Bringing Levity to the College Admissions Process

stanfordStudents are gearing up to hear from the remainder of their colleges over the next couple weeks, which always makes for a tense time for anyone involved in the application process. And we all know how admissions statistics have been going down every year with some top schools admitting less than 6% of applicants. Bearing that in mind, and keeping sight of the absurdity of it all (keep rolling with the punches, and you will find a school that's right for you!), it's refreshing to see today's article in the New York Times poking fun at the process:

"PALO ALTO, California — Cementing its standing as the most selective institution of higher education in the country, Stanford University announced this week that it had once again received a record-setting number of applications and that its acceptance rate — which had dropped to a previously uncharted low of 5 percent last year — plummeted all the way to its inevitable conclusion of 0 percent.

With no one admitted to the class of 2020, Stanford is assured that no other school can match its desirability in the near future."

To read the rest of the article, and have a needed laugh in the process, click here.

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University of California Schools Changing Their Essay Questions for 2016-2017 Season

uc schoolsUniversity of California schools have shared one application with the same essay questions for several years. However, this year it has been announced that the old, familiar prompts will be replaced by more personalized questions designed to elicit more relevant information. Fortunately, the schools still want students to have the opportunity to work on their essay questions early, so they have been released! Please find the new essay questions below, and click here to find out more information.

There are 8 essay question options, 4 of which applicants must respond to, and all are of equal importance in the admissions process. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.

1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
6. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?


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Fun Contest -- Seniors can win MONEY

moneyWe know how hard you worked on your college applications! Now is your chance to relive your acceptance letter euphoria and maybe even win some money.

We invite you to enter our new "I Got In!" Contest.

Simply send an email by May 15 to [email protected] with your best "I Got In!"moment (either photo, video, or written story), and we will alert you if you're among our cash winners. Entries will not be shared without permission.

1st place = $200
2nd place = $150
3rd place = $100
4 honorable mentions = $25 each


  1. Only one submission per person
  2. Written entries must be under 150 words
  3. Submission must be received by May 15
  4. Write "Contest" in the subject line
  5. You must have applied to college this past year (2015-2016)

TIP: we like risky, creative, compelling, and ones that make us smile ... like this one!

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Applying in 2016-2017: The Common App and The Coalition

coalition and common appMany of us are beginning to think about the 2016-2017 application system and what changes are in store, and we'll be on top of them all for you! While The Common App was on everyone's mind last season due to its past blunders, this year marks the launch of an application system referred to as The Coalition that has everyone asking questions.

The Common App has already announced that it's keeping its main essay options the same for the coming season (Tip: juniors start writing!), so that's one thing we can all relax about. As for The Coalition, things are more up in the air. According to this article by Nancy Greisemer, "The decision whether or not to require a shared personal statement is still under consideration, but the Coalition is leaning away from this requirement in favor of allowing individual colleges to fully script their own writing requirements."

The good thing is that while more schools may exclusively use The Coalition for the 2017-2018 season, there are very few schools that will exclusively use it this season. That means that students can still use the Common App for their applications this season without paying much attention to this up-and-coming system. 


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The New SAT Debuts This Saturday

new satThousands of students will experience some additional stress when taking the SAT this Saturday since it's the first time that the newly designed SAT is being administered. Here are some changes that students can expect:

  • A return to two sections with a total of 1600 points
  • A reduction from 5 to 4 answer choices on multiple-choice questions
  • No more point penalty for incorrect answers
  • No rarely-seen vocabulary words
  • A more curriculum-based test that better measures college readiness

All of these changes make it seem like the test will offer a break from the previous test' demands, but that still remains to be seen. For more information on the new SAT, read this article.


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