The College Solutions Blog

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

Featured image for “12 Expected Family Contribution Tips”
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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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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Featured image for “Researching whether a college will close”
October 12, 2020

Researching whether a college will close

For most colleges and universities, competing for high school seniors has been a cutthroat Hunger Games exercise for many years. Before the pandemic hit, the majority of colleges were failing to meet their freshmen admission goals every year. At the start of the pandemic, some respected higher-ed observers predicted that many colleges would close by the summer, but that hasn’t...
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Featured image for “How to take advantage of college admission changes during COVID-19”
September 7, 2020

How to take advantage of college admission changes during COVID-19

No matter when COVID-19 finally disappears, the college admission practices that changed due to the pandemic, will not completely disappear. In a recent webinar, I discussed how the pandemic has impacted college admissions in significant ways and how families can take advantage of these changes going forward. COVID-19 and College Admissions Here are some COVID-19 developments that you should know...
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Featured image for “Should you write about COVID-19 for your college essay?”
July 30, 2020

Should you write about COVID-19 for your college essay?

Janine Robinson, the creator of the incredibly valuable blog, Essay Hell, wrote a post on whether students should devote their college essay to COVID-19. I’m delighted that she gave me permission to share it with you. Robinson thinks students should avoid using the pandemic for their college essay. Here is what she wrote: When counseling students on finding great topics...
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