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Great Neck, NY 11021
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News on College Counseling and Information on Our Private College Counselors
Bad College Advice
Letter to Smart
Money from Doretta Katzter Goldberg, Esq.
"The New College Gurus"
(September) does your readers a disservice by concluding with
a replay of the same tired story of the handful of educational
consultants who, with their exorbitant fees, prey upon families'
fears of college rejections. A consultant pointing out his or
her availability to take phone calls at all hours only feeds
the admissions frenzy by implying that there are things regarding
college applications that need to be done at 2 am.
Though the majority
of consultants would agree that ninth grade is the best time
to start, the purpose is not to get kids obsessing about college
prematurely. Rather, it is to ensure ample time to help them
discover and expand on their strengths and interests. Responsible
advisers care as much about the process as the end result. They
would never suggest that a student reinvent him or herself simply
to better fit the alleged profile of a particular school.
Great Neck, N.Y.
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OCTOBER 23, 2006
ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS
Camp and Schools Section
College Directions, LLC Offers Unique Approach to College Admissions
The signs are
everywhere that a new day is dawning in the college admissions
process. Harvard University recently dropped its Early Action
process, faulting it for discriminating against those who needed
financial aid and adding to the frenzy associated with college
applications. A new book called The Overachievers, by Alexandra
Robbins, with its disturbing inside look at the stress laden
world of high achieving teenagers, has sounded a wake-up call
that the system is out of control. Admissions directors from
institutions as prestigious as MIT have been speaking out against
the notion that teenagers' need to have the resumes of accomplished
professionals in order to have a shot at getting in. A recent
article in Time magazine told of the increasing willingness
of families to look beyond "brand name" schools in
favor of places that might offer their children better opportunities
and more personal attention.
The good news
for students on Long Island is that there is already a resource
available to them if they are eager to join this encouraging
trend. College Directions, LLC opened its Great Neck office
in 2004 with the mission of transforming the way local families
approach college preparation and admissions. Founder and president,
Doretta Katzter Goldberg, drawing on her experience as an attorney,
a former college and law school applicant, a representative
for Brown University admissions and the parent of two children
who went through the college process, felt she was uniquely
suited to effectuate a change. "The key," she says,
"is to begin working with College Directions, LLC early
in a student's high school career and for students to learn
how to change their focus from getting into the "best"
college to discovering and developing their interests and talents
in order to attract the attention of the college that is right
LLC helps students select schools and prepare their applications,
but beyond assisting with these more technical activities, its
main focus is working on the substantive aspects of what kind
of person a student becomes during his or her high school years.
By showing students how to follow their passions, the program
not only makes them better college candidates, it reduces the
amount of time needed for the less creative aspects of the application
process. In the view of Ms. Goldberg, standardized test preparation
should be given the least amount of time needed to achieve the
desired result. No middle school student should be allowed anywhere
near a SAT exam and high school students should not be encouraged
to make test review one of their extracurricular activities.
behind College Directions, LLC specifically rejects the ideas
that students need to be "packaged" to find favor
with colleges, that parents need to obsessively follow their
child's every move throughout school or that students should
be encouraged to tailor their studies or activities to fit the
profile of a particular school. Motivated by her belief that
adolescence should be a time of exploration and creativity,
Ms. Goldberg sees herself as a "consultant for kids"
who is determined to put them back in charge of their high school
With a menu of
services that includes one-time consultations, assistance with
essays and interviews, a special senior year package and a Comprehensive
Advising Program that guides you through every step of college
preparations and applications, College Directions, LLC has a
plan to meet every family's needs and budget. Those interested
in participating in this novel and personalized program are
encouraged to call the College Directions, LLC office at 516-336-2558
and check the company website at www.college-directions.com.
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North Shore Today - March 8, 2006
NORTH SHORE PARENTING - Time Is on Your
Side (For Now)
By Doretta Katzter Goldberg,
In most things we seek to accomplish,
our greatest enemy is time. When we fail to reach our goals,
it is not usually a lack of ability that's to blame. Frustration
occurs when we do not plan properly, when, to put it simply,
we run out of time. For high-school students, success in getting
into college will, in many cases, be determined by organization
and attention to detail. In the spring of junior year, students
must begin the search process, work steadily from that point
on and be guided in their efforts by good judgment and common
sense. (i.e. just because the family next door is touring 25
colleges, does not mean that is a reasonable thing to do.)
By the time summer approaches,
college-bound juniors should accomplish 10 critically important
• Register for SATs, SAT
II subject tests & possibly ACTs: Students must determine
which tests, which test dates and which study methods are right
• Put together a college list: Compile a list of approximately
15 schools that match a student's skills and interests, with
respect to academics, activities, location, size, etc.
