The Answer Sheet: College Admissions


Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011

What happens if Common App essays exceed 500-word limit?

The Common Application has reinstituted a limit of 500 words for its college admissions essay. What happens if a student exceeds it?

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions

Posted at 09:44 AM ET, 10/03/2011

A new college admissions bible

There are countless books that aim to help students successfully apply to the college or university of their dreams. Here is a new book on every single aspect of the process, co-authored by someone who should know--a former admissions director at Stanford and Swarthmore.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:44 AM ET, 10/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 09/23/2011

Top 10 myths of college admissions

If you think you know everything there is to know about how to get into college, think again. Here are the leading myths about how kids get into college.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 09/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions

Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 12/11/2010

Colleges start revealing early admissions decisions

High school students around the nation who applied to early-decision programs at colleges and universities are starting to learn their fate ahead of the usual Dec. 15 “reveal” date.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:49 AM ET, 12/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, early admissions, early decision

Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 11/30/2010

Early college admissions applicants: Have a Plan B

Early decision applicants are on edge waiting to hear if their first choice college accepted them, but they should be preparing in case the answer is "no."

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:10 AM ET, 11/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applicants, college applications, early action, early action vs. early decision, early decision

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/19/2010

A plea to college interviewers

Two high school college admissions counselors write about problems with some college interviewers and the false hopes they can give to applicants.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, college interviews

Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Report: Rise in college applications hurts low-income students

A new report concludes that the dramatic increase in college applications over the past 15 years is creating a rise in selectivity that will reduce opportunities for more low-income, first-generation students in all levels of higher education, including community colleges.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:01 AM ET, 11/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  arms race, college admissions, college admissions competition, college applications, college arms race, national association for college admissions counseling

Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 11/14/2010

Be careful of 'snap apps' in college admissions

If your home life revolves around the college application process at the moment or will someday, you should know about “snap apps” to avoid being fooled.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:34 AM ET, 11/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, getting into college, snap apps, vip applications

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 11/04/2010

College admissions’ dirty little secrets

A college admissions advisor warns parents not to let their kids find the school first and then figure out how to pay for it because "students whose parents can 'write the check' stand a markedly better chance of getting admitted, all other factors being equal.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 11/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  admissions process, college admissions, college applications, college tuition, financial aid, guest bloggers, sticker price

Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 10/26/2010

Safety schools matter in college admissions

A college admissions consultant advises kids applying to college to think hard about safety schools. They may be the most important schools on any individual’s college list.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:01 AM ET, 10/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, getting into college, safeties, safety schools, what's a safety?

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 10/14/2010

The PSAT/National Merit test: What you should know

What you should know about the PSAT if you have a high school student.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 10/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  National Merit, National Merit scholarships, PSAT, PSAT prep, Princeton Review, SAT prep, college admissions, college scholarships, scholarships, test prep

Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 10/06/2010

Paper applications for tech schools: a harbinger?

A college counseling director finds an unusual applications twist: Technological universities using paper applications.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:08 AM ET, 10/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, college counselors

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 09/29/2010

The new risk of plagiarizing college essays

There is a technology called Turnitin for Admissions, introduced late last year by iParadigms LLC, that can detect plagiarism in college application essays from numerous sites on the Internet. It is a version of Turnitin, which is used in thousands of academic institutions around the world to detect plagiarism in academics.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 09/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  cheating on college essays, college admissions, college essay plagiarism, college essays, how to write an essay, writing college essays

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/23/2010

Should colleges stop legacy preference in admissions?

A new book on legacy preference in college admissions says that almost three-quarters of elite national institutions grant legacy preferences in admissions and that the advantage children of alumni can receive is often significant -- even if schools say otherwise.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:30 AM ET, 09/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, ies, legacies, legacy preference, should legacy preference be dropped

Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 08/01/2010

Common App for college admissions is live online today

The 2010-11 Common Application for colleges and universities is live online today, meaning that summer vacation is ending for thousands of rising high school seniors who are will now start seriously on their college admissions journey.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:53 AM ET, 08/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  applying to college, college admissions, common app, common application, getting into college

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 07/13/2010

Say 'no' to college admissions creep

A college admissions consultant argues that too many high school students are starting the college admissions process too early.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 07/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  bruce vinik, college admissions, college admissions creep, college admissions process, college applications, juniors and SAT, when to start the college application process, when to take the SAT

