Tag Archives: admissions

While test-optional admissions has always been a reality for some college applicants, the current prevalence of this policy introduces an awful lot of uncertainty into already anxiety-provoking process. In previous years, students whose test scores didn’t meet a school’s stated standards often turned their attention elsewhere. These days, more and more students choose to roll the dice by applying without scores–to their detriment. The media has been promoting a story that the last year of expanded college admissions, where more students than ever representing more diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic strata than ever have applied to highly selective schools, represents a triumph of test optional policies. Yet, that narrative remains misleading without data on which students were accepted. We don’t have all the numbers, but professionals I trust on the admissions side have estimated that 85-90% of accepted students to most test optional schools over the past five years sent scores,…

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In response to a new re-evaluation of the criteria for popular college rankings, I was moved to write something of a rebuttal on LinkedIn, which is shared in its entirety below. For the sake of our community and the families and educational partners we serve, allow me to add some further thoughts: Our long national obsession with U.S. News & World Report college rankings has become unhealthy and unproductive in the effort to connect students with their best-fit schools. Focusing with tunnel vision on the most selective 100 colleges ignores thousands of potentially better options. Selectivity does not necessarily guarantee either specific educational quality or suitability. Most of my colleagues–educators, school counselors, and educational consultants–care much more about basing school choice on student values, interests, goals, and restraints than which colleges rank highest in easily-gamed lists.   What is Really Wrong with College Rankings? Generation after generation of ambitious college…

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Is there any aspect of the college admissions process that is both simple to understand and easy to execute? If so, I haven’t found it after decades in education. Not only does even basic questions about the college process require detailed explanations, but the answers seem to be changing much faster than ever before. Over the last two years, I’ve been having in-depth conversations on the Tests and the Rest podcast with national experts on every aspect of college admissions, and we all agree that this may be the most dynamic time ever in higher education. So, now that we’ve established that everyone needs more and better information about college admissions, the next step is finding it. Facebook can be an excellent place to find information, but you cannot always be sure about how accurate or trustworthy your sources are. Plus, even the more credible college Facebook groups bring together…

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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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