Important info from the college office

Hello All,
I hope this finds you well. A few notes from the college office.....

• It's DECISION TIME! I hope that you will all be hearing some good news soon-- please let me know whatever you hear. I am here to celebrate your successes and work through any challenges you may be experiencing.

• And please POST YOUR DECISIONS ON NAVIANCE. We need to record the decision for each one of these schools. Please do this ASAP -- if you needed added encouragement to do this, please know that we will not release final transcripts to any school until your Naviance account it completely updated.

• Financial Aid: Financial Aid award letters can be very confusing (and sometimes very deceptive). I am attaching here a document to help you navigate your financial aid letters. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me to discuss your letters. I'd be happy to set up a meeting or a phone to look at and discuss your options. Also, you should know that the people who work in financial aid offices are friendly and often very happy to help and answer questions..

Please feel free to reach out with questions about any of this. You guys have been doing GREAT so far.
Crossing fingers and toes for all of you,


How to Read Financial Aid Award Letters (1).pdf


Hi All-- I am attaching here a step by step guide to filling out the CUNY application. Please read it carefully as you go through the application, particularly with regard to questions about the essay and recommendation. You should start your application and if we have confirmed your schools together then feel free to submit the app. If we have not confirmed your CUNY list, please don't submit without discussing with me first. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

We are sticking to our goal of having all CUNY applications in by Thanksgiving which is creeping up on us so let's get to it.

Have a great long weekend, everyone!


College Essay bootcamp this Sat!

College Essay bootcamp this Sat!

Story2 is making a big push to help first-gen, low-income, and underrepresented students complete their college applications!

As part of this effort, we are thrilled to offer a free workshop in partnership with Kaplan:
College Essay Bootcamp -- Complete Your College Essay in 3 Hours
Saturday November 10th
1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific
Includes a FREE StoryBuilder account for all participants
Students will work through StoryBuilder, step by step, in the workshop and leave with a completed essay draft.

You and your students can register for the workshop here.

Skidmore, Pitzer, deadlines and Financial Aid....

Hi All --

• Skidmore College will be here today at 1:22pm

• Pitzer College is coming tomorrow at 12:30 (for those of you who don't know, Pitzer is a highly selective school in California that is test optional and meets full financial need)

•All students applying for a Nov. 15th deadline should be submitting their applications TODAY. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Parents -- please make sure you are on top of all financial aid deadlines. For help call:

FAFSA: call the Fasfa help desk: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) they're surprisingly helpful!

CSS: Call the financial aid office of the school your child is applying to.

Please let me know if you have questions about filling out the forms. If you would like to complete the FAFSA in my office I'd be happy to help with that.

All best,

Colleges coming Friday and next week

Hi All - Here is a head's up on upcoming visits to ICE. Please make sure to note the lunchtime meeting on Monday with a CUNY rep who can answer all your CUNY questions!

Fri. 10/26 Ringling College of the Arts: 10am
Mount Holyoke-- 10:50

Mon. 10/28 SUNY Potsdam -- 10:00am (Great SUNY that is SAT optional!)
SUNY Geneseo -- 12:32pm

Thurs. Nov. 1 -- Skidmore College 1:22pm

Fri. Nov. 2 -- Pitzer College 12:30

See you soon!

READ THIS before you press submit!!

Guys -- I cannot stress enough the importance of proof reading everything you are about to submit to colleges on the Common App. This means not only your essay, but also all of the writing on your Common App itself must be accurate and typo-free.

Please review the following crucial notes to make sure they are correct on your app:

• 72 students in your class
• We do NOT rank students
• We do not weight our grades
• 100 point scale for grades
• you should submit the GPA I gave you
• You are taking 5 credit courses this semester unless you are in the additional Calculus class in which case you're taking 6. All courses should be listed as Honors level.

•You should write the names of the courses as listed below NOT the name the teacher may have given the course. The courses are as follows:

--12th Grade History
--12th Grade Literature
--Your Science Class -- Science Research, Sustainability, Forensics
-- Advanced Calculus (if you are in that class!)
-- Your elective-- Songwriting, Drama, etc.

