Do you have a child who wants to go to college but the admission application process seems daunting?  With all of the colleges having different requirements, it’s hard to know what elements to focus on and where to start.  The college admission landscape has changed dramatically over the years and has become highly competitive.

I recently sat down with educational consultant and speaker Laurie Genevish of My Ideal College to do a Dynamis Learning Academy Facebook Live, and she shared the things that college admission offices were looking for in a student’s admission application.   Laurie works with parents and students to navigate the application process.  Through her research and experience, she helps students stand out among other college applicants and increase their chances of getting accepted into their school of choice.

Laurie helps parents know what to look for in a college and help families determine if a college is a good fit.  For example, she provides data on each college like safety rates, how much money to expect to pay, what scholarship opportunities are available, and what the admissions office is looking for.

According to Laurie, the first thing that parents and students need to know is that each college is unique with regards to what they focus on in the admission application.  For instance, one might focus on test scores while another might focus on the admission essay or leadership skills

There are three areas that Laurie suggests parents consider when preparing for college admission:

  • When it comes to extracurricular activities including volunteering, think quality not quantity. Focus on a few activities that build leadership skills.  Colleges look for the growth that the opportunities provided for the student.  On the application, be sure to highlight the accomplishments that reflect a lot of growth because colleges are looking for students who take on leadership roles.  Laurie recommends exposing the teen to as many kinds of volunteer opportunities as possible without overwhelming them.
  • Have the teen identify what they want to major in because the student will stand out more if they know their major, as well as have more success in their chosen career. Laurie points to a study that in which 2/3rds of college graduates who didn’t know their major going into college struggled to launch their career after college.  But, the 1/3rd of students that knew their major going into college and had at least one internship did not struggle.
  • Highlight the student’s accomplishments and who they are as a person using an online tool such as spikeview. Laurie says that it is similar to LinkedIn for teens where they can highlight who they are and their accomplishments, and she says that they can share their profile in their college application.

Ideally, Laurie says that teens should pursue a major that will be a part of a career that they are going to enjoy.  She believes students should avoid choosing a major and a career in that field, and later deciding to leave that field altogether while doing work unrelated to their major.  Laurie also states that the goal is to choose a career that will afford them to live independently without a lot of student loan debt, unless they choose a career that will allow them to pay it off fairly quickly.

The college admission process can be stressful for families.  To mitigate that stress, students should begin preparation as early as 8th grade, gaining the skills and strategies needed to accomplish their goals.  A few years ago, Laurie had a high school student who had begun applying for colleges, but kept receiving rejection letters.  She assessed her essay writing and surmised that it was one of the areas that was hurting her chances of getting accepted.  After working with the student on her writing skills and helping her restructure her essays to fit the requirements, she ended up getting accepted to her college of choice.

At Dynamis Learning Academy, we can work with your child in the areas of college admission application, essay writing, and ACT and SAT preparation through our partnerships.  If your child is struggling with low ACT or SAT test scores or time management during the test, Dynamis Learning Academy has designed a program to address those needs.  We can also assess and identify gaps in a student’s learning and address those areas through the use of our qualified tutors.

We, at Dynamis Learning Academy, are here to help your teen prepare for college admission.  Contact owner Helen Panos at or at 770-282-9931 to schedule a free consultation about the SAT/ACT Prep, college admission essay writing, or any other area of concern.

Helen is an expert educator with over 25 years of years of experience.  She believes in the importance of helping children reach their potential and become well-rounded, intelligent citizens with a positive influence and impact on society. She assists parents in accessing the best skills, strategies, tools, and resources to help children be successful and ultimately excel in the world.