I usually leave the blog posting to the education experts at Firat Education, but I felt compelled to write one about remote learning. Ibrahim and I have a rising 3rd grader. Our seven year old, like all other students across the world, was thrown into remote learning in March. During the quarantine, we didn’t teach him math, english, or reading. While those subjects mattered, other things mattered more: how he could manage his time, use his laptop, log on to Zoom, send proper emails to his teachers when he had questions, and much more… All. By. Himself.

We’ve been asked as parents what we plan do with our, now eight year old. Because we own an education company, maybe we have some sort of perspective? Well, we do. It has nothing to do with virtual learning, masks, pods, or COVID-19. It has to do with our kids. Since March, we have seen that families need support in a variety of ways, and we’ve noticed a gap. There are many students who have the ability to learn independently but don’t know how.

Again, I’m not talking about math, english, or reading. I’m talking about independent learning. Independent learning doesn’t just help with the now during the Covid-Era, but with academic goals, college goals, and future goals. Firat Education has consulted over 1,000 students in 12 years. Our goal for those 1,000+ students has always been to prepare them for college and for the future.

A little fun fact is that our original logo back in 2008 has a slogan: “Educating our future with solutions for life.” (The evolution of our logo is a whole other blog post.)

Our strengths lie in preparing kids – of all ages – for college and for life.  We believe that starts with teaching “entrepreneurial-thinking” skills to foster independent learning in students, even as young as seven years old.

What are “entrepreneurial-thinking” skills? In short, it is the ability to recognize problems and provide solutions. Those skills include communication, time management, tenacity, organization, innovation, problem solving, flexibility, vision, ownership, curiosity, self-motivation, and self-care.

With those skills, our students, at ANY age, can be successful independent learners. And these skills are vital, now more than ever, because when our kids are not learning independently, we, as parents, are adversely affected too: no mom wishes her 16 year old still need her approval to schedule a meeting with his counselor. We want that 16 year old to know his schedule, move things around as needed, and have the confidence to schedule/cancel/reschedule and “own” the outcomes, not at 16 years old, but at six, seven, eight…

We, at Firat Education, have put together a program for families. Learn more about Independent Learning Support and contact us to get started. While we did drop the slogan from our logo, we have not wavered from our original mission – to educate our future with solutions for life.

Logo version 2.0 (2012)


Josephine Firat
CEO, Firat Education

Every year, thousands of admissions counselors from universities across the country travel to connect with interested students. Each admissions counselor has the same goal in mind: to convince these students that their school is the best in an effort to encourage application submissions. I encourage you to attend these sessions, take advantage of the representative’s time and learn meaningful information about the campus. More often than not, this counselor will be the one reviewing your application first. 

Impressing the admissions rep means they’re more likely to remember you when your application crosses their desk this fall. That first impression can be the deciding factor in your admissions decision! Asking relevant, thoughtful questions during your visit is one way to stand out.

Check out 7 thoughtful questions you can ask the admissions rep next time they stop by your school!

Are there different academic requirements for admissions depending on what department or major you choose?

Depending on what major you decide to select, admissions requirements will differ. Asking this question shows your interest in the program. Not only that, but it gives you the information you need to make sure your application is perfect before submission!

What resources are available on campus if I need help with some of the classes I’m taking?

Although colleges have different organizations and resources available, nearly every college in the country has some sort of tutoring center. Most programs are included in your tuition, but some may cost extra to join a tutoring group or receive individual help from an older student who performed exceptionally in the course. Many also have a writing center, where professionals and English major students will help you tweak your paper before submission. Drop-in hours a few times a week for general education or low-level courses are convenient for busy student schedules! Ask the admissions counselor what would be available for you, just in case you find yourself struggling in one of your classes come time for freshman year!

What’s your favorite tradition on campus?

Tying in a tradition on campus accomplishes two things. First, admissions counselors love to see students who are interested in their own stories and experiences about what’s happening at their college. Second, you get to learn about cool traditions on campus! These are things that you would be able to experience if you chose to be a student there. One example of a great tradition I’ve heard about over the years include Barnard’s “Big Sub” where students get to snag a piece of a gigantic 700-ft sub sandwich. Another example would be the “Battle of the Red Dragons” basketball games every year between SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oneonta. 