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 06/28/2010

Haitian-American teen gets into 4 Ivy League schools

A first-generation Haitian-American teenager talks about being accepted into four Ivy League schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 06/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  cc, getting into the ivy league, haitian american accepted into four ivy league schools, ivy league admissions, teen accepted into four ivy league schools

Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 06/24/2010

Advice from a student campus tour guide

A student college tour guide gives you all the advice you need for a successful visit.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:45 AM ET, 06/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  advice on visiting a campus, campus visits, college admissions, college campus visits, planning a college visit, scheduling college visits

Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 06/24/2010

Choosing public higher ed for the right reasons

The president of the University of Buffalo writes about why families should choose public higher education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:44 AM ET, 06/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  SUNY system, benefits of public education, best schools in SUNY system, choosing a college, college admissions, college applicaitons, getting into college, how to pick a college, university of buffalo

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 06/16/2010

Minorities drive biggest jump in college freshman enrollment in 40 years, study says

Hispanics and other minority students drove the largest rise in freshman enrollment in the last 40 years at the nation’s 6,100 four-year post-second institutions from fall 2007 to fall 2008, the first year of the recession, according to a study released today by the Pew Research Center. But the enrollment boom was concentrated in certain states and highly focused on a very small number of the largest colleges and universities.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 06/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college enrollment, freshman college enrollment, freshman enrollment jumps, freshman enrollment rises, pew enrollment study, pew research center, pew study on college enrollment

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 06/15/2010

College Admissions: Business as Usual

A college counseling director writes that the seemingly mysterious process of college admissions is actually very familiar to anyone in the business world.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 06/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college admissions process, college application process, getting into college

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/25/2010

Many colleges over-enrolled for fall

Many colleges and universities across the country suddenly have a good problem: They are over-enrolled for this fall and are scrambling to figure out how to accommodate the extra students in classes and dormitories.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college enrollment, enrollment at schools, freshmen class, schools that are overenrolled

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 05/18/2010

Colleges should tell students odds of getting off wait lists

Colleges that insist on maintaining waitings lists that are longer than the phone book should tell students their odds of eventually being accepted.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 05/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, waiting lists

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 05/18/2010

Getting started on 2010-11 college applications

Any high school junior who wants to get a head start on college applications now can look at a preview of the entire 2010-11 Common Application.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 05/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, common application, common apps

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/16/2010

Princeton Reviews takes down ad claims

The Princeton Review test prep company has voluntarily agreed to stop making certain advertising claims about how many points it can help students improve on various school admissions tests.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 05/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  Kaplan and ads, Princeton Review, Princeton Review and ads, claims by Princeton Review, claims by test prep companies, college admissions, getting better scores on tests, improving test scores, standardized tests, test claims, test prep companies

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/13/2010

Getting real about super-selective colleges

Bruce Vinik, a college admissions counselor, writes about why students who seem to be perfect in every way don't get into the school of their dreams.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  brown admissions, college admissions, columbia admissions, getting into harvard, getting into stanford, getting into the ivy league, harvard admissions, ivy league, selective colleges and applicants, who gets into harvard

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/10/2010

How to get the right college roommate

Graduating high school seniors heading for college will soon get a questionnaire from the school of their choice about housing and roommate preferences. Under no circumstances should they take this form lightly because their freshman year is at stake.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  campus housing, college admissions, college dormitories, college dorms, college housing, college roommates, dormitories, getting a college roommate, getting along with a roommate

Posted at 09:13 AM ET, 05/05/2010

Many colleges still accepting applications

Scores of colleges and universities in the greater Washington area and around the nation are still accepting applications from students for enrollment this fall even though the traditional admissions seasons is over.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:13 AM ET, 05/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  College of Notre Dame, Hood College, Mary Baldwin College, NACAC, Roanoke College, Trinity University, UMD Baltimore, University of Virginia, admissions survey, college admissions, college applications, colleges still accepting applications, colleges with openings

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/03/2010

What makes a top college? Nobel winners? PhDs? Rhodes scholars?

