Scholarship Opportunity for Video Game Design & Related Majors

There was a time when my male students pursued video game design and the females inquired about fashion design/merchandising.  The script was written; no one was comfortable crossing the line. I could almost do my college counseling with my eyes closed because I knew the direction of the conversation. 

However, as the young ladies became more accepting of their analytical talent and realized it was “ok” to be skilled in mathematics, even more than their male classmates, endless career opportunities surfaced as options.  The forbidden engineering, computer, and video game design majors became viable career aspirations that earlier generations dared not contemplate. 

Times are changing; the wheels are in motion.  Numbers are still staggering for women and minorities but there are supporters trying to provide a scholarship incentive to enhance prospective college students. 

To encourage diversity in the computer and video game industry and support the development of its future leaders, Entertainment Software Association Foundation (ESAF) provides annual scholarships to women and minority students pursuing video game-related undergraduate degrees at a four-year institution. The scholarship application deadline is May 15, 2014.  Visit for more information about ESAF and the scholarship.

Start Early:  College & Career Planning Service

“Reading Is a Great Investment for Young Children”

When children are young, parents and pediatricians focus on the developmental milestones, which are by all means important.  At some point, certain reading skills, such as the ability to pronounce sounds and word recognition, become critical factors in achieving cognitive growth. 


However, reading is a versatile skill that crosses several milestones; notably academic milestones.  I tend to refer to academic milestones quite a bit when I talk to elementary and middle school parents about high school preparation, considering I spent thirty years as a secondary school counselor.  As a high school counselor, my mission was to nurture and encourage the intellectual talent that was in my caseload and prepare them for “life after high school.” 


Many elementary and middle school students are identified as “gifted/talented (GT)” and register for numerous honors high school classes; however, after the first several weeks of freshman year, their placement level must be changed due to lack of proficient performance.  Yes, it is a disappointment for both the student and parents, but if academic improvement is expected, a new course of action must occur. 


The significance of self-esteem is also critical because the high school student compares academic success to personal success; it’s a teenage thing, understandably so.  My graduate training in mental health counseling would not allow me to ignore the positive correlation with my constituents.   


Reading, as an early intervention, is very important to school success.  Not just in the early years of education, but until the highest level is achieved.  As a life skill, you can pretty much count on its necessity until one succumbs to the end of cognitive function. 


Don’t limit reading skills to a reading class; children and teens need to be able to read in math and science classes too.  In order to follow directions in text format, they must be able to read so they will know what to do.  If the math test or homework consists of “reading problems,” they must be able to read, understand the objective(s), and then solve the question.  Reading is a function in analytical reasoning, not just concrete aptitude. 


Encourage your child to read; it’s a great investment.  Be a good role model and let your child observe you reading.  The early intervention helps build confidence in, and appreciation for reading, as well as an increased vocabulary, comprehension, and aptitude for academic success.  And if you want your child to get a free critical reading preparation for college admission exams, promote the value of reading early.    


If you suspect your child is not mastering academic milestones, consult with the school, just as you would with your pediatrician for medical concerns.  It is true that some delayed skills eventually develop without challenges; however, some may require more extensive intervention. 



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Saying Goodbye to 2014 March Madness

Time is ticking down to the final moments of 2014 March Madness.  Wow, what a year of surprises, disappointments, luck, determination, and excitement.  Not to mention the mass destruction of analytically orchestrated brackets that pretty much identified pool winners as early as Saturday night. 

In a couple of hours we will celebrate a winner and comfort the loser.  And by noon tomorrow, life will be back to normal for most of us; except for the campus of the championship winner.   

Yes, I do enjoy the basketball games, complete a bracket with a group, and list my final four teams for a family competition.  However, March Madness also helps me professionally, as I guide students through their college planning search.  For one thing, it helps me identify the “hot spots” for the next year’s competitive process.  The same is applicable with the season’s final football poll. 

Some colleges will attract more applications due to their appearance in March Madness; therefore, more competition in admission.  And if the team wins the champion game, that’s a big boost to next year’s pool.  That’s great for the college, but not necessarily so for the applicants. 

And some newcomers to the brackets, who have not yet earned the badge of honor, but are still worthy of consideration, might gain the interest of high school students and improve their annual yield.  Families should be open-minded, learn more about the colleges, and embrace the possibility of a “good-fit.” 

Those who follow college admission know that this has been an unassuming year with decisions.  Some professionals have stated that students did not expand their list to include a broader range of colleges; therefore, they set themselves up for disappointment.  Some families preferred not to accept advice from counselors/consultants who suggested a more diverse, yet realistic group of colleges.   

As always, many pundits warned that as long as students and parents continue to limit themselves to the “big boys” (my nickname for the Ivies and highly selective/elite), they can expect this backlash of disappointment. The long-and-short of it, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  As we say in the business, “You might need to expand your horizon; don’t be afraid to change your zip code and time zone.”  

So now to connect with 2014 March Madness, what colleges were not on most students’ radar, but could be contenders?  I’ve taken the liberty to highlight a few that deserve some recognition.  Don’t be offended if you see a college that’s familiar to you; that’s great, however, it might not be known to others.  Sometimes we limit our base to personal and/or regional affiliation; reach out, there’s a big world of colleges to explore. 


Stephen F. Austin

Western Michigan

Eastern Kentucky

Coastal Carolina

North Carolina Central

Iowa State






North Mexico State

North Dakota State

Weber State 

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Summer Discovery Enrichment Programs & Internships

Yes, summer will soon be upon us.  If you are one of the many middle and high school students hoping to participate in a summer enrichment program, you need to become proactive with your search.  Many deadlines have passed; however, there are programs continuing to accept applications.  If you have followed my blogs, you know I try to showcase as many as possible; particularly, colleges and organizations that have reached out to me for assistance in announcing their programs.

I am a supporter of summer enrichment programs; having participated myself during elementary through high school years….and that was a long time ago.  As a parent, I considered them to be a viable learning experience for my sons.  All programs have distinguishing qualities; attending one on a college campus can bring insight into the residential, classroom, and community environment of a higher education institution.  It can help formulate preparation and decisions for college choices.

According to Robert Friedman, Director of Educator Relations for Summer Discovery & Discovery Internships, they specialize in pre-college and internship programs for high school students during the summer.  They also offer Junior Discovery, a summer campus experience for middle school students.

Summer Discovery (   Partners with several of the world’s best universities to offer diverse summer opportunities.  Students are an integral part of the university campus with access to all university facilities.  College credit and enrichment classes, including SAT Prep, Business Institutes, Leadership and Community Service are offered.  The program will prepare students for the transition from high school to college, develop independence, and allow students to take courses that interest them (over 300 courses across 13 campuses), with a diverse student population (43 States and over 60 countries). 

Discovery Internships (  1,000 unique internships in more than 25 career fields in five amazing cities (Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, London, and Shanghai).  Carefully screened employers ensure an enriching, hands-on learning environment.  Students gain real-world work experience with a four-week customized internship.  This will help students enhance their resume, earn a letter of recommendation, and stand out on the college application. 

Jr. Discovery (  A fun and enriching summer experience for middle school students takes place on the college campuses of Georgetown & UCLA.  Experienced staff supervise and organize activities outside of the classroom for the students.  Students get a head start for high school and prepare for the challenges ahead with the help and support of Discovery staff.  They also become more independent, experience living on a college campus, and learn how to balance classes and fun.  Classes are a mixture of both academic and physical activity. 

Additional information can be acquired from Robert Friedman at 516.621.3939 ext. 575 or 


Start Early: College & Career Planning Service