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The College Blueprint Buzz

Is College Admission Really More Competitive?

Each year, the media makes it seem that it is getting harder and harder to be accepted to college. But is that really true? Is college admission today really more competitive?

There is no denying that many parents wouldn't be accepted at their own alma maters if they were applying today. SAT scores have inched up and acceptance rates have dropped. Why is it so much more difficult to be admitted?

The stats each year demonstrate just how much more competitive the world of college admission has become. Stanford rejected more than 96 percent of its applicants and many of them had perfect SAT or ACT scores. It’s obviously not enough to be a strong student with great test scores. Those objecti...

Undergraduate Honors Programs

Most students are confused about the difference between an Honors College and an Honors Program. A simple way of understanding the two academic options is this: an Honors College is typically a separate undergraduate college within a larger university, and an Honors Program is a set or range of coursework that a student completes while part of an existing undergraduate School or College within their institution. Either way, the student will receive an Honors designation on their diploma. An Honors Program typically doesn’t offer separate housing but is still selective in its admission. Students may have the option of submitting a supplemental application during the initial application ...

Why Are You Applying Here?

With so much competition for admission to selective colleges, students want to do everything right in preparing their applications. They often seek to write what they think admission officers want to read. Not a good plan.

Students often think they need to impress the reader with their accomplishments. Well-meaning parents or friends may tell them that this isn’t the time to be modest. But you don’t want to come across as bragging. Confidence is appealing; arrogance is off-putting.

Rather than telling a reader about your qualities, it is much more effective to share an anecdote that illustrates those qualities. Give the facts and allow the reader to come to the conclusion that you ...

The Importance of Likely Colleges

Most students add the names of a couple of ’likely’ schools to their college lists without giving these ‘safe’ colleges much thought, because the applicants don’t imagine they may need to attend one of them. However, students should apply only to colleges that they are willing to attend (and gladly!). Thus, you need to spend as much time researching the schools that are likely to admit you as you do on the schools that are likely to deny you.


More Ideas for Summer Break

There are so many ways for high school students to engage in summer activities that can have a huge impact on them personally, and on a college or university admission officer. With the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic, many traditional summer programs have moved to an online format and, for some students, that just doesn’t hold the same appeal. Typically, students have looked forward to a residential on-campus program that helps them make new friends, engage with university faculty, and learn more about what their life might look like when they attend college. However, there are still other exciting summer opportunities to consider that can also be meaningful, so let&rsq...

Summer Plans—In-Person & Virtual

Summer 2020 was dramatically different for high school students, with in-person programs closed and very few virtual opportunities. However, Summer 2021 already promises great improvements since exciting options are opening up. Some of the most well-established summer programs are offering both a few on-campus courses and many online courses. One excellent example of this is at the wellknown Summer@Brown, on the campus of Brown University. Stanford University is now open for summer 2021 enrollment with special advanced online coursework, and the Phillips Academy Summer Session has a hybrid option with both boarding and online opportunities. Columbia University has a wide range of program typ...

Making Final Decisions

The waiting is over. Admission decisions have been made. And some very happy students now have the enviable problem of deciding which college they want to attend.

From now until the May 1 notification deadline, the tables are turned as admission officers try to win over newly admitted students. There will be flattering letters,phone calls and invitations to fun-filled programs designed to get prospective freshmen excited about attending their school.

Remember that these programs will paint the school in the best light. Since you want to learn everything you can before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to look beyond the nice receptions and speeches. Some students skip these event...

Everyone Learns Differently

GPA is the most important factor in the college admissions process. One way to improve your grades is to know your preferred learning style. Each learning style has specific strategies which can be helpful to assist you in learning material. Take a look below and see if you can figure out YOUR learning style. Once you have done so, we encourage you to utilize some of these strategies while studying for your classes.

Visual Learning Style

Visual Language

These students learn language skills by sight, mainly by reading and watching. They tend to be fast thinkers, to gesture freely while talking, and to communicate very clearly and concisely. They learn well from demonstration process – they...

Handling Denials—How Parents Can Help

Parents just want to help. The natural reaction when you see your child suffering is to try and make it better. Denials are inevitable in an atmosphere of increasingly selective admissions, so how can parents help ease the pain when their child is not chosen, for many reasons relating to the college’s priorities and needs? The first step is to accept that it’s complicated. It’s complicated by your child’s emotions, your emotions and both of your preconceived notions. It gets even more complicated when students feel pressure from their classmates. The worst is the judgment many students feel from their parents’ friends, as if they disappointed their parents. Pare...

Considering a Gap Year?

Each year, an increasing number of us high school graduates opt to take a year off between the end of high school and the start of college. Members of the high School class of 2020 did so in record numbers, spurred on by the likelihood of online learning and a greatly altered college experience due to the covid 19 pandemic.With the advent of effective vaccines and with colleges beginning to announce on campus programs for the fall of 2021,should you still consider a gap year?