Making the Most of Virtual College Visits

Posted on March 18th, 2020 by acsrochester

 

The timing couldn’t be worse. Juniors visit college campuses during the spring in anticipation of compiling their college application lists. April is the most popular month for seniors to tour campuses where they have been admitted, eventually choosing their home for the next four years. COVID-19 has turned everything on its head, creating unprecedented challenges for families and colleges alike. How can families take advantage of online opportunities to learn about college campuses?

Here are 6 tips on making the most of virtual college visits:

 

1. Check out the Office of Admission website.

Colleges are just as bummed to be missing your in-person visit as you are. This is typically when colleges roll out the red carpet for prospective students, hoping to “yield” seniors with panel-packed open houses. Be sure to check the Office of Admission website first to review their online offerings, including tours, information sessions, and webinars. It’s also a good idea to connect with the admission counselor responsible for applications from your region.

 

2. View videos on the university’s official YouTube station.

From research and campus speakers, to updates on what’s happening on campus, the university’s official YouTube station can present a treasure trove of content. It can be a great way to see how the campus engages its local community as well. 

 

3. Supplement official videos with student-produced content.

Even though you should check out the Office of Admission website and official YouTube station, realize these could present an overly-marketed view of the college. Look for videos and content produced by students and student organizations. 

 

4. Connect with faculty.

If you have some ideas about what you’d like to major in, reach out to faculty in those departments who are doing research related to your interests. They will be excited to hear from you, as it is also in their best interests to showcase their work for prospective students. When you’re eventually allowed to visit campus, these faculty can be a great resource for you.

 

5. Leverage your high school’s alumni network.

Since you’re unable to connect with students during an in-person campus visit, now is a good time to search social media to see who from your high school is currently enrolled at the colleges on your list. These acquaintances can provide first-hand insight into  the pros and cons of the college/university as well as give you ideas about the transition from high school to their particular college. 

 

6. Stay informed.

As you research campuses from the comfort of your home, frequently check colleges’ websites for updated information about campus visits. Colleges are eager to have you visit in-person and will let you know when it is safe to do so. Plus, all of the homework you’re doing in advance will make you a savvier campus visitor!


Interested in chatting with a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection about the college admissions landscape?

Please consider Emily Nevinger a resource as you compile your college lists or decide where to enroll. Emily can set up virtual appointments to discuss what is important about your college search and offer strategic, personalized advice about your best fit. Contact Emily for details.

 

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger is Allendale Columbia School's College Advising Consultant, guiding students in the greater Rochester area and beyond on the college application process, financial aid, interview preparation, essay review, and more! Emily began working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami and a College Access Counseling Certificate from Rice University.
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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates

Posted on March 9th, 2020 by acsrochester

Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates

Dear Members of the AC Community,

A number of incredible things have happened at AC since we sent our last update. After a busy holiday season, we were thrilled to find out we surpassed our December 31st, 2019 fundraising goal of $3 million dollars! The details of our fundraising successes were subsequently featured on the front page of the Rochester Business Journal’s January 3rd edition. The article outlines our widespread community support and features the anonymous $1 million gift from current AC parents and the $1.5 million commitment from Ursula Burns, a parent of an AC alumna, former Trustee, and former Xerox CEO.

As the Board of Trustees committed to remaining independent, the Board decision reflected the confidence that the AC community would come together to work towards a sustainable future.

We anticipate ending this school year in June with no draw from our endowment for the first time in 10 years. In addition, AC is projected to continue to improve its bottom line in 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 with a net positive operating budget. We reached these projections by working closely with the school’s Leadership Team, thoughtfully managing expenses, carefully considering tuition increases and successful fundraising, and projecting conservative and attainable enrollment numbers. It is important to note that our annual giving goal was necessarily aggressive this year, and we have been grateful for this year’s extraordinary giving levels. While financial generosity will always be crucial, our projected budgets over the next three years reflect moving towards a ‘new normal’ with a consistent reduction in our fundraising goals.

Our recent fundraising success provides us with the confidence to know that AC can attain its fiscal year-end goals. We need our alumni, parents, and community friends to make personally meaningful gifts to AC this spring. Our total fundraising goal for the 2019-2020 school year is $4 million. Having surpassed our $3 million year-end goal by December 31st, we still need to raise $575,000 by June 30th. With the expressions of support we have received in recent months, we know that we can be successful, but we need your help. Your gift truly matters and is part of the inspiration that unfolds at AC every day.

