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محتوای ارائه شده توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler. تمام محتوای پادکست شامل قسمت‌ها، گرافیک‌ها و توضیحات پادکست مستقیماً توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler یا شریک پلتفرم پادکست آن‌ها آپلود و ارائه می‌شوند. اگر فکر می‌کنید شخصی بدون اجازه شما از اثر دارای حق نسخه‌برداری شما استفاده می‌کند، می‌توانید روندی که در اینجا شرح داده شده است را دنبال کنید.https://fa.player.fm/legal
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Real Talk: Navigating College Acceptance Season

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محتوای ارائه شده توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler. تمام محتوای پادکست شامل قسمت‌ها، گرافیک‌ها و توضیحات پادکست مستقیماً توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler یا شریک پلتفرم پادکست آن‌ها آپلود و ارائه می‌شوند. اگر فکر می‌کنید شخصی بدون اجازه شما از اثر دارای حق نسخه‌برداری شما استفاده می‌کند، می‌توانید روندی که در اینجا شرح داده شده است را دنبال کنید.https://fa.player.fm/legal

Welcome to this week's episode of Real Talk! In this installment, hosts Susan and Kristina delve into the high-stakes world of college admissions alongside guest Davida Amkraut. As the trio navigates the aftermath of a particularly competitive admissions season, they offer invaluable insights, tips, and tricks to help listeners make informed decisions. With the college acceptance landscape resembling a bloodbath this year, many students have found themselves admitted to schools that weren't necessarily their first choice. Parents, this episode is essential listening as the team breaks down what you need to know before sending your child off to college. And for upcoming seniors, they provide crucial advice on staying ahead of the curve and crafting a strategic plan for the college application process. Tune in for a candid discussion packed with insider knowledge and practical guidance!

About Davida Amkraut:

Davida is an Independent College Consultant who serves as the saving grace for students and families in crisis who are navigating the complex college application process. Whether a student finds themselves in trouble and is applying to college for the first time, or is transitioning from one university to another due to a Title IX or other university-related misconduct claim, Davida helps young adults shape their stories so that they gain acceptance into college.

TRANSCRIPT:

Susan Stone:

Welcome back to Real Talk with Susan Stone and Kristina Supler. We are full time moms and attorneys bringing our student defense legal practice to life with real candid conversations.

Susan Stone:

Last week was accepted students weekend for Tori. Can you believe it?

Kristina Supler:

what a big, big like- How do you feel now that you know where she's going?

Susan Stone:

Oh my gosh. First of all, for the listeners out there. My youngest just accepted college. She will be going to Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida, which is an art school.

Kristina Supler:

Fabulous.

Susan Stone:

To have it done for the final time was crazy. And our guest today, I also know has three kids, but I think all of them are out of college. Welcome back to Davida Amkraut .

Davida Amkraut:

Thank you. Thank you. I actually have one still in college. He's just finishing his sophomore year, so.

Kristina Supler:

Well, we're glad you're able to join us again.Our listeners probably remember you from some of your prior recordings with us and welcome back.

Davida Amkraut:

It's good to see you guys. Yeah.

Susan Stone:

Where is your youngest? Northeastern

Davida Amkraut:

am I that's my middle. He's graduating in May from Northeastern. He's graduating in two weeks, and my youngest is at George Washington University.

Susan Stone:

And how was his experience there?

Davida Amkraut:

Loves loves loves loves it.He's in the pre physical therapy program there. So he's having

wow that's back. That's back to your that's your basic simpler. Yeah. Therapy. Yeah.

Susan Stone:

may be great for everyone out here. Christina's family's in

Kristina Supler:

PT Bizz

Susan Stone:

So, DeVita, you've got a lot of career changes lately. Why don't you catch our listeners up with what you're doing?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah, so I'm still doing.I still am running my own private practice where I assist. This past year, I had about 55 kids from all across the country, actually, who I worked with, on college admissions. But I also joined a high school team, in the Bronx, where I'm working at a Jewish high school in the Bronx, and I am on their college counseling team.

So it's really fascinating for me to see both sides of the table. Right. So I'm working with kids from my computer, but then I'm also working with kids in person, and I've had a lot of access to admission officers, which has been amazing. I've been on advocacy calls for my students. For the listeners who don't know what that means is, prior to decisions being released, if schools allow it, we we have a call with the admission officer for our our rep for our region, and we're sort of able to pitch our case, you know, and, you know, tell them a little bit,

Kristina Supler:

So you can literally lobby for a particular student to have a spot at assembly

Davida Amkraut:

Only at certain schools. A lot of schools have done away with these advocacy calls, calls because it prevents and prevents inequity, because not every counselor has the time to make 400 phone calls for their students. But because we're at a smaller school, our caseload is a little bit smaller. So we do have the ears and eyes of some counselors who are still very happy to talk to us.

So, for example, Cooper Union, which is an engineering and architecture school in Manhattan. I don't know if you

Susan Stone:

I looked at Cooper Union with Tory.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. So I actually was able to talk to Cooper about my student, who they were considering for a regular decision, and give them an update about everything that he's been doing since he last applied in person. And then they were able to ask me questions, and it was like a 15 minute phone call. but it's a fascinating thing, right? To be able to have that access. Some schools will just call and give you the numbers of who is going to get in and who's not going to get in by names, actually. But you can't really advocate at that point because it's already done deal

Susan Stone:

done deal.

Davida Amkraut:

But they do give the courtesy to the admission, you know, the college counselors to let them know what our decisions are going to be so that we can be there for the students on the receiving end.

Susan Stone:

Could you have done that for your private clients?

Davida Amkraut:

No no no no no. They will never speak to independent office counselors at all. No.

Susan Stone:

So what can the independent college counselor do that's different from the in-house school college counselor?

Davida Amkraut:

So I always say the in-house school college counselor is not only well, it depends on if it's a college counselor or if it's a high school counselor. So you'll see that that verbiage has changed, because if it's a high school counselor, that counselor and I know in Beachwood in Shaker, they are high school counselors as well as college counselors.So not only are they dealing with a college process, they're also dealing with a social, emotional piece for every single student in that high school. So they have a very, very big, big caseload. You know, if they're dealing with social, emotional and college, college sort of doesn't always take, you know, the front seat to that. So an independent counselor can help identify schools.

They can help keep the kids on deadlines. They can do read throughs of essays. They could help position them a little bit better and look at their activities and say, you know, you're applying to an engineering program. You have nothing engineering on your application. We need to get you involved with something. A counselor at a large public school probably doesn't have the bandwidth to do that, right.

They're just looking at doing a cursory review. They're going on scatter grams, which is the, you know, the Naviance score to see where they have sent other kids in their school and making a guess about where the kids should apply without really having that in-depth consultation. If that makes sense

Susan Stone:

When you have a kid, let's say you have five kids at your high school all looking at George Washington. Can you advocate for all five or do you have to?

Davida Amkraut:

You probably wouldn't. We probably wouldn't advocate for all five. We would choose the one that we think would probably be the most successful, or the one that they would really want. looking at the profile and looking at and also knowing that that might not be that student's first choice.Right. We have that Intel. So we would never advocate for a school if it's an early action or if it's a regular decision for a school that we know that the kid would never go to. Does that make sense? We know what

Susan Stone:

they're right, kid. But let's say you have three kids. I'm going to say a popular school this year.They want Michigan and they're dying to get into Michigan. Do you pick the best horse?