• Begin visiting colleges: Weekends and spring break are
good times to do this; summer, when many campuses are empty,
is less desirable.
• Make summer plans: Choose jobs or activities that enhance
existing skills, relate to career plans or provide an introduction
to College life. Athletes should attend recruiting camps. Those
in the arts should find programs that will help them prepare
portfolios and auditions. If saving money for college is an
issue, a job that pays well is the most sensible option.
• Meet with the guidance counselor to pick fall courses
and become well acquainted. This is the person who will write
the school report that is sent with a student's applications.
• Ask teachers to write recommendations: Colleges prefer
letters from junior year teachers and it is best that these
be written while things are fresh in a teacher's mind.
• Contact coaches & videotape games: For spring sport
athletes, this is the last chance to get coaches to come to
games. Fall athletes should also be contacting coaches by the
end of spring semester
• Attend college fairs and other admissions events to
become familiar with schools and to meet admissions personnel.
• Read: This is the best preparation for the verbal portions
of the SAT and gives a student something to talk about when
the college interviewer asks, "So, read any good books
• Work hard in school! Colleges like nothing more than
grades that improve as graduation approaches.
Though admissions decisions are
ultimately made by someone else, much of the college applications
process is within a student's control. Where a student applies,
what the application says and how it is presented are all choices
a student has the opportunity to make. Remember, though, senior
year will be very busy. To maintain low stress and achieve a
college match that is a success, the time for juniors to begin
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North Shore Today - June 1st 2005
NORTH SHORE PARENTING - Summer: An important Time in The College Application Process
By Doretta Katzter Goldberg, Esq.
Summers are like Sundays. They
are times to sleep late, do something for ourselves or spend
more time with our families. They are also opportunities to
get organized. The week is easier when, on Sunday, we plan our
schedules and start pending projects. Likewise, summertime,
with its more leisurely pace, is a chance to tackle time-consuming
tasks or clean out the winter's clutter.
Most successful students will
agree on the benefits of effective use of Sundays. They catch
up or get ahead in reading or work on long-term assignments.
For those soon-to-be rising seniors, summer should be viewed
as a precious opportunity. The secret to minimizing stress in
the fall and optimizing the outcome of the college application
process is to take time in the summer to get organized, become
informed and complete the following critical tasks:
• Put together a college
list: Do not visit schools without investigating them beforehand.
Work with your child to compile an appropriate list of schools
with respect to academics, activities, location, size, etc.
Try to limit the list to 10-15 schools.
• Begin visiting colleges: Many schools close for a period
or run special programs. Thus summer is not the best time to
discover the "personality" of a college or its students.
However, many colleges start classes before Labor Day, providing
a chance for meaningful visits. In addition, in many state universities
students are so diverse that seeing them is less important than
in smaller private schools.
• Complete a solid first draft of application essays: With a few tweaks here and there, these three essays can be
used for most applications:
A personal statement. This can
be about almost anything, as long as it provides insight into
something important about the applicant. (Two pages)
"My favorite extracurricular activity" and why it's
meaningful. (One page)
"Why I want to attend your school" This should be
written with respect to a student's number one choice and modified
later to work on other applications. (One page)
their topics, students must remember that the goal of the essays
is to give colleges a reason to admit them.
Create a resume that details extracurricular activities,
jobs, summer experiences, honors and awards. Though not usually
required, these provide a useful snapshot of a student's interests
and accomplishments. They should be two pages maximum and should
be organized and printed in a way that allows for a quick scan
without, missing key items.
This summer is also the time to
strengthen skills and pursue core interests. Begin studying
for October SATs. Read a few good books. Attend a sports recruiting
camp or a visual or performing arts program. Get a job.
In the final analysis, students
who have worked hard until now will find that the only things
standing between them and admission to the right college are
time and knowledge. They must use this summer to overcome these
obstacles. Your advice to them should be, "Plan, educate
yourself, get hard workout of the way." These are simple
principles that will propel them to college and beyond.
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NY Times July 7, 2004
When the Race for a Top College Intersects With Summer School.
By Samuel G. Freedman
WINNETKA, Ill. --
MIDWAY through Wednesday
morning in the second week of June, a brief beep sounded inside New
Trier High School here, concluding another year of rigor and ambition.
The seniors had already graduated wearing tuxedos and summer gowns,
and members of the other classes gathered for a shortened schedule
devoted mostly to receiving final grades. For perhaps the only time
since the preceding August, most had left their backpacks at home.
