Category Archives: College

A hook is useful to have on hand (definitely not in hand, though) in all manner of scenarios from fishing to songwriting. Surprisingly, the newest market for hooks happens to be in college admissions. This begs, the question, of course, “What is a hook?” Hooks are basically all the factors beyond grades and test scores that might engage interest and secure college admission. We’ve always recognized that certain traits or activities helped applicants stand out from the crowd. What may surprise you is just how many hooks there are. College expert Aly Beaumont of Admissions Village joined me on the Tests and the Rest podcast to share what may be the world’s most thorough inventory of application hooks: Okay, so let me start first with what an institutional priority or a hook is. So I think of things that are beyond academics, test scores. There’s both inherent ones that are…

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Have you even been to a college fair? Basically, reps for a bewildering array colleges, universities and military services flood malls or other large venues so that students and families can gather information, brochures, and lots of first impressions. Is that all there is to the admissions process? Obviously, determining where you want to go is important. Equally essential is learning how to get in. The first Greater Rochester Getting-into-College Fair at the Pittsford Library in October was a great success, but we expect the next one to be even better. How is this different from a conventional college fair? Instead of campus reps, you’ll meet amazing local experts with answers about every aspect of college admissions. Perinton Community Center — Thursday, November 3, 5-8pm 1350 Turk Hill Rd, Fairport, NY 14450 The Getting-into-College Fair is free, and no registration is required. Come for guidance and insights for high school…

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ACT, Inc., the eponymous organization that administers the ACT exam just shared some bleak but terribly unsurprising findings: The national average ACT Composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released today by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam. It is the first time since 1991 that the average ACT Composite score was below 20.0. Why doesn’t this admittedly disturbing information come as a shock? Obviously, the learning gap during the global pandemic will continue to manifest for years to come in the form of lower academic achievement. But college readiness has been declining for much longer, as our unacceptable 62.2% national six-year college completion rate shows. Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT, agrees: “This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before…

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While nothing in the 21st century college application process approaches conventional levels of transparency, the rise of test optional admissions has added a whole new level of ambiguity and opacity to an already stressful process. Nothing has changed, of course, when applying to colleges that are open-admit or select the majority of applicants. The real drama occurs at the selective and highly selective schools. Not only is a smaller percentage of applicants than ever selected at some of these schools–lower than 4% at certain institutions–but the blurring of qualifications has added entirely new levels of confusion, even for experts. Colleges universally adopted test optional admissions policies during the pandemic, in part because a handful of national SAT and ACT test dates and a flood of local test center administrations were cancelled. Test optional admissions also served to lower anxiety during a time when both applicants and the schools themselves were…

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Don’t you hate that feeling when college essay deadlines loom, and you’re still trying to figure out what to write about? Don’t panic, or at least not yet! Sure, the application essay carries a lot of weight in selective college admission, but, at least, you are writing about a topic you should know very well by now: YOU. While we can’t tell you exactly what to write about, we can offer specific insights that you should consider at each step in your essay crafting process. If the following articles and podcasts aren’t enough, read to the end for a more targeted solution: Getting Started on your College Essay: Brainstorming and Free-Writing Writing a Strong College Application Essay: Drafting Writing a Strong College Application Essay: Revision and Completion 7 Steps to an Amazing College Essay   Still not sure how to craft your perfect college application essay? We’d love to help…

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If you’re wondering what factors matter in selective college admissions, I’m happy to summarize the list in a few words: ALL OF THEM. When you are applying to schools that accept 10% or less of applicants, nothing is really optional from test scores to supplemental essays. The good news is that not every factor in admissions carries equal weight. A few years back, we shared what really matters in college admissions, as assessed by the NACAC 2018 State of College Admissions report. Much has changed since then, but perhaps not as much as one would think. After all, the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) recently released the results of a 2020 nationwide survey of IECA member independent educational consultants that shared major similarities with the NACAC report. What matters? Grades still reign supreme, both qualitatively (honors, AP, IB) and quantitatively (the higher the better) to admissions officers. SAT and ACT…

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