schoolwork and the completion of applications.

At this point during their high school career, Barbara suggests that students should be continuing to visit their last few schools. Students might want to consider scheduling interviews depending on their schools, majors, level of maturity, and experience.

During the beginning of their senior year, students should also be completing their applications, while being well aware of impending deadlines. Types of application decision deadlines include: Early decision (if a student applies early decision and gets into the school, they are automatically required to accept admission), early action (this is not a binding decision, but a student will still receive their decision early), early action single-choice (a student will receive a non-binding decision early, however, they cannot apply to any other early action program, unless it is part of a state system), rolling decision (rolling provides a lot of flexibility, as students can send in their application within a specific window, and receive a decision as soon as all credentials are received), early decision II (also a binding decision, like early decision I, but is usually only offered by private schools, works in many different ways, and a student will most likely receive a decision before a regular decision), and lastly, regular decision (students must send in their application by the end of December, and will receive a decision around the end of March or beginning of April).

While the act of completing and submitting applications can be daunting, it does not have to be. With the right advice and guidance, a student can be confident in having many options when the time to make a decision arrives.  And, a consultant will ensure that all deadlines will be met in accordance with the application.


The author of the article is a Montclair native class of 2017, currently a student at McGill University, studying history and communications within the Faculty of Arts.

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