At MERGE, Inc. we are typically approached by students with one of two attitudes about college:

College Just Ahead1. Stressed: “I’m so overwhelmed! I don’t know where to start!” This student knows he or she is college-bound but does not have a clear plan.
2. Delusional: “My grades are fine. I will think about that when I’m a senior.” And “that” could be anything: college, volunteer hours, financial aid, etc.

It is painful to see a student, who has worked hard to maintain their grades and juggle extracurricular activities, miss out on their dream college or university because he or she didn’t apply at the right time. Maybe because he or she did not secure their SAT or ACT test date because of the cost, only to find out he or she qualifies for a fee waiver. Or it could be something much worse: the student completes 100+ volunteer hours but failed to properly document the hours for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.

It is equally painful to see a student with so much potential wait until their senior year to get serious about their grades. This student postpones submitting college applications because he or she is hoping to (finally) make the honor roll their senior year. This student needs a time machine to travel back to their 9th-grade self and say “Self, you need good grades now to be ready for college applications college later.” This student is usually scrambling for volunteer hours as well. Apparently, they do matter when applying for scholarships.

These examples highlight aspects of a complicated college admissions process. Honestly, every student faces their moments of stress and delusion. MERGE, Inc. emphasizes two words as a hedge for these moments: Start early.

There’s ALWAYS something a student can do in preparation for college. Yes, you should stay focused academically but it is important to remember that colleges seek well-rounded students. You can volunteer at a local nonprofit or for a community event. You can start searching for scholarships. You can complete 5 practice questions for the SAT or ACT each day. Do something!

There is a lot of information and useful websites on the internet to help you understand the college admissions process. MERGE, Inc. makes this information easy to digest by delivering it to you as through conversation, interactive workshops, mentoring sessions and college tours. If you are a student or a parent who doesn’t know where to start, contact us at for assistance with finding the PATH to college success.