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"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 Ace the Alumni Interview

Posted by Neal Schwartz on October 18, 2021

How to Ace the Alumni Interview

 

For college applicants, the fall of senior year is a time to be alert. Just because the applications might be ready or already sent doesn’t mean it’s time to relax just yet. During the fall is when certain students might be taking part in alumni interviews. Here’s everything you need to know about the alumni interview and some tips for how to make the best impression.

 

What is the alumni interview?

 The alumni interview is offered to certain applicants as a chance for the college and alumni to get to know the student better. Not every student will receive an alumni interview, however. While not receiving an alumni interview is not necessarily a bad thing, the interview can only help your chances of getting admitted. To increase the probability of getting an interview, students should consider applying Early Decision or Early Action.

The alumni interview is a little bit like a job interview. It’s a chance for the interviewer to see how the student could fit in with the school, and how well the school adapts to the student’s wants and needs. By asking a series of questions from academic to personal, the alumni gets to know the information that is not necessarily obvious from the application. This is the chance for the student to have their voice heard and personality shine. Here’s how to ace it.

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, alumni interview, admissions interview

Will this year's College Admissions be any different?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on September 09, 2021

Following the toughest admissions year on record, will it be different this year?

 

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, test optional, college lists, recommendations

College Board Drops the SAT Optional Essay and Subject Tests

Posted by Neal Schwartz on January 20, 2021

In response to the crippling effect that the pandemic has had on colleges and students, the College Board has decided to make major changes to testing. Effective June 2021, the SAT optional essay and SAT subject tests will be discontinued. According to a New York Times article, “The changes to the SAT come as more and more colleges are dropping the requirement that students take the test, as well as its competitor the ACT, a trend driven in part by concerns about equity that received a boost during the pandemic.”

These decisions have been made in part to ease the administrative costs of taking the tests on a company that was hit significantly by COVID-19, as tests were cancelled and postponed. However, the main resultant is some reduction in student stress revolving around college entrance exams. With these tests discontinued, students will have more time to focus on pursuing academic success in their classes and beyond.

The College Board recognizes the extreme toll that the pandemic has taken on students, and is therefore adapting to the current landscape. But what are the ramifications of these decisions for students?

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Topics: College Costs, College Applications, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, SAT/ACT, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, Guidance Counselors, virtual tours

How COVID-19 is changing the way we finance college

Posted by Neal Schwartz on January 07, 2021

While the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, one silver lining is the changes to core Financial Aid submission. According to a recent article in Forbes by Mark Kantrowitz, the FAFSA will be undergoing massive changes in response to the COVID-19 relief bill. According to the FAFSA Simplification Act, financial aid determination will be adapted from both the federal and institutional levels. 

However, these changes will not be coming in the near term, but rather will affect the Freshman class of 2023—current high school Sophomores. It will of course have an impact on the earlier classes as Financial Aid is required to be submitted and reviewed each year prior to a student’s college year.

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Topics: College Costs, College Applications, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, SAT/ACT, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, Guidance Counselors, virtual tours

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