Fourteenth Floor

Fourteenth Floor

Contact information, map and directions, contact form, opening hours, services, ratings, photos, videos and announcements from Fourteenth Floor, Educational consultant, .

Fourteenth Floor is an educational consulting and counseling company designed to help students and their families successful reach their post-secondary education goals.


We would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your interest in and support for Fourteenth Floor over the last few years. It has been a pleasure to work with and be of service to you.

With that said, the time has come to move forward with opportunities that require the closure of the company. As we wind down, we highly recommend that all who are seeking college planning resources visit Sara Harberson’s website and social media pages (link to her page below). Sara is a very accomplished and nationally-known college counselor and offers a great number of free and low-cost resources that will assist your students tremendously in their planning and preparation for post-secondary success.

Thank you again for your patronage. Wishing you the best beyond the Fourteenth Floor!

Sara Harberson America's College Counselor. Founder of Application Nation™. Author of Soundbite. Mom of three.


When school is out for summer, students should find some down time before digging into post-secondary applications. Rest and recovery is just as important as thoughtful preparation.


When completing the activities section on college applications, write in the present tense.

Instead of:

“I packaged groceries and collected winter coats for families in need.”


“I pack groceries and collect winter coats for families in need.”


Students are advised to review academic policies at the post-secondary institutions they may be interested in attending before making high school course selection decisions. What may be permissible at the high school level, may not be at the collegiate level. For example, while many high schools offer American Sign Language through their world language departments, many colleges do not offer credit for the course or the opportunity to test out of language requirements for ASL.


As acceptance rates for the college Class of 2027 (entering fall 2023) begin to be publicized, we are seeing well-known selective universities remaining fairly steady compared to the last couple of years. Lower acceptances rates are now appearing among the “next tier” of selective universities as the increase in overall applications filed begins to trickle down.

For example, Vanderbilt University had a lower acceptance rate this year (5.6%) than Duke University (6%). And though not yet released, the University of Michigan’s acceptance rate (17.69% for the Class of 2026) is expected to drop significantly this year, possibly into single digits.

Students are urged to review the most recent acceptance rates when considering applying to any institution. Updated information, which allows students to set realistic expectations, is a helpful tool in reducing stress during the application process.


Test optional policies are expected to continue only through the next admissions cycle. College-bound students graduating from high school after 2024 should plan to prepare for the ACT and new SAT formats, as it is likely they will be required to submit scores in connection with applications.


Be cautious about sharing AP score reports in connection with college applications. Our rule of thumb is to only send scores that are at least one score higher than the lowest accepted score listed on the institution’s advanced placement page.

Remember that AP exam scores are not a required part of any application and, as such, should only be included if you are certain they will be helpful. There are many reasons a student might have taken an AP class but not the exam. Do not assume the institution will conclude that an absent score is equivalent to a low score.

College Scholarship Statistics [2023]: Yearly Total + Analysis 29/05/2023

This is a very informative article showing updated scholarship statistics, and it includes a state-by-state set of links to available public scholarships. We highly recommend taking a few minutes to look through the breakdowns - merit-based vs athletic, public vs private, scholarships by major, and more.

College Scholarship Statistics [2023]: Yearly Total + Analysis A data analysis report on scholarship statistics including the annual amount of scholarships awarded and how many students receive one.


We talk about best practices here so that families can prepare the best possible plan for post-secondary education. With that said, families should understand that no student is perfect. There will be categories in which a student is strong and some that are more of a challenge. And that’s ok.

While stressful, the system for applying for post-secondary education generally works to lead students to the right fit for them in the end.


When writing the personal statement or other primary college application essay, students should choose a topic that demonstrates their unique strengths. While personal struggles are often a catalyst for character building, those struggles often arise from events that are too common to make an application stand out. Instead of talking about recovering from a sports injury, an emotional trauma, or other childhood hurdle, instead choose a subject that shows a circumstance, event, or characteristic that is unique to the student.


Students who intend to enter careers that will require advanced studies beyond a bachelor’s degree should consider the impact of and prerequisites for graduate level studies when choosing an undergraduate program.

How will you fund the entirety of your education?
Which majors tend to lead into your desired graduate program?
Which locations are possible, keeping in mind that diverse programming and instruction is widely favored by post-secondary institutions?

Long term goals should always be on your radar.


Though “legacy” preferences are on the decline, many post-secondary institutions still offer them. Students who wish to take advantage of these preferences should carefully review admisssions policies at their target program. It is common for a preferential review to be given only in the early admissions rounds, and not during the regular decision period. Students should be prepared with the knowledge of how to take advantage of the window of opportunity, if applicable.


ChatGPT may be convenient, but it is not capable of drafting a top tier essay. It is a reasonable source for brainstorming ideas, but when it’s time to put pen to paper, students should use their own pen.


It is rare for a student to use their first personal statement. More commonly, a student will run through several ideas and drafts before settling on the right one. Make the most of summer time off from school by starting to write no later than July 1.