How does the Residence Life department match students to their roommates freshman year?

Finding a freshman year roommate can be nerve-racking. I’ve heard horror stories from students in the past, but just as many stories about freshman roomies who become lifelong friends. Some colleges have interesting ways of matching roommates, and many of them use some sort of survey for students to complete along with their housing deposit. Some will allow you to pick a roommate if you already know someone, while others do it completely at random. At Trinity College in Connecticut, there is one wonderful woman who makes every single roommate match for freshman every year!

In your opinion, what’s the most interesting or crazy club that your school has?

These days, most colleges have dozens of clubs and organizations. Depending on the size of the campus, that could easily be over a hundred different clubs, all offering different things. Oftentimes, colleges will have interesting clubs that you can investigate. A few of the most interesting clubs I’ve heard of include The Mustache Club at Carleton College, Humans vs. Zombie’s at Goucher College, and the Happiness Club at Northwestern University! You could discover something that peaks your interest and makes this school stand out on your list!

Are internships a requirement for graduation at your school? If not, does the college offer resources and support for finding internships in different fields?

Depending on the school, and sometimes the major you choose, an internship of a certain length may be required. Even if they’re not a requirement, internships are great resume boosters and provide valuable experience in your field of choice. Ask your admissions counselor what kind of resources are available to help you find internships, whether they be on campus, in your school’s city, at home for summer vacation, or even abroad in another country!

Do most students go home for the weekends? If not, what are some fun things to do on or off campus on the weekends?

College admissions counselors should know what students are doing in their free time, especially on weekends! For some colleges, students regularly go home on weekends because many of them do not live far. Other schools have a lot of out-of-state students, meaning there should be activities on and off campus to entertain them. You can cater this question to your own interests if you’d like. For example, if you’re into outdoor activities, you may want to ask if there are any hiking trails, parks, or hidden gems for exploration in town.

Still looking for ways to stand out when speaking to a college admissions counselor? Or maybe you have no idea what colleges you want to apply to this fall? Connect with us at firateducation.com for more information about how you can work with one of our college counselors this summer!

As a college admissions consultant, students come to me for advice quite often. COVID-19 bombarded the world with strong feelings of unease and unpredictability. Consequently, the future of higher education is a topic of concern. The big question – what productive things can I do this summer to improve my college applications now that my original plans were cancelled?

Don’t worry, I have an answer to that question that hopefully won’t disappoint!

Because many areas of the country are not operating at full capacity, I had to be creative. I pieced together resources students need to stay productive during this pandemic, so they may stand out against others. After all, the goal of college applications is to make yours stand out amongst the thousands of others that cross the admissions representative’s desk.

I created a spreadsheet that includes a variety of opportunities students can still apply for this summer. Each experience is either free, paid, application-based, or simply requires registration. Ultimately, there’s an option for everyone in this list!

Interested in checking out the opportunities? Click here to view the spreadsheet. Each summer opportunity has a brief explanation, applicable costs and deadlines, and a direct link that takes you to the website.

Don’t forget – summer time is the perfect time to get a jump start on college essays and organize applications before school starts! Contact Firat Education to set up an Education Assessment today to get started!

The week before Thanksgiving 2019, I was presenting to a group of parents of college-bound high schoolers who were extremely nervous about the whole “college admissions game.” Game? What game?

They were particularly concerned about their child going to a school that “must be ranked high, otherwise he/she would end up with no job.”  But they understood, those schools as “impossible to get into.” Major of study or careers is “secondary as long as my son/daughter gets in one of those schools.” Career and major are secondary to the college of choice? If we are worried about jobs at the end of this, why are they secondary? How could that be?

Then came one mom who was frazzled about her son receiving “a personal invitation to apply to a ‘super selective’ college.” How is that possible? Her son, after all, was “just a middle of the road, 2.7 GPA, 24 ACT, barely making through regular classes.” Was that a mistake?

Shortly after, a dad asked about additional options for footing the $60K/year bill for his daughter’s upcoming first year in college. $60K/year… That’s a brand new BMW or a decent country cabin to have vacations… Every year for four years. 

After having to calm the nerves of over 50 parents with facts and data with some real-life examples from our students, it occurred to me:  The college admissions bubble – which we knew had long existed – has blown so big that it creates questions, anxiety, and panic.

