The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted August 19, 2013 by

Don’t Want to Be Like Many Others? 6 Ways Your College Application can Attract Admissions Officers

When applying to college, prospective students are competing against many applicants hoping to get into a particular college.  In order to have a chance to get that acceptance letter, students will need to separate themselves from the competition during the application process.  In the following post, learn six ways a college application can attract admissions officers.

If you’re like many American families, you’re probably dreading the college application process. And no wonder. All around you, you’ve seen great kids with stellar credentials get denied by top schools and you wonder what on earth they could have done wrong. You conclude that getting into a top college must require making a seven-figure donation, schmoozing the right VIPs, or turning into a Tiger Mom. (more…)

Posted June 05, 2013 by

The Importance of Online Reviews for College Admissions

Jay Binstein

Jay Binstein

In the competitive industry of education, attracting top incoming students is a priority among colleges. Some of these institutions spend millions of dollars to assure their campus is presentable for prospective students. With online reviews growing ever more important, many of these schools are realizing their image was determined well before the student arrived on campus. (more…)

Posted May 15, 2013 by

College Review Sites – Protecting Your Investment in Your Education

Steve Rawlinson

Steve Rawlinson

In this day and age, college — and even graduate school — is a necessity. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, young adults with postsecondary degrees — bachelors and up — have lower unemployment rates and earn an average of $19,000 more than adults with just a high school diploma.

College is also expensive. The National Center for Education Statistics reported the average 2010 tuition costs at nearly $16,000 for public four-year institutions, and almost $33,000 for private four-year schools. (more…)

Posted March 22, 2013 by

69% of Students Highly or Very Highly Stressed by College Admissions

Stressed Student

Stressed student photo courtesy of Shutterstock

This is a very stressful time of the year for high school seniors and others who are waiting to hear back from the admissions offices of colleges and universities. Although some top students received “you’ve been accepted” letters months ago from schools with rolling admissions policies, most students are still waiting to hear from most schools. And the wait can be agonizing.

According to The Princeton Review’s 2013 “College Hopes & Worries Survey” – an annual poll of college applicants and parents of applicants – stress levels are high and worries about college costs are higher than ever.  Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents this year say financial aid will be “very” necessary to pay for college and within that cohort 66 percent say “extremely” necessary (a five percent increase over 2012).  Nonetheless, 100 percent of the respondents believe college will be “worth it” and 51 percent see a “potentially better job / higher income” as the main benefit of the diploma. Other findings were: (more…)

Posted March 20, 2013 by

How Volunteering Abroad Helps with College Admissions

Volunteers passing out food to people

Volunteers passing out food to people. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Experience is one of the most valuable assets you will have when it comes to preparing yourself for your future. In fact, certain types of experience – like volunteering abroad – can make a big difference when you apply to college. Admissions officers are looking for well-rounded students, and volunteering abroad is one way to show the depth of your character. (more…)

Posted September 12, 2012 by

How Social Media Can Influence College Admissions

Prospective college students might think that their applications are the only factor in determining admission into college.  However, their social media profiles could also influence whether or not they will be accepted into the schools they have applied for.  Learn more in the following infographic. (more…)

Posted February 02, 2012 by

Top College Admits Exaggerating Students’ SAT Scores to Boost Rankings

Do rankings have too much influence in college admissions?

A top admissions official at a prestigious school in California admitted to inflating the school’s SAT scores in order to help boost its standing in the national rankings.  While this may be the most egregious example of a school seeking to game the rankings, it’s hardly the only one. (more…)

Posted November 17, 2006 by

In Support of Private College Consultants

What is an independent educational consultant?
“Independent educational consultants are skilled professionals who provide counseling to help student and family choose a college, university or other program that is a good personal match: one that will foster this particular student’s academic and social growth. Educational consultants can provide a student and family with individual attention, first hand knowledge of hundreds of educational opportunities, and the time to explore all of the options. An independent counselor works one-on-one with students and parents to develop a thorough, carefully researched and appropriate school and/or college search, and guide the student through every step of the process.”
Many argue that independent college consulting is a luxury many cannot afford. Within the four professional organizations I currently belong, I have yet to meet a private counselor who doesn’t work on a sliding scale or in fact for free if it necessitates. After being in schools for twenty-five years, it’s obvious that the potpourri of jobs any counselor has doesn’t give students the focus and assistance they need in both understanding and filling out college applications. School counselors are often excellent and well qualified. It’s just that they are part of a system that has an average ration of 500 students to every counselor.
A recent Boston Globe article discusses the possibility of a potential check box where students would have to indicate to universities if they were receiving outside help to complete their college applications. I wholeheartedly disagree with this concept. Privacy issues are of ultimate concern everywhere in everything. What families and students choose to do is personal. Do universities tell the public what they are doing behind closed doors? I think not. Not to imply that anything is being done they wouldn’t publicize. However, it is the right of every admission officer to keep their information private. There is nothing unethical about keeping this information private. Qualified private counselors assist students and do not do work for them. I know that myself, along with many colleagues will answer questions for students with no charge.
“The Independent Educational Consultants Association has seen its membership triple since 1996, and expects continued growth in the coming years. There are now approximately 4,000 independent counselors nationwide. . . . ‘Of the 260,000 [high school] graduates last year who went to private colleges, 58,000 worked with consultants, representing 22 percent of the freshman class in these schools.”
The business of education is widely recognized and accepted. Qualified independent college consultants must be a respected option as are life coaches, psychologists and physical trainers to mention a few. After all, college consultants all have the same goals in mind – that of placing students in the best educational environment to meet their needs and have them gain knowledge and achieve happiness and success.


