by Christian Perticone - Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 Admissions & Acceptance

It’s never been harder to gain college admission. Someone said it last year, and the year before, and… is it true? Or, more specifically, is it true most colleges report that they receive and reject more applications every year? The short answer is, yes, it’s never been tougher. According to The New York Times, schools as varied as Skidmore College (42.41% increase in applicants), St. Lawrence University (14.41% increase), and Yale University (2.81% increase) have all seen upticks in the number of applications they receive. Nevertheless, some would argue that colleges are no more selective than before. The bar hasn’t been raised, they say, there are just more applicants beneath it. A March 20th Times article, “College Admissions: The Myth […]

by Christian Perticone - Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 Admissions & Acceptance

Tell me about yourself. When you’re filling out college applications, schools pepper you with different permutations of this question. Can you briefly recount your most meaningful experience? Who or what matters most to you? How do you handle adversity? Why does diversity matter in your life? Is it any surprise that a new study shows, “First-year students indicating that they frequently felt “overwhelmed by all I had to do” during their senior year of high school increased from 28.5% in 2011 to 30.4% in 2012.” While colleges have plenty questions, far less frequently, if at all, do they ask what you expect them to deliver. If they did ask, would you be in a position to answer? Maybe not until […]

by Christian Perticone - Monday, January 28th, 2013 Admissions & Acceptance

Forget about ACT and SAT scores, should non-cognitive assessments play a greater role in college admissions decisions?  This is a livewire question, at least in certain academic circles. Most recently, experts debated the issue a week ago at a conference hosted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice.  You may ask, what exactly is a non-cognitive assessment? Unlike the ACT and SAT, non-cognitive assessments aim to directly measure qualities like a student’s work ethic, teamwork skills, acceptance of criticism, leadership abilities, conscientiousness, creativity, organizational skills, and many other traits that match up with academic and workplace success. These tests have long been used in HR hiring processes.  In a way, college admissions officers already […]

by Dr. Trama - Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

Last week admissions decisions for early applicants started making their way into mailboxes and inboxes across the country. For some students, an acceptance to a first-choice school marks a sigh of relief. For many, many others, however, an unfavorable decision on an application is a disappointment. If you’re one of the applicants that didn’t receive the acceptance you hoped for, it’s ok to be disappointed. But it’s more important to not dwell on the rejection, and instead develop a game plan for how you’re going to move forward with the college application process. Here are some things to keep in mind while you do just that: 1.    Understand the Letter You may have stopped reading the letter you received once […]

by Dr. Trama - Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

Sum up your life in 500 words?  Many students feel that this is the impossible mission of the college application essay.  If the subject of your admissions essay had to be the entirety of your life and/or character, they’d give you more than 500 words.  The truth about admissions essays is that colleges want to get a sense of your personality in order to see how you’ll fit into the academic community they’re building.  Since you are yourself in everything you think and do, you can pretty much write about anything. I just made the problem worse, didn’t I?  Anything?! Not surprisingly, there are many theories about picking the right topic for your essay.  I’ll outline a few common theories, […]

by Dr. Trama - Friday, September 7th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

With the new school year getting underway this week, it’s important, if you’re starting 12th grade, that you get to work on your college applications. The earlier you start work on your applications, the better – as procrastination can lead to missed deadlines. (We’re going to assume that you’ve worked up a list of colleges to apply to at this point. If you haven’t done that, start there. Here’s our post with tips on how to narrow your list down from the thousands of colleges available to you.) Now that you have your list, it’s imperative that you come up with a list of deadlines of the applications. Many schools will have different deadlines, so if you have a calendar […]

by Dr. Trama - Thursday, July 26th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance, College Preparation & Planning

Volunteer work. If you’re a high school student, or the parent of a high school student, you already know the importance of consistent, relevant volunteer work when it comes to the college application process. But beyond the “necessity” of volunteering in order to present yourself as a well rounded individual to the colleges to which you are applying, volunteer work is an important enrichment tool for both teenagers and their families. While many students volunteer in areas they are already interested in, students who are unsure about what they might want to study when in college can have interests sparked through their volunteer work. Volunteer work is a good way for families to spend additional time with one another. With […]

by Dr. Trama - Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

With August nearing, it’s important for students who will be in 12th Grade in the fall to at least be thinking about what they are going to write their college essay on. It doesn’t need to be complete (yet), but it’s important to start to flesh out ideas. A lot of students will look at the questions provided on the Common Application as prompts for their essay, but it’s my belief that that type of thinking is backwards. The question that students should really be asking themselves when they are ready to write their college essay is this: who am I? On its face, answering that question might seem simple. But you should be thinking beyond simple characteristics and instead […]

by Dr. Trama - Monday, June 25th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance

Colleges want you to succeed academically and socially, and they know that those two areas of life are not mutually exclusive. In order to help you deal with the overwhelmingness of meeting new friends while exploring campus, finding classes, learning to live on your own, and managing your schedule, most colleges host first year experience programs. These programs are designed to help you meet people while you transition to a new environment. Since these experiences will determine your initial impression of college life, you should get a feel for what a college offers in terms of a first year transition program. It’s always better to ask admissions representatives what their colleges do to help students acclimate to campus life. If […]

by Dr. Trama - Friday, June 15th, 2012 Admissions & Acceptance, College Preparation & Planning

Every year, mothers and fathers take their high school juniors and seniors on college visits.  Parents know that they need to do this.  The visits help their children build human connections to schools that would otherwise be imagined as a jumble of acceptance rates, possible majors, climates, and sports teams.  Nothing turns a school into a real place, a potential home for four years, like a college visit.   And though parents might not always like to admit it, the college visits matter for them as well.  In a matter of months, their children will leave home and begin to experience new “firsts” without them.   The college visit will be one of the last significant shared experiences between parent and child […]