Posts Tagged ‘college acceptances’

Who Cares about College Rankings?

November 8, 2018

Quite frankly, I am sick of college rankings. If it isn’t U.S. News, it’s Forbes, Money or endless other publications ranking what they consider the best colleges and universities.  The college rankings can tell us anything from the most connected schools to the best value universities. These college rankings measure different attributes that may or may not be important to a family when they are considering schools for their child. Often they are more confusing than helpful.

Many college rankings are oversimplified and downright unfair. They can be the result of professors, students, or even the universities themselves answering questionnaires that have been sent to them by a magazine or newspaper.  Many times college administrators are asked to evaluate colleges with which they have no knowledge, not just their own school.

Rankings often lead to misleading conclusions. Some colleges will spend money to improve something that will help their ranking, but may not benefit the students at all. Many use college rankings in their marketing materials.  These rankings often ignore factors that are of concern to prospective students.  Too frequently, they contain the same schools over and over.

As a private college counselor, I pay very little attention to these rankings because I want my students to consider colleges that are right for them. The highest ranked schools may not be the best fit or a college where they will have a successful academic and social experience. That to me is what is far more important than any ranking.


What Are My Chances on the Wait-List?

April 9, 2017

I have been amazed at the number of high school seniors who have been wait-listed from colleges and universities and get their hopes up that they will eventually get in. Sometimes wait-lists have more than 3,000 students on them. Sometimes colleges never even go to their wait-list. Believe me, these are students with the grades, test scores and other credentials to make them very competitive for admissions at these schools.  The biggest issue for many kids is that it puts them in limbo and unable to emotionally commit to a school. My advice to most students is to send an email to the college if you are still interested and convey this to them. Let them know that if you are accepted, you will come.  If you receive any awards, improved test scores, or anything else to support your application, email or fax it to the college admissions officials.  But keep your other options open because you do  need to make a final college decision, with a deposit, by May 1st.

5 Tips to Improve Your ACT Score

July 27, 2015

As a test prep coach, students frequently ask me how they can improve their ACT score. Since I have been providing test prep for high school students for more than 25 years, I have a few tips that will help students succeed on this important test.

The ACT consists of four sections: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. Each section requires its own individual approach. Take time to understand the format of each section and the best way to tackle it. Read and make sure you understand the directions so you do not need to waste time on them when you take the actual ACT. The more comfortable you are with the test, the easier it will be to improve your score on the ACT.

There is no penalty foe guessing on the ACT so I suggest you waste no time on questions if you don’t have a clue what the question is asking. See if you can eliminate some answers and then make a guess between what is left. You can always circle the number of the question and come back to it later if you have a minute or two at the end of the section.

Most students find the time constraints on the ACT a problem. You need to decide what questions can be answered more quickly and which you should leave until later. The science section seems to be the most difficult to finish on time. I suggest students skip one passage on the science test and try to be more accurate on their answers on the other six passages. When practicing on the ACT, it is important to time yourself on each test and figure out how to pace yourself.

Most colleges are interested in the ACT composite score. Your goal is to do what you can to improve that score. If you are strong in English, try to become even stronger. If math is your weakness, don’t try and learn new math at this time. Make sure you do the math questions you know how to do and don’t make stupid mistakes.

There is no substitute for practice if you want to improve your score on the ACT. Practice on real tests and go over every question you miss. Make sure you understand the reasoning behind the correct answer. Check any questions you miss and return to the passage to find the supporting information for the right answer.

Is your high school senior ready for the September 12th ACT? Remember, ACT scores can be a determining factor for college admissions and scholarships. If you need a class or some individual tutoring, College Direction has two six-week courses beginning Wednesday, August 5th. Call 303-692-1918 or visit for the registration and schedule.

College Admissions: Do Not Even Think about Double Depositing

April 25, 2013

As the college admissions season winds down,  families are weighing up the pros and cons of the colleges to which their child has been accepted.  They are studying the financial aidaward letters to determine which schools are offering a better package with more scholarships and grants, and fewer loans.  Everyone realizes this is a big decision to make and sometimes it is difficult to decide which school is the best one for each student.   Should you flip a coin or what do you do?

May 1st is the universal date for high school seniors to make their college decision. Some students might be up in the air about two colleges and think that sending in a double deposit is a good way to handle the situation. Don’t do it. Not only is it not ethical, but students and parents have a responsibility to commit to one school, and one school only. You could jeopardize your acceptance to both colleges or universities and be out of luck completely if you do so.

The Joy of College Acceptances and the Sorrow of the Shooting at Sandy Hook

December 17, 2012

My heart is heavy today. I don’t like to dwell on tragedies, but this recent one has affected me more because of the loss of so many little children. I remember the night of Columbine because I had an SAT group at 6:30. I called the students in the group that afternoon and told them they did not have to come. Most did anyway because they wanted to talk and share their feelings. That is what we did. I think it was cathartic for all of us. Today I have had excited calls and emails from my students who have been accepted to college through early decision or early action. I must show enthusiasm for the joy they are feeling and I want to, but it is hard.

I understand that college admissions can be confusing, that college applications can be time-consuming, and that financial aid can be complex. I do not understand why in recent years we have witnessed so much senseless violence. I do not understand why so many movies, television shows, and video games contain nothing but violence and that our teenagers find this entertaining. I do not understand how an individual can cause a horrific mass murder like the one that occurred on Friday. I do not understand what a parent can do if they have a mentally unstable child who is a threat to society.

I am an analytical person and that is why I ask so many questions. Perhaps, I should stick to college counseling. I can usually answer those questions without any problem.  Those having to do with the shooting at Sandy Hook leave me speechless.

College Admissions: Great Tips to Make Your College Decision

April 6, 2012

College acceptances have been arriving at students’ emails and delivered to students’ mail boxes for the last few months.  At last the college admission process is coming to an end for this year’s class of high school seniors.  With that comes some relief, but also the final task of choosing the right college to attend.  Students have until May 1 to respond to a school’s acceptance and indicate whether or not they are planning on attending.  Most schools also require a deposit at that time.  This decision is an important one and it is essential that students look at both the pros and cons of every school to which they have been accepted.  If financial aid is a consideration, they also need to compare their financial aid awards and see which school is offering the best package.  Here is a timely article that I think will help students make sure they are covering all of their bases before they make their final college decision.…