Tagged: college admissions

Words of Comfort for Juniors


In our up-side-down world, applying to college seems daunting and alien. You aren’t getting the support from your guidance office that you once had, you can’t visit colleges, information is scanty and occasionally conflicting. Never mind that you won’t be finishing your high school career in the place and manner you expected.

Read these words from the blog of the Georgia Tech admissions office and see how well the people who read applications get the predicament you’re in.

In the work you do with me as your educational consultant, in all those pieces of information I request, updates and preferences, reviews and visits, I see you and help you see yourself. You have to know who you are to show that to the admission committee. The more we do the easier it becomes. We’re on the right track. They will see you through your application.

Colleges With Openings May 2019

OK, so you applied, did your best to make your application stand out and none of your favorite colleges sent you a “Come on down!”. Don’t worry, there are many colleges that didn’t fill all the seats and beds. These are great institutions, some in your back yard, some across the country.

Here’s the link to finding just the right place to start your college career.


Best of luck!

Why Do Ivy Colleges Not Accept APs For Credit?

Why do Ivy League schools not accept APs?

Rosemary Ward Laberee

Rosemary Ward Laberee, Gig Education Expert – 21 years and still counting.Updated 10h ago

Posted on Quora 4/16/19

They have their reasons.

A few years ago Dartmouth did a study. They gave incoming students (who had taken AP psychology and got a 5 on the exam) a test to see how much they knew. At the same time they gave students who did not have AP psychology the same test. The students who had taken AP psychology and who had done quite well on the AP exam did no better on this assessment than the students who did not take AP Psychology.

They stopped accepting AP courses for college credit. Most elite universities are skeptical in this realm. They like to see their applicants have some AP course work because then they know that the student is prepared for college level work. But they prefer their students to take the basic courses at their college. Giving away Courses does them no favors and offers them no advantage. They do not need to negotiate this so usually they don’t.

Two of my own kids had taken AP micro and macro and did well on the exams. Their Ivy League college had no interest in awarding credit for this coursework, but, more importantly, according to my kids, that was a very good thing. Most of what they learned in these AP classes in high school was covered in the first six weeks of their college class. After that, the material was new. What they learned in the AP courses in high school was very inadequate when compared to what was covered in their actual college course for this subject.

Hope this helps –

Note added: This answer assumes the questioner wants to know why elite universities do not accept APs for credit, allowing the student to take fewer courses and pay less tuition. They don’t care very much about saving you money and they strongly prefer that you take the courses at their school. You might get to skip a class (without any tuition adjustment) and this may or may not be advisable.

Don’t Stress Over Choosing Which College Offer To Accept

There are no wrong choices, only different ones!

Boston College

Its decision time. Colleges have notified the students they have admitted, or will in the next few days. The wait has seemed endless and everyone wants to have the decision and deposit made.

Here is some ammunition to support your need to make a good choice without second guessing, anxiety or fear of making the wrong pick.

First, know that the college doesn’t educate you, you do that for yourself. Dedicate yourself to learning all that you can and to acquiring the skills employers want regardless of your college or major.

Remember that very few students, even those who know which career they want to prepare for actually graduate in the major they declare on their application. There are so many more options that will grad your attention than you can imagine now. You may end up in a completely different field of study than the one you are passionate about today.

Second, college is about growing and exploring yourself and the world. That you will change over the next four years is inevitable; you would change if you sat at home watching Netflix. You can’t predict who you will meet or how they will affect you. New directions will present themselves for your perusal through the friendships and professors on your campus. This will happen where ever you go. Don’t waste time trying to figure out if one set of people will be “better” than another. Your willingness to engage is what matters.

Third, you chose to apply to this set of colleges for specific reasons. Those reasons are still valid. Visit the schools that chose you over many others to see how you feel about each one. You will adapt to the college you attend and you will change that institution by being part of the campus. Take a deep breath and know that your choice will be the right one. Don’t look back, keep moving forward!

Show Your Love To Colleges: 5 Suggestions

Some colleges don’t care a fig whether you come for a visit and others want to see your face if at all possible. Most colleges track the interest you show in their campus and among those that do, quite a few add or subtract points when evaluating your application.

Its a good idea to perform, DI, Demonstrated Interest, in the colleges where you will, or have already applied. Its never too late to show an admissions office how much you care.

