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Countdown to college: Don't make these application mistakes

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Nov. 1 is an important college application deadline, and the stress in many homes with high school seniors is almost palpable.

Here are some tips to make the last part of the application process run a little more smoothly:


Nov. 1 is the most common deadline for colleges and universities that offer Early Decision (...Read more

Countdown to college: Why is college admission getting more competitive?

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Right now, the angst among high school seniors and their parents is palpable. Almost every parent I speak with says something like, "It wasn't this stressful when I applied to college. Why is it so much more competitive now?"

There's no denying that many of us parents wouldn't be accepted at our own alma maters if we were applying ...Read more

Countdown to college: Avoid these common financial aid mistakes

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Soaring student debt is a hot topic. The average debt of a senior graduating from college is nearly $38,000. Student loan debt has reached an estimated $1.56 trillion in the United States. That figure is even more frightening when you consider that many families are able to send their children to state universities and incur no debt at all, so...Read more

Countdown to college: More ways to tackle the 'Why this college?' essay

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When students are writing their "Why this college?" essays, they need to convince the admissions office that the college is a great fit for them. How students do that is open to interpretation.

Robert Cronk, one of my faithful readers and the author of one of my favorite college books, "Concise Advice: Jump-Starting Your ...Read more

Countdown to college: Why the 'Why this school?' essay is so important

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Why is the "Why this college?" essay so important? Admissions officers care why students put their college on their list, and many colleges incorporate the "why" question into their applications.

While most students find themselves having to write a variety of essays for different colleges, the typical student will focus ...Read more

Countdown to college: Stray from the cliché

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What do colleges want to know about you? That's a good place to start when you're brainstorming your college essay.

You know colleges don't want you to tell your life story in 500 words. But you keep pestering yourself, wondering: "What should I tell them?" Think about things you've done in high school, activities you've ...Read more

Countdown to college: Freshman survival skills — beyond COVID-19

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Don't be one of those college students that ends up on the evening news because they didn't take the pandemic seriously. Listen to the doctors and school administrators about dealing with COVID-19.

Today's column is about dealing with surviving the social and academic pressures of freshman year. While the initial adjustment period is over, ...Read more

Countdown to college: Think twice before submitting Early Decision

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Before you hit "submit" for that Nov. 1 Early Decision (ED) deadline, consider this:

Early Decision is binding. That means that if you are accepted, you must go. That's a great option if the college you're applying to is your dream school and you are 100 percent certain you can see yourself on its campus next fall. But, if you're ...Read more

Countdown to college: Returning home after the big drop-off

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Parents of budding college freshmen are feeling pride and angst these days - very likely more angst than pride, as families drop off their students for a definitively nontraditional college experience.

How many recent Facebook posts have you seen where parents shared their mixed emotions as they dropped their children off at college for the ...Read more

Countdown to college: The three types of essays — the good, the bad and the risky

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If they made a movie about nailing the perfect admissions essay, the title might be "The Good, the Bad and the Risky."

The Risky

Let's start with the risky. One of the favorite stories from admissions officers is a response to an open-ended essay prompt: "Ask yourself a question and then answer it." Here's what one bold...Read more

Countdown to college: Application mistakes to avoid

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College applications are out; let the careless errors begin.

A sloppy college application, while one of the easiest missteps to avoid, is probably among the most common mistake applicants make.

Here are pitfalls that you can easily prevent:

- A silly email address. If your student created their email address in the second grade and it ...Read more

Countdown to college: Helping teens deal with COVID-19 anxiety

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When our world changes suddenly, it's common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear or worry are typical in stressful situations. Everybody is anxious. The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed everyone out. Between a fear of contracting or spreading COVID-19 to financial issues to a lack of social ...Read more

Countdown to college: Freshman essentials

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In the old days, a roll of quarters for the washer and dryer was considered essential. Today, with enhanced technology, most laundry rooms take credit or debit cards, and many even text students when it's time to transfer the wash to the dryer. So, while some packing details are different, much remains the same ... just with updates.

Beyond ...Read more