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The fall season is marked by a flurry of admissions activities as schools throughout the country rollout the red carpet and welcome perspective families for open houses, visitation days, receptions and tours. Regardless of your academic goals- boarding, charter, private, or religious - kindergarten thru college, the stakes and emotions run high and the tension can be cut with a knife in admissions reception areas. For years parents have obsessed about grades, standardized test scores, and scholarships.

Yet one underestimated factor that makes a powerful impact in the quest for admission is great social skills. Knowing and using contemporary etiquette throughout the admissions process is quintessential to success and can identify applicants as a “superstar” in the crowded field of the competition. A local tri-state area company, Socially Savvy, is empowering students with the confidence and leadership skills to use to their advantage in Outclass the Competition- Influential Admissions seminars.

You only get one chance to make a great first impression-within a blink of an eye opinions are formed and imprinted in our memory. These actions are powerful because they are sensory based- looking someone in the eye, how you shake someone’s hand, and how you express yourself culminate to make a lasting impression. At life’s pivotal moments, knowing how to confidently implement these skills can impact the direction of your life.

Hilary Brennan, the director of Socially Savvy, a Moorestown, NJ firm trained at the Etiquette and Leadership Institute in Athens, GA, an affiliate of The Protocol School of Washington. As a mother of teenage sons, she understands the challenges that young people face and is passionate about teaching students to be confident, prepared, and aware for every circumstance.

Students represent their own personal ”brand” and their actions, words, dress and online presence speak volumes about their ability to step up and rise to the occasion. Unfortunately students’ technological connection to their world has created a chasm of underdeveloped and unrefined interpersonal skills. This shortfall can be glaring at life’s biggest moments and individuals can be their own worst enemy.

Despite the economy, parents still strive to give their children the best chance to succeed in life. Public schools in America are under siege due to budget cuts, bureaucracy and violence. Simultaneously our nation’s private schools have become international destinations with students from abroad flooding our schools and increasing the numbers of admissions contenders.

Naturally grades, standardized test scores and activities cannot be underestimated. Yet long before the sorting of the “accepts” and “declines” begins Socially Savvy outlines valuable measures for every step of the admissions process so that students know how to meaningfully increase their chances.

Outclass the Competition seminars detail how to make a great introduction, the art of a proper handshake, communication strategizes to outline your accomplishments and goals, positive body language, how to dress the part, as well as verbal, written and unspoken gestures that make an impact. Socially Savvy wants you to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Don’t leave anything to chance –we will teach you the savvy tips for success in admissions and everyday life.

Regardless of where Mrs. Brennan travels in the country, people eagerly recall the way they felt when a young person confidently stepped up, looked them in the eye, shook their hand and introduced themselves. Individuals who can execute those skills adeptly have their world open up to them regardless of their talents and skills. Harvard University studies have documented that 85% of people are hired, retained and promoted based on their social skills rather than their technical skills.