The College Solutions Blog

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

Common Application
Featured image for “Uh Oh! Messing With the Common Application Essay”
December 19, 2012

Uh Oh! Messing With the Common Application Essay

Many of you probably aren’t aware of the changes that are in store next year for the main essay in the Common Application. The news isn’t good.  After conferring for 1 1/2 years, a committee of counselors decided to strike a blow against teenage creativity. If you’ve seen the Common Application, you can appreciate that there isn’t a lot of...
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Featured image for “Why Failing to File for Financial Aid Can Be a Mistake”
November 12, 2012

Why Failing to File for Financial Aid Can Be a Mistake

Here’s a variation of a question that I always get at this time of year: Someone told me yesterday that it’s better to answer “No” to the “Do you intend to apply for need based financial aid” question on the Common Application.  My son has already submitted his applications and he answered “yes” to that question as we are not...
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July 9, 2012

6 College Essay Topics

If you (or your child) is a rising senior, now is a good time to get started on the dreaded college essay. If you’re  applying to a Common Application school – and there are now nearly 500 colleges and universities that use this form – you will have six college essay choices. If it’s any consolation, schools don’t want a...
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December 21, 2011

The Hazards of Being a Stealth Applicant

If you plan to apply to college as a stealth applicant listen up. Stealth applicants are teenagers who never contact a college before sending in their application. Stealth college applications used to be rare.  Most teenagers contacted colleges through traditional means such as requesting materials, talking to admission counselors at college fairs and visiting schools. Today, however, teenagers can learn...
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November 30, 2011

11 Things To Know About the Common Application

We’re in the thick of college application season, which is why I’ve been getting questions lately about the Common Application. Today I’m providing you with answers to some of the most frequent questions. There are 456 colleges that use the Common Application, which is intended to make applying to colleges easier. With the Common App, you fill in information about...
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August 2, 2011

5 Things High School Seniors Should Be Doing Now

If you are a rising high school senior, you probably thought you had all summer to get prepared for the upcoming college admission frenzy. But guess what? You’re running out of time. To avoid the time crunch in the fall, here are five things you can do now: 1. Examine school prices. I think it’s reckless to apply to a...
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August 5, 2010

Why It's Harder Getting Into Harvard

It’s not your imagination. It’s become even harder to get into Harvard, the rest of the Ivy League gang and the other super elite schools. In the college blog post that I wrote for today, I explain 5 reasons why it’s become even more challenging trying to storm the gates of Harvard and other schools of that ilk. Here...
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July 16, 2009

Write That College Essay Now!

A strange thing happened to me last night. I had started a post about dealing this summer with one of the real pains of the college application process – the college essay. But then I got distracted and walked out of my office. I wandered out to the patio to talk to my son’s girlfriend about what she was doing...
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