Here you’ll find important news, insights, and opinions about topics central to college admissions and your search to find the best-fit education. This section includes notes on our college visits, tips on writing essays, thoughts on admissions logistics, and much more.
This time of year, juniors are focused on what courses to take next year to best position them, not only for the rigors of college, but for their college application, too. But before next September comes the summer, and juniors may want to plan their summer with an eye to their applications, as well—not in terms of their résumé, but, believe it or not, in terms of their upcoming essays.
Only one in five students travels more than 500 miles from home to attend college, and a full half are going to schools less than 100 miles away. While there are many reasons for keeping the home–school distance a drive-able one, sometimes great schools are disqualified out of fear.
I had more than one student call me recently crying about the rejection he or she had received. Usually, though not always, these decisions are the right call: maybe the school recognizes that they are not a good fit for the student, or that the student isn’t up to their level of rigor.
What is my number one worry, as I think about my students’ college choices,? Getting into a top school? No. The student distinguishing themselves from their peers? No. Finding the “right-fit” school? Close, but not Quite. My single biggest concern surrounding the college admissions process is the cost.
One of the big differences between the college experience a generation ago and now is that these days we expect our students to have some experience in the workplace before they graduate—and this is gained through the ubiquitous opportunity for a college internship.
What I hear most often from the parents of my students is that the college process is so different nowadays. They often say, “I just picked some colleges to apply to, sent in my applications, and went to school. No one helped me and my parents didn’t even know where I was applying.” Well, today’s college admissions process is different than it was twenty or thirty years ago.
My brunch with six friends yesterday gave me food for thought: Of the four couples, my husband and I were the only ones who hadn’t met at college! It got me thinking about how these people had met in their late teens and early twenties, and how they are still together, many years later. And it made me think about the “fit” of college, and how each of these individuals, whether they knew it at the time or not, choose their school, in great part, because of a feeling of social inclusion.
The best essay I ever read from one of my students (who is well into his 30’s by now) was about him riding the commuter bus from our town in New Jersey to New York City. Nothing much happened in the essay; in fact nothing happened at all.
We had already put down a deposit for my son’s college of choice when he came bounding down the stairs on a cold March day with an announcement. “I’m not going to school next year; I’ve decided, so don’t try to change my mind.” Changing his mind was the last thing I’d do. In fact, I was secretly thrilled.
Most students have chosen where they are going to college, but there are those who are biting their nails as time winds down. Each day I speak to another confused student: “Should I pick the school that has the better curriculum or the one where I feel more comfortable socially? The one with the better dorms or the one with the better science labs?”
Extracurricular activities have become part and parcel of students’ lives, and they are included in college applications and the interview process. What makes something a worthwhile addition to a student’s résumé? How much community service should you do? Don’t sweat it—the bottom line is: Do what you like!
We’ve entered a new digital age, where your decisions about what emails to open, links to click, websites to visit, and social media to engage with are collected and combed through by Big Business for information, both general and specific. Unfortunately, it’s no different in the field of higher education.
Every autumn, tourists descend on this small, upstate New York college town to take in the foliage, as the Hudson Valley’s wardrobe changes from summer to winter. But besides these “leaf peepers,” as they’re called, students also flock to this town at the end of summer—to attend the local SUNY, one of 64 campuses run by the state as part of its system of higher education.
I have to be honest: Raw talent is not a guarantee of admission to the school of your dreams. While many schools are becoming more and more holistic in their approach to selecting their incoming students—relying on much more than simply GPAs and test results—these metrics are still extremely important and can be real deal-breakers.
Some small colleges face serious decisions about their viability, and it seems like the news is peppered with announcements of their demise.
Every time I visit the University of Vermont I find even more to like about this most intimate-feeling of flagship state schools. Burlington is a great college town—not too big to overwhelm its scenic New England charm, but not so cozy that it lacks a vibrant arts culture and a robust outdoor-activity culture.
How much can we expect from our universities when it comes to keeping our students safe? Is the idea that schools should act in the place of their students’ parents simply a way to avoid litigation, or do schools owe it to students to help them grow up safely?
If you close your eyes and try to picture a quintessential New England Ivy League campus, what you will most likely bring to mind is something nearly identical to Dartmouth University, in the small, affluent town of Hanover, New Hampshire.
College should be an exciting opportunity for personal discovery and growth, so it has saddened and angered me to see in this week’s breaking news how some have treated a diploma from an elite school as a commodity to be bought through any means necessary, however immoral or illegal. I endorse the response to this news given by the professional organization of which I am a member, and I encourage you to read it.
The New York Times reports that with increasingly lower acceptance rates at competitive universities, coupled with the pressure of putting forth a fantastic application, there is increasing temptation for some students to “embellish.”
