Common Application Misconceptions

While college admissions officers used to admit students primarily based on their GPAs and SAT/ACT scores, that’s no longer true.  In fact, during the past 10 years, as competition for college admission has continued to increase year after year, college admissions...

Common Application Misconceptions

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for College

Letters of recommendation help admissions officers determine who is likely to succeed on campus. All of a child’s hard work in high school is reflected in the student’s transcript and test scores, and all of your child’s activities are shown on the extracurricular...

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation for College

How to Get into Harvard

In 2018, when the Students for Fair Admissions alleged that Harvard discriminated against Asian-American applicants, they forced the release of once confidential admissions information, and that exposure revealed much about the inner workings of the admissions...

How to Get into Harvard

Historic Academic Summer Slide Expected

Since schools shut down, educators have been bracing for the worst academic "summer slide" in history. But new research suggests that the so-called coronavirus or “COVID slide” is going to be even worse than feared.Projections suggest major academic impacts from...

Historic Academic Summer Slide Expected

Will Colleges Open This Fall?

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted every aspect of American life, including higher education. As a result, many are wondering what college life will look like this fall. Will the Ivy League and other colleges be open for business as usual in the fall?Most...

Will Colleges Open This Fall?

Will It Be Harder to Get into the Ivy League This Year?

In a recent Fox Business report titled “Coronavirus is Changing the College Admissions Process, Especially for Elite Schools,”  Ann Schmidt suggested that college applicants’ chances at admission will be significantly handicapped this year due to coronavirus test...

Will It Be Harder to Get into the Ivy League This Year?

Ivy League Acceptance Rates Tick Up for the First Time in Years

After years of record low acceptance rates, this spring, Harvard University, Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania posted increased acceptance rates for the first-year class that will begin in the fall of 2020. This comes as a surprise to many who...

Ivy League Acceptance Rates Tick Up for the First Time in Years

How to Get Off a College Wait List

In Dante’s Inferno, those souls neither graced by fortune nor completely damned by fate are consigned to Limbo. Limbo is neither here nor there; not heaven but also not hell. It’s kind of a squashy place characterized above all else by indeterminacy. If he had...

How to Get Off a College Wait List

College application trends for the class of 2024

In an earlier post, we noted the declining number of students who applied through Early Action and Early Decision programs last year. But there are other interesting (and puzzling facts!) about those who applied to become members of the Class of 2024 that reveal...

College application trends for the class of 2024

Impact of Coronavirus on College Admissions

The novel coronavirus is already having an impact on college admissions, and has specific implication for those students interested in applying to be members of the Class of 2025.Coronavirus is expected to significantly change this year’s college admissions...

Impact of Coronavirus on College Admissions

Ideal College Application Timeline

Given the unprecedented competition for college admission, your child’s junior and senior years can be pretty intense. Besides working to maximize GPAs, eleventh and twelfth graders need to prep for AP exams as well the SAT and/or the ACT, they need to continue to...

Ideal College Application Timeline

ACT Test Changes September 2020

In a news release on October 8, 2019, the ACT announced several key changes that will take effect in September 2020. ACT test changes may mean higher scores, especially for the wealthyThey include: 1.  Retakes As of September 2020, students who have already taken...

ACT Test Changes September 2020

How to Transfer from College: 10 Tips for Success

There are many excellent reasons to transfer from one college to another. You might want to transfer after reconsidering what you want out of college. Or you might want to transfer because you’ve decided to change majors and don’t feel you’ll be adequately educated...

How to Transfer from College: 10 Tips for Success

Early Decision Applications Drop at Penn

Penn received 6,088 early decision applications for the Class of 2024 — a more than 14% decline from last year's number of applications.The popularity of Early Decision continues to grow, so what happened at Penn?That’s a striking drop. To put the numbers in...

Early Decision Applications Drop at Penn

Colleges with Late Application Deadlines

While the majority of college application deadlines fall somewhere between November 1 and January 1 of your senior year, there are many good colleges that accept applications throughout the spring of your senior year and even during the summer after your graduation...

Colleges with Late Application Deadlines

How to Get into University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the eight Ivy League universities (along with Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton, Cornell, Yale, and Columbia). As such, it’s hard to get into.It’s not easy to get into Penn, but with the right strategy, you can boost your...

