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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked


Applying for college is overwhelming and stressful for both parents and students. Prep U4 Success, provides comprehensive information demystifying this process.  Below are some of your questions answered.

Taking honors courses in 8th grade prepares you to enter your Freshman year in High School with a strong academic foundation.  The student’s #1 job in high school is focusing on doing well academically because Freshman grades do not go away.  They are calculated into the total 4-year GPA which is one of the most important factors that college admissions counselors  evaluate.  We offer information on how to optimize Freshman and Sophomore years to your advantage.

College admissions  is a pattern that reflects the student’s high school courses, grades in academic courses, their GPA including Freshman year, test scores, their college essay , what talents they exhibit, what types of leadership roles they have engaged in, community service activities, letters of recommendation and how they have exhibited their motivation.  It is more than just test scores.  We offer counseling support  that directs you through this journey confidently ensuring you will not miss a key piece of information or deadline.

Focusing on these components will ensure to capture the admissions advisor’s  attention.

By following our step-by-step college admissions book , you will be prepared for each step of the College Admissions process  beginning Freshman year through Senior year. 

While your academic standing is extremely important, College Admissions  is more than just grades and scores.  Through your extracurricular activities, your essay, and the leadership skills you exhibit, college admissions counselors  can evaluate your potential contribution to their campus. Make these matter!

According to a survey by the American School Counselor Association, the national student-to-high school-counselor ratio was 430-to-1 in 2018–2019.  This is the lowest margin in 32 years. 

Considering this statistic, how much personalized step-by-step college admissions guidance  can your high school student expect to receive?

In order to be successful in this process, both the parent and student can benefit from our college admissions workbook  which offers a step-by-step approach that defines what you need to know, when to do it and how to do it. 

In addition to the school counselor, our workshop/workbook  offers in-depth strategies, crucial procedures, vetted information, and key websites, as well as detailed timelines to help navigate this process successfully.

It is all about the prep!  Without a structured process, it is easy to miss an important deadline or key piece of information.  Knowing this, our step-by-step workshop  and vetted workbook supplies you with the “how to’s” of the College Admissions process , beginning with Freshman year straight through to Senior year.  This includes outlining requirements, test prep, Junior & Senior month-by-month timelines , financial aid information, researching scholarships, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) versus the American College Testing (ACT), and the ever-important college essay!  We offer an effective method to ace the college admissions  planning process.

Creator John Russo gained his notable reputation and in-depth knowledge of College  Admissions  during his prior career at a major newspaper in New York.  In that capacity, John worked closely with national colleges and universities, their College Admissions counselors , as well as high school counselor  associations.

John provided College Admissions  and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) workshops for major organizations such as the New York State STEP program, the Long Island STEM Hub, the New York State School Counselors Association as well as local universities, multiple minority groups and high schools offering parent workshops.

Through his professional relationship with many College Admissions  teams, John received invaluable insight into what admissions advisors  are looking for.  In the workshop John shares tips and strategies that they have shared with him.

The basic ingredient of a good essay and personal statement is the student.  One of the tripping points is not knowing the Rights and Wrongs of writing an effective one.  We offer techniques on where to begin and how to write in a self-reflective manner in order for colleges to gain insight into who the student is that can’t otherwise be found on their application or through their grades.

Just to name a few areas we cover:

  • Info on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)….
  • Hunting for Financial aid …..
  • Calculating the cost of college…..
  • Finding hidden scholarships….
  • College Essay Essentials….
  • Important financial terms….
  • Vetted Websites….

While there are many many components to preparing and applying to college, the more knowledge you have, the more successful you will be.  Prep U4 Success covers them all.

Plan for The 3 Rs – Reach, Reliable & Realistic (aka Reach, Target & Safety schools)

There are multiple areas your student will need to evaluate for each of their choice schools. Questions such as, will their grades allow them consideration for acceptance, geography – suburban or urban, enrollment size – big fish in a little pond or little fish in a big pond, their major, clubs, sports and more.  Many students want to go where their favorite football team is – but what happens to their college  experience when football season ends?  Foreseeing these questions and knowing the answers will help to define your list of schools.

Since it is all about the fit, Prep U4 Success offers you a plethora of tips for choosing the right ones.

While you should avoid the tendency of taking over the process , you can ease the tension by encouraging their efforts in planning for college .  Offering their guidance counselor  a “brag sheet” listing the student’s unusual talents outside of school is one effective tool.

We offer many tips and tools for parents/guardians to help the school counselor  help your student.  We call it “help them to help you”.  This tip and so much more help to transition your student through the high school years making their senior year a final lap rather than a race to the finish line.

College Admissions Counselors  are not looking for dirt on their applicants via social media BUT research shows that they are becoming more interested in the online persona of the student.

Check out who your student is online and if Grandma would be appalled, chances are so would an admissions officer . Privacy does not exist online.  The internet is a public forum and everything they say or do remains accessible and online for prosperity. We offer recommendations on managing their online image and tips on achieving “how common sense goes to college”.

No. But in these competitive times, why not give the student a competitive edge. Time moves rather quickly through the course of 4 years in high school and remembering all the achievements and hurdles your student accomplished can become a blur.  A resume is a process that continues to grow with the student as they move through the high school years ultimately leading to showing who the student is and what they are all about.  These are the additional types of information college admissions counselors  are looking for. 

Now about the dreaded interview….. Fear not student, we offer tools to show you how to prepare, what to expect and how to become comfortable enough to ace the interview.

Since the pandemic, more and more colleges are not requiring test scores such as the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT).  Some examples are many Ivy league schools, Duke University, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgetown & Minnesota State.  When, and if, standardized testing requirements return, our tips on preparing for them will guide  your student to which test is best for them.

Now that does not mean that grades do not matter – because they do.  The student’s 4-year Grade Point Average (GPA) has a significant impact on how the admissions  team evaluates them.  A steady GPA versus one year up, one year down goes a long way.

Fear not, more and more colleges are evaluating students as a whole, not just their test scores and grades.

Colleges prefer to receive a minimum of 3 recommendation letters.  One from their guidance counselor , one from a teacher and one other.

Our college admissions workbook  gives specifics on when and how to request effective recommendation letters.

We offer 4 things to start out with:

  • A solid transcript
  • Show that you have done your research on the college 
  • A killer essay
  • Meticulously completed forms

If applications  are incomplete, they can be put to the side and can cause a delay.  Formulate a method of keeping track of information you send to each college ensuring all information is received in a timely and complete fashion – emphasis on timely.  To ensure you do not miss a key component or deadline, we offer a College Admissions  Checklist that can be utilized for each college you have applied to.

More Questions?

Contact us!