• These are semester long courses

• I am recommending that you choose an area of study that you might pursue (even if you aren't sure) as opposed to selecting Undecided.

• Do not undersell yourself on the activities section! Take the time to craft these brief responses to show your best self. This is not a time for modesty. And remember, babysitting, taking care of siblings, cooking meals and/or cleaning in your family ARE activities and show how you are spending your time. Remember to put the activity you are most proud of first.

I strongly recommend that you read over the attached guide for the activities section. It will take you through step by step and has very useful tips. Apart from the essay, this is the college's way of knowing who you are and what you bring to the table. You bring a lot to the table so use it well.

Please don't hesitate to email or text with questions. Good've got this!



Important CSS Profile Info

Sorry to bombard your inbox but wanted to clarify some CSS profile confusion.

The CSS profile is completed on the College Board website. After submitting it for the first school, the same form will populate for the other school applications although there may be additional questions so make sure to read through it carefully for each school. There is a fee of $25 for the first school and a $16 fee for each additional school. Fee waivers will automatically apply.

Please be sure to check the financial aid deadlines for all the schools you are applying to!

Hope that helps,

Outside Recommendations-- Directions

Hi again,
Several of you have asked about submitting outside recommendations from coaches, bosses, etc. Below are the directions to add one of these recommendations to the Common App:

Students can invite other recommenders via Common App. There are multiple roles listed under Other Recommender (Coach, Employer, Clergy, Peer, etc.). The student can invite the recommender by selecting the Recommenders and FERPA section under one of their colleges, located under My Colleges tab. The student must then select "Invite and Manage My Recommenders", select Other Recommender for Type, select Relationship that applies to that recommender, and complete the fields requesting the recommenders information. Once the recommender is invited, the applicant must then assign the recommender to at least one college for the recommender to receive a recommender invite requesting a recommendation on behalf of this applicant. The assigning of the recommender is a separate step than the inviting step. Once recommender is invited, in the Recommenders and FERPA section, the applicant must scroll down to the area labeled "Other Recommender" and select "Add Another" to assign the recommender". If an applicant cannot see the Other Recommender area in this section or does not see the recommender listed, it is because that college they are currently working on does not accept recommendations from this type of recommender.

Important info from the College Office

Hello All:

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend.

A few very important notes:

• All applications for Nov. 1st ED and EA deadlines should be submitted next Monday, Oct. 15th. I will not guarantee that any applications submitted after that date will submitted by Nov. 1st. In addition to submitting your application through the Common App, please make sure you COMPLETE the application process by doing the following on Naviance:

1. List your schools under "Colleges I'm Applying to" on Naviance 
2. Make sure the correct deadline appears (you can change this by clicking on the pencil icon)
3. Make sure you have requested your scores sent to ED/EA schools through the ACT site or College Board site. (If you have a 11/1 deadline and have not requested scores sent yet I suggest that you rush the scores to ensure that they get there by the deadline)
4. Make sure your two teachers are added to Naviance in the Teacher Recommendation section(Do not add me!)
5. Make sure your Naviance account and Common App Account are matched. (If you are having trouble doing this stop by the college office and we can help you)

I am sharing the updated list of colleges visiting ICE -- Bard, Hampshire, Sarah Lawrence, Brandeis, Reed and Columbia College (the arts school in Ohio) are all coming this week. Please send a quick email to me letting me know that you'll be coming.


Fall 2018 College Visits.doc

Reminders from the College Office

Hello Seniors (and senior parents)!

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer and that you are ready to dive into the college application process. This is the time when we need to fasten our seat belts -- we are going to move quickly!

Below are several important reminders of things you should be working on:

• If you haven't already, please set up an account on the Common App. You can start filling in basic biographical details and I will go over issues and questions in class next week. You must sign the FERPA agreement which waives your rights to read your recommendations. Once you check this box, your common app will automatically link with your Naviance account -- a crucial step for actually applying. I will go over this in class...

• All senior students should set up a Senior Meeting with me -- we will focus on finalizing lists (making sure they include Reach,Target and Safety schools), reviewing transcripts, and discussing the college recommendation. Parents are welcome to attend, but not required.

