Students from AC’s Communications, Marketing, and Design class visited Partners + Napier at their new location in downtown Rochester at the Metropolitan building. When we first walked into the conference room there was swag waiting for each student on the table! Mini pendants, pins, and a pencil, inviting us to Leave A Mark.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
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 NevingerEmily 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.
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
This year in Essentials of Entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurship course for Upper Schoolers, students are choosing local businesses, start-ups, incubators, entrepreneurs, and co-working spaces to visit. The students are calling and making arrangements for our visits. Many of our students have never been responsible for seeking out local organizations and people then cold-calling to begin a relationship with them and make arrangements for a meeting. It’s a great opportunity to get them thinking about and planning logistics, timing, details, and travel arrangements.
AC ninth grader Adam Rogers chose to visit RIT Venture Creations. This is an incubator space associated with RIT in Henrietta. On our visit, we explored one start-up and two successful businesses who graduated from the incubator.
Phase Innovations provides new solutions for energy conversion and storage applications. Our work is grounded in a commitment to clean water, air, and energy.
BlackBox Biometrics is the industry leader in sensor technology to instantly assess forces that can cause traumatic brain injury.
Optel provides a variety of services to companies in the medical device field including product design services from concept to initial prototypes through completed product ready for manufacture, manufacturing services in compliance with the requirements of the U.S. FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices, the European medical device standard ISO 13485, and other medical device manufacturing requirements around the world.
Amy Oliveri reflected, “Venture Creations at RIT was a fantastic visit for our entrepreneurship students. Not only did we see businesses in the incubator phase but also successful businesses who had ‘graduated’ from the program within one facility. It seems ideal to be housed with other startup businesses in order to share resources and gain insight. Perhaps the most interesting innovation we saw was from Phase who are investigating new ways to convert heat into cooling solutions. The best advice students received was from the father and son team who run Optel. They said that many people think of entrepreneurship as unstable and uncertain. Their advice – “Entrepreneurship is more certain and stable than working for someone else because you are your own boss.”
Our next visit was to the historic American Hotel in Lima. Thomas Riveros, AC ninth grader, chose this location because of a phenomenal dining experience and the businesses long-standing history.
There has been an American Hotel on this site since about 1790. The first two were made of wood, and the present day building was built in 1840. After two fires in the 1850’s, it was rebuilt in 1861 by Mr. Mosley. The hotel has been owned and operated by the Reynolds family since 1920.
Thomas shared, “I chose this location because I had eaten there before and I really enjoyed it. I loved learning about their history. If you want to be in the restaurant business, then you have to truly care about what you’re doing. If you own a restaurant for the money, you might not be as successful; you have to love what you do and truly care about it.”
Our third location was Atlas Eats. AC tenth grader Alex Wexler chose this location due to his long-standing interest in culinary arts.
At Atlas Eats, they continuously explore the tastes and traditions of foods from around the world. Their changing menus reflect their interpretation of the standards and classics from many cuisines. Atlas Eats procures the freshest ingredients possible from a host of sources in search of the unique and authentic. During the growing season, they engage local farmers and growers for produce whenever possible.
Andrew explained, “I chose this location because I am very interested in the food industry. Atlas had a unique idea to change the menu every two weeks. I thought that the most interesting part of the visit was going into the storage room to see how they stock their supplies and food. One thing I took away was the need to be very enthusiastic about your career in the restaurant business. I would definitely recommend this location to others, it was a very comfortable and nice environment, and I think that it is a must-try!”
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
Take a guess. How much are families currently investing in a college education?
Including tuition, room and board, and other expenses, families will spend an average of $92,304 for four years at a public in-state college; for private colleges, it jumps to an average of $169,732 for four years (NCES 2017-18). With the cost of higher education seemingly reaching no limit, families are feeling stuck.
Is it better to save for college as soon as a child is born, or will limiting assets benefit your student in the college financial aid process?
Where can you turn when you have questions about paying for college?
