How to Pick a College for the First (or Second) Time: Advice on Selecting a School for First-Time Applicants or Transfers

Posted by Andrew So. on 7/24/19 11:20 AM

Well-meaning parents and older friends will probably tell you that college will be “the time of your life.” “You will find your people,” they might say. As a rising high school senior, I found this exciting and disconcerting: Would my peak be in college? And, how would I find my people anyway? I remember feeling both thrilled to graduate high school and overwhelmed by the college application process. I could not wait to meet new and interesting people and take fascinating courses in English and history, and my expectations for college could not have been higher. But, by the end of my first semester of college, I knew I wanted to transfer.

This blog post will examine how and why you should pick a school (whether as a first-time applicant or transfer) and what makes a school a good fit.

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Tags: college admissions, college

Summer is the time to start your college application process

Posted by Becca on 7/10/19 3:00 PM

In between junior and senior year? Here’s what you need to focus on.

Junior year of high school can be very demanding. Not only are your grades and GPA incredibly important to the college admissions process, but you’re also balancing AP classes, SAT and ACT tests, extracurriculars, a social life, and (for many) part-time jobs. It’s a lot. So naturally, as school is winding down and summer is starting, most rising seniors like to take a bit of a break to catch their breath. That’s totally normal, and we encourage a little bit of downtime at the start of the summer.

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Tags: college admissions

How to spend the summer before your high school senior year

Posted by Mallory on 5/15/19 8:36 PM

If you’re a high-school student right now, you’ve likely got two things on the brain: passing your finals and summer vacation. Hopefully, in that order. But summer vacation is no longer all fun and games. These days, there’s the expectation to fill June, July, and August with resume-building activities. Family vacations get replaced with company outings; chasing the ice-cream truck gets replaced with pursuing the Ivy League. And, if you’re lucky, your summer plans provide an experience worthy of (cue dramatic music) … the college essay. But a summer spent solely focused on college admissions? Lana Del Rey and I would consider that some serious “Summertime Sadness”.   

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Tags: college admissions, college

Cracking the College Admissions Process, Part I: The Search and the Setup

Posted by Sofía on 2/4/19 5:52 PM

Everyone and their mother seems to have advice about college…

...but well-meaning uncles and even teachers sometimes forget how much work it is to apply to college. People talk about how exciting it is and how you’ll be taking the next step towards your future, but they don’t always mention that the process is stressful, too. Not only do you have to research the colleges you want to apply to, study for the SATs, write a personal statement essay and a bunch of supplements, fill out financial aid forms, ask teachers for letters of recommendation, and do some interviews, but you’re somehow also supposed to keep your grades up, study for AP tests, and continue with your extracurricular activities. I’m not going to lie: it’s a lot.

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Tags: college admissions, college, college admssions

What should I write about? 3 rules to follow when coming up with a college essay topic

Posted by Zuzanna Fuchs on 2/21/18 5:49 PM

In this blog post, our college coach Zuzanna reviews tips for tackling your college essay.

For a good college essay topic, you don’t have to think big!

There are so many misconceptions about the college essay floating around – especially among international students. To tackle them all would require writing a book. But the one I encounter most often is the matter of the topic of the essay, the answer to the question “What should I write about?”

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Tags: college admissions

College Admissions: what to talk about in your alumni interview

Posted by Courtney on 12/22/17 1:52 PM

In my last post, I laid out four reasons why you should schedule that “optional” alumni interview advertised on universities’ pages for prospective students. In today’s post, I’ll describe how to hold a conversation that is valuable for you, and for your alumni interviewer, as they draft their report for the admissions committee.

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Tags: college admissions

Have You Finished Your College Application Essay? (Part Two)

Posted by Danielle D. on 11/29/17 5:48 PM

If you’ve already read Part One of this post, you’ll have ensured that your college application essay has a consistent main point, that its ideas flow in a logical order, and that it represents your own writerly voice. In Part Two, we’ll address more local concerns: although the questions below might seem limited to “smaller” editing or proofreading issues, they are essential boxes to check before sending in your college application. Remember that college admissions officers are reading very quickly—you want to do everything you can to give them the best first impression possible!

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Tags: college admissions

Have You Finished Your College Application Essay? (Part One)

Posted by Danielle D. on 11/27/17 6:37 PM

One of the toughest parts of applying to college is actually hitting that “Submit” button at the end of the application and sending it off to admissions readers. Even if you want to be done, application nerves can make it difficult to commit to being done. In this two-part post, I’ll give you a list of things to look for in your college application essay so that you can feel confident that you have put your best work in, and that it’s ready to send out to colleges. For this first part, we’ll focus on big-picture revisions.

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Tags: college admissions

College Admissions: How to Select and Contact your Recommenders

Posted by Danielle D. on 8/18/17 6:32 PM

In the olden days of college applications, high school seniors would haul stacks of addressed, stamped envelopes to each of their recommenders, so that those recommenders could send a different hard-copy recommendation letter to every school the student was applying to. So much work! In some ways, submitting recommendation letters for college applications has grown easier: now, you can use the Common Application to invite your recommenders to submit their letters electronically. Once you’ve added schools to the “My Colleges” section of the app, each school will have a “Recommenders and FERPA” section that lets you click a button to invite your counselors and teachers to submit recommendations on your behalf. Each of your recommenders will be emailed instructions to access their own Common Application accounts, no stamped envelopes needed.

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Tags: college admissions

Where Else Could you Go to College? Your Top Four Choices Beyond the Ivies

Posted by Danielle D. on 7/17/17 4:36 PM

When high school juniors and seniors are putting their lists of schools together for college applications, they sometimes run into a paradox: on the one hand, there are so many colleges and universities they could apply to. On the other hand, everyone seems to be talking about just eight of them—the Ivy League (or maybe a few more if they’re counting the Ivy Plus).This mindset can feel so limiting! It’s probably not a good idea to base a school list on a set of colleges that are actually only grouped together because they were made an NCAA athletic conference in the 1950s, but it can also be overwhelming to try to sort through a massive guidebook to all the US colleges. Instead, this post will highlight some other types of colleges and universities that are very worth considering—if one or two jump out as appealing to you, I’ve included tips for how you can search for more schools of this type.

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Tags: college admissions, college