Thursday, May 23College Admissions News

College Planning

Understanding the Common App: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students and Parents
College Planning

Understanding the Common App: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students and Parents

As the back-to-school season kicks off, students and parents of college-bound students are gearing up for one of the most crucial aspects of the college planning process: the application itself. One of the most popular (and common) application tools is the Common App. Developed to simplify the application process for students, the Common App has become widely used by more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States and around the world.  The Common App allows both first-time students and transfer students to apply to multiple colleges at once, eliminating having to repeat some of the most tedious parts of the application. However, navigating this platform can be daunting, especially for first-time parents. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the...
Research Underway by Gates Foundation Partners to Better Understand Test-Optional Admission
College Planning

Research Underway by Gates Foundation Partners to Better Understand Test-Optional Admission

iStock NACAC, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and several other organizations, is carefully exploring admission policies and practices in an increasingly test-optional or test-free environment. In a previous post, we provided an overview of the project, which is grounded in the work that the Task Force on Standardized Admission Testing for International and US Students completed in 2021. “The task force observed that if standardized testing perpetuates or worsens inequities, and if it is to remain a part of the undergraduate admission process at all, it must receive the most stringent of reviews,” according to the task force’s report on standardized testing. As an extension of this thinking, the committee recommended that colleges’ decisions about their tes...
How To Find a College That Fits You Perfectly
College Planning

How To Find a College That Fits You Perfectly

With nearly 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, the choices can be overwhelming, to say the least. There’s so much to think about when deciding where you will spend the next four years of your life, and it’s sometimes difficult to narrow down the choices. In choosing your best fit college, it’s best to consider as many variables as possible. If you’ve thought through various possibilities and reflected on what you’re looking for in a school, you'll know you’ve chosen the best fit when it’s time to sign your letter of acceptance. The best fit school is one that suits your personality, matches the goals you have for yourself, will help you reach those goals, and will meet your other needs and wants when it comes to social atmosphere, extracurricular opportunities, and acad...
2 Admissions Experts Weigh In on Affirmative Action
College Planning

2 Admissions Experts Weigh In on Affirmative Action

In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark college affirmative action decision, our head of admissions, Eren Harris, sat down to chat with two of the members of our Admissions Advisory Panel: Dr. K.E. Carver, a metaphysics researcher and former admissions officer at Harvard, and Brandon Mack, an experienced college counselor and former admissions officer at Rice University. Their wide-ranging conversation covers how this decision changes admissions, what diversity really means to colleges, and what students need to do going forward.    Despite this landmark Supreme Court decision, colleges aren’t going to suddenly give up on recruiting and admitting a diverse class of students, right? What are some of the ways they are going to try to meet these goals? The part of the ruling about e...
Which Is Right For You?
College Planning

Which Is Right For You?

If you have your sights set on Los Angeles for college, the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles are two great options to choose from. But when it comes to USC vs UCLA…what are the differences and which is better? We’re going to break down both of these schools and what they have to offer, including campus sizes, the majors they offer, and how much tuition costs. Information is power, and once you have all the fact, you can make the best decision for you.   Ready? Let’s get started.  Royse Hall, University of California, Los Angeles (Satyricony/Wikimedia Commons)   What Is UCLA? The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public university part of the University of California system, founded in 1919. It’s a large university wi...
Does Early Action or Decision Increase Your Chances of Admission?
College Planning

Does Early Action or Decision Increase Your Chances of Admission?

You might have heard that getting into college is more competitive than ever. Students are applying to college in ever greater numbers, and many apply to multiple colleges, making the pool of applications even deeper. As a result, you are likely looking for anything that will help you edge out the competition. Your counselors or friends might have suggested applying early action or early decision to increase your chances of being accepted. But does applying early raise the odds of being accepted to the college of your choice? While not all schools offer these options, about 450 colleges across the U.S. offer one or both early admission option, according to College Board. Many popular and competitive colleges fall into this category, offering one or the other, or both. Read on for an expl...
Full Guide to Choosing (2023, 2024)
College Planning

Full Guide to Choosing (2023, 2024)

Looking for info on 2022-2023 ACT test dates? Knowing the correct ACT test dates is crucial for a solid test-taking plan. Though you might be tempted to go ahead and register for the next possible test date, what you should really be doing is finding a date that works well for you and your schedule. In this guide, we offer an overview of upcoming ACT test dates, registration deadlines, and score release dates. We also give you tips on how to choose an ACT test date and go over which test dates work best for juniors, seniors, and more.   ACT Test Dates and Deadlines for 2023-2024 ACT test dates are generally on Saturdays, but you might be able to take the ACT on a different date if you have a religious exemption or are taking a special administration of the test. Here, we give you the upc...
Is Harvard Test Optional? Testing Policies for Top Colleges
College Planning