A college admissions counselor questions what makes a "top college."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, top colleges

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/29/2010

College choice: Not a one-size-fits-family deal

Education counselor Eileen Wilkinson writes about why families should view a college choice as an individual consideration and not as a one-size-fits-the-family deal.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, prep matters, prepmatters, sibling rivalry, siblings and college

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/28/2010

New study: 1 in 3 college students transfer

A new report on students who transfer from one college to another says that about one-third of students who start at a two- or four-year institution after high school wind up transferring before they get a bachelor’s degree. And it details the factors schools consider important when evaluating transfer applicants.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, important factors in college transfers, national association for college counseling, report on transfer students, transfer student report, transfer students

Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 04/26/2010

The D.C. area: Obsessed with SAT scores

If you have any doubt just how obsessed folks in the greater Washington D.C. area are with getting their children into college, you need look no further than the Washington Post’s list of best-selling books.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:05 AM ET, 04/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  SAT, college admissions, college board, official sat study guide, sat test advice, tips on taking the sat

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/24/2010

Senior slump: A cautionary tale

College admissions consultant Bruce Vinik writes about how hard it is for many 12th graders to focus on their school work. As May approaches, even high achieving students give serious consideration to skipping their Advanced Placement exams and heading to the beach. But senior slump is serious business to colleges. Here's a cautionary tale.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 04/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, getting into college, grades and college, senior slump, senior year grades

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/14/2010

Choosing a college isn't about cachet, rankings

A college admissions expert advices high school seniors deciding where to go to college to throw away the U.S. News and World Report rankings, and pick the school that fits them best.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  U.S. news college rankings, choosing the right college, college admissions, deciding on a college, making a final decision

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/06/2010

How to decide on a college

Bruce Vinik, a college admissions consultant, explains how best to figure out which college or university to attend--not, it turns out, like his high school friend Jim made his decision.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  Bruce Vinik, G Duke, attending Duke, choosing a school, college admissions, guest bloggers

Posted at 06:32 AM ET, 04/05/2010

All about need-based aid: Flagel, Part 3

Here is the third part of a financial aid primer by Andrew Flagel, dean of admissions and associate vice president for enrollment development for George Mason University in Virginia: “Need-based aid is, for the most part, determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or, in street lingo, FAFSA. Actually, it would more likely be “FAFSizzle”, but that’s not important right now. The U.S. Department of Education works hard every year to make the form easier, but the truth is that any way you cut it the form is going to be somewhat time-consuming and confusing."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:32 AM ET, 04/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  Andrew Flagel, FAFSA, financial aid

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 04/03/2010

The illusion of ever-lower college acceptance rates

Elite colleges and universities won’t say they are bragging that they send rejection letters to almost all of the kids, but that’s what it seems like to me. But the real problem is that these super-low selectivity rates suggest something about college admissions that isn’t actually true.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 04/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:31 AM ET, 04/01/2010

The problems with double depositing: Part 2

Michael Sexton, vice president of enrollment management at Santa Clara College in California, explains why colleges and universities "strongly discourage" double depositing. For one thing, it "gums up the works on wait lists."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:31 AM ET, 04/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, double depositing

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/01/2010

Is it okay to double deposit at colleges? Part 1

April 1st is the traditional day that colleges and universities tell high school seniors if they have been accepted or not. Those kids lucky enough to have options sometimes can’t make up their minds by the May 1 decision deadline and put down deposits to hold a place at more than one school. Should they?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college acceptances, college admissions, double depositing

Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 03/29/2010

Broaddus--The limits of proxies in college apps

By Henry Broaddus. While GPA is a useful shorthand for grade point average, 4.0 is merely a proxy for successful learning (and in an era of weighted grading scales, it’s usually far lower than the proxy for the most successful learning)... All too often proxies are used in order to avoid the challenge of assessing complex, often multivariate characteristics. Put a different way, the answer to the question, "Is Johnny a critical reader?" cannot be expressed as his SAT Critical Reading subscore alone.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:32 AM ET, 03/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college applications

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/29/2010

More colleges join $50K-plus a year club

More colleges are planning to charge more than $50,000 a year for tuition, room and board, and mandatory fees next year.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college costs

Posted at 06:25 AM ET, 03/26/2010

Why students get rejected from college

By Jerome A. Lucido. Step into my office for a brief counseling session on dealing with college rejection. Frankly, it’s like the tried and true break-up line: “It’s not you; it’s me.” Only this time, the line is true. The truth is that there is always a reason that colleges accept a student, but very often there is not a reason that they don’t. It’s truly nothing a student did--or even didn’t do.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:25 AM ET, 03/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 03/25/2010

When kids cheat on SAT, ACT

What happens to kids who cheat on the SAT and the ACT? Even when they are caught, not as much as you might think.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:13 PM ET, 03/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  SAT and ACT, cheating on SAT, college admissions, college admissions tests

Posted at 09:44 AM ET, 03/22/2010

What’s an admissions ‘likely’ letter?

