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A Framework to Examine College Cost vs. Probability of Admission

It is easy to get caught up in “college application hysteria” where it feels like you need to apply to 15 colleges. The truth is that you don’t need to submit that many applications. To stay calm and prevent things from spiraling out of control, we find it helpful to examine your list of schools …

3 Steps for Deciding How Many College Applications You Need

Many students wonder, “How many applications should I submit?” The conventional wisdom is to apply to 5-7 schools. The conventional wisdom goes on to say that you should select a mix of Safety Schools, Target Schools, and Reach Schools. That sounds easy enough. But the conventional wisdom is not perfect. In this blog post, we …

What is Early Decision? Three Questions, Three Answers

In this blog post, we examine Early Decision. We compare Early Decision to Early Action and explain why Early Decision is truly binding – not something that you can easily escape from. What does Early Decision even mean? Early Decision is an application plan offered by some colleges in which a student applies during the …

Five Steps to Gauge a College’s Career Development Opportunities

As you research colleges, take time to examine the resources they have available to prepare students for future careers. Can graduates find good jobs? What is their starting salary? To put it another way, you need to know if the colleges you are considering can deliver a favorable return on investment. Of course, colleges are …

Considering a Gap Year? Maybe You Should (Part 1)

Note: This post is a companion post to Considering a Gap Year? Maybe You Should (Part 2). Can anyone actually prove the value of a Gap Year? Probably not, but I wish I had taken a year off between high school and college. I bet that gap year would’ve done wonders for me. Of course, …

Demonstrate Your Interest to Colleges on Your List

Grade point average, strength of curriculum, standardized test scores, essays, activities, recommendation letters. These are many of the criteria that are used to measure a student’s academic strengths and personal qualifications for college admissions. But there is another important factor that colleges often use as an additional important reference point: demonstrated interest. What is demonstrated …

When Your Dream School is Calling

I still remember the way I felt the first time I walked onto the University of Virginia campus more than 20 years ago.  Golden with sunshine, history, and tradition, the school felt like the only place I could possibly be happy spending my undergraduate years. In 7th and 8th grades, I had prominently displayed my Duke paraphernalia all …

Advice to High School Seniors, by Patrick Shea (Class of 2018)

Guest Post by Patrick Shea. Patrick graduated from high school in 2018 and is a rising freshman at Providence College. Heading into the college process can be kind of stressful, especially piling it on top of school. It just kind of hangs over your head like a cloud and adds just a little bit to …

How I Navigated My Own College Process

Guest Post by Julia High. Julia graduated from high school in 2017. She is a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina. The first thing I’m glad I did during my college search was make my own decisions. Although that sounds simple, it is not easy to stray from the popular opinion of colleges, …

The Importance of the College Essay

Angst about the “college essay” lives viciously in many college bound juniors and seniors.  I believe this angst exists in such magnitude partly because students and parents don’t accurately understand the function and impact of essays in the college process.  After years of coaching students to produce strong essays, I want to share a few …

College as a Milestone, Not an Endgame

Guest post by Leigh Thompson, MBA – Launchgrad Consulting During your child’s junior and senior year of high school, it’s easy to focus everything on getting into a “top choice” college. But what if college is just an important milestone, not the endgame? What if setting our students up to launch well AFTER college is …

Application Anxiety

Each August, I get hit by a tsunami of anxiety and stress. Though it happens year after year, I’m still startled when I look up and see it above me, overshadowing the peaceful laziness of summer that came before. Call it a professional hazard: Students and parents cannot help but look toward college with apprehension, …