Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Interesting read if you are following the test-optional movement and related debates. Sal Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, a non-profit that partners with the College Board. Read the interview here

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Focus on the next fours years, not the last.

Focus on the next fours years, not the last.

The class of 2022 is resilient. They’ve weathered a pandemic, the confusion of test-optional, okay at best online schooling—the list goes on. 

Great read in Charter by S. Mitra Kalita. “Bottom line: You’re going to be fine. Let’s focus on the next fours years, not the last!”

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Class of 2022 Acceptances

Class of 2022 Acceptances

Our students rock! We are grateful they chose to have us along for the ride. This year was extraordinarily tough, and we are so proud of the work they put in. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by colleges either. Although we are believers that the journey is just as sweet as the reward, we are celebrating the reward (acceptances) in this post.

Below you will find some of the schools where the students we worked with earned acceptances year:

University of Pennsylvania*
Cornell*
Dartmouth*
Duke*
Stanford*
Georgetown*
Williams*
Harvard
Brown
Princeton
University of Chicago
University of Virginia*
Vanderbilt
WashU
JHU
Wesleyan
Boston College*
Northeastern*
St. Andrews*
Tulane*
Bates
Bowdoin
Colby
Vassar
Claremont McKenna
Emory
Indiana University Kelley School of Business*
University of California, Los Angeles*
University of Miami*
University of Michigan*
University of Richmond*
University of Rochester*
University of Texas, Austin*
University of Wisconsin*
Bard*
FIDM
Parson’s
Pratt
Baylor*
Chapman*
Clemson*
Coastal Carolina*
College of Charleston*
Colorado College
Fairfield*
Fordham*
Grinnell
Lehigh*
Loyola Chicago*
Macalester
Miami Ohio*
SDSU
Marymount Manhattan
McGill
NJIT
Penn State*
Oberlin
Ohio State*
Rhodes
Quinnipiac
Santa Clara*
Sarah Lawrence
Southern Methodist University*
St. John’s
TCNJ*
University of Delaware*
University of Florida*
University of Illinois*
University of Iowa
University of Maryland*
University of Massachusetts, Amherst*
University of Pittsburgh*
University of San Diego
University of South Carolina*
University of Tampa*
University of Tulsa
University of Vermont*
University of Washington*

*multiple students admitted

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Helping Teens Weather College Rejection

Helping Teens Weather College Rejection

Rejection stinks! But it’s a normal part of life and college admissions. This short article is for parents. Hang in there. In six months from now, the college application process will be very far in your rearview!

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Regular Decision Notification Dates

Regular Decision Notification Dates

March is a big month for decision releases, but don’t be surprised if some schools need until early April due to app numbers this year. 

Head over to College Kickstart for a frequently updated list of RD decision release dates.

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(Late) News of the Week!

(Late) News of the Week!

Harvard, Yale,  and other Ivies report near-record numbers of early-admission applications…and on another planet (New Jersey), Princeton joins a small group of schools not releasing admissions data, citing impact on applicants’ anxiety. Side note: This is not how to solve anxiety around college admissions. 

Harvard extended its test-optional policy for four more years. But the main reason Harvard and its counterparts are dropping the test is that it’s in their interest to do so.

A news flash? Binding admission offers do not, in fact, oblige you to attend. If you can’t afford to go at the price that the college has asked you to pay, you can back out.

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Our Early Admit List (12/22)

Our Early Admit List (12/22)

Whoa. Our students rock! We are grateful they chose to have us along for the ride, and this year, an extraordinarily tough year, we are so so proud of the work they put in. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by colleges either. Although we are believers that the journey is just as sweet as the reward, we are celebrating the reward (acceptances) in this post. 

Below you will find some of the schools our students gained acceptance to so far this year!

The Ivy+ Set:

University of Pennsylvania – multiple students
Cornell – multiple students
Dartmouth – multiple students
Duke – multiple students
Harvard
Stanford
University of Chicago

Our Fan Faves:

Boston College
Claremont McKenna
Colorado College
Emory
Miami Ohio – multiple students
St. Andrews – multiple students
Southern Methodist University
Tulane – multiple students
University of Rochester

All About Early Action:

Bard
Baylor – multiple students
Clemson – multiple students
Coastal Carolina – multiple students
College of Charleston – multiple students
Fairfield – multiple students
Fordham – multiple students
Indiana University Kelley School of Business – multiple students
Loyola Chicago – multiple students 
Macalester
Penn State – multiple students
Ohio State – multiple students
Santa Clara – multiple students
Sarah Lawrence
University of Delaware – multiple students
University of Massachusetts, Amherst – multiple students
University of Pittsburgh – multiple students
University of South Carolina – multiple students
University of Tampa – multiple students
University of Vermont – multiple students

…and many more on the way for the class of 2022 (college class of 2026)!