Colleges sometimes send out 'likely' letters to strong applicants suggesting that they will be admitted but not offering acceptance.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:44 AM ET, 03/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/18/2010

College visits: The ‘East Coast’ thing

A loyal reader writes to ask if I am some sort of an East Coast snob, and further wonders why so many Maryland kids stay on the East Coast for college.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college visits

Posted at 09:13 PM ET, 03/10/2010

Virtual college fair lets students ‘visit’ schools

The country's largest virtual college fair is coming up, allowing students to 'visit' college campuses across the country and talk with school officials and current students as well as financial aid experts.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:13 PM ET, 03/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 03/08/2010

Choosing ACT, SAT scores to send to colleges: A good idea?

High school students taking the SAT and ACT more than once can choose which scores (by test date--not by individual section) to send to many colleges and universities. The question is whether it is a good idea to cherry pick the scores. It may seem like it on the surface, but there are good reasons to reconsider.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:02 PM ET, 03/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  ACT, SAT, college admissions

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 03/07/2010

College admissions strategies: Don't listen to friends, and more

By Angel B. Perez. Here's some advice from a college admissions dean for high school students getting ready to start the college admissions progress: Don't listen to your friends, and four more key strategies.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 03/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/06/2010

The link between counselors and kids going to college

A new study tells us what high school counselors already know: They are overworked and lots of kids are left to their own devices. Now it's time to stop spending money on reports that tell us what we already know and use it hire and train more counselors.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  high school counselors

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/05/2010

Campus visiting season begins at spring break

By Bruce Vinik. Spring break is the unofficial kick-off to the college visiting season, a season that begins with the first exhibition baseball games and ends with the NFL playoffs. The early visits of March and April are particularly important for eleventh graders because it is the first time that many of them will set foot on campuses as prospective students. Here's what to do when you are visiting a campus.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, college tours, spring break

Posted at 01:14 PM ET, 03/03/2010

Gap year planning time; Sidwell hosting gap year fair Saturday

Now is a good time for college seniors who have applied to college to think about planning a gap year before actually starting classes. College admissions directors, believe it or not, encourage kids to take a year off.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:14 PM ET, 03/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, gap year

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/16/2010

Senioritis: Minor affliction or serious disease?

By Jerome A. Lucido. This is it--your last year of high school. You’re on top of the heap and you’ve earned it. Your applications for admission are in. You may have already earned admission to one or more colleges through an early admission program. You will never pass this way again. Suddenly, it seems less serious....Your study time decreases. You drop a class or fall back from your AP courses. You party randomly, maybe even during the school day. It’s a disease without treatment. Nearly every senior gets a small case. Some get it bad. But there are serious side effects.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 02:28 PM ET, 02/08/2010

Any merit to National Merit program?

I have long wondered why the National Merit scholarship program had so much cache, given the criteria necessary for winning. The program is a competition in which kids become eligible if they do well on the PSAT, or Preliminary SAT test that they generally take in 11th grade. Any regular reader to this blog will know that I do not look kindly on anything in education that relies on a single standardized test score. Here is a critique of the program that I recently read and wanted to share. It was written by Jonathan Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School. This is how he starts: "National Merit status is a good example of the Platonic distinction between attractive illusion and truth."

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:28 PM ET, 02/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  National Merit Program, college admissions

Posted at 03:40 PM ET, 02/05/2010

Saturday’s ACT exam rescheduled in storm areas

Scores of testing centers where thousands of students were planning to take the ACT college admissions exam tomorrow have closed because of the massive storm marching up the East Coast. The website has a long list of sites that have been closed and will post the new date when it becomes available.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:40 PM ET, 02/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  ACT test, college admissions

Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 02/05/2010

College visits: real and virtual

A true story: A high school student flew to Minnesota to visit a college she was interested in attending. She went on the day after a huge, uncommon rain storm, which brought out from the ground an army of bugs that usually stay unseen. She hated the school because of the bugs. If she had gone any other day, she probably would have loved it. Moral: College visits can be a great help in helping your child decide where to go. But they can also, unfairly, leave a bad impression. And while it is useful to visit, lots of kids pick a college without ever seeing the school they wind up attending. Several readers have asked how to plan college visits with their children who are juniors (and even eager sophomores)--and some have expressed concern about the cost of traveling from city to city.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:03 PM ET, 02/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college visits

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/04/2010

Finding and using a private higher ed consultant

After talking to some private educational consultants--some who charge tens of thousands of dollars and some who cost a fraction of that--I began wondering how many students actually use their services. The answer surprised me. A recent study shows that among high-achieving high school seniors, 26 percent hire an independent educational consultant.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/03/2010

