Safety on College Campuses

A few months ago a family approached me and asked for help in their college search for their daughter. They came prepared for the meeting and had a list of schools that satisfied both the academic and social needs of their daughter. What they wanted from me was to gather information for them about the safety of the campuses they had chosen. And with that charge, I began my search and discovered  an actual piece of legislation called The [...]

What’s New On the Common Application?

As one admission cycle comes to an end, a new one cannot be far behind. The Common Application, one of the more popular methods of applying to college, is slowly releasing what’s new, and, in some cases, what is improved with the 2021-2022 application. The Common Application announced the first big change a few weeks ago with the prompts for the personal essay for the 2021-2022 cycle which include the following:  Some students have a background, identity, interest, or [...]

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

On January 19th, 2021, the College Board shook the college admission community with news that it will no longer offer Subject Tests or the writing component of the SAT. Already the current class of 2022 is feeling the pressure of not knowing what the admission landscape will look like amidst an ongoing raging pandemic. But to add salt to some already fresh wounds, they hear this news. High school counselors are applauding the announcement--less administrative responsibilities on their part [...]

Decisions they are coming!

Congratulations to all seniors who are receiving amazing news from your Early Decision, Early Action, and Rolling Decision schools! You worked hard and your efforts have paid off.  But please remember that not everyone is on the receiving end of such good news. Some of your peers were unable to apply to an Early Decision school because of financial constraints while others are unfortunately receiving  disappointing news. All too often there seems to be no rhyme or reason why [...]

Turn Your Camera On and Get Engaged!

It’s time for current high school  juniors to begin thinking about their college admission journey. At this point, there are still so many unknowns. Will the class of 2022 be able to secure testing? Will schools across the country continue to adopt a test optional policy? How will this year’s cycle impact next year’s cycle? What remains constant in the review process is the weight that letters of recommendations hold. These letters written by teachers and counselors provide an [...]

Standardized Testing in the Era of COVID

COVID 19 has wreaked havoc across every industry in this country. And  higher education has not been spared. Universities across the country are grappling with not only moving classes online, figuring out how to manage virtual graduations, enrolling students for the class of 2024, but they also have to look ahead at the upcoming admission cycle for the class of 2025 whose landscape changes daily.  Here are some things admission officers need to consider. Grading. Some high schools have [...]

Campus Visits in the Era of Covid-19

With college campuses shut down across the country, it is impossible for prospective students to visit campuses and attend information sessions. They will be unable to observe the school’s culture, get a sense of the academic rigor, and talk to current students. All of these would have ultimately determine if a school would be a good fit. It is disappointing for the student. Plans have to be changed, and their spring break is not at all what it was [...]

Common Application Prompts 2020!

After sending a survey to thousands of  college counselors and other stakeholders, the Common Application has announced that, for the fourth year in a row, it has decided to keep the same six prompts (see prompts below). For counselors, this news is a relief as no additional preparation will be necessary to help their students tackle their essays. The release of the questions is also a signal to rising seniors that there is no time but the present to [...]

For Goodness Sake, Open Your Email!

Congratulations to all the seniors out there who have applied and met their November 1st deadlines.  You managed to send or self report your standardized scores. You wrote a compelling personal narrative and edited it and revised it. And then edited and revised it some more.  You compiled your activity lists and wrote descriptions of each activity. You secured letters of recommendation and made sure that transcripts were ordered and sent to each school. You filled out lots of [...]

Landscape Replaces Adversity Scores

It wasn’t too long ago that the College Board, the company that administers the SAT, announced that it would be implementing a new change in the scores that are sent to colleges. In addition to the students’ test scores, an Environmental Context Dashboard (known as the Adversity Rating) would be included. The basic gist of the ratings is the following:  On a scale of 1-100, the College Board would score students based on the adversity they have faced in [...]

A Step in the Right Direction: Changes in This Year’s Common Application

After years of pressure from high profile politicians, civil rights activists, particularly those who advocate for Ban the Box, and educational professional organizations who fight tirelessly to make higher education accessible and inclusive, the Common Application for the 2019-2020 admission cycle set to roll out late July will look a little different. For the first time since 2006, the Common Application has dropped the question about applicants’ criminal history causing civil rights activists to celebrate. The website states that  [...]

