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A Visit to Help U

College Prep, Step by Step



The college application process is a veritable reckoning day for students, revealing how their high school years stack up in the eyes of prospective colleges. Fortunately, this rite of passage has fueled numerous support industries to help intrepid applicants. 

Guidance Gurus

Outside of the home, a student’s most important relationship during the college search is with the guidance counselor. Both Fairfield high school guidance departments meet with every student throughout each school year to familiarize them with the available resources, including comprehensive websites (often underutilized by parents). “We’re a one-stop shop—from choosing the appropriate level classes to initiating the athletic recruiting process,” says Vanessa Montorsi, director of pupil services and counseling for Fairfield Ludlowe High School. Caryn Campbell, Fairfield Warde High School’s director of pupil personnel and guidance services notes, “The counselor also can take some of the burden off the parents. We have credibility from our insider’s view of school life, without the risk of discussing ACT scores over dinner.”

“Get to know your counselors!” Both Montorsi and Campbell agree. As early as ninth grade, schedule a simple introduction or inquire about course selection or ideas for summer opportunities. According to FLHS counselor, Allison Ofir, “The better I know my students, the easier it is to help them, especially during the college search.”

Some college candidates choose to pair their high-school guidance counselors’ input with an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC). For families sending the first child to college or  households with two working parents, the IEC’s year-round unlimited access is a good fit. Lisa Nelson, a partner at Dunbar Educational Consultants in New Canaan, works with 10 to 15 students per year, a contrast to the 150 plus students a Fairfield high school guidance counselor handles. Services include interest-based course and activity selection, interview coaching, essay consulting, and creating an appropriate list of colleges and test dates. Consultants can also manage the recruiting process and weigh in on early versus regular applications. “It’s all about viewing the bigger picture and developing a road map using informed choices,” states Nelson. While students are assigned to one consultant, they also benefit from the expertise of the entire staff, which collaborate frequently and follow admissions trends carefully.

Testing … 123

Preparation for standardized testing is the most common form of outside support students seek. “One-on-one tutoring is the gold standard because sessions are tailored to the student’s needs, and focus on strategies based on how he or she approaches each question. It also encourages a positive mentoring relationship and increased motivation,” explains Drew Heilpern, chief brand ambassador of Summit Educational Group, located in New Canaan. 

Why is there such a vast range in prices ($75 to $300 per hour) for tutors? Because there is no licensing for this specialty, anyone can study a guidebook and become a tutor. The pricier instructors are typically linked with a larger organization, such as Summit, which requires 30 hours of training, a “teachback” class, and a score of at least 95 percent on the standardized tests. 

An alternative for private tutoring is a review class, such as Alpha Prep’s course, subsidized by both high schools’ PTAs, providing an overview of the test content and coordinating techniques in a group format. Khan Academy, an online program which uses the students’ test results to generate practice questions, is ideal for someone with self-discipline or a tricky schedule that won’t allow regular meetings. 

It’s an art, not a science

If applications tell a story, the personal essays are the illustrations—a chance to give the pages some personality. According to Leora Johnson, Assistant Director of Admissions at Brown University, “Don’t try to impress us—write an essay that reflects your own sphere of interest and joy, which can come in many forms.” Nelson also advises taking notes while visiting campuses. “Subtle observations about what resonates will be helpful when you’re writing essays six months later.” If attraction to the school is based on an academic interest, by all means, mention it, but don’t invent connections. Johnson urges students to steer clear of trying to fill exotic niches. “Very few acceptances are based on an obscure talent or experience. No factor alone carries an application.”

Peace of Mind

The college search is made more complicated by the abundance, not lack, of information. By breaking the process into categories and creating a long-term timeline, each stage is less daunting. Holding periodic “meetings” instead of a constant flow of task-oriented exchanges may provide a more amicable daily existence. 

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February 2018

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam and inductee in the Advertising Hall of Fame, discusses his critically acclaimed book, “Capitalists ARISE!: End Economic Inequality,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Saturday, February 17 - Sunday February 18, 2018 9am – 5pm daily • Fiction/Classics • Mystery • Biography • History • Cookbooks • LPs -- including folk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Got the winter blues? Stop by the Fairfield Museum for a variety of activities on vacation days and celebrate the season! Enjoy the “Winter Wonderland” exhibit, watch winter movies,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Got the winter blues? Stop by the Fairfield Museum for a variety of activities on vacation days and celebrate the season! Enjoy the “Winter Wonderland” exhibit, watch winter movies,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The film "Swim Team" chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence, and a life that feels like winning....

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

The Oscar Shorts returns to FTC. Last year we had record attendance so get your ticket early. It's always our biggest film event of the year.

Cost: Price:$15 Members Save:$3 /tckt

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Are you fascinated by the history of Fairfield? Are you interested in helping students discover more about their town and community?  Docents are needed in early March to facilitate...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art is pleased to present its next exhibition, Pattern, Power, Chaos and Quiet, a group show curated by D. Dominick Lombardi.  The exhibition will be on view February...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 203-332-5052
Website »

More information

This program is in conjunction with the exhibition An American Story: Finding Home in Fairfield County.  Hear a discussion with siblings Daniel Trust (Ndamwizeye) and Evelyn Mukasonga....

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

The first one was awesome so let's do it again! Come down for our FREE Winter Jam 2 featuring live music by The Zambonis from 5PM to 8PM. We'll have a beer...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The 10th annual “Close To Home” event to benefit the Pacific House Young Adult Program will be held Friday, February 23rd at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.  This popular,...

Cost: $50.00

Where:
Hyatt Regency Greenwich
1800 E. Putnam Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT  06870
View map »


Sponsor: Pacific House
Telephone: 203-406-0017x304
Contact Name: Lisa Planchard
Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay Center’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spaght Gallery; February 8, 2018 - July 23, 2018 Seeking opportunities and a better life is an ideal uniting our shared American identity. This exhibition provides and intimate look at the...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

On Saturday February 24 at 7pm, join New Pond Farm’s team of astronomy volunteers and gaze through the telescopes at the 9-day Old Moon and several galaxies and star clusters. The team will...

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member ($12 max. per member family), and $6 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

New-York based Marina Franklin is emerging as one of the hottest comedians on the comedy scene today, with such notable appearances as Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, Conan O'Brien, The...

Cost: Price:$29 No Member Discount

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Spring in February arrives annually at the Connecticut Convention Center. Explore over 300 booths overflowing with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs, seeds, gardening books, garden...

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6:30-8:30pm. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served. Enjoy a gallery tour and scholarly presentation at 7:00pm by Dr. Peter Bayers, Director of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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