5 Ways to Get Off the College Waitlist

Uncategorized Mar 26, 2017

Getting on the waitlist, especially for your first-choice college, is one of the toughest notifications to receive. Why? Because there's a lack of closure – and you may ultimately be rejected.

So, the first thing to do is to take a pause and breathe. Then, celebrate.

The decisions you receive are not a reflection of your character, but of limited capacity at top-tier colleges. There may be a difference in priorities between what colleges are looking for and what you provide at this time (I promise it’s not black and white. Younger students can get my guidance on how to navigate colleges’ priorities).

I get it, Dr. Legatt. I've come far and I can celebrate, but what do I do if I want to get off the waitlist?

Here you go...

1) Don’t get on the waitlist in the first place. Sit back and review the options you have so far. Would you want to go to one of the available options over the waitlist option? If the answer is yes, DO NOT accept a place on the waitlist and...

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4 Ways Parents can Support College Applications

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2017

I recently commented on the role that parents can take to help their children with college. You can read that article here.

College applications can be a tough time for parents. You might find yourself feeling more anxious than usual, and you might find your relationship with your child is a little more strained.

This is not just a teenage thing, it's a college thing.

Here are my suggestions on four things parents can do to encourage and support their children without micromanaging them:

Tip 1: Practice active listening between you and your child. Have a conversation with your child where your only job is to listen. Resist the temptation to jump in and provide feedback and guidance. Process your student's feedback on your own time.

Have another conversation where you share your logistical concerns and hopes for your child's college aspirations. Focus your desires more on logistical (e.g. financial and location-based) rather than on guiding students to apply to the most prestigious...

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Should A Millennial Freelancer Get an MBA?

Uncategorized Mar 01, 2017

I had the opportunity to guest blog for Kaytie Zimmerman, Forbes contributor, and creator of Optimistic Millennial. 

For the article, which was on if a freelancer should apply to MBA programs, I shared my perspective about what admissions officers are looking for in MBA candidates, interviewed JoAnn Goldberg, a former admissions officer at Stanford, and Solenn Seguillion, a UC Berkeley MBA and freelancer. 

This article timely because, with the start of the year, recent grads will begin to make plans to apply for graduate school —and the MBA is the most popular master's degree. Experts predict that 50% of the workforce will be freelance by 2020, and many millennials work full-time or “side-hustle” as freelancers. With the rise in entrepreneurship as a profession, it will be interesting to see how popular MBAs remain, and how current freelancers will base their decisions about whether or not to apply. 


Here is the article. Thank...

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What does a college list have in common with a racecar?

Uncategorized Feb 23, 2017

This guest post is by college counselor Colleen-Boucher Robinson.


When I was a kid, one of the highlights of the week was going out for pizza after a softball game or a Girl Scout meeting. The parents would sit at the table and manage the chaos of 14 girls’ pizza topping preferences. And the kids would crowd into the tiny little arcade that boasted three or four video games. I was always most compelled by the racecar game, where you’d select your car (about which I knew nothing) and your location (Miami, Paris, Outer Space). What I remember most vividly about this game was the hypersensitive steering wheel. You’d nudge the wheel slightly to one side, and your car would go careening into the guardrail or off a cliff. It made me terrified of driving an actual car; I couldn’t believe my parents were skillful enough to keep the vehicle in a straight line on the road. Now I know that real cars aren’t like that, but that image has stuck with me, of...

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What Job Can I Get With This Degree?

Uncategorized Feb 14, 2017

Thanks to Dalyn Montgomery for this thought-provoking blog on asking the right kinds of questions to admissions officers and on the purpose of getting a Bachelor's degree.

Dalyn is the director of admissions and enrollment for the University of Redlands graduate and professional programs. He holds a B.S. in mass communications from the University of Utah and an M.S.Ed in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania. He blogs regularly at www.brohammas.com, and you can contact him at [email protected].

It happens so many times in meetings with prospective students, and it drives me nuts. We sit in my office, open the catalog and the question is asked, “What job can I get with this degree?” It is my second* least favorite question, and people ask it all the time.