The Ever Changing Timeline

It seems to me that the college application season is growing shorter and shorter. When I first began working with high school students, I made sure to limit my travels to after December in case more time was needed to submit applications. But this timeline is changing and it is changing fast.   University of Virginia recently announced that after a ten year hiatus from offering an Early Decision, it has been reinstated as an option for the 2019-2020 [...]

College Board Announces New Initiative: Adversity Ratings

Each year over two million students sit for the SAT, an exam that tests for aptitude in both math and English.  The scores are then reported to colleges and universities and added to the applicant’s file which also include transcripts, letters of recommendations,  and the Common Application itself. This past week the College Board, the company that administers the test, has announced that it will be adding an adversity rating to its report.  The College Board will collect this [...]

What is an Alternative Decision?

As if the college application and admissions process is not daunting enough, there is a new trend in what college counselors around the nation are calling “alternative admission decisions.” Instead of following the traditional trajectory of a college pathway which typically begins the fall semester of freshman year, colleges and universities across the country are offering a select group of students a different path.  Some schools are offering a spring semester admission while others are offering a guarantee transfer [...]

Words of Wisdom When A College Decision Does Not Go Your Way

I love how Lawrence Momo captures the disappointment of the potential denial of deferral from a college, especially as colleges are beginning to release  Early Decisions. I remember making many trips with my daughter to the local ice cream store after she began hearing from her schools; I bought her anything she wanted and gave her a day to mourn the college that did not accept her. It is so hard watching young people experience rejection, and for many [...]

And the Decisions Are Rolling In…

Decisions are starting to roll in. Along with this comes waves of emotion from  applicants and their parents.  The tension and anticipation is palpable and the reality is that it is out of our hands. The internet is flooded with articles and with words of advice on how to navigate this unmapped territory of a deferral or even a rejection. I am a big fan of Rick Clark who is not only a seasoned admission officer, but also a [...]

Parenting During the College Admissions Season

I spend a lot of my day reading articles and following blogs of admission officers at universities who always give helpful advice and a new perspective at which to look at the college admission process. One of my favorite bloggers is Rick Clark, an admissions officer at Georgia Tech. He writes with passion and always leaves the reader with an important message. His most recent blog resonated with me, and I thought I would pass it along to you. [...]

Bite Your Tongue!

Another wonderful article written about why we need to allow our students to be themselves in their college essay.  I recently worked with a student on an essay.  She wrote about how she tried to bring a sense of school spirit to her classmates even when their football team had never won a game. The essay perfectly captured who she is and what makes her the most proud. A few days later she came to me and said that [...]

Are Colleges Pushing Students to Do Too Much in High School?

I love Jaschik’s  article (see below)  as it speaks to so many issues that are facing our young students, and it is time for colleges to step up and take some ownership. This past week I sat in on two college rep visits and the emphasis put  on what they call "rigor of curriculum" left the students feeling anxious and quite honestly confused. In order to show rigor, do they need to take every AP offered to them? If [...]

What is Demonstrated Interest?

  Demonstrated Interest is all the buzz when talking about the college admission process. But what does it mean? And how can you be sure to make sure I show demonstrated interest? There are many different ways an applicant can show interest and it does not only involved buying costly plane tickets and spending a weekend out of town. Here are some helpful pointers that can let admissions offices see your interest. Do you know all those emails that [...]

Early Decision (ED) or Regular Decision? Which Process Best Suits You?

In order to decide which is best for you, it is first important to understand what each college admission process means.   An Early Decision application is when students make a commitment to a first choice institution where, if admitted they will definitely enroll. The decision is binding.  The application deadline and and decision deadline occur early. A Regular Decision application is when students submit an application by a specified date and receive a decision in a clearly stated [...]

Self Reporting Scores? What Does That Mean?

A New Trend in the Right Direction As seniors across the country open their Common Application, they will notice on the Testing section of the Common Application, there may be an opportunity for them to self-report their standardized test scores.  This is something new. In the past, students were required to go through the College Board or the ACT to have their scores sent to the various schools that they were applying to. The rising costs of the college [...]

Hold Your Horses!

Yesterday I met with a student who is a rising senior.  She was pumped to begin working on her supplements and had the prompts pulled up on a document all ready to begin. I admired her enthusiasm and applauded her dedication to utilize each day of the summer to stay ahead of the ball, but I had to burst her bubble and say, “slow down.” The prompts she proudly displayed on her screen were from last year’s application season. [...]

Manufactured Activities, Is It Worth It?

