Genuine beats polished

When something or someone is too polished, it's hard to trust them.  When I hear a politician on the news evade the real question and give a polished, rehearsed answer, it doesn't encourage me to change my vote.    I'm much more likely to buy a product that has open reviews online from customers, both […]

Read More >

Measuring college counseling success

"What's your success rate?" Families ask us that sometimes in our introductory meetings.  It's a fair question, and our answer doesn't satisfy every family who asks.  Not everyone defines college counseling success the way we do. If what the family really wants to know is how many of our students get into Ivy League schools, […]

Read More >

On school bullying

I'm deviating a little today.  This post isn't college admissions related.  But I'm going to forge ahead and write it anyway.  The story of Phoebe Prince has been in the news a lot lately.  I don't think anyone needs me to chime in about how pointless and tragic her death was, or how unforgivable it […]

Read More >

Five tips for seniors to help you pick your colleges

May 1 is almost here, the official deadline when seniors must formally commit to the college at which they'll spend the next four years.  If you're in the enviable position of struggling with multiple college choices, here are five tips to help you make a good decision.    1.  Stop and smell the letters. I […]

Read More >

The work you do along the way

A good blog post today from my favorite marketing author, Seth Godin, about the relentless pursuit of specific goals.  It got me thinking about students who relentlessly pursue a goal to gain admission to a highly selective college.  It's risky to measure your success by whether or not Stanford says "Yes," because they reject most […]

Read More >

What you can learn about college essays from Matt Damon

Bad college essays tell stories that the writer hopes will sound impressive, not stories that the student actually cares about.  They usually include sentences the writer would never say to a friend.  What football player would ever tell a teammate, "Football has taught me important lessons about hard work and commitment"? What kid who volunteers […]

Read More >

Recommended Reading for High School Counselors

When our counselors go through the Collegewise training program, we read and discuss a number of books about college admissions.  Here are a few of our favorites. Admissions Confidential: An Insider’s Account of the Elite College Selection Processby Rachel Toor Toor  takes you along with her during her three-year stint as an admissions officer at […]

Read More >

Should you take a risk in a college essay?

Students and parents ask us all the time if it's advisable to take a risk in a college essay.  Should you write about something controversial, or take on a subject that may offend the reader, or admit a mistake you made? I usually tell students that if you're taking a risk in a college essay […]

Read More >

How parents can help

A worried mother at a local high school's college night last week told me, "My daughter has worked so hard.  She'll be just devastated if she doesn't get into one of her reach schools." It was clear that she, too, was going to be devastated if those schools didn't admit her daughter.  And while she […]

Read More >