College: A Real Opportunity for Lifelong Success

College can be worth the time and the cost. Over a person’s lifetime, a college degree usually leads to an additional $1 million or more. However, you should be smart about what college should be and how to get the most out of it. The first thing that students need to realize is this: college is not like middle school or high school. In college, they don’t tell you every course you have to take. You have choices. Over the four years of college, you will take between 30 and 40 classes. For each of these classes, you may have 25 choices from which to choose. You can select classes that you enjoy. Imagine that every class you take is fun! People study and work much better when what they’re doin

How Colleges Select Students

The college admissions process is complicated and confusing. College websites are not clearly written. High school counselors are overwhelmed and have very little time to explain the process to parents. Students share information with each other that is unreliable or incorrect. Understanding how colleges select students is the starting point for a successful college application. There are two basic methods used by college admissions officers: the “numbers” method and the “holistic” method. These evaluation methods are very different, and the results of these different processes can be surprising. Every year, students who are rejected by public colleges like the University of Florida are acce

The Importance of Recommendations

Many selective colleges require recommendation letters as part of their applications. Unfortunately, few students appreciate the importance of recommendations, and they often neglect to request the help of their teachers and counselors until it’s too late. The recommendations of adults are a primary source of information about applicants. While everything a student writes is biased, the observations of adults are more reliable. Teachers and counselors are well-positioned to help an applicant because they can compare and contrast the applicant to his or her classmates. For this reason, highly-selective colleges place great weight on recommendation letters. For example, Duke admissions repres

Tips for Getting Into the Best Colleges

There is a lot of misinformation about how the most highly-selective colleges evaluate potential students. Colleges select applicants by one of two basic methods. State and local universities use a “simple” method, focusing on SAT (or ACT) scores and grades. Although applicants are required to write essays, those with high scores are often selected without intense scrutiny of their essays. Particularly for in-state applicants, it’s purely a numbers game. The most selective colleges use a “holistic” approach, looking at all of an applicant’s qualities. This is why Stanford, which has no athletic scholarships, has won the Director’s Cup as America’s best athletic university for an astounding
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