I belong to a Facebook group called College Admission Counselors. It’s a platform where counselors, those who work for a high school, independent counselors, and those on the college side can reach out for support, ask advice, and talk about the most current issues in the college admissions world.  I recently read a post where a counselor leans in to his colleagues for advice. He describes his student who is a straight A student with excellent scores, but has [...]

Why college admissions waitlists are getting longer?

Each day the EAB, the Education Advisory Board, puts out a daily briefing of news in higher education. Here is the posting from May 16.  This article speaks to the surge in applications and the rise in waitlist decisions that universities make. At the end of the day, the combination of the increase in application numbers and the number of applicants universities accept in the early decision round forces these long waitlists.    Why college admissions waitlists are getting [...]

A Thank You Goes A Long Way!

For many seniors this is the time of the year when they can breathe a huge sigh of relief. They can almost see that light at the end of the tunnel.  Prom is around the corner, senior cut day is imminent, and AP exams are almost a thing of the past, But wait, not so fast. There are so many people who played key roles that helped each student get to this point. These people are often the forgotten [...]

Waitlist Row

Waitlisted, Now What? Opening an email with news that you have been placed on a waitlist, potentially at your dream school, can be painful and disheartening.  Take the time you need to process all the emotions you are feeling- you may feel jealous of your best friend who was admitted to her first choice or you can feel angry and hurt. Once you have allowed yourself time to grieve, you need to put yourself into gear and make some [...]

Spring Decisions

It’s that time of year.  Decisions are beginning to be released and will continue to be released until the beginning of April. Some seniors will be opening disappointing emails with denies or waitlists while others are going to be thrilled with their admittance. It is,to say the least, a challenging time for both the student and the family;it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  Trying to unpack why one college has admitted a student and why another has accepted is [...]

#NeverAgain-If I Protest What Will Colleges Think?

Colleges across the country are taking to Twitter and Facebook assuring admitted and prospective students that if they partake in peaceful protests for stricter gun control, such actions will not impact their admission.  In the days and weeks following the massacre in Parkland, FL, demonstrations and walk-outs are being planned by student activists across the country. Ordinarily these protests would be followed by disciplinary action from their high schools, but the current message from several universities and colleges is [...]

Rankings: Beware and Don’t Be Fooled!

  Since 1983 US News and World Report has published an annual rankings of colleges and universities. These rankings became all the rage that soon the report outgrew the magazine and became a separate annual reference called Best Colleges.  Even though the magazine is now defunct and no longer exists in print, the rankings live on and have taken on a life of their own. American media devotes considerable attention to the annual publication and families with children about [...]

Campus Visits

One of the most important aspects of the college application process is visiting college campuses. Information sessions provide a wealth of information about the academic program. They will give you facts about the different majors that offered, the student teacher ratio, and other details that make the program unique. Touring the university’s campus with a current student as a guide is invaluable. Prospective students will have the opportunity to visit a dorm room, walk through the library and other [...]

Forms, Forms, and More Forms

Perhaps the most complex and daunting aspect of the college application process is making sure that all the forms are completed in a timely and correct manner.  One important form is the FAFSA which is an acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is the platform that the government uses to determine if a student is eligible for financial aid. In order to fill out the application, the filer and the student have to apply for [...]

The Dreaded Question

The dreaded supplemental question that stumps most seniors is “Why University X?” Perhaps the student may not really want to attend the school, and it’s only on their list because it’s a safety school or maybe the question is just too broad and getting started seems impossible.  Whatever the case, the question is not optional.   A common mistake is when an applicant writes a travel brochure for the city where the university is located.  “The hustle and bustle of [...]

How Involved Should Parents Be When Their Child is Filling Out the Application?

 Students are often overwhelmed with everything they have on their plate.  They have school work to get done and grades are extremely important especially senior year, they have extra curricular activities, looming last chance standardized tests, and then to top it all off they need to fill out the applications. It would be very easy for parents to intervene and take the weight of the world off their children’s shoulders and take over and begin filling out the application [...]

Deferred? Now What?

Whether this is your first time being rejected in your lifetime or your tenth (remember that time you didn’t make the team or you did not get invited to the Homecoming dance?) it hurts. It is a stinging kind of pain.  One that hits you at your very core and makes you wallow in self doubt. These are all natural reactions.  Allow yourself time to grieve, to be upset, to ask why me and not him? Eat that ice [...]

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