The College Solutions Blog

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

Colleges
Featured image for “Should You Pay More Than $66,000 for Northeastern University?”
March 28, 2017

Should You Pay More Than $66,000 for Northeastern University?

This is the time of year when parents and teenagers stress about their college choices. Parents whose children have expensive collegiate tastes can struggle with the some variation of the following question: Should they spend obscene amounts of money so their children can attend their dream school or should they insist that their children stick with more reasonably priced alternatives?...
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Featured image for “Paying Attention to College Prices”
January 11, 2017

Paying Attention to College Prices

College price tags are meaningless. Most students do not pay full tuition price for college. That said, paying attention to college prices can be extremely helpful in making college more affordable. Here’s a simple example: Getting a $20,000-a-year merit scholarship from a school that has a published price of $48,000 will obviously make a college much more affordable than receiving...
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Featured image for “Professor Ratings: Some Surprising Results”
June 14, 2016

Professor Ratings: Some Surprising Results

How do you know if the colleges or universities that your child is looking at 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...
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Featured image for “How To Measure College Grad Salaries”
April 18, 2016

How To Measure College Grad Salaries

When searching for schools, parents are increasingly asking admission reps this question: Will my child earn a good salary after graduating from your college? College and university admission staffs will enthusiastically answer yes (!!!) to that question, but proof is almost always flimsy at best. Schools typically brag about high job placement statistics for their graduates because they rely on job surveys of...
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Featured image for “Stunned at College Rejections”
March 28, 2016

Stunned at College Rejections

I’ve been getting emails from parents, who are bitter that their bright teenagers have been getting rejection letters from elite colleges and universities. What follows are two email excerpts. From a dad named Jeff: My son is his high school’s valedictorian. He scored 35 on the ACT and had straight A’s all four years at an academically competitive school. He...
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Featured image for “3 Great College Search Tools”
March 21, 2016

3 Great College Search Tools

Most families don’t look far when searching for colleges. The vast majority of students, who go to four-year schools, attend public universities within their own state. And most find schools within 100 miles of their homes. Only 14% or so of students attend institutions more than 500 miles away. Nearby state schools can represent the best option, but that won’t...
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Featured image for “Happy New Year”
December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year’s to you! I hope you had a lovely holiday. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to spend this time with our daughter Caitlin and our son Ben over the break. The photo you see is of our family earlier this week at the lighthouse at the Point Reyes National Seashore, which is the windiest...
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Featured image for “What Is a Research University, Part II”
December 1, 2015

What Is a Research University, Part II

Most students who hope to earn a bachelor’s degree will enroll at a university. The schools that students dream of attending are almost always research universities. It’s far less common for teenagers to end up at a college. I find that reality unfortunate because a college can often provide a better education for undergraduates than a research university. And it’s...
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Featured image for “Why the Odds Are Terrible”
November 7, 2015

Why the Odds Are Terrible

Note: I wrote this post last year, but it’s just as relevant today. Lynn O’Shaughnessy 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 the chances for most smart students...
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Featured image for “The Benefits of a Less Selective College”
August 3, 2015

The Benefits of a Less Selective College

It’s only natural that many talented students aim for the most selective school that they can gain into. It’s not always a smart idea, however, for applicants to attend the most selective college or university that admits them. Today I am sharing the observations on this topic from Scott White, the head guidance counselor at Morris High School in New...
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