Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2023

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Page 61 of 115

COURTESY PHOTOGRAPHY High School Home Stretch A PPLYING TO COLLEGE ISN'T WHAT it used to be. In less than a generation, the competition is more fierce than ever, and with ever-changing requirements and procedures, the process can leave families feeling frus- trated, confused, and disheartened. High school counselors are overwhelmed with caseloads and issues that extend well beyond the academic, leaving teens to go it alone or seek an alternative resource to guide them as they prepare to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives thus far. Enter: independent college counselors and consultants. "A lot of it has to do with the access to the different college applications," says Jennifer MacLure, a certified college counselor and the founder and CEO of My Pathway to College, of the current application and admissions climate. As MacLure explains, when parents of many current high school-age kids were applying to college, there was no internet to easily provide information about schools country- wide, from obscure to Ivy League, so most just applied to a small handful of schools they'd already heard of. "Now, with access to the internet, it really has changed everything," she says, adding that the Common Application also expands the number of schools kids can discover and ultimately apply to. Plus, post- pandemic test requirements have changed, and in many cases have been dropped entirely, opening up new opportunities for teens to apply to schools they may not have previously considered due to less-than-perfect ACT or SAT scores. It sounds like a good thing, but it's also led to surging application numbers, making things tougher not just for the number of applicants competing for limited spots, but for colleges trying to estimate just how many acceptance letters to send out in the first place — and how many kids will punch their ticket to attend. Professional advice for teens and parents navigating the complicated road to college Focus education BY DEANNA MURPHY Jennifer MacLure ranchandcoast.com 62 SEPTEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE UCLA's Royce Hall

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