Joshua from Suffern, NY

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Our consultants have worked with over 600 families and counting and invite you to read what they have to say about their experiences. Here is one example of a student from Suffern in Rockland County, New York who we helped find and attend a school that was his best fit. His name has been changed to maintain his privacy.

A Signature College Counseling Rockland County, NY Success Story

Joshua, who attended Suffern High School in Rockland County, is a student who we knew would be in the engineering field from the moment we met him. There are those few students who, when you meet them and they tell you exactly what their major is going to be, you believe them wholeheartedly. This was the case with Joshua. His passion was with robotics, the Suffern robotics team was his second family, and his time spent there was his home away from home. We knew that Joshua’s parents were not going to qualify for financial aid and did not want to pay $70,000 per year for his college education. They felt that Joshua would be awarded a significant merit scholarship package, given his academic credentials.

The College Search

Coming to us at the beginning of his junior year, Joshua already knew that he wanted a rigorous academic environment that also embraced team collaboration and not a cutthroat student body. He wanted a Jewish presence and the offering of Kosher food, if possible. He was emphatic about not being at a school that was a sports school since that wasn’t something he was interested in. He also wanted to be within driving distance of home, which meant that we were looking at the northeast for school selection.

Joshua was enrolled in the most rigorous courses at Suffern High School, taking 5-6 AP courses a year, earning A’s in each. He also earned close to perfect scores on his SAT’s and ACT’s, which was a huge plus. With his grades and test scores, Joshua wanted to include some Ivy League schools on his list. He wanted to be sure that we also included top rated engineering schools and, where possible, those that had a robotics engineering major (which were few and far between at the time). I did explain to Joshua and his parents that Joshua would not get any merit scholarships from any of the Ivy League schools because, although they will meet 100% of financial need for a student, they do not provide merit scholarships.

List of Targeted Schools

Joshua’s list had a range of schools that included:

• Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a very collaborative school focusing on teamwork that also has a robotics engineering major
• Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, with a total enrollment of 360 students and intensely selective
• Northeastern University, the grandfather of the co-op program and considered a professionally oriented university
• Brown University, with the most flexible curriculum of all schools, and an Ivy to boot
• SUNY Binghamton, with an excellent engineering program and a safety school for Joshua
• Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Stevens Institute of Technology, which are STEM focused schools
• University of Rochester
• Rochester Institute of Technology

The End Result
Although Franklin W. Olin and Brown were top choices for Joshua, in the end he didn’t get accepted to either. The level of selectivity is extraordinary at both, even for someone like Joshua who had all of the goods to gain acceptance and thrive at each. I always say there is a silver lining in each cloud. Joshua struggled with deciding between two schools: WPI and Northeastern, where he was offered a spot into their honors program and plenty of merit scholarship money as well. He was determined to attend WPI for the Robotics program they offered and their collaborative environment but they didn’t offer him the funding that Northeastern did.


It was a struggle for several weeks and although his parents went back to WPI for additional funds, they didn’t offer any at that time. In addition, when Joshua visited Northeastern he met with one of the engineering professors who spent hours with him explaining their program, the research opportunities he would be offered starting in his freshman year and the co-ops that were available. In the end, Joshua made the decision to attend Northeastern and he has been more than thriving since. He is a mechanical engineering major, he was involved in robotics research starting in his freshman year, he is on his third co-op, one being at a startup in the Silicon Valley, he’s president of the Northeastern Robotics Club and so much more. He never looked back, is thriving and the world is truly his oyster. Funny thing is, WPI came back after Joshua committed to Northeastern and offered him more money. Needless to say he turned them down and is thankful every day that he did.

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