The Most Essential Interview

To effectively brainstorm topics for college essays, students must be interviewed by an experienced advisor, who not only knows the college admissions process, but applies their experience within the context of an anxious teenager seeking to define their life’s vision.  When teens query themselves in some me-talking-with-me, thinking exercise, they will unwittingly dismiss ideas, not connect one event to the…

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Full Circle: Early Decision is Regular Decision Again and The College Admissions Rat Race Continues Unabated 

Tulane University admitted two-thirds of their Fall 2022 class, through Early Decision, essentially transforming early admissions into Regular Decision. If Tulane is setting a trend (our base case) or will remain an outlier in college admissions (not likely), depends on whether students and parents continue to apply early admissions believing in their worth as candidates or (more likely) gaming the…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

Freedom Comes From Within, Not By Attending College

Often, teens seek freedom, as a primary reason for attending college. To which, their parents nod knowingly, smiling slyly, complicit in their teen’s seeming act of rebellion, believing that a college education is a coming of age into the freedom of adulthood. However students and parents should reflect on what it means to be free, and free of or from…

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Applying to the Ivy League (Or Similarly Selective Colleges) Requires a Gut Check

Applying to an Ivy League or other similarly highly selective college, where 95-97% of all applicants are denied admissions can be intimidating. To apply or not apply requires asking, “Just because I can (since I’m qualified), does that mean I should?”  Being the top of one’s class in one’s local high school, even in a reputedly academically rigorous, application-only program,…

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More and More Ivy league Colleges, plus Stanford, Will No Longer Report Admit Rates

In college admissions, applicants often perceive exclusivity, translated as less than 5% admit rates, as a higher quality education, and (sometimes more importantly) a guarantee of lifetime prosperity, The Golden Ticket, as one is forever branded with elitism. However, in coming years, applicants may be guessing more often than not about the selectivity of a university.  Several highly selective universities,…

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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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