The College Solutions Blog

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

Applying
Featured image for “Applying early decision and early action, part II”
October 19, 2021

Applying early decision and early action, part II

In my last college blog post, I wrote about the pros and cons of applying to college early decision. Here is more to consider before you apply early decision or early action to college: 1. While students who apply early decision to a college must promise to attend the school, as a practical matter, a college can’t force an accepted...
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Featured image for “18 things to know about applying early decision to college”
October 19, 2021

18 things to know about applying early decision to college

Applying early decision to college is often a highly effective way to increase the odds of getting accepted at many schools that offer this admission option. At plenty of colleges, applying early action can also boost admission odds. Not surprisingly then, teenagers are increasingly applying early decision and early action to schools and the pandemic helped escalate this trend. Applying...
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Featured image for “Writing a great college essay”
September 7, 2021

Writing a great college essay

I’ve read many college essays over the years and the vast majority of them have been b-o-r-i-n-g. Unlike a great college essay, the bad essays have been guilty of one or more of these essay no-no’s: 1. The college essay lacked details. 2. The admission essay didn’t convey the student’s voice. 3. The essay covered too much territory. (Writing about...
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Featured image for “12 Expected Family Contribution Tips”
May 25, 2021

12 Expected Family Contribution Tips

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. The first step that you should take when grappling with this issue is to obtain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You should do this before seriously exploring your teenager’s college options. This is more confusing than you might...
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Featured image for “Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals”
April 13, 2021

Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals

As usual, the highly rejective colleges** have attracted the most media attention during this latest admission season. The Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Northwestern, USC and other highly rejective colleges outdid themselves this year by crushing the college dreams of an historic number of applicants. What gets lost in this slavish attention to the nation’s highly rejective schools is the inside...
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Featured image for “Taking the ACT and SAT Going Forward – Or Not”
February 8, 2021

Taking the ACT and SAT Going Forward – Or Not

If your child is a high school junior, it could be trickier this year to decide whether to take the SAT or ACT in 2021 (assuming greater availability) and also whether to submit scores. To help with this decision, I am running an informative post written by Bruce Reed, a cofounder of Compass Education Group, which regularly creates high quality...
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Featured image for “Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist”
December 8, 2020

Use this Valuable 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 public and private colleges and universities...
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Featured image for “Should you write about COVID-19 for your college essay?”
July 30, 2020

Should you write about COVID-19 for your college essay?

Janine Robinson, the creator of the incredibly valuable blog, Essay Hell, wrote a post on whether students should devote their college essay to COVID-19. I’m delighted that she gave me permission to share it with you. Robinson thinks students should avoid using the pandemic for their college essay. Here is what she wrote: When counseling students on finding great topics...
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Featured image for “Why college essays are more important during COVID-19”
July 29, 2020

Why college essays are more important during COVID-19

College essays should be more important during the 2021-2022 college admission season than in any other admission cycle in modern times. Why would the college essay be so critical for this admission cycle? Simple. It’s because most colleges – including the vast majority of the most elite and prestigious institutions – have gone test-optional due to the pandemic. Without standardized...
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Featured image for “Extracurricular tips for college admissions during a pandemic”
May 6, 2020

Extracurricular tips for college admissions during a pandemic

One of collateral damages from COVID-19 is the ability of teenagers to participate in extracurricular activities before applying to college. Right now, you can’t participate in a school marching band or play Shakespeare on a stage. Showing athletic prowess on a track, ball field or court ain’t happening either. You can’t debate in competitions or run a school club. While...
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