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Reaction to the New Wall Street Journal College Rankings

Let’s say that you’re a top ranking student.  You’re in the top 5% of your class due to your high GPA.  Your SAT, ACT and AP scores are enviable.  You also are well-rounded and your extra-curricular activities are just as important to you as your academic pursuits.  You excel in high school.  In fact, your guidance counselor frequently tells you that you’re one of the best prepared students in your graduating class.  And as a result, you’re going to be recognized with an award for outstanding achievement the following day.

But then you go to school the next morning and you find out that you’re not in the top 5% of your class any more.  Confused, you try to find out why.  And you’re given a conflicting and arguably ridiculous excuse that the formula used to determine high-achieving students has changed.  The school no longer cares that you have a high GPA, your test scores aren’t important, and your extra-curricular activities are just seen as well, extra, but not really necessary.  And because of the school’s new ranking system, you go from being in the top 5% of your class, to barely ranking at all.

You’re confused, upset, and outraged.  And rightfully so.  You worked hard for what you achieved and now a random new way of ranking has made you seem less competitive with your peers.   

You’re probably saying to yourself, this won’t happen to me, right? Well, probably not, but for many colleges and universities that were once seen as top colleges, this is exactly what happened, virtually overnight.

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Is it Worth Doing Early Action?

Everyone knows that the admissions process can be grueling especially when you have to make so many decisions before you even submit an application.  One decision that is especially harrowing is which admissions option to choose.  Are you interested in early action, early decision, rolling, or regular admission?  And if you do choose to do early action (EA) or early decision (ED), is it really worth it?

The answer to that question lies in how much preparation you’ve put into the admissions process already, whether or noIs it worth doing Early Decision/Early Action?t you have a top choice college, and lastly your (and your parents’) financial situation.

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How to Prepare for a College Interview

You may have impressive standardized test scores, and an equally impressive GPA and class rank, but those are only numbers.  In such a competitive college admissions landscape, if you have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd of freshman hopefuls by completing an in-person college interview, then by all means, seize the opportunity.  You want the admissions office to see you as more than just a few numbers on a piece of paper and the way to do that is to impress them through the college interview.

First of all, the college interview isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, so if you’re worried about it---don’t be.  Much like your personal statement or admissions essay, the college interview provides you with the opportunity to showcase your personality.  More than that, it gives you a chance for the college of your choice to discover more about you than what your scores on various tests reflect.  Hence, the college interview can be a great opportunity to let your personality shine and also a great opportunity for those students with less than stellar scores to truly stand out.

Instead of looking at the interview as another obstacle in the gauntlet known as the college admissions process, view the interview as at least one aspect of the admissions process that you can ultimately control.  And that control comes from being prepared.  

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5 Ways to Make your Essay Stand Out

You’re staring at your computer screen trying to come up with the next word to type.  You glance over at the time and realize that you’ve been staring at the same sentence for the past hour.  And the sad part is, it’s the opening sentence of the introductory paragraph.  That means, technically, you’ve done pretty much nothing.  But this isn’t because you haven’t tried.  You’ve been trying all morning.  But you’re struggling with your approach to the topic.  You know what you should write, but getting those words on the screen have become a challenge.  And the reason? You don’t want to write a run-of-the-mill essay. You don’t want to write anything that the admissions board has already seen.  You want your essay to stand out.  Well take a deep breath, step away from the keyboard and when you’re ready to write again, try to incorporate the tips below to create a winning essay that will truly stand out from the rest.

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9 Tips for Writing a Great Personal Statement

You only get one chance to impress the admissions office.  After all, the college of your choice will be inundated by countless applicants who have an academic and extracurricular background similar to your own.  Hence, it’s important that something about you stands out from the crowd of eager potential freshman. That something should be your personal statement.  

Writing a great personal statement is a challenge, but when done effectively, it can be the difference between a no and a yes from the college of your choice.  So read on below for a few tips regarding how to make your personal statement stand out among the rest.

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10 Tips to Start Your Scholarship Search

In the news, all over social media and everywhere else in between, you’ll see posts or articles about the rising cost of college.  For many people, the trouble isn’t getting into the college of their choice, the issue is being able to afford it.  College can be expensive: Between books, tuition and housing, the average American college student is looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars on their college education.  It is extremely common to hear college graduates speak of the debilitating, anxiety-inducing student loans that they struggle to pay month to month. Crippling student debt is a scary reality for many college hopefuls, but don’t fret!  There are ways to offset the burden of college expenses and arguably the best way is to apply for and hopefully, be awarded scholarships.  Below are a few tips to help you begin your scholarship search.

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Top 10 Considerations in Finding the Right College Fit

You’ve probably spent hours poring over various college websites.  You’ve studied all the information available regarding college rankings, faculty-to-student ratios and even probably visited a campus or two.  You think you have an idea of what you want in a college, but ultimately you’re not sure.  Deciding what college to attend is a difficult decision to make and kudos to you for not taking it lightly.  However, instead of feeling stressed out or anxious about the decision you’ll inevitably make, take a deep breath and read on below for a few things to consider when choosing a college that will ultimately be the right fit for your personal and academic goals.  

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Good Intentions, Bad Idea: “Free” Community College

During this campaign season, we have seen an extraordinary battle of ideas regarding higher education. One of the more interesting ideas currently being promoted actively by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (and supported by President Obama) is a policy proposal to make community college free for everyone.

On its face, this seems to be a no-brainer – after all, what could possibly be wrong with offering free community college to every American citizen? In theory, it should increase not only the lifetime income potential of students who take advantage of this, but it would also greatly increase the skill set of millions of current and future workers.

Despite these benefits, I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

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