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Jorge Rivera (International)

Jorge's father contacted me during the spring of his junior year while he was attending an international school in Mexico City. He wanted his son to go to university in the United States and therefore needed guidance to find a college that would address Jorge's needs. The father was only familiar with the universities that enjoyed international notoriety such as Duke, Harvard and UCLA. He knew that his son, though capable, would not qualify to be admitted at these schools. His son was a well intentioned young man who was too preoccupied with enjoying Mexico City's many distractions rather than focusing on his studies. As a result, his grades were average to good. His father did understand the advantages of an American applications though, and he wanted Jorge to benefit from the perks that go along with attending university in the US such as a solid education, good facilities and excellent contacts for later years when his son would be working to expand the family business's sphere of influence.

When I was contacted by Mr. Rivera, we set up a phone interview for the following week so that I could speak with Jorge. During the interview, Jorge displayed a good command of the English language though it was apparent that he was struggling to find the right words to describe himself and some of his strengths and weaknesses. He had learned English mostly in the classroom and once, in 8th grade, he had spent a month in New England attending a summer camp. He was struggling with some adjectives and had difficulties understanding some of the questions. As a whole though, he was able to answer the questions satisfactorily but it was clear that he would need some additional instruction in order to get the TOEFL score needed to attend some of the colleges he could be considered for. Otherwise, Jorge was a nice, young man who displayed a level of sophistication often seen in children growing up in foreign lands.

Upon completion of the interview and receipt of Jorge's school transcript, a preliminary college list was created identifying some college that would be a good match for Jorge based on his requests and performance in high school. The list was emailed to Jorge for his review. He would need to research the colleges and email back a shorter list. At that point, calls were made to the different colleges on the list to ascertain their requirements for TOEFL scores.

These requirements were then passed on to Jorge. Based on his proficiency, Jorge had a good chance of attaining the required scores of some of the colleges but there were others where he fell somewhat to very short. Through constant communication, Jorge came to the conclusion that of those institutions that required higher TOEFL scores, three of them in particular, were of interest to him. It was, therefore recommended that Jorge attend a summer program in the US that offered both ESL courses and TOEFL preparatory classes. Jorge applied to one in Boston, MA and was accepted. He spent a month of the summer enrolled in the program and remained in the US, staying with a friend of his parents afterwards. Since schools in Mexico began the year later than in the US, Jorge stayed in the US until the middle of September. He used this time to visit some of the colleges on his list. Days before returning to Mexico, Jorge came to meet with me. He spoke of the colleges he had seen and then identified those where he wanted to apply. Both he and I sat down and completed some applications, concentrating on the personal statement which allowed Jorge to express his reasons for wanting to attend college in the US. This meeting was also a chance for me to get to know Jorge on a different level so that if calls to the colleges were necessary, a more accurate picture of Jorge could be relayed to the admissions counselor. Shortly after the meeting, Jorge went home to Mexico where he began his senior year. Jorge's TOEFL scores qualified him to be considered to all colleges he had applied to but one. Unfortunately, that college was one of his top choices. In response to his desire to attend, I called an admission representative and advocated on his behalf. It had not been clear on the application exactly how involved Jorge was with some of his extra curricular activities, most notably the community service work he had done through his church. In addition, Jorge sent the college progress reports throughout his senior year. His efforts proved fruitful as he was accepted and chose to attend his first choice, Elon University, in North Carolina.