The College Solutions Blog

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

Applying
Featured image for “Why You Should Worry About the New SAT Test”
January 29, 2015

Why You Should Worry About the New SAT Test

Parents and teenagers are already dreading the new, radically different SAT test that will debut in March 2016. If your child plans to take this test, you absolutely need to read the post below. Jed Applerouth, PhD, the founder of Applerouth Tutoring Services, shared his detailed thoughts about the revamped test with his own families and he gave me permission...
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Featured image for “Do Need-Blind Colleges Really Exist?”
December 16, 2014

Do Need-Blind Colleges Really Exist?

Today I am sharing a guest blog post that Jon Boeckenstedt, an associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University in Chicago wrote on his blog (Jon Boeckenstedt’s Admissions Weblog).  It’s rare that admission administrators speak candidly about controversial aspects of the admission process, but refreshingly Jon doesn’t hold back. People pan eriodically ask me to identify...
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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 “How To Write a Great College Essay”
November 17, 2014

How To Write a Great College Essay

Today I am excited to share an online conversation that I recorded with Janine Robinson, a journalist, a consultant and the creator of EssayHell, which is a wonderful website for students who want to learn how to write a great college essay. I invite you to watch the YouTube video during which Janine and I discuss tips on creating winning...
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Featured image for “Do College Admission Reps Know Much?”
October 20, 2014

Do College Admission Reps Know Much?

Is your university need blind? I once saw a couple of  enthusiastic young admission reps from a pair of Catholic universities back East try to answer that question at a college conference. The reps were specifically asked whether their schools might reject some applicants if they required a lot of financial assistance. Both admission reps vigorously assured the counselor who asked...
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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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Featured image for “Applying to College Early Decision”
September 2, 2014

Applying to College Early Decision

This is the time of year when high school seniors aiming for prestigious colleges and universities contemplate applying Early Decision. When students apply early decision, they promise that they will attend if the institution accepts them. Students must make this commitment before they know what kind of financial aid or merit awards the school might provide. Because students are supposed...
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Featured image for “My Favorite College Essay Tip”
August 18, 2014

My Favorite College Essay Tip

I’ve looked at plenty of college essays over the years and the vast majority of them have been b-o-r-i-n-g. The essays that I’ve seen have usually been guilty of one or more of these no-no’s: 1. They lacked details. 2. They didn’t convey the student’s voice. 3. They covered too much territory. (Writing about something that lasted seconds, minutes or...
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Featured image for “An Inside Scoop on Athletic Recruiting”
August 13, 2014

An Inside Scoop on Athletic Recruiting

To learn more about the recruiting process, I talked with Avi Stopper, a former college athlete and a co-founder of CaptainU, which could be called an athletic LinkedIn that helps student athletes to connect with athletic coaches. Stopper, who is a former men’s soccer coach at the University of Chicago, launched CaptainU when he was in the school’s MBA program....
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Featured image for “Who Is Benefiting From Test-Optional Admissions?”
July 27, 2014

Who Is Benefiting From Test-Optional Admissions?

Students who perform poorly on the SAT or the ACT enjoy the option of applying to test-optional colleges and universities. At schools that have embraced this policy, teenagers can typically apply to schools without having to submit their test scores, which can boost a teenager’s chances of getting into more prestigious schools. This might sound great for students who struggle...
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