The College Solutions Blog

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

Admission practices
Featured image for “College Decision Day is an Illusion”
May 2, 2019

College Decision Day is an Illusion

At many colleges, May 1, officially known as College Decision Day or College Signing Day, is an illusion. The majority of colleges are failing to fill their freshmen class by May 1, which is supposed to be the drop-dead date for high school seniors to plunk down their deposit for the college they will attend in the fall. Because many...
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Featured image for “Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents”
April 6, 2019

Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents

The college admission season is winding down at this time of year except for this part: Parents are stressing about how they’re going to pay for the college that their children want to attend. Spring is when I hear from parents who are being guilted by their children to spend dangerously more than they should for a brand name research...
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Featured image for “College Admission Scandal: Symptom of a Larger Problem”
March 15, 2019

College Admission Scandal: Symptom of a Larger Problem

The college admission scandal that saturated the press this week made me think of a disturbing anecdote, which I heard last month, that blew my mind. I want to emphasize that shocking me is tough to do since covering the higher-ed industry – and it is very much an industry – has made me quite cynical and disgusted about how...
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Featured image for “5  Extracurricular Tips to Boost College Admissions”
August 22, 2018

5 Extracurricular Tips to Boost College Admissions

Teenagers can boost their college admission chances by being smart about the extracurricular activities that they pursue in high school. Unfortunately,  a lot of misinformation exists about extracurriculars which prevents students from making the most of their activities outside the classroom. For instance, many parents believe that their children need to be well-rounded to increase their admission chances. That is,...
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July 10, 2018

Early Decision Applications: What You Need to Know

High school seniors, who are aiming for prestigious colleges and universities, will soon have to decide if they will apply early decision. When students apply early decision, they promise that they will attend if the institution accepts them. A student accepted via early decision must withdraw all other college applications. Early Decision Gamble Students must make this ED commitment before...
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Featured image for “15 Things to Know About U.S. News’ College Rankings”
May 8, 2018

15 Things to Know About U.S. News’ College Rankings

While U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings are wildly popular, few families know much about how they are created. Before you place too much faith in U.S. News’ college rankings, here are 15 things that you should know about them. 1. U.S. News relies on rankings to stay alive. U.S. News’ college rankings wields tremendous power even though the...
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Featured image for “Getting Rejected From Elite Universities”
March 5, 2018

Getting Rejected From Elite Universities

This is the time of year when elite universities, which have kept applicants in suspense for months, notify teenagers of their admission decisions. Most of these applicants are going to be terribly disappointed, but I want to EMPHASIZE that the majority of teenagers get into their first choice school. (They can’t always afford to go their favorites, but they get...
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Featured image for “What’s Critical in a College Admission Checklist”
November 27, 2017

What’s Critical in a 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 universities end up transferring somewhere else....
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Featured image for “The Best High School Extracurriculars”
November 14, 2017

The Best High School Extracurriculars

I had a mom in my course, The College Cost Lab, ask me a question this week about high school extracurricular activities that I wanted to share with you. Here was the mother’s question on extracurriculars: I was wondering what your opinion is on what my daughter should focus on doing the summer before senior year. I have heard some...
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Featured image for “How to Increase Your Admission Chances by 40%”
July 31, 2017

How to Increase Your Admission Chances by 40%

Should you visit a college before you apply? According to a new study, for some students there is a powerful benefit to visiting highly selective schools. According to the researchers, teenagers, who apply to highly selective colleges and visit the campuses, are up to 40% more likely to be admitted than comparable students. The study suggests that the applicants who...
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