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...

January 2, 2018

The internet is filled with college searchers, finders, matchers and comparers.  Just type in a few pieces of statistical data, and your perfect college list emerges!  

But does it?  While websites can provide valuable information, let's remember that statistics alone can't fully represent eit...

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...

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...

January 1, 2017

Maybe you're too young to recognize the quotation from singer Elvis Costello, but everyone concerned about getting into college knows the truth contained in this title.  "Passion" has become almost a term of art for admissions officers.  No longer simply denoting strong enthusiasm or excitement, it...

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...

March 1, 2016

It seems like an innocuous question -- What are you carrying in your backpack?  But on some campuses, you or a fellow student may be legally carrying a handgun.  The Second Amendment might make a great topic for a philosophical discussion, but for students (and parents who worry about them) the impl...

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