From Bizarre to Outstanding – College Trends 2010

From virtual classrooms to vegetarian jambalaya, college today is full of surprises:

Men Finish Last:

According to The New York Times’ freakonomics blog, by age 25 you’ll find 141 female college grads for every 100 men with a degree. This is due to either men taking longer to graduate high school which could reflect their parents enrolling them in school later than their daughters. Men are also taking more than 4 years to finish college and/or are more likely to take one or more gap years as they see the world before going to college.

Recession Slashes Scholarships:

Can’t balance your budget? Neither can Michigan, the state is getting rid of programs like The Michigan Competitive Scholarship and the Michigan Promise Scholarship. According to, many states, charities and colleges are cutting back on their scholarship budgets. Thus, many students are going to have to come up with their own money for college even if they qualify for a Pell grant because competition for scholarships will be tougher. However, not everything is doom and gloom, the federal government is simplifying the application process for financial aid, the new American Opportunity tax credit reduces tax burden by as much as $2,500 for any tuition paid in 2009 and 2010, the maximum size of Pell grants is increasing by $200 and the federal Stafford college loan has decreased from 5.6% to 4.5%.

Go Country and Save a Country Mile: reports that while many schools are raising their tuition costs, those that are in rural locations or that have a comparatively lower ranking are reducing their costs and offering scholarships to out-of-state students. As such, attending an out-of-state school may be cheaper than it once was.  Another advantage of rural colleges is that they are “usually near wilderness areas, have educational opportunities related to science and nature-not to mention fun outdoor activities. For example, Wester State College’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains make it a great school…if you’re studying geology or are an avid hiker” according to

No More “Freshman 15”

The common weight gain first-year students experience in their first year in college may become a thing of the past with low-carb beers, delicious salad bars, convenient veggie burgers and a multicultural menu of choices. According to Sodexo, a leading provider of integrated food and facilities services, the Top-10 College Food Trends for 2001 are: Apricot-glazed Turkey, Meatloaf with Frizzle-Fried Onions, Vietnamese Pho (Rice Noodle Soup), Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Adobo (Mexican Stew with Chilies), Stuffed Pork Chops, Vegetarian Jambalaya, Lemon Herbed Baked Tilapia, Rotisserie Chicken and Home Style Pot Roast. Hungry for an education?

The $50,000 iPod

What do you get when you study at Duke University and spend an estimated $50,750 a year for the privilege? A free Apple iPod! That’s right; the freshman class won’t be left behind technologically speaking. The device will include orientation facts, an academic calendar and faculty course content with room for additional downloads.  Another digital breakthrough is the introduction of Amazon Kindle in several colleges, according to USA Today, after testing the Kindle DX at “Princeton University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, [the only clear consensus] is this…the inability to easily highlight text was the biggest lowlight of the experience.”

Cost of Duke can be found at:

On-Campus Off-Class

According to, “Traditional universities are beginning to increase their online course offerings for on-campus students, providing them with greater scheduling flexibility, increased independence and arguably more responsibility. The virtual classroom seems to be taking over much more than the virtual office ever did in the early ’90s. Say goodbye to passing notes and sticking gum under the seat.”

Majors Gone Wild

Traditional majors like business and engineering aren’t for everyone, according to the book “They Teach That In College!?”  There are 96 unusual majors in fast-growing fields with good salary prospects. Consider Sustainable Business which deals with environmentally-conscious profitability; Computer and Digital Forensics which involves detective work through digital evidence found in computers, cell phones and PDA’s. Comic book fans know that the field has grown 12% since 2006, but do they know Comic Book Art is an actual major? And if you’re scientifically inclined, consider a major in Nanoscience/Nanotechnology where you will study objects one-billionth of a meter in size including cosmetics, stain-resistant clothing, batteries and even solar cells.  Even future business majors that want to start their own companies someday might be better off with a major in Entrepreneurship, which involves a working knowledge of fields like accounting, economics and advertising but with an emphasis in rewarding individuals looking to be their own boss.  And why not? More than 75% of U.S. millionaires today are self-employed.

Crazy Courses

From “The Science of Harry Potter” to “The Joy of Garbage” you can study elective courses in almost anything. There are just so many different electives nowadays to enroll in, getting a degree is anything but boring. Some elective treks are for example, according to Fox News, include “Occidental College’s course titled Blackness, which elaborates on a “new blackness,” “critical blackness,” “post-blackness,” and an “unforgivable blackness,” which all combine to create a “feminist New Black Man.” If you want something more mainstream, the article “The 15th Strangest Courses in America” includes wild offerings like Georgetown University’s “Philosophy and Star Trek,” “The Science of Superheroes” at the University of California at Irvine, Columbia’s “Zombies in Popular Media,” “Arguing with Judge Judy” at the University of California at Berkeley and “The Art of Walking” at Centre College.


The 15 Strangest Courses in America


How to Hire an Educational Consultant

A very recently published article on The New York Times has provoked an explosion in diverse opinions. The article “Before College, Costly Advice Just on Getting In” talks about independent college counselors and the job we do. However, the author, Jacques Steinberg, seems to have done his job partially, depicting the larger pool of educational consultants in the same manner as he would a smaller breed of unethical counselors, who most of us, have nothing in common with.

But instead of focusing on this incomplete piece, I would rather share with you some valuable insight. What are we to expect when seeking help from an educational consultant? How do we choose a consultant who will do the job right? What is a job well done in educational consulting?

Here are some true observations and information you should have handy when choosing someone to work with you or your family (son / daughter) in college admissions:

1- Seek a professional with at least some experience in the admissions field. Someone who has worked as interviewer or within an admissions office, can provide an insider´s perspective on how admissions work. Also, this professional will probably have passion for the field, having demonstrated work experience in it, working with students and in academia.

