The College Solutions Blog

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

Featured image for “Need Aware vs. Need Blind Colleges”
September 19, 2013

Need Aware vs. Need Blind Colleges

My last post focused on whether families should indicate on a college application whether they will seek financial aid. Here’s my position: if you need financial aid to attend college, you should apply for aid. In case you missed it, here is the post: Should You Apply for Financial Aid? My post prompted a mom to make this observation: Good...
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September 17, 2013

Should You Apply for Financial Aid?

Should I Apply for Financial Aid? Here’s a variation of a question that I always get during admission season: Someone told me yesterday that it’s better to answer “No” to the “Do you intend to apply for need based financial aid” question on the Common Application. My son has already submitted his applications and he answered “yes” to that question...
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September 6, 2013

Beware of the College Red Carpet

I received an email yesterday from a friend of mine whose son is a brilliant high school senior. She wanted to know what they should think about invitations her son has received to apply to colleges through VIP or priority applications. Here is her question: My son has received approximately 10+ email/print invitations from schools to complete their priority applications....
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September 3, 2013

Stumped by a College Admission Question

I received an email over the Labor Day weekend from a father named Mike, whose daughter is unsure about how to handle a typical questions on her college applications. Here is the common question: Why do you want to attend this college? After visiting 10 schools this summer the schools are beginning to blur to her.  At a few she...
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July 1, 2013

Having Second Thoughts About the University of Pittsburgh

I received this email over the weekend from an anxious father that I wanted to share with you. The dad is having second thoughts about the school that he pressured his daughter to attend. He is already contemplating his daughter transferring next year to a different school. I think his story could generate some interesting discussions about rankings, price, graduate...
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March 15, 2013

Is This University Stingy?

If you require need-based financial, you should hunt for schools that are generous with their aid packages. This is the advice that I shared in my last college blog post: Where Is the Financial Aid Cash? If you didn’t read it, I’d suggest that you do before continuing on with this post. If money is an issue, students should be...
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March 1, 2013

Save Money By Reading This Book

I’ve got to confess that it’s rare that I find a book about college strategies that I like. Today I wanted to share with you a book that I actually believe is helpful. The name of the book is Right College, Right Price: A New System for Discovering the Best College Fit at the Best Price.  Frank Palmasani, who is...
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February 18, 2013

Is There a Perfect Date to Take the ACT or SAT?

A couple of years ago I listened in on a webinar about SAT strategies that really impressed me. The guest speaker was Jeb Applerouth, who runs an eponymous test-prep firm that’s headquartered in Atlanta. Since the webinar, I occasionally visit Applerouth’s blog to see what he’s been writing about standardized testing. Jeb gave me permission to share the following blog...
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February 8, 2013

The Newest Change for the Common Application

Earlier this week the Common Application organization released its new college essay prompts. For months plenty of people (myself included) worried that the advisory board of 15 counselors in charge of revising the prompts were going to recommend killing off Option 6, which encourages applicants to write creatively. Sure enough, Option 6 that allows applicants to write on the topic...
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February 1, 2013

The Nation’s Tuition Hogs

Colleges are beginning to realize that high tuition/high discount (scholarship) model is failing. Escalating tuition is leaving more students unable to cover college costs even as colleges continue to offer scholarships to offset costs. In my last post, I mentioned the latest drive by private colleges to rein in merit money, but, as one of the visitors to my blog...
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