Applying to College

  • StraighterLine is the Easiest College to Get Into

    Barry Lenson

    When you stop to break the process down, it becomes clear that the traditional way of getting into college is incredibly complicated. Most college applicants go through some or all of these steps . . . They take AP classes and tests to increase their chances of getting into college. They hire SAT and ACT tutors. Then they pay to take those tests too. They sign up for dozens of extracurricular activities that will convince colleges to admit them. They hire independent college admissions counselors to help them decide where and how to apply. They hire special consultants to help them prepare their college admissions essays. They do extensive research on the Internet and look at dozens of college websites and blogs. They sched ...

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  • How to Handle Common College Interview Questions

    Barry Lenson

    On-campus college interviews are as scarce as dinosaurs in argyle sweaters these days. They’ve almost disappeared for a very simple reason: colleges are screening so many applications that they just don’t have the time to call you in for a traditional across-the-desk conversation. It’s more likely that any interviews you get will be with alumni of schools where you’ve applied. What’s the best way to handle an interview on a campus or with an alumni interviewer? Here are some common interview questions, with advice on how to answer them . . . 1. Did you enjoy your four years in high school?  The interviewer is really trying to figure out whether you are a positive or negative kind of character, so always say that you enjoye ...

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  • Can a College Coach Guarantee Admission to an Ivy League School?

    Barry Lenson

    There’s a very simple answer to the question that is posed in the title of today’s post. The answer is no. No college coach anywhere can guarantee admission to an Ivy League school. Some of the best independent college counselors canimprove your chances of getting into an elite school. But guarantee it? It just doesn’t work that way. There are some unscrupulous con artists, however, who will charge big fees and guarantee, or nearly guarantee, that they can get you (or your son or daughter) into an Ivy or ultra-elite college or university.  Last year, in fact, I was shocked when I got an email from one of these shysters, who wanted to contribute a post to this blog. She claimed to have attended a top Ivy institution (perhaps s ...

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  • Supreme Courts Considers Affirmative Action, but . . .

    Barry Lenson

    Supreme Courts Considers Affirmative Action, but . . . The Supreme Court is considering affirmative action today. That policy, which has been used by American colleges and universities for decades, gives preferential admissions status to students of color, Hispanic-Americans and other applicants who were once viewed as “minorities” in America. There is no doubt that over the years, affirmative action has afforded countless students – those who have not had access to top-notch high school experiences or the resources to hire professional SAT tutors – an entryway to college and success later in life. Whether affirmative action is still needed is an important and complex issue to address. But let’s be fair. If affirmative acti ...

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  • The Topic of Your Choice

    Barry Lenson

    The Topic of Your Choice If you are filling out the online Common Application this year for college admission, here are the essay topics you can choose from . . . Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to ...

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