What could Valentine's Day and College Preparation Possibly Have in Common?

Hello, all those eying, beginning, in the midst of, or rounding the last stretch of their college preparation process! This path, this oft complex but always thrilling journey, is our passion. From students with clear and distinct goals to those searching for a spark of inspiration that might shed light on their next steps in life, we are honored to be a guide along the way.

Undeniably, each student's definition and realization of 'college preparation' is unique. Thus, we custom fit our one-of-a-kind, five-phase process for the individual client and their family. There are some common elements to most cases and these elements serve as the framework for our system. Enough about us, however, and back to the question at hand - what, exactly, is college preparation?

Truthfully, for many, the process commences as soon as a child - or their parent, for that matter - decides they will one day attend college. The choices they make, the activities in which they participate, the study habits they develop, and thousands of other variables roll together in an ever-growing snowball, rolling towards the first steps of a young person’s socially and academically independent life. Our goal? To make sure that snowball has viable, positive options, to keep its path exciting but focused, and to ensure it stops at a place that feels right for the student at the center of it all.

Ideally, we love to begin this process as early in a student's high school career as possible. It is very important that our potential clients understand we are not here to dictate the path of any student; rather, we work to find the passions and talents of a student so that they may, as early on as possible, begin following those passions. This pursuit not only serves the long process of preparing for college admissions, it more importantly helps students explore the horizon of options that lays before them in our world today. From activities to study habits to community service work, we work closely with clients to find opportunities of true interest. Resume building for the sake of resume building is the antithesis of our philosophy.

Once a student reaches their sophomore or junior year, we begin the five-phase process in detail, beginning with a search for schools that align best with their goals, interests, and preferences. From there, we work to develop personalized standardized test preparation, again based upon strengths and weaknesses of the individual client. College admissions essays and college applications soon follow, with utmost concern for preservation of the student's genuine voice as it comes through to admissions officers. We then use our scholarship database, developed over more than a decade of research, to match students with appropriate need and merit based scholarship applications as we help parents navigate and interpret the process of financial aid - from FAFSA and CSS/Profile to interpreting the aid packages offered by colleges via varying and sometimes cryptic award letters. Finally, once the student chooses a school, we help them understand their major (or if undecided, general education) requirements before embarking for college as we put together a preliminary 4-year plan. In many cases, we also send them off with a list of scholarships for which they will only be eligible after their first year or two of undergraduate study. Many of our students even remain with us for undergraduate academic support.

This is what college prep means to us. What does it mean to you? We would love to hear your thoughts. We also promise that some of our upcoming postings will contain wonderful tidbits of useful information - from some of the world's most obscure scholarship opportunities to the worst mistake one can make in a college admissions essay.

So stick with us. As daunting as the comprehensive process of college preparation may seem to you, we love it with every fiber of our company's being. This love has even been known to rub off on a student or two and turn the process from scary and frustrating to quite a bit of fun.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the true love of Hughes Tutoring - College Preparation - and we hope we will have the honor of introducing you to this love at some point in the near future!