We recently sent out contracts for re-enrollment and have begun receiving commitments for the 2020-2021 school year. Enrollment is critical to our long-term goals, and we need to enroll new students into our program.  We know that there are still people in the greater Rochester community who believe we are merging with The Harley School or that we are closed. We need each and every member of the AC community to support our enrollment effort. People need to hear about AC and be encouraged to come visit. We are counting on YOU to share your stories and experiences of AC with those you know who might be interested in a different educational opportunity for their children. Please encourage these families to call Shannon Baudo to learn more and see if AC is a good fit.

Lastly, as many of you know, our Head of School, Mick Gee will be leaving AC at the end of June. We will be hosting a celebration of all the work Mick has accomplished during his time at AC. Please save the date for Thursday, May 14th at 5:30pm at AC. An invitation will be sent in the coming weeks.

Allendale Columbia is strong and getting stronger everyday. Enrolling your children, donating dollars and time, spreading the word, and being overall cheerleaders for AC have helped position us for continued success. Not only are we graduating our 129th class this year, next year we will be celebrating our 130th. We know we can’t do this without the support of our AC community – the future of AC depends on you.

Thank you,

                                   

Ann Balderston P’04, P’07, P’10                 Richard Yates P’15

Co-Chair, Board of Trustees                           Co-Chair, Board of Trustees 

Posted in: Highlights

PACK Connections – Meet Kate Dunlavey, LCSW

Posted on February 6th, 2020 by Amelia Fitzsimmons

Join us for PACK Connections
Wednesday, February 12th
Dining Commons

8:00-8:30 a.m. Coffee and breakfast pastries
8:30 a.m. Meet & Greet with Kate Dunlavey

 

Kate Dunlavey, LCSW

This month get to know our school counselor, Kate Dunlavey!

Kate is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 17 years of experience providing family, group or individual therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. She is a Tree of Hope Affiliate and has experience in supervision of staff and students of varied backgrounds. Kate also has extensive training in evidenced based trauma-informed therapies.

Kate is on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays and is available to provide referral services for our students.

Come meet Kate and learn more about her involvement at AC!

No need to RSVP! We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday! 

All current parents and grandparents are welcome. 

Posted in: Highlights, PACK, Uncategorized

2020 Current Events Test

Posted on January 29th, 2020 by acsrochester

How’s your knowledge of current events?

Take the 2020 Allendale Columbia School Current Events Test to see how you compare with AC Middle and Upper School students, who took the test on January 28th. You’re on your honor — even though you may be viewing the test on a connected device, you may not consult any sources other than your own memory while you take the test!

 

Click the image to view the 2020 test questions (PDF)

Click the image to download the Current Events Answer Sheet PDF (to mark your answers)

Click the image to download  the Current Events Answer Key (page 1) PDF

 

Click the image to download  the Current Events Answer Key (page 2) PDF

Current Event Test Winners 2020

Overall Winner: Ryan Mogauro – 97

Grade 12
Henry Nicosia – 94
Daniel Saedi – 92
Jaina Dinino – 89

Grade 11
Marc Chuprun – 91
Adrian Fuller – 89
Jack Wheeler – 85

Grade 10
Aiden Wun – 77
Ronan Wun – 76
Gianna de Rosa – 75

Grade 9
Thomas Duver – 88
Maya Schwartz – 76
Josh Nozik – 71

Grade 8
Ben Tucker – 66
Luca Palomaki – 61
Jake Crane – 58

Grade 7
Maya Sams-  63
Carter Previte – 56
Lizzie Bissonette – 53 / Oliver Riveros – 53

Grade 6
Sebastian Costanzo – 71
Sammy Davis – 60
Mackenzie Opira – 50

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

AC Artists Honored by RIT Faculty at the “Start Here” Art Exhibition

Posted on January 24th, 2020 by acsrochester

AC upper schoolers Vivian ’20 and Sophie ’22 were honored by RIT faculty at the opening reception of the 2020 “Start Here” exhibition. Sophie’s mixed media piece was selected for the School of Art’s “Fine Art Studio Award — 3d”, and Vivian’s oil on paper portrait received the “Dean’s Award.”

The exhibition continues through February 1st in the Bevier Gallery at RIT. For more information, visit: https://www.rit.edu/artdesign/bevier-gallery 

Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Kid Kudos, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates

Posted on December 18th, 2019 by acsrochester

Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates

 

Dear Members of the AC Community,

Over the past five months, we have thoughtfully developed a strategic three-year financial plan which will lead the way to Allendale Columbia’s long-term financial sustainability. We are writing to share high level details of the financial plan we submitted to the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) last week as part of extending our accreditation, and we expect a positive outcome from their review. The following is an overview of the work we’ve been doing and the information that was submitted to NYSAIS.