Is Harvard Test Optional? Testing Policies for Top Colleges

If you want to get accepted to any college in the U.S., you need to know its admissions requirements. That includes whether you’ll have to submit SAT or ACT scores! Many colleges have adopted test optional admissions policies over the past several years…but what about top schools? Is Harvard test optional? Are Ivy League schools test optional? We know all the changes can be confusing, but we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll walk you through Harvard’s current testing policies and the testing policies at top 25 universities. We’ll also explain whether test scores still matter at test optional schools and how to make decisions about standardized testing.  There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.    What Are Harvard’s Testing Policies? Is Harvard Test Optional?  Test optional admissi...
Open letter on race-conscious admissions (opinion)
College Planning

Open letter on race-conscious admissions (opinion)

Two cases before the Supreme Court have the potential to restrict long-standing recruitment and admissions practices at colleges and universities. The cases, brought by a special interest group called Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), allege that race-conscious admissions practices are unfair and violate the Constitution. As liberal arts college presidents, we strongly disagree. Holistic review of applicants is critical to recruiting a well-rounded class, and that includes consideration of the richness of students’ many attributes and interests–including their lived experiences and backgrounds. While each of our colleges has a unique mission, we all work tirelessly to create the most well-rounded student body possible in a competitive admissions market. This means not only striving for...
Can You Use ChatGPT for Your College Essay?
College Planning

Can You Use ChatGPT for Your College Essay?

ChatGPT has become a popular topic of conversation since its official launch in November 2022. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot can be used for all sorts of things, like having conversations, answering questions, and even crafting complete pieces of writing. If you’re applying for college, you might be wondering about ChatGPT college admissions’ potential.  Should you use a ChatGPT college essay in your application?  By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know much more about ChatGPT, including how students can use it responsibly and if it’s a good idea to use ChatGPT on college essays. We’ll answer all your questions, like: What is ChatGPT and why are schools talking about it? What are the good and bad aspects of ChatGPT? Should you use ChatGPT for college essays an...
The Ultimate Guide to the New Digital SAT Format
College Planning

The Ultimate Guide to the New Digital SAT Format

When the College Board rolls out its new digital SAT format in spring 2023 for international students and in March 2024 for U.S. students, it will be one of the most significant changes the company has made to the standardized test in its 97-year history. This major transition is intended to make the exam more equitable and to reduce test-taking anxiety by aligning the format with how students are already learning online.   But what precisely will be changing? There’s much to know beyond the move from analog to digital. In this article, we’ll provide a sneak preview of the new SAT format so you can prepare effectively.   Key Differences in the New Digital SAT Format Many aspects of the new digital SAT will not be changing from those of the pencil-and-paper version. For example, the test ...
The 15 Best Merit Scholarships for College-Bound Students
College Planning

The 15 Best Merit Scholarships for College-Bound Students

We know that the cost of a college education can seem out of reach for many students. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can reduce the price of your degree, from grants and work-study to student loans. Even better, if you’re an exemplary student, you’ll likely qualify for one or more merit-based scholarships, which are a great way to offset tuition, fees, room, and board. In this post, we’ll discuss what merit scholarships are and provide a list of the top merit aid programs. We’ll also share our expert recommendations on how to apply so you can maximize your chances of graduating with minimal to no debt. Let’s get started! What Is a Merit-Based Scholarship? A merit-based scholarship, alternatively called a merit scholarship, is free money that discounts the cost of college. Wherea...
Why “Safety, Target, Reach” Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore
College Planning

Why “Safety, Target, Reach” Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore

What is Safety, Target, Reach Anyway? Google “build a college list.” Watch a college search webinar. Read a book about how to apply to college. Guaranteed, they’ll all tell you some version of the same thing: the list of colleges you apply to should include schools that fit into each of three categories: Safety – where you have a 75% or higher chance of getting accepted Target – where you have about a 50/50 shot at getting accepted Reach – where you have a 25% or lower chance of getting accepted Back in the day, the logic behind applying to safety, target, and reach colleges went something like this: Since application deadlines were strict and there seemed to be more college applicants than there were spots, students should strategize when choosing the colleges to apply to so that they ...
What Is Affirmative Action in College Admissions?
College Planning

What Is Affirmative Action in College Admissions?

Affirmative action is one of the most hotly debated topics in college admissions today. With the recent filing of two lawsuits against elite colleges in the US, people are reconsidering how affirmative action affects college admissions—and whether colleges should change their affirmative action policies.  If you’re applying to college and wondering how the affirmative action debate will affect admissions, keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is affirmative action in college admissions?” and go over real examples of affirmative action in education today.  We’ll also explain how to plan ahead for changes to affirmative action in higher education, and how to put together stellar college applications no matter what happens.   So let’s get started.  (more…)...
29 Great Colleges for B Students and How to Get In
College Planning

29 Great Colleges for B Students and How to Get In

Generally, the better your grades, the more college options you'll have. However, some students a re under the false impression that you need straight As in order to get into a wonderful college. Students stress and worry that a few Bs will sentence them to an inferior university. Fortunately, getting Bs won't prevent you from being able to go to a good school. There are a number of excellent colleges that admit B students. We'll provide a list of 29 of the best colleges for B students and explain how to find a good college if you're a B student.   Are You a B Student? You Can Still Go to a Great College If you're at the end of your junior year or the beginning of your senior year and you have mostly Bs on your transcript, don't freak out: you can still gain admission to an excellent...