Best College ROI? Public Ivies

Best College ROI? Public Ivies

Bloomberg News analysis of 1,500+ nonprofit four-year colleges reveals that public universities often provide the next-best return on investment. We didn’t need Bloomberg to tell us how much value most of these schools offer, but nice to see they are getting some of the additional recognition they deserve.

Read more here!

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Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional – Updated 4/11

Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional – Updated 4/11

Colleges have continued to roll back test-optional policies. We will update this post as more updates are made.

You’ll need competitive test scores to apply to the following schools:

Auburn (testing STRONGLY preferred; required with certain GPA)
Brown
Cal Tech
Dartmouth
Georgetown
Georgia Tech
Harvard
MIT
Purdue
University of Georgia
University of Florida (state-wide)
University of Tennessee (state-wide)
UT Austin
Yale

We have also found it beneficial to send high scores to most other test-optional schools in the top tier, especially if you are applying to a selective major (engineering, comp sci, data science, business, hard sciences) or attend a high school where the majority of students test and test well:

Ivies
Stanford
Vanderbilt
Northwestern
JHU
Duke
Rice
WashU
Notre Dame
Carnegie Mellon
Tufts
Emory
USC
Boston College
Boston University (exception: General Studies)
NYU
Clemson
Case Western
Villanova
University of Chicago
University of Michigan
University of Wisconsin
University of Virginia
University of North Carolina
University of Illinois
University of Maryland

Reach out to us if you’d like help with your application strategy and deciding whether you are a good candidate to apply test-optional or not.

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Applying to Selective Colleges? Please Don’t Skip Calculus

Applying to Selective Colleges? Please Don’t Skip Calculus

More than 75 percent of EDII admits had studied math through calculus, taken biology, chemistry, and physics, and learned a foreign language for at least four years. 

Students who are well matched with MIT take the following classes in high school: math through calculus.

Four years of mathematics; calculus is strongly recommended for majors in Architecture, Business, and Engineering; science majors in Arts & Sciences; and those who intend to pursue a pre-medicine path.

The above are just a few snippets shared by selective colleges and universities regarding high school coursework. 

Calculus.

It’s a hotly debated topic. Just Google “calculus and college admissions,” and you’ll find plenty of articles such as this one.  Although I agree that it counts for a little too much in the college admissions process, the “math bar” is not something that appears to be changing anytime soon. Right now, it’s set at calculus. And if you can take BC over AB, do that. BC is the gold standard for selective schools, especially if you are applying for a competitive major.

So, if you plan to apply to selective colleges, plan to take BC calculus to be the most competitive applicant that you can be. 

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Common App Announces 2024–2025 Essay Prompts

Common App Announces 2024–2025 Essay Prompts

The Common App essay prompts will remain the same for 2024–2025. Get a head start by grabbing a copy of The Complete College Essay Handbook!

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

They will retain the optional community disruption question within the Writing section, too.

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Elevating Your Extracurriculars for Summer 2024

Elevating Your Extracurriculars for Summer 2024

The strength of your curriculum (rigor), the grades you receive in academic courses (core academic GPA), and your extracurricular activities (ECs) are what matter most in the evaluation of a college application. 

College counselors can help students choose the right courses and connect them with the learning support they might need to achieve excellent grades, but advising on the extracurricular activities that will help students stand out is much more complicated!

It’s getting harder and harder to stand out extracurricularly; a lot has been done before, and it can be tough to come up with original ideas when the internet provides conflicting information. It is easy to pay to undertake research or get published; spend time on a college campus taking a course alongside peers; or travel the world serving communities you don’t have an intimate connection to but that are exciting to visit and experience. For some applicants, these ECs do the trick—really! 

However, if you are targeting selective schools, you’ll benefit from not taking the easy path when it comes to ECs. 

Your ECs will need to not only support a clear academic narrative and demonstrate your intellectual curiosity but also highlight what matters most to you and what you care about in your world. You will benefit from getting creative! 

We understand not everyone needs or wants full-blown college counseling, but we also want to make sure students really understand the role of extracurriculars in the college admissions process and spend their time wisely. If you are interested in a standalone extracurricular planning session to maximize the summer of 2024, reach out!

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in government, politics, law and IR.

Boys State/Girls State participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship fosters relationships among the younger generation of Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values. The Fellowship engages 45 teenagers from Europe and ten American teenagers (ages 16 – 18) in a four-week U.S.-based exchange program that aims to reinforce the transatlantic relationship. During the Fellowship, participants will explore transatlantic relations, leadership development, critical thinking, diplomacy, community activism, and the media in order to unite young adults around common goals, using the legacy of Benjamin Franklin as a framework. American youth are eligible to participate in the fellowship, but do not travel abroad. This fellowship is funded.