Davida Amkraut:

Well, Michigan doesn't let advocacy calls. Are you surprised by that? They, they have a

Kristina Supler:

no, because they don't need to. I mean, that they get the best of best.

Davida Amkraut:

They had 75,000 applications this year for a class that's housed. That was their numbers for this year.That was 70,000 early action. Right. So who knows how many additional people who had in their regular season. Right. So a lot of kids will not apply during that early action because they want to use that time to get their grades up, for instance. Right? So then they'll hold back their application until the January 1st to really show their, you know, the upward trajectory.

So that's only 70,000 early action applications for our class of 7,000. Right.

Kristina Supler:

So what are your takeaways from this past, you know, season? I mean what did you see, what trends and what lessons, you know, were learned for students who are, you know, on the brink for next year?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Well, I would say actually, funny you should ask that.But just yesterday we had two bombshells just dropped on our laps on April 11th that two of the big schools are now going to require testing. Harvard and Cal Tech announced April 11th that they're gonna require testing, which is very, very it's it's so hurtful to so many counselors who are listening that to

Kristina Supler:

Other schools announced that to in the Ivys

Davida Amkraut:

They did it before the march SATs

Kristina Supler:

earlier. So that's the issue was the timing.

Davida Amkraut:

The timing is terrible because after reading why

Susan Stone:

that's a bomb debate is are they punishing the kids who didn't submit? There's

Davida Amkraut:

no I think I think we I don't think that they're punishing. I mean, Harvard, 80, 86% of their kids submitted test scores, so they were never fully test optional, right? That's that's for sure. But it is for kids who are, you know, who have planned their testing, who have talked to counselors, who have sort of said, okay, I want to focus on X, Y, and Z because I'm just not a great tester. That really puts them now in a bind to have to test. And the next S.A.T., I think, is the end of May.

So they don't have as many shots now to take that S.A.T. if they were just counting on that early decision, if that makes sense.

Susan Stone:

No. I'm confused. So you're saying for the kids who got who put in their application for Harvard, but didn't test, they have to scramble and get a test?

Davida Amkraut:

No, no, no, this is for the next cycle.

This is next year. Next year. Now this cycle is already done. But it's for kids. I mean, if you think about April and these kids are already planning, you know, and they're working and they have a schedule and they're planning on when they're exactly doing everything. And now the school says, okay, you have to do testing. Now they have to scramble and go back.

If they weren't planning on testing to go back and start studying, it's just not ethical, I mean, listen, I think Caltech and Harvard are very, very high ranking schools, and I'm assuming most of their kids knew already that they had to have testing that will position them. But there are some schools out there who still have not announced what their plans are for this coming cycle.

Susan Stone:

So wouldn't you counsel them, everybody take a test.

Davida Amkraut:

We do, we do, we do. I counsel everybody to take a test because you don't want to have would have, could have. But it's more like the second or third test, you know, should that kid ten take a take it a third time? Should they take it a fourth time? Should they get additional tutoring. Right? And also you have the issue of the digital S.A.T. versus the pen to paper. Right. So not every school has announced if you can super score your pen to paper, score with your digital score. Right.

Kristina Supler:

So what does that mean? Super score

Davida Amkraut:

to take different set test scores from different different tests that you've taken.

Susan Stone:

And so you use the best math of the scores you’ve taken and you combine one.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Or you know a lot of schools have not even really come out and said if they're going to allow super scoring from the pen to paper tasked with the digital. So there's this whole unknown going on here. So a kid who, who took the SATs, who got like an 800 on English but got a 650 on math right now, if she wants to apply to Harvard, she has to go back and take the test.That 800 on the English might not ever be seen, because if they don't super score. I don't know if that made sense.

Susan Stone:

Now that's great.

Kristina Supler:

Why, if most Harvard applicants were submitting the test score anyway, why why did Harvard announce this policy much less so late in the game? Like what was the reasoning behind it? If anyone knows?

Davida Amkraut:

Well, there are some conspiracy theories out there that the College Board is smearing these schools to go back to,

Kristina Supler:

Ahh okay.

Davida Amkraut:

Right. That's not founded by anything, right? Like I'm just putting that out there, like, you know, we're wondering all of a sudden, you know, that digital S.A.T. has come out, right? And they're trying to drum up business, right?

They're there as much as they say they are a nonprofit. Right? And they have that .org or whatever they have next to their name. It's a business. And if people are not taking tests, they're going to lose their business. Right. And I think that they want to drum up business. From what I understand, in some schools, it's not the admission officers at the schools, at the colleges that decide whether or not testing should be reinstated its actually a faculty decision.

So maybe, perhaps the faculty is seeing not as many competitive candidates as or candidates now who are in their classrooms, who are not as competitive as their candidate, as their students from like 4 or 5 years ago. Right? So if the faculty is seeing that, then they're going to probably say, you know, we need higher caliber students like this is not, etc.

Susan Stone:

Davida, can you circle back to what Christina asked you because she you really did.I know you partially answered it, but she asked a great question because every year now that I've done this three times, everyone says this was the hardest year. This was the hardest year to get kids.

Davida Amkraut:

Bloodbath.

Susan Stone:

It's a bloodbath like that every year. I hear this from parents tell us 24, was it really a bloodbath or were kids getting in just like they were every other year?

Davida Amkraut:

I mean, the students that are at the school that I'm working at and my clients listen, we all have our kids all have a place to call home, right? I say that very confidently, where our school is a little bit more selective, that we're a little bit shocking. Some of them were like a Michigan not so shocking.They've been on the same trajectory for many years. I tell my students I was like, you can apply to Michigan, but don't count on it, right? Just don't count on it because there's something going on there with their numbers and how they spit things out, but don't count on it. Right. And there were superstars waitlisted. And that's the other thing that Michigan does that's not so kind is that they don't cut their kids loose.

Right? They don't cut these applicants loose. They waitlist them and they let them live in what we call purgatory. You know? And then kids get in in July and August, right. And then they lose their day. They have to make this big choice. They have to lose their deposit. Their other school scramble for a roommate, you know, is it really worth it?And I tell my students, cut bait like you are done with Michigan if you don't get in. If you're not the kind of kid that can pivot in a heartbeat, then it's not going to be a great place for you. You know? Why do that?

Kristina Supler:

With respect to waitlists, what do you tell families in terms of in reality, how likely is a student to get admitted off of a waitlist?

Davida Amkraut:

I tell them, pretend it didn't happen and I do. I say, you know, put a deposit, put a deposit, you know, and get excited for your other choice. Just get excited, embrace it. And if they get in, a lot of students decide not to take that, take that adamant off the waitlist. They decide not to because they've already been hyped up.They already found their roommate. They're already, you know, invested, which I think is a great thing. You know, because it's college. What you do when you get there, what you make of it when you get there. but circling back to Susan, your question about what do I advise my students to do? Right. And I think that's a conversation.We're still seeing a lot of kids getting in an early decision one, and early decision two. Right. financially, you know, if you're in a position to do that and you have, you know, that sort of relationship with a school and you're willing to do that, that's what we always say, you know, don't apply to certain schools. That's not like if you're not applying ed

Right. So I'm, I have the stats up here for BU right now.

