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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Students Return to a COVID Constrained School

Now back on school campuses, many students grieve the lost 18 months. Freshmen returned as high school juniors, confronting adulthood. Seventh graders returned as high school freshmen, skipping their tweens. College sophomores returned to confront graduating into life.  The “new normal,” for students is wearing masks all day, teachers simultaneously managing social distancing requirements and curriculum, and daily “wellness” checks…

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To Apply Early Or Not That Is The Question

“I’ll have a better chance of admission if I apply early, right?” is a popular question at this time of year, every year. Applicants, seeking any seeming advantage in the admissions process, believing the objective is winning a vaunted acceptance letter, can naively choose to apply during early admissions rounds.  Groomed since Pre-K, many current Gen Z’ers, like Millennials, many…

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A University of Washington Freshman reflects on the college admission essay writing process.

Cara, an incoming first year University of Washington student and newly published college essay writer, recently shared the following advice for high school seniors about the college essay writing process.  Cara’s Advice: Step away from the prompt. Remember: college essays are all about helping admissions learn more about you, beyond just being a student. Before you get stuck trying to…

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Chart: New York Federal Reserve Commodity Price Change Expectations, July 2021

Cost of College Continues to Outpace Consumer Price Inflation

According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Survey of Consumer Expectations, since January 2021, respondents consistently predict rising college education expenses in the coming 12 months: 5.6% increase in January 2021, rising to a 6.1% increase in May 2021, and most recently in July 2021, even higher at a 7.5% rise. Whereas, just a year ago in July 2020,…

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LET THE COLLEGE FAIRS BEGIN!

As the season of college fairs, whether virtual or in person, commences, families should pause to craft a plan before the event. Reviewing the list of college admissions officers in attendance, then discriminately choosing which college representatives with whom to connect is prudent to maximize the benefit of the speed dating-like conditions of a college fair.   Students generally have 60-90…

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Building healthy money habits

Guest Post: 3 Easy steps to building healthy money habits with your children!

Although intended for families with younger children, Jessica Weaver’s advice to help kids become financially literate applies to teenagers as well. Inherent to financial literacy is defining one’s values, which is an essential tool for teens and families reduce the risk of college malinvestment. The other day I was squeezing in some work while sitting with my daughter, Andie! She…

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For those applying to Yale for Fall 2022, Whether to Use the Coalition or Common Application Is Up to You

Fall 2022 Coalition Application applicants to Yale have the opportunity to submit a “Digital Upload”—an audio file, video, image, or document the student produced along with a short written description of the creation. However, Common Application applicants do not have a similar “Digital Upload” option.  Curious if the difference in the information submitted between the two applications may affect admissions…

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Common App

Discipline question on the Common App disappearing for Fall 2022 Admissions

First year college applicants using The Common Application will no longer be prompted to report any high school disciplinary infractions, starting with the Fall 2022 admissions cycle. Similarly, counselors will not be specifically prompted to report disciplinary actions in their letters of recommendation or School Report.  The Common Application CEO Jenny Rickard reasons: Requiring students to disclose disciplinary actions has…

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Dear Teachers Who Write Letters of Recommendation

Thank you for writing numerous letters every year, often an extra duty added to an already lengthy list of duties.  When teaching, it took me a while to figure out how to write a letter of recommendation, piecing together advice from more veteran colleagues. So, having asked many different admissions officers about useful letters of recommendation over the two decades…

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