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Make an impact through summer experiences

January 19th, 2021

Does anyone else think this may be a good time to dream about days that are warmer, sunnier and lighter….summer? A hiatus from the early mornings, school schedules and homework; sounds wonderful, right? For high school students preparing for college, your summer matters. Colleges want to know you as a whole person, not just how you spend your time during the school year but also what you do in your free time. This break from school offers the perfect opportunity to explore your passions, be thoughtful and make an impact.

But how?

Image via: Chicago Tribune (YinYang/Getty Images)

In the article linked below from our friends at College MatchPoint in Texas, you will learn how to utilize your summer doing what you love while also taking it “up a notch” to benefit your personal growth and development. A secondary benefit is that this will provide interesting information to share in the college admissions process. College MatchPoint’s summer planning guide shares strategies to help you show initiative, challenge and impact, all while considering how to stay safe during this pandemic.

Article referenced below from College Matchpoint


For many of today’s college-bound high school students, summer is
no longer nine weeks of total relaxation, but rather an opportunity
to spend time actively working, learning new skills, or diving deeper
into an area (or areas) of interest. Summer is the perfect time to
take calculated risks that push students into unfamiliar situations
that build skills and enrich life experiences. Planning is the key to
finding the most rewarding experience.

We encourage students to consider what they enjoy, what areas they
could improve in, and what their goals for the future are in order
to decide what to do over the summer. With any activity students
choose to participate in, there should be opportunities to help
them learn more about themselves by expanding their interests,
gaining new experiences, or taking on responsibilities. Whether or
not it’s going to help in the college process should be secondary to
having a good growth experience.

Read more at College Matchpoint>>

The largest applicant pool in history, but why?

January 5th, 2021

Many colleges and universities are reporting their largest early applicant pools in history. The increase comes in part from new financial aid programs supporting students through the pandemic, as well as the decision by many institutions to make standardized tests optional. More students are applying, understanding that their applications will be reviewed in a more qualitative way than ever before. Virtual recruitment has also been a significant factor in expanding applicant pools.

To illustrate the dramatic rise in early applications to selected universities, a colleague created this graph. If you gulp when seeing it, you’re in good company!

Image via Score at the Top

Despite this year’s heightened competition in a certain subset of colleges, many excellent choices remain beyond this group. Although media reports may lead you to believe otherwise, the vast majority of colleges are making decisions in line with recent history. Now, more than ever, we remain focused on best fit and continue to give serious weight to a wide range of options.

In the article linked below, Josh Stephens has published his thoughts about what’s happening and why. We think his article provides great insight as this year’s applicant numbers have taken us all by surprise. While we do believe his message is important, we don’t want it to completely rule your thought process while continuing this admissions journey. Many students are seeing their hard work pay off and are receiving offers from their top choices. Unfortunately, we are also seeing some disappointment, which is completely normal. Sometimes it is okay to trust the process and know that your final destination will be where you were always meant to go. Being offered admission to your green or yellow light schools is still a win! Always remember that those schools made it to your list for very good reasons in the first place.

Article referenced below from Medium published on December 20, 2020, written by Josh Stephens

2020 Early College Application Numbers Defy Expectations

Early Decision and Early Action decisions just came in for the 2020 application season. The numbers are like, in the immortal words of Johnny Utah, woah.

The short version is: conventional wisdom, among college counselors and many other folks associated with college admissions, speculated that application would drop; instead, they’re up. In some cases, way up. That means admission rates are down. In some cases, way down.

Read more at>>

Admitted, denied or deferred, you’ve got this!

December 22nd, 2020

Admitted, denied, or deferred: everyone applying for Early Action or Early Decision receives one of these three responses. If admitted, celebration and confetti ensue!

There is a harshness to the other outcomes, though, because after a long and arduous process we have now been told that we are not good enough, right? No, not right at all!! EA and ED applicant pools at renowned colleges are larger than ever before, making this year’s review rounds the most competitive ever, for the most part.

Logically, we know that admission decisions are made with incomplete information, and regardless of how you may have poured your heart into that beautiful essay, this is not an indictment of your character or abilities. After this initial jolt to the heart, we trust you all will take a step back and consider those outcomes for what they are, a necessary step in the process. It is not a judgment on your abilities and certainly not an indicator of future success or failure. There are so many college applicants who will be let down or boosted up this month, and we encourage everyone to support each other and offer an encouraging word when you can.

Image via

Disappointment and resilience: how do these two words go together? For every defeat there is an opportunity, and every setback is a lesson to carry with you as you grow.

In today’s classic article from the Wall Street Journal, author Sue Shellenbarger offers stories from highly successful people who were rejected from the college they considered their first choice, sharing how they viewed that decision then and how they see it now. While the article was written more than a decade ago, the life lessons are timeless.

Article referenced below from The Wall Street Journal, published March 24, 2010 written by Sue Shellenbarger

Before They Were Titans, Moguls and Newsmakers, These People Were…Rejected

Few events arouse more teenage angst than the springtime arrival of college rejection letters. With next fall’s college freshman class expected to approach a record 2.9 million students, hundreds of thousands of applicants will soon be receiving the dreaded letters.

Teenagers who face rejection will be joining good company, including Nobel laureates, billionaire philanthropists, university presidents, constitutional scholars, best-selling authors and other leaders of business, media and the arts who once received college or graduate-school rejection letters of their own.

Read more at Wall Street Journal>>

Fake news: debunking myths about the college admissions process

December 8th, 2020

The spread of misinformation has long been a problem in our culture and now with social media, it is so prevalent that we have all learned to “fact-check” as a common practice. Today we want to apply that fact-checking to some of the most common misconceptions around the college admissions process.

Image by Getty via Forbes

Author Brennan Barnard wrote a great article for Forbes addressing common myths heard by parents and students alike. Although this article is a bit lengthy, it’s packed with helpful and thought-provoking information. Take the time to read it all the way through, as we trust you’ll find his insights useful as a fact-checking resource in the months ahead.

Article referenced below from Forbes, originally published November 2, 2020, written by Brennan Barnard

Where do you turn for information about college admission? Do you rely on friends, parents, neighbors, siblings, teachers, coaches, or counselors? Perhaps you default to the internet and the sea of sources for admission related news? From webinars, virtual visits, and search engines to rankings and crowdsourced rumor mills like College Confidential and Reddit, there is an unimaginable amount of content. It is enough to make one’s head spin. What is credible? Who is reliable? And, when is someone simply trying to profit from the angst that students, and those who support them, feel as they approach this experience?

We are living in the age of information overload and one need not look beyond the presidential election to realize the need to fact-check the news we are being fed. From Politifact to, there are entire institutes and websites dedicated to verifying what is accurate in politics. But who is responsible for setting the record straight in college admission?

Read more at Forbes>>