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The College Blueprint Buzz

How Much Should You Disclose?

Students often worry about calling attention to anything that is a negative on a college application, but just because you ignore something doesn’t mean admission officers won’t notice it. They might see that your math scores on the SAT and your grades in Algebra and Pre-Calculus are low. But you won’t be in the room to explain that despite the fact that math has always been a struggle and you have such anxiety about math that you freeze on tests, you pushed yourself to take a fourth year of math because you didn’t want to avoid difficult courses. If you don’t tell them, admission officers won’t know that you stayed up past midnight studying each night and...

Making The Most Of Your High School Years

Entering high school can be overwhelming; you’ll have far more options and opportunities as well as greater expectations. The choices you make through high school will have an impact on your future education. It is important to choose wisely both classes and extracurricular activities so that you can enjoy your high school years.


Each year, try to increase your level of academic challenge in your coursework. However, while AP, IB, and honors level classes are impressive to universities, so are good grades. If taking every subject at the highest level will start to drop grades below a B, students should prioritize taking difficult classes in subjects they are either best at or m...


Still thinking of ways to make your high school summers count? Some young adults score an internship, some are lucky enough to undertake travel that incorporates fun and community service, and others take a summer job in order to squirrel money away. One exciting idea is to start your own business. The right business can accomplish a lot – real world experience, money in the bank, and a roadmap towards your future. How, you may ask? Consider a few businesses that were started by high school students: Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue, Wise Pocket, Are you kidding, Me and the Bees Lemonade, Maya’s Ideas and Mo’s Bows. These are a few that illustrate the wildly successful young e...

Summer Plans—Crafting an Internship

Summer’s nearly here, hooray! But now what? High school summers can be filled with so much, and sadly, so little. As students navigate the summer holidays throughout their high school years, it becomes important to consider two things: 1) how can my summer activity be more meaningful to me? and 2) how can my summer activity help me build a solid resume in preparation for a future college or job application? Initially, students may think that between 9th and 10th grade, fun is the first order of business, and having summer fun is very important. The transition from middle school to high school can be tough, and during a global pandemic, it can be even harder to navigate, with online cla...

Three Types of Campus Visits

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about which colleges you may want to visit. An in-person visit really is the best way of assessing your interest in a particular institution. Nothing is better than seeing the students and campus facilities first-hand. There is so much to be learned from such a visit. You will want to get a sense of how your life could change when you move on-campus. A visit can tell you if location matters, if you enjoy the local climate, or if you can easily gain access to the beach or mountains. Throughout high school, look ahead to your university future; the summers between 9th and 10th grade and 10th and 11th grade can be wonderful introdu...

The New SAT—Shorter and Online

As has been widely publicized of late, the College Board has announced some exciting updates to their standardized tests. The key parts of these changes include:

  • Testing will be completed online

  • Tests will last 2 hours, not 3

  • Calculator allowed on all math questions

Factors to remain the same:

  • A proctored setting is required

  • Multiple choice questions remain in place

  • Scoring is on a 1600 scale

  • The removal of the Subject Tests and optional essay will remain in effect

Domestic sites will be seeing these significant changes in 2024, and international testing sites in 2023. This means that today’s 8th and 9th grade students in the USA will be the first ones to take the new testing format. The change...

Making a Great College Match

One student loves the non-competitive academic atmosphere at Haverford College that made learning much more enjoyable. Another student praises the intense competition at UC San Diego, which motivates her to do her best work.

Two great schools. But not great for every student. Both of these students had done their homework, made good matches and are thriving.

When a student is in an environment where he feels good about himself, he’s more likely to be successful academically and socially. It seems so obvious. But in this time of high anxiety about college admission, students and parents often pursue the most popular colleges and lose sight of whether those schools are the best matches for...

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 ...