Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Scholarships and Trolling

I know some seniors have come by to ask for any additional scholarships out there. Now some scholarship deadlines have already expired. Others though are closing in. If you are an Eagle Scout and associated with Troop 193 you might want to check out this scholarship by clicking here. The deadline though is tomorrow. Another $1000 scholarship still available is the Black Mesa Scholarship. To read criteria click here. There is no set deadline.

When I think of scholarships, I am reminded of my first fishing trip with my father-in-law. We'd spend two hours trolling a cove of water near patches of high reeds. It would be frustrating at times. I'd snag my line on a reed. I'd get an occasional bite and because I was half zoned out I'd miss it. Every once in awhile, though, I catch a small to mid size trout. On the last day, in fact, I caught a 24 inch walleye.

Finding scholarships is like trolling a reedy cove. There are small-to-mid size scholarships available, but you have to be willing to scroll, read the fine print, and then struggle to churn out a essay.

Is it worth it?

Right now it might not feel like trolling and writing is worth $500 bucks. But when it comes time to buy your textbooks, you'll be glad that you have that scholarship money. That's like 125 Carmel macchiatos at Starbucks that you could buy because you snagged that small scholarship!

Looking for some coves then to troll?

Click here.

Happy trolling.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dear Mr. Bottomly, My Daughter will be a Senior. She doesn't want to take a fourth year of math. What should we do?

Today I received an e-mail from a concerned junior parent. Here is what she wrote:

We are wrestling whether [blank name] should take a fourth year of math her senior year. She has completed AMC this year and so would enroll in Pre-Calculus if she takes a math class. We are concerned that with other AP classes (English, Spanish V, and possibly AP Euro History or AP Art History) she could have a pretty big load. We realize this is a balancing act between carrying five solids every year, and taking on too heavy a load.

The question is: are they [colleges of her choice] concerned with a student having four years of math or would they be happy with a respectable senior load that does not include a math?

Can you identify with this mother’s quandary? Should we add another scoop to this cone? Or should we allow our student to create their own academic sundae?

First, a disclaimer. I don’t ever solicit purely "blanket advice." Each student is different. One student’s triple dip is another’s chocolate sundae. And vice versa.
Okay, enough with the dessert metaphor.
To this particular concerned mother, I replied with this advice.

Dear Mom,

I heard an older, much wiser college counselor than me offer this advice to senior parents: "Ask your child: What is one thing that you want to drop? - and let them drop it. It could be the X factor in determining a sweet senior year versus a sour one."

I amen that advice.

The colleges your child is looking at value the student's whole body of academic work. There not scrutinizing your child's transcript with a microscope. Instead they are looking primarily for a steady upward trend - both in course rigor and course performance No one class, though, or lack of one class, will be deleterious to your child's chances.

The key is that your student simply does as well as she can in the courses she does sign up to take. Hopefully, then, your child will take a couple courses that she really wants to take - rather than has to take.


Mr. B

Friday, March 27, 2009


First time to visit my blog?


This is my first post.

What can you anticipate from this blog?

Hopefully many things.

Sometimes articles and antecdotes. Other times videos and pictures. You can also expect a random assortment of quotes, statistics, aphorisms, suggestions.

The penultimate goal: to create a space for me to foster creativity, generate ideas, and reflect openly on college-related topics.

The ultimate goal of this blog: to create an interactive space to keep you in "the know."

I've found that human beings don't like surprises.

Irony works well in literature. Not in college counseling.

So what I hope to do is eliminate as many surprises as possible for you.

That's why our college counseling staff will be making a concerted effort to provide greater accessiblity to you.

This blog is one expression of our attempt to foster greater interactivism and transparency.

So come and go as you please.

Feel free to leave a comment (minus expletives please if you need to go on a diatribal rant) with a question or a recommended article or web site. If you've visited a college, please share any thoughts. With your permission, I'll publish them.

So I look forward to the dialogue and conversation ahead.

To the journey,