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College Deferral Steps

College Deferral Steps

Every year we work with a handful of deferred students on turning those defers into admits. Reach out to us if you want individualized guidance!

Some colleges and universities can’t admit all of the students they would like to in early decision or early action (“ED” or “EA”), so they defer some and evaluate them again during regular decision (“RD”). These candidates have a shot (albeit small at many top-20 schools) at getting admitted RD. However, some schools just defer everyone or almost everyone! A not so nice practice. Most students who fall into this category should move on and focus on other schools. If you are not sure which category you fall into, ask us. 

If you’d like some general guidance on working the deferral, you’ll find it below. But first, a few notes before doing anything to “work” a deferral:

1. Stay positive for RD, or preferably, early decision 2, and keep moving forward on other apps! Those are much more important now.

2. Consider ED 2; it’s often smarter than relying on RD. Not all schools have ED 2; check your Common App to see if ED 2 is offered at any schools on your list. Why? Because….

3. The RD round is tough.  Get familiar with the ED 1 and RD numbers and understand why ED 2 can present a significant advantage over RD. Read this chart by Jeff Levy and Jeannie Kent. Pay particular attention to the percentage of the class filled by early plans.

4. Don’t make the same mistakes again. You should be very open to doing a thorough evaluation of what might have gone wrong with your early app(s). With fresh eyes, you might find a few things you would change. Or, with the feedback from someone else, see that you missed the mark completely on some elements of your application. If you’d like an evaluation of your deferred app, our “redo report,” contact us.

Other Tips:

–Get your guidance counselor’s support. Have your guidance counselor advocate for you via telephone. Make sure updated grades/transcripts are sent promptly. Your grades should have remained the same or improved, not dipped.

-If you applied test-optional, consider taking and/or sending scores. Colleges have always valued competitive scores and this year is no different.

–Get an extra letter of recommendation if the school notes you are allowed to send one*. This letter could be written by a teacher, coach, employer, or someone else who can speak to your background, performance, and potential.

*Side note on alumni letters and letters from well-known or famous people. Many students ask if these are helpful to send, and the answer is usually no. And…some schools explicitly state not to send any extra letters.

–Make contacts locally and talk to students and alumni. Reach out to local alumni chapters and ask if there is anyone willing to meet with you for an informal informational interview. Use this meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the school, and demonstrate your interest in attending. Information learned in these meetings can be included in your deferral letter.

-Connect with your regional rep and consider sending a deferral letter (aka an update letter or letter continued interest). You should have connected with them prior to applying, so this email won’t be out of the blue. Ask if they have any specific advice for deferred candidates. Are reasons for the deferral that you can address in the coming months (grades, test scores or lack thereof, lack of demonstrating interest, or understanding the mission and values of the school)? If you had an interview and established a good relationship with your interviewer, you can also reach out to them to see if they have any tips. A deferral letter should contain information updating the school on what you’ve been up to both inside and outside of the classroom since the time you applied as a way to show your fit for the school, how you will add value, etc. It should not be a list of your accomplishments or a brag sheet.

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Early Decision and Early Action Notification Dates

Early Decision and Early Action Notification Dates

Early admission decisions start to release soon, so it’s about that time of year when College Kickstart starts tracking the latest early decision and early action notification dates. They post over 100 schools, and update frequently, so you will want to bookmark their page and check back. 

They also very nicely include actual notification dates from last year where available. That said, many schools notify applicants in advance of their official dates, so stay tuned to your email. 

Thank you College Kickstart!

PS — Class of 2026 is also known as the high school Class of 2022

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On Celebrating What Really Matters

On Celebrating What Really Matters

To all our seniors: just submitting applications is a huge accomplishment!!!

Take 7 minutes to listen to Kelly Corrigan’s case for celebrating the litany of accomplishments that a completed college application represents. 

There’s so much more to applying to college than where you get in or don’t. Listen here!

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