Susan Stone:

Kristinas alma mater .

Kristina Supler:

My alma mater,

Davida Amkraut:

they had 79,000 applicants this year.

Kristina Supler:

Is that all?

Davida Amkraut:

But they did increase. They did increase their first year class size to 3300, which is 155 more seats than last year. Right. So, despite the fact that they have this larger class size, they only now there are a rate.Their admit rate is just 10.7%. View. So BU When I first started this, I'd say like seven, eight years ago they were 25, 30%. Right. and now they're they're almost in single digits.

Susan Stone:

Who's going to BU you know, what's the profile?

Davida Amkraut:

I think at the profile is very similar to a student who might be applying to, a northeastern, a George Washington, because these are kids who want a city school.it's not incredibly rah rah ish. I mean, you have a hockey, but that's really basically, that's what you have. And they're kids who are very I think that there are more independent thinkers because they are living in like a city. NYU is also I put that in that cohort also. So, you know, that sort of thing.

the oh, you asked

Susan Stone:

What are the up ad commers Davida. I know when my daughter went to northeastern, I didn't even know what northeastern was. And now it's the hot school. so we already know northeastern is already up there with BU and George Washington. What do you see as the up and comer next wave hot school.

Kristina Supler:

Good question.

Davida Amkraut:

That's such a great question.I think that there are a lot of hidden gems, and I think that it's really hard to answer that question because it's like, I can say Fordham University, I think is going to be a hot school.

Kristina Supler:

Really?

Davida Amkraut:

yeah. Yeah,

Kristina Supler:

I think, that used to be a safe school for students who, you know, wanted the Boston college Georgetown experience, but y you but couldn't get in.Well, who wanted the Jesuit component? And then you go to Fordham.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. And I think Fordham, I don't mark my words, but I think that they have they have two campuses. So you have the opportunity to have a traditional campus experience, which is in the Bronx, which is a gated campus. And you can also choose to live in Lincoln Center in New York City and live in a city campus.And they have a fabulous business program. It's in New York City, so, I'm going to say, I think Fordham, in terms of that piece, is going to be, you know, a school to watch out for. in terms of other schools that are hot. And, I mean, it just runs the gamut. You know, the we hear the same names over and over and over again.I think that for Out-of-staters, Ohio State is looking really great for a lot of people. You're going to see a lot more kids applying to like an Ohio State and Indiana. because those are a little bit less selective than, Michigan or Wisconsin. Boulder also will be I'll see. They're they're getting they're doing great. You know, those schools are doing great because they are taking the kids who are not getting into the Michigan and Wisconsin into their into their class

Kristina Supler:

is bolder, getting more selective.

Davida Amkraut:

I don't not yet. Not yet and not yet. It'll take some time. and there's also a very, very big school, so I don't think it'll be assault. It'll never hit the Michigan level. Then it'll probably hit, like, I would say, a Wisconsin or, or an Ohio State at some point, you know, because

Susan Stone:

with 80,000 applications or even if it's 50,000 applications,

Kristina Supler:

seriously, what's the difference?

Susan Stone:

I there's no difference. What trends do you see? Does the Essay matter .

Davida Amkraut:

Well, so Duke just announced Duke University just announced that they're actually moving that down in their priorities because of AI. Right. So Duke has that has announced formally that they are no longer scoring their essays as, as highly as they were. I think what always will matter the most is the rigor of the child's,curriculum.

Right. That is the grant. Yeah. And that is of

Susan Stone:

The transcript. You can’t game a transcript

Davida Amkraut:

Right. So I think that transcript is, is the going to be like, if you had a pizza pie, I'd say that's like 60% of the pizza pie. Really I do. Right. And it's not the transcript I took woodworking and got an A-plus or I took pottery and I got it.

You know, it is part and

Kristina Supler:

Both important classes, by the way.

Davida Amkraut:They are. But it is like we're even seeing now like AP, A, B and AP calc. Those are like, like 5 or 6 years ago. Those were the really, really hard AP math classes. Now schools are looking for AP multivariable right there, like for their engineering students. They are looking for AP multivariable.I don't even know what that is. Right.

Kristina Supler:

I wouldn't stand a chance, but I, of course, would never. I have no business anywhere near an engineering thing.

Susan Stone:

I want to challenge you on this, okay? Both Christine and I, we're both lawyers and we're both stronger in humanities. So are we going to get punished by a highly selective school if we didn't have high IP transcripts in the science and the math and the stems?

Davida Amkraut:

No. Only if you're applying to a like a degree program as college, a college within years, they have engineering or math. Right now, if you're a humanities person, you're applying to a journalism program. They're not gonna care. So like if they want to see rigor, they're not gonna want to see the easiest math classes. But they'll understand that if you're taking, you know, APUSH. AP euro, AP lang, AP lit, and then you're just taking honors math. Totally fine.

Susan Stone:

So how else can you stand out if it's not the essay anymore? Because I understand it's going to be with I impossible to distinguish essays.

Kristina Supler:

I'm wondering about that. This issue of the essays, though, because of course, after the affirmative action ruling, there was a lot of discussion about how students can speak about various points in their personal lives that would be potentially relevant for consideration and mission in the essay.

But now it's interesting. The point you point raised regarding Duke and the role of AI, which that's actually really fascinating. And so I'm just thinking about how you how students could navigate through, you know, these different how the landscape has changed.

Davida Amkraut:

So I will say a few things about the AI essays. I've written 5 or 6 college essays on AI there.

You can tell it's written by a bot. And that was with me going back and changing things and asking AI to do certain things and change things up. You it's it's crazy. Like there's no way I would let any students submit an essay like that. because it's it doesn't sound like a human's written. I'm just being completely honest with you.

Like, I've done it like. And I did it also with my letters of recommendation that I have to now write for my students at my school. I've learned things through a bot and there's no comparison there. Human element is is a big touch, I would say, for the race issue. we saw a lot of a lot of schools after Scotus announcement went and changed their supplemental questions to include a question about race or adversity in their supplemental questions.

And for those kinds of questions, A.I you can't you can't write. You can't write a like that through AI. Right? So, I'd say I'd say we're going to I it's going to be here. I don't think it's kind of like if you're a smart person, you can you can see exactly what's written by AI and what's not.But the smarter the computer gets, right? And the more information the computer is going to have on essays. And I'm more than it's going to get smarter as we go along, for sure. University of Michigan Honors program just released their honors. Like they invite kids for their honors program. And they said, put an essay through through AI about answering this prompt and then tell me and then and then send that to us and tell us what's missing from the essay.So they're using that. They are. So they're Uising AI there. No, the kids are using it. But then they're asking, okay, what did I miss? Like what? Tell us about that experience. Right. So it's actually very clever. So I'm wondering like you know what other schools with out of the fall. Of course with that, you know, we won't know the supplements for quite a while now.

So

Susan Stone:

other than transcript. So you rank transcript first because I've always thought that. Right. What would you say is next?

Davida Amkraut:

every school has different priorities, but I would say what would be next is, extracurricular activities. If there's testing at this child has testing, I would say that would be next. Right. If they're submitting testing, then I would say, extracurricular activities.