Champlain College, in Burlington, Vermont, is a different type of college—one with an eye focused on its students’ future careers. Over 90% of recent grads found employment directly upon graduation, and of those, close to 85% found it in their chosen field of study.
Here’s a tip to manage all the emails you will be sending and receiving related to the college search process: Before you begin the process of communicating with schools you are interested in attending, consider creating an email address specifically for your college-related communications.
College counselor Brenda Poznanski says the best way for students to sell themselves is their college essay. “Polish that application essay,” she writes. “It’s the most important way to sell yourself to the college of your dreams.”
In the heart of one of the most charming cities readily accessible from the Northeast U.S., McGill University boasts of top-rate academics and, consequently, very selective admissions standards.
I’ve written about demonstrated interest before, but as spring approaches it makes sense to discuss it once again.
For those of you who have not yet signed up for the PSAT or the PLAN (pre-ACT), here is a piece of advice: Do not fill out more than the required biographical information.
Big data has reached college admissions. Even college admissions departments are using customer-relations management systems (CRM) to track data on prospective students and organize information.
Some of my students can be very stubborn, and they often hold on fiercely to assumptions they’ve made about schools they know only little about.
Hampshire College is turning 50 next year. But that’s only if they can survive until then.
Since Benjamin Franklin funded the founding of this small liberal arts school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, over 200 years ago, Franklin & Marshall College has perennially ranked as one of the country’s top schools of its kind and size.
Dickinson College in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, was chartered six days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, making it the first college to be founded after the formation of the United States. But despite its age, it continues to be a forward-looking institution, widely recognized as a leader in global and sustainability education.
The typical student borrower will take out $6,600 in a single year, averaging $22,000 in debt by graduation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
It is no secret that in the past few years fraternities have been involved in some irresponsible, even deadly, behavior.
Let’s assume you were an admission director for a day. One spot remains for the class of 2019 with two folders in front of you. Candidate A is a brilliant young woman, with a 4.0 GPA which she achieved without breaking a sweat.
On college campuses there is a mental health crisis. There’s not enough funding, there’s not enough staffing, there are issues concerning privacy.
Right about this time parents of juniors start to ask me about financial aid. And it’s no wonder; the cost of college is staggering.
On my recent visit to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, I began thinking about the men the school honors with its name.
My tour took me to James Madison University, Virginia Tech, University of North Carolina Asheville, Warren Wilson College, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Military Academy.
A Step-by-Step Process on How to Pay for College, from IECA
When I meet with students for the first time, one of the questions I ask them is, “What are you doing this summer?” The answers vary from a shrug or an “I don’t know” to a full-blown description of a schedule that includes volunteering, a job and traveling the globe.
I have recommended international universities to students for many years. Only recently have my students expressed an interest in going abroad or to Canada.
What happens to a student who isn’t outright rejected from a school and isn’t accepted to a school? They are put on the waiting list, a strategy to keep students interested in a particular school but also to ensure that the school has the desired number of students when the freshman class starts in September.
The New School is an unusual place and it’s not for everyone. But I love it.
In these days of tuition increases on top of already unaffordable college costs, let’s be aware of where our hard-earned dollars are going. Read this article by James V. Koch, former president of the University of Montana.
I have noticed a steady increase in interest in Gap Year programs, as more students want to take time off before they begin college. The gap year has become very popular for American students, and companies are responding with organized programs for students, primarily ages 17-22.
By the end of March or the beginning of April, students will have heard their admission decisions from their colleges. Many will know exactly where they want to go, but there are those students who face uncertainty about their college choice.
What a gem of a school. UMBC is part of the Maryland state system but is overshadowed by its larger competitor, the University of Maryland, College Park.
Discrimination in colleges and universities exists; but there needs to be a concerted effort among faculty and administrators to develop a culture that encourages students to have a voice in order to protect those who are treated with lack of respect and prejudice.
In 1937, Maurice Hilleman had a job lined up as the assistant manager of the J. C. Penney in Miles City.
Today just 40 percent of college students earn a degree in four years. This phenomenon is so common that educators now use six years, by which time 59 percent of undergraduates receive their diplomas, as the new normal.
June is the last chance during this school year for them to take standardized tests: the ACT’s, the SAT’s, and the SAT subject tests.
While some high school seniors are getting ready to put a deposit down at the college of their choice, many juniors are visiting college campuses as part of their ongoing college search.
For high school juniors, college seems like a lifetime away. But those of us who are adults know just how fast time goes; before we know it our children will be filling out college applications. Here are a few tips to help you with the process.
Most students may think of the fall as the time to start tackling these, but many do (and all should) take advantage of the summer to get their applications started.
College Decision Time. May 1 is the date by which students must deposit at their college of choice. Here are some tips to help you make an educated choice.