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How to truly stand out on your college application

Posted by Neal Schwartz on November 14, 2021

To say that this generation of future college students is having a harder time than in the past would be an understatement. The impacts of a still-present pandemic have changed the way students learn and has certainly had an effect on even the strongest students. Online learning has expanded academic and social gaps, and that means that the future promises to be even more challenging to those trying to keep up.

The pandemic’s impact on colleges is that it has decreased enrollment at the lesser known schools and increased competition at the well-known ones. With testing requirements shifting to nearly universal test-optional policies at the majority of institutions, admissions criteria is increasingly pivoted toward essays, recommendations and extracurriculars. Some students are no longer being judged solely on their scores, but on the deeper content of their written work.

This all means that students have to re-strategize when applying and no longer think in terms of “well-roundedness.” Previous generations of college applicants used this as their key word, but according to some admissions officers, being well-rounded is no longer good enough. So how can students truly stand out in this unprecedented context?

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Topics: College Essays, College Applications, college preparation, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, recommendations, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities

Why being undecided isn't necessarily a bad thing

Posted by Neal Schwartz on October 26, 2021

In some ways, our culture measures success in one’s ability to be decisive. These people are those that have always known they’ve wanted to be teachers or doctors or politicians since they were kids. It’s easy to think that the people in this category have a clear advantage in life. They know what they want to do and they’re often very prepared to follow their path, and successful. However, this is not the reality for many students. Why? Because our culture has changed. Our times are increasingly uncertain, pressure and competition in college admissions is higher than ever, and the amount of choice can be overwhelming.

So it’s not only okay to be undecided; it’s completely natural. But it’s not an excuse for being lazy. Being undecided doesn’t necessarily mean being unfocused.

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Topics: college preparation, college major, college counseling, college freshman, high school senior, high school junior, college sophomore, choosing a college major, undecided, career choice

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

Does Test Optional Really mean Test Optional?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on September 25, 2021

does "test-optional" really mean test-optional?

 

While standardized testing has been one of the major determinants of college admission for years, the pandemic has changed all of that.…or has it? Following waves of colleges adopting test-optional policies, competition seems tighter than ever. But how is that so? Isn’t the purpose of test-optional to give a greater opportunity to students that didn’t get a chance to take the SAT or ACT or for whom the pandemic greatly impacted their academic performance?

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Topics: college preparation, college admissions, early action, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, test optional

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

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