Just five days later,
however, more than 1,800 of the freshmen, sophomores and juniors paraded
back into the school at 8 a.m. sharp. They moved down the hallways,
past empty lockers, stacked chairs and unplugged overhead projectors,
to report to the gymnasium and receive their course and room assignments
for summer school.
At a high school that ranks among
the finest in America, sending 90 percent of its graduates to four-year
colleges and far exceeding the national average on standardized tests,
these were not students in academic trouble. In fact, barely 20 were
repeating classes they had failed. Nearly 600 had enrolled, and paid
tuition as high as $655, for the chance to take intensive courses
like physics and honors history or get a head start fulfilling requirements
in English and math.
Working at the pace of one week's material in every four-day class
day, they would have completed a full semester by the end of July.
Then, four weeks later, the fall term would begin.
Such is the changing shape of
summer school, at least at high-end schools like New Trier. No longer
does the program serve remedial purposes, handling a veritable ''Spoon
River Anthology'' of misfits, miscreants and underachievers. In an
era of superheated competition for seats in elite colleges, summer
school belongs more to the likes of Sam Bendix, a 17-year-old who
took accelerated chemistry and honors American history in past vacations
so that he could pack his schedule with six major courses (and no
lunch period) during the normal academic year.
''I want to say on top of the
game,'' he said with genuine and appealing modesty.
Like his classmates, Mr. Bendix
has grown up in a society that functions on the unproven, unexamined
premises that opportunity in America is scarce as a Saharan oasis
and that a young person's future is irrevocably determined by the
choice of college. Nobody in secondary education or college admissions
applauds the stressful result, and the way it has deformed youth from
a time of trial and error to one of workaholic obsession, but most
feel unable to avoid it, except at presumed peril to themselves.
''One of the questions the colleges
ask us is, 'Has the student taken the strongest program available?'''
said James Conroy, a post-high school counselor at New Trier. ''And
that's a question you need to answer. Summer school has become part
of this constant positioning. It's a treadmill you're on and if you
don't do what everyone else does, you'll be left behind. At least
that's the perception.''
At the other end of the pipeline,
Wylie Mitchell, the dean of admissions at Bates College in Lewiston,
Me., said ruefully of summer school: ''It's part of the frenzy. Families
are grasping at everything they perceive to be a possible plus in
the admissions equation.''
So the bright and motivated children
of suburban Chicago's prosperous North Shore spend their summers at
the lab table or the computer terminal in New Trier, rather than being
a lifeguard, bagging groceries or otherwise decompressing. If anything,
New Trier's academic bent to summer school predates the current trend
by several decades. As far back as the 1970's, nearly half the school's
pupils were enrolling in the session.
Some students today take required
classes over break not to enhance their college applications but to
open more time in their fall or spring schedules for music or art
courses they adore. Purely pedagogically, the summer school program
here has much to recommend it. Its long periods and sharpened focus
allow New Trier's faculty to function like college professors conducting
seminars. Intentionally or not, the nearly year-round schedule also
addresses one of the major criticisms of American schools: that the
academic calendar is too short and that students spend the summer
forgetting half of what they just finished learning.
Still, the stakes have risen
notably in the last 10 or 20 years, according to both Mr. Conroy and
Dr. Henry Bangser, superintendent of the New Trier district. Twice
as many New Trier students now apply annually to the most selective
colleges and twice as many sit for the Advanced Placement exams in
various subjects. The rankings published by U.S. News & World
Report have rewarded colleges for, among other things, admitting the
smallest possible number of an increasing pool of applicants.
By taking major classes in summer
school, New Trier students can fill their regular schedule with the
maximum number of honors or advanced-placement classes, culminating
in the national Advanced Placement exams. Or they can lavish undivided
attention on one especially challenging summer class in pursuit of
an A. Dozens of students from outside the district on the North Shore,
a few from as far as 30 miles away, seek places in New Trier's summer
Back in the early 1990's, Dr.
Bangser said, his daughter was a star student at New Trier and decided
not to take summer school because ''she'd worked so hard during the
year that she wanted to get away from it.'' In today's climate, he
said, she would be hard-pressed to avoid it.
If there is a voice of reason
to be heard on the subject, it just may belong to Susan Sperling,
a 15-year-old who wrote about the summer-school phenomenon for the
sophomore class's newspaper. ''School and summer are merged for many
people,'' she said in an interview. ''It's a long time to keep studying.
It's school, more school and no break. It can create a burnout.''