• Reminder: If you are planning on taking the October 6th SAT's, you must register by TODAY. These test scores will still count if you are applying Early Decision or Early Action.

• I am attaching here the list of college visits to ICE -- we have a great list of schools and this is a wonderful opportunity for you to meet (and make an impression on) the reps who will be reading your applications. Please review the list and email me the college visits you are planning on attending. If there is no interest in a school I will cancel the visit to save everyone's time.

* If you are planning to apply Early Decision or Early Action you must secure two teacher recommendations as soon as possible. Please use all your charms to lock those recommendations in now. If you are applying regular decision, you should wait and give your teachers a chance to get to know you better. Regular decision deadlines are in December, January or even February depending on the school.

• All of you should be working on your college essays. These essays must be reviewed by one adult who is a good writer - it can be a teacher, friend or anyone else whom you trust to give you helpful feedback.

Parents: We are having a financial aid meeting to go over the FASFA forms and generally help you navigate the hazy waters of financial aid. Matt, one of the founding partners of I Need Financial Aid will be speaking (

That's it for now -- looking forward to meeting with all of you very soon.
Have a great weekend!


Fall 2018 College Visits.pdf

June 2018 - Letter to the Class of 2019 and Parents/Guardians

Dear Juniors and Parents/Guardians,

As the 2017-2018 school year comes to a close, I want to make sure that you are on track in the college process and share some important reminders with you. It has been wonderful getting to know all of you over the course of the semester, and meeting with most of your parents to discuss a preliminary list of schools to start off the college search. This list can be found on your Naviance account under Colleges I’m Thinking About. Parents, you can see this list by logging on using your child’s username and password.

Please make sure to visit some colleges over the summer! These visits are instrumental in helping you decide which colleges to apply to. (Labor Day weekend is a particularly good time since college students will be back on campus.) The goal is to have a complete list of 6-10 colleges by summer’s end that include 2-3 reaches, 2-3 targets and 2-3 safety schools (including a financial safety or two). I will be meeting with each of you in the fall to make sure your list is balanced and that you would be happy to attend all of the schools on it. If you have questions about which schools to visit or would like to discuss further this year, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and we’ll set up another time to talk.

At this point all of you should have taken either the SAT or ACT. Your next chance to take the ACT will be on July 14 and the next chance to take the SAT is on August 25thThese are very popular test dates so please register for them as early as possible! If you are planning to apply Early Action or Early Decision and want to take the November SAT, please be sure to check with the school(s) to make sure that the school will accept November scores. All October exams should be fine. Please come see me in the college office if you are eligible for a fee waiver (you receive free and reduced lunch).

As I have said in class, you should really try to use the summer to finish the main Common Application essay in an effort to reduce your stress in the fall. The prompts for the essay can be found here: In the Resources section of College Corner you will find a list of a few resources you may use over the summer to get support with your essays. Some charge a fee and others are free. Writopia works on a sliding scale and offers excellent college essay writing workshops. Beacon High School is offering a one time essay writing boot camp with follow up support. I also have a few friends and colleagues who are exceptional writers and coaches and have volunteered to work with some of our students over the summer. If you are interested in this option, let me know and I will see if I can match you up.

You can start filling out the Common Application starting August 1 at Any question that is specific to ICE such as grades, level of courses, codes, etc. just leave blank and we will do that together in September. I will also be guiding you through the Common App in the Fall, so don't worry if it becomes too confusing. 

On August 1st the individual colleges will also release their supplements, the additional essays that many selective colleges require. As I’ve said in class, I strongly recommend that you start fleshing out your answers to these before returning to school in September. These supplements can be time consuming to complete and require that you articulate your specific reasons for why you are choosing a school and why you are the right fit. Do not blow these off – they can make or break your application!

Lastly, we will be having a senior Financial Aid Night for all parents on Tuesday, October 6th. Parents, please save the date! This will be a very important meeting to review the Fasfa, CSS profile and other financial aid materials you will need to complete.

Congratulations on (almost!) finishing this grueling year. You are a such an impressive group -- I can’t wait to work with you in the fall and see all the great schools you will be getting into next year. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Wishing all of you a wonderful summer!

