The College Solutions Blog

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

Admission practices
Featured image for “Don’t Let Colleges Snooker You”
October 7, 2014

Don’t Let Colleges Snooker You

For many students the biggest source of money will be from the colleges themselves. That’s why it’s important for you to understand what would motivate any school to give your child one of its awards. Schools don’t dispense grants and scholarships to be nice. They give awards because they expect to get something valuable from a student in return. To...
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September 29, 2014

Looking for College Bargains

College sticker prices are often meaningless because most students at state and private universities don’t pay it. Published prices, however, can be a helpful starting point when exploring what kind of price break, in the form of scholarship and grants, your child might get at a particular institution. Here’s an example: Your teenager receives a $15,000 annual merit award at...
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September 22, 2014

Please Apply So We Can Reject You!

High-achieving students who apply every year to the Ivies and other elites schools have heard the grim statistics about how ridiculously hard it is to get into these schools. That reality, however, doesn’t deter students from applying even though it’s pointless for most of them. Ambitious teenagers aiming to attend the nearly impregnable schools at the top of the rankings...
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July 11, 2014

Top 3 Keys to an Impressive Application

Today I’m running a guest blog post by Jessica Yeager, a grad of Harvard and MIT, who is a tutor and college consultant for high-achieving students and their parents. You can get her four-step workbook: Base Brainstorming Workbook  for free. The college application is one of the most stressful, scary, and overwhelming experiences for most teenagers and their parents. How can...
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June 17, 2014

Dad: Should l Force My Son to Attend Cornell?

Some of my most popular blog posts are generated by comments from parents whose children face agonizing college decisions. I got an email today from a dad who is grappling with what to do with his son, who was accepted to Cornell University last year through deferred admission or guaranteed transfer option.  Under this arrangement, Cornell requires an applicant to...
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June 3, 2014

Advice for the B Student

If your child is a “B” student, he or she may have more options than you might assume. Don’t believe me? Here is a story of a young woman – I’ll call her Katie – whose mom is a friend of mine. Katie attended a private high school in California where she earned a 3.0 GPA. She applied to these...
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Featured image for “Plan B for Future Art and Music Majors”
May 19, 2014

Plan B for Future Art and Music Majors

Today I’m sharing a guest post that explains some excellent, but overlooked options for students who are interested in attending a music conservatory or an art and design school, which are often extremely expensive options with poor financial aid. The author is Stuart Nachbar, who is president of, a college admissions blog and guide to some of the best...
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March 11, 2014

Why You Should Avoid a Wait List

This is the time of year when students begin getting offered spots on waiting lists. I wanted to share a previous post I wrote about waiting lists that is just as relevant today. I  have updated the wait list statistics for the University of Notre Dame. Lynn O’Shaughnessy This weekend I heard from old friends who wanted to share with...
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February 18, 2014

Good News for Poor Test Takers

Research that’s being described as a landmark study was released today that shows that high school students with strong grades and lower standardized ACT and SAT scores do as well in college as those who perform better on the standardized tests. The ambitious study, which was conducted on behalf of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, compared the academic...
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Featured image for “Asking For Better Merit Aid Scholarships”
February 11, 2014

Asking For Better Merit Aid Scholarships

Today I am sharing a guest post by Bradford Pine, a financial advisor in Garden City, NY, who wrote about his experience with his daughter, who has been receiving acceptances and merit aid scholarships from schools. He explains how he lassoed a $14,000-a-year scholarship just by asking. Lynn O’Shaughnessy Here is the link to his entire blog post: My Personal...
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