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.


12 August 2015

UC Berkeley Letters of Recommendation Update

Posted in Perspectives

ucberkeleyLast night we received some clarification on letters of recommendation for UC Berkeley applicants.  Here is their statement:


Update on letters of recommendation

In April 2015, UC Berkeley adopted a new freshman admission policy. Starting with students applying to Berkeley this fall, some applicants will be invited to submit two letters of recommendation. This will be optional and not required.

To clarify, no campus of the University of California requires letters of recommendation when the admission application is submitted. However, it has long been University practice that campuses may request additional information from applicants at a later time, including letters of recommendation. If additional information is needed, applicants will be notified individually.


Click here for the specifics from UC Berkeley.

12 August 2015

University of California Application Now Open

Posted in Perspectives

ucThe Fall 2016 application is now available for University of California applicants.  You can begin filling out the application now, but as always, you'll need to wait until November to submit it.

Click here to access the UC application website.

02 July 2015

University of California Fall 2015 Admission Trends

Posted in Your College List, Perspectives

ucHot off the press!  We've had a chance to review the Fall 2015 admissions data released earlier today by the University of California and thought it would be helpful to summarize it and our key findings.  

Long story short, overall freshman admission rates are down and its getting tougher for California residents as the University of California focuses on increasing the mix of "full pay" out of state and international students to hedge against budget uncertainty.  If you're an out of state or international student, pay close attention...there appears to be a window of opportunity to take advantage of favorable odds at several UC campuses.

Click on Continue Reading for the details.

08 June 2015

June 6th SAT Scores to be Counted Despite Glitch

Posted in Perspectives

College board logoThe College Board announced earlier today that SAT scores from June 6th will be counted, despite a printing error that set 25 minute time limits on sections normally limited to 20 minutes.

After careful consideration, the College Board indicated that the two affected sections would not be scored, and that due to the design of the test, they would have no impact on the reliability of the results.

Bottom line: your SAT score will stand and you can expect to get the results on June 25th.

Click here for the announcement

26 May 2015

Bringing Better College Planning to Inner City Teens

Posted in Perspectives

Our partnership with Alliance College-Ready Schools

College Kickstart and Alliance College-Ready Schools Team Up to Bring Better College Planning to Inner City Teens

We're thrilled to announce our partnership with Alliance College-Ready Public Schools to bring better college planning to inner city youth.  As a result of the agreement, nearly 2,000 rising high school seniors and counselors across 15 Alliance high schools in the Los Angeles area will put College Kickstart to work for college planning.  

Click on Continue Reading for the details.


22 May 2015

A Journey Through College Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

A 360 degree perspective

washpostHere's a useful series of articles from the Washington Post for those of you about to embark on the college admissions process.  It chronicles the admissions journey of a high school senior, Samantha Fogel, and includes perspectives from her high school counselor as well as parents.  

  1. Getting started
  2. Parenting the college applicant
  3. The search process
  4. Deciding where to apply first
  5. How not to bomb the college essay 
  6. Dealing with deferral
  7. Making the college decision

21 May 2015

Essays About Work and Class That Caught a College's Eye

Posted in Essays, Perspectives


nytFor those of you looking for possible admission essay topics, here are seven about work and class that caught a college's eye.  

Click here for the article

11 May 2015

NACAC State of College Admissions Report 2014

Posted in Early Admission, Perspectives

soca2014The National Association for College Admissions Counseling released its 2014 State of College Admissions report last Thursday.  

We had an opportunity to review the 72 page report and took away some key points about overall application and early admission trends.  

The findings strongly reinforce the need for students and families to actively evaluate early admission opportunities as an integral part of their college plan.  

Click on Continue Reading below for the summary.

18 April 2015

Chilling Out About College Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

Reviews of "Where You Go is Not Who You'll Be"

bruni"Where You Go is Not Who You'll Be" by Frank Bruni is a book that every stressed out rising senior or parent should read.

It's a quick, entertaining and grounding read about not getting too caught up in the madness of modern day college admissions.  It makes the point that brand name schools turn out to mean very little when it comes to success in life, and that there are countless examples of successful people who started from humble educational backgrounds. 

It's not where you start, it's how you finish!

Click here for the Washington Post review

Click here for the New York Times Sunday Book Review. 


12 April 2015

Beyond Prestige and Comfort: The Right Way to Choose a College

Posted in Perspectives

washpostLooking for help on which college to attend?  Here's an interesting article from Michael Roth for The Washington Post on how to navigate your way to a decision.  Michael is the president of Wesleyan University, a liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut. 

Click here for the article.


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