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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Common App

How to Best Answer the New 650 Word Common Application Essay Prompt for Fall 2022

The 2021-22 Common Application includes a new 650 word personal statement prompt, one of seven choices:  Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? Bold emphasis added by CMC After analyzing the new prompt, a few tips for students to…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

The New College Student Dilemma

Three tasks not likely a part of a standard College Move-In Checklist, yet are on every first year college student’s mind:  Establish new community (i.e. make new friends), and how do I make new friends in COVID-related restrictions? Adjust to new, constantly evolving academic expectations “What am I going to be when I grow up?” existential questions Second year students…

Continue Reading

College Admissions Bragging Begins in Earnest

As the summer ends and the new school year dawns, the posturing in college admissions commences in earnest. We’ve officially reached The “ALL my friends are done with their essays, I’m behind” stage of the Fall college application process.  Is it possible that your teenage friends grinded out “essays” which meet the word limit and generally relate to the essay…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

College applicants take note: life’s a journey not a destination

College essays are not an assignment to “get done.”   College essays are not defined by the word count or format. College essays are not a resume-like listing of a young person’s achievements, hoping the admissions evaluator intuits their potential thus grants admissions. College essays are not bounded by the (mis)interpretation of a prompt.  College essays are not prose-like panderings to…

Continue Reading

See, Speak, Hear no evil monkeys

Beware of Admissions CON-sultants Hiding in Your Midst

Amidst the rise of the academic meritocracy, as increasing numbers of students qualify for then apply to college, selectivity for admissions annually increases, yet high school counseling staff has been inadequate for the demand, thus many families seek the help of private admissions consultants. But, in the Era of Educational Experts, when qualifications and motivations to help families range widely,…

Continue Reading

The Struggle to Realize Genius and the Cost of Failing to Do So

Everyone has genius. Yet, few discover their genius.  Every parent intends to unleash their child’s genius. Yet, the endeavor to help one’s child discover genius requires the intricate, on-going, at times, herculean effort to challenge expectations—one’s own, one’s extended family’s, as well as one’s culture’s and community’s—not to mention reconciling any gaps in a parent’s own undiscovered genius, a separate…

Continue Reading

The Death of Ignorance

Is the College Landscape Experiencing a Tectonic Shift Post Pandemic?

The effects of the COVID-induced disruptions to education have yet to be quantified in the intermediate and long term, thus educators struggling to redefine “normal” learning for years to come, as an entire COVID-affected generation, Pre-K through College, matriculates through the educational system. Additionally, the SAT, an 80 year old admissions requirement, is being summarily dismissed and subsequently, questioned. Students…

Continue Reading

Required Math Courses Changing at the University of California (UC)

Students applying to the University of California (UC) for Fall 2022 admissions and beyond can now fulfill their third year of required mathematics with a variety of math courses, no longer required to take Integrated Math III, Algebra II or an equivalent. However, potential first year UC applicants should still take a Geometry or Geometry-equivalent course as one of their…

Continue Reading

Quote: Steve Jobs

The Responsibility of Freedom

Most teens eventually seek more independence from the watchful eyes of their parents, and many of them believe the freedom they so desire will be found attending college. Yet, just like Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolutionaries (or anyone seeking change), as so aptly advised:  Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and…

Continue Reading