Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.
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...
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...
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....
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...
March 4, 2015
A Young Alum from Georgetown Weighs In
In my last post, I urged parents, who are stressed about how their kids are going to get into the most elite schools, (these are mostly affluent families) to ditch this toxic worry. If you missed the post here it is: Stop Fixating On These Colleges I had a young alum from one of those elite schools write a thoughtful...
September 22, 2014
Please Apply So We Can Reject You!
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 it’s pointless for most of them. Ambitious teenagers aiming to attend the nearly impregnable schools at the top of the rankings...
June 17, 2014
Dad: Should l Force My Son to Attend Cornell?
Some of my most popular blog posts are generated by comments from parents whose children face agonizing college decisions. I got an email today from a dad who is grappling with what to do with his son, who was accepted to Cornell University last year through deferred admission or guaranteed transfer option. Under this arrangement, Cornell requires an applicant to...
April 3, 2014
Appealing a Financial Aid or Merit Award
What happens when the financial aid or merit aid package that a student receives from a school is inadequate? Is it possible to extract more money from a college? I’ve been getting questions about this lately from parents who are disappointed by some of the awards their children have been receiving. One parent, for instance, told me that she was...
February 13, 2014
This Could Be the Wrong Question to Ask About AP Classes
The College Board released its latest annual AP report this week. You can also see the entire report here: 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation AP classes are a creature of the College Board so keep in mind that the organization will always spin the AP statistics in a positive way in its report. One of the great unresolved...
November 8, 2013
Looking For Great College Bargains
Excuse me if this sounds ridiculously elementary, but here goes: One way to cut your college costs is to look for schools with lower sticker prices. My nephew Matt attends Westminster College in Fulton Mo, a liberal arts college, where the tuition and room/board is $30,490. Ninety eight percent of the students at Westminster don’t pay full price. The average...