AC is projected to continue to improve its bottom line in 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 with a net positive budget. We have reached these projections by working closely with the school’s Leadership Team, thoughtfully managing expenses, carefully considering tuition increases and successful fundraising, and projecting conservative enrollment numbers.

As part of our financial planning process, the AC Leadership Team and the Board took a hard look at every area of the budget to see where we could cut expenses without impacting our students or our program. As a result of this work, we were able to cut approximately $1.5 million in expenses while continuing to maintain, and in fact expand, our program offerings for students.  

In August, we launched our StandWithAC fundraising campaign and reached out to all of you asking for your help in our effort toward sustainability. We are excited to share that we have raised $2,300,000 toward our year-end target of $3,000,000, and we are confident that we will reach our $3 million goal by December 31st.

We anticipate that we will end this school year in June slightly ahead of budget with no draw from our endowment for the first time in 10 years. We have been asked how much we have in our endowment, so we want to be clear that we have $7.5 million. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, 24% of independent schools across the country are operating without an endowment. We are fortunate to not only have this financial resource but to be in a position to not have to draw from it this year.

While we are making great progress in a very short amount of time, our need for exceptional donor generosity and participation will continue this spring and into 2020-2021. Our hope is that we can continue to count on you for your dedication to the future of AC. If you have given already, please know that those gifts have allowed us to get to a place where we can confidently say that AC is on a strong path. If you have not donated, but are encouraged by the success we have achieved in five short months, please join the effort and StandWithAC!

Each and every member of the AC community is critical to our enrollment effort. People need to hear about AC and be encouraged to come visit. Given the dynamic nature of this past summer, we know that there are still people in the outside community who believe we merged or are closed. We are counting on YOU to share the AC message of our strong, dedicated community who have come together, around a common goal, to give current and future students access to an incredible education.

As past parents of former AC students ourselves, we are energized by the dedication of AC’s faculty and staff, the excitement we see in the students, the support of our alumni, and the knowledge that the work of so many is moving Allendale Columbia toward a future of continued excellence in education. We are both pleased to be part of this effort and encourage you to give your time and dollars to support AC’s long-term sustainability and make an AC education accessible to more students in our community.

We will continue to work on our long-range strategic planning and keep you informed of our progress throughout 2020. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the holiday season, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting Allendale Columbia School.

Sincerely,

                                 

Ann Balderston P’04, P’07, P’10                 Richard Yates P’15
Co-Chair, Board of Trustees                                 Co-Chair, Board of Trustees

Posted in: Highlights

7 Steps to Take BEFORE Submitting Your Common Application

Posted on December 9th, 2019 by acsrochester

It’s probably best not to wait until 11:56 p.m. on deadline day to submit your Common Application, but if you speak with any Director of Admission, you’ll learn that a good portion of applications actually arrive at colleges in the 11th hour. My advice: don’t be one of the last applicants to submit your Common App, as you risk running into technical issues or, if a college notes your submission time, even portraying yourself as a Last Minute Larry.

 

Here are 7 key steps to take before you submit your Common App:

 

1. Give yourself plenty of time to accurately and authentically complete your application.

The summer before your senior year is the perfect time to begin work on your college applications, as we all know how busy things can get when the school year begins. Set aside some time during the summer to write (and re-write!) your personal statement and review any college-specific application requirements.

 

 

2. Connect with family members to make sure you’re capturing the right professional and educational information.

You’ll need to know your parents’ job titles, employers, and educational background, including degree dates. If you have older siblings, you’ll need their details, too. Colleges like knowing whether there is a legacy connection, which can sometimes be a boost in the admissions process, or whether you will be the first in your family to attend college.

 

 

3. Know which standardized test scores to self-report.

With score choice and test-optional schools, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to reporting test scores. My advice is to use an SAT/ACT conversion chart to see if one score clearly trumps the other, in which case, the lower score can be omitted from your application. I also recommend only self-reporting AP scores of 4 and 5.  

 

 

4. Have a game plan for the Activities Section.

This is one of the most important sections of the Common App, as it’s the place where you can brag about your commitment and contributions to extracurricular activities. You should carefully consider the order and descriptions of your activities. The activities in which you’ve held leadership roles should be given priority, while one-year activities should be listed towards the bottom of the list.

