‘Kate Henderson’


Educational Consultant Spotlight: Kate Henderson

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Kate Henderson v2

Academic Futures, Inc. is located in Johns Creek, GA and offers comprehensive college and career counseling for high school students.  The process involves an individualized approach to determine each student’s unique interests, strengths, passions, and vision for the future.  Academic Futures provides a methodical approach to the somewhat overwhelming college admissions process. This includes individualized timelines and action plans allowing students to evaluate and prepare each part of the college application process in an organized manner so they are able to present their strongest profile.

Academic Futures, Inc. was founded by President, Leigh Anne Spraetz, who has been assisting students with the college and career process for 18 years.  Kate Henderson joined in June 2012 after a career in college admissions.  Kate’s time on the college admissions side was spent assisting students and families with each part of the enrollment process including admission, scholarships, and financial aid.  Kate spends time on the road each year touring between 40-60 colleges in order to help guide students to consider colleges that are a good fit.  Kate remains active in a variety of local, regional, and national professional organizations and currently serves on several committees.

It’s not about where you get in, but where you FIT in!

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The phrase “college fit” has been bouncing around for a while and in the craziness of application season, it sometimes is forgotten. Many students and families get wrapped up in the frenzy of rankings, myths, school names, where their best friend is going, etc… and often miss the importance of searching for a college that “fits” the student. Many important factors go into finding a college that fits.

Spending most of my career in the college admissions side, I often spoke to students whom I knew would not be a good “fit” for my institution. Of course, you want every student that you come in contact with to fall in love with your school. You try hard to make what they are interested in a reality for your institution. This cannot only hurt your institution, but the student. Colleges are not only concerned with application numbers and meeting their enrollment goals, but also with the retention of first-year students. They strive to not only enroll a student, but also to have that student graduate in a suitable amount of time.

With more than 3,800 colleges in the U.S., this task can seem overwhelming. Students need to start this process by exploring who they are, who they want to become, and what they want out of their college experience. Once this is determined, they can focus on exploring colleges that meet these goals. What fits for one student may not fit for another student. There are many opportunities for students to learn more about their personality, career interests, and college majors to help in the process for finding their fit. Leigh Anne Spraetz and I offer these assessments through our testing and counseling process at Academic Futures, Inc. at The Summit Counseling Center.

One of the most important factors in deciding on which college fits the student is the campus tour. Hearing from college recruiters and reading information online is one thing, but actually putting yourself in the campus environment can be entirely different! The visit allows you to “try on” that college for the day. Can you see yourself here for the next four years? Is it a comfortable distance from home? Is it a financial fit for you? Do the current students seem to be people you want to surround yourself with for the next four years? Does it offer the academic environment and extracurricular activities you are looking for? You can hear from alumni and current students about how great their experiences have been and how much they love their institution, but the choice is yours. Make sure to visit more than once and see the campus in its different seasons. Does it fit you and what you want out of your college experience? In the end, if you take the time to explore these factors, you will know which college fits you!

Top 10 Skills High School Students Need To Develop In Preparation For College

Friday, March 7th, 2014

It’s never too early to start thinking about preparing for college. This Top 10 list has been developed through many years of attending conferences, listening to college admission professionals, and touring a variety of colleges and universities around the U.S.

  • Study Skills: A student’s GPA for college admissions starts in the 9th grade (sometimes 8th for foreign language and math courses).
  • Time Management and Organizational Skills: Since students’ schedules have been pre-planned for them by the demands of high school, they often haven’t had experience at setting priorities with choices in what to do with their time.
  • Written and Communication Skills: Written and communication skills are often the top academic skills that educators say students today are lacking.
  • Resiliency: An important trait for students to develop… the ability to bounce back from setbacks, disappointments, and failures.
  • Self-Awareness: Many choose a college major based on what they have “learned” through media or heard about from friends, with little awareness about themselves and how a major or even a college could be a fit.
  • Problem-solving Skills: College faculty and administration continue to report that many students are used to having answers and support on demand; that they aren’t able to solve basic problems without consulting someone else.
  • Social Skills: As jobs in our nation continue to move toward the service industry sector, social skills will continue to become important for students finding life-long success in their careers and relationships.
  • Independence: Students must learn, with increased opportunity in their high school years, that independence and freedom must be earned by showing respect and responsibility.
  • Assertiveness: Students need to learn more about being assertive, rather than being passive or aggressive when resolving conflicts.
  • Financial Management: It is important to discuss expectations and a budget before a student leaves home.

Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!

Friday, March 7th, 2014

This famous quote rings true to many of us throughout our lives. After joining a student organization in college, this quote was emphasized at the beginning of every meeting for us to understand the importance of time. It stuck with me, and I have continued to follow and use it with myself and others. For high school seniors, this quote applies perfectly for submission of college applications. A majority of applications open before high school seniors have been given the locker combinations for their senior year. August 1 tends to be a popular time for colleges to release their updated application for that year’s graduating class. With the release of the application also come deadlines. Whether students are applying Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision, there is a date set by the college for the application and supporting documents to be received. In our line of business, early is on time!

At Academic Futures, we work with high school seniors to establish an application timeline for all applications to make sure they are received well ahead of their intended deadline. You never know what curve ball life can throw you and waiting until the last minute can mean you are too late! You cannot plan for sicknesses, for family events, or for when your Literature teacher will assign the next research paper. You also cannot plan for the college’s application website to go down due to too many users, reported system errors, or failure to accept your form of payment. Applying on the deadline, which is technically on time, can sometimes mean you’re too late. If a college experiences glitches in their system they can be lenient to allow extra time to submit an application‒as we have seen this year with several colleges extending their Early Action and Early Decision deadlines due to Common Application issues. However, the stress of missing this deadline can be too much to handle for students, parents, and counselors!

Having spent time on the opposite side of the desk, I know that a student missing a deadline for admission or scholarship processes do not hold up strong during committee review. The deadlines are posted on the college’s website, printed in materials, and voiced to the students during college fairs and private visits. The last thing an admissions rep wants to hear is “I did not know yesterday was your deadline.” Really?!?! Late is unacceptable.

So, for any high school seniors out there waiting until December 1 to submit their scholarship applications or until January 10 to apply Regular Decision, remember that on time could mean you are late and being late can mean your application is unacceptable. Check your colleges’ websites for all deadlines and set your own deadline a couple of weeks prior to this date. This can ensure that your application is in early and that it is ON TIME!

Top Ten Strengths and Experiences Colleges look for in High School Students

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
  1. A rigorous high school curriculum that challenges the student and may include AP or IB classes.
  2. Grades that represent strong effort and an upward trend. However, slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all As in less challenging coursework.
  3. Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT, ACT). These should be consistent with high school performance.
  4. Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative. Depth, not breadth, of experience is most important.
  5. Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselor that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.
  6. A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals. The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.
  7. Special talents or experiences that will contribute to an interesting and well-rounded student body.
  8. Demonstrated leadership in activities. Colleges want people who will arrive prepared and willing to take leadership of student activities and events.
  9. Demonstrated intellectual curiosity through reading, school, leisure pursuits, and more.
  10. Demonstrated enthusiasm to attend, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, showing an interest toward attending the college.

Based on a Survey of IECA member consultants

Download the PDF: IECA CollegeTopTenList