Help with College & Grad School Applications/Expert Profile

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I can answer questions regarding any part of the college and graduate school application process, such as: 1.) What are colleges looking for in an essay? If I wrote on [a given topic], would that help or hurt me? 2.) Should I include a portfolio of music in an application? How should I do it? 3.) Does applying for financial aid affect my chances of admission? 4.) Should I get a recommendation from a sophomore year teacher as opposed to a junior year teacher? Why? 5.) How much does the SAT/ACT matter in the admissions process at [a given school]? 6.) What are my chances at [a given school]?

Experience in the area

2005 - Present, President, Options for College, Inc. (, New York, NY - Have worked with approximately 500 families and students on the college and graduate school admissions process - Have trained over 200 guidance counselors in NY, California, and India - Quoted in US News and World Report's America's Best Colleges: 2009, Boston Magazine, Boston Globe, Yale Daily News, Harvard Crimson, Columbia Spectator, and others - Have published various articles on topics related to college admissions 2004-5, Interviewer, Harvard Undergraduate Admissions Office 2001-3, New York City Teaching Fellow 2001, American Institutes for Research - worked on issues related to developing the Voluntary National Test 2000, Interviewer, Yale Undergraduate Admissions Office




Publication list available upon request. Most common sources are US Department of Education and Education Update.


2007 - Present, Certified Educational Planner, AICEP 2006 - Present, NACAC, Voting Member 2006 - Present, IECA, Voting Member 2006, C.A.S., Harvard Graduate School of Education 2005, Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education 2003, M.S.Ed., Bank Street College of 2000, B.A., Yale University

Awards and Honors

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Grant (2006-7) Received award/stipend for project entitled An Experimental Intervention: Assessing the Value of Personalized College Counseling for Low Income, High Merit Students. Award covers tuition. Project also received Mellon Foundation support. Roy E. Larsen Award (2003-2004) Received award that provides full tuition and fees plus a stipend to first-year doctoral students at Harvard Graduate School of Education in the field of research. Also received identical HGSE grant of same amount for the 2004-2005 school year. New York City Teaching Fellowship (June 2001 - May 2003) Selected participant in alternative certification and teacher recruitment program. Awarded $3,000 stipend and full tuition for an M.S.Ed. at Bank Street College of Education. AmeriCorps (2002 and 2003) Received two annual $4,725 educational awards for completing national service in education.

Past/Present Clients

Yeshiva University HS for Boys, Rudolf Steiner School, Christian Unified Schools of San Diego, Merrill Lynch, NYU Family Life Center, Princeton Review ACS - India

What do you like about this subject?

Helping students find themselves in their writing, which only about 1 in 10 applicants even approaches doing in this process. This is a labor of love for me.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I'd like for there to be a more transparent relationship between applicants and universities, such that students who really want to go somewhere can find out exactly how. I think that is the only real route to equity.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

If you apply correctly to safety schools, they become scholarship schools. Scholarships may include special professors access, dorms, lounges, internships, and more. Do not treat them as second class citizens!

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

College admissions is neither intended NOR DESIGNED to validate who you are. It is meant to, in a focused and efficient manager, understand your academic ability and what you would contribute to campus. Being clear about who you are IS unique, and WILL get you in.

Average Ratings

Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
NM03/04/12101010Thank you Keith for your very objective .....
Nick02/16/12101010Thank you. I definately trust your opinion .....
John06/04/10101010Thank you sir for your time and .....
Alex02/23/10101010Thank you so much! This actually gives .....

Recent Answers from Keith Berman

2012-02-29 Chances for admission:

Hello NM,    There are a lot of factors here, so I may not be able to give the most satisfying answer.  As point of fact, the quality of the essay is one of the biggest factors in transfer admission, as

2012-02-15 Grad school letter of recommendation:

Dear Nick,    To be clear, I would not suggest doing this.  I too feel strongly about my wife and her professional acumen -- I can't imagine many husbands feel otherwise, but writing a letter to that effect

2011-01-29 application for Master degree:

Dear Ali,    This is a good question, Ali.  There are never black and white answers when it comes to this type of question.    My suggestion to you is to contact the universities to which you are applying

2011-01-29 Application to Master degree in US:

Dear Ali,    This is a good question, Ali.  There are never black and white answers when it comes to this type of question.    My suggestion to you is to contact the universities to which you are applying

2011-01-16 Appropriate to mention illness in a personal statement?:

Yes, you should write a personal statement on this (you can actually add an essay), but also document the illness with doctors notes -- otherwise you are on an island.  There is no way to skip this explanation


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