The College Solutions Blog

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

Academics
Featured image for “3 Great College Search Tools”
March 21, 2016

3 Great College Search Tools

Most families don’t look far when searching for colleges. The vast majority of students, who go to four-year schools, attend public universities within their own state. And most find schools within 100 miles of their homes. Only 14% or so of students attend institutions more than 500 miles away. Nearby state schools can represent the best option, but that won’t...
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Featured image for “What Is a Research University, Part II”
December 1, 2015

What Is a Research University, Part II

Most students who hope to earn a bachelor’s degree will enroll at a university. The schools that students dream of attending are almost always research universities. It’s far less common for teenagers to end up at a college. I find that reality unfortunate because a college can often provide a better education for undergraduates than a research university. And it’s...
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Featured image for “What Is a Research University? Part I”
November 23, 2015

What Is a Research University? Part I

The No. 1 way to cut the cost of college is to become an educated consumer. You can learn how by attending my popular online course, The College Cost Lab. I’ll be relaunching the course in June 2016 and if you’d like to be notified when I have more details, please click here! If you are hoping that your children...
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Featured image for “Thinking Outside the College Box”
June 29, 2015

Thinking Outside the College Box

How do you generate ideas for a college list that doesn’t look like everybody else’s? Students typically end up looking at a fairly narrow lineup of schools, which is not always a smart strategy if you want to find good academic fits, as well as colleges that will be more affordable. Today I want to share the following three helpful...
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June 8, 2015

Ben Graduates Again

Over the weekend, my son graduated from college again. A year ago, Ben left Beloit College with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in studio art. On Friday, my 22-year-old son received his master’s degree in education from the University of Denver. Denver Teacher Residency After graduating from Beloit, Ben was only home in San Diego for 10...
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Featured image for “Colleges vs. Universities: Which Are Bargains?”
May 26, 2015

Colleges vs. Universities: Which Are Bargains?

Here’s a little known but excellent way to cut the cost of a bachelor’s degree: Attend a college rather than a research university. Nearly all colleges provide discounts off their sticker prices versus research universities, which are far less likely to give families a price break. In the chart below that I pulled from the latest tuition discount study from...
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Featured image for “Research Universities:  A Dirty Little Secret”
March 27, 2015

Research Universities: A Dirty Little Secret

Most students who hope to earn a bachelor’s degree will enroll at a university. The schools that students dream of attending are almost always research universities. It’s far less common for teenagers to end up at a college. I find that reality unfortunate because a college can often provide a better education for undergraduates than a research university. And it’s...
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Featured image for “A Young Alum from Georgetown Weighs In”
March 4, 2015

A Young Alum from Georgetown Weighs In

In my last post, I urged parents, who are stressed about how their kids are going to get into the most elite schools, (these are mostly affluent families) to ditch this toxic worry. If you missed the post here it is: Stop Fixating On These Colleges I had a young alum from one of those elite schools write a thoughtful...
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Featured image for “Why Affluent Teens Are Miserable”
December 2, 2014

Why Affluent Teens Are Miserable

In my experience, high quality, independent test-prep firms produce some of the best college newsletters. One newsletter that I always make sure I read comes from Compass Education Group, which offers test prep in Northern and Southern California.  Today I am sharing a thought-provoking post that Matt Steiner, who is Compass Education’s marketing director, originally wrote for the test-prep firm’s...
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Featured image for “Where to Find the Best College Professors”
July 14, 2014

Where to Find the Best College Professors

How do you know if the college or university that your child ultimately attends will provide him or her with an excellent education? You won’t. College pricing is inching closer to transparency thanks to net price calculators, but it’s largely impossible to form an educated opinion about the strength of a school’s learning environment beyond checking  an institution’s graduation rates....
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