College acceptances, test scores: a plea for privacy

David Altshuler, a private schools consultant, urges high schools to keep private college acceptances. Why: "My child is going to a local community college because his single parent father lost his job. Does he want 'Maria Enriquez--Local Community College' up there on the bulletin board next to 'Abigail Adams--Princeton'? Probably not." The disparity in family income is clear enough in the student parking lot. There is no need to beat them over the head with this information in another form.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/02/2010

Parents' role in college admissions

I know parents who don’t get involved in their child’s college application process. And I know parents whose child doesn’t get very much involved in his/her own college application process. Somewhere in the middle is the right space in which to inhabit. Marcia Libes Simon, a private college admissions counselor to talk about the right kind of parent involvement in college admissions, offers advice on how--and how not--to help your child fill out their applications and tour college campuses.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 02/01/2010

College quotas for high schools?

So your child comes home in great despair with news that two or possibly three kids from his/her high school have already been admitted to Yale, or Chicago, or Stanford, or Virginia, or Northwestern, or Williams, or the college of your kid’s dreams. And now he/she is worried that he/she can’t be admitted because the quota is filled for that high school. That would make sense if there was a quota, but after asking dozens of college and university admissions officers, I’m convinced there is no formal quota. But there IS a different process at work.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:30 PM ET, 02/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 01/29/2010

College acceptance on display?

Now is the time that many high schools start making public--through posters, announcements, emails, websites, etc.--where high school seniors have been accepted to college. I wish they wouldn't. Here's why.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:18 AM ET, 01/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:31 AM ET, 01/29/2010

AP Courses: How many do colleges want?

I’ve just started researching college admissions in depth and already I'm about to answer a question with the same response that annoys me so much from college admissions directors. (Let me apologize now.) A reader posed this question: How many Advanced Placement courses should a student take in high school to go to college? The answer: “It depends.” On what?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:31 AM ET, 01/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  advanced placement, ap program, college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/29/2010

AP: College admissions directors weigh in

Here are some of the responses I received from college admissions officers to a query about how many AP courses they wanted to see on an applicant’s transcript. See the post above this for a discussion of this issue..From University of Southern California's Jerome A. Lucido, vice provost for enrollment policy and management: Students are always advised to take the strongest curriculum that they can reasonably handle while pursuing opportunities for academic and extracurricular opportunities for which they have a passion. We do not advise students to design their lives around what they believe that we or any other admission office may want. This, after all, is the personal journey of each student.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  ap program, college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/28/2010

7 College admissions myths

Here are seven issues about college admissions that Lee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment at Tufts University, calls "myths." He discusses issues such as whether "optional" really means "required," whether colleges check Facebook pages, whether colleges say they will only use the highest admissions test scores but really will look at the worst ones, whether coaches can actually grant school admittance to a desired athlete... and more.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 04:30 AM ET, 01/28/2010

Top college rankings vs. endowments

When I looked at the list of top college endowments (a new report on these funds was released today) I had a nagging feeling that I had seen the same schools on a different list. Then I remembered: Many of the top 10 schools were the same as those on >U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 list of top national universities (which actually looks very similar to lists of years past). Take a look at the following lists, and then the reason I find this problematic.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:30 AM ET, 01/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college endowments, college rankings

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 01/27/2010

Warning to high school seniors

It is the last semester of your senior year, your college applications are in, and you may be tempted to relax. That’s fine, just don’t relax too much: Colleges DO revoke acceptances. According to the 2009 State of College Admissions report issued a few months ago by the non-profit National Association for College Admission Counseling, more than one-fifth of colleges reported having revoked an admission offer in 2008.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 01/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/27/2010

The college chase: Making a plan

Even parents who have carefully plotted every step of their child’s education can get flummoxed over the colleges admissions process. It seems overwhelming--because it is. You (and I)--and, mostly, our kids, have a lot of work ahead. The vast majority of families will not have the luxury of having someone else plan out the application process and will have to it themselves. Yes, high schools have college admissions counselors, but recent budget cuts have reduced staff, giving the remaining counselors many more students for whom they are responsible.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 04:30 AM ET, 01/26/2010

College gender gap stabilizing?

