The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Featured image for “18 things to know about applying early decision to college”
October 19, 2021

18 things to know about applying early decision to college

Applying early decision to college is often a highly effective way to increase the odds of getting accepted at many schools that offer this admission option. At plenty of colleges, applying early action can also boost admission odds. Not surprisingly then, teenagers are increasingly applying early decision and early action to schools and the pandemic helped escalate this trend. Applying...
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September 7, 2021

Writing a great college essay

I’ve read many college essays over the years and the vast majority of them have been b-o-r-i-n-g. Unlike a great college essay, the bad essays have been guilty of one or more of these essay no-no’s: 1. The college essay lacked details. 2. The admission essay didn’t convey the student’s voice. 3. The essay covered too much territory. (Writing about...
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Featured image for “How colleges assess home equity for financial aid”
June 30, 2021

How colleges assess home equity for financial aid

Plenty of parents worry that their home equity might hurt their child’s chances for financial aid. Luckily, at most state and private colleges and universities, the equity in your primary home is a non-issue. That’s because most schools only require families to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when applying for financial aid, which doesn’t even ask...
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May 25, 2021

12 Expected Family Contribution Tips

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. The first step that you should take when grappling with this issue is to obtain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You should do this before seriously exploring your teenager’s college options. This is more confusing than you might...
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Featured image for “Finding colleges offering big scholarships”
April 21, 2021

Finding colleges offering big scholarships

It’s late in the college admission season, but schools are still giving out college scholarships to those who know where to look. The pandemic caused many colleges to provide better scholarships than they would have liked. And actually, some schools, long before the pandemic hit, were giving out large merit scholarships. I wrote about one aspect of this phenomenon earlier...
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Featured image for “Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals”
April 13, 2021

Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals

As usual, the highly rejective colleges** have attracted the most media attention during this latest admission season. The Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Northwestern, USC and other highly rejective colleges outdid themselves this year by crushing the college dreams of an historic number of applicants. What gets lost in this slavish attention to the nation’s highly rejective schools is the inside...
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Featured image for “Taking advantage of today’s college admission landscape”
March 10, 2021

Taking advantage of today’s college admission landscape

Earlier this month, I discussed the current college admission landscape with Mark Salisbury, the creator of TuitionFit, a nonprofit that’s been compared to the Kelly Blue Book of college pricing. We shared our thoughts about what happened to college admission landscape last year and also shared our predictions about what will happen to college admissions in 2021. If you are...
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February 8, 2021

Taking the ACT and SAT Going Forward – Or Not

If your child is a high school junior, it could be trickier this year to decide whether to take the SAT or ACT in 2021 (assuming greater availability) and also whether to submit scores. To help with this decision, I am running an informative post written by Bruce Reed, a cofounder of Compass Education Group, which regularly creates high quality...
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Featured image for “New FAFSA Changes – Winners and Losers”
January 19, 2021

New FAFSA Changes – Winners and Losers

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be undergoing significant changes soon and families, who hope to obtain financial aid, need to prepare for the FAFSA changes. Tucked into federal pandemic relief legislation that Congress passed during the Christmas holidays, was a dramatic overhaul to the FAFSA and financial aid rules. Last week, I talked to Mark Kantrowitz, a...
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Featured image for “Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist”
December 8, 2020

Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist

Using  a college admission checklist is critical when your child is applying to colleges and universities. Allowing  a teenager to apply to any colleges without a solid game plan can be a financial and academic disaster. In fact, ignoring advance planning is one reason why ONE OUT OF THREE students who start at four-year public and private colleges and universities...
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