4 Tips for Adding Safety Schools to Your College Short List (US News)

A great deal is written and said about how students should decide on the list of colleges to which they will apply. Students often agonize over which program is best for them, but they neglect one very important consideration when compiling this list: their safety schools.

Overlooking this detail can lead to significant disappointment if a student ends up needing to attend one of his or her safety schools. If they fail to put in the necessary effort to research potential programs, students can easily find themselves attending a college or university that does not really suit them.

[Think about these six factors to find the perfect college fit.]

Read Bradford Holmes’ article for tips on how to figure out which safety schools to add to your college list.

Yale Application Reader Reveals 4 Proven Tips For Ivy League Admission (Forbes)

There are no guarantees in the college admissions game, especially at name-brand institutions like those in the Ivy League. Not everyone is going to gain admission, even if, as I noted in my previous post, they meet the top benchmarks for acceptance: stratospheric test results and transcripts. 34,295 students applied to Harvard for the Class of 2018, and only 2,023 (5.9%) gained admission. Harvard could easily fill a second class that’s just as qualified with students from the “no” pile.

So how do you improve your odds of admission with such a super-competitive applicant pool? Since I only attended an Ivy League school, Harvard, for summer debate camp, I am hardly the expert here. Thus, I turned to a former Yale University application reader, and specialist in college admissions counseling, Dr. Kat Cohen, of the appropriately entitled education consulting concern, IvyWise.

Read James Marshall Crotty’s article for advice on ways to boost your changes of college admissions

An Ivy League Education Can Be Surprisingly Cheap (Business Insider)

With many elite private colleges now charging students more than $60,000 a year, higher education may seem like an unattainable goal for many low-income students.

However, the idea that attending an elite school means shackling yourself to a lifetime of debt is one of the most persistent myths in higher education.

At the core of this misunderstanding is an often striking difference between a college’s sticker price — the full cost of tuition and fees often most visible on a website — and the net price — what families actually pay after financial aid and grants.

Read Peter Jacobs’ article to find out how not just ivy league, but many private colleges and universities, can be cheaper than you think.


Expert Advice: 6 Tips for Saving Money on College Applications (Nerdscholar)

Paying for college doesn’t just begin in your first semester freshman year. Rather, prospective college students can expect to start funding their higher education in high school—when they send in their college applications.

According to the National Association of College Admission Counselors, almost one-third of high school seniors apply to seven or more colleges. With today’s college application fees averaging $38—not to mention an average high of $77 among the nation’s elite schools—students can expect to shell out hundreds of dollars in college fees long before their first tuition payment is due.

But there are ways to avoid paying such hefty fees if you know where to look. With the help of our seasoned college experts, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help students save money when applying to colleges this fall. 

Read Gianna Sen-Gupta’s article for ways to save on college applications

Parent alert: Millions start college but don’t finish (Examiner)

Over the past two decades, more than 31 million students started college but failed to graduate according to Signature Report 7 from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center in conjunction with the University of Indiana’s Project on Academic Success. IU announced the findings on August 12. They are chilling to current students, the college-bound, and their parents who may be left paying a college bill towards a diploma that isn’t awarded.

The Report found about one-third of the non-graduates enrolled for just a single term in a single institution. Multiple-term enrollees who completed at least two terms used non-traditional methods of college attendance like enrolling part time, taking a break, delaying studies well past high school graduation, or attending multiple institutions. Students with at least least two full academic years’ worth of college were “called potential completers [sic], recognizing that for most students this would be significant progress toward a two-year credential and half-way to the four-year baccalaureate,” according to the Report.

Read Wendy David-Gaines’ article for more of this study’s findings.

Top 100 SAT Scores Ranking: Which Colleges Have The Brightest Kids?

As someone who has spent more than a few hours both visiting colleges as a potential customer and, as a reporter, covering the economics of higher education (see my latest story), you sometimes get the sense from admissions officers and even some parents that hanging too much on  SAT scores is not only a mistake, but politically incorrect.

After all, it has been proven that kids from wealthy families, who can afford SAT prep courses and often go to more competitive high schools, tend to get higher scores. The test is biased towards the affluent and it is often argued that a student’s high school record and GPA are more predictive of academic success. Indeed, a growing number of colleges are adopting SAT/ACT optional policies.

Despite all of this negative noise, standardized tests like the SAT still matter a lot to highly selective colleges. Two biggest reasons:  1) It is an effective way to screen out students when the number of  applications is overwhelming (Stanford reported 42,000 applications for roughly 1,700 freshman in the Class of 2018), and 2) Colleges admissions offices care a great deal about popular rankings like U.S. News & World Report’s and tests like the SAT have a fairly significant weighting in the formula. For executives running admissions offices at top colleges, moving up on U.S. News list is almost always recognized by the Board of Trustees, and this can mean good things during  bonus time. (Forbes own college ranking (see here) doesn’t consider SATs)

Read Matt Schifrin’s article for the schools with the top scoring students and more about what that means

Advice From a High School Student On Creating A College List (College Mapper)

Selecting a college to put on your list can be hard. Choosing what city or what state can be even harder. I would know. I just went through the college selection and college application process this summer. While selecting colleges I was able to come up with a few guidelines to help me pick the right schools to apply to!

Read high school student, Beau Turner’s article for guidelines for creating your college list