Posted November 17, 2006 by

The College Application Essay

I’m looking at the other side of college essays – not the side the admission officers see, but the side the students write, what they write and how they say it. So often we see guidelines on how to write the college essay. Directions like put it in the first person, make it creative, start with a grabber, finish strong, talk about you and do this all in anywhere from 100 to 500 words. Consultants, counselors and English teachers are the ones who read them in their infancy, the rough stage, just when the thoughts are brewing. What I have seen and read is more authentic than the finished version on the applications. For the most part these are 17 year olds who have been taught in school how to write in the 3rd person, about the other thing and rarely about themselves. So, first there is the need to overcome that teenage insecurity, be humble, yet boast, sound confident and do all that in respectable English. I overlook the slang and instant messaging language so prevalent and work with students on extracting what I find so appealing about them. They all have it – that appealing thing. For some it is simply the way their closet looks and for others it is their personal experience of sitting together at a family meal. The good news is that these students are willing to open up with someone like me knowing that I do not evaluate, judge, grade or accept or deny them. It is an honorable and trusted relationship. I suppose what I see is what many admission officers would like to – the rough cut so to speak. Unquestionably, once student essays have been revised, edited and polished several times, they take on a new more formal look. Colleges are attempting to get the right look at students. University of Michigan for example is attempting to have students think “outside the box” by posing ethical dilemma questions like, “Describe a setback or ethical dilemma that you have faced. How did you resolve it? How did the outcome affect you? If something similar happened in the future, how would you react?” Tufts is taking a more scientific approach to student essays and applications by hiring their dean, a psychologist to work on evaluations, “The first question might not sound so different than those on a typical application essay, but this year’s questions will be designed and evaluated based on psychological research. Tufts officials hope to better identify future leaders and predict college grades.” So, even before the final essays get submitted, I am thoroughly impressed by the rough drafts – their subject matter, written quality, determination and yes immaturity of the students writing. I’m grateful I see that first draft. It is authentic, the truth and apparently what the universities want.


Posted November 15, 2006 by

Applying to College : No Easy Task

Examine an application – Just see what is required to click that submit button. I understand universities need the information to make distinctions and decisions. However, the complexity of the application is often difficult if not impossible for students to complete without the proper guidance.
Realize that well meaning school counselors are often spread too thin and universities recommending the students’ independence want them to do it alone. Some colleges do suggest support and guidance, but from whom and how? The fact is that many students do not know all the current application requirements, options, statistics or what universities want to know. Reading any university website on what the school wants, clearly demonstrates the vague nature of how admission officials make their decisions. There are factors in admission that change from year to year. What are the different ways to apply? Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive First Choice Early Action? Rolling Admissions? Who is explaining this in the high schools? Most recently Harvard, Princeton and the University of Virginia eliminated their Early Plans for the Class of 2012. How do students become aware of such news?
Other factors students must know when applying to college include standardized tests – what tests to take where and when? And how to prepare…About 720 universities in the United States don’t even require tests. What are the differences in the requirements? Who takes the ACT? SATI? Which universities require the SAT Subject Exams and how many of these? Are they optional? required? Students also need to know how to register for the exams. High schools generally do not provide these answers. The counselors can, at times help but with ratios at nearly 500 to 1, their time is extremely limited. Recently, I had one of my seniors request a senior college prep packet at his high school only to hear, “We don’t have one.” I compliment Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application who continually works toward a commonality in this complicated maze. However, look at the number of supplements and additional essays required by schools on the common application. Just how common are these applications anyway?
Then there are those recommendations – how many and for which school? Who should I give them to? What should I include? Should I send the universities supplemental recommendations? When should I submit them? What should I fill out? Do I waive my right to see them? These are just a few of the questions I get from students all the time. There are also Midyear Reports. Many students have never seen this before. What do I do with them?
There’s the Brag Sheet or list of extracurricular activities and honors and awards received in high school. Students need to know how to present those. Students want to know how to best state their activities and who should get this list. One of my students recently gave me a near twenty page extracurricular list answering numerous excellent and specific questions. Unquestionably, this gives any reader a clear sense of this student. However, who would read this at the university level. Students are given approximately seven short lines to list years of experience and accomplishments. They are entitled to know how to maximize this space.
Essay questions are a significant source of concern to students. Just what are these admission officers looking for? Although many universities do give a “topic of your choice” there are those questions that are amazingly specific – quoting legendary philosophers that have students decipher the content and then connect it all on a personal level. To do all this in anywhere from 100 to 600 words depending on the institution is yet an additional skill. We hear too that essays should be in story format, creative and wonderfully intriguing. Most recently, I heard an admission officer state that they often read the 1st and last paragraph and then decide whether or not to read the rest. Students generally do not learn to write 1st person essays like this in high school. Realize too that many applications require 3 to 4 essays…some long, some short – but nevertheless all different.
High school athletes also need guidance regarding NCAA rules and requirements – how and when to contact coaches and where to go for information.
If universities are requesting and requiring all these components, students are entitled to know what to do and what it all means. As long as most schools do not provide the adequate guidance, admissions remains a complicated process. Competition for select spots continues to increase along with the need and demand for private college consultants.