The United Nations Association of Greater Boston’s Summer Institute in Global Leadership offers week-long Model UN programs for students from all over the world to work together and address global issues. Learn about global issues, build skills for life and leadership, and collaborate with students from across the world during our week-long Model UN programs! In-person and virtual options.

The U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program provides critical language study overseas for U.S. high school students through full scholarships to participate in intensive summer and academic year programs. Participants study one of the eight NSLI-Y languages while immersed in the culture and day-to-day life of the host country. NSLI-Y is part of the National Security Language Initiative, a multi-agency U.S. government initiative launched in 2006 to improve Americans’ ability to engage with people from around the world. NSLI-Y plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce and contributes to national security. NSLI-Y participants serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries. If you have a passion for learning languages and want to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, this program may be for you! No previous language skills are required. NSLI-Y languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, Turkish.

Onero Institute Virtual Teams. ​The Onero Institute produces high-level content on international affairs topics in new and creative ways. They develop projects specially designed for social media platforms to better engage young people on global issues and to bring credible content to an increasingly important space. Join the Virtual Engagement Team to take part in this unique area of today’s international discourse. If you would like to join but need more experience developing such projects, participate in the Virtual Engagement Program (VEP) to build up your skills in graphic design, concise writing, teamwork, and research.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. They now offer virtual programming.

Temple of Understanding Internship Program provides individuals with a hands-on learning experience of the work of the United Nations for four and a half intensive weeks. Students often discover their passion for a career in foreign affairs and related fields. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with different Missions and NGOs for discussions based on their specific questions and interests. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries, and must be 17 years old by June 20 of the given Internship year.


Senate Page Program

Contact your senator’s office for more information on applying to be a Senate Page.

For Rising 9th Graders

The Summer Law Institute (SLI) is a five-week, summer law program for students who have just completed their eighth grade school year. The Summer Law Institute pushes rising ninth graders to see themselves as young professionals-in-training. The program exposes them to positive and successful role models, involves them in professional activities, and places them on a path that can lead to the fulfillment of their dreams. Students who complete the SLI are eligible to apply to our 4-year College Bound program.

Volunteer/Internship Opportunities:

Rock the Vote

US Department of Education

For the Many

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Leadership

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Leadership

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in developing their leadership skills (and so much more!).

Bank of America Student Leaders Program

Student Leaders participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization where you learn first-hand about the needs of the community and the critical role nonprofits play. In addition, you will learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where you will learn how government, business and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs. Note: in-person events will be in line with local and national guidelines around gatherings and travel and may be subject to change.

The LEAP Young Adult Leadership Program

LEAP Week is a highly-immersive week-long leadership program for high school and college students held annually at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, California. Each year, 400 students from around the globe travel to attend LEAP Week, a full week dedicated to helping young adults uncover the “real-life” skills needed to achieve great success. Another major focus of LEAPweek is developing young adults’ networking skills. Especially in this modern age of social media, most teens already have strong networking capabilities, they just need some guidance to maximize these abilities. Networking will be tremendously important when you begin your career, and it also helps develop lasting friendships in every phase of life.

Notre Dame Leadership Seminars

Leadership Seminars are for current high school juniors who are academically gifted leaders in their school, church, local community, or other social organizations. Students participate in one of three seminars (sample topic: Global Issues: Violence and Peace in the Modern Age). Around 90 students are admitted each year—usually ranking in the top 10 percent of their class—and are eligible to receive one college credit.

Coursera:

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Math

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Math

The following summer activities are some of our favorites for students interested in math.

Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM)

HCSSiM is an intensive six-week encounter with college-level mathematics for talented and highly motivated high school students. It is demanding and expanding. Participants spend a major portion of each day actively engaged in doing mathematics (not simply learning the results of mathematics). HCSSiM students live in the dorms at Hampshire College in Massachusetts for six summer weeks, and study and play in its fields, woods, and academic buildings (not typically in that order). Typically, there are as many girls and non-binary students as boys. The daily schedule includes 4 hours of morning classes (Mon-Sat), the pre-supper Prime Time Theorem, and evening problem sessions. Afternoons are devoted to reading, rest, recreation, occasional trips to town, and informal study. Participants have unparalleled access to faculty members in classrooms, at meals, and in the program dorm. Productive collaborations continue long after the program, and many lifelong friendships are forged.

