Apply. Compete. Succeed.

Iowa Schools Shine

A sizeable number of families I work with live in Minnesota, but relatively few consider the University of Iowa and Iowa State. I think that is a mistake for students who are looking for a great regional state school with good academics and a reasonable price tag.

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Seniors Beware

It's that time of year again when unsuspecting Seniors are coming back to school and are about to get hit by a hammer - not literally, but in the sense that they will be asked to do the near-impossible in a matter of a few months. Consider that most incoming (or "rising") Seniors will enter their final year of high school having none of the following done:

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Early Decision and Early Action?

I recently encouraged a student to apply to the University of Santa Clara. I love the school. It is one of the Big Three in the San Francisco Bay Area (the two titans are, of course, UC Berkeley and Stanford). One thing that I found interesting about Santa Clara is that they offer both Early Decision and Early Action.


Early Decision at Santa Clara means that if they accept you, you say yes or no and that decision is final. If you say yes, you are at that moment a member of next year's Freshman Class. Early Action means you get an answer early, but it is not restrictive. You can still wait to see how all of your other applications did.

I've been a long-time opponent of restrictive Early Decision. It benefits exactly one party: the college or university. They fill one of their freshman slots. It makes the college’s life easier. The student, in contrast, pulls all his or her applications and never knows what other schools might have come through and more importantly, how other financial aid offers might have compared.

I love Santa Clara, but this incredible institution should take the hint from its rival across the Bay at Stanford: get rid of restrictive Early Decision and make your early acceptance scheme purely non-binding.

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Common App 2013

The trusty old Common Application, or "CommonApp" as everyone calls it, is a bit different this year in two areas that matter. Actually, the two changes won't keep anyone up at night, but they are worth noting.

First, the long essay has a longer word limit - now it is 650 words. It was 500 words last year. There is a catch: the application will prohibit students from going over 650 words. In the past, students were including attachments and in essence creating their own word limits. Say adios to that.

The other change is that the topics for the long essay have changed. In the past, the CommonApp always had an option for the student to write whatever the student wanted to. Well, our friends at CommonApp got rid of that option. This is also not a big deal - a smart student can still write about whatever he or she wants within the very broad confines of the new CommonApp questions.

In essence, it really is about the same Application as it always was, but do note these changes.

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Thoughts on Europe

I get quite a few American clients who are considering going to college in the UK or even in Australia or New Zealand. I have mixed feelings about the idea. Let me explain.

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Thinking of Law School? Why Not?

By now, the media is having a field day in bemoaning the lack of job prospects for newly-minted lawyers. Large law firms in New York are laying off associates, many firms are doing limited - if any - recruiting on law school campuses. Law school applications have also, not surprisingly, dropped off a cliff.

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Think Extension Programs

Some of the nation's top colleges also have extension programs, which were originally conceived as a way for working adults and members of the community to take open enrollment courses to develop skills or simply to further their education.
Things are different today, and that is a good thing.

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Interest Rates Soar – The Consequences?

The nation has turned apoplectic about the increase in student loan rates that took effect on July 1 due to Congress, once again, not doing their job in actually legislating and doing the country's business. Is it any wonder why American rank this Congress lower than any public or private organization in the nation's history?

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