A meditating frog

Living With Roommates

Many first year college students are sharing a room with another person for the first time, as well as deliberately establishing their own living space. While intellectually, many understand that they’ll need to find common ground with their new roommates, many are underprepared for the work of negotiating ground rules.  One, now second year college student, Colin, who chose to…

Continue Reading

College essay writing often requires an (re)education in the art of Autobiographical writing

Every year, I remediate high school seniors’ and transfer applicants’ writing process. After elementary school, few teachers explicitly teach the writing process. Instead, teachers assign scripted “Essays”, hemming students into following a rubric (or risk a lower grade), based on a narrow prompt, replete with requirements of specific numbers of quotes or citations, and strict word limits.  Students make few…

Continue Reading

The College Admissions Guessing Game

The subjectivity of college admissions, combined with the unpredictability of the future, parents and graduating high school seniors, are making (sometimes) educated guesses about college often imbued with expectation and clouded by emotion regarding the value—often complex to define—of a college education. To value a college education, families must be as candid as possible. Additionally, each family member must willingly…

Continue Reading

WARNING: Common Application Rollover Imminent for Fall 2023 Admissions Cycle

Each year, on August 1, the Common Application updates their database with any changes to college specific questions and supplemental essays, as well as the Common Application itself.  However, since students can create a first year applicant account before August 1 to begin completing the application, beware the following information will not be saved or “rolled over” when the Fall…

Continue Reading


Do You

The title should be the guiding principle of every college applicant. The college admissions process is inherently student-centric, driven by the student’s quest to identify the one institution of higher education where each person discovers more about their unique aptitude.  Yet, today, students and parents perceive the admissions process as college-centric, forced to contort into The Ideal Applicant to even…

Continue Reading

Maybe…Letters of Continued Interest

There are three college admissions decisions: admit, deny, and the most confusing of all, Waitlist. Yet, students, choosing to remain on a waitlist by “opting-in” before the deadline posted in the admissions letter, should be sure they understand what the choice entails.  First, understand there is no guarantee that any students will be considered for admissions from the waitlist. But,…

Continue Reading

The Stages of College Admissions Grieving

“I’ve been rejected” is typically how students translate being denied admissions to a college. (Although, in reality, such a view is not true, many students, who have been trained to seek outward validation from teachers, parents, coaches, club sponsors, tutors etc as the arbiter of being “right”, “smart”, or “capable” thus worthy, lump admissions officers in the same category, thus…

Continue Reading

GoodNews.Creative Marbles 2013

Colleges Are Still Accepting Applications for Fall 2022

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” For any student who wants to attend four year college this Fall 2022, there’s openings still available, contrary to popular belief. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling recently released their annual College Openings Update, a listing of colleges still accepting applications for Fall 2022.  So, students who are still looking for a…

Continue Reading

Advice about Test Optional/Test Free/Test Blind Admissions Policies

With test optional/test free/test blind admissions policies, applicants (and their families) are empowered with choice how to present a student’s unique qualifications for admissions. Yet, like with any choice, being informed to choose responsibly is essential.  First, as previously posted in What’s the difference between Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free College Admissions Policies?, students must understand the difference between test optional,…

Continue Reading

All Ivy League Colleges Extend Test Optional Admissions for Fall 2023…and for a few, beyond 2023

For at least one more application cycle, all Ivy League applicants will once again consider if they can demonstrate their aptitude with a standardized test score. Yale and Princeton admissions officers recently announced maintaining test optional admissions policies through Fall 2023, joining the rest of the Ivy League colleges, although with varying timeframes for the extensions.  Admissions officers at Brown,…

Continue Reading

Reason #45,693 Why College Applicant Portals Are Important

The applicant portal is an online dashboard assigned to students by each college’s admissions officers to track their application, be notified of any missing information, possibly alerted to scholarships as well as likely most important to students: receive admissions decisions.  Typically, admissions decisions are sent through the applicant portals or email, fewer admissions officers send responses using US Postal Mail.…

Continue Reading

What comes after the COVID Pandemic

Often, through these past 24 months living a thoroughly disrupted modern life, retreating from large gatherings, trying to avoid the infection of a floating piece of RNA, we have glimpsed imperfect awareness in quiet moments, comparing life: pre-COVID and now during COVID, while impatiently anticipating post-COVID life, like wishing the microwave was faster.  And, those flashes of truth, the steady…

Continue Reading


What’s an Applicant Portal?

Many college applicants think they’re done with applications once they click, “Submit”, but they’re not. Nearly every university’s admissions officers send an online applicant portal, which is multifunctional, where students can:  Track the receipt of all required application materials, like Letters of Recommendation, transcripts, Mid-year Reports (a form and transcript with the Fall term senior year grades, sent by the…

Continue Reading

Failure (in college admissions) is not supposed to be an option

Students applying to college worry about being denied admissions, a seeming failure at the end of a twelve year long competition in the modern academic meritocracy. They’re frustrated that no guarantees exist, despite being taught that everyone has equal opportunity to compete in the modern academic meritocracy.  As Michael J. Sandel, Harvard professor, argues in his most recent book, The…

Continue Reading


“Check Your Email”

AFTER submitting a college application, each admissions office emails each student an Applicant Portal, an online dashboard showing all required information has been received. Yet, many teenagers notoriously don’t check their email, or often they’ll overlook an Applicant Portal as a promotional ad for the university—since the sender’s address is the admissions office.  As college admissions officers may only communicate…

Continue Reading