Monthly Archives: November 2018

College Admissions 101

Planning on going to college? Some insight into some of the mysteries of college admissions.

Allison Grandits is an Independent College Counselor and owner of Grand Fit Educational Consulting. As an Independent College Counselor, she helps students and families on an individual level with the entire college selection and admissions process. With her permission, this is some of the data Allison presented to a group of high school dads recently.

College Admistions By The Numbers
35% of first time freshmen apply to 7 or more colleges; 80% apply to at least 3
484 – The average caseload for high school counselors in Georgia
854 – The number of college applications reviewed by the average admissions officer
$44 – average cost of a college application; larger colleges and highly selective schools tend to have higher fees
$16,852 – COA of UGA with Zell Miller Scholarship
$76,953 – COA for Harvey Mudd College (the most expensive university in the USA)
$39,400 – the average student loan debt for the Class of 2017
356% – The number of applications to Georgia Tech has more than tripled since 2008
1400 – The average SAT score for an admitted student to UGA

What is important to colleges?

Grades & Strength of Schedule
• For the majority of colleges, Grades & Strength of Schedule is the most important factor
• Many colleges will recalculate your high school GPA- most focus on core GPA
• Core classes – English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Language
• Strength of schedule, within the context of your high school
• Students should choose challenging, yet appropriate courses
• Colleges are looking for an “upward trend”- increase in rigor overtime
• Senior schedule matters!

College Fit

Not just physical location & weather, but also political & social climate. Think of this factor outside of the context of cost- otherwise you will automatically eliminate schools that seem like a financial reach just because they are out-of-state.

Questions to Consider
• How far away do you want to be from home?
• What is the surrounding area like?
• How big is the campus (both physically and population)?
• What is the student body like (demographics, liberal, conservative, religious, etc)?
• Are there people like me at this school?

The goal here should be not to go to the hardest school you can get into, but the school you can be the most successful. Think “big fish, little pond” .

Questions to Consider
• How do I learn best, and is that teaching style available here (lectures, discussion-based, experiential, etc.)?
• What kind of relationship do I hope to have with a professor?
• Am I looking to attend law school or med school? If so, what support does this school give me, and what are the placement rates like?
• Do I fall in the top 25% of students accepted?
• What would my major look like at this school?

Most likely, your student has been involved in extracurricular activities during high school. How can your student get involved in college?

Questions to Consider
• What intramural sports are available?
• What is the Greek scene on this campus?
• Where can students study abroad?
• Are there internships/co-ops available for my major?

Visiting campus is a must before a student commits to attend. If possible, visit when school is in session, not summer or college breaks.

Questions to Consider
• What do you imagine your campus to look like?
• Describe your future classmates.
• How safe does this campus feel to you?
• Do you see yourself living here for the next four years?

Be honest about your ability to pay for college. Find out your families Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and look at the Net Price Calculator (NPC) for any school your student is seriously considering.

Questions to Consider
• Does this school meet full financial need?
• Does this school offer merit aid? If so, how much do I qualify for?
• If I’m staying in GA, do I qualify for HOPE? Zell Miller? How will we pay the difference?

Graduation Schedule – DeKalb Schools Class of 2019

Soooo … the last day of school is May 23, 2019. Graduation ceremonies start 4 days later on Tuesday, May 28.

I hope the seniors consider sticking around for the graduation ceremonies. I’m getting a lot of feedback from parents.

Katie Frame is a parent of a senior at Dunwoody High School. She is livid about the graduation schedule and started a petition to Return Dekalb Schools Graduation to Scheduled Week. Her email to me is representative of a flood of emails I’m receiving …

My name is Katie Frame and I am a parent of a senior at Dunwoody High School. I am writing to the entire board to express my unhappiness and disappointment with the November 1 announcement of new dates for 2019 graduation. I would like the board to move the date back to the week of May 20-24 and, if necessary, holding the events at the Dekalb County Stadiums.

It is November and everyone has been planning for a ceremony that occurs the week of May 20-24, 2018 – before the end of the board approved school year. To move graduation into summer at this late date will mean that some students, parents and teachers will not be able to attend and that is not fair to those individuals or their peers and community.

Students have made job plans that start immediately following the end of the school year. Families have been making plans to come together that week to celebrate. Parents and Teachers have made vacation plans and paid deposits for the week of May 27th (the week following Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel times of the summer). Teachers may not be able to participate in graduation because they have job and summer plans that start once the school year ends. Moving this date will cause a financial burden for those that have to change work plans, flights, vacation plans, etc. and not everyone can afford to do that.

The class of 2019 deserves to be able to celebrate their achievement as a group. They deserve to have teachers and other faculty present to celebrate all they have worked for over the last four years. To move graduation at this late date ensures that we will not have complete attendance and it diminishes the full graduation experience for all DHS students, parents, teachers and families.

I am also concerned with the complete lack of communication from the district on this topic. We have been waiting for a date, our DHS sponsors and principal have requested the date on multiple occasions, and we have seen no information from the district. Our school leadership was not updated, and our parent community was not updated. To move graduation to a new week that occurs AFTER the end of the school year is unfair to everyone involved. We can certainly look at previous years that used district stadiums as facilities or move to create Regional Plans that put graduations in the hands of the regional leadership.

Thank you for hearing my concern. I hope that you can help us find a graduation solution that will keep graduation in the week of May 20-24 so that all the students can participate along with teachers, administration and parents.

The district is strangely quiet about graduation ceremonies right now. The only message I have seen from senior administration is, “We thank you for your patience. The booking of two major events by the Georgia World Congress Center during the week prior and the week ending the school year posed a bit of a challenge for all school districts needing a large venue for numerous ceremonies.”

DeKalb County School District Graduation Schedule
2018 -2019
Georgia World Congress Center

Date School Time
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Towers High School 10AM
Columbia High School 1PM
Cedar Grove High School 4PM
DeKalb School of the Arts 7PM
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 Lithonia High School 10AM
Dunwoody High School 1PM
Redan High School 4PM
Clarkston High School 7PM
Thursday, May 30, 2019 Lakeside High School 10AM
DeKalb Early College Academy 1PM
Stephenson High School 4PM
Cross Keys High School 7PM
Friday, May 31, 2019 McNair High School 10AM
Arabia Mountain High School 1PM
Chamblee High School 4PM
Tucker High School 7PM
Saturday, June 1, 2019 Druid Hills High School 10AM
Martin L. King, Jr. High School 1PM
Miller Grove High School 4PM
Elizabeth Andrews High School 7PM
Sunday, June 2, 2019 Stone Mountain High School 10AM
Southwest DeKalb High School 1PM
Tapestry Charter School 4PM

Friday, May 17, 2019
10 AM
Margaret Harris Comprehensive School
Ceremony will be held at the school


Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremonies Schedule
November 17, 2017 – All high school graduations will be held during the week of May 21-26, 2018 at the Georgia World Congress Center. This is the second year to have graduation ceremonies at the GWCC. Last year the ceremonies were on time, air conditioned, streamed online with great production value … and it better be for $300K.

My Graduation Ceremony – Open Letter To DCSD
May 10, 2017 – Georgia Wescott’s Open Letter to the DeKalb County School District with her thoughts about the venue selected by the senior administration without input from the local CCHS community.

Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremonies Schedule
April 13, 2017 – Dr. Green created a District Graduation Task Force to begin looking at venues, available dates and costs for specific locations to house district ceremonies.