Getting into college is not rocket science. It is a lot of hard work, but it can be done. That's the mantra that authors Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde suggest to families in their book out today from Three Rivers Press, College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. Mamlet offers her insider view as a former dean of admission at Stanford, Swarthmore, and Sarah Lawrence. VanDeVelde is a journalist and parent of a college student, who recently went through the process herself. It's not as though they are trying to look at college admissions through rose-colored glasses. They ...


More students are going to college than ever before, but the road is rough if you are from a low-income family. Not only do you often lack the money for school, but the process of applying and getting financial aid can be daunting. Here's are some stark statistics: While 84 percent of high-income students enroll in college in the fall after high school, just 54 percent of those from low-income families go on to college, according to 2009 National Center for Education Statistics data. Poor students go to college at lower rates than wealthy students did 30 years ago. By ...


Information on the college-search process shouldn't be available only to those who can afford it. That's the idea behind a new Q&A platform, CampusSplash.com, launched this week by the founders of AdmissionSplash. Here, prospective college students can pose questions about the search process for free and get answers from current students, alumni, and other experts. Users indicate if they like or dislike the responses. "That's the beauty of crowdsourcing. You vote up or down on the answer. The answer on the top has the most votes," says Allen Gannett, the 20-year-old co-founder of CampusSplash, along with Anton Zolotov, ...


Touring colleges during the day and watching students go to class is one part of campus life. But it is on an overnight stay where prospective students get a true flavor of a school. What to know before you go? Rather than visiting on your own, it's best if you arrange an overnight through the admissions office, suggests Lisa Sohmer, director of college counseling at the Garden School in Jackson Heights, N.Y. That way the host student is vetted and prepared to make most of the experience— including taking the high school student to class, the dining hall, and ...


Higher degrees do make a difference on lifelong income, though race, gender, and ethnicity still have a substantial impact on wages, regardless of education level, a new study says.


This blog will be quiet for a few days (though there may be a few guest bloggers) as I take a break before gearing up for what promises to be a busy and exciting August. There will be much to follow as a new batch of freshmen transition to college life, experts examine the impact of the debt deal on the financial-aid front, and efforts to move the college-completion agenda forward continue. As always, I look forward to your feedback and ideas to make this blog helpful and relevant to readers from educators to policymakers to parents....


Students choose colleges for a variety of reasons. While cost is a key factor in where they enroll, a recent survey shows the most-cited reason for students' decision is the strength of the college's academic major. But what if you don't know what you want to study? You could go for the most lucrative career and look to the latest numbers comparing lifetime earnings by college major from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. For the floundering high school student searching for some direction in his or her college pursuits, Laurence Shatkin has written a new book, ...


It's Aug. 1. And that means rising high school seniors can officially dive into the Common Application for Undergraduate Admissions.


After wrapping up visits to college campuses this summer, many high school seniors are thinking about what schools they liked and why. The application for some requires students to translate those thoughts into an essay that answers the question: "Why do you want to go to X university?" This is a tough assignment. What are colleges really looking for? What kind of research should students do? When applying to several schools, how can students be authentic in conveying that X college is the one for them? For some answers, I turned to an expert: Sarah McGinty, an educational consultant in ...


As federal funding for financial aid remains uncertain, more activity took place on the advocacy front following Save Pell Day day on Monday. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Department of Education budget for FY 2012. He noted that the Pell Grant program was helping millions of Americans get new skills and that demand has skyrocketed from 6 million to 9 million grants in four years. "College has never been more necessary for success in the global economy, but it has never been more expensive and out of reach ...


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