Tips for Juniors from the Dean of Admissions at UPenn

As juniors begin to focus more on their college search, planning trips to colleges for their upcoming spring break, this video interview with Eric Furda, dean of admissions at University of Pennsylvania and board member of the Common App, may prove helpful. He provides useful information for those new to the process, touching upon the following topics:

  •  What's the best attitude to have when visiting a college?
  •  How important is the college essay?
  •  How many recommendations do you need to impress a college?
  •  Is it better to have an 'A' in a regular course or a 'B' in an AP course?



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Get your college essay questions answered by the expert - FREE Webinar

We know students have lots of questions about their college essays. Now is the chance to get your own questions answered and discover how to write truly compelling essays that get you accepted to your top-choice schools.  

This one-hour webinar with the founder of College Essay Organizer will be an open forum, so prepare all your questions in advance. For example, are you curious if the essay topic you chose is a great one? Struggling to figure out how to answer a particular question? Wondering if and how to use the Common App Additional Information space? 

The webinar will be held today, October 23, at 8pm EST. Click this link to reserve your spot (space is limited, so register now): 

One lucky participant will be selected to receive personalized feedback on his/her essay. 

If you work for a school or educational organization, feel free to attend our webinar and/or forward this invitation to seniors and their parents.

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Tips for Rising Seniors

What do you think is the most important part of the college admissions process?

The summer is almost over. If you are a rising high school senior and you have not started your college application, start it today! The Common App went live on August 1, and many schools have already begun posting supplemental essays questions. Getting a head start on supplemental essays during the summer (when you have free time) will allow you to focus on your schoolwork during Senior Year; starting early will alleviate juggling homework and college preparation work.

Do not treat senior year of high school lightly. Admissions officers are not pleased when students do not continue rigorous courses or drop certain academic classes if they are not required. Four years of every academic subject bolsters a résumé – and keep up with your extracurricular clubs and sports.

When it is time to write the “Why are you applying to our college?” question, learn as much about the college or specific program as possible. Remember: the more specific your essay, the stronger it will be.

And, of course, enjoy the summer! Go out for the night with friends, buy an ice cream cone, and, above all, relax. You worked hard this past year; always remember to balance hard work with a little play.

To see more tips, click here.


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Are You Thinking About Your College List?

What does your college list look like?

As seniors continue to mull over their acceptances and remain hopeful that their wait listed schools will come through, juniors, still full of hope and optimism, are starting to create their college lists. In many cases, these lists will contain some of the country's top colleges, whose application rates continue to soar.

Whether you are just beginning your application process or at the tail end, it is important to realize that upper-tier schools make up only a fraction of what's available to you. America has several thousand schools to choose from, many of which accept the majority of their applications and provide excellent long-term value in terms of cost and future earning potential.

Much of our fascination with elite schools is due to the schools' own marketing campaigns. As The New York Times Choice writer Jacques Steinberg points out here, “Some schools spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on slick marketing campaigns begging kids to apply for the privilege of being rejected, and yet the colleges will tell you there are so many kids who get this material, apply, get in and go who would have never known to do so had they not received it.”

Getting past this indoctrination is key for having a more positive college application process. There are plenty of opportunities beyond top tier schools that can give you a strong education and a bright future.