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Ten stern-looking men and women, stacks of college applications surrounding them, gather around a conference table, where they are poised and ready to dash the dreams of thousands of high school seniors. Is this what you picture when you think of college admission committee? Having spent fifteen years in selective college admissions, I can promise you that image is not entirely accurate. Sure, there may be admission counselors sitting in a meeting room, but they’re looking bleary-eyed because they’ve spent the past 5 months reviewing seemingly endless files of transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays. They’re not excited about sending bad news to anyone, let alone you.
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Kristin Cocquyt, College Advisor
College, travel, work, and seminary: these are some of the diverse plans of the Allendale Columbia School Class of 2019. The newly-minted graduates will be attending colleges across the country, including 9 different states, the District of Columbia, and 18 different colleges and universities in New York State. In addition, the Class of 2019 has reported over $3.6 million in four-year academic scholarships! Congratulations to the Class of 2019! Click here to see our graduates’ plans. (more…)
|By Kelsey Lisi, Aaron Shepard, and the Costa Rica Trip Students
Twelve Allendale Columbia students conducted scientific inquiry while immersed in regional culture and Spanish language during an intensive 10-day trip to Costa Rica during AC’s May Term session in the final weeks of the 2018-2019 school year. The experience took place in the region between San José and the Caribbean coast and was organized by the AC Center for Global Engagement and the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation.
We began our journey at the Ecology Project International (EPI) campus in San José. From there we traveled to the Tirimbina Biological Reserve where we spent two days exploring the rain forest, conducting scientific inquiry, and learning about native species. Our next destination was the Pacuare Reserve, a nearly 2,000 acre tropical forest with six kilometers of beachfront. Pacuare is one of the most important leatherback sea turtle nesting sites in Costa Rica. We were fortunate to take part in three nights of turtle census work, during which we encountered several females that had come up on the beach to dig their nests and lay eggs. Some of the students were able to take measurements and act as “midwives” by collecting the eggs in a plastic bag for relocation to a safer area.
On the return trip to San José, we stayed one night at Casa Calatea, a community–supported neighborhood hostel high up on a forested mountainside. Here we enjoyed delicious food and an amazing view that included howler monkeys and toucans. The next day we traveled to the village of Cahuita, with its eponymous national park, where we went on a snorkeling expedition. We had a tasty lunch at a local diner before continuing our journey back to the EPI campus in San José. Our final full day in Costa Rica included a visit to the active Poás volcano and a tour of the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a rehabilitation facility for numerous wild animals such as toucans, sloths, owls, and monkeys.
As chaperones, we found the experiences we had to be life–changing, and can only imagine the impact it had on the students’ lives. They were an inspirational group who are forever bonded by their unique experiences on this trip. You can read their impressions below.
Blog Post 1
During our trip to the Pacuare Reserve in Costa Rica, we excavated a previously relocated leatherback sea turtle nest. Researchers excavate the nest after sixty days to see if there were any survivors who had hatched but had not been able to reach the surface and to collect the egg remnants to determine hatching success of the nest. When the nest was relocated, the team dug the nest to a matching depth to the original nest, which is usually about 80 centimeters deep!
The researcher found seven living leatherback sea turtle hatchlings which we were able to exhume and release for the long journey to the ocean. Although it was tempting to carry the sea turtles to the water, the turtles had to make their own journey to the water so they could pick up chemicals and environmental clues which will help them to return to the beach when they are of breeding age.
Since we couldn’t carry them to water, the group was assigned individual turtles to follow them on the sand to ensure that they make it to water. Along the way, the turtles were met with debris such as sticks and trash, sandy hills, and vicious crabs hoping to make a meal out of them. The turtles made the approximately 30 meter trek from the nest to the ocean in about 20 minutes. During this time, we were their cheerleaders and their guardians. Some of us chose to take the time to name our turtles; others viewed the journey as a race and started to cheer for their turtle to win. Marlin Bassett said, “I felt really protective of the baby turtles as they moved toward the water.”
