Competitiveness Reconsidered

You don't have to spend a lot of time reading our blog or hanging around our offices before you hear our Collegewise mantra.  The bad news you hear about getting into college is only true for about 40-50 schools.  The vast majority of the over 2,000 colleges out there accept most of their applicants.  Relax.  […]

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Five Students Every College Loves

Different colleges look for different qualities in potential students.  But there are some characteristics that are appealing no matter where you apply, from Duke to Duquesne, Harvard to Haverford, Princeton to Purdue, Stanford to Samford, Vassar to…OK, you get the idea.   1.  Students who raise their hands in class.We really can’t emphasize enough how much […]

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The Five Most Overused Essay Topics

One of our counselors referred to his last year working in admissions at Caltech as the year of the blood drive essay. That year, an unusually high number of applicants told the same tale of how one on-campus blood drive changed their lives and made them appreciate the importance of serving humanity. Writing such grandiose […]

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Advice for Ivy League Hopefuls

Olympic medalists.  Concert pianists.  Teenage mathematicians who enjoy pointing out the inherent limitations of calculus.   Ivy League applicant pools are chock full of these students.  But there’s one trait those students who are ultimately admitted all have in common; something that when coupled with their perfect GPAs, top test scores and multiple Nobel Prizes makes […]

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Just Breathe

I moderated a panel this week that featured admissions officers from Stanford and UCLA, as well as a high school counselor with 30 years experience helping kids get into college.  A parent asked what she should be doing with her kids in elementary and junior high school seeing that so many parents around her are […]

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McEssays (with Cheese)

Any senior who's planning to write college essays this fall should stop and read Parke Muth's "Writing The Essay: Sound Advice from an Expert."  In fact, his analogy comparing boring essays to Big Macs is so good that I actually started to resent him a teeny bit because I didn't come up with it myself.  […]

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A website with some merit

I learned about what looks to be a great resource for high school kids today, www.meritaid.com.  The vast majority of merit-based scholarships come from the colleges themselves (as opposed to outside scholarships that come from companies, organizations, private donors, etc.).  And this website seems to be culling that information together so that a student can […]

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