The College Solutions Blog

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

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April 13, 2021

Looking beyond highly rejective colleges to get better deals

As usual, the highly rejective colleges** have attracted the most media attention during this latest admission season. The Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Northwestern, USC and other highly rejective colleges outdid themselves this year by crushing the college dreams of an historic number of applicants. What gets lost in this slavish attention to the nation’s highly rejective schools is the inside...
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July 14, 2014

Where to Find the Best College Professors

How do you know if the college or university that your child ultimately attends will provide him or her with an excellent education? You won’t. College pricing is inching closer to transparency thanks to net price calculators, but it’s largely impossible to form an educated opinion about the strength of a school’s learning environment beyond checking  an institution’s graduation rates....
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July 16, 2013

Where Should This Teen Attend College?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from parents this month and I’ll share some of them with you in posts this summer. I’m starting with an email from a mom from North Carolina whose son has his heart set on the sort of schools that top students tend to dream about. If you have some suggestions for this teenager,...
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May 25, 2012

College Choices for Affluent Families

A mom emailed me earlier this week and I’ve somehow managed to stretch out the topic of her concern to three posts. If you’re curious, here are the previous ones: Who Is Stressed Out About College? Do You Really Expect Me To Pay That Much for College? Today I’m going to address her chief question: What do you do if...
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May 24, 2012

Who Is Stressed Out About College?

In my last post I shared an email from a mom whose is concerned that her family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid at schools on her son’s list. If you missed the post, here it is: Do You Really Expect Me to Pay That Much for College? I had intended to write a followup post that...
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January 9, 2012

Getting Bad News From Johns Hopkins

I have been writing college blog posts recently about teenagers who have arguably been applying to the wrong colleges. (Scroll to the bottom to see my three previous posts.) All my posts have involved families who required financial aid, but today I’m sharing the plight of a father who is too wealthy to receive need-based help. Anxious Dad’s Email Here...
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December 28, 2011

Applying to the Wrong Universities

Last night an old high school friend of my daughter’s came over for dinner. We hadn’t seen her in awhile because she now lives in Northern California so it was great catching up with her. We were almost ready for dessert when Christina mentioned that her sister was applying to colleges. I hadn’t realized that her sister, I’ll call her...
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September 2, 2010

Common Data Set 101

The Common Data Set can be a great tool for researching colleges and universities. You can learn what a Common Data Set is by reading the post that I wrote yesterday: Researching Colleges With the Common Data Set Today I’m going to explore how you can use the Common Data Set to gain insights into what admission officers are looking...
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December 11, 2008

Studying at MIT for Free

I spent a few minutes with my teenage son last night watching a mad professor flailing a student with cat fur. Actually, the MIT physics professor wasn’t mad, but he was entertaining. Walter H. G. Lewin was giving a demonstration on electrical charges in a class exploring electricity and magnetism. After getting pelted by the swatch of cat fur, the...
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August 28, 2008

Taking MIT Classes For FREE

This week we got my son’s scores from the standardized test that public school students take each spring in California, My husband, son and I were discouraged by his chemistry score. Since Ben thinks he wants to be an engineer, he’s particularly not happy. His experiential chemistry class last year offered lots of fun moments. The 10th graders created their...
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