Then I would say letter of recommendations. And then I would say essays, but letter recommendations and essays probably are maybe equal. Every every school is very different. And, yeah. So that's what I would say. But the extracurricular activities, you know, showing what the let the students doing and they're not just going home and watching Netflix and playing, you know, video games is going to be really important.

Kristina Supler:

Are all extracurriculars created equal? I mean, what would you say in terms of if a student is, you know, let's say you have that child who's just interested in everything and wants to be in this club and play that sport and have a job and volunteer and student council, so on and so forth. I mean, wonderful, but at the same time, how would you what are your thoughts or what advice do you have for families that have to sort of focus or call through the extracurriculars,

Susan Stone:

breath or death

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. So I say be authentic to who you are. If you are doing all those extracurriculars because you are genuinely interested in all these different things, do it right, because then that will also be reflective on your transcript. It will reflective from your letters of recommendation. If you're doing all these activities because you think you're just checking off boxes. Oh, I'm doing a journalism one here. I'm doing a math one here. I'm doing an engineering one here that'll check off all these boxes and they'll look well rounded. I don't think that's going to be super authentic. And if it won't, it'll resonate with the application. and there are two schools of thought. People are like, you want to create a profile and you want to make sure if you're an engineering student, then you are going to do everything engineering, you know, in your extracurriculars. I don't necessarily buy into that so much. I think that authentically, kids should be able to allow to be explore what they're doing. And they're 14, 15 when this all begins. my advice is pay to play. Activities never mean much. Which and I say when I say pay to play. I spent the summer at Harvard with a two week course on X, Y, Z. You know those? That's what we call on the college world pay to play. And

Susan Stone:

I painted murals in a third world country.

Davida Amkraut:

Right. So those are manufactured those are manufactured experiences. And then there are the pay to play where you send your kids off and you are going to say, oh, they're going to, you know, be on this campus and it's going to look great. I mean, scooping ice cream looks much better than being on a college campus. You know,

Kristina Supler:

let me ask you, though, about being authentic. Conversely, conversely, do the child who's interested in everything give the child who's just all in on my life passion is crocheting? Should parents say, okay, that's wonderful that you crochet, but maybe think about some other activities?

Or I mean, how do you when you have a child who's laser focused on, a sport, a hobby, an instrument, whatever it may be,

Susan Stone:

Unless they're going to do something cool with crocheting, right?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. I mean, I think that. Right. So. Okay, if they're if their goal is maybe to be in fashion. Right. Okay. So it's amazing and it's amazing. And then let's try to see like entrepreneurial stuff going on out there. Or maybe there's marketing or maybe there's like you know, maybe you want to take some Coursera classes on fashion marketing and then also babysit and also peer tutor in your class or, you know, or, you know, crochet, teach, teach other people how to crochet or crochet for, you know, for babies that are in need. Right. So like, you can kind of take that, that sort of that passion, which is an overused word in the college world, right? And sort of infused into different areas, you realize that are meaningful.

Kristina Supler:

So how does that laser focused interest translate to your college education, but also maybe ways to, you know, iterations of broadening that interest in other respects.So like the babysitting or so on and so forth, that that was good inside there.

Davida Amkraut:

So what you tell me,

Susan Stone:

I think you just comment. That was a really good insight. But I do want to go back to the pay to play because just because something doesn't have great college resume value, I don't think it's a reason to not do it if you have another valuable course.

Davida Amkraut:

Of course

Susan Stone:

Right. So my number two, who you know, and you were his college counselor privately went to Berkeley one summer and he today will say that was a formative experience for him, that summer experience that he reflects back and feel so grateful that he went. I mean, I don't think we should always pick things because of will it look good for college? No, it won't do something else.

Davida Amkraut:

Right? So he might not have even reported that experience at Berkeley. Do you know what I'm saying? Like that

Susan Stone:

he didn’t

Davida Amkraut:

Right.

Kristina Supler:

And that's interesting.

Susan Stone:

I was a pay to play. He did not everything. What we did his job right.

Davida Amkraut:

I mean, it could have also been like, okay, that could also been a little bit of a touch point for an essay. Right. Or you know, but you only have ten activities to report, period. Right. So you want to make sure that you're reporting the ones that mean the most to you and that, you know, you feel authentically you. And I always tell my students, if you did it and you really, really glean so much from it, then put it down for sure. Right? But let's also do the description so that the reader understands why that experience was so important to you and what you know, what it did to sort of that formative experience that sort of I

Susan Stone:

Is it hard internally. Now write those letters of recommendation.

Davida Amkraut:

Oh my God, it's so I can't even tell you what I have to do. Like. Right. So I'm going the and this is and I and I also feel pain for these other counselors who don't have this luxury of writing periods in, in their schedule. Right? I have writing periods in my schedule because I'm working at a private school. Right. and I remember when I worked at Laurel, they had days where they didn't even come to school, the counselors, because they were home on their writing days, and they were sitting there and they have all, you know, they have all the transcripts out there So what I do with my students is I meet them 2 or 3 times, you know, form a rapport with them. And then I also go back into their anecdotal and I grab sentences or anecdotes from their teachers, and I craft a whole narrative that, you know, encompasses this kid. You know, a page, a page and a half long and, sort of represent the student. And it's painful that, you know, other counselors don't have that time that, you know, those resources. Some teachers don't even write an external site where they're just literally filling in, you know, bubbles up, you know, comes to class, you know,

Susan Stone:

so schools do better, have better relationships with the colleges than others.

Davida Amkraut:

So I will I will say that's that's like we're seeing that fade a lot.Like, right. Brandeis University, that used to be a school that would do advocacy calls. And they said, no, we're not doing them this year. Brown used to do advocacy calls. They said no

Kristina Supler:

Why is it fading?

Davida Amkraut:

because of the inequity.

Kristina Supler:

That makes sense.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. I mean it makes complete sense. Barnard also did it. They they they told us this year I mean this was also my first year on staff. But so I can see the counselors, they're like oh my gosh look we don't have that Intel right. And I'm like, well I feel like that's that's good.

Susan Stone:

Well, I mean this has been amazing and it always is. And I'm so happy to see you. I know we spoke last week. Do you have any lasting thought regarding 2025 to say to parents, those juniors.

Kristina Supler:

What wisdom would you like to leave?

Davida Amkraut:

I would like to leave that name brands or not, that there are more to the name brands that really I am a true believer is that college is what you make of it when you get there, right? And you will bloom where you were planted and that you should not. You should look beyond the name brand, right? You should definitely look.There are hidden gems out there that will take care of your child, that will take care of you and really, really value, you know, the students that will be coming to their campuses.

Susan Stone:

I felt that way last weekend at Ringling College. It's very small, but I felt like when I walked on this campus, I didn't even know about the school, but I felt like I found a hidden gem for my daughter to really flourish as an artist.

Davida Amkraut:

And for. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing I would say is fall in love with more than one school, right? You're not marrying the school for, you know, fall in love with three, four different schools, one a far reach one, you know, a target, one to, like, fall in love, you know, and then you'll.

Kristina Supler:

My mother says it's always good to have options to be.

Susan Stone:

You know, it was a pleasure. I just love talking to you. And I miss you. So it's great to see you. All right. Take care. Bye.