All seven of our turtle hatchlings made it to the ocean and were carried away by the waves after submerging. This experience gave us hope for the future of sea turtles and the marine environment. Hopefully in twenty years we can see our turtles return to the beach to lay their own eggs and ensure the success of the species. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that made our trip so memorable.
Mrs. Lisi collected some responses from our reflections that afternoon. There were many words and phrases to describe this experience and the trip including magical, powerful, thankful, incredible, and fortunate.
Blog Post 2
During our trip to Costa Rica, we spent nights 4-6 on Pacuare Reserve. We had 4 hour shifts nightly for turtle censuses, at either 8pm or 12pm. Both of us (Marlin and Greg), were given the opportunity to be up close to the Leatherback Sea Turtle while it laid its eggs. At around 1pm on night 4 Marlin saw the massive Sea Turtle, while Greg saw the Sea Turtle on night five around the same time. Even though we both worked with different turtles our experiences were very similar. Only females lay eggs and they come ashore on the beach to do so. She will dig a hole in the sand about 70cm deep with her massive flippers, and lay around 80 eggs. What’s unique about Leatherback Sea Turtles, is that they first lay their fertile eggs, and then on top of the hole infertile eggs. This is done to protect them from predators, and shield them from the elements such as heat. Their eggs unlike any other reptiles are very soft in the beginning, so they don’t break while falling into a 70cm deep hole. If you were to look at the dug hole from the side, it would have a unique shape similar to a boot.
We both had the opportunity to hold this ancient dinosaurs flipper while it laid its eggs into her hole. Before she started to lay her eggs we had to place a large plastic bag under the cloaca so we could collect and relocate the eggs to a safer location, away from poachers. Our main job during this activity was to try and count the eggs that she laid as well as moving the flipper out of the way so other people could observe the amount of eggs that she laid. We both felt how strong she was even by just holding her flipper. Although we tried to move her flipper sometimes it became apart very quickly that once she decided she was moving her flipper, she was moving it and we had no way to stop her. She continued laying eggs for about 10-15 minutes depending on the turtle. When she was done laying, we had to quickly remove the bag before she started filling the hole back up with sand. We then handed over the bag to on-site researchers, so they could relocate it to a safer place which has a higher egg hatch rate. It would then be monitored and checked after 60 days. Data would be collected on the amount of hatched and unhatched eggs.
This made us feel humbled and gave us an overwhelming amount of respect for the Sea Turtles. They have been alive longer than us and have experience far greater than we could ever know. Especially with the problems of pollution and poaching even the effect of global warming it is truly amazing how this animal survives each day and makes this trip to lay its eggs. It makes us hopeful for future generations of life watching the eggs, knowing they will likely hatch and go on to become adults. Thus changing the lives of people like us.
Blog Post 3
On our second day at Tirimbina, we had a midday snack led by our trip guides, Katherine and Catalina. It consisted of the sampling of eight tropical fruits. These were Cocoa beans, Guava, Sour Guava, Passionfruit, Granadilla, Starfruit, Pejivalles, and Mamey Sapote. We ate the pejivalles with mayonnaise, which tasted similar to very dry squash. Starfruit and sour guava were dipped in salt to enhance the flavor. Overall, our favorite fruit was the granadilla (4 orange masses), which had a similar feel to the passionfruit. It was quite sweet with a tang, and its innards were protected by a styrofoam-like barrier. The granadillas were simple and fun to crack open, as we pushed our thumbs into its side and ripped it in half.
For the duration of the trip, we ate rice and beans for practically every meal. However, it was prepared differently each time and even through our various locations, we never repeated a meal. It altered between the separation and combination of these two dishes. There was also consistently a variety of sides, such as plantain chips, shredded cabbage, chicken, fish, beef, mashed potatoes, diced vegetables with corn, mango, watermelon, pineapple, and papaya. We also had many different fruit juices each day, including Passionfruit, Hibiscus, Watermelon, and Cas.
