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ChatGPT and its impact on the College Process

Posted by Neal Schwartz on February 01, 2023

How will ChatGPT affect college applications?

 

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Topics: College Essays, College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, chatgpt, Artificial Intelligence, personal statement

College Admissions 4 years after Varsity Blues

Posted by Neal Schwartz on January 11, 2023

What has changed with College Admissions since Varsity Blues ?

To refresh your memory, in 2019, a scandal arose over a criminal conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several top American universities.Rick Singer, the shamed college counselor, synonymous with what is known as Operation Varsity Blues, is going to jail for 3 and a half years—proving that “crime doesn’t pay”. This video recaptures the news the day the scandal broke. But what has happened since the scandal was birthed?

These seven stages initiated from the epicenter of Varsity Blues:

  1. An Awakening Most parents and students were aware of how competitive college admissions had become at top tier schools. But Varsity Blues uncovered the sheer panic that precipitated those with meansthe rich and famousto step so low as to cheat and bribe their way into college.       If the entitled were freaking out, that confirmed just how difficult college admissions would be for everyone.
  2. The Reaction: Close the Loopholes Colleges didn’t want the press they were likely to get, so any backdoor privileges, special handshakes or any semblance of impropriety were shut down. Any candidate applying for a sports position had to follow new procedures, as did the respective college staff.
  3. Skepticism sets in: Don’t trust the College CounselorWas every college counselor like Rick Singer? If he couldn’t help students without cheating, what was the average family going to do? It’s possible that some who would have otherwise gone to a college counselor chose to go it alone.
  4. The COVID Factor The pandemic initiated a nationwide test optional blanket covering nearly every school in the country. Students applied to schools that otherwise would be out of reach if they were to submit their test scores.
  5. Application Growth More applications at top tier schools triggered even more selectivity. Colleges got laser focused with their admit rates and yield.
  6. Admit Rates Drop The reality of single digit admit rates kicks in and morphs in a viral fashion. Once parents heard stories or witnessed their own children getting denied and deferred, they panicked and applied to even more schools, accelerating selectivity and lowering their own children’s admit rates.
  7. Reception Towards Receiving College Advice Returns – As parents get confused and frustrated with the difficult college process, some begin to seek help from counselors for professional college advice.

While few could have predicted the impact that this scandal, followed swiftly by the COVID-19 pandemic, could have on college admissions, here are six steps to take that address the current admissions situation:

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Topics: College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, college selection, operation varsity blues, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, college admit rates, Rick Singer, independent educational consultants

December – A Month of Joy and High (Academic) Anxiety

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 08, 2022

DECEMBER: A MONTH OF JOY AND ANXIETY

With thoughts of a winter break in sight, December is a month filled with academic notifications for a great number of students of all ages. The three most powerful outside measurements of a student’s abilities that impact December are:

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, early action, early decision 2, college selection, PSAT, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search

What to do about College Application Exhaustion

Posted by Neal Schwartz on November 10, 2022

What to do after early college applications are submitted

 

Congratulations for those students who pushed the send button in their Common App screen and saw the online confetti fly.   What’s next? The natural tendency is to think that everything is complete, and complacency can set in after what has been an exhaustive admission process. It is not uncommon for students to want to be "done" with the application effort regardless of the consequences of not staying fully engaged with the process. 

This is probably the most competitive process that they have ever faced and one in which they have little control over.  So, understanding what can be done and doing so with a cool, level head can reap some great rewards. Students and parents should remain engaged until the day they enroll with a deposit and consider the following:

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Topics: College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, early decision, senioritis, early action, early decision 2, college selection, Financial Aid, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search

Union College

Posted by Neal Schwartz on November 02, 2022

 

Do You Know this Union College?

Union College is in upstate New York in a city with a very distinctive name – Schenectady. Union was founded in 1795 and in addition to holding to its liberal arts roots, it has been quietly evolving and adapting to today’s student needs. Union is regarded as one of the few small liberal arts colleges that has a solid balance of liberal arts and engineering. Union now offers an Environmental Engineering Major and is bringing back Civil Engineering. With only 3 classes per trimester, students really get a chance to know their professors. For intro classes, the average class size is 21 students; for upper-level classes the average is 14 students. 80% of Union Students complete faculty-mentored research or creative work and 60% of students study abroad. 85% of students complete at least one internship. 97% of Union graduates are employed, in grad school or pursuing a post-grad fellowship within 6 months of graduation.

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early decision, college selection, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, college search, Union College, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering

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