Cyndy McDonald

As the first in her family to attend college, Cyndy recognizes the challenges many families and students face as they plan and prepare for college. As a student who received financial aid, she also understands how important finding money to pay for college is. As a mother of four children (the youngest is in college now), she knows the parent's perspective of sending a child away from home. As a credentialed high school counselor who has worked at the high school and the middle school level, she understands the challenges high school counselors face as they assist students in this process. As an educator who has trained hundreds of teachers, administrators, and counselors about creating a college-bound culture, she knows the joy that comes with helping student achieve their full potential. As a professional, with leadership roles in WACAC (Western Association for College Admission Counseling), and as the founder of HECA (Higher Educational Consultants Association), she values professional growth and being able to stay current on trends in college admission. She loves working with students, parents, counselors, and the community in the college admission process.

Articles

How many schools should I apply to?

It's not the number of schools you apply to that is important. It's the thought and care put into each application.read more

When should I start thinking about colleges?

How about right now? You don't have to make a choice, but begin thinking about things like what you want to study, where you would like to go, and what would be important about a college.read more

How can I get colleges to recruit me for sports?

While you can't guarantee your spot on the team, there are some things you can do to help your case. Here are some tips for getting started.read more

My standardized test scores are lower than my school choices require; can I still apply?

Talk to an admission representative at the school and ask that question. If you have extenuating circumstances, such as a learning disability or illness that contributes to your low test scores, the colleges might take that into consideration.read more

Will joining a lot of clubs and activities boost my college application?

Remember that quality of involvement is more important than quantity. Stick with activities that have always interested you, as most colleges can see through the applicant that pads their résumé, especially late in the game.read more

How is living on campus different from living off campus?

It is best to live on campus your freshman year or your first year as a transfer student. This gives you an opportunity to meet lots of people, make new friends, and get involved in the campus. read more

Help! I'm not sure if I should go to college.

It is not uncommon to get anxious and apprehensive about being "college bound." Many others not only second-guess their college choice but also whether they are truly ready to take this significant step in their life. read more

How do admission counselors rank the different application elements, like GPA, test scores, essay, and recommendations?

This may vary by school, but in many cases the work that you have done over three to four years of high school is the most important indicator of your ability to do college level work. It is not just the grades, but the rigor of the classes that you take that will show your abilities.read more

What should I do if my parents and I disagree about my college choices?

It is quite common for students and their parents to disagree about the appropriate college choice. Think carefully what is most important to you as you start your college search.read more

How do I find the right college for me?

This is really the million-dollar question, and, of course, there's no succinct answer. Sometimes I like to tell prospective students to think of it this way: you're not just deciding where to go to school, you're essentially looking for a new home for four years.read more