TAP Into Your Town's News

Livingston — Livingston Top Stories

GAME ON: Common Application for College Goes Live This Week

Jackie Goldman-Schatell

Thursday, July 31, 2014 • 7:49pm

ROSELAND, NJ - On your mark, get set, go—the Common Application (CA), which makes it possible for high school seniors to apply to several colleges using one application, goes live on August 1. Over 500 colleges and universities in 47 states, as well as those located in the District of Columbia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and Switzerland participate in the CA. Whether one is applying to a public or private college or university, now is the time to start becoming familiar with the application and considering specific submission dates.

The CA provides a single platform where a student can input his/her personal information, high school activities, and achievements. This information can then be sent to as many CA member schools as desired. In addition, the CA includes a supplemental section, where individual colleges may ask specific questions.

“The anxiety surrounding the college search and selection process, as well as completing college applications can sometimes be daunting,” said Janet Loren, a partner, educational counselor and Certified Educational Planner (CEP) at College Benefits Research Group (CBRG). “It is important for a student to take their time, and thoughtfully answer the questions to the best of their ability. Proofreading is a must!”

Loren is an experienced professional when it comes to filing out the CA. However, her skills go far beyond this. She visits more than 50 schools each year, where she meets with admissions officers and learns about the schools, their programs, and what the institutions are looking for in an applicant.

“I love traveling to the different schools and learning about their unique cultures,” said Loren. “In addition, every few years, I revisit schools that I have seen in the past to learn about what is new, as they are always upgrading facilities and adding new programs.”

Loren’s expertise in the academic offerings, culture, and administration of institutions helps her guide students in high school course selections, determining college majors, and on the essay portion of the college application.

“Like schools, all students are unique,” said Loren. “I work with students to identify their strengths and interests and help them respond to the colleges with honesty and confidence. My goal is to help them discover colleges where they will be happy and successful. The essay is an opportunity for the student to show the institution his/her strengths, interests, and what he/she will bring to the campus community. If two students have similar grades and extracurricular activities—at some schools, a strong, well-written essay can be the determining factor.”

In her position at CBRG, Loren works with and builds relationships with traditional high school seniors, transfer students, and their families to help them find the “right fit” schools. She provides a list of higher-education options, gives guidance on standardized tests and test prep, recommends secondary school programs and courses to strengthen the academic resume, and advises on summer programs and internships.

In addition, Loren explains and discusses admissions protocols, prepares students and parents for on-site evaluations of prospective schools, works with students on interview and presentation skills and college application essays, and reviews and guides the application process.

“Of course, getting into college is important to all rising seniors, but finding the school with the best fit, where the student will stay and be successful, is my overall goal,” said Loren. “At CBRG, we look at the whole student, ask a lot of questions, and provide hands-on assistance. When I visit schools, I not only talk to admissions officers, I talk to students, sit in on classes, visit the student centers, tour the dorms as well as on- and off-campus housing, etc.” 

Aside from Loren’s hands-on approach, CBRG also helps applicants through the financial aspects of college planning. The company helps students and their families create a college funding strategy, fills out all financial aid forms, and works with them to evaluate and, if necessary, appeal financial aid awards.

Co-founded by Steven Sirot and David N. Slater and joined by partner, educational counselor and Certified Educational Planner (CEP), Loren, CBRG helps clients discover how private and/or public education is affordable and attainable and allows hard-working families to hit a ‘home run’ in finding the right school, academically, socially, and financially, for their child.

“CBRG is different from other college planning services in that we offer “harmonization” of financial, educational, and social guidance for the entire family,” said Sirot.

“We meet jointly with students and parents to develop a college game plan that works for everyone,” he stated. “Too often, college students attend a school because their friends are there, or it is the so-called ‘hot school’ that is on everyone’s radar, without any consideration of whether the school is right for them or the long-term effect it will have on family finances.”

Slater added, “CBRG works hard with the entire family to let students know that going to college is a responsible decision that affects the whole family, and that there are no ‘free rides.’ The student will be responsible for their academic success in college. He/she should also try hard to graduate in four years, and try to help pay back all or a portion of loans that may have been taken out in his/her name.”

CBRG offers free community workshops to help families learn about the entire college application process. Click HERE to view the upcoming class schedules or call 888-802-2740.

In addition, CRBG offers the following July Tips for Rising Seniors and August Tips for Rising Seniors.

TAP into your town! Get Your Town's News In Your Inbox: Click here to sign up.