MathILy

Do you want to explore and create mathematics? Then read on, for that’s what MathILy is all about! In MathILy classes, instructors provide the framework and you get to make (and prove!) the conjectures. You will encounter new ideas, improve your problem-solving skills, learn lots and lots of advanced mathematics, and hone your overall thinking skills. You’ll meet others like you. (Yes, really. We promise.) Most of all, you will find serious mathematics infused with levity. MathILy is five weeks of maximized mathematical marvelousness. MathILy is designed for students with an insatiable curiosity about mathematics and who are creative and enthusiastic in their approaches to learning. Participants come from all over the United States and, sometimes, the world.

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)

PROMYS is a six-week summer program in mathematics for strongly motivated high school students who are carefully selected from across the U.S. and around the world. Founded in 1989, PROMYS is a residential program held on the campus of Boston University with approximately 80 high school students and 25 undergraduate counselors. PROMYS is particularly interested in increasing diversity in mathematics and in science and technology opportunities more broadly. They strongly encourage students who are female, Black, Latino/a, or from other groups underrepresented in STEM to apply.

The Ross Program

The first year course in the Ross Program is organized around a series of daily problem sets in number theory. These sets invite the participants to contemplate a variety of seemingly simple questions about numbers and their relationships. As the summer progresses students are encouraged to investigate these questions in increasing depth, and to return to them periodically as their skill at abstract reasoning and their collection of available tools become more powerful. This spiraling of concepts is summarized in the Ross Program’s motto: “Think deeply about simple things.”Students should expect to get deeply involved in intensive, mathematical work. Although formal classes take up only eight hours per week, Ross participants work hard during the many hours of unstructured time. They think about the many mathematical problems, and struggle with the difficulties. After a lot of effort they finally develop methods of thought that will prove useful in many aspects of their scientific lives.

Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)

Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC) welcomes a select group of rising high school juniors and seniors from around the world for intensive study in advanced mathematics. SUMaC leads participants on a journey in advanced mathematics through lectures, guided research, and group problem-solving. In an environment centered on mathematics, participants explore current lines of mathematical research, the historical development of important areas of mathematics, and applications across scientific disciplines. SUMaC is for students who have an exceptional interest in mathematics, and who are prepared for study of abstract algebra and number theory, or algebraic topology.  Similar to what they would experience in a college course, participants can expect a heavy and engaging workload of assignments to work on outside of the live class meeting times.

Summer Workshop in Math @ Duke University

Summer Workshop in Math (SWiM) is a free workshop for rising high school seniors who are interested in mathematics, with a particular focus on advancing female participation in math. SWiM is particularly interested in increasing diversity in mathematics and in science and technology opportunities more broadly, so SWiM strongly encourages students to apply who are female or gender minorities, who are in their junior year of high school, and who are citizens or permanent residents of and reside in the US if held online.

Canada/USA Mathcamp

Canada/USA Mathcamp is an immersive summer experience for mathematically talented students ages 13–18 from all over the world. It is an intensive 5-week-long summer program for mathematically talented high school students, designed to expose these students to the beauty of advanced mathematical ideas and to new ways of thinking. More than just a summer camp, Mathcamp is a vibrant community, made up of a wide variety of people who share a common love of learning and passion for mathematics. At Mathcamp, students can explore undergraduate and even graduate-level topics while building problem-solving skills that will help them in any field they choose to study.

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Sports Business/Management

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Sports Business/Management

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in exploring different career paths in sports and the business of sports.

ROC Nation Summer Sports Management Academy

New York City is home to one of the largest and iconic sports markets in the world, and the Roc Nation Sports Management Academy is at the center of it all! The Academy’s experiential learning model provides opportunities to explore what it’s like to sign an athlete, negotiate a deal, manage a venue, or run an athletic program. In addition to attending major sporting events, Academy participants study with industry leaders and professional athletes, learning how to translate a passion for sports into a flourishing career. Participants also have a unique opportunity to engage with the booming billion-dollar global eSports industry in LIU’s state-of-the-art eSports arena. This Academy inspires young students, athletes, entrepreneurs, and sports fans to become the next great sports industry professionals.

Isenberg Sport Management & Leadership Academy

McCormack’s summer Sport Management & Leadership Academy provides a platform for high school students to learn practical sport business applications and industry insights from our world-renowned faculty and industry-leading alumni. During this two-week program, students immerse themselves in key segments and critical issues relevant to the highly competitive sports and entertainment industry, such as:

  • Sport & Digital Media
  • Sport Marketing & Sales
  • Diversity & Inclusion in Sport Organizations
  • Player Performance & Data Analytics
  • Player Representation & Athlete Endorsement

Rawlings Sport Business Management Summer Institute

Three day online program ($100). Experiential-based learning. Students learn theory in the classroom, put theory to work in real-time projects, and present those projects back to industry professionals.