A new analysis shows that the gender gap in college appears to be stabilizing for every group except Hispanics after years of rising concern that the male undergraduate minority was dwindling. The non-profit American Council on Education crunched data and found evidence to suggest that the gender gap has remained stable since about 2000, when men represented 43 percent of enrollment and earned 43 percent of the awarded bachelor’s degrees. It is only among Hispanics that the percentage of females continues to grow.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:30 AM ET, 01/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, gender gap

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/22/2010

'Chasing' college acceptance

Many of you who have a child nearing college age (and even some of you with much younger kids) may already be anxious about the admissions process and may be wondering whether your child, who hasn’t cured cancer or started a successful business already, will get into a good school. According to a new report, it is no harder for the average and high-performing student to get into college today than it was a deade ago. Here are some of the other findings.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 01/19/2010

Broaddus: Reading college applications

By Henry Broaddus. Babies, wine and retirement are among the few things left that require waiting more than three months for a result after finishing all of the preparations. For high school seniors and the parents of high school seniors, there’s another: college admissions decisions. To anyone conditioned to expect immediate responses of the sort received when placing an order on Amazon or updating a Facebook status, the delay between pressing the submit button on the Common Application’s website and learning the final outcome may seem interminable. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t yet provided a shortcut that sufficiently accounts for the merits coded in recommendations, the strength of voice evident in writing samples, or the positive grade trends that belie overall averages.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 01/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 12/02/2009

The grades it takes to get into college, and why an ‘A’ isn’t always an ‘A’

Let’s suppose your child is in high school and you want to know whether you should worry because: --You advised your kid that taking the most challenging courses was more important than getting straight “A”s; --Your child has a 3.1 grade point average while his/her best friend has an “A plus” average after taking much easier courses; --You want your child to go to the University of Michigan but learn from a Post education writer that more than 94 percent of the accepted freshmen in fall 2008 had GPAs of over 3.25. Yes. Go ahead and worry.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 12/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, grades

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 11/27/2009

From Readers: Valerie ‘can’t follow simple instructions,’ and other great feedback

The best part about writing this blog is hearing from all of you. I learn a lot from some of you and laugh a lot with you (and sometimes because of you). Please keep talking back to me, either in the comments section or email. Here is just a sampling of some of the great responses I have recently received.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 11/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  reader response

Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 11/18/2009

Gender and College Admissions: William and Mary Dean Talks Back

Yesterday I discussed why boys have an easier time than girls getting accepted to college at some schools. Part of that post included admissions statistics for the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where boys have an easier time getting in because more girls apply. Following, William and Mary Admission Dean Henry Broaddus talks back, explaining why the school does what it does. Read it and tell us what you think.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:39 AM ET, 11/18/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  College of William and Mary, college admissions, gender

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/17/2009

Do college admissions officers discriminate against girls?

Is it easier for boys to get accepted into college than it is for girls? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is yes, at least at some colleges. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has just begun investigating admissions practices to see if schools are favoring boys. It is starting by looking at admissions records from a dozen unnamed universities, mostly in the Washington, D.C. area, according to a recent report from Inside Higher Ed.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/17/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, gender gap

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 11/04/2009

Are college admissions officers being ridiculous?

A reader reacts strongly to the notion that college admissions officers are looking for kids with a demonstrated passion for something rather than well-rounded kids. Isn't high school a time to explore?

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 PM ET, 11/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions

Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 11/03/2009

Question 3: Do colleges want well-rounded students or those with a passion?

College admissions director explain their view about whether their seek students who are well-rounded in a variety of areas or who can show a demonstrable passion in a particular area.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:15 AM ET, 11/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  College admissions

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 11/03/2009

Question 2: What should students NEVER write in their essay?

Admissions directors at colleges across the country tell what they don't want to see in a student's application essay.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 11/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  College admissions, filling out the application

Posted at 06:45 AM ET, 11/03/2009

Question 1: How to write the college application essay?

College admissions directors respond to this: A new college admissions book, “You’re Accepted” by Katie Malachuk, advises applicants NOT to show their family or friends their college essays, and to be brutally honest about their experiences, more honest than they might be with their friends. Is that a good strategy?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:45 AM ET, 11/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  college admissions, writing the essay

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/03/2009

What do college admissions officers really want?

As you sit there filling out your child’s college applications and writing their essays--um, I mean, as you sit there HELPING your child fill out and write their way into college--you probably would love to know what admissions directors are really seeking. I asked admissions offices from coast to coast and received dozens of answers.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions | Tags:  College admissions

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/26/2009

30 books to read BEFORE the college interview

Take a look at this unusual list of 30 books recommended to students in Britain who have applied to Oxford and/or Cambridge universities and are preparing for their admissions interviews. How many have you read? How many do you think American college-bound students should read?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Admissions | Tags:  Books, College Admissions