How to be lucky in college admissions

If you want to have more luck in your life (and in your college admissions process), it turns out you can create it. According to psychologist Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles,” lucky people think and behave in ways that unlucky people don’t. Here are […]

Read More >

How pizza at Harvard led to a billion dollar company

We're always reminding families that many benefits of a college experience can't be predicted.  You can't read about them in a college guidebook or measure them with college rankings.  But you can find them at any college.  Here's a good example. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a Harvard grad.  He's interviewed in the "Alumni Q […]

Read More >

In your college essays, just say it

When you write your college essays.  Don’t tense up.  Relax.  Just say it. When soldiers are hanging out in the army barracks, they might crack jokes, trade stories and be themselves.  But when the general walks in, everything changes.  The soldiers leap up and stand at attention.  Nobody wants to stand out, because that can […]

Read More >

How to write a good email message

Today's college applicant is much more likely to email, not call, someone with a question or request.  Whenever you email someone, the person on the receiving end is going to make assumptions and judgments about you based on what you write and how you write it.  So here's an email checklist before you send anything […]

Read More >

Make college applications all about you

Talking only about yourself is a lousy way to have a conversation (and a surefire way to make sure a first date never leads to a second date).  But it's a great way to fill out a college application. Unless a college specially asks you to talk about someone or something other than yourself, every […]

Read More >

Putting a little soul into your college applications

One of the definitions of "soul" is "the animating principle; the essential element or part of something."  Successful college applicants don't just complete their college applications; they use those applications to reveal essential elements of their personality and help admissions officers get to know them better.  They inject a little soul into their applications.  There […]

Read More >

For students who aren’t good test takers

The worst thing about standardized tests like the SAT isn't that they can keep you out of colleges you want to go to (though that's admittedly pretty bad).  It's that they make kids who don't score well feel badly about themselves.  Low scores chip away at the legitimate pride a student has about her good […]

Read More >

Warren Buffet’s advice for parents

I don't think being a billionaire necessarily qualifies anyone as an expert on parenting.  But I can't help but like Warren Buffet.  He still lives in the same stucco house in Omaha, NE he bought for $31,500 in 1958.  He announced in 2006 that he's giving away his fortune to charity (with 86% of it […]

Read More >