The College Solutions Blog

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

University of Virginia
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April 6, 2019

Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents

The college admission season is winding down at this time of year except for this part: Parents are stressing about how they’re going to pay for the college that their children want to attend. Spring is when I hear from parents who are being guilted by their children to spend dangerously more than they should for a brand name research...
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November 25, 2014

The Dangerous Allure of Party Schools

I watched CNN’s new documentary, Ivory Tower, last week, which has prompted me to write a depressing post for Thanksgiving week. The documentary, which filmmaker Andrew Rossi created, highlights some of the key problems that makes it extremely difficult for many college students to obtain a good education and just as importantly, to pay for it. The documentary focuses on...
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May 13, 2014

A New Tool to Measure College Costs

Today I’m sharing with you a new online tool that you can easily use to generate quick cost estimates and comparisons at individual colleges. All you need is to start playing with the universal net price calculator that you’ll find on the website of the Cost of Learning.  This new website aims to make it easy for families to retrieve...
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September 9, 2013

Measuring College Grad Salaries

With out-of-control college costs a reality, it’s not surprising that parents and their children are especially interested in colleges that are springboards to good-paying jobs. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know what the schools are. Meaningless Grad Salary Data As I’ve mentioned before, the job statistics that colleges and universities share with prospective students are laughably misleading. Low percentages of graduates...
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July 18, 2013

Where Should This Teen Attend College? Part II

I was delighted with all the insightful comments that parents sent me this week after they read my last blog post entitled: Where Should This Teen Attend College? I’d urge you to read the post about a high-achieving, future valedictorian from North Carolina, who wants to attend the University of Virginia and has other elite public and private schools on...
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September 1, 2010

Researching Colleges With the Common Data Set

At the beginning of yet another college admission season, I want to share one of my favorite tools that can help anyone research colleges and universities.  The tool is called the Common Data Set. College and universities all over the country produce their own Common Data Set every year. The Common Data Set is a document about 32 pages long...
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May 16, 2010

College Wait Lists Run Amuck

Has it become a status symbol to end up on a college wait list? During a fundraiser at my son’s high school last night, a mother shared with me that Duke University had waitlisted her son. She appeared to be bragging when she shared this news. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Duke had also placed 3,382...
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January 17, 2010

What's Wrong with Princeton Review's Best Value College Rankings

Beware of  The Princeton Review’s latest college rankings of the 100 Best Value Colleges for 2010. Here’s why I’m not a fan of Princeton Review’s generous college rankings: Some parents who use this list on their college search could up spending more than $200,000 for a college degree. Some deal, huh? Kiplinger’s best value college rankings doesn’t make clear who...
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November 2, 2009

Why State Flagship Universities Are Rejecting More Students

Will some of the nation’s top flagship universities turn private? This question isn’t as wacky as it sounds. Some flagships, including the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, have explored the idea of becoming private universities. Sure it would be shocking if state universities ditched their public mandates to serve as educational beacons for their own residents, both...
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