Tag Archives: admissions

Every year, new books are released to address the myriad choices, complications, and challenges inherent in today’s college admissions environment. Most of these works, however, are notably nonfiction. Rarely does a story as dramatic or suspenseful as Girls with Bright Futures break through to become part of the college admissions canon. But after the 2019 Operation Varsity Blues bribery scandal, the admissions process–especially at the most selective schools–no longer seems so innocent. Girls with Bright Futures is described as an “irreverent and suspenseful novel exploring the privilege and scandal of an elite Seattle community as a group of mothers become embroiled in college admissions mayhem.” First time authors and long-time friends Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman definitely deliver on the promise of a college admissions thriller about “Three women. Three daughters. And a promise that they’ll each get what they deserve.” I was invited to speak about this fun book…

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In what is starting to become an annual tradition, I recorded a special parent seminar on testing and admissions for College and Career Night at an awesome local school district. I look forward to the days when convening large groups live and in-person doesn’t feel so fraught with peril, because asynchronous sessions don’t allow for real-time dialog. On the bright side, once an updated informational seminar is recorded, it can be shared infinitely. So enjoy! College Admissions Testing for the HS Classes of 2022 and 2023 Q&A What are the SAT and ACT, why do they matter, and what can and should teens and their families do about them during this dynamic moment in college admissions history? The admissions landscape has seen more change over the last three years than during the three decades before that, so make sure you stay on top of the newest developments: — Will the…

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The world sure has changed a lot over the last thirty years, hasn’t it? I remember the absolute thrill of the earliest days of video games, when playing Pong or Space Invaders represented the cutting edge of fun. Yet, my son’s PS 4 renders games in real time with all the cinematic realism of feature films. If we recognize on a daily basis the quantum leaps technology makes every 18 months or so, why do we cling to a view of college that still resembles higher ed in the 20th century? Everything we think we know about college–from applying to attending to paying for the privilege–is changing at a rate that even professionals cannot keep up with. Believe me, I know. Every week, I speak with counselors, educations, and admissions professionals who study higher education from every angle. We all observe a lot more misinformation and myths than actual facts.…

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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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