The College Solutions Blog

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

Colleges
Featured image for “Thinking Outside the College Box”
June 29, 2015

Thinking Outside the College Box

How do you generate ideas for a college list that doesn’t look like everybody else’s? Students typically end up looking at a fairly narrow lineup of schools, which is not always a smart strategy if you want to find good academic fits, as well as colleges that will be more affordable. Today I want to share the following three helpful...
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Featured image for “A State University Arms Race”
June 22, 2015

A State University Arms Race

Many students who aren’t interested in attending a public university in their own state tend to look at state institutions elsewhere. Choosing public universities outside your border can sometimes be a relative  bargain. In other cases, the price you pay as a nonresident will be exorbitant and comparable to private universities that are stingy with financial aid and/or merit awards....
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Featured image for “Ben Graduates Again”
June 8, 2015

Ben Graduates Again

Over the weekend, my son graduated from college again. A year ago, Ben left Beloit College with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in studio art. On Friday, my 22-year-old son received his master’s degree in education from the University of Denver. Denver Teacher Residency After graduating from Beloit, Ben was only home in San Diego for 10...
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Featured image for “Some Surprising College Super Stars”
June 1, 2015

Some Surprising College Super Stars

Can you guess what the following schools have in common: More Than a Mish Mash Admittedly, this list looks like a mishmash of institutions that includes some of the nation’s prestigious research universities along with specialty engineering schools, liberal arts colleges and master’s level universities. These colleges and universities emerged as super stars in a new value-added college ranking system...
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Featured image for “Colleges vs. Universities: Which Are Bargains?”
May 26, 2015

Colleges vs. Universities: Which Are Bargains?

Here’s a little known but excellent way to cut the cost of a bachelor’s degree: Attend a college rather than a research university. Nearly all colleges provide discounts off their sticker prices versus research universities, which are far less likely to give families a price break. In the chart below that I pulled from the latest tuition discount study from...
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Featured image for “Building a College List:  A Free Resource”
May 21, 2015

Building a College List: A Free Resource

Creating a college list can be intimidating. And it’s no wonder since there is a lot riding on drawing up a solid list of promising colleges and universities. Getting it wrong can lead to students being miserable at their schools. It also is a reason why so many unhappy undergrads end up transferring to different institutions. In extreme cases, creating...
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Featured image for “Would You Pay $47,000 for the University of Oregon?”
April 20, 2015

Would You Pay $47,000 for the University of Oregon?

Last week at the exercise boot camp that I attend on Sunday mornings, I saw a mom who hadn’t been coming to the workouts for several months. The mom is divorced and is trying to support herself as a manicurist. Her son is a high school senior so I had been giving her some college advice before she stopped showing...
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Featured image for “How Many AP Classes Do Elite Colleges Require?”
April 7, 2015

How Many AP Classes Do Elite Colleges Require?

If your child is aiming for the most elite schools – the Ivies, MIT, Stanford and a few others at the very top of the rankings heap – you might be wondering how many Advanced Placement courses he or she must take. The short answer is “a lot.” But how many are necessary, depends greatly on how many AP classes...
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Featured image for “Research Universities:  A Dirty Little Secret”
March 27, 2015

Research Universities: A Dirty Little Secret

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 “New York Times Columnist Weighs in on Ivy League Mania”
March 19, 2015

New York Times Columnist Weighs in on Ivy League Mania

Are you freaking out about your teenager getting into an elite college or universities? If you are, you need to read the following guest column by Frank Bruni, a New York Times Op-Ed columnist, who has created a powerful antidote for the Ivy League jitters. In his excellent book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to...
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