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June 13, 2018

To me, the secret about elite universities — or at least the fact that they prefer not to publicize overtly — is that the admissions game is far from fair, which most people would define as based on merit. The truth is that when it comes to admissions, the Ivies, Stanford, and other top schools have...

February 13, 2018

There is one — and only one — thing that a student must include in his or her main college admissions essay. You MUST provide a sense of who you are, how you think, and what you value. Doing so sounds simple. But it is not easy.

A good starting point is to avoid some mistakes. Try not to dwell on fig...

February 11, 2018

There is no shortage of evidence that large numbers of students from certain private and public high school end up at elite universities. As noted by others, many students from Boston Latin School go to Harvard and many from Princeton High School go to Princeton. When I got to Dartmouth, I flipped t...

February 6, 2018

For anyone interested in attending Harvard — or any other elite university — the question of developing a so-called spike is a good one.

The starting point should probably be understanding the context. Admissions offices at elite schools are inundated with applications from what I call “high numbers...

February 5, 2018

The role of the college admissions essays is to personalize an applicant who might otherwise be defined solely by grades and scores. Admissions officers get to see students as people, not numbers.

This differentiation becomes important in the process of applying for elite colleges, which receive thou...

February 2, 2018

Dartmouth, like all elite colleges, has qualities which are favored in the admissions process. Of the 2,092 students who were offered admission to the most recent class, 10% were recruited athletes, 9% were legacies, and 15% were the first in their family to attend college. Another 11% came from fro...

May 30, 2017

It is hard to look at Aaron, Nick, Nigel and Zach Wade -- all four accepted to both Yale and Harvard -- and see anything other than a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, a Haley’s Comet in the world of college admissions. I am confident that the odds of a similar success are low. Extremely low.

I am also...

July 6, 2016

"Cannon fodder" is the phrase that Amherst-admissions-officer-turned-college-counselor Willard Dix uses to describe the masses of high school students who apply by the tens of thousands to universities that accept as few as 5% of applicants. In a poignant piece on Forbes' website, Dix make...

June 26, 2016

The Common Application essay fills college-bound students with dread. High stakes mean that students are eager, or even desperate, to get it right. They spend a ton of time deciding which of the five essay prompts to answer. This time is wasted. Why? As explained in the Huffington Pos...

June 22, 2016

Back in the day, David Letterman took note of Kwasi Enin, a high school student who gained national notoriety when he was accepted at all eight Ivy League colleges. He ended up enrolling at Yale. But not before gaining immortality with his presentation of Top Ten Ways To Make Your College Essay Stan...

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Learn from the Yale Quadruplets' Essays

May 30, 2017

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