How students can build resilience in an unpredictable future

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 28, 2022

It can be said without a doubt that it’s a very difficult time to be a student. This generation of students is faced with so many unpredictable factors, that it puts even more strain and stress on them than most of them can handle. The pandemic has made them more isolated, less social, and perhaps more fearful.

In addition, this year’s college admission statistics have brought a new level of uncertainty to current high school seniors making final decisions. But this unprecedented college landscape also extends to younger high school students, as they look at admit rates as low as the single digits. 

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Topics: college counseling, holistic college admissions review, college planning, independent students, resilient students, academic stress

Is a pivot on the horizon for selective college admissions?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on April 05, 2022

When it comes to college, competition seems only to be getting more intense. Students are pressured by expectations to get perfect test scores, have unique and incredible talents and be accomplished and successful just by the age of 16 or 17. How long will students be able to live up to these expectations? According to a recent article by Jeffrey Selingo in the Atlantic, “The College-Admissions Process Is Completely Broken, but it doesn’t have to be”, the college admissions system might not be able to hold up for long.

Colleges already responded to the pandemic with measures meant to ease minds like test-optional policies, but in the long run that didn't eliminate competition, just changed it temporarily. (Note that M.I.T. just went back to a test required model)

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Topics: college counseling, test optional, college application, holistic college admissions review, teacher recommendations, college planning, college acceptance, college rejection, college fit, college waitlist, jeffrey selingo

What if I don't get accepted to my dream school?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on March 23, 2022

Generally, there are two types of high school students: those that have no idea where they want to go to college, and those that know exactly where they want to go and where they “belong.” A lot of these students become fixated on their dream schools, either because of reputation, legacy, or a dreamy, beachside campus. Whatever the motivation, students shouldn't let a particular school become too much a part of their identity, because what happens if they don't get in?


Here's a common story of how things can happen at school. You get good grades, you do tons of unique extracurriculars, volunteer work, foreign languages, musical instruments, and you still don't get into your dream school. It seems like you’ve checked off all the boxes and would be the ideal student. So, what's the deal? Are you still not good enough to get in, or are there other factors coming into play? With the increased applications at most competitive schools, it is a mathematical reality that there will be more rejections and waitlisted students than anytime in history.

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Topics: college counseling, test optional, college application, holistic college admissions review, college planning, college acceptance, college rejection, college fit, college waitlist

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

Why Your College Essay May Be More Important Than Your Test Scores

Posted by Neal Schwartz on May 30, 2021

As we all know, the college application can be a long and complicated endeavor. We can think of the college application as a portfolio of student performance across a wide variety of metrics that allows admissions officers to judge the quality and potential of the students they’ll accept. The most important elements have long been known to be GPA, test scores, recommendations and last but not least, the college essay.

However, we’ve been seeing a noteworthy shift away from the quantitative towards more abstract ways of evaluating a student.

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Topics: College Applications, college preparation, college admissions, SAT/ACT, college counseling, test optional, highly selective colleges, standardized college entrance testing, soft factors in college admission, summer student college application course, college essay, holistic college admissions review


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