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The Urban School
of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415 626 2919

Next Steps Blog

The glass is half full, I promise

by: Maya Zeigler, College Counseling and Learning Services Associate

We have reached an interesting time in the college admissions process. All the work that goes into narrowing down schools and finalizing lists is for the most part complete. Now comes the arduous task of editing and specializing supplements and common app essays.

With a large percentage of the Senior class applying to schools early, I can only imagine the sting of stress that must loom in the air of 12th grade hangouts at school and the should be worry-free sanctuary of home. The glass half-full, optimistic news is that, at this point in the year, you are now much further along in the process than you were this time two months ago. This time in September, lists were still up in the air, subject to change at any given moment; the College Board and ACT still had (and for some still may have) an uncomfortable hold on your free time, and even the topic of college was a conversational rabbit hole, with the outcome unknown.

The glass is no longer half empty. It’s actually quite full of meaningful possibility. For now, you still have complete control over the process. You decide where you apply, you control your essays, your supplements, etc. Savor the control that you have over the process right now. Take advantage of it and trust in the fact that you are making the right decisions for yourself. Your list or your writing certainly does not need to look like anyone else’s. While quite a few students have decided to apply early, it is perfectly fine if you did not. Even those that applied early are still applying to many other places for the first time in the next couple of months!

The best thing you can do is live and exist in each part of the college application process, as each stage is vastly different. You still have quite a bit of control over the process, which won’t be the case once you’ve submitted your final college application. Live in the moment and for now, worry less about what the future holds and focus time and energy on the many aspects of the process that you can still control.

Posted by on Tuesday November 8, 2016 at 10:05AM
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Nice to (virtually) Meet You! New Member of the College Counseling Office

by Maya Zeigler, College Counseling & Learning Services Associate

Introductions are always a bit awkward. I, however, have the luxury of a computer screen as a barrier so you’ll be meeting the best version of Maya Zeigler.

I am [obviously] new to Urban this year. I am proud to join the College Counseling office as well as the Learning Services office as the College Counseling and Learning Services Associate. My time at Urban will be split between the two offices, which means that I will have the opportunity to work across all the grades.

I graduated from Denison University as a Sociology/Anthropology and Black Studies double major. I most recently arrived to the Bay Area from Boston, MA, where I served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at a middle school in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. My work with AmeriCorps has been the most rewarding to date. I worked as an English/Language Arts tutor and assisted students across all grades to strengthen both their reading and writing skills.

As AmeriCorps was a one year position, I was tasked with figuring out my next move. As a semi-recent college grad with experience in learning services, this position seemed like a perfect fit. I remember all too well how daunting the college application process is. The stress of the process coupled with the inevitable demands of Senior year can often result in stress for both the parent and the student -- the student side I remember all too well.

I hope to help alleviate this stress in the most constructive way possible. A large part of that mean assisting Susan and Lauren so that they can better direct their attention to student productivity in the college application process. Another part will be lending an ear to application woes while offering the most sound advice possible, from the perspective of a recent college graduate.

I look forward to meeting all of you in the near future!

Posted by on Monday August 29, 2016
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Advice from Graduating Seniors and More...

by: Lauren Gersick, Associate Director of College Counseling

The end of junior year brings a combination of feelings: the thrill of having completed another year of high school, the sense of excitement for an approaching final chapter and--from students and parents--questions about what specifically needs to happen in the next few months. Beyond the technical to do list, we also hope to offer families advice from those on the "other side" of the process: both from seniors, who are chronologically on the other side, and from admission officers at various colleges, who see the process from a different angle than students and families.

Read and enjoy!

Senior Advice 1: I strongly believe that having your parent be upfront with you about financial constraints (if there are any) before the process starts is crucial and while it may not mean limiting applications, it is definitely something to be aware of. Also finding someone, a teacher, an outside mentor, family friend or anyone who is not a parent to help you write your essay (sooner rather than later) made it a lot less stressful and overwhelming because I had someone to keep me on track who really wanted me to succeed in writing my essay.

Senior Advice 2: My biggest piece of advice would be to be wary of the hype surrounding early decision. An early deferral or rejection does not mean that you cannot get in to a school of similar selectivity regular decision. Around December, there is a lot of focus on early decision/action and if you are not accepted or didn't apply early, it can feel like you've blown your chances. Early decision is not the be all end all.

Official Advice from admission officers and counselors published in The Washington Post

Posted by Lauren Gersick on Thursday June 9, 2016 at 12:31PM
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Choose groups to clone to:


Susan Lee
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9511

Lauren Gersick
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9512

Leslie Schaffer
College Counseling Assistant
415 593 9519

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