Kristina Supler:

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to Real Talk with Susan and Kristina. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to our show so you never miss an episode and leave us a review so other people can find the content we share here. You can follow us on Instagram. Just search our handle @stonesupler and for more resources, visit us online at https://studentdefense.kjk.com/

Thank you so much for being a part of our real talk community. We'll see you next time.

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محتوای ارائه شده توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler. تمام محتوای پادکست شامل قسمت‌ها، گرافیک‌ها و توضیحات پادکست مستقیماً توسط Susan Stone & Kristina Supler یا شریک پلتفرم پادکست آن‌ها آپلود و ارائه می‌شوند. اگر فکر می‌کنید شخصی بدون اجازه شما از اثر دارای حق نسخه‌برداری شما استفاده می‌کند، می‌توانید روندی که در اینجا شرح داده شده است را دنبال کنید.https://fa.player.fm/legal

Welcome to this week's episode of Real Talk! In this installment, hosts Susan and Kristina delve into the high-stakes world of college admissions alongside guest Davida Amkraut. As the trio navigates the aftermath of a particularly competitive admissions season, they offer invaluable insights, tips, and tricks to help listeners make informed decisions. With the college acceptance landscape resembling a bloodbath this year, many students have found themselves admitted to schools that weren't necessarily their first choice. Parents, this episode is essential listening as the team breaks down what you need to know before sending your child off to college. And for upcoming seniors, they provide crucial advice on staying ahead of the curve and crafting a strategic plan for the college application process. Tune in for a candid discussion packed with insider knowledge and practical guidance!

About Davida Amkraut:

Davida is an Independent College Consultant who serves as the saving grace for students and families in crisis who are navigating the complex college application process. Whether a student finds themselves in trouble and is applying to college for the first time, or is transitioning from one university to another due to a Title IX or other university-related misconduct claim, Davida helps young adults shape their stories so that they gain acceptance into college.

TRANSCRIPT:

Susan Stone:

Welcome back to Real Talk with Susan Stone and Kristina Supler. We are full time moms and attorneys bringing our student defense legal practice to life with real candid conversations.

Susan Stone:

Last week was accepted students weekend for Tori. Can you believe it?

Kristina Supler:

what a big, big like- How do you feel now that you know where she's going?

Susan Stone:

Oh my gosh. First of all, for the listeners out there. My youngest just accepted college. She will be going to Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida, which is an art school.

Kristina Supler:

Fabulous.

Susan Stone:

To have it done for the final time was crazy. And our guest today, I also know has three kids, but I think all of them are out of college. Welcome back to Davida Amkraut .

Davida Amkraut:

Thank you. Thank you. I actually have one still in college. He's just finishing his sophomore year, so.

Kristina Supler:

Well, we're glad you're able to join us again.Our listeners probably remember you from some of your prior recordings with us and welcome back.

Davida Amkraut:

It's good to see you guys. Yeah.

Susan Stone:

Where is your youngest? Northeastern

Davida Amkraut:

am I that's my middle. He's graduating in May from Northeastern. He's graduating in two weeks, and my youngest is at George Washington University.

Susan Stone:

And how was his experience there?

Davida Amkraut:

Loves loves loves loves it.He's in the pre physical therapy program there. So he's having

wow that's back. That's back to your that's your basic simpler. Yeah. Therapy. Yeah.

Susan Stone:

may be great for everyone out here. Christina's family's in

Kristina Supler:

PT Bizz

Susan Stone:

So, DeVita, you've got a lot of career changes lately. Why don't you catch our listeners up with what you're doing?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah, so I'm still doing.I still am running my own private practice where I assist. This past year, I had about 55 kids from all across the country, actually, who I worked with, on college admissions. But I also joined a high school team, in the Bronx, where I'm working at a Jewish high school in the Bronx, and I am on their college counseling team.

So it's really fascinating for me to see both sides of the table. Right. So I'm working with kids from my computer, but then I'm also working with kids in person, and I've had a lot of access to admission officers, which has been amazing. I've been on advocacy calls for my students. For the listeners who don't know what that means is, prior to decisions being released, if schools allow it, we we have a call with the admission officer for our our rep for our region, and we're sort of able to pitch our case, you know, and, you know, tell them a little bit,

Kristina Supler:

So you can literally lobby for a particular student to have a spot at assembly

Davida Amkraut:

Only at certain schools. A lot of schools have done away with these advocacy calls, calls because it prevents and prevents inequity, because not every counselor has the time to make 400 phone calls for their students. But because we're at a smaller school, our caseload is a little bit smaller. So we do have the ears and eyes of some counselors who are still very happy to talk to us.

So, for example, Cooper Union, which is an engineering and architecture school in Manhattan. I don't know if you

Susan Stone:

I looked at Cooper Union with Tory.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. So I actually was able to talk to Cooper about my student, who they were considering for a regular decision, and give them an update about everything that he's been doing since he last applied in person. And then they were able to ask me questions, and it was like a 15 minute phone call. but it's a fascinating thing, right? To be able to have that access. Some schools will just call and give you the numbers of who is going to get in and who's not going to get in by names, actually. But you can't really advocate at that point because it's already done deal

Susan Stone:

done deal.

Davida Amkraut:

But they do give the courtesy to the admission, you know, the college counselors to let them know what our decisions are going to be so that we can be there for the students on the receiving end.

Susan Stone:

Could you have done that for your private clients?

Davida Amkraut:

No no no no no. They will never speak to independent office counselors at all. No.

Susan Stone:

So what can the independent college counselor do that's different from the in-house school college counselor?

Davida Amkraut:

So I always say the in-house school college counselor is not only well, it depends on if it's a college counselor or if it's a high school counselor. So you'll see that that verbiage has changed, because if it's a high school counselor, that counselor and I know in Beachwood in Shaker, they are high school counselors as well as college counselors.So not only are they dealing with a college process, they're also dealing with a social, emotional piece for every single student in that high school. So they have a very, very big, big caseload. You know, if they're dealing with social, emotional and college, college sort of doesn't always take, you know, the front seat to that. So an independent counselor can help identify schools.

They can help keep the kids on deadlines. They can do read throughs of essays. They could help position them a little bit better and look at their activities and say, you know, you're applying to an engineering program. You have nothing engineering on your application. We need to get you involved with something. A counselor at a large public school probably doesn't have the bandwidth to do that, right.

They're just looking at doing a cursory review. They're going on scatter grams, which is the, you know, the Naviance score to see where they have sent other kids in their school and making a guess about where the kids should apply without really having that in-depth consultation. If that makes sense

Susan Stone:

When you have a kid, let's say you have five kids at your high school all looking at George Washington. Can you advocate for all five or do you have to?

Davida Amkraut:

You probably wouldn't. We probably wouldn't advocate for all five. We would choose the one that we think would probably be the most successful, or the one that they would really want. looking at the profile and looking at and also knowing that that might not be that student's first choice.Right. We have that Intel. So we would never advocate for a school if it's an early action or if it's a regular decision for a school that we know that the kid would never go to. Does that make sense? We know what

Susan Stone:

they're right, kid. But let's say you have three kids. I'm going to say a popular school this year.They want Michigan and they're dying to get into Michigan. Do you pick the best horse?

Davida Amkraut:

Well, Michigan doesn't let advocacy calls. Are you surprised by that? They, they have a

Kristina Supler:

no, because they don't need to. I mean, that they get the best of best.

