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)

Yours,

Josephine Firat
CEO, Firat Education

Covid-19 has greatly impacted the world of college admissions. College visits were postponed, spring activities were cancelled, and many teens have been unable to take the SAT or ACT.  When admissions season starts this fall, applications will be dissimilar from those of previous years–and colleges will be reviewing them differently. Other aspects of the college application have gained importance, such as the college application essays. This year’s essays will weigh more in a college’s decision, as colleges strive to learn about their applicants. More than ever, an essay coach can help a teen present themselves in the strongest light possible.

A college essay is different from an essay assigned in an English class.  You can write a wonderful A+ essay comparing Romeo and Juliet to The Great Gatsby, but this may not make a great college essay.  Essays are meant to show a college who you are-how you think, feel, view the world and what you value.  It is a time to showcase talents, hopes, dreams and ambitions.  The essay is important as it is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from an applicant pool that is bright and qualified and wants the same place in the freshman class that you have your heart set on. You have 650 words (less in the supplemental essays) to show why you should be “the chosen one” and show the college how you will make their campus a better place. 

This is where a college essay coach comes in–someone to help you best highlight the areas of yourself you would like to showcase to colleges. When you hit “Submit” and send your applications off, you want to have the feeling that there is nothing more you could have done, not a word that should have been changed, not another thought that needed to be added. Let an experienced coach help you tell your story in your voice and show your best side.

Looking for an essay coach? I have 8 years of experience in college counseling and would love to be your child’s guide through this process. Please visit www.firateducation.com/debbielindell to get started!

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!

Ibrahim Firat joins the Board of Directors for the Independent Educational Consultants Association

Houston, TX (May 31, 2019) – The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is a not-for-profit, international professional association representing experienced independent educational consultants. After having served for the IECA in several leadership capacities, including College Committee Vice-Chairman for two years, presenter for various breakout and pre-conference sessions, and college tour planner, Ibrahim Firat was announced as an IECA Board Member.

IECA Board Members’ responsibilities include:

On February 26, 2013, in an email to 6,000 member schools, The College Board – administrators of the SAT® – announced plans “to redesign the SAT so it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels.”

At this point, few specifics are known. Here’s what we do know:

* Given the proposed scope of change, this will not impact the class of 2013, 2014 or 2015, as the earliest that an overhauled SAT could launch would be Spring 2015, which would impact today’s freshmen. But there has not yet been a date released for the launch of the proposed new test.

*Something to note: the last time the SAT changed, in 2005, we saw the PSAT change first in October of 2004. As the PSAT is intended as the preliminary SAT for test takers, it will be worth watching to see if the PSAT changes first this time as well (in October 2014).

*The stated objective of the test change is to improve the SAT to “strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are the most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career.”*

*David Coleman, the new head of the College Board, has stated that he would like to add source material for students to analyze in the SAT writing section, but this has not yet been confirmed.

What does this change mean to you even if it may “seem” like you or your loved ones are “not impacted” based on the timeline and College Board’s statement above? Let me put it this way: EVERYBODY IS IMPACTED by this change no matter what unless you are already a senior who is done with testing and on your way to college applications.

One and only reason, which is kind of obvious, is that colleges know that this change is coming, which already trigerred (if it did not so before College Board made its decision to change the SAT) that SAT is indeed NOT the best measure to gauge students’ academic strength. How many successful leaders who finished great colleges do you know got to where they are with “unfathomable” vocabulary? (let me guess, at least 98% of you looked up the word, unfathomable, which is indeed a very commonly tested SAT word in the Reading section). ACT has gained significant grounds in the last decade because of this very reason. Therefore, I suggest do not bank on your 2250 SAT score, but take the ACT, as well, and submit both scores! This way, you will prove to colleges that it is not about how much you can memorize, but it is about how much fundamentals matter in core subjects.

This means, you cannot afford not to include the ACT in your testing plans until we know the change College Board is planning is indeed a good one…. Those of you who are currently in middle school, you will have both the new SAT and the ACT to choose from, but anyone who is older, you really only have one: Go with ACT, at least once.