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. When excellence has become...

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

a note to parents of students

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