March 1, 2018

Everyone knows students have to compete for admission to selective colleges today.  More high school seniors are applying to more schools, more international students want U.S. educations, yet the number of seats available at top colleges and universities has barely budged. 

But where college we...

December 1, 2017

The world of college admissions has become increasingly complex in the last 25 years.  Students used to attend whatever college was within a couple hours' drive from their home.  Now, the US News rankings have increased awareness of institutions across the country, encouraging colleges to compe...

September 1, 2017

It's human nature: If we have a list, we want to rank it.  US News and World Report took full advantage of that tendency when it first published its college rankings in the 1980s.  While its goal might have been somewhat laudable at the time (to encourage students to consider colleges beyond their l...

August 2, 2017

When starting to research colleges, some students immediately turn to the internet.   And there's no question that college websites and social media can provide up-to-date information and real-time student views of an institution.  But today I want to plead for three books (physical books!) that des...

July 1, 2017

Americans seem to approach everything with optimism.  Just look at some of our more widespread clichés:

“Reach for the stars.”

“Anything is possible.”

“Follow your dreams.” 

Many colleges – including the most highly selective – are quick to encourage this kind of thinking.  Even with (in some cases) mor...

April 1, 2017

By its nature a circle has no beginning or end, and so it is with college applications.  Just as the seniors are stepping off the merry-go-round, juniors are stepping on.  It's important to get both those endings and beginnings right.

April 1st used to be a general notification date, but many sc...

February 2, 2017

Many seniors have finally sent off the last of their applications, but for underclassmen the flurry of mail is just starting.  They receive fistfuls of glossy brochures showing the same happy and diverse group of clean-cut students on the grass under an autumn sky, extolling the virtues of this or t...

July 1, 2016

In most parts of the country, spring is slowly blossoming into summer.  Finally, a chance to change gears, experience a more relaxed schedule and -- if you are a rising high school senior –- start on that Common App essay!  If you thought junior year was hectic and stressful, imagine next fall, when...

June 2, 2016

Child Psychologist Ellen Braaten addressed the Independent Educational Consultants Association at its conference in Boston a couple weeks ago.  Her topic:  “The Curse of the Average Child.”  She began the program describing a couple who had brought their daughter in for testing, “hoping” that some t...

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