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5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your College Essays

Your application has made it past the initial round and is waiting on a table with a hundred other applications to be scrutinized by yet another admissions officer. The difference this time, is that your application is just another 2100 in the pool of over-achieving applications. Your high scores and GPA won’t be enough alone […]

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Common College Application Mistakes

Many parents and students ask about the most common mistakes that are made on college applications. It’s a great question, because these mistakes almost always stem from right-headed intentions. Avoiding them is simply a matter of understanding the mindset of admissions officers. The most common mistakes on college applications fall into two categories. They don’t cover […]

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Extracurriculars Tip #2

Here’s a tip about extracurriculars that’s related to an earlier posting. It’s for you younger high school students. If you’re application-minded, you may already be thinking about extracurriculars and how many you should have on your Common App. People will talk about a certain number you need, and about how a good balance of different […]

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What Kind of Campus Is Best?

Where do you want to go to school? To help yourself come up with a list, break the question down into components. One of the most important is the setting: whether you prefer an urban, suburban, or rural campus. The difference can be profound, and hard to grasp without in-person experience. If you have the […]

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What’s a Good SAT Score?

The straight answer is: it depends. It depends on where you want to go (or who you want to impress). According to the College Board’s table of 2013 SAT percentiles, the median SAT score for college-bound seniors was around 1500 combined. So maybe a ‘good SAT score’ is anything over that mark: you’ll be better […]

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Application Essay Tips

Writing your application essay can seem like an easy task: you’ve written longer papers, there’s no research to do, and the question is straightforward. But you’ve also never written an essay quite like this (unless, of course, you’ve written an application essay before). Use these tips to craft the best statement possible. 1) Brainstorm. Coming […]

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Admissions Is Not a Lottery

The idea that the college admissions process is a lottery is a common one among frustrated applicants. The popular variation is often phrased, ‘Admissions is a crapshoot,’ with the additional implication that you don’t have great odds in this particular lottery. Some, however, have taken the idea a bit more seriously. Writing in The Atlantic, Rob Goodman […]

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Lower Acceptance Rates: What Do They Mean?

It seems that every year now acceptance rates at the top colleges drop even lower. In 2014, Stanford University accepted just 5% of applicants, a record low. An article in the The New York Times noted that chances at other elite schools aren’t much better: Harvard and Yale are around 6%, Columbia and Princeton about […]

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Waiting on the Waitlist

It’s a tough place to be, the waitlist. If you’ve been dropped there by your top choice (or maybe your top three) you may feel helpless, confused, resigned, or maybe just depressed. This is not the way admissions officers want you to feel. The first thing to remember is that you’re on the waitlist because […]

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5 Things Not to Do When You’re on the Waitlist

1) Don’t give up. While it’s important to be realistic about your low chances, don’t give up if you want to attend a school that has waitlisted you. A decision may feel distant, but it’s worth staying focused and doing what you can. 2) Don’t send too many letters/emails. Sending letters is one way you […]

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