See, Speak, Hear no evil monkeys

Post Fall 2022 College Admissions Decisions Analysis

Each Spring, I’m often asked, “Why wasn’t I admitted to _____ University, when others with lower GPA’s (grade point averages) and fewer extracurricular activities were accepted to that same university, believing a particular set of qualifications automatically merits an acceptance, while those “lesser” qualified should be denied admissions, a misconception of the modern academic meritocracy.  In the current K-12 meritocracy, students…

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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…

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California State Universities (CSU) Eliminate SAT and ACT Scores from First Year Admissions

As of March 23, 2022, all public universities in California are now test free, meaning no SAT or ACT scores are required, nor will be considered in admissions. The California State Universities (CSU) Trustees permanently eliminated SAT and ACT scores from consideration, joining with the University of California (UC) Regents who declared permanent test free policies last fall.  Of note,…

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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,…

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

Updated: March 23, 2022 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…

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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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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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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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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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More About Test-Optional Admissions

We’ve abruptly and unequivocally changed the rules of college admissions for all expected-to-attend-college Gen Z’ers and, by extension, their parents, precipitating wide-ranging reactions. But, all reactions are underpinned by what one university administrator recently shared in a Maguire Associates survey:  “Students are confused by the various test requirements and second guess what we are really doing behind the curtain. There…

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News 93.1 KFBK interview with Jill Yoshikawa of Creative Marbles Consultancy

More about University of California Test Free Admissions

I recently talked with Aubrey Aquino of News Radio KFBK’s Morning Show about how the University of California’s (UC’s) test-free policy is impacting students through the Class of 2025 (current eighth graders) and potentially increases the subjectivity in admissions evaluations.  Take a listen Browse our previous posts about how UC admissions staff evaluates students, as well as more about how…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

College Admissions In the Time of COVID

Recently, I spoke with families at the Sacramento Buddhist Church about the current state of education, particularly changes to the college admissions process as a result of the near holistic COVID-induced disruption. I’ve highlighted several issues in the following post, as well as included the full recording. Questions about widespread test-optional admissions dominated our conversation, as a multi-generational precedent in…

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Highly Selective Indeed

Throughout the Ivy League, possibly emboldened by test-optional admissions policies being one less barrier to entry, Fall 2021 applicants increased by double digits, adding subjectivity to the admission evaluation process and dropping admit rates year over year, some to record lows at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania.  Ivy League admit rates for the Classes of 2025: Harvard, 3.4% Columbia,…

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