20 November 2015

University of California to boost in-state enrollment by 5,000 students for Fall 2016

Posted in Perspectives

ucIt's official—the University of California Board of Regents approved a budget plan to enroll an additional 10,000 California undergraduates over the next three years, including 5,000 freshman and transfer students for the Fall of 2016. 

Click here for the article.

18 November 2015

Perspectives from a former Princeton Admissions Director on Mistakes Applicants Make

Posted in Perspectives

business-insider-logoHere's an interesting video from Steve Lemanger, a former admissions director at Princeton University, on the mistakes that applicants make.  The big takeaway is that much of your application has already been set with your grades, test scores and recommendations.

Click here to check it out.

18 November 2015

Ivy League Admissions Process

Posted in Perspectives

business-insider-logoFor those of you curious about how admission decisions are made, here's an interesting article from Business Insider on the Ivy League admissions process. Excerpted from a talk given by Nelson Urena, a former admissions officer at Cornell University, it outlines the typical steps that are taken from the time the application is submitted to the time the decision is rendered.  

Click here for the article.

16 November 2015

Foreign Students Pinch University of California Home-State Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

wsjHere's the Wall Street Journal's take on the University of California and the shift at many of its campuses to greater foreign and out-of-state enrollment.  According to the article, the UC system accepted 62% of in-state applicants in the 2014 school year compared to 84% four years earlier.

The good news for Class of 2020 applicants is that in-state admissions should improve this year, thanks to $50 million in additional state and UC system support.  If approved later this week, an additional 5,000 in-state applicants will be admitted relative to last year.

Click here for the article, or here for our take on Fall 2015 UC admission trends.


05 November 2015

The Test Optional Surge

Posted in Perspectives

nytThe shift to test-optional admission continues to build.  This article from the New York Times highlights several reasons for the shift and reviews the results from several studies, often conflicting, on its impact.  Some suggestions for when to consider applying test optional are also made.

Click here for the article.

01 November 2015

Top 5 Tips for University of California Applicants

Posted in Perspectives

uclogoWith the University of California application now open for submissions, it's time to make sure everything is in order.  

Here are the top five tips for freshman applicants, courtesy of the University of California:


1. Send official test scores to just one UC campus

It'll be shared with all campuses where you've applied.  One exception: IELTS test scores must be sent to each campus. Note also that AP/IB scores are not required at the time of application review.

2.  November/December test scores are acceptable

November and December exam dates are acceptable even though the application due date is November 30th. Just indicate your planned test date(s) on the application, then log back into to self-report your scores once they're received.  Be sure to request that the official scores are sent to one UC campus. 

3. Don't send transcripts or academic records

They'll be requested if they're needed during the application review process.

4. Don't send letters of recommendation

They're not required or read unless specifically requested. A campus will contact you via email if one is needed.

5. You can review and make minor modifications to your application after submission

You can log in to review your application after it's been submitted, as well as update your contact information and report new test scores.  It's also possible to make *minor* changes to your activities, awards, volunteer work, employment or personal statement.  If there are significant changes, notify the UC Application Center at


19 October 2015

Essays That Worked (Class of 2019)

Posted in Essays, Perspectives

johnshopkinslogoStill struggling with your college essays?  Here's an excellent post from Johns Hopkins University on essays that worked.  It provides eight actual essays submitted by applicants and commentary from the admissions committee on why they worked.

16 October 2015

Do Early Birds Catch the College Acceptance?

Posted in Your College List, Early Admission, Perspectives

The Boston GlobeWhen does it make sense to take advantage of early admission?

Here's an article from the Boston Globe, complete with perspectives from admission directors from Boston College, Babson College, Wheaton College and UMass Lowell. 

Click here for more.

15 October 2015

Which Standardized Test to Take?

Posted in Perspectives

washpostNew SAT, current SAT or ACT—which one is for me?

Here's a 30 question diagnostic developed by Dr. Gary Gruber that can help you determine which may be best for you.   

Click here for the article.

08 October 2015

A Deeper Look at the New SAT

Posted in Perspectives

newSAT image finalFor those of you wondering about the new SAT, here's an excellent article from Jed Applerouth that details the differences between the current and new formats, as well as the ACT.  

Read the article here.

28 September 2015

Coalition of 80 Schools to Introduce New Alternative to the Common App

Posted in Perspectives

TheCoalitionA group of 80 higher education institutions called the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success will be introducing a new alternative to the Common Application in 2016.  Designed to level the playing field for college admissions, the Coalition will deliver free tools to increase transparency around admissions and financial aid and promote awareness and engagement prior to senior year.

Details to come later this year, with more insight expected at this week's NACAC Conference in San Diego.

Click here for the press release or here for the related article from the Washington Post.

25 September 2015

The Darker Side of College Rankings

Posted in Perspectives

huffpostHere's a recent blog post from the President of Hampshire College in the Huffington Post.  It's entitled Results of Removing Standardized Test Scores from College Admissions, and while it's meant to tout the impact of adopting a test blind admissions policy (SAT/ACT scores are not accepted/considered), in reality it's a fascinating perspective on college rankings and how the quest for top rankings can often pressure schools to commit "unnatural" acts.

Click here for the article.


22 September 2015

The New College Scorecard: NPR Does Some Math

Posted in Perspectives, College Rankings

nprHere's an interesting article/podcast from National Public Radio about the College Scorecard just released by the Obama Administration.  The data, which includes some very useful information about the cost and return of a college education at over 7,000 schools, stops short of rankings but makes it possible to create your own rankings.

NPR provides three screens you might find interesting:

  • Schools that make you money
  • Schools that make financial sense
  • Schools that emphasize upward mobility

Click here for details.

14 September 2015

Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data

Posted in Perspectives

nytHere's an article from Kevin Carey of the New York Times about the latest college "return on investment" figures released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The new data tracks the cost of an education and average reported earnings ten years out.  What's important about the data is that it is not "self-reported" based on surveys, as is the approach used by PayScale.  Instead, the government was able to match data from the student financial aid system to federal tax returns, so an accurate picture of earnings across a far larger sample is in place.

What's interesting about the data isn't that elite institutions report higher earnings. What's interesting is that there are a significant number of institutions that the payoff is far less evident, including some well-known universities and liberal arts colleges.  

Click here for the article.


13 September 2015

How to Measure a College's Value

Posted in Perspectives

nytHere's an interesting article by Frank Bruni of the New York Times about how to measure the value of a college education.  Everyone knows which schools are the hardest to get into, but what are the factors about a college education that really impact "fulfillment?"

Bruni previews several interesting findings from the latest Gallup-Purdue study entitled Great Jobs, Great Lives.  60,000 college graduates were surveyed along five dimensions of satisfaction—relationships, health, community, economic situation and sense of purpose—with the goal of identifying whether or not where students attended school made a difference.

Long story short, the advantages for attending elite national universities and liberal arts colleges aren't that material.  Four factors that do make a difference include mentorship, job experience/internships, deep involvement in an campus organization/activity, and the amount of debt you incur post graduation.

Click here for the article.


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