For many students, it seems like the pressure to get into their dream college is higher than ever. Finding a school that has your major, your extracurricular interests, and an environment where you feel like you can thrive as an individual are only a few of the criteria students consider when deciding where to go to college. Finding the school that is the best fit for you is an important decision and this is where college admissions expert Brittany Maschal can help.
Brittany Maschal is an undergraduate and graduate school admissions consultant based in the New York City area. Brittany knew from a young age that she wanted to work with students. Brittany began her undergraduate career at the University of Vermont as an education major and about half way through her undergraduate career, Brittany realized that she wanted to pursue a career outside of the classroom. She designed and individualized education major and minored in communication studies and psychology. Not only did Brittany create a new major, but she graduated in just three years. After earning her undergraduate degree, she continued her education as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in educational philanthropy, and then finished her academic career as a doctorate student at George Washington University studying higher education.
Brittany now utilizes her experience and education to help students and their families work through the uncertainty of the college admissions process. The job of a college admissions consultant is like solving a puzzle. A lot of what Ms. Maschal does is listen to students’ stories and help them pinpoint their differentiating features. Brittany emphasized, “One of the most interesting parts of my job is getting to know students and their stories, including their academic interests and how they like to spend their time outside of school. I love helping students unfold their stories and then guiding them as they plug the different parts of their life into essays and content for interviews. A lot of what I do is giving advice on how to creatively put themselves and their stories into a flat application.”
Another crucial aspect of the college admissions process is campus tours. Campus tours Oallow students to get a closer look at the physical campus and ask direct questions to current students. Brittany explained, “Campus tours are a great opportunity to ask the tour guide specific questions about his/her experience, but it’s also useful to make your own connections on campus. Before the tour, it’s a good idea to contact directors and professors of the program you’re interested in to potentially set up a meeting with them while you’re on campus. When meeting with directors and professors of programs, ask questions that can’t be answered online. An example would be, ‘What are new opportunities and developments on campus or within the program?’”
During the interview, Brittany shared her top 3 pieces of advice to help students navigate the college admissions process.
Tip #1: Try not to get caught up in the college craziness.
During college admission time, there can be a lot of chatter from family members, teachers, and peers. This chatter can make the process more stressful and confusing, which is why Brittany encourages students to “put earmuffs on every once in a while.” It can be really beneficial to block out the extra noise from parents, teachers, and peers.
Tip #2: Start exploring early.
The earlier you start researching schools, the better! This not only helps to stay organized, but it also helps expedite the process and finalize your options sooner. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the coveted acceptance letter!
Tip #3: Be true to yourself.
Recognizing that everyone is unique and catering your college search to your individual needs and interests will benefit you in the long run. Brittany explained, “Where you go to college does not define who you will be.” Every student will have a different college experience and you shape your academic journey to best suit your goals at whichever college you decide to attend.
To learn more about Brittany’s approach to college admissions, enter to win a mentoring session with Brittany here by Friday, November 30, 2018. One high school student and one college student will be selected.
Contributor: Ally Massimi