October is a VERY busy month in the college planning world. Not only is it crunch time for 12th graders trying to get their applications in early, with the CSS Profile opening on October 1 (and the FAFSA to follow suit next year), but also Financial Aid planning goes to Def Con 1 for their parents.

As well, October is also the ‘official’ start of the heavy lifting season admissions-wise for the rest of our college-bound teenagers. You’ve got PSATs (the new variety) on October 14 or 28th (check with your HS). You’ve also got ‘College Fair Season’, which is when admissions officers from colleges across the country are out and about, traveling to their local regions and visiting with high school students at the College Fair(s). If your child is in high school, you should plan to go to one in your area. Chances are pretty good that your high school is playing host to one of these fairs; but if not, we recommend that you go to a National Association of College Advisors (NACAC) national event in your area.

And if that’s not enough to boggle the mind, we have some credible inside information that could add more confusion to an already very fluid, very confusing college application process. In fact, we are expecting an announcement (as early as today) from a consortium of 70-80 colleges, including all of the Ivies and several other very selective universities, about a completely new College Application format. While the details are still being hashed out, our contacts inside Admissions offices have told us that it is increasingly likely that we will see a new, digital ‘portfolio-based’ College Application format introduced to the mix as early as January 1.

If this actually happens as we expect it to, students will be allowed or required to (still to be confirmed) create, submit and/or share a portfolio of their coursework, artwork, creative writing, performances etc. as either a supplemental college Application or as a replacement to one of the existing formats (details still sketchy).

Now if this does happen when we’ve been told it will happen, wanna guess which high school class will be affected the most?

Yup. You got it: mostly 11th (and perhaps some 10th graders) and the parents who love them. Which, as you know by now, includes Peter and me. I’m sure you can imagine the once again unpublishable response from our own 11th grade daughter to this weekend’s breaking news. (Let’s just say I’m pretty sure that I heard her say something about a ‘conspiracy theory’ and starting another ‘change.org petition’.)

Seriously though, there is no need to push any panic button. This could be a real improvement and a more transparent, authentic and holistic way for schools to evaluate applicants. And although we don’t have anything more definitive to share now, we’re continuing to gently harrass (I mean follow up with) our sources, and we will share our feedback with our clients and members as soon as we have a better understanding of what, if anything, is changing and what the real impacts – positive or negative – the proposed changes could have on students.

In fact, we’ll be hosting a number of live web-classes and trainings in the coming weeks to help our clients and Your College Concierge (YCC) members make the most of all of their October opportunities. You can see the schedule of our upcoming classes on our masthead (to your right, if you’re reading this on a tablet or computer). These are invite-only, so if you are either a client or YCC member, please check your inbox for your invitation(s) in the next few days.

We’ll also be doing one public talk this month – October 14th at The Sagemont School in Weston, FL – that will touch on all of these topics as well as provide families with a blueprint for navigating both the college admissions and funding maze so that you find and get into colleges that you will be able to afford. If you happen to be in South Florida, you can register here.

Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these upcoming events.

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