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The College Blueprint Buzz

Prepping for Spring SATs/ACTs

Although many colleges remain test optional, there are good reasons to prep for and take the SAT or ACT. Most students feel some anxiety about taking college entrance exams. A good test prep course or working one-on-one with a tutor can help alleviate some of this anxiety by allowing students to become familiar with the exams and test-taking strategies. Here are some questions to ask if you are shopping for a test prep class:

Who will be teaching the class? Some test prep companies use recent college graduates who had high SAT/ACT scores when they took the exam in high school. Be cautious if this is the case. There is a difference between scoring well on an exam and being able to teach others...

Honors Programs Offer Special Benefits

As seniors review their college lists, they might find themselves caught between their desire for the intimate learning environment of a liberal arts college and the options and experiences available at a large university. One way to have the best of both worlds is through a university honors program. Many public and some private universities offer honors programs that provide great benefits, including preferential class registration, special honors classes, enhanced advising and enrichment programs.

Honors classes attract top professors who enjoy teaching bright, motivated students. In most programs, students are not required to take all honors courses, and often take one or two honors class...

Answering the Unasked Questions

How will you benefit from attending our college? What will you contribute t our college? While you may not see these questions appearing on your college applications, if you address these topics in your applications, you will set yourself apart from other applicants and make a persuasive case for your admission.

It may seem obvious, but students sometimes lose sight of the fact that colleges are academic institutions, and they are looking for people who love to learn. Someone whose idea of fun is discussing Kant’s moral philosophy will take full advantage of the opportunities for intellectual engagement in college. When admission officers read an application from a student who has demon...

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...