2- Find someone who is familiar in working with students. A professional who has been in teaching, education, who has gained exposure in working with teenagers will be able to connect with the student better than someone used to work with executives.

3- Certifications exist! College advisers and Independent Counselors can get certified. At present, there are three certificate programs available, one provided by UCLA and called The College Counseling Certificate Program. This extensive online program not only demands hard work (usually takes over a year to complete), but it consists in seven classes, the last one being a practical course to be conducted in the college counseling office of a high school. It is a very rigorous certificate to complete. Same goes for the College Counseling certificate program offered by UC Berkeley, and the CEP – Certified Educational Planner, for which you can only apply after earning years of expertise in the field. Independent consultants can and should get certified. Ensure the person you are seeking advice from is!

4- One step above a certification is having earned a master in education or in counseling. Several graduate school programs allow for more expertise in the field. Even an MBA can work when considering the expertise of a college adviser, however, not on its own. An MBA plus experience in the field and a certification can provide a great combination of skills, allowing the professional to have a background in marketing, easily applicable to candidates, plus keen interest in education.

5- Membership to leading industry associations. There are several associations that group educational consultants, colleges and professionals related to college and graduate school admissions. Some of them are IECA, NACAC, SACAC, HECA and AIGAC. If you do not have at least three years of experience in the field, you cannot be admitted as a member. This means that professionals involved with these associations have to abide by certain rules and regulations that are hard to follow and comply with. These associations not only provide opportunities for continuing education, they also set standard laws for the industry which have to do with ethical and unethical behavior, what is expected and what is not allowed. A professional involved with these associations is one that you will be able to have more confidence that he/she will do the job ethically and responsibly.

6- Continuing education through educational consulting associations. Professionals that keep up to date with the latest market trends, technologies and industry information are the ones that will allow you to continue progressing when seeking your goals. Continuing education is as important in this field of educational consulting as in any other.

7- Crazy fees are not directly related to results. Some consultants decide to offer advice for tens of thousands of dollars, while others offer reasonable fees well below ten thousand. The ones that are able to provide more reasonable fees most of the times consider that the student should lead this process, working in their college admissions while continuing to be a high school student, teenager, sportsman, or anything else he/she desires to be. If college admissions will be the sole thing in the student´s life for months or years, the college adviser is not doing his job right. College counseling is a part of life, one we must dedicate energy to, but not devote completely ourselves to. Find someone who thinks this way and you will have one happy and triumphant teenager who feels good about him/herself and the next step they will be taking in their lives.

What do we look for in a great college admissions process? We focus on finding the right fit for the student academically, socially and in every single aspect of their lives. We seek an institution that will inspire the student to seek their maximum potential and provide growth opportunities like the student never imagined. This is the goal of college admissions and a truly great adviser, who is worth every penny of their wages.

By Claudine Vainrub, MBA and UCLA Certified College Counselor

Principal of EduPlan

EduPlan at Casa de Jesus

Casa de Jesus Congregation and EduPlan join forces to offer parents and students the opportunity to learn how to navigate the complicated world of college admissions. The series of seminars will begin on Friday July 17 at 8:00 pm and will continue on Saturday, July 18 at 10:00 am, at the headquarters of Casa de Jesus.

What to do about a low GPA, how to attain scholarship money for college, the importance of volunteering, do´s and don´ts in the admissions essay, how to find the right college, when to take the SATs – these are some of the relevant discussion topics of these series, focused on supporting multicultural students in successfully achieving their college dreams.

Casa de Jesus is proud to bring this special seminar to the community. Reverend Valdir Franca explains: “Our church is actively involved in the community in the areas of student motivation, community building and immigrant services. We want to help as many people as possible in their lives and we are happy to offer young people this important seminar.”

EduPlan is a consulting firm that offers over 15 years of experience in the fields of Career Development, and Educational Planning. Their team comprises of certified career coaches, business consultants, college and graduate school advisers, personal branding strategists, and writers with advanced degrees and expert field experience in the U.S. and worldwide. 50% of EduPlan´s clients earn unsolicited merit scholarships each year.

The seminar will be conducted by Claudine Vainrub, the principal of EduPlan. Vainrub has been featured by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald´s CareerBuilder site, and Ely Bravo´s weekly careers and education expert on Actualidad 1020 AM.

Claudine holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, a BA in Communications and Journalism from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, speaks four languages and holds the top industry certifications including: UCLA Certified College Counselor, Professional Résumé Writer, Personal Branding Strategist, Personnel Consultant, and Online ID Strategist.

Can "Happy and Successful" go together?

Always on the lookout for interesting information, my father sent me this article, the closest to a “to-do” list to find success and feel joy at the end of the day (or journey). A very successful entrepreneur, my father is a testimony that if you follow this recipe, it works!

Here is the To-Do list (excerpts from Paul Johnson´s Forbes article):

  1. Combine the pursuit of wealth with creativity. Go into business making something real, tangible; creating something where there was nothing.
  2. Produce something useful, delightful, beautiful.
  3. Generate satisfaction in others by creating jobs that justify themselves. Give others the chance to support themselves with honor and usefulness.
  4. Seek a moral basis, not just the pursuit of a financial goal that satisfies material needs, but also nurture emotional and spiritual needs with your occupation.

Read the whole article…

Let’s talk about Careers!

Welcome to my new blog, where I hope to provide information requested directly by yourself!  Please feel free to post any question on careers, including resume writing, job search issues, interview tips and anything at all that has to do with your quest for professional success.

Let’s talk about Careers!

Welcome to my new blog, where I hope to provide information requested directly by yourself!  Please feel free to post any question on careers, including resume writing, job search issues, interview tips and anything at all that has to do with your quest for professional success.