One college planning guarantee

I spoke at a middle school last night and a parent asked me about my preference between AP and IB programs. I told her the truth–that the IB program is great for some kids, but that it's not a magic key that unlocks the doors of admission to selective colleges.  Intellectual kids who challenge themselves […]

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College counseling done the wrong way

One of our Collegewise families got a letter in the mail this week that started: You and your student, Kevin, are scheduled to participate in an educational group presentation followed by a personal interview to help determine college admission and financial aid eligibility.  Colleges are now identifying prospective students as early as the 9th grade […]

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Writer’s block is sometimes just typer’s block

When we first started helping students with college essays, the first draft they'd send us often lacked the same emotion or energy that the student conveyed when he first told us the story in our brainstorming meeting.  The first draft didn't light up the way the student's face did when he was talking about playing […]

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“Everybody is doing it”

"Everybody's doing it" is rarely a good reason to do things, especially in high school.  And the way you prepare for college is no exception.  If everybody else has tutors in four subjects and a year-long program to prepare for the SAT, it's easy to feel that you should do the same thing. If everybody […]

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What if none of this mattered for college admissions?

What if all colleges were exactly the same, and everyone were guaranteed a spot in one as long as you graduated from high school?  Whatever your GPA, whatever activities you did or didn't do, you'd get into the same college everybody else gets into.  What would you change about your life if none of this […]

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Yet another way to stand out

One of the more popular essay topics colleges now require is some version of, "How will you contribute to our campus community?" The best responses to that question come from students who've already become contributors to their high school campus communities.  Here's one way to do that, and it's a different way to stand out […]

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Save the date for spring college fairs

Every spring, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling sponsors college fairs across the country.  Here's the Spring 2011 schedule.  As we get closer to the actual fairs, I'll write a post about how to actually get something out of them (hundreds of college representatives in one place is a great thing, but I've found […]

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More free financial aid advice

I posted last Friday about a series on The Choice blog where a financial aid expert was answering readers' questions.  He has since completed the series with four more installments, and this link will take you to a listing of all seven parts. Topics he addresses include the best ways to save for college, the […]

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