Let the child drive the bus

Some parents resist the urging of both counselors and colleges to step back and let their kids drive their own college application process. And that’s why Patrick O’Connor identifies “Let the child drive the bus” as the six words about college that disappoint parents most. I understand the parental inclination to nudge, direct, and sometimes […]

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When the high stakes aren’t artificial

A New York Times opinion piece this week, “Let’s Hear It for the Average Child,” was initially just my kind of read. What a great reminder that kids who ride the bench, or who try but still earn C’s, or who draw, read, or write poetry instead of completing all their assigned homework all have their own gifts and […]

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Starting early is the easier way

“Start your college applications over the summer.” It’s one of the most common pieces of college application advice. I’ve preached it repeatedly here. It’s what we advise all of our Collegewise students to do. And when done right, it almost always leads to a less stressful, more successful college application process. But that advice can […]

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Injecting character, reducing distress

In 2013, the Harvard Graduate School of Education sponsored a project aimed at shifting the college admissions focus from that of a relentless, achieve-at-any-cost drive to one that both encourages and recognizes ethics, caring, and character. The result was their 2016 publication of “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through […]

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Monday morning Q & A: advice for those headed to college?

Jody Asks: “How about some high school graduation/off to college advice to share with students as they begin this new journey?” Jody, I’ll cheat a little bit here and share a collection of past posts and a couple books that I think capture the best advice better than one all-inclusive post could. First, a past post […]

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Tips for soon-to-be seniors

When one of the education world’s most knowledgeable and respected college counselors shares tips for soon-to-be college seniors based on the most recent admissions trends, those students (and their parents) would be wise to heed the advice. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in Patrick O’Connor’s “College Advice for Next Year’s Seniors.” None of the […]

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Advice on advice

When students want advice about their college admissions process, who should they ask? That’s not always an easy question to answer. “What are my chances of admission?” “What should I write my college essay about?” “Am I ready to go to a college far away from my home?” These are very different questions. And there’s a […]

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Three ways to encourage family time

The fastest way to realize how little you actually know about parenting is to have kids, a fact I’ve become acutely aware of since having two of my own in the last four years. But an advantage to working at Collegewise is that I’ve been able to absorb anecdotal learning from the thousands of families […]

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Three underrated summer pursuits

College admissions anxiety has a way of ruining perfectly valid activities and involvements. Students are so driven to stand out that the benchwarmer or second chair in the orchestra or club member without an office all feel as if their contributions will go unrewarded by colleges. To be fair, those perceptions can often be valid […]

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Is a free seminar/webinar worth attending?

One of the many factors that can exacerbate college admissions anxiety is for-profit companies that feed the confusion and fear rather than relieve it. You see this frequently with free seminars or webinars. You show up to learn about financial aid or admissions or test preparation, but what you learn is (1) there’s a complex, secretive, high-stakes process […]

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