LIU Sport Marketing 

SPM 142 – Sports Marketing. This course focuses on the process of designing and implementing activities for the promotion and distribution of a sport product to a consumer. The principal steps in developing a marketing plan are outlined.

Global Sports and Entertainment Business Academy

The mission of Global Sports & Entertainment Business Academy is to provide all participants insight into the sports and entertainment industries. Our students will not only be introduced to a broad array of career opportunities, but they will also leave with a solid understanding of the business disciplines that constitute and contribute to the business such as management, advertising, sponsorship, technology, marketing, law, media, and other areas related to the sports and entertainment industries. Students will also practice leadership and teamwork as they engage in a variety of team-oriented activities.

Coursera/edX FREE Classes

Esports

Sports Sponsorship

Becoming a Sports Agent

Activism in Sports and Culture

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Engineering

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Engineering

The following are some of our favorites for students interested in exploring engineering.

Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE)

The LLRISE program is a two-week summer institute for rising seniors that teaches students how to build small radar systems. The project-based enrichment program challenges students to build a Doppler and range radar.

COSMOS UCSDUS IrvineUC Santa CruzUC Davis

The COSMOS program is a four-week residential program designed by the UC schools. Each campus focuses on different subject areas, all admitting their own “cluster” of students. The courses are taught by UC faculty and researchers. Students choose from nine different clusters, which include engineering design, biodiesel from renewable sources, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and more.

MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute

The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is a rigorous, world-class STEM program for talented students who will be entering their senior year in high school. The four-week program teaches STEM skills through project-based, workshop-style courses. BWSI began in 2016 with a single course offered to 46 students, a mix of local daytime students and out-of-state residential students. It is typically a 4-week residential program for rising high school seniors and the program is free. They also offer online courses.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Summer High School Intern Program Research

NIST research is subdivided into six organizational NIST laboratories that conduct research in a wide variety of physical and engineering sciences. The labs respond to industry needs for measurement methods, tools, data, and technology. Six laboratories participate in the SHIP program.

Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of NIST’s research, students should look through the different websites above to discover a best-fit project area. The following information describes the types of research performed by each laboratory. See research projects done in previous years.

MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP)

The MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is a rigorous four-week summer academic experience to introduce high school students to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the summer after 11th grade. WTP is a women-focused, collaborative community aimed at empowering students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in engineering. They especially encourage students to apply who will be the first family member to attend college, who come from high schools with limited access to STEM classes and activities, or who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American.

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

The MITES program is a six-week-long residential program geared toward rising seniors from underrepresented or underserved communities. The program aims to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for pursuing a career in the STEM fields. Students take one math course, one life sciences course, one physics course, one humanities course and an elective course. Placement is determined by diagnostic tests that are administered to all students during the orientation period of the program.

AI Scholars

AI Scholars Live Online is a 10 session (25-hour) artificial intelligence bootcamp that exposes high school students to fundamental AI concepts and guides them to build a socially impactful project. Taught by a team of graduate students from Stanford, MIT, and more, students receive a personalized learning experience in small groups with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1.

HK Maker Lab, Columbia

The Hk Maker Lab is a summer engineering design program at Columbia Engineering that places high school juniors and seniors in pre-college, project-based courses with Columbia University faculty. This program is designed for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM and who have financial needs.

CATALYST Academy

CATALYST Academy is a one-week residential program for rising high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who desire to learn about engineering and careers within an interactive milieu.

Cooper Union Summer STEM

Summer STEM is an opportunity to try engineering for the first time or to dive deeper into engineering teamwork. Each 3- or 6-week class covers college-level topics and activities completed by The Cooper Union undergraduates in their first or second year or explores student and faculty research projects. Current high school students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 can apply.  This selective program encourages all curious, compassionate, and college-interested students to apply regardless of prior experience.

Manhattan College

The School of Engineering offers several programs throughout the year to introduce high school students to the field of engineering. Free or low cost.

Google Computer Science Institute (Summer Before COLLEGE!)

Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is a three-week introduction to computer science (CS) for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology — especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field. CSSI is not your average summer camp. It’s an intensive, interactive, hands-on, and fun program that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow by supporting the study of computer science, software engineering, and other closely related subjects. It is a 3-week program, and it is free.

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