How to Get into University of Pennsylvania

Colleges Without Supplemental Essays

With the regular decision deadline just weeks away, students need to work fast to get all the required application essays written. In addition to the Common App essay / Coalition App essay, many colleges require 3-5 (if not more!) supplemental essays, and that...

Colleges Without Supplemental Essays

Creative College Application Essay Prompts

So the regular decision application deadline is looming and you still haven’t landed on a topic for your Common Application essay /Coalition Application essay. Your parents are thinking you may never get it done, and you’re beginning to wonder too. But fear not!...

Creative College Application Essay Prompts

Colleges with the Highest SAT Scores

During the past year and a half, a number of elite colleges including, most notably, the University of Chicago, dropped the SAT/ACT requirement for applicants.  However, according to a recent poll conducted by the National Association for College Admission...

Colleges with the Highest SAT Scores

What Admissions Directors Think

The findings of the 2019 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Officials were recently released, and they indicate considerable concern among the 336 admissions directors who responded about a wide array of issues including the...

What Admissions Directors Think

College Application Timeline for Seniors

As soon as your child’s senior year begins, college admission stress skyrockets. In addition to keeping up with senior year homework, tests, and extra-curricular activities, the time has now come when your child has to communicate to college admissions officers who...

College Application Timeline for Seniors

Ivy League Acceptance Rates and How You Can Still Get In

Just how hard is it to get into the Ivy League? Very hard. But impossible? Not at all. With acceptance rates at top colleges and universities falling to record or lows, high school students face increasing pressure when it comes to applying to the Ivy League Let’s...

Ivy League Acceptance Rates and How You Can Still Get In

College Rankings: Why They Matter

When creating their college lists, some students look for colleges that will offer them opportunities to learn and accumulate knowledge in a particular field. For these students, learning for the sake of learning is the primary if not the exclusive purpose of going...

College Rankings: Why They Matter

Common Application Essay Secrets

The Common App essay is one of the most important essays your child will ever write.   Why? Because the college application essay has a huge role in determining whether or not your child will be admitted to college. In fact, some admissions officers tell me that at...

Common Application Essay Secrets

Back-to-School Check List for Rising Seniors

Senior year of high school is perhaps the most stressful time of a student’s life.  College-bound seniors know that there’s a lot that needs to be done—keeping up grades, retaking standardized tests, writing college application essays and supplemental...

Back-to-School Check List for Rising Seniors

Extracurricular Lists: Why Being Well-Rounded No Longer Works

When advising their children about the college admissions process, parents often encourage them to explore an array of extra-curricular activities so that when they apply to college, they will appear well-rounded. While that strategy worked when parents were...

Extracurricular Lists: Why Being Well-Rounded No Longer Works

How to Write Ivy League Application Essays

While all colleges hope that applicants will demonstrate passion, leadership, initiative, and intelligence in their application essays, the colleges and universities in the Ivy League as well as the Seven Sister schools and other top-tier colleges expect to see...

How to Write Ivy League Application Essays

How to Get into the Ivy League

This year, six Ivy League colleges and universities including University of Pennsylvania,  Columbia University, Yale University, Brown University, Harvard, and Dartmouth  established record numbers of applicants (over 43,000 in Harvard’s case) and as a result all...

How to Get into the Ivy League

How to Create the Perfect College List

Given the unprecedented competition for college admission, many students think that they should apply to 20, 25, even 30 colleges to boost their chances of winning admission to college. While that looks like a smart strategy—the more colleges you apply to the more...

How to Create the Perfect College List

Handwriting vs Typing: Which Improves Learning?

Technology offers exciting and innovative tools to educators and students. However, as recent research shows, that doesn’t mean that technology fosters the process of learning. Recent research conducted by Pam A. Mueller (Princeton University) and Daniel M....

Handwriting vs Typing: Which Improves Learning?

The SAT Adversity Score: What Students Need to Know

The College Board’s new adversity index has been on the minds of everyone during the past few days and I’ve received many calls from concerned parents wondering how this new SAT “score” will affect their children’s admissions chances. The College Board claims the...

The SAT Adversity Score: What Students Need to Know

The Six Worst College Application Essay Topics

For most students the most difficult part of the already fraught college application process is coming up with topics for the Common Application essay and the supplemental college application essays. The Common App essay and the supplemental application essays give...