Davida Amkraut:

They had 75,000 applications this year for a class that's housed. That was their numbers for this year.That was 70,000 early action. Right. So who knows how many additional people who had in their regular season. Right. So a lot of kids will not apply during that early action because they want to use that time to get their grades up, for instance. Right? So then they'll hold back their application until the January 1st to really show their, you know, the upward trajectory.

So that's only 70,000 early action applications for our class of 7,000. Right.

Kristina Supler:

So what are your takeaways from this past, you know, season? I mean what did you see, what trends and what lessons, you know, were learned for students who are, you know, on the brink for next year?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Well, I would say actually, funny you should ask that.But just yesterday we had two bombshells just dropped on our laps on April 11th that two of the big schools are now going to require testing. Harvard and Cal Tech announced April 11th that they're gonna require testing, which is very, very it's it's so hurtful to so many counselors who are listening that to

Kristina Supler:

Other schools announced that to in the Ivys

Davida Amkraut:

They did it before the march SATs

Kristina Supler:

earlier. So that's the issue was the timing.

Davida Amkraut:

The timing is terrible because after reading why

Susan Stone:

that's a bomb debate is are they punishing the kids who didn't submit? There's

Davida Amkraut:

no I think I think we I don't think that they're punishing. I mean, Harvard, 80, 86% of their kids submitted test scores, so they were never fully test optional, right? That's that's for sure. But it is for kids who are, you know, who have planned their testing, who have talked to counselors, who have sort of said, okay, I want to focus on X, Y, and Z because I'm just not a great tester. That really puts them now in a bind to have to test. And the next S.A.T., I think, is the end of May.

So they don't have as many shots now to take that S.A.T. if they were just counting on that early decision, if that makes sense.

Susan Stone:

No. I'm confused. So you're saying for the kids who got who put in their application for Harvard, but didn't test, they have to scramble and get a test?

Davida Amkraut:

No, no, no, this is for the next cycle.

This is next year. Next year. Now this cycle is already done. But it's for kids. I mean, if you think about April and these kids are already planning, you know, and they're working and they have a schedule and they're planning on when they're exactly doing everything. And now the school says, okay, you have to do testing. Now they have to scramble and go back.

If they weren't planning on testing to go back and start studying, it's just not ethical, I mean, listen, I think Caltech and Harvard are very, very high ranking schools, and I'm assuming most of their kids knew already that they had to have testing that will position them. But there are some schools out there who still have not announced what their plans are for this coming cycle.

Susan Stone:

So wouldn't you counsel them, everybody take a test.

Davida Amkraut:

We do, we do, we do. I counsel everybody to take a test because you don't want to have would have, could have. But it's more like the second or third test, you know, should that kid ten take a take it a third time? Should they take it a fourth time? Should they get additional tutoring. Right? And also you have the issue of the digital S.A.T. versus the pen to paper. Right. So not every school has announced if you can super score your pen to paper, score with your digital score. Right.

Kristina Supler:

So what does that mean? Super score

Davida Amkraut:

to take different set test scores from different different tests that you've taken.

Susan Stone:

And so you use the best math of the scores you’ve taken and you combine one.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Or you know a lot of schools have not even really come out and said if they're going to allow super scoring from the pen to paper tasked with the digital. So there's this whole unknown going on here. So a kid who, who took the SATs, who got like an 800 on English but got a 650 on math right now, if she wants to apply to Harvard, she has to go back and take the test.That 800 on the English might not ever be seen, because if they don't super score. I don't know if that made sense.

Susan Stone:

Now that's great.

Kristina Supler:

Why, if most Harvard applicants were submitting the test score anyway, why why did Harvard announce this policy much less so late in the game? Like what was the reasoning behind it? If anyone knows?

Davida Amkraut:

Well, there are some conspiracy theories out there that the College Board is smearing these schools to go back to,

Kristina Supler:

Ahh okay.

Davida Amkraut:

Right. That's not founded by anything, right? Like I'm just putting that out there, like, you know, we're wondering all of a sudden, you know, that digital S.A.T. has come out, right? And they're trying to drum up business, right?

They're there as much as they say they are a nonprofit. Right? And they have that .org or whatever they have next to their name. It's a business. And if people are not taking tests, they're going to lose their business. Right. And I think that they want to drum up business. From what I understand, in some schools, it's not the admission officers at the schools, at the colleges that decide whether or not testing should be reinstated its actually a faculty decision.

So maybe, perhaps the faculty is seeing not as many competitive candidates as or candidates now who are in their classrooms, who are not as competitive as their candidate, as their students from like 4 or 5 years ago. Right? So if the faculty is seeing that, then they're going to probably say, you know, we need higher caliber students like this is not, etc.

Susan Stone:

Davida, can you circle back to what Christina asked you because she you really did.I know you partially answered it, but she asked a great question because every year now that I've done this three times, everyone says this was the hardest year. This was the hardest year to get kids.

Davida Amkraut:

Bloodbath.

Susan Stone:

It's a bloodbath like that every year. I hear this from parents tell us 24, was it really a bloodbath or were kids getting in just like they were every other year?

Davida Amkraut:

I mean, the students that are at the school that I'm working at and my clients listen, we all have our kids all have a place to call home, right? I say that very confidently, where our school is a little bit more selective, that we're a little bit shocking. Some of them were like a Michigan not so shocking.They've been on the same trajectory for many years. I tell my students I was like, you can apply to Michigan, but don't count on it, right? Just don't count on it because there's something going on there with their numbers and how they spit things out, but don't count on it. Right. And there were superstars waitlisted. And that's the other thing that Michigan does that's not so kind is that they don't cut their kids loose.

Right? They don't cut these applicants loose. They waitlist them and they let them live in what we call purgatory. You know? And then kids get in in July and August, right. And then they lose their day. They have to make this big choice. They have to lose their deposit. Their other school scramble for a roommate, you know, is it really worth it?And I tell my students, cut bait like you are done with Michigan if you don't get in. If you're not the kind of kid that can pivot in a heartbeat, then it's not going to be a great place for you. You know? Why do that?

Kristina Supler:

With respect to waitlists, what do you tell families in terms of in reality, how likely is a student to get admitted off of a waitlist?

Davida Amkraut:

I tell them, pretend it didn't happen and I do. I say, you know, put a deposit, put a deposit, you know, and get excited for your other choice. Just get excited, embrace it. And if they get in, a lot of students decide not to take that, take that adamant off the waitlist. They decide not to because they've already been hyped up.They already found their roommate. They're already, you know, invested, which I think is a great thing. You know, because it's college. What you do when you get there, what you make of it when you get there. but circling back to Susan, your question about what do I advise my students to do? Right. And I think that's a conversation.We're still seeing a lot of kids getting in an early decision one, and early decision two. Right. financially, you know, if you're in a position to do that and you have, you know, that sort of relationship with a school and you're willing to do that, that's what we always say, you know, don't apply to certain schools. That's not like if you're not applying ed

Right. So I'm, I have the stats up here for BU right now.

Susan Stone:

Kristinas alma mater .

Kristina Supler:

My alma mater,

Davida Amkraut:

they had 79,000 applicants this year.

Kristina Supler:

Is that all?