These were the Pre-COVID19 days for higher education and college admissions — otherwise known as the “dark ages of higher education.”  Those of us who have worked in or around college admissions for years would attest that this “bubble” would burst somehow, some time.  We just didn’t think it would be burst by something that’s only visible via a super sensitive microscope.

And yes, you heard that right. PRE-COVID19 days were indeed the dark ages (but only for parents and students — not for “prestigious” colleges, that is) for college admissions as parents and students were forced to live by the rules set by the “top 200, most prestigious” colleges that you’d find in any and every rank published in print or online. And the other 3,800+ colleges… They “aspired” to be breaking in that 200 somehow and in some way by playing the game by those rules. This was the “college admissions game” I mentioned earlier.

Rules of the College Admissions Game in Pre-COVID19

Post-COVID19 World of College Admissions Expected: The Age of Hope

Some things will change by default (for the better) while some things will change only if parents and students make a collective effort. Here is the breakdown:

By default:

By collective effort:

The only factor that might not change post-COVID19 in the college admissions game unless there is more of a concerted effort from families is the weight that’s put on college rankings rather than the fit.

While the changes that are expected to occur above might shift the focus of rankings from being “prestigious” and “selective” to more “career readiness” and/or “higher ROI,” the habit (or reflex, by now) of checking college rankings will continue — unless families become more intentional with their college choice, i.e. fit, moving forward.

After all, that’s for the better: fewer heartbreaks, false hopes, misguided facts, and broken budgets.

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Attention parents! Summer is creeping up on us slowly but surely. #Admissions events are beginning to wind down so be sure to visit your top schools for your child! Remember, it’s not just about getting into a school, but getting into #thebestfitschool for your child. So many factors can play a part in your child’s success; make sure you’re looking at the right ones. Search on and #findthebestfit.

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Summer is upon us and #admissions events are starting to wind down, so take advantage of what’s still being hosted! If you’re not sure where or how to start your #admissions research and process, then be sure to come to our event on Saturday, March 30th, where our #admissionsguru, Ibrahim Firat, will talk about how to get started to #findthebestfitschool for your child. From understanding the #applicationprocess, to identifying your own personal factors that apply to finding #thebestfit. The best fit doesn’t just mean a good athletics program or after-school activities, there is so much more to know to successfully prepare.

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Welcome back from #SpringBreak everyone! It can be challenging to get back into the groove of things, but #admissions events are now back up and running. Did you use this past break to assess the #campusvisits and #openhouses you’ve visited thus far? Schools are already sending out acceptances for the 2019-2020 so it’s already time to start thinking about 2020-2021 for you and your family. It’s never too early to think about any grade level–not just college. #LowerSchools and #UpperSchools both influence the pathway to #college that your child embarks on. Narrow down your #topschool choices for both and be sure to check out our weekly blog to be in the know on all things #admissions in the Greater Houston Area. #findthebestfit

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#SpringBreak is fast approaching but there are just a few more #admissions events before the break! Prepare your #campusvisits and think of what offerings you want your child’s school to have. Yes, there’s an #applicationprocess, but you’re also interviewing THEM. Make sure the school you choose fits your needs as much as your child’s. #findthebestfit

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And we’re back with another set of weekly #admissions events in the Greater Houston Area for #privateschools. These events are gradually starting to wind down as we get closer to Spring Break, let alone even the Summer! So plan ahead and be sure to make a list of your top schools, the reasons they’re your top, and be sure to check here to see when there’s an #openhouse or #campustour coming up for that school. What makes a school your top school? The schools hosting these #admissions events, highlighted in our weekly blog, are also featured in #thefiratguide! Use it to complement your search in finding #thebestfit for you and your child. #keepcalmandsearchon

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March is creeping up on us and soon enough it’ll be #SpringBreak! Have you made it out to any #admissions events hosted so far in 2019? Check out your schools of interest to help you define how you want to approach the new #schoolyear of 2019-2020. Where do you see your child going? Better yet, where do you see your child succeeding? Every #HoustonPrivateSchool has a lot to offer, but you have to #findthebestfit to match your child’s needs and yours. Remember to check back here to plan out your weekly calendar and get those #admissions events in. #campustours #campusvisits #admissions #findthebestfit