The Six Worst College Application Essay Topics

The Ideal College Application Timeline for Junior and Seniors

Applying to college is a fraught process, and even families who’ve gone through the process before often feel intimidated by the sheer number of things that have to be done, and done on time.Playing catch-up can lead to unnecessary stress, and weak applications To...

The Ideal College Application Timeline for Junior and Seniors

How to Encourage Your Child’s Reading and Writing at Home

In order to succeed in school, it’s important that children develop strong language and literacy-related skills early in life. But knowing how to read and write fluently doesn’t just help your child in school. Strong communication skills also build personal...

How to Encourage Your Child’s Reading and Writing at Home

Five Easy Ways to Outsmart the SAT Reading and Writing Section

Parents assume that the more time a student preps for the SAT, the more likely it is that the student will earn a high score on the test. But that’s not necessarily true.  A student can spend two hours a day for six months prepping for the SAT and still come away...

Five Easy Ways to Outsmart the SAT Reading and Writing Section

Record Numbers of Regular Decision Applicants

A week ago, Dartmouth College published stunning application stats. Despite recent scandals and a lot of bad press, the College received a record number of regular decision applications for the Class of 2023: 23,641. This, a whopping 7.3 percent increase over last...

Record Numbers of Regular Decision Applicants

What Are Your Chances of Getting Off a College Wait List?

In Dante’s Inferno, those souls neither graced by fortune nor completely damned by fate are consigned to Limbo. Limbo is neither here nor there; not heaven but also not hell. It’s kind of a squashy place characterized above all else by indeterminacy. If he had...

What Are Your Chances of Getting Off a College Wait List?

5 Ways to Stay Calm While Waiting for College Admissions Decisions

Finally. You’ve clicked “submit” for the last time. The college application process is finally over. You lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and think… “Now what?” The anxiety around college admissions decisions can cause even the most stalwart students to...

5 Ways to Stay Calm While Waiting for College Admissions Decisions

SAT vs. ACT: Which Should I Take?

When you start thinking about applying to college, you will need to strategize your high school course selections, develop your extra-curricular activities, and maintain your grades. And you will also have to take either the SAT or the ACT exam. Contrary to what...

SAT vs. ACT: Which Should I Take?

How U Penn Admits Students

Recently, there’s been an upsurge among college students interested in reviewing their application files. This review of personal educational records is permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). But will perusing your application file...

How U Penn Admits Students

Early Action/Early Decision Admission Rates Drop at All Ivies

More and more students are busting to apply to college prior to the regular decision (RD) application deadline through Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) programs.  But is all that stress worth it?The University of Pennsylvania admitted only 1,279...

Early Action/Early Decision Admission Rates Drop at All Ivies

12 Most Common College Admissions Interview Questions

During a college admissions interview, the interviewer will be asking you questions designed to elicit responses that will provide the interviewer with a sense of the you who exists beyond the transcript and test scores. In other words, the admissions interviewer...

12 Most Common College Admissions Interview Questions

How to Ace a College Interview: 10 Easy Steps

College admissions officers use college interviews for two main purposes. First, they want to get a better sense of you as a person. In other words, in part, the interviewer is conducting the interview to assess your personality, sociability, and likeability....

How to Ace a College Interview: 10 Easy Steps

How The SAT Cripples Girls’ Scores

While looking through research studies for information about how gender might affect performance on standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and SSAT, I came upon an article published by the American Enterprise Institute by Mark J. Perry titled “2016 SAT Test...

How The SAT Cripples Girls’ Scores

College Admissions Secrets: How Applications Are Reviewed

What happens after you submit your college application? How do admissions officers review your college application? College and university admissions offices consider many factors when reviewing college applications. These include SAT/ACT score, GPA, the Common...

College Admissions Secrets: How Applications Are Reviewed

How Arrogance Can Kill Your College Application Essay

Writing your Common Application essay and the Coalition Application essay can be tricky. You have to brag but remain modest. For many applicants, this can be hard balance to achieve. How do you show off and at the same time remain humble? Mastering the art of...

How Arrogance Can Kill Your College Application Essay

Why Kids Can’t Write

  Every week, I receive dozens of calls from parents concerned about their children’s writing skills. Here’s a sample of what these parents are saying: “He’s very bright, but he just can’t seem to get his thoughts on the page.” “He just kind of rambles in his...