Davida Amkraut:

But they did increase. They did increase their first year class size to 3300, which is 155 more seats than last year. Right. So, despite the fact that they have this larger class size, they only now there are a rate.Their admit rate is just 10.7%. View. So BU When I first started this, I'd say like seven, eight years ago they were 25, 30%. Right. and now they're they're almost in single digits.

Susan Stone:

Who's going to BU you know, what's the profile?

Davida Amkraut:

I think at the profile is very similar to a student who might be applying to, a northeastern, a George Washington, because these are kids who want a city school.it's not incredibly rah rah ish. I mean, you have a hockey, but that's really basically, that's what you have. And they're kids who are very I think that there are more independent thinkers because they are living in like a city. NYU is also I put that in that cohort also. So, you know, that sort of thing.

the oh, you asked

Susan Stone:

What are the up ad commers Davida. I know when my daughter went to northeastern, I didn't even know what northeastern was. And now it's the hot school. so we already know northeastern is already up there with BU and George Washington. What do you see as the up and comer next wave hot school.

Kristina Supler:

Good question.

Davida Amkraut:

That's such a great question.I think that there are a lot of hidden gems, and I think that it's really hard to answer that question because it's like, I can say Fordham University, I think is going to be a hot school.

Kristina Supler:

Really?

Davida Amkraut:

yeah. Yeah,

Kristina Supler:

I think, that used to be a safe school for students who, you know, wanted the Boston college Georgetown experience, but y you but couldn't get in.Well, who wanted the Jesuit component? And then you go to Fordham.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. And I think Fordham, I don't mark my words, but I think that they have they have two campuses. So you have the opportunity to have a traditional campus experience, which is in the Bronx, which is a gated campus. And you can also choose to live in Lincoln Center in New York City and live in a city campus.And they have a fabulous business program. It's in New York City, so, I'm going to say, I think Fordham, in terms of that piece, is going to be, you know, a school to watch out for. in terms of other schools that are hot. And, I mean, it just runs the gamut. You know, the we hear the same names over and over and over again.I think that for Out-of-staters, Ohio State is looking really great for a lot of people. You're going to see a lot more kids applying to like an Ohio State and Indiana. because those are a little bit less selective than, Michigan or Wisconsin. Boulder also will be I'll see. They're they're getting they're doing great. You know, those schools are doing great because they are taking the kids who are not getting into the Michigan and Wisconsin into their into their class

Kristina Supler:

is bolder, getting more selective.

Davida Amkraut:

I don't not yet. Not yet and not yet. It'll take some time. and there's also a very, very big school, so I don't think it'll be assault. It'll never hit the Michigan level. Then it'll probably hit, like, I would say, a Wisconsin or, or an Ohio State at some point, you know, because

Susan Stone:

with 80,000 applications or even if it's 50,000 applications,

Kristina Supler:

seriously, what's the difference?

Susan Stone:

I there's no difference. What trends do you see? Does the Essay matter .

Davida Amkraut:

Well, so Duke just announced Duke University just announced that they're actually moving that down in their priorities because of AI. Right. So Duke has that has announced formally that they are no longer scoring their essays as, as highly as they were. I think what always will matter the most is the rigor of the child's,curriculum.

Right. That is the grant. Yeah. And that is of

Susan Stone:

The transcript. You can’t game a transcript

Davida Amkraut:

Right. So I think that transcript is, is the going to be like, if you had a pizza pie, I'd say that's like 60% of the pizza pie. Really I do. Right. And it's not the transcript I took woodworking and got an A-plus or I took pottery and I got it.

You know, it is part and

Kristina Supler:

Both important classes, by the way.

Davida Amkraut:They are. But it is like we're even seeing now like AP, A, B and AP calc. Those are like, like 5 or 6 years ago. Those were the really, really hard AP math classes. Now schools are looking for AP multivariable right there, like for their engineering students. They are looking for AP multivariable.I don't even know what that is. Right.

Kristina Supler:

I wouldn't stand a chance, but I, of course, would never. I have no business anywhere near an engineering thing.

Susan Stone:

I want to challenge you on this, okay? Both Christine and I, we're both lawyers and we're both stronger in humanities. So are we going to get punished by a highly selective school if we didn't have high IP transcripts in the science and the math and the stems?

Davida Amkraut:

No. Only if you're applying to a like a degree program as college, a college within years, they have engineering or math. Right now, if you're a humanities person, you're applying to a journalism program. They're not gonna care. So like if they want to see rigor, they're not gonna want to see the easiest math classes. But they'll understand that if you're taking, you know, APUSH. AP euro, AP lang, AP lit, and then you're just taking honors math. Totally fine.

Susan Stone:

So how else can you stand out if it's not the essay anymore? Because I understand it's going to be with I impossible to distinguish essays.

Kristina Supler:

I'm wondering about that. This issue of the essays, though, because of course, after the affirmative action ruling, there was a lot of discussion about how students can speak about various points in their personal lives that would be potentially relevant for consideration and mission in the essay.

But now it's interesting. The point you point raised regarding Duke and the role of AI, which that's actually really fascinating. And so I'm just thinking about how you how students could navigate through, you know, these different how the landscape has changed.

Davida Amkraut:

So I will say a few things about the AI essays. I've written 5 or 6 college essays on AI there.

You can tell it's written by a bot. And that was with me going back and changing things and asking AI to do certain things and change things up. You it's it's crazy. Like there's no way I would let any students submit an essay like that. because it's it doesn't sound like a human's written. I'm just being completely honest with you.

Like, I've done it like. And I did it also with my letters of recommendation that I have to now write for my students at my school. I've learned things through a bot and there's no comparison there. Human element is is a big touch, I would say, for the race issue. we saw a lot of a lot of schools after Scotus announcement went and changed their supplemental questions to include a question about race or adversity in their supplemental questions.

And for those kinds of questions, A.I you can't you can't write. You can't write a like that through AI. Right? So, I'd say I'd say we're going to I it's going to be here. I don't think it's kind of like if you're a smart person, you can you can see exactly what's written by AI and what's not.But the smarter the computer gets, right? And the more information the computer is going to have on essays. And I'm more than it's going to get smarter as we go along, for sure. University of Michigan Honors program just released their honors. Like they invite kids for their honors program. And they said, put an essay through through AI about answering this prompt and then tell me and then and then send that to us and tell us what's missing from the essay.So they're using that. They are. So they're Uising AI there. No, the kids are using it. But then they're asking, okay, what did I miss? Like what? Tell us about that experience. Right. So it's actually very clever. So I'm wondering like you know what other schools with out of the fall. Of course with that, you know, we won't know the supplements for quite a while now.

So

Susan Stone:

other than transcript. So you rank transcript first because I've always thought that. Right. What would you say is next?

Davida Amkraut:

every school has different priorities, but I would say what would be next is, extracurricular activities. If there's testing at this child has testing, I would say that would be next. Right. If they're submitting testing, then I would say, extracurricular activities.

Then I would say letter of recommendations. And then I would say essays, but letter recommendations and essays probably are maybe equal. Every every school is very different. And, yeah. So that's what I would say. But the extracurricular activities, you know, showing what the let the students doing and they're not just going home and watching Netflix and playing, you know, video games is going to be really important.

