Will the Entire Ivy League be Test Optional for Fall 2023 Admissions?

In September 2021, Cornell University, one of the eight Ivy League colleges, announced the continuation of their test-optional/test-free admissions policy for Fall 2023 and 2024 first year admissions, affecting current Class of 2023 high school Juniors. Will the remainder of the Ivy League follow Cornell’s lead, extending test-optional policies for another year?  While the exact answer is still to be…

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College Admissions Storytelling Time is Upon Us

Applying to college is complicated. Many believe their past laurels will merit an acceptance letter, yet often fret about distinguishing themselves from other similarly qualified candidates. Thus, when all the boxes of biographical information are completed, the heavy lifting of answering, “Who am I?” in 500 words or less begins. Yet, for many teens, self-reflection is a muscle they may…

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Common App

Can I change my 650 word Common Application Essay After Submitting It Once? Take Two

Yes, students can edit/update/revise/rewrite the 650 word Common Application essay after submitting an application to one (or more) colleges, as was discussed last Fall 2020.  Yet, once a 650 word Common Application essay is submitted, the copy is final for that college. A revised 650 word Common Application essay will only be reviewed by college admissions officers who receive the…

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So Goes Harvard…

As of December 16, 2021, Harvard is the latest college to join the chorus of admissions officers extending test optional/test-blind/test-free admissions policies for at least the next Fall 2023 application cycle and often beyond. (Longstanding Harvard Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons announced extending test-optional admissions policies for the next four years through Fall 2026 admissions, impacting…

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News 93.1 KFBK interview with Jill Yoshikawa of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Pondering Progressive Grade Policies

Yesterday, I discussed how changes to academic letter grades may impact students, educators and families with Aubrey Aquino of KFBK News Radio, here in Sacramento, CA. Some school district officials, like those in Sacramento City Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District, will no longer award D’s or F’s to students failing to meet…

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Surprise! Hidden essays on the Common Application

Sometimes, on The Common Application, additional essay prompts will appear, depending on students’ answers to the campus specific questions. However, students are not forewarned about potential essay prompts. And, for many students, who complete the application, in the last days (or hours) before the application deadline, students can panic, when such “hidden” questions are revealed.  Two examples of “hidden” questions: …

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Back in School, But Not Quite Back to Normal

As the novelty of once again gathering in classrooms is waning, both students and teachers are waking to the not-quite-normal reality of what was previously predictable. For starters, only the Class of 2022 seniors experienced a full, non-COVID colored high school year, while Class of 2025 freshmen were seventh graders when last in full time, in person school.  Teachers are…

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Report Car

Pass/No Pass Grades and College Admissions

In response to the historic health crisis, many school district officials sent millions of students home with little or no planning for the continuity of their education. Thus, as they implemented Emergency Learning, hastily shifting whole schools from brick and mortar buildings to virtual settings, many also changed grading policies, seeking to relieve stress for students and their families.  In…

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When writing college essays: be yourself, not plagued by doubt

Every year, high school seniors doubt that characterizing their experiences with rigorous honesty, exposing their human flaws or even a critique of their educational experience in their college application essays will garner them the acceptance they seek. They, instead, seek to rationalize contorting themselves into some glimmer or reflection of themselves in order to game admissions.  One senior last Fall…

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What’s the difference between Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free College Admissions Policies?

For Fall 2022 admissions, nearly two-thirds of U.S. universities will again use test-optional, test-blind, or test-free admissions policies. Yet, for an entire generation of applicants (and their parents) for whom college admissions is synonymous with “take the SAT or ACT”, differentiating the policies can be helpful to continue strategizing for their individual college educational goals.  Under test-optional policies, students can…

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Applying to College is Often A Long and Winding Road

Writing college essays is an intricate dance, often not a project that’s completed according to scheduled benchmarks and not without conflicts along the way. Often, applicants work in fits and starts, and typically, not in accordance with a parent’s expectations.  Seventeen years of expectations, emotions and experiences can obstruct the effort to draft autobiographical essays. Furthermore, teens are reflecting on…

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It’s Decision Time Already for May 2022 Advanced Placement Exam Registration

A month into the current school year, and The College Board is already calling for students to determine if they’ll take Advanced Placement (AP) tests in May 2022. Thus, high school site based AP Coordinators and teachers are asking students their intentions as well as sending parent emails asking for registration fees. Potential AP exam takers have also recently returned…

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Imagine

To Interview or Not That is The Question

Many private university admissions officers invite applicants to schedule an evaluative admissions interview before they apply. Typically, applicants need to complete interviews by December of any admissions cycle. However, students should check the deadlines for interviews on admissions websites. Admissions interviews are optional, meaning if a student cannot or does not schedule an interview, no penalties will be assessed nor…

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