Take a class at Harvard, Stanford or MIT for free

Not many people in the world have ever experienced calculus at MIT.  No surprise there since you had to, well, get into MIT, which almost nobody does.  But now you don't have to get in.  You don't even have to apply.  All you need a computer to experience calculus…MIT style.  Here it is.  35 lectures, […]

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A pep talk for counselors

Whether you're a high school counselor or a private counselor, you've probably experienced some combination of the following stresses: Not enough time to focus on the admissions part of your job.  Working too many hours.  Too many letters of recommendation to write.  Parents with unrealistic expectations–for their kids, for the college admissions process, or for […]

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The allure of the unexpected

One of the best ways to keep someone interested in your story is to lead with something unexpected.  This is not an example of that: "The marching band practices every day after school for two hours.  It's very arduous, but necessary if we want to perfect our formations."  Nobody would be surprised to learn that. […]

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What does your outgoing voicemail say?

If you list your cell phone number on your college applications, make sure your outgoing voicemail message is something you'd be comfortable with an admissions officer or, more likely, a college interviewer hearing.  I'm not saying you need to be as formal as a Fortune 500 CEO, but you might want to play it straight […]

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On Veteran’s Day…

College applicants, Veterans Day is a good day to remember that you are lucky to be living in a country that has the strongest and most accessible system of higher education in the world, a country that encourages anyone who wants to do so to go to college, a country where you get to decide […]

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Don’t take anonymous college essay advice

You wouldn't just walk up to a random stranger on the street and ask him what you should write your college essay about.  But a lot of kids are actually doing the online version of that. Pick a college, any college with an essay prompt on the application.  Type that prompt into Google and you'll […]

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Is it still worth it to go to college?

In many ways, today's economy actually makes having a college degree less important. It used to be that just having a college degree was special.  If you applied for a job and you'd been to college, you instantly stood out.  That's not true anymore.  Lots of people have college degrees.  Just about any job for […]

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How to show interest in a college

There are two reasons why telling a college, "You're my first choice" doesn't mean much to most schools. 1. It's too easy to say it without really committing to anything.  2. It's often not true.  Sometimes that statement is true. Many other times, a student is just feeling the college admissions pressure, reacting to the […]

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