College and Career Readiness Specialist

Nina Berler

College and Career Readiness Specialist

“My neighbor tells me that you can’t use contractions in the Personal Essay.” That’s what I heard the other day while Zooming with …


Readers come to this blog to understand the ins and outs of the college application process. Over last weekend, I had …


Running errands this morning, I saw students waiting for the bus, groups of teens walking to school and a whole lot …


We’re surrounded by videos. They’re shared through our phones, built into educational materials and included with social media. So when it comes …


The Olympics excite and motivate us. Any Olympian knows that it takes careful planning and discipline to succeed. It’s no different for college applicants. …


We’re energized by springtime – and so are our students. They’re meeting with me about hyper-charging their journeys to college and getting a jumpstart …

4 Min Read

Last week’s snow made the holidays feel very real. During Thanksgiving break, college applicants and their families should relax and unwind. But in the coming …


It’s a new week, complete with an election and no Early deadlines! If you’re the parent of a senior who’s just submitted, …


Between new students, revised ebooks and webinars, it’s been a busy season for this college counselor. Here’s what’s hot in the world of …

4 Min Read

Between AP exams and PARCC testing, it hasn’t been a typical week around many high schools. Hopefully students, especially juniors, are gearing …



May 2018

Great Colleges Go Bold!

Posted by Nina Berler

It’s been a week to honor the bold. Last Sunday evening and again the next morning, I rode New Orleans’ historic St. Charles …



Apr 2018

College applicants: apply Early and often

Posted by Nina Berler

Most of the results are in, and while some college applicants are celebrating, many students, parents and counselors are finding causes for concern. …


It’s spring. Will students blossom into the college applicants we know they can be? It’ll take looking beyond the March Madness and …


This week, you may have felt the effects of a (hopefully final) winter storm, especially if you lost power. Some students feel powerless …


The Olympics are wrapping up this weekend. No more hype and outcomes we can’t control! And while we can’t control students’ admissions …


  A new year—a time to refresh. What, that’s not the case in your household? If you find yourself fearing the new …



Feb 2018

What’s Going on Now in the College Process?

Posted by Nina Berler

A few weeks into a new year, college-related topics continue to make headlines. New Jersey’s own Scott White, a veteran school and independent counselor, …



Feb 2018

Get Ready for February

Posted by Nina Berler

What should a parent of a high school student expect in February? A continuation of what was going on in January! Hopefully, …

Campus Aerial (Strong Start)Sized

Whether it relates to saving for your student’s education, institutional fundraising or setting tuition, economics plays a major role in the college process. …


Around the country, college students have moved in. (Barack and Michelle moved Malia into Harvard during the eclipse, the day before her …


In my years as a college counselor, I have seen many bright students struggle with the questions asked by individual colleges outside …



Aug 2017

Get Online. College Applications are Live!

Posted by Nina Berler

Are you getting ancy about college applications? Do you have or know rising seniors who are feeling the heat? unCommon Apps is …



Jul 2017

The College Essay: Do It While It’s Hot!

Posted by Nina Berler

It’s hot here. Glancing at my Google Drive while writing this post, I see that a student has been working on his Common …



Jul 2017

What? Common App Essay Not Done?

Posted by Nina Berler

A road trip, some time at the pool, and the Common App Personal Essay. What more could a student want? Here are …


It’s officially summer! Relax, enjoy, and don’t forget about college applications. Questions? unCommon Apps is around to provide answers. How do colleges review …



Jun 2017

Summer Action Items for College Applicants

Posted by Nina Berler

Depending on their high school, students have either taken final exams or switched into summer mode—unless they’re rising seniors. Here’s what’s trending just in …



May 2017

Colleges Focus After National Decision Day

Posted by Nina Berler

Until recently, the media has focused on college applicants and their admissions decisions. With National College Decision Day behind us, we’re seeing …


And they’re off . . . Could we have a bigger week for celebration (other than the last week of school)? Monday, …


For Spring Break, I combined business and pleasure in a whirlwind Southern college adventure. Included were 19 campuses in DC, Virginia, North Carolina …


March goes out like a lamb. March Madness ends in March. High school seniors now know their options for college . . …



Mar 2017

March Madness for College Applicants

Posted by Nina Berler

We’re getting close. Within two weeks, certainly by the time March Madness concludes, seniors will have received the bulk of their admissions …


Sure enough, March is coming in like a lion. But for college applicants awaiting their decisions, will it go out like a …


Who doesn’t love a snow day? As I create this post, snow is swirling, students are (probably still) sleeping, and parents are …


Next weekend, the Falcons and Patriots will compete in Super Bowl LI. As each team knows, getting Super Bowl experience is nothing …



Jan 2017

unCommon Coast to Coast

Posted by Nina Berler

From coast to coast, there’s action on the college front. Here’s what’s going on: Go West, College Counselors! No trip to the …



Jan 2017

To Happy Endings!

Posted by Nina Berler

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed time with your families that did not include any discussion about the college process. …


Late last week, Early Decision applicants starting hearing from colleges. Early Decision is not for every student, but it can be enormously beneficial …

4 Min Read


Nov 2016

Touring Colleges and Giving Thanks

Posted by Nina Berler

By presidential proclamation, November is College Application month. Don’t we know it! While seniors were working hard on Regular Decision applications, I …

4 Min Read

Last Tuesday was not only the start of a new month; it was also Early Decision Day. On Monday, October 31, …

4 Min Read


Oct 2016

College Process Tricks and Treats

Posted by Nina Berler

It’s the time of year for Halloween tricks and treats. If your student is a senior or a junior, pay close attention. You …

4 Min Read

The Global Antidote: Going to College in Europe Earlier this year, Money reported that “Americans are Moving to Europe for Free College …

3 Min Read

Fall is quite the busy time in the college-prep world. As I create this post, I’m streaming the annual New York Times Symposium on …

4 Min Read


Oct 2016

Parent of a Stressed Senior? Go unCommon!

Posted by Nina Berler

  On this rainy weekend, seniors tell me they’re stressed. After all, they’re about to embark on a major life transition. But …

3 Min Read


Sep 2016

Have you seen the latest poll results?

Posted by Nina Berler

These days, that’s quite the popular question. But I’m just not into polls. They fluctuate. They’re subject to sample size and geographic …

4 Min Read

Ready, set, interview!  I just finished teaching two sections of “Mastering the Interview,” a class for this year’s Hudson School seniors. The …

5 Min Read


Sep 2016

The Road to College Starts With unCommon Apps!

Posted by Nina Berler

On a steamy Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, I stopped by Columbia University before heading over to an event hosted by …

5 Min Read

Go a few weeks without blogging? Impossible! School may be out, but developments in the college process continue to unfold. unCommon Apps …


  HNYE! HNY!  How often have we seen these abbreviations while scanning our email and social media? But when it comes to …

4 Min Read

The summer before junior or senior year of high school is a popular time to check out colleges. Typically, when a family …


  Yesterday, a client and her son were stuck in the airport after a college visit. Fortunately, it was a good trip, …


Several years ago, I began using the PSAT and SATⓇ to teach core skills to my younger private students. My favorite …


Over the years, I’ve offered and received many bits of advice about starting out and managing a career. On the occasion of …



May 2015

What’s Going on with Testing

Posted by Nina Berler

What’s Going on with Testing: A Primer for Parents of (Even Rising) High School Students When I sit down with families as …

4 Min Read


May 2015

Welcome to unCommon Apps

Posted by Nina Berler

Working with unCommon Apps ensures that teens have the skills and perspective necessary to succeed in high school, college, and beyond. We …

1 Min Read