College Admissions Secrets for Parents and Teens: Listen to Mom’s Advice

By Kate Cryan, mom

Secrets for Parents & TeensIf you’re looking for an entertaining, informative, and inexpensive evening for you and your college-bound teens, head to Hall High School at 7pm on Wednesday March 12th, where Dr. Michael J. Youmans (aka Dr. “Yo”) of CollegePrepExpress will present a 90-minute “soup to nuts” overview of the college admissions process.

College admission is a daunting process for both student and parents, and it makes no difference to the parents’ stress levels whether it’s the first or fifth child going to college.  (As a parent with one child nearly finished at college, I can vouch that starting again with the next child is no less intimidating than it was first time round.) What can reduce your stress levels and those of your teen, however, is having at your fingertips a few tricks of the trade from an expert.

That’s where Dr. Yo comes in. A Harvard grad, and a classroom and private educator for more than 20 years, he has helped countless kids through the admissions minefield and into their first choice colleges. CollegePrepExpress’s services go far beyond “teaching to the test”: Dr. Yo and the other CPE tutors believe in holistic education, providing kids with a broad and deep conceptual foundation on which to build during their college years.

What does College Admissions Secrets cover?

These 90 entertaining and informative minutes include:

  • Handling high school stress – yes, it’s possible. Even during Junior Year.
  • Organizing the college admissions game calendar from 9th Grade on – so the whole family can breathe more easily all throughout high school.
  • Admissions criteria – what do colleges look for?
  • Planning the high school transcript – what will yours say about you?
  • Courses and levels — when is it better to take a regular or honors course vs. an AP course?
  • Planning extracurricular activities – athletic, arts, community service, summer experiences.
  • Standardized tests – SAT, ACT; how to prepare, and which is better? (The answer may surprise you!) – What the current hubbub surrounding the changes to the 2016 SAT mean for current 9th graders and younger siblings
  • Application preparation – your chance to impress your #1 college; you’ll want to get it right!
  • Teacher recommendations – whom to ask for a recommendation (and the best person might not be who you think it is!)

PLUS: Everyone who attends will receive a folder of really useful handouts. Isn’t that great? You don’t even have to take notes (though you probably will). 🙂

EXTRA PLUS: There will be door prizes. Yes, really.


Question time:


I love the idea of door prizes, but my child is still a freshman. I don’t need to think about college admission yet, right?

Wrong. Not unless, in two years’ time, you want your blood pressure (and your child’s) to be directly correlated to the number of visits to the guidance counselor. Careful, early planning will avoid the stress of discovering, too late, that something vital is missing when it comes time to apply.


Standardized tests are for juniors and seniors, aren’t they?

Not necessarily. For example, if your 9th grader is studying chemistry, it’s better for him or her to take the Chemistry SAT Subject Test this year, while the material is still fresh. Maybe he/she won’t need that SAT subject test, but better to take it now than have to cram in two years when everything from the syllabus has been forgotten. Junior year is already taxing enough without having to take tests on material from two grades ago. (Hot Tip from Dr. Yo: Buy the SAT prep books early in the year and use them to supplement the high school course. This will reduce your student’s stress when it’s time for the SAT exams – and we all prefer not to have a stressed teenager in the house, right?)


Can’t I get all this information from the high school guidance office?

You can try.

Just remember that Dr. Yo will be doing this talk again soon!


Dr. Yo will present “College Admissions Secrets for Parents and Teens” at Hall High School (Room C102), West Hartford, on Wednesday, March 12th at 7PM.

Tickets available from Life Learn West Hartford Continuing Education website; admission also payable at the door if seats are still available.

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