PrepWell Podcast with Phil Black

PrepWell Podcast with Phil Black

The PrepWell Podcast helps parents prepare their children for the admissions process for highly-selective college programs like the Ivy League, military service academies (e.g. USNA and West Point), ROTC and athletic scholarships.


July 25, 2021 17 min
Show Notes: In this episode, I walk through three parenting strategies when it comes to handling your teen in high school: (1) hand's-off, (2) helicopter, or (3) hedger.  Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages. Figure out what style you use and whether it's the best way to go.


0:03:00 Hand's-off parent


0:03:50 Hand's-off pros


0:05:13 Hand's-off cons


0:07:33 Helicopter parent


0:08:13 H...

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Show Notes: In this episode, I cover the pitfalls of filling out your college application with a superficial plan to major in Business.   


0:01:20 Episode 84 review


0:01:35 Why are business programs so impacted?


0:02:18 Aspects of business


0:02:40 The new default major


0:03:50 How to get business savvy


0:05:20 The price of ignorance


0:05:45 Types of businesses


0:06:22 Roles within business


0:08:00 Account...

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Show Notes: This episode encourages you to register your child for the SAT/ACT immediately. The best Test Center seats are filling up fast. I also reveal my rationale for registering my students (and sons) for at least 3 backup tests.  


0:01:00 Register for the SAT - now


0:01:18 Sign up for ACT alerts


0:02:53 When do I take the test?


0:05:00 Why take an early test?


0:08:00 What if I'm not ready?


0:08:28 Why 3 ...

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July 4, 2021 16 min
Show Notes: This episode focuses on the steps needed to build your target list of colleges. What questions are most important? How many colleges should be on your list? How do you balance your list? 


0:01:42 Step 1: Major preference


0:04:18 Student differences


0:05:10 Not a final decision


0:06:40 Step 2: location


0:07:55 Step 3: Type of school


0:08:20 Step 4: Campus life


0:09:35 Step 5+: Affordability, etc....

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Show Notes: This episode focuses on the section of the Common Application that takes many students by surprise - the Extracurricular Activity list. If you don't plan ahead for this, you might end up with a skimpy list. I walk you through how to avoid this trap, and build a high-impact, themed list.


0:00:55 Wait, what?


0:02:16 Case Study


0:05:16 Tip 1: PrepWell


0:05:42 Tip 2: Summers


0:07:45 Tip 3: Core Activities...

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June 19, 2021 15 min
Show Notes: This episode is a continuation from last week's theme of athletic recruiting. We review the importance of relationships with your coaches, why it's important to communicate a consistent message, and why coaches hold so much power in the process.


0:01:50 Academic metrics disappearing


0:02:41 The recruited athlete's path


0:03:23 Importance of your coaches


0:04:15 Importance of a coach's phone c...

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June 13, 2021 33 min
Show Notes: In this episode, I offer a step-by-step method to help you determine your child's odds of becoming a recruited college athlete. I break down the competitiveness of certain sports, the importance of metrics, whether or not an athlete "projects well", and the athlete's mindset. If you have a child who may be a college prospect in their sport (from DI - DIII), this is the episode for you.


0:01:24 What ar...

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Show Notes: In this episode, I challenge high school students to take two important steps. Step #1: Think about their future and what they want the next 6-8 years to look like; Step #2: Decide whether their actions today are consistent with that vision for the future. I speak directly to the students in this episode, as opposed to parents.


0:01:14 Do you have prospective?


0:04:10 What will your future look like?


0:05:54 Up...

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May 30, 2021 19 min
Show Notes: In this episode, I review the impact of the ongoing "test-blind" policy for the UC school system. What does this mean for your child? What are the unintended consequences? What are the pitfalls to avoid and the right moves to make?


0:01:50 The lottery has arrived


0:03:10 Don't be lazy


0:05:54 National Merit Scholarships


0:07:25 Slip your score into your application


0:08:50 Applications skyrock...

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Show Notes: In this episode, I review a student's college application and the process of building a "theme" over three years. Learn what the theme was, what extracurriculars helped to fortify the theme, and whether or not it was successful.   


0:02:00 Putting lipstick on a pig


0:03:00 What's left for admissions officers?


0:03:48 What is a theme?