Advanced Placement (AP) courses are the scholarship(s) your student can give to themself. The cost of the exam fee can save you thousands of dollars in tuition, and potentially also a semester or more of time. In addition, AP classes are favored by college admissions teams due to the national curriculum that allows for an apples to apples comparison of student achievement.
We strongly recommend taking as many AP courses as a student can successfully complete.


Every student applying to college should apply to at least one rolling admissions school. Apply as early as you possibly can (most begin accepting applications August 1st). Having one offer of admission early on, often before Senior year even starts, makes the entire process less stressful.


Universities across the country have very limited “full ride” or “full tuition” scholarships available. For example, Michigan State University, with approximately 10,000 incoming freshman each year, offers just 15 “full ride” and 20 “full tuition” scholarships. In other words, just .35% of their incoming class will receive full tuition awards through merit-based financial aid that does not require repayment.

While a few select universities are making strides toward meeting demonstrated need with options that do not require repayment, students and their families should be cognizant of the financial realities of enrolling in post-secondary programs and begin exploring the many options available to meet them as early as possible.


Extracurricular activities should support your stated major/program. For example, if you state an intention to pursue a STEM-based program, the robotics team is a preferable activity to the school newspaper staff.

But, here’s a hint - there are always ways to tweak your plan in your favor. If you really want to be on the school newspaper in the situation above, volunteer to write a STEM-based series or column, which will bring your preferred activity within support for your stated intention.


It’s College Decision Day! All offers of admission for fall 2023 must be accepted by today.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!🎓🎉
Wherever your decision takes you, make the most of every open door and make friends while walking through each one of them. You did it!!


Over the course of many years of study, we have seen families choose a myriad of school options for their students: public schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschool, “feeder” schools, technical schools, and everything else under the sun. We have seen families seeking advantages for their students in many forms, good and bad, and we have seen families advance ideas of which opportunities outside of school their students should pursue in order to improve their chances of post-secondary success.

In our experience, there are two factors that dictate a students’ post-secondary path:

1. How hard the student works in the school they attend, and
2. The student’s personal interests.

Each individual student will influence their own path, no matter how many external forces are applied. We recommend pouring the energy and resources families have to devote to education toward these two factors.


Things to do before the end of the school year:

Double check your course selection for the fall to make sure it is correct. We strongly recommend that you have at least 5 core classes on your schedule.

Ask for any letters of recommendation that you will need to apply to programs beginning August 1st.

Get your work permit if you will be taking on a job over the summer.

Make a list of the top three extracurricular activities you might like to participate in next school year and find out how to apply/tryout for them so that you can take care of administrative matters over the summer.

Enroll in a summer activity that supports your academic interests if you have not already.



We are pleased to welcome Dan Gilmer to the Fourteenth Floor team!

Dan has an extensive background working with students and educators in a variety of settings, and comes to us with a vast business background. Dan will be contributing to our offerings in many capacities, including consulting and research positions. We invite you to read more about all that Dan brings to the Fourteenth Floor at our website (link below).

Welcome, Dan!


Providing recommenders with a student profile/resume and a list of points that the student is proud of from their class will help create a more powerful LOR. Ideally, a student wants their recommender to be able to say they are the best in the class/grade/ever at one or more skills.


Don’t wait to start researching!
The earlier the better!


What your student does with the opportunities presented to them in high school has far more to do with post-secondary success than which high school they attend…And even more so with the opportunities they find on their own.

NACAC National College Fair – Detroit 17/04/2023

The NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) College Fair is at Suburban Collection in Novi tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18th!
Not located near Novi, MI? Check out the NACAC college fair website for a date and location near you. Here is the link to the Novi fair, including the LONG list of participating institutions!

NACAC National College Fair – Detroit Please be advised that all attendees must pass through metal detectors at each fair entrance. We strongly encourage attendees to leave large bags at home to expedite this process. NACAC will have bags available on-site for attendees to carry fair materials.


When committing to a program, college or otherwise, keep the wise words of Jim Rohn in the back of your mind, “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”

Make the best decision you can based on your options and what you know today, but remember that you can change your mind at any time.

Your time, your money, your life, your story.

Colleges start to prepare for losing Supreme Court case 16/04/2023

The pending Supreme Court review of affirmative action in college admissions should be on the radar of all high school families preparing for college, but most particularly the Class of 2024, who will be impacted in significant ways should the decision come down as expected.

Colleges start to prepare for losing Supreme Court case Some colleges are starting to plan for what is widely expected to happen: the end of affirmative action. They just aren’t saying so.


Ideally students will have one LOR from each of the “English side” and “STEM side” of their high school career. Junior year teachers are preferred, but a strong letter from a sophomore teacher is great as well.

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college?

Videos (show all)

Regular decision round and waitlisting are on our topic list for the March Facebook Live!