2017 Common App Guide.pdf

Essay Help Contacts.pdf

Letter to the Class of 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians of the Class of 2019,

This is your official WELCOME to the college search and application process!  Few decisions are as exciting and important as choosing one’s path for higher education. It is my belief that any student who wants to go to college can – regardless of their grades, test scores, financial constraints, citizenship status, etc.  We at ICE are going to do our absolute best to help our students get into the college that is best for them, based on their strengths, personality, interests and financial means.

In February, I am going to begin meeting the juniors on a weekly basis in our College Bound class where we will go over all of the information crucial to a successful college process.  Some of the topics include: understanding and learning about public and private colleges and universities, shaping college lists, learning how to navigate Naviance (our web based college application system), essay writing, college visits, and interviewing.

In the beginning of the course, juniors will complete a Junior Questionnaire on Naviance which I will use to get to know them better in order to prepare for my individual meetings with each student.  Parents are welcome to come to these meetings as well. I will also be sending you a Parent Questionnaire sometime next week.  This questionnaire will gives you the opportunity to offer me some insight about your child that will help me find appropriate college matches for them.  Please return the questionnaire to me no later than February 9th. You can email it to: Individual meetings will be scheduled once the Junior Questionnaire and the Parent Questionnaire are completed. Students and parents will receive an email with a link to Calendly to set this meeting up with me.  

I will also be asking your children to share your emails with me on Naviance so that I can send notices and updates to you. As we move further into this process I will ask you to check that email regularly for updates.  Naviance also has wonderful search features and connects directly to individual college websites. Once it is set up you can use your son or daughter’s Naviance account or visit Naviance yourself and log on as a guest with the password “ICEparent.”

Most, but not all, colleges require students to take the SAT or ACT exam.  All juniors will have the opportunity to be taking an in-school SAT on March 21st during the school day.  This exam will not include the optional essay, however. The SAT and ACT will also be offered throughout the city in March, April, May, June, or August and then again next year in September, October, or November. You should make sure that your child takes at least once SAT/ACT with the optional essay, as some colleges require it.   Both the SAT and ACT offer free online practice, through Khan Academy and the ACT site.  In addition, ICE will be offering its own SAT prep course that will meet 3 times a week.  You should have already received an email from Mark about this class.  If not, please contact Eileen at the front office.     

Only a small percentage of the most selective colleges require the SAT Subject Exams, and many of these allow the ACT with Writing as an alternative.  If your child is considering some of the most competitive schools which, typically require two SAT Subject Exams, please encourage them to come speak to me.  Each time they register they will be allowed to send their scores to four schools for free.  We understand that many families will choose to wait and see how the student does on the exams first, but please keep in mind that you will need to pay for all of your scores to be sent (around $12 per school) if you do not take advantage of this opportunity when you register.  It is also important to note that all colleges Super Score the SAT.  Students should send all of their scores and colleges will only use the highest Critical Reading and Highest Math.  

I will also be sharing an ICE College Planning Guide with you and all of the juniors.  This is a comprehensive guide to different aspects of the college search and selection process.  It covers many topics that we will review in class such as (but not limited to) – how to search for schools, campus visits, interviews, writing essays, asking for letters of recommendation, issues for students with special needs, athletics, testing, financial aid/scholarship, etc.  As I mentioned above, we will be reviewing these issues at length in our College Bound class.  I encourage all of you to take a look at it.

On Wednesday, March 14th I will be hosting a Junior Parent College Night at 6pm in room 518. I will be discussing the college process as it relates specifically to students at ICE and will also have a representative from Clark University here who will offer important tips and insights into the college application. It is very important that you attend this event so that you are aware of everything we are telling students in our classes.   

During senior year, there will be several other college related events and I will meet again with students (and parents who would like to attend) to finalize lists and complete applications.  Beginning in September, many college representatives will visit ICE to talk with students interested in attending their institutions.  

Over the next year and a half I will be in touch via email.  Please make sure that you check your email frequently and encourage your child to do the same.   I am very happy to help you with questions that you may have along the way. Please feel free to email me at:

Looking forward to an exciting, productive and fulfilling process for all.

All the best, Carolyn

Carolyn Cohen
Director of College Counseling