 

 

5. Don’t draft your Personal Statement (or any other essays) in the Common App.

You’ll go through many iterations of your essays, and believe me when I tell you how devastating it can be to lose your work when you encounter an internet issue or technical glitch in Common App. Instead, draft your essays in Word or GoogleDocs. You’ll be able to save (and share) these more easily without the risk of losing hours of work!

 

 

6. Have someone thoroughly review your application.

Before you submit your application, it’s a good idea to have your college counselor or parent review your Common App for accuracy and authenticity. They’ll be able to catch spelling and grammatical errors and even let you know whether the application reflects your personality. However, if you are applying to more selective colleges, you could benefit from having a former admissions counselor review your application (see details below). 

 

 

7. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit.

This is for all of those procrastinators! Do not wait until deadline day to submit your application, as there’s a chance you’ll run into internet issues or the Common App website will be overwhelmed by user volume and crash. The safest bet is to submit your application at least one day in advance of a deadline. Plan accordingly!


Interested in having your Common Application reviewed by a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection?

As we approach application deadlines, please consider Emily Nevinger a resource and “final check” before submitting your application. During an application review, Emily will review all sections of your Common Application from the perspective of a former admissions counselor. Emily will pay close attention to your Activities, making sure you’re maximizing the order and descriptions of extracurriculars, and she will also review your Personal Statement. 

 

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger

Emily Nevinger is Allendale Columbia School's College Advising Consultant, guiding students in the greater Rochester area and beyond on the college application process, financial aid, interview preparation, essay review, and more! Emily began working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami and a College Access Counseling Certificate from Rice University.
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Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Holiday Breakfast 2019

Posted on December 6th, 2019 by acsrochester

Holiday Breakfast is one of AC’s most special traditions. We celebrate the last day of school before Holiday Break with spirited student performances, a story from the Head of School, speeches by seniors, and plenty of music, food, and merriment! It’s a wonderful time for students, faculty, staff, and families to come together, celebrate the holidays, and give thanks for our community!

 (live stream will start at 9:00 a.m. EST)

PACK Ice Skating at the
Bill Gray’s Iceplex

Friday, December 20th
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Join PACK after Holiday Breakfast for a fun family skate from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex, 2700 Brighton Henrietta Town Line Road, Rochester, NY 14623. Admission will be $6 per person (if you bring your own skates) and $8 per person for admission and skate rental. PACK will also be providing pizza at the rink!

We hope to see you there!

 

If your children are performing at Holiday Breakfast:
  • Parents of K-5 students that are in the Holiday Breakfast program should walk their children into the Alumni Gym (smaller gym) by 8:30 a.m. so that they can meet their class. You can park in the back and side lots, enter through the Gannett Lobby and, after dropping off your child, proceed to the Gannett Gym to be seated for the Holiday Breakfast program.
  • Middle and Upper School Chorus are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Chorus Room.
  • Brass Ensemble and Wind Ensemble are asked to meet at 8:15 a.m. where they will perform in the Gannett Gym.
  • Student speakers should meet in the Gannett Gym at 8:30 a.m.

 

Other Holiday Breakfast Reminders:
  • All are welcome! Even if your children are not performing, we welcome the entire community, families, and friends to join us for this annual tradition.
  • Parents of Nursery and Pre-K students, we encourage you to come with your child to the Gannett Gym for our Holiday Breakfast program. You are also invited to enjoy some refreshments in the Dining Commons after the program. Please do not drop off children to the classroom on this day as there are no classes.
  • Wheelchair-accessible seating can be arranged if needed. Please contact Amy Fioravanti before Dec. 18th to make the necessary arrangements.
  • Refreshments will be served in the Dining Commons following the program.
  • The Wolf Den will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so you can do some holiday shopping.
  • No classes or bus service on this day. Please plan accordingly and enter through the Gannett Lobby to reach the gym. For safety reasons, please do not park in fire lanes or along campus roads.
  • Rainbow Room will be in session. Register your child ahead of time if you plan to use Rainbow Room this day.
  • AC will close at 10:30 a.m. for the Holiday Break.
  • Join PACK at 12:00 p.m. for ice skating and pizza at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex. RSVP for ice skating here.

 


Related Pages:

2019 Holiday Breakfast program

2019 Holiday Breakfast photos

2018 Holiday Breakfast video

2018 Holiday Breakfast program

2018 Holiday Breakfast photos

 

 

Posted in: Highlights, PACK