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.

Home for the Holidays

College Kids Home for the Holidays? You’ve been dreaming of this moment since you dropped them off in August—the sweet…

Georgetown to Make Reparations

Joining a wave of American institutions moving to offer a measure of restitution for their ties to slavery, Georgetown University…

Elon’s Hot!

North Carolina’s Elon University has become increasingly popular over the past several years, but now interest has taken a steep…

Senioritis Strikes!

Senioritis. The symptoms show up every year. High school seniors try to balance extracurricular activities, a social life, college admission,…

No Job, No Education?

“Tying health care to employment was arguably one of the greatest failures of public policy in U.S. history. We should…

There’s an App For That!

As application season approaches, students are thankful that they won’t need to fill out a new and separate application for…

Money Talks

Despite the obvious discomfort surrounding discussions about money, this summer provides a natural opportunity for students and their families to…

Get a Jump on Fall

For rising seniors, the thought of beginning the college application process during the summer seems unnecessary at best, and perhaps…

Beyond the Grades

If students have not already put together a résumé of activities, summer or after-school employment, plus athletic and academic achievements,…

Getting to Know U

As part of the admissions process, some colleges may request you to arrange an interview. This is your opportunity to…

Take Note

Once you’ve completed your first group of school visits, you can take a deep breath. From here on, the college…

Destressing Time

Students have a lot to be stressed about—frenzy over the admissions process starts early and continues through senior year. But…

Alternate Paths

Unlike other countries, where graduating high school students are provided robust alternatives to traditional college such as trade schools and…

The Real Blues

Even though it’s been weeks since the Varsity Blues scandal broke, parents and professionals still want to talk to me…

Challenging Backgrounds

Some students come to me with unusual challenges in their background; they might have been caught with drugs or alcohol…

Are You Ready?

One of the key milestones students must meet to show readiness for college is independence. A student needs to be…

The Co-ed Alternative

These days, a single-sex institution is a hard sell. Students think of college not only as a opportunity to learn,…

Weighing the Grades

As juniors are faced with decisions regarding senior year courses, I’m often asked by parents and students alike: Is it…

Summer Job? Let Your Essay Be Your Guide

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.


Prepare for Take-off

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.


Dealing with Rejection

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.


Becoming Out of Reach

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.


Getting a Running Start

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.


Don’t Worry: It’s Out There

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.


The Right Fit

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.

Tips for a Compelling Essay

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.

Don’t Mind the Gap

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.

It’s Decision Time

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?”


Follow Your Passions

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!

Data Mining

Data Mining

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.

State University of New York at New Paltz

State University of New York at New Paltz

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.

Data Mining

Talking Frankly

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.

Hard Times for the Small College Main Image

Hard Times for the Small College

Some small colleges face serious decisions about their viability, and it seems like the news is peppered with announcements of their demise.

University of Vermont Main Image

University of Vermont

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.


The Parent Trap

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?


Dartmouth University

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.

An Opportunity for Reflection and Change

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.

Lying in Plain Sight

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

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.


How To Manage College Search Emails

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 Application Essays

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.”


McGill University

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.


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 on Campus

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.

Take It From Me:

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 Flounders

Hampshire College is turning 50 next year. But that’s only if they can survive until then.


Franklin & Marshall College

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

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.


Student Loan Debt

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.

Clamping Down on Fraternities

It is no secret that in the past few years fraternities have been involved in some irresponsible, even deadly, behavior.

College And Character: What Counts

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.


Financial Aid

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.

Colleges of Virginia and North Carolina

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.

What Are You Doing This Summer?

What Are You Doing This Summer?

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.


International Universities

I have recommended international universities to students for many years. Only recently have my students expressed an interest in going abroad or to Canada.

College Waiting Lists

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

The New School is an unusual place and it’s not for everyone. But I love it.

Tips for College Visits

Tips for College Visits

Many juniors (and some sophomores) are visiting colleges this time of year. It’s hard to remember all the information that…

College Tuition Hikes

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.


Gap Year

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.

College Choice

College Choice

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.

Hearing Something, Saying Nothing

Hearing Something, Saying Nothing

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.

When Your College Has Your Back

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.

Demonstrated Interest

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.

Timeliness is Everything

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.

Backs of four teenagers walking away from camera in a line.

College Application Time

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

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.

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