Holistic College Admissions - Much more than the metrics

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 07, 2023


holistic applICATION reviews vs. metric based reviews

 "who moved my cheese?" 


Did They get in?

If you know any high school seniors this holiday season, they are about to learn their fate for their early decision college admissions and maybe even their early action decisions.

The one consistent behavior is overwhelming happiness for those admitted and a range of emotions for those denied or deferred.

Statistically, the admit rates have been dropping precipitously at the most select schools. Students who did not consider the admittance advantages of early decision may have some significant mood swings.

Reminder: once colleges were practically forced to go test optional during Covid, applications increased dramatically, especially at historically selective colleges. Students who would previously have not considered schools due to their below par test scores had become more brazen. Some schools became experts in working through their algorithms to fine tune their yield and even went so far as to lower the actual number of admitted students and not just benefit from the application volume increases that lowered their admit rates.

For those familiar with the metric application review in other countries (or the way it used to be in the U.S. just about a decade ago), the move to holistic application reviews can be upsetting.

A typical metric application view: How can my son/daughter who had a 1550 on the SAT (or 35 on the ACT) with a 3.9 GPA, 6 AP’s and a multitude of extracurricular activities not get into every school that he/she applies to?

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Topics: college preparation, ACT, college admissions, admission advice, college process, college activities plan, SAT prep, ACT prep, college test prep, high school senior, high school junior, college application, holistic college admissions review, extracurriculars, extracurricular activities, AI

Importance of Extracurriculars after Supreme Court Decision

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 18, 2023


Extracurriculars Still Matter for High School Students

photo courtesy of Byram HIlls High School Facebook page.  

Summer is a great time to get involved with extracurricular activities, a crucial piece of the college application!

There are 3 components that are valued by the most selective colleges:

  1. Metrics – GPA, Rigor, SAT/ACT, Recommendations
  2. Main Character Essays and College Specific Supplements
  3. Extracurricular Activities
    1. School-Sponsored Extracurriculars – Sports, Clubs, Theater, Dance, Debate, Model UN, Band/Orchestra, Math, Chess, Robotics, Science Research, Newspaper, Yearbook, etc.
    2. Other Extracurriculars that are local, but outside of school—volunteer, work, internships, summer courses, research, starting something (business, non-profit or for profit), working on a political campaign.

For rising HS Seniors, summer is the time to start college applications and look back and compile their high school year extracurricular activities. And this time is not wasted as most colleges weigh extracurriculars as a key factor in their college decision.  In fact, most colleges look for student involvement in activities through a lens of longevity and leadership. 

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, admission advice, college process, college activities plan, SAT prep, ACT prep, college test prep, high school senior, high school junior, high school sophomore, college application, college freshmen, extracurriculars, extracurricular activities, high school freshman

ACT Postpones Section Retesting

Posted by Neal Schwartz on June 23, 2020





ACT postpones section retesting


The June ACT was far from the typical testing experience. With testing centers in 45 states practicing physical distancing and adhering to CDC guidelines, students were given a taste of the new reality of standardized testing, and it’s quite complicated. 

Due to COVID-19, this testing season in general has been chaotic and stressful, to say the least. With test dates cancelled and futures uncertain, students taking the ACT now have to face a new challenge. According to the ACT’s blog, CEO Janet Godwin has decided to postpone section retesting for 2020. This means that students who already took the ACT will not be able to retake sections to improve their superscores until some time later in 2021. 

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Topics: ACT, college admissions, ACT prep, college counseling, college test prep

Test Prep Formula: 4 factors to consider

Posted by Neal Schwartz on September 06, 2019

Once high school hits, there is one thing on a lot of parents’ minds: test prep. Between academics and extracurriculars, it can often be confusing to know when to start your student on an SAT/ACT Prep track. To help, we’ve compiled 4 factors to consider when determining the appropriate time to begin.

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Topics: college preparation, standardized testing, SAT, ACT, college prep, SAT/ACT, SAT prep, ACT prep, test prep classes, one-on-one tutoring

Are test prep classes as good as private lessons?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 25, 2019


This question comes up every year, along with the dandelions and daffodils.

The end of every school year tends to bring a barrage of academic review and prep classes held at local organizations such as religious institutions and colleges. There is often a buzz about whether the class will close out, since everyone your child knows seems to already be registered. So, it begs the question: Is a Regents/Finals class the best thing?

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Topics: college prep, SAT/ACT, NY State Regents, SAT prep, ACT prep, High School Finals, test prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, private tutoring


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