We offer several college admissions advising packages to accommodate the students in their junior and senior years
An all-inclusive college advising package beginning as early summer prior to junior year.
Includes initial meetings with student and parents, creation of first of a number of college lists, class selection advising, testing strategies, merit aid strategies, application form advising, and essay writing advising. Within reason, unlimited in-person/Skype/Facetime meetings, unlimited contact via email/text.
Senior Procrastinator Package
All of the above but in a highly compressed form.
Engagement anytime after June 1 prior to senior year.
Time permitting, hourly services are sometimes available for focused tasks like college list consulting or college application/essay advising.
9th and 10th graders
Berkshire College Advising does not recommend hiring an independent college admission advisor during the early grades barring special or extraordinary circumstances. School guidance counselors can give skilled counsel regarding class selection and pre-11th grade testing. Only in unusual circumstances, such as a student intending to leave high school early, will BCA take on a frosh/sophomore client. Feel free to reach out to discuss early engagement with Berkshire College Advising.
Here is just a sample of scenarios in which Berkshire College Advising can provide valuable guidance:
The highly motivated A/B+ student who worries she will be invisible in the admission process.
Some of the most successful people in our society were B students in high school. Whether it’s because they focused on learning on their own terms, not on what the teacher expected to earn an A, or they were simple motivated by challenge and took the toughest classes grades be damned, it doesn’t matter: motivation and authentic engagement will be acknowledged by admission officers if it’s properly articulated in an application. This can often form the successful basis of a student’s essay if it’s done thoughtfully and with mature self-reflection.
The extremely high achieving student applying to the nation’s most selective colleges, nervous about the apparent randomness of admission decisions.
Admission to the Ivies and elite liberal arts colleges has never been tougher. Students from over-represented demographics face admit rates as low as 3%. No independent advisor can change those odds, but Nate will engage the client to think about how to make the most powerful self-presentation. Largely, but not entirely, this consists of what story to tell in the written part of the application and what angle to take in its telling. Often the story the client thinks is best is in fact overdone or cliched. Nate Budington’s experience in reading and evaluating thousands of application essays for two of the nation’s most selective colleges gives him unusual insight into this process.
The late-bloomer with a rocky record early on but one who has begun to assemble a strong record (and developed noticeable ambition) late in the game.
Some hugely successful people were not even B students in high school! Many great colleges love late bloomers because they can land a Harvard-quality student who won’t be getting into Harvard. Often overlooked by some elite colleges because of a narrow interpretation of the cumulative GPA, the late bloomer who rocks the last two years of high school can easily present himself as a possible college valedictorian. The key is finding those colleges and presenting a powerful application.
The high-achieving home schooled student and his family concerned about how their program will be interpreted by admission committees.
Colleges love homeschooled students, who often arrive on campus with unusual self-discipline and direction, superior reading skills, and an ability to make learning happen independently. But homeschooling credentials can present real problems to admissions evaluators, especially at colleges with low admit rates. Homeschoolers invariably get all A’s, so GPA’s are rendered meaningless. Other factors become key: standardized testing, third-party academic endorsements and the application itself. The structure of a successful homeschool application can be the deciding point in an admission decision
The student whose school’s guidance/college advising office has been hard hit by budget cuts.
Many high schools continue to support in-house, top notch college advisors but those numbers are dwindling. Budget cuts often hit the guidance office first, and the labor-intensive nature of college advising often cannot survive this paring down of student services. While a high school guidance counselor may be advising hundreds of students, Nate rarely works with more than 20 students at a time.
The college-bound student who wants to leave her area for college but needs help identifying appropriate colleges far away from home.
For various reasons, students often wish to study far from home but lack the knowledge of good options apart from the local state university and nearby private colleges. Nate’s 25 year bi-coastal experience in college admission, and the long list of colleges and universities he has visited in-person give him a strong knowledge base of college options in all 50 states.
The bright, under-performing student with tremendous potential and a mixed academic record who seeks a college offering a second chance.
In almost every state exist colleges that combine excellent, inspired teaching with a mission to seek out and transform smart underachievers into students finally meeting their vast potential. Nate’s commitment to seeking out under-the-radar colleges that serve this critical need has been a priority in his yearly college visits.
The bright, motivated iconoclast unexcited about conventional colleges.
Often the smartest, most interesting students fear that college will be just a four year extension of all they hated about high school. They are determined to find a college community where little in the academic or social structure will be recognizable from their high school experience. Nate’s interest in unconventional colleges (he graduated from one) gives him a deep understanding of the motivations for a “different” education and the colleges that can provide it.
An otherwise healthy family dynamic where the college search process has become an emotional minefield.
Even in the most functional of families, the college application process can bring out everyone’s worst insecurities and unjustified fears. Nate’s experience as a college admission officer at three very different institutions and as a parent who has gone through the process with his own child, has given him both an empathy and strategy for dealing with today’s college application-induced stress.