Education

AcceptU Interview with Stephen Friedfeld

AcceptU is an admissions counseling group founded in 2010; we work virtually (by video, phone, email, text) with students and parents on all aspects of the college admissions process. AcceptU’s counselors have all previously worked in admissions offices at top colleges and universities —from small liberal arts colleges to highly selective private universities to large research universities. AcceptU counselors have read and evaluated tens of thousands of applications, putting us in a unique position to help guide students through the confusing, complex, and arduous process of applying to college.

1. Tell us about AcceptU and the advantage of using a college advising program in these competitive days.
AcceptU is an admissions counseling group founded in 2010; we work virtually (by video, phone, email, text) with students and parents on all aspects of the college admissions process. AcceptU’s counselors have all previously worked in admissions offices at top colleges and universities —from small liberal arts colleges to highly selective private universities to large research universities. AcceptU counselors have read and evaluated tens of thousands of applications, putting us in a unique position to help guide students through the confusing, complex, and arduous process of applying to college.
There are several advantages to working with an AcceptU counselor: We offer inside knowledge about how admissions officers evaluate candidates, including how decisions are made; we give an honest and objective assessment of an applicant’s admissibility to universities, helping applicants select the best-matched schools for them to apply to; and we keep students on task with deadlines so that the parents don’t have to! Finally, because we are a team of former admissions officers, we connect with each other to collectively provide the best advice and strategies for students and parents, even though each student is formally assigned only one counselor.

2. When is a good time to start working with high schoolers?
It really is never too early to start working with an independent college admissions counselor. As early as ninth grade, our counselors can help students with course selection, exploring academic interests and careers as well as provide support during a challenging process. Counselors will keep students—and parents—up to date on the changing landscape of college admissions, as well as help with a standardized testing plan.
It’s also never too late to work with a college counselor; AcceptU helps rising seniors and seniors with timelines to meet college application deadlines and provides essay support as late as November or even December of senior year.

3. What’s a dream student for AcceptU?
A dream student is one who is open-minded and receptive to learning about new colleges that were originally not on her/his list of schools, including colleges the student has never heard of. (There are 2,000 colleges in the US, including some incredible hidden gems that offer a remarkable education.) A dream student works hard in school and takes a challenging curriculum, no matter her/his academic ability. A dream student is one who treats others well—faculty, staff, and other students at school— as this will be reflected in the letters of recommendation. Finally, a dream student is one who is intellectually curious, engaged with her/his school or community, and has unique hobbies and interests – since we can better help this type of student write more impactful essays and s/he will have a stand-out extracurricular activity profile.

4. How has the pandemic affected this year’s college cycle application?
We are not yet sure as to the full extent of how the pandemic will affect the coming application cycle, but we do have some predictions, including:

  • Many colleges will remain test-optional, even after this admissions cycle ends.
  • Universities will see an increase in applications as students apply to more schools, considering the uncertainty about admissions for the next few years.
  • Early Decision (ED) will make up a larger percentage of admitted students since ED is a binding agreement and colleges will want to lock in the first-year class and minimize their uncertainty about their enrollment numbers.
  • Admissions will become more holistic because applicants might not have a full set of grades, students’ extracurricular profiles might be less complete than in most years, and many students will not have had an opportunity to take standardized tests more than once, if at all.
  • As always – but perhaps even more so – planning early for college admissions will be critical for success.

5. Do you think that universities will go back to using SAT/ACT testing after going test-optional for one year?
This will be decided on a case by case basis by each institution. Many universities have stated that they will be doing a “trial run” of a test-optional admissions policy for the Class of 2021 but intend to go back to using the SAT/ACT beginning with the Class of 2022. Others have announced a three-year “trial run,” while still additional universities have stated that they intend to remain test-optional going forward.

6. What would be your advice to families that would like to use your services but can’t afford due to financial restrictions?
AcceptU counselors work pro bono with a select few students each year, based on the students’ financial situation. AcceptU also recommends that students connect with their school counselors and teachers for help with application completion, school list creation, and letters of recommendation.

7. Would you be willing to create a code for readers of Mom and I Today and apply a 10% discount to your services for those who apply the code?
Families can simply mention “Mom&i Today” for a 10% discount when enrolling in an AcceptU college counseling program.

Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D. • COO • AcceptU • www.AcceptU.com
Office: 617.424.0700 • Toll-free: 855.437.8252

AcceptU featured in the Wall Street Journal: https://on.wsj.com/2pQOwls

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