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Advice for Class of 2021

Episode 11: Advice for the Class of 2021



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The Spring of 2020 has brought about many changes for college admissions and with that comes many questions from parents and students about what now? Where do we start and what should our focus be if we have a rising senior? Deena will be discussing the changes in college admissions due to the pandemic including the submission of ACT/SAT scores to test-optional schools, approaches to the common application, advice for the Class of 2021, and what Deena wishes she knew before attending college.

Our guest today is Deena Maerowitz, a partner at The Bertram Group in Westport Connecticut. Deena has had a multifaceted career, including experience in graduate admissions and working in the public policy arena around education. As an educational consultant with The Bertram Group, Deena advises students throughout the entire college admissions process, planning both undergraduate and graduate educations. Her clients have been admitted to Ivy League and top tier colleges throughout the United States.


Key Takeaways:

  • How to answer the question on the Common App about what you did as a student during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Testing: Should students still take the SAT and ACT if more and more colleges are test-blind and test-optional?
  • Focus on doing things within your control
  • Tips for a successful Common App
  • How to research colleges online and which resources are available and most useful
  • Why being proactive is nearly essential to the process
  • Staying wary of bias in the online resources published by the college or university themselves
  •  Why where you go matters less than what you do when you get there
  • Creating independent students and children to send off to college to succeed and thrive


Important Resources and Links:

The Bertram Group Website, Facebook, LinkedIn

Challenge Success


Meet Deena Maerowitz

The Bertram Group


Deena graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and received her law degree and Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She has served as a Counsel in the U.S. Congress, where she focused on education issues, and in the private sector for national public interest organizations, such as the Children’s Defense Fund. Prior to becoming an educational consultant, Deena was Associate Director of Admissions at Columbia University Business School, where she reviewed hundreds of applications and gained keen insights into what makes a candidate stand out.

The Bertram Group, FB


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We hope you found our show helpful whether you are just starting your college search or you are helping your son or daughter get ready to start college in the fall. If you have additional information to share on resources available for students and families, please add a comment below. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on our show, please send us an email at


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Episode 11 Full Transcript