Why Kids Can’t Write

Thanksgiving Advice for College Applicants and Their Parents

For college applicants and their families, November can be a tough month. College-bound students feel tremendous pressure to maintain good grades, often in multiple AP courses. At the same time, both applicants and parents frantically struggle to find the most...

Thanksgiving Advice for College Applicants and Their Parents

How to Write Your College Application Essay: Ten Ways to Success

Given the unprecedented competition for college admission today, you need to write an application essay that shows how you stand out from your competitors. Last year, colleges across the country received record numbers of applications from excellently qualified...

How to Write Your College Application Essay: Ten Ways to Success

Do Swelling Waiting Lists Increase Admissions Chances?

Colleges all over the country are expanding their waiting lists. In fact, at many competitive colleges the number of wait-listed applicants is three to four times the number of students enrolled in the incoming first-year class.  Good news for applicants? College...

Do Swelling Waiting Lists Increase Admissions Chances?

Death of the SAT and ACT?

Not yet, but it may be closer than you think. Standardized tests do not measure receptivity to learning, creativity, empathy, perseverance, common sense, curiosity, communication skills, imagination, integrity, innovative intelligence, or work ethic, all attributes...

Death of the SAT and ACT?

How to Explain a Bad Grade When Applying to College

When I was in high school, I got a D minus minus in Algebra II. My teacher’s explanation for this dubious gift was as follows: if Timmy, my older and always straight-A brother, could get a A in her class, then certainly I could too. I applied to college with a D...

How to Explain a Bad Grade When Applying to College

The Four Worst College Application Essay Mistakes

Applying to college is stressful. And without a doubt, writing the application essay is the most stressful part of applying to college. I suppose I didn’t need to write that. Don’t let common mistakes hurt your admissions chances Most of the students with whom I...

The Four Worst College Application Essay Mistakes

College Application Essays: First Sentences and Why They Matter

You’ve heard it before but I’m going to say it again: In this age of unprecedented competition for college admission, the first sentences of your college application essay matter more now than ever before. Ordinary college application essays don’t get read.  ...

College Application Essays: First Sentences and Why They Matter

Why You Don’t Need to Take the SAT and ACT Essays

 Before you sent the College Board or American College Testing Program (ACT) money to register your child for the SAT or ACT essay, read this. Most American colleges no longer require students to take either. In fact, as of July 15, 2018 only 19 colleges now...

Why You Don’t Need to Take the SAT and ACT Essays

How Many College Applications are Enough?

If this year is like last year, colleges and universities will receive a record number of applications this year. Given that we are living through an era of unprecedented competition for college admission and an era of unprecedented teen rates of anxiety,...

How Many College Applications are Enough?

ACT Mandates New Time Limits for Extra-Time Students

Starting in September of 2018, students who qualify for extra time on the ACT will no longer have a total of five hours to use as needed. Instead, extra-time students who take the ACT after August of 2018 will be faced with ACT-imposed time limits for each of the...

ACT Mandates New Time Limits for Extra-Time Students

Why is It so Hard to Get into College?

If you’re a parent, you’re probably trying to wrap your mind around how much the college admissions process has changed since you applied to college. You might even be trying to figure out how much the process has changed since your older child applied just four or...

Why is It so Hard to Get into College?

Eavesdropping in the College Admissions Office

As a college admissions tutor and counselor and long-time Rutgers professor, I have had an opportunity to speak with many folks in many admissions offices, and while schmoozing with college application readers, I’ve learned a few things that every college applicant...

Eavesdropping in the College Admissions Office

Writing Help for ADHD Students

  Typically, students with ADHD produce a wealth of ideas about an essay writing topic. Yet over 60% of students with ADHD struggle to get their ideas down on paper. For most students with ADHD, writing assignments are torturous. Why? For many children with...

Writing Help for ADHD Students

How to Make the Most of College Visits

  You can take hundreds of virtual college tours and browse through multiple electronic guidebooks, but there’s no better way to see if a college is a good fit for you than by visiting the college and talking face-to-face with the people who make up the...

