The College Solutions Blog

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

Academic quality
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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July 6, 2020

8 things you should know about final college plans during the pandemic

Colleges have been running out of time to release their final plans for the start of the fall school year. Higher-ed observers assumed that colleges would have to start revealing their final plans sometime in July. Problem was, the vast majority of schools didn’t want to go first. A Midwestern college, for instance, would be loath to announce it was...
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June 24, 2020

15 reasons to ignore U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings

Most  college-bound teenagers and their parents never look at U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings, which is actually a healthy thing. U.S. News’ college rankings, are much more likely to be a preoccupation of teenagers and parents in affluent households.  I believe the fixation with the rankings is a major reason for the tremendous stress and mental health issues...
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April 13, 2020

Researching Colleges During a Pandemic

I’ve gotten questions recently about how to research colleges during the COVID-19 pandemic when you can’t visit campuses. I talked to a mom from Seattle over the weekend, whose daughter was choosing between seven colleges that stretch from the state of Washington to New Jersey. With merit scholarships deducted, the cost of all these schools for the Seattle family were...
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April 8, 2020

Tackling common college questions during COVID-19

This is an incredibly stressful time for families who have to navigate college admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a practical matter, this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience has generated a great deal of college questions from anxious students, parents, educational consultants and high school counselors. Some answers are known. We know, for instance, that the Advanced Placement tests, with a radically...
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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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April 2, 2018

Don’t Overlook College Graduation Rates

When building a college list, it’s critical to check college graduation rates. Paying for college is hard enough without adding a fifth or six year to the tab! And yet most students do not graduate from college in four years. Many parents whom I’ve talked to over the years seem shocked by this reality.  It is understandable since schools with...
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August 14, 2017

Colleges with the Best and Worst Professors

How do you know if the colleges that interest your teenager would provide him or her with an excellent education? You won’t. College pricing is inching closer to transparency thanks to net price calculators and other tools,  but it’s difficult to form an educated opinion about the strength of a school’s learning environment. Evaluating an Institution’s Professors To get a...
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June 15, 2017

How To Tell if a College Will Go Bust

I am a huge supporter of families throwing a wider net when looking for colleges. I’m not going to lie, however, I do get push back from skeptical parents. Here is one of the questions that I hear from these folks: What if a promising college is on the verge of going belly up? Even though it’s rarely going to...
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April 24, 2017

Saying No to a Dream College

Will your child end up going to his or her dream school? The odds are that your child won’t if the college or university is a rankings alpha dog. And that’s especially true if you don’t enjoy a powerful hook such as being a celebrity or a one-percenter kid, a legacy or an athlete. The story I’m sharing today is...
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