0:05:25 Case study


0:05:50 The 10 Extracurriculars (ECAs...

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Show Notes: In this episode, I review the process PrepWellers go through to help them discover what they might want to major in, what career they might enjoy, and what kind of lifestyle to pursue.


0:01:11 What do you want to major in?


0:03:55 What kind of engineering?


0:04:45 Top 3 reasons to become an engineer


0:07:00 Why this mental exercise is important


0:08:40 How do I get my child to engage in this process?



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May 9, 2021 22 min
Show Notes: In this episode, I argue that this year's ridiculous admissions cycle is actually a blessing in disguise. It should cause us to take stock of where we are, where we're going, and how to get there.


0:01:23 Admissions as we know it - is broken


0:03:55 The new mindset


0:05:10 How to optimize for the new reality


0:06:00 The old-fashioned strategy


0:08:00 We must think differently


0:08:10 Hard-charg...

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Show Notes: In this episode, I break down when (and if) you should hire a private college counselor for your child. What if they aren't motivated?


0:01:23?9th graders


0:02:30?Motivated or unmotivated


0:03:55?My specific advice: 9th grade


0:07:10?My specific advice: 10th grade


0:10:15?My specific advice: 11th grade


0:13:00?My specific advice: 12th grade


0:14:00?What is your child's plan?


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    April 25, 2021 29 min
    Show Notes: In this episode, I discuss what motivates us to put our kids into sports. Then, I break down the three types of athletes: Div I, Div III, and recreational athletes. Finally, how do each of these athletes fare in the college admissions process??


    0:02:10?The Div I athlete


    0:05:50?The Div III athlete


    0:08:43?The recreational athlete


    0:10:20?#1: Follow the crowd


    0:11:07?#2: Exercise


    0:11:23?#3: Love of spo...

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    Show Notes: In this episode, I make the strong case that every sophomore should dedicate 4-6 weeks this summer studying for the SAT or ACT. Learn the reasons why and how to map out a plan of attack.


    0:02:40 Why study for SAT this summer


    0:05:44 Why it may not make sense


    0:06:55 Will you be smarter in the Spring?


    0:07:40 Plenty of time to recover


    0:08:22 Early SAT score to coaches


    0:08:55 Early is always better tha...

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    Show Notes: In this episode, I walk through the reasons why some of the most selective schools are only admitting 3-4% of the applicants. Once we establish the reasons why, we then tackle the tougher question of - what can you do about it?


    0:02:00 Why admit rates so low?


    0:02:18 College Rankings


    0:02:54 Artificial number of applicants


    0:03:55 Definition of applicant


    0:04:22 QuestBridge


    0:05:10 Common App



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    April 4, 2021 19 min
    Show Notes: If you have a 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th grader, this episode is for you. I advise parents on how to help their young children prepare for the Verbal section of the SAT/ACT - from a very early age. I also try to disabuse parents of the assumption that good grades in English class necessarily translate into high SAT Verbal scores. They don't. Find out why not and what you can do about it.


    0:01:37 Performing ...

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    Show Notes: In this episode, I discuss why this year's admissions results will be the toughest in years. How you should prepare for the results and what to do next.   0:01:13 Why colleges love leaders   0:03:00 7 Common leadership roles   0:04:40 How to secure leadership roles   0:11:52 Inside the mind of an admissions officer   0:14:15 Two strategies for leadership positions   0:16:30 Final advice   Follow us:
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    March 21, 2021 13 min

    Show Notes:

    In this episode, I discuss why this year's admissions results will be the toughest in years. How you should prepare for the results and what to do next.


    0:01:13 Why will admissions be so competitive this year?


    0:04:49 What will happen to yields?


    0:05:35 The long waitlist


    0:05:52 What if you're admitted?


    0:06:45 What if you're denied?


    0:07:15 What if you're wait-listed?



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    March 12, 2021 10 min

    Show Notes:

    In this episode, I reveal why GPA has become an irrelevant number in today's college admissions process.

    Here is what I discuss in this episode:

    0:01:07 The Big 3


    0:01:45 Why has GPA lost its stature?


    0:03:23 Not a new trend


    0:04:20 How colleges assess GPA


    0:05:15 What to do


    0:06:10 Do grades still matter?


    0:06:30 Case Study


    0:09:00 What metric to use to create college list



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