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How many schools should I apply to?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on August 17, 2022

 

8, 10,12,15, 15+ ?

I get this question more this year than ever before. Unfortunately, there is no answer that applies to all students. There is a wholesale change happening in college admissions that needs to be considered. There are so many different categories of admissions–Regular, Rolling, Early Action, Priority, Restricted Early Action, Early Decision, Early Decision 2–it is no wonder that parents and students are confused. But, more importantly is the fact that this confusion can impact a student’s admission’s chances. 

College Admissions is in a truly outrageous situation at the present time. The various admission categories have been morphing for years and when combined with the Covid/Test Optional catalyst, application growth has been explosive. This has resulted in what some may view as irrational behavior. 

For example, when parents learn that Mary didn’t get into any of the 12 schools she applied to, one conclusion that has been floated is that Mary didn’t apply to enough colleges. So, the logical next step is to apply to even more schools, maybe up to 15+. We can all understand how that will increase the volume of applications and lower admit rates. 

But what is even more disturbing is the perfect storm that has also developed for some savvy colleges. With more applications floating into the system, schools are looking for better ways to ensure that their yield is reduced–even as applications increase.  It appears that they have succeeded and nearly perfected their ability to gauge a student's true interest. Even while ignoring the increase in applications, and noting that the number of seats remains the same, some top colleges have lowered the absolute number of students that they admit.

So, what is the answer?

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, regular decision, college planning, admitted students

Summer College Visits

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 24, 2022

Summer is at its peak with the latest heat wave! A time to soak up some sunshine, enjoy dinners from the grill, and…plan college visits? Although untraditional, a summer visit to a college can be a beneficial way to see a school in its quieter off-season. If you or your student are too busy to travel during a school’s academic year, visiting a school during the summer or during a break in that school’s calendar is still a great opportunity.

Who is on campus during the summer?

There will be less students on campus, but that can also be an ideal time to get to know the people that are present: students taking summer courses or living on campus while working at an internship. Be aware that you might also find high school students on campus taking academic or sports programs and this can give you an unusual picture of campus life that may make it appear significantly younger than it will look in September. Schools may also offer summer housing opportunities to international students or those who travel a far distance to attend their chosen school (something to keep in mind in your own college decision journey). Visiting during the summer may also give you a chance to chat with professors or department heads.

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Topics: college preparation, life on campus, college tours, college open house, college visits, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, high school sophomore, holistic college admissions review, college location, college plans, college planning, summer college visits, Drexel University

In a changing world, what is the best major to choose?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 22, 2021

Happy Holidays!  

This message comes to you with the hope that this holiday break gives you a chance to explore, spend time with family and friends (safely, of course) and get your batteries re-charged.  After the charging, it can also be a great time for students to ponder their future without the distraction of studying for the next test or assignment and where they can think freely. 

 

The last two years has given pretty much everyone a wake-up call. The pandemic has made us question, evaluate and re-prioritize what is really important in life. This time can be especially challenging for those who are on the brink of deciding what they want to do with their lives: future college students.

While universities often advertise the diversity of fields available for first-years to explore, having that wide of a choice can be even more intimidating when certain fields may seem no longer relevant in the present context. Being a Classics major or English major might be a lot less justified in our technological, health-focused new world. So how can we help students find a balance between passion and practicality?

First of all, it’s important to remember that even though the emphasis may be more focused on science, technology and healthcare, that’s not to say that other fields are not worth going into. If everyone decided to focus on these three paths, then what would happen to the arts and humanities? Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right major for today’s context.

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Topics: college preparation, college counseling, international college students, high school senior, high school junior, college sophomore, regular decision, college plans, choosing a major, skills, lifestyle, science, technology, S.T.E.M., S.T.E.A.M.

"So, what are your plans for college?"

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 13, 2021

This is the big question that a lot of high school seniors might be dreading for the upcoming holidays if they haven’t applied Early Decision, heard back from schools, or want to entertain questions about their college plans. All most students want to do is have a good time with family and not think about applications and the future for a minute, but this question will inevitably be asked, probably multiple times on multiple occasions.

Can you blame your family? This is certainly a decisive time for you, but also for them. Most of the time, your family has the best of intentions. They are either genuinely interested or making appropriate small talk. In any case, it’s important to keep in mind that less is more.

If you know the answer, say it loud and proud, but if you don’t, there are a variety of approaches that can dig you out of a sticky situation.

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Topics: college preparation, early decision, early decision 2, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, regular decision, college plans

How to get the most out of your college visit

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 07, 2021

A lot of weight hangs on a college visit. Visiting a college is a chance to give the college your own in-person “interview.” Even if a school looks great on paper and a student is totally convinced, that moment a student steps foot on campus can be a swing factor. “Feel” is something that can’t be beaten out by college stats, majors offered, and highly-reputed faculty.

There are a lot of students that think they know what they want from the get-go. A legacy at Penn might think that Penn is the right choice, for example. Or a high-achieving student might think the best choice is the most competitive Ivy League school. But until there is some kind of personal interaction with the school, there will always still be an element of doubt. That’s why we’d like to help you make the most of your college visit with these tips.

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Topics: college preparation, college tours, campus visits, college visits, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, holistic college admissions review, campus tours

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