Our favorite meal was at our stay in Casa Calatea. We stayed here for one night after our three days at Pacuare, which was similar to a giant tree house. The staff made us an incredible dinner, which was made up of very tender chicken, mashed potatoes, diced vegetables with corn, plantain chips, and a very good, sweet coconut dessert. It was in a dark brown bar shape and combined coconut pieces with sugar and butter.
|Costa Rica 2019 – Curated tweets by ACSRochester|
By Judy Van Alstyne ’88, Head Librarian
You never know what kinds of seeds are planted during May Term. Four years ago, Tony Tepedino and I offered a Middle School May Term called Getting Schooled the Minecraft Way. At that time, Mojang still owned Minecraft; MinecraftEDU was a separate installable modification (mod) which allowed teachers to host servers specifically for their students to engage in Minecraft activities designed for learning all kinds of concepts.
We had high expectations for the ten Middle School boys who signed up. They weren’t going to be students in a Minecraft activity designed by us grown-ups; they were going to have Lower School teachers as clients, designing educational activities for students in grades two, four, and five. For the second grade class, four boys (Dylan Reece, Ben Smoker, Jack Wheeler, and Garrett Wilson) designed “U.S. Landmarks” to teach about symbols of the United States. For the fourth graders, three boys (Marlin Bassett, Henry Grasman, and Cameron Perry) designed “Bomber Math” for practice in calculating area. For the fifth graders, three boys (Caden Kacprzynski, Peter Klem, and Kasi Natarajan) created “Island Adventure” to teach geometry, measurement, and economy. The boys worked hard and had fun, and when we concluded by inviting the Lower School students in, everyone had fun playing and learning. It was a success that we were sad to end.
But this past week, the Rumsey Library was alive again with students (this time in Upper School) busily playing and creating with Minecraft thanks to two of those former Middle School students, Caden Kacprzynski ‘20 and Cameron Perry ‘20, running a student-led May Term titled Experimenting with Architecture and Code in Minecraft: Education Edition. Now computer experts, they explained to me much that has changed in the Minecraft education world. Mojang was bought by Microsoft, which created a new product for teachers called Minecraft: Education Edition. Caden and Cameron explained how much easier it is (no need to create a local server, for example) and it has a coding curriculum already built in (in conjunction with Code.org). Learning how to code has the immediate benefit of allowing users to create more efficiently and with enhanced functions, for example, building a wall with one command rather than placing each block individually. There are also more possibilities for saving work to be shared with others in the future.
Caden and Cameron decided that for their May Term, they would keep the parameters somewhat loose, requiring only that students work solo or in groups to create worlds for others to play and explore, so long as they incorporated coding into each world’s creation. Each world provides challenges for players such as finding secret levers, parkour, and escape rooms. They reflected on how much noisier those ten Middle School boys were compared to this group of fifteen Upper School girls and boys. Also of note is how much more skilled older students are with group problem-solving. Although they were initially concerned that their peers might not follow their instructions or be engaged in the work, they were pleased to see everyone working very hard on their projects, even skipping breaks or parts of lunch in order to make more progress. Similar to what Mr. Tepedino and I discovered long ago, giving students autonomy to play and create keeps them very engaged!
In preparing for May Term Exhibition Night, I discovered the laminated Minecraft instructions from four years ago. While the Lower School players from the past are now in Middle School and probably don’t need them, we suspect some parents will find them very helpful! I also found the signs we had put up for each of the projects the Middle Schoolers had created. Cameron and Caden each took one as a souvenir; Caden remarked, “This is more meaningful to me than any certificate I could have gotten from a summer camp.” We are so proud that Caden and Cameron decided to share Minecraft with new learners, and we hope they are proud of themselves! And we hope you found a chance to play a little Minecraft on Exhibition Night, June 6th!
Judith Van AlstyneJudy worked as a reference librarian and childrenâ€™s librarian in several public libraries in the Rochester area before coming to Allendale Columbia in 1997. At AC, she serves as Head Librarian and teaches Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, and library classes for students in nursery through first grade. Judy holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and a Master of Library Sciences Degree from Simmons College. Judy is leaving AC after the 2018-2019 school year to complete her PhD in Education (Teaching & Curriculum) with a focus on digital literacies and online learning.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School