How to Make the Most of College Visits

Get into College: A Grade-by-Grade Guide for High School Students

  When high school students begin the college admissions process, many feel overwhelmed. Trying to manage all that has to be done can be stressful and can take a toll on academic performance, friendships, and health.   How to avoid it? Start early. While some...

Get into College: A Grade-by-Grade Guide for High School Students

How a Tutor Can Help with the College Admissions Process

  The college admissions process can feel overwhelming. For most students, the long slog starts in September of junior year. When should I take the PSAT? The SAT? Should I take the ACT as well? What’s the best way to prep? How many times should I retake each...

How a Tutor Can Help with the College Admissions Process

How to Get Off the Wait List and Into Your Dream College

  You’ve just opened a letter from your dream school and discovered that you’ve been waitlisted. Your heart sinks. Now what? If you are waitlisted, contact the admissions officers at that college and remind them why you are a perfect fit for their school. Once...

How to Get Off the Wait List and Into Your Dream College

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

  A rhetorical analysis essay requires you to write about an author’s writing. In other words, in a rhetorical analysis essay, you write about the way an author uses words to influence or persuade an audience to do or think something. A rhetorical analysis...

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Serial Commas and Their Virtues

  Those of you who already know me, know that I glow when I talk about commas. My favorite comma of all is the serial comma, also known as the series comma, Oxford comma, and Harvard comma. A serial comma is the comma that is used after the penultimate item in...

Serial Commas and Their Virtues

Synthesis Essays: A Step-by-Step How-To Guide

  A synthesis essay is generally a short essay which brings two or more sources (or perspectives) into conversation with each other. The word “synthesis” confuses every student a little bit. Fortunately, this step-by-step how-to guide will see you through to...

Synthesis Essays: A Step-by-Step How-To Guide

AP English: The Essential Guide to Tone and Tone Words

  At a recent AP English exam grading session, the head reader made special note of one aspect of AP instruction which she felt needed addressing. "Teachers should teach tone, always asking students to show how it is achieved and how it contributes to a work's...

AP English: The Essential Guide to Tone and Tone Words

Critical Reading: A How-To Guide for High School Students

  “Read more carefully!” Students frequently see these words written in the margins of their essays. But what does it mean to read more carefully or even carefully for that matter? How do you do it?   To read carefully or critically, you need to learn how...

Critical Reading: A How-To Guide for High School Students

College Applications: How to Stand Out in 8 Minutes or Less

  Last month, after The Wall Street Journal reported that it takes college admissions officers eight minutes to read and evaluate your child’s entire college application  (“Some Elite Colleges Review an Application in 8 Minutes (or Less)", I received many...

College Applications: How to Stand Out in 8 Minutes or Less

College Counselors: How to Pick the Best One for Your Child

  Each year, the competition for college admission becomes more competitive and the process becomes more confusing, both for parents who have “been there before” and parents unfamiliar with the US educational system.  Where do you start? How can you maximize...

College Counselors: How to Pick the Best One for Your Child

10 Best Brainstorming Prompts for the Common Application Essay

  To write a great common application essay, you have to think about yourself in a way you never have before. You have to reflect on your past, your experiences, and yourself.     If that just sounds dreadful, try answering the ten questions below. I...

10 Best Brainstorming Prompts for the Common Application Essay

How to Write a Thesis Statement in Four Easy Steps

  Everyone knows that a good thesis statement is clear, specific, and focused. It draws the reader’s attention to your topic and announces your perspective on the topic. But while teachers often tell you what to put in your thesis statement, they don’t always...

How to Write a Thesis Statement in Four Easy Steps

The Essential AP Guide to Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

  The goal of argumentative writing is to persuade your audience that your ideas are convincing. Basically, there are three ways of doing this: You can convince your reader that your authority is indisputable (ethos) You can convince your reader by appealing...

The Essential AP Guide to Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

How to Get 800 on the SAT Reading

  If you think the SAT Reading test is designed to trick you, you're right. It is. But if you know what the tricks are and where in the text they are likely to occur, you can optimize your score. Below you will find the 16 best strategies for success on the...

How to Get 800 on the SAT Reading

How to Master Your 504 or IEP Meeting

  504 and IEP meetings can be intimidating. After all, the school officials are the putative experts, and you but a parent who has spent many sleepless nights worrying about you child and wondering how she or he can get a fair shake in school. While the...

How to Master Your 504 or IEP Meeting

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