You have 8 Minutes to Stand Out

admissions review Feb 12, 2018

Four years, over 2 million minutes and over 1 billion seconds of high school comes down to 8 minutes of admissions review. Eight minutes! 

What am I talking about? 

In case you missed it, The Wall Street Journal reported that elite colleges like Penn, Rice and Bucknell are making admissions reviews extremely short by splitting up application pieces amongst admissions reviewers.

Some say that the fragmented review--splitting up materials across admissions readers-- detracts from the "holistic" review.

I agree that this method has potential to detract from the human element of the admissions review, and some admissions officers I know expressed disappointment that the process was changed (previously, 2 admissions reviewers would review the entire application and write a report with their thoughts before it passed through to the committee). 

But the eight-minute review isn't necessarily a bad thing. Trust me, spending 60 minutes with your application would...

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International Students - 3 Things You Need To Make Your College Decision

International students, I love working with you.

You're a fantastic group -- so ambitious and hopeful, full of energy and enthusiasm for U.S. colleges. 

Things You Need To Make Your College Decision

My students "dream" (their words) of coming to the United States for college. The dream is wonderful, but the reality sometimes isn't. With that, here's a list of 3 things you want to pay close attention to when making your college decision.

Financial Aid

More than likely, you won't be awarded financial aid based on financial need (e.g. parent income). You may be eligible for merit-based scholarships, but it depends on the college and how aggressively the college is looking to recruit international students.

Colleges that are looking to increase international student enrollment may be more generous with scholarships.

Popular colleges with international students, like the University of California system and the University of Michigan, expect that you will pay the full sticker...

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My Top 3 Summer Pre-College Experiences for Competitive Applicants

This document is designed to kickstart your summer opportunity search.

Here are three categories of summer experiences and insider tips on what college admissions officers are guaranteed to love about each one.

Summer Pre-College Experiences for Competitive Applicants

By downloading this document, you'll also get a seat for
my upcoming webinar.


-Dr. Aviva Legatt

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Rolling Admission Options (If You Need them)

Haven’t gotten any acceptances yet and getting antsy? It can’t hurt to have a few more options especially if you’re undecided about where you want to go.

How to find the Rolling Admission Options?

First, I would look at the options in your state to see which ones have rolling admission, as these are often the most affordable options.

Here are a few nationally and internationally-recognized colleges that have rolling admissions and my take on them.

Arizona State University. 

ASU has come into prominence recently as having a partnership with Starbucks Coffee Company, who provides a tuition benefit to attend. ASU is focused on business, entrepreneurship and practical education. Good potential for students who are interested in these areas and who like warm climates. 

Indiana University 

Another wonderful college for business with its Kelley School, Indiana attracts students from all over the country and all over the world. It’s a very popular...

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What should you do when your College application get rejected?

Almost all college applicants will receive a rejection letter—unless they only applied to safety schools or applied to one Early Decision choice and received an acceptance letter. So let me start out by saying that you’re awesome and that rejection is not easy.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine had to go to psychotherapy after they got rejected. It wasn’t the rejection itself, or closing the door on an opportunity. It can feel personal and like an exposure of an inadequacy. If you feel you do need help to deal with the rejection, definitely seek it - whether from a college counselor, parent or medical professional. 

I was lucky that I got admitted to my first choice, but I became estranged from friends while they were waiting for decisions because they hadn’t had it happen yet. I could neither celebrate my own successes nor comfort them for their rejections. 

Here’s what I suggest you do instead – whether you’re the...

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Let’s be Grateful for this Great Year

You’ve had an incredible, stressful and transformative ride so far as a college applicant. You may not realize the scope or impact of what you’ve done to prepare for and complete your college applications yet, but you’ll soon realize the outcomes of your hard work.

Based on my article I wrote for Jewel’s website (I’m dating myself, do you know who Jewel is? She was a big deal when I was in high school.).

My life hasn’t always been easy and it’s not always easy now. But I have many things to be grateful for and you do too.  

We must remember to be grateful when we’re feeling stressed, low, and out of control – frequent emotions that overwhelm us as we wait for college decisions. (I got pneumonia while in the middle of my college application process, so I certainly know the feeling!)

Studies show that expressing gratitude helps you feel better and less overwhelmed. Some of these exercises might help (and some come from...

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4 Tips for Completing The Final Stretch of Applications

Need a last-minute push? Try my four tips for completing your applications efficiently and effectively!

The Final Stretch of Applications

1) Change your scenery to get it done. Get out of your bedroom and go to the local coffee shop, café, or library depending on how much noise you like to have in the background while you work.

2) Try Pomodoros. This is a productivity hack. Set a timer for 20 minutes. While the timer runs, work exclusively on the task you have at hand—whether it’s polishing your essay, editing your resume, or checking your Common App. After 20 minutes, take a 5-minute break. A true break! No email/cell phone to check your other notifications. Just a pause – and think about grabbing yourself a snack or a cup of tea. 

3) Use a writing app like Omm Writer. Free for use on your computer, this app will help you to minimize distractions and focus on the task at hand. Putting your cell phone in another room, turning off email and social media...

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Do you need to demonstrate interest?

Do you need to demonstrate interest?

Here’s the college consultant’s answer: it depends.

According to NACAC (Nat’l Association of College Admissions Counseling), 21% of colleges rated demonstrated interest as considerably important to their evaluation.  Demonstrating your interest will show that you’re engaged and interested in the college. You may, therefore, be more likely to attend this college – which is a big deal to colleges when they’re figuring out who to admit (# of admits who attend affects their ranking).

Ways to demonstrate interest include college visits, alumni receptions, follow-up phone calls from your school counselor, communication with admissions officers and professors, writing “optional” essays, legacy connection and the timing of your applications (e.g. Early Decision 1 or 2).

 Even when a college does not formally consider demonstrated interest, it can count favorably for you to find a way to...

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10 Questions You Might be Ask in College Interviews

college interview Dec 11, 2017

Ideally, a college interview provides an opportunity for a relaxed conversation between you and an alum. That said, you want to prepare some answers to questions in advance of the interview. what do they ask in college interviews.Here are 10 possible questions you might get:

1.  What do you want to study and why?

2. What do you hope to do someday?

3. What has been your favorite class in high school? Why?

4. What activities do you most enjoy and why?

5. Why are you interested in attending [this particular college]? Have you visited yet? If so, what did you like about the college?

6. Where are you from?

7. What’s it like living there? Do you like it?

8. Did you grow up in [city] or ?

9. How many students are in your senior class?

10. Do you have any questions for me?

Bring a...

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4 Ways to Kick Butt at Your College Interview

college interview Dec 04, 2017

Maybe you’ve already had a few interviews or you’re planning to prepare for your first one. Here 4 Ways to Kick Butt at this interview:

1. Conduct in-depth research about the college where you’re interviewing. This will allow you to ask the interviewer specific questions about your areas of interest. Looking back at your essays and reviewing the school’s website are good places to start.

2. Bring your résumé so that you can walk the interviewer through it when questions come up. The resume will also help spark questions for the interviewer to ask. 

3. Dress right. You should be comfortable, and should also consider the location/setting to give cues. For example, a coffee shop on a weekday after school is much more casual than if meeting with the alumnus at an office building, or on-campus. For ladies, be careful of short skirts and low-cut shirts. For ladies and gentlemen, make sure clothing has no wrinkles. 

4. ...

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