Kristina Supler:

Are all extracurriculars created equal? I mean, what would you say in terms of if a student is, you know, let's say you have that child who's just interested in everything and wants to be in this club and play that sport and have a job and volunteer and student council, so on and so forth. I mean, wonderful, but at the same time, how would you what are your thoughts or what advice do you have for families that have to sort of focus or call through the extracurriculars,

Susan Stone:

breath or death

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. So I say be authentic to who you are. If you are doing all those extracurriculars because you are genuinely interested in all these different things, do it right, because then that will also be reflective on your transcript. It will reflective from your letters of recommendation. If you're doing all these activities because you think you're just checking off boxes. Oh, I'm doing a journalism one here. I'm doing a math one here. I'm doing an engineering one here that'll check off all these boxes and they'll look well rounded. I don't think that's going to be super authentic. And if it won't, it'll resonate with the application. and there are two schools of thought. People are like, you want to create a profile and you want to make sure if you're an engineering student, then you are going to do everything engineering, you know, in your extracurriculars. I don't necessarily buy into that so much. I think that authentically, kids should be able to allow to be explore what they're doing. And they're 14, 15 when this all begins. my advice is pay to play. Activities never mean much. Which and I say when I say pay to play. I spent the summer at Harvard with a two week course on X, Y, Z. You know those? That's what we call on the college world pay to play. And

Susan Stone:

I painted murals in a third world country.

Davida Amkraut:

Right. So those are manufactured those are manufactured experiences. And then there are the pay to play where you send your kids off and you are going to say, oh, they're going to, you know, be on this campus and it's going to look great. I mean, scooping ice cream looks much better than being on a college campus. You know,

Kristina Supler:

let me ask you, though, about being authentic. Conversely, conversely, do the child who's interested in everything give the child who's just all in on my life passion is crocheting? Should parents say, okay, that's wonderful that you crochet, but maybe think about some other activities?

Or I mean, how do you when you have a child who's laser focused on, a sport, a hobby, an instrument, whatever it may be,

Susan Stone:

Unless they're going to do something cool with crocheting, right?

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. I mean, I think that. Right. So. Okay, if they're if their goal is maybe to be in fashion. Right. Okay. So it's amazing and it's amazing. And then let's try to see like entrepreneurial stuff going on out there. Or maybe there's marketing or maybe there's like you know, maybe you want to take some Coursera classes on fashion marketing and then also babysit and also peer tutor in your class or, you know, or, you know, crochet, teach, teach other people how to crochet or crochet for, you know, for babies that are in need. Right. So like, you can kind of take that, that sort of that passion, which is an overused word in the college world, right? And sort of infused into different areas, you realize that are meaningful.

Kristina Supler:

So how does that laser focused interest translate to your college education, but also maybe ways to, you know, iterations of broadening that interest in other respects.So like the babysitting or so on and so forth, that that was good inside there.

Davida Amkraut:

So what you tell me,

Susan Stone:

I think you just comment. That was a really good insight. But I do want to go back to the pay to play because just because something doesn't have great college resume value, I don't think it's a reason to not do it if you have another valuable course.

Davida Amkraut:

Of course

Susan Stone:

Right. So my number two, who you know, and you were his college counselor privately went to Berkeley one summer and he today will say that was a formative experience for him, that summer experience that he reflects back and feel so grateful that he went. I mean, I don't think we should always pick things because of will it look good for college? No, it won't do something else.

Davida Amkraut:

Right? So he might not have even reported that experience at Berkeley. Do you know what I'm saying? Like that

Susan Stone:

he didn’t

Davida Amkraut:

Right.

Kristina Supler:

And that's interesting.

Susan Stone:

I was a pay to play. He did not everything. What we did his job right.

Davida Amkraut:

I mean, it could have also been like, okay, that could also been a little bit of a touch point for an essay. Right. Or you know, but you only have ten activities to report, period. Right. So you want to make sure that you're reporting the ones that mean the most to you and that, you know, you feel authentically you. And I always tell my students, if you did it and you really, really glean so much from it, then put it down for sure. Right? But let's also do the description so that the reader understands why that experience was so important to you and what you know, what it did to sort of that formative experience that sort of I

Susan Stone:

Is it hard internally. Now write those letters of recommendation.

Davida Amkraut:

Oh my God, it's so I can't even tell you what I have to do. Like. Right. So I'm going the and this is and I and I also feel pain for these other counselors who don't have this luxury of writing periods in, in their schedule. Right? I have writing periods in my schedule because I'm working at a private school. Right. and I remember when I worked at Laurel, they had days where they didn't even come to school, the counselors, because they were home on their writing days, and they were sitting there and they have all, you know, they have all the transcripts out there So what I do with my students is I meet them 2 or 3 times, you know, form a rapport with them. And then I also go back into their anecdotal and I grab sentences or anecdotes from their teachers, and I craft a whole narrative that, you know, encompasses this kid. You know, a page, a page and a half long and, sort of represent the student. And it's painful that, you know, other counselors don't have that time that, you know, those resources. Some teachers don't even write an external site where they're just literally filling in, you know, bubbles up, you know, comes to class, you know,

Susan Stone:

so schools do better, have better relationships with the colleges than others.

Davida Amkraut:

So I will I will say that's that's like we're seeing that fade a lot.Like, right. Brandeis University, that used to be a school that would do advocacy calls. And they said, no, we're not doing them this year. Brown used to do advocacy calls. They said no

Kristina Supler:

Why is it fading?

Davida Amkraut:

because of the inequity.

Kristina Supler:

That makes sense.

Davida Amkraut:

Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. I mean it makes complete sense. Barnard also did it. They they they told us this year I mean this was also my first year on staff. But so I can see the counselors, they're like oh my gosh look we don't have that Intel right. And I'm like, well I feel like that's that's good.

Susan Stone:

Well, I mean this has been amazing and it always is. And I'm so happy to see you. I know we spoke last week. Do you have any lasting thought regarding 2025 to say to parents, those juniors.

Kristina Supler:

What wisdom would you like to leave?

Davida Amkraut:

I would like to leave that name brands or not, that there are more to the name brands that really I am a true believer is that college is what you make of it when you get there, right? And you will bloom where you were planted and that you should not. You should look beyond the name brand, right? You should definitely look.There are hidden gems out there that will take care of your child, that will take care of you and really, really value, you know, the students that will be coming to their campuses.

Susan Stone:

I felt that way last weekend at Ringling College. It's very small, but I felt like when I walked on this campus, I didn't even know about the school, but I felt like I found a hidden gem for my daughter to really flourish as an artist.

Davida Amkraut:

And for. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing I would say is fall in love with more than one school, right? You're not marrying the school for, you know, fall in love with three, four different schools, one a far reach one, you know, a target, one to, like, fall in love, you know, and then you'll.

Kristina Supler:

My mother says it's always good to have options to be.

Susan Stone:

You know, it was a pleasure. I just love talking to you. And I miss you. So it's great to see you. All right. Take care. Bye.

Kristina Supler:

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to Real Talk with Susan and Kristina. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to our show so you never miss an episode and leave us a review so other people can find the content we share here. You can follow us on Instagram. Just search our handle @stonesupler and for more resources, visit us online at https://studentdefense.kjk.com/

Thank you so much for being a part of our real talk community. We'll see you next time.

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