06 January 2015

Insights from Duke's Dean of Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

forbesRising seniors and parents—here's a great video from Forbes Magazine featuring Christophe Guttentag, Duke's Undergraduate Dean of Admissions.  It's entitled, "Who Gets Into Top Colleges and What Makes The Difference" and you'll find it chock full of interesting insights from the inside.

Click here to watch the video.

19 December 2014

Department of Education Unveils College Rating Plan

Posted in Perspectives

DoEThe U.S. Department of Education outlined its framework for rating colleges in a report issued earlier today, as reported by the New York Times.  It plans to group schools into one of three categories: high-performing, low-performing and those in-between.

The article is interesting for two reasons: first, it provides a preview for how the government plans to assess college performance, and second, it's an instructive example of guarding against "false precision."

Click here for the Department of Education College Ratings Framework release.

Click here for the New York Times article.

09 December 2014

Essays That Worked

Posted in Essays, Perspectives

johnshopkinslogoHere's an excellent posting from Johns Hopkins University on essays that worked.  Unlike the previous posts that focus on tips, this article provides seven actual essay examples submitted by applicants and commentary from the admissions committee on why they worked.

08 December 2014

5 Reasons Why Not to Stress About College Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

hercampuslogoHere's a student's perspective on the college admissions process, courtesy of Katherine Varga for  Bottom line: don't panic, you're going to be fine.

08 December 2014

Art of Writing College Essays

Posted in Essays, Perspectives

todayshowlogoHere's a video segment from the Today Show featuring Jacques Steinberg, former New York Times senior editor and author of The Gatekeepers.  It's about the art of writing college essays and he provides some examples of what works and doesn't and why.  Though the segment is from 2010, it should be of help to those of you trying to figure out how to best convey your thoughts on paper. 

06 December 2014

Tips for Writing an Effective Essay

Posted in Essays, Perspectives

College board logoHere's another useful set of tips for writing an effective application essay, this time from Jeff Brenzel, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University, courtesy of the College Board.


01 December 2014

College Kickstart and Naviance

Posted in Your College List, Perspectives

Turning data into action

naviance-thinkingaboutYou've used Naviance to come up with a list of colleges you're thinking about.  Excellent!   

Now what? 

In this age of single digit admission rates and $75 application fees, it's no longer as simple as "just apply to them all."  

College Kickstart helps you make the leap from "colleges I'm thinking about" to "colleges I'm applying to." Read on to find out how we turn the data you've collected into a sensible and actionable plan.


01 December 2014

Inside the Admissions Process at George Washington University

Posted in Perspectives

washpostFor those of you interested in getting some insight on how colleges make admission decisions, here's an interesting article from Nick Anderson at The Washington Post.  It's from March of this year, but it provides a glimpse of the admission process from the inside at George Washington University.  

11 November 2014

Keeping Perspective on College Admissions

Posted in Perspectives


Between your school search, bolstering test scores and GPA, and figuring out how to get in, it's all too easy to get caught up in the craziness of college admissions.  Here's a great blog post from Kim Hunter, the former Associate Director of Admissions at MIT, about the importance of maintaining perspective. 

Click here for the post.

27 October 2014

Berkeley High Jacket Reviews College Kickstart

Posted in Perspectives

berkeleyhighjacketInterested in a student perspective about College Kickstart?

Here's an article by Hanna Weiler from Berkeley High School.  Hanna is a senior and writer for the school paper, the Berkeley High Jacket.  


24 October 2014

9 Essay Tips to "Wow" College Admissions

Posted in Perspectives

USA Today logo 2012Having a tough time getting rolling on your college admission essays?  

Here are nine tips on putting together essays that "wow" from USA Today.

Click here for the article.


06 October 2014

More Schools Become Test Optional

Posted in Perspectives

Bloomberg-LogoCiting better ways to evaluate academic quality and expand diversity, a new wave of colleges and universities are moving to test-optional admissions.  Institutions making the move recently include Wesleyan University, Temple University and Bryn Mawr.


Click here for the article.

03 October 2014

Is an Elite Education Worth $170,000 in Debt?

Posted in Perspectives, Affordability

The Middle Class Squeeze

logo nbcnewsHere's an insightful article from NBC News about the value of an elite education and the plight of today's middle class in affording it. With most top institutions now offering only need-based financial aid, the article asserts that middle class families are being squeezed out due to affordability and the prospect of graduating with enormous debt.

Click here for the article.

10 September 2014

Is Your College List Too Aggressive?

Posted in Your College List, Perspectives

Five warning signs and what to do about it

warningA few days ago we reported that over 90% of college lists initially submitted to College Kickstart needed improvement, and just about all of them (>90%) were too aggressive. Here are the top 5 reasons why and how to make sure it doesn't happen to you.


02 September 2014

Over 90% of College Lists Need Improvement

Posted in Your College List, Early Admission, Perspectives

and other findings from our beta test

Over 90% of College Lists Need Improvement

As most of you know, we completed a beta test of College Kickstart at the end of July.  With student and parent participants from public and private schools, our goal was to measure how effective we could be in helping users build a sensible college plan.

The results are in, and we're quite excited by the findings:

  • Needed list improvements were identified for 91% of users
  • Odds-boosting early admission opportunities were found for 91% of users
  • Work and cost avoidance opportunities were found for 81% of users

What's even more compelling is how much College Kickstart is boosting odds and setting up applicants to avoid unnecessary work and cost:

  • On average, 2.6 early admission opportunities were identified, resulting in a 63% boost in odds
  • On average, up to 4.2 applications could potentially be avoided, saving up to $282 in admission fees

Read on for the details.


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