  1. Follow their teams and send kudos for victories or express disappointment at loses.
  2. Follow the college on social media, Yes, this will show all of them which colleges you are interested in so come up with a plan that highlights the top of your list, at least until the early decisions have been rendered.
  3. Use email to stay in touch with the admissions office. Congratulations are in order for the hiring of an influential professor, National Science Foundation grants, a new president, or anything else new and exciting on campus (like breaking ground for a new building). It shows you are paying attention!
  4. Update your application with an email explaining a new award, project, successful research paper, sports success, new job, travel opportunity, etc.
  5. Ask questions! Ask about anything that isn’t on the college website. Does the cafeteria buy locally? Who sponsors intramural tournaments? Can you have your own locker in the rec center? Are there hours during which you can’t practice your tuba in the dorm?
  6. BONUS: GO VISIT! See the campus at least once before submitting your application and again before a decision is rendered if you live within reasonable driving distance.

Applications from students who have no history with the university are called stealth applications. Typically, they are given less weight under the assumption that the student isn’t particularly interested in coming. The admissions office is charged with filling seats and beds and will choose students who are more likely to deposit if admitted.

Go forth and communicate! Its not too early or too late!

Do Colleges Really Care About Your ACT or SAT Scores?

This question keeps popping up. Below I’ve copied answers from experts who regularly answer questions on Quora. Here’s what they have to say.

Douglas Duncan Pickard, I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Twice.

[Why?] Because the SAT (and ACT) loosely correlate to freshman year GPA, therefore providing some assurance that the students won’t fail out right away.

Ok, that’s not the real reason. The real reason is because it provides a standardized test that all the prospective students take, so you are comparing “apples to apples” across all the applications. That helps with admissions decisions because GPA alone does not tell you much since education standards vary so much school to school.

Ok, that’s not the real reason either. The REAL real reason is that college rankings consider the average SAT score of admitted students. The higher it is the more it helps the schools rankings. It’s yet another way to keep score.

Gabriel J Ferrer Professor of Computer Science, Hendrix College

In my work as the chair of our college’s Mathematics and Computer Science Department, we have long made use of ACT Math scores as guidance in the placement process for entering students.

Generally speaking, a 28 or higher strongly predicts success in the Calculus sequence. A 24-27 also predicts success, but to a lesser degree.

A score below 24 predicts trouble. Viewed both at an abstract level as well as anecdotally in terms of instructor experience, such a score suggests poor algebra skills.

These predictions are not absolute, of course, and there are a number of students who manage to succeed in spite of low scores. But by and large, we have found ACT scores to be an excellent tool.

The most useful advice I can suggest is for high school students to work hard on mastering their algebra skills, and to some

College Interview: Why Should We Choose You?

Scott Mattox

I am an ivy league graduate and have been an alumni interviewer for over 15 years. I ask this question, in various forms, to all my applicants. Having heard hundreds of replies to this question let me first address how not to answer the question. All of the following are actual responses I have gotten over the years.

  1. Do not say I am “hard working, conscientious” etc. This is by far the most common answer. Virtually all applicants are academically successful, and this answer will not serve to differentiate you from them.
  2. Do not say you are a “good person” etc. Self analysis of personality traits is always suspect, and in reference to number 1, I would assume all applicants think that they are good people.
  3. Do not say “I will make the University famous and enhance their reputation.” This is actually a fairly common reply. While in some cases this may ultimately prove to be correct, by no means can anyone reliably predict this outcome. Also while some element of self confidence is good, this type of response borders on arrogance.

The ivies, and likely most elite schools want to have a diversified class. This does NOT mean that they want of lot of diversified students, rather they want students that are exceptional in many different areas. For example they would much rather have someone who excels in one area e.g. : number one tennis player in their state, national science fair winner, or nationally renowned violinist, rather than someone who has all A’s, plays on a few varsity teams, and was in the chorus. Also please know that your interviewer has heard hundreds of answers and can recognize “bullshit” even before it has completely left your mouth. Above all be honest!! Choose an area that you are accomplished in and try to show how the Universities resources can help you achieve a particular goal in this field. The following a some examples of the more successful answers I have received: One applicant started his own successful software company in high school, and was familiar with the University’s strengths in this area and gave specific examples of the courses he would take to further his career goals. Another student started a charity to support a particular school in the caribbean. Her interest was in third world economics, and she was able to show how her acceptance would allow her to work with certain professors to make a difference in this world.

In short, you need to find an area in which you excel, and then show how this University has unique resources to help you achieve specific goals related to this area. If you are honest, the interviewer will see how your acceptance will be mutally beneficial.