While she comes from a typically
accomplished New Trier family -- both parents are lawyers, and her
father is an Amherst alumnus -- Miss Sperling has heeded her own counsel.
This summer, she said, she is playing with her pet dog, Sasha. And,
oh, yes, she is taking one course: driver's ed.
Drawing (Drawing by David Suter)
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A Summer Menu:
School, Work or Play
( Letter ) 215 words
To the Editor:
Bravo for Susan Sperling, the 15-year-old at New Trier High School,
whose reaction to taking advanced classes in summer school is, ''It
can create burnout'' (On Education, July 7). She has demonstrated
more sense than those charged with directing her education.
Adolescence should be a time of
exploration and creativity, particularly during summer vacation when
students have a chance to chart their own course. Instead, schools
are putting pressure on them to obsess about college and to follow
predetermined paces scripted by others just to enhance the guidance
Whether or not Susan gets into the
''best'' school, as defined by someone else, she is already on her
way to becoming a better person, something that will ultimately be
rewarded in her college search.
Her classmates would be wise to
follow her example.
DORETTA KATZTER GOLDBERG
Great Neck, N.Y., July 7, 2004
The writer, a consultant,
advises students about college admissions.
Drawing (Drawing by Aya Kakeda)
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North Shore Today - September 22nd 2004
NORTH SHORE INTERVIEW - College Directions, LLC
Doretta Katzter Goldberg, Esq.
By Diane Mulhern
Youth is the time to
look forward and prepare for the future. Every year high school students
and parents embark on the search to find the best college. But is
the "best" college the “right” college?
LLC founded by Doretta Katzter Goldberg, Esq., can help you find the
path best suited for your college-bound student. Her college advising
firm provides advice and support for the educational journey to make
the seemingly insurmountable task of college selection less stressful
and more satisfying.
Ms. Goldberg views adolescence
as a time for exploration and creativity. During these years, students
often feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the pressures placed upon
them to play the admissions "game," take college preparation
courses and score well on SATs.
As a lawyer for 20 years,
a student in public relations and with a high degree of expertise
in oral and written communication and organizational skills, Doretta
Katzter Goldberg has a wide range of experience and sensitivity to
the dilemmas posed by the college search. "I have seen admissions
from the inside," Ms. Goldberg told me. Through her work as an
admissions representative for a prestigious college and as the parent
of two college students as well, Ms. Goldberg has been actively involved
in the college quest. A frustration and sadness at the admissions
process has driven her desire to make this a fulfilling time in a
youngster's life. "We have made it unpleasant, and I would like
to make it pleasant," she told me.
Recent news reports support Ms. Goldberg's
administrators are beginning to encourage students to use college
as a time to follow their passions, get off the resume building treadmill
and engage in learning for its own sake. "The pendulum is slowly
swinging in the opposite direction," the founder of College Directions
stated. With the feeling that the time is now ripe for a change, Ms.
Goldberg feels well suited to step into the vanguard. Her ultimate
purpose in founding College Directions is to change the focus of the
high school experience and make this time an adventure and not an
At College Directions,
workshops on essay writing and interviewing are held. Talents, interests,
and outlets for them, as well as new ways to explore possibilities
can empower students and help them to make sense of "what's out
there." College Directions strives to help students best present
themselves by developing their leadership qualities and sense of commitment.
They can enter the college arena as interesting people who have cultivated
their abilities. "Ideally, I'd like to work with students from
the ninth to tenth grades to find a direction," offers Ms. Goldberg.
Ms. Goldberg's mission
and philosophy have deep roots in the words of her Grandpa Eli: "What
have you done today to justify your existence?" Instead of seeing
the high school years as a burdened, pressured time, College Directions
seeks to help students find their way at this time of life in a fulfilling,
personally satisfying manner.
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GREAT NECK RECORD - September 16, 2004
College Directions, LLC
Directions, LLC, an educational consulting firm that recently
established its headquarters at 1010 Northern Boulevard in Great
Neck, is dedicated to transforming the way local families approach
college preparation and admissions. Company president, Doretta
Katzter Goldberg, who represented Brown University admissions
on Long Island for almost 20 years, brings to her new venture
the communications and organizational skills acquired during
two decades of practicing law and while completing a program
at NYU in public relations.
Motivated by her belief that adolescence should be a time of
exploration and creativity, Ms. Goldberg founded College Directions,
LLC in response to the universal dissatisfaction she observed
among parents, students, educators and even members of the media
with the current obsession over college admissions. Given her
experiences as an applicant, a parent of two college-aged children
and an admission representative, she felt uniquely suited to
step into the vanguard and effectuate a change. College Directions,
LLC will help students gain control of their high school years
without diminishing their opportunities. The key is to begin
working with College Directions, LLC early in a student's high
school career and for students to learn how to change their
focus from getting into the "best" college to discovering
and developing their interest and talents in order to attract
the attention of the college that is right for them.