On the surface, it sounds precisely like the right question to ask. After all, a person on the brink of investing thousands of dollars, years of their lives, and immeasurable sweat equity, should be...

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Pro-tips to Complete Your 2017-2018 Common Application Essay

Uncategorized Feb 09, 2017

Ah, Common App essays. One piece of writing that you'll be pleased to finish and submit sooner, rather than later!

In case you missed it, Common Application announced this year's prompts. Here are my pro-tips for each prompt:

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. [No change]

Opportunities: All admissions officers want to know the answer to the question: what makes you unique? This prompt is a safe choice to respond to the question about "what makes you unique" because you can highlight one quality of your personality, background or experiences that make you distinguishable from other candidates.

Dangers: There are a couple of dangers here. The first is that few teenagers truly understand what makes them unique. The second is that you could inadvertently focus too much on your awards and accomplishments, and not enough...

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How International Students can Attend High School in the U.S.

Uncategorized Feb 05, 2017

There is a trend for international students to study high school abroad in the U.S. for a smoother transition to U.S. colleges. 

For those students, here is my advice for how to attend high school in the U.S.

Step 0:
Make sure that your family can afford the high cost of studying abroad, and that it will be worth the return on investment. Finances may determine whether or not and the length of study abroad program.

Step 1:
Assess your language skills.

The relevant way to assess your skills is through taking the junior TOEFL test, targeted to students ages 11-15. The Junior TOEFL serves as an eligibility marker for students who are applying to private schools around the United States. Students should aim for a TOEFL score above 80.

For public schools in the United States, there is no eligibility exam; however, you need to have a guardian with established residency in the United States to enter public school. If your family plans to establish a new residence in the...

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How do you plan a great college visit with your teenager?

Uncategorized Feb 02, 2017

I was honored and grateful to comment to Reader's Digest about college tours!

You can read my quote in the article, and here are my full remarks about how you can plan a great college visit with your teenager: 

Personalize your visit. Don't just go on the campus tour. Email department chairs, professors, and students ahead of the visit to have a coffee chat or just a quick talk on the way to class. Research the academic department you are interested in, look up research in that department that's relevant to your interests, and discuss that work during your visit.  Remember to relate any questions about the college to your demonstrated interests and future goals for college. 

If you're a sports player, meet with a coach. For example, one of my students is a golfer, and met with the Cornell golf coach in anticipation of hoping to be a walk-on in the 2017-2018 academic year. Without that visit, my student would not have known that Cornell actually recruits only 50% of...

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5 Things to Prepare for Summer Program Applications

Uncategorized Jan 31, 2017

Ah, winter. In some places, like where I live in Philadelphia, it can be snowy and cold. Regardless of the weather, this time of of year is the perfect moment for high school students to plan for the summer. 

Here is my five-step process for how to prepare for and select summer programs:

1. First and foremost, students and families have to decide the desired outcome or goal for attending a summer program. While "looking good for college" is a potential byproduct of attending a summer program, it cannot be the primary goal. Instead, students and families should use the student's academic interests, professional goals (if any), and special talents to decide what summer programs are the best fit. For example, is the student an excellent flute player, but needs a boost to technique to take her expertise to the next level? Then, search for 3-4 music-based summer camps to apply to and start gathering application materials.

2. Most students will benefit...

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How to Balance Practicality and Passion with Graduate School Rankings

Uncategorized Jan 26, 2017

As a young professional or college student, have you ever been told to follow your heart, live your dream, or pursue your passion? While I definitely ascribe to and give this advice in my own life, it wouldn’t be wise for me to tell you to consider only your passion when making a decision about investing in graduate school. 

Even more problematic than a hyperfocus on passion is using the U.S. News rankings list as gospel of "fit." Some students I know fixate on a number… and formulate their graduate school list based on that number alone. 

Focusing too much on passion or rankings is a problem, as it limits you from formulating a practical and profitable action plan for graduate school. Ideally, you want to make a plan that will get you employed and paid 100% of the time.

Instead of US News, students should instead consider these (unsexy) rankings to balance their passions, desire for prestige, and need for...

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