Students, this is also how you should answer the question “Why do you want to go here?”  Lets talk about how to show your exceptionality in an interview and on your applications.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

An Expert’s Top 10 For Rising Seniors


Top Ten Tidbits Of Advice For Those About To Embark On The Road To College

Seth Bykofsky  5/27/2015

This is the time of year when everyone doles out advice – to graduates of high school and college, to the newly minted and soon-to-be-initiated, to sun-worshippers, everywhere.

And so, I thought it appropriate to hand out a few gems of my own, gratis, for those still bright-eyed high school juniors/rising seniors, as well as their already angst-ridden parental units, just now beginning the journey through the college application and admissions maze.

Without further, and in no particular order, here we go:

  1. Start early. Have a game plan. Keep an open mind. Create your own rankings of colleges that are “best” for you.
  2. Listen to what others say, but remember: God gave you two ears for a reason – in one, out the other.
  3. What matters most is not where you go to college, but what you get out of the college you go to.
  4. Going to college is fun. Getting in should be at least half as much fun. Enjoy the ride!
  5. Choose and apply to colleges that are affordable, and always, always, always complete and submit FAFSA.
  6. Search and apply, apply, apply (did I mention, apply?) for scholarships, large and small. Go for financial freedom. Not student debt.
  7. Yes, college is worth it. Liberal arts are alive and well. It’s okay to be undecided (and, in many instances, preferable)!
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember, it’s almost all small stuff.
  9. Forget rankings, ROI, and all the attendant silliness. The one true barometer of success in life is happiness!
  10. Relax! You are going to get in to a college that is a great fit for you.



Quora: How To Get Onto An Ivy Grad School

Sasha Carter
Sasha Carter, Freelance Admissions Essay Consultant at New Field International (2018-present)

In my personal experience, I started with a plan.


  1. Ace my courses. Do terribly in math and adjust this plan to acing the courses in my major, which I did.
  2. Build relationships with my professors and department heads. This actually worked because all my recommendation letters were from department heads or the most published faculty in my department. How can you do this? Tutor, be a TA, work closely with professors, learn how they think and be an asset to them. This makes it easier to get a recommendation letter.
  3. Get advice from Ivy League alumni at my school. This was by far the biggest help. Their advice was crucial in helping me put together my application. People who have already gotten in, know how to get in.
  4. Join organizations that I actually care about. For me, I wanted to be a writer and writing is big on community. We’re a solitary bunch so we take our human contact where we can. That means poetry slams, readings, and fostering literacy in the community.
  5. Audit graduate courses. I did this for funsies but I ended up presenting myself as a more serious candidate by doing so.
  6. Research. A lot of it. Buckets of it. Do your eyes feel fine? Then you didn’t do enough. I researched each Ivy’s motto, their acceptance rate, their faculty, said faculty’s published work, and I worked all this knowledge into my application essays.
  7. Pray. I’m not kidding. Light a candle at your church. Sacrifice a chicken. Get extra prayer power from your pastor. I’m not saying prayer was a factor but it doesn’t hurt. Also if you’re too busy focused on visualizing that acceptance letter, you’re not quietly freaking about not hearing anything.

Those were my steps. That was the plan I executed and I got in. I hope this helps and good luck.


How Can I Stand Out On An Ivy Application?

Cindy Greatrex
Cindy Greatrex, Associate Medical Officer

A friend of mine was in Admissions at Columbia for many years and had some good advice. So I assume you have the baseline excellent grades and test scores. But how to stand out? Look at what is missing at the school.

My friend said she read through thousands of applications every year where the applicant was a violinist. Problem? Orchestras need only so many violinists. What was desperately needed was a French horn player. Orchestral music scores almost always have the French horn. But she almost never received an application from a French horn player!

Sane is true for Fencing and Squash. Ivies tend to need more fencers and squash players than they have applications from.

Also look at niche majors. Cornell has a fantastic Forestry major but not a ton of Applicants.

Lastly look at what you can Create. Ivies look fondly on inventions, trademarks, patents, something that you felt passionate about and created. The Ivies get tons of Applications from people who worked with the homeless, or in a clinic, or in a food pantry, or off to Africa for the summer to assist in vaccination programs. All outstanding things, obviously.

But show Admissions what you Created, not just what you Joined.

Readers: this advice is solid and highlights one of the difficulties in gaining admission to selective colleges: qualified applicants are a dime a dozen but finding the few who have something unusual is difficult.  Fill a niche and you increase the chances of success.  Lets talk about your unique opportunities. stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.