Though there are currently many businesses providing a variety
of services related to college admissions, Ms. Goldberg points
out that these, for the most part, limit themselves to the process
of "getting in" rather than addressing the substance
of how students might best spend their high school years. According
to Goldberg, "Studying for standardized tests, while necessary,
should not figure so prominently in a student's schedule that
it becomes one of his or her main extracurricular activities.
Similarly, it does not matter how much coaching you receive in preparing your college essay or conducting
yourself in an interview if you haven't used your high school
years in a way that will give you something to say." College
Directions, LLC helps students select schools and prepare their
applications, but beyond assisting with these more technical
activities, its main focus is working on the substantive aspects
of what kind of person a student becomes during his or her high
school years. By showing students how to follow their passions,
the program not only makes them better college candidates, it
reduces the amount of time needed for the less creative aspects
of the application process.
Once they have made the decision to retain an educational consultant,
Ms.Goldberg advises parents not only to be cognizant of the
distinction between process and substance, she also cautions
them to be wary of those who imply or sometimes even state outright
that they "know people" or “have contacts"
at a variety of colleges. "Based on my experience working
in admissions and being familiar with the factors that are weighed
in determining whether to accept a student, the idea that the
recommendation of a paid advocate is going to sway a college
admission committee simply defies credibility," she says.
"An educational consultant should be a behind-the-scenes
source of information and assistance. Though some may be attracted
by the notion that the fees they pay can somehow buy them influence,
in reality parents need to hire someone who has the skills and
experience required to teach their children how to get themselves
into a school."
With a menu of services that includes one-time consultations,
assistance with essays and interviews, a special senior year
package and a Comprehensive Advising Program that guides you
through every step of college preparations and applications,
College Directions, LLC has a plan to meet every family's needs
and budget. Those interested in participating in this novel
and personalized program are encouraged to call the College
Directions, LLC office at 516-336-2558 and check the company website
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North Shore Today - October 27, 2004
NORTH SHORE INTERVIEW - Planning
Effective College Visits
By Doretta Katzter Goldberg, Esq.
If you are the parent
of a high school junior or senior, trips to visit colleges are
now, or soon will be, on your family's agenda. These excursions
are expensive and time consuming, so you want to make your
visits as informative and meaningful as possible.
To start, follow
three general principles. First, do not visit schools until the
spring of a student's junior year. Students change tremendously
over the course of high school; visit too early and you will
be seeing the wrong set of schools. Second, compile a list of
schools uniquely suited to your child with respect to academics,
activities, location, size, etc. Build variety into the list with
respect to all of these items. Finally, limit your list to 10-15
schools and remember these 10 rules to make the most of your time:
visit while school is in session. You need to see the students,
not just buildings.
Read up on the school. College websites are a valuable
tool and will tell whether advance registration is required for
interviews, tours and information sessions.
Time your visit so you can participate in all Admissions
Office programs. On-campus interviews; Campus tours; Information
sessions. At small private colleges interviews are particularly
important. They provide a personal touch to an application and
demonstrate a student's interest in the school.
Don't limit your meetings to the Admissions Office. Meet
with others (i.e. coaches & program heads) who can provide additional information
and may be in a position to support your child’s application.
Students should call or e-mail these people in advance and bring
a resume to leave as a reminder. They must write them a thank
you note immediately upon returning home!
where students hang out to get an idea of life at the school.
Your son or daughter should stay overnight if possible.
Make time to talk with students about their experiences.
Sit in on classes.
Ideally visit only one, but certainly not more than two
colleges in a day.
After each visit encourage your child to make some notes
about the school. These will help when it comes to deciding where
to apply and when explaining in an application the reasons for
wanting to attend that school.
The most important rule for parents: Your child, not you,
should be the one to interact with people at the school.Parents should provide
transportation and be mostly silent observers; lf they are too
conspicuous it raises the inference that the student is disinterested
or can't function on his or her own. Limit your questions and
stick to parent- type concerns like finances, safety, housing
guarantees, etc. If an overnight stay is not feasible, give your
child time alone to attend classes and chat with students.
In the end effective
use of time on campus will make your family better informed and
will increase your child's chance of acceptance. So grab your
maps, schedule your interviews and enjoy this exciting adventure!
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Long Island & New York College Consultants