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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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September 2017

“Over Here: Norwalk in the First World War” is a bus tour that will visit the homes, monuments, and memorials that tell the story of Norwalk during the Great War and its participation...

Cost: $60-70

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Norwalk Preservation Trust
Telephone: (203) 853-7495
Contact Name: Georgette Blau
Website »

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The Brennan Center for Justice Voter Rights and Elections team will address preserving the right to vote for every eligible citizen. The facts of voter access, voter suppression, voter fraud...

Cost: Free

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

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Build your child’s inner artist through the art of clay.  In today’s technology driven world children are rediscovering the proven transformational qualities of working with clay....

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
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Cost: Free admission.

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Sherman Green
1451 Post Road
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Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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NPR Music wrote of the musician and Grammy winning producer, “Son Little doesn't strive to reproduce his influences; he recombines them into something new.” And on New Magic, his...

Cost: $25 Standard Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
FTC StageOne
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

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Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

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Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

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The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
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Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
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Ages 8-12 Staff Instructor Menu:  Created from a “Mystery Basket” which will include a protein, vegetable, starch, fruit, and of course … Chocolate! Class...

Cost: $50.00 per person

Where:
the Silo
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: The Silo
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Contact Name: kim Prange
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Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

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The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
View map »


Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
Website »

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Friday, Sept. 22nd 5:00-8:00pm Free Admission FTC Parking Lot and The Warehouse   Let's say goodbye to summer in style!  Live Music by Tony Sarno Band Cool BMW's ...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Warehouse FTC
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

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Johnny A. has one of the most eloquent voices in modern music - and he doesn't sing a note. Instead, he channels joy, love, humor, sadness... every aspect of the human experience, through his...

Cost: $32 Standard Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
FTC StageOne
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

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Homes for the Brave will host the 3rd Annual Step Up For The Brave Stadium Stair Climb Challenge at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Saturday, September 23, 2017. This fun and challenging event will...

Cost: Early Bird registration: $25 General registration: $35 Student: $20

Where:
Ballpark at Harbor Yard
500 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT  06604
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Sponsor: ABRI/Homes for the Brave
Telephone: 203-338-0669
Contact Name: Kathy Beardsworth
Website »

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TROPHIES Awarded to the top 3 Male and top 3 Female in each age group * PRIZES for Top Male and Top Female Overall * CHIP-TIMING of both the 5K and the 1-Mile * T-SHIRT, Race...

Cost: $35/$20

Where:
Jennings Beach
880 S Benson road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Sponsor: Only You Foundation
Telephone: 203-292-6601
Contact Name: Kelly Fedak
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Step Up for the Brave – Stadium Stair Climb Challenge is a unique, vertical challenge where participants are encouraged to conquer climbing a target number of stairs in honor of our...

Cost: Early Bird registration: $25 General registration: $35 Student: $20

Where:
Ballpark at Harbor Yard Home of the Bridgeport Bluefish
500 Main St
Bridgeport, CT
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Saturday September 23, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Join Joe Brandt from The CT/Westchester Mycological Association for a fascinating walk through our woodlands as you look for fascinating mushrooms....

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

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Can we fix it? Yes we can! Every child can be a builder, an engineer, a baker, or a dressmaker at the new Mega Making exhibit. Using real materials and real tools, young makers...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT
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Sponsor: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Telephone: 203-899-0606
Website »

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Free Music for Youth Free Young Persons’ Concerts Series at Pequot Library kicks off their season with Samuel Suggs, double bass Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 at 2pm
 Pequot Library,...

Cost: FREE (Kids aged 12 and under)

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Music for Youth
Telephone: 203-254-0123
Contact Name: Misty Beyer
Website »

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It would be difficult for any music fan to not be aware of the Sixto Rodriguez story at this point. While Rodriguez always enjoyed a respectable if impressive following in Australia and South...

Cost: $55-$85 Members Save: $5-$8/ticket

Where:
The Klein Memorial Auditorium
910 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06605
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
View map »


Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
Website »

More information

Show More...
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