Category Archives: College

The biggest stories in college admissions right now have to do with record numbers of applications to highly selective schools being waitlisted, deferred, and outright turned away in record numbers. As ever, the ranks of the unadmitted include plenty of students who would not only survive but thrive in competitive academic environments. But many of these students–particularly those who likely wouldn’t have applied before being emboldened by test optional policies–may have spared a great deal of emotional and financial pain. After all, there is a big difference between being ready for colleges and *really* being ready for college. What is the essential distinction here? Imagine that you, like me, have a teenager of driving age. My son has been ready to drive for years. As far as he’s concerned, he was born ready. To him, the assorted steps required to earn first a learner’s permit and then that coveted full…

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Considering how many changes and questions the college admissions process holds for the high school graduating class of 2022, there is tremendous benefit to checking in on a regular basis to assess facts and dispel rumors. To that end, it was my great pleasure to join Eric Domroes and Karina Anderson from the Mendon HS Counseling Department for an interactive discussion with district 11th graders and parents about the current state of college testing admissions. What will you learn in this video? How are colleges considering test scores for the HS class of 2022? What does test optional really mean and who do these policies benefit? How does selectivity influence the necessity of test scores? What are the most recent changes to the SAT and ACT? How can a student determine which test to take? When should students plan to take the SAT and/or ACT? When and how should students…

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Have you ever heard of the United States Naval Academy? Most people know it as Annapolis, since it’s located in Annapolis, Maryland, or USNA for short. It’s also, like most U.S. military academies, one of the most competitive schools in the country. For anyone interested in applying to the Naval Academy, we asked our colleagues at Gain Service Academy Admission to share some insightful tips: How to Prepare Early in your High School Career The general theme here is to make sure you challenge yourself! The Naval Academy core courses are challenging. Taking challenging classes during high school will help you prepare for USNA’s academic rigor. Start early! If you have a choice to take Advanced Placement or IB classes, do so. Focus on being in the top 20% of your high school class academically, at least. Get involved in your community and take on leadership opportunities. Find activities you…

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Once Chariot Learning has already helped a student achieve her best SAT and ACT scores, she often comes back for help with another challenge: the college application essay. Writing the college application essay is a daunting task–in 650 words, a student must share something striking about herself that will convince an admissions committee that she will be a worthy addition to the college’s incoming class. With so many applicants to choose from, many of whom have strong numbers, the essay becomes a crucial part of a student’s college application that can make the difference between admission and rejection. What can a student do to make her essay succeed at this highly unique genre of high-stakes writing? First and foremost, I tell my essay students, “Write an essay that nobody could write except you.” What does that mean? Someone who knows you well should be able to read a pile of…

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Considering all the lives, livelihoods, and opportunities that COVID-19 has taken from us so far, finding something good that arose out of the pandemic seems too much to ask. However, the global shutdown hurt some industries more than others, which meant 2020 may have been one of the worst years ever for America’s thousands of colleges and universities. The College Stress Test predicted that a surprising number of institutions of higher education were in financial peril this year, and those models didn’t even take the threat of a massive shutdown into account. COVID has been absolutely horrible for most colleges. Many college students–or at least the ones willing and able to enroll in a school that was partially or entirely remote–found an unexpected benefit from the crisis: historically low increases in average published tuition prices. College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report usually tells a story…

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Love them or hate them, the ACT and SAT serve a number of valuable purposes. Currently, both tests are primarily (but not entirely) college admissions exams. And despite the controversy and anxiety that inevitably accompany the ACT and SAT, most colleges continue to rely on them to inform admissions decisions. Granted, a human being is so much more than a number, but quantitative data matters a lot when evaluating applicants in a pool that exponentially exceeds the number of available seats. Furthermore, standardized test scores aren’t even the most important numbers. All things being equal, a student’s grade point average is the first and foremost metric that matters. Why, then, are tests needed at all? Can’t grades tell the full story of a student’s academic ability? Unfortunately, grades are not enough in most instances. One reason they cannot always be trusted is the dramatic variability in academic excellence from school…

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