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Will Colleges Know If I Apply to More Than One School Early?

I have a question about Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA). I am thinking of applying restrictive early action (REA) to Harvard or ED to Duke. Both obviously have limitations about where else I can apply. Ideally I'd like to do REA at Harvard, but even if I do that, I would possibly miss the...

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Infographic: Average SAT/ACT Scores at 20 US Colleges

With the majority of colleges operating under test-optional admission policies this year, some students wonder whether they should submit their existing SAT or ACT scores with their college applications. Many experts advise submitting scores that are at or above a particular school's average midpoint, especially for the most competitive institutions...

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9 Tips on Getting and Staying Organized in College

It's never too late to get organized, even if you were the type of high school student who flew by the seat of their pants, mixed up deadlines, pulled all-nighters and then forgot their work at home. Even if think you can manage with such "organized chaos" in a more challenging collegiate atmosphere, you can save...

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Activities Vs. Honors? Uploading a Resume? Check 3 Common App FAQs

I just started filling out my Common App and I have a few questions. First, one of my schools gives an option in Common App of uploading an "optional" resume. Is that important to do or is it okay to skip? Also, how do I list my honors/awards? Would an honor be serving as president of NHS? Because I already put that on my Activities list...

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See the Essay That Helped This Student Get into NYU

As part of College Confidential's essay series, we're sharing personal essays from students who were admitted to college during a prior admissions cycle. The student who wrote this as his essay was accepted to New York University, and we are sharing it with his permission.

"It's a mammoth tusk," my friend said.

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New Rankings Reveal the Top Colleges in 50 Categories

College rankings keep on coming. Have you ever encountered Stacker's rankings? They're interesting and the presentation is colorful and informative. They have a connection to Niche, a set of rankings I reviewed previously. You may want to add Stacker to your college search resources.

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College Selection During A Pandemic

As many college-bound high school seniors are aware, this is your Season of Selection. It's time to finalize the list of schools that will get your applications.
This has been a most unusual year. That's probably a huge understatement. However, don't allow the weirdness and dislocation of what has been going on in your life since the end of your junior year to distract your focus from the right way to select your colleges.

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Will Colleges Consider (Slightly) Late Test Scores?

I am taking the SAT this weekend and the ACT next weekend. There's a good chance my scores won't be back by my first deadline (October 15). Should I send them anyway? Is there a chance that colleges will allow slightly later test scores following the deadline? I have had a really hard time getting a test sitting this year. My PSAT was really high so...

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10 Last-Minute Mistakes Every College Applicant Should Avoid Making

Today we're sharing 10 common mistakes that experts see in college applications so you can avoid making them.

1. Dramatically Changing Essays, College Lists at the Last Minute
2. Not Following up on Missing Items in Your File
3. Failing to Carefully Read Instructions
4. Missing out on Prerequisites
5. Avoiding Specificity in Essays
6. Giving...

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Student Voices eBook Volume 3, Now Available for Download

In this volume, you will read the experiences of students who navigated issues such as waitlists and Early Decision applications. Sign up and get your copy of Student Voices - Volume 3 today.

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3 Ways STEM Students Can Stand out on College Applications

If you're applying to college as a STEM major, you might have concerns about how to differentiate yourself from your fellow applicants. After all, it's common to meet other students who have similar grades and test scores to yours, as well as the same extracurriculars. However, many students can...

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The 5 Traits Colleges Look for in Applicants

We already distilled the purpose of college essays into a single phrase: To prove you'll be successful in college and beyond.

Now we'll focus on how you can prove you'll be successful. The only way to prove future success is through your experiences to date. These must relate to one or more of the five traits colleges look for in...

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

See the Essay That Helped This Student Get Into Tufts

As part of College Confidential's essay series, we're sharing personal essays from students who were admitted to college during a prior admissions cycle. The student who wrote this as his essay was accepted to Tufts University, and we are sharing it with his permission.

"Do you only own one shirt? Or do you have a whole closet full of the same one?"

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Are AP Courses Imperative Instead of Dual-Enrollment?

My son is allowed to take dual-enrollment courses for free via the virtual high school curriculum, but we'd have to pay for AP classes. If he takes dual-enrollment-level Stats or Calculus, would that be enough for admission officers to see that he took a high level of rigor, or do I have to sign him up for the AP courses...

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Check These College Ranking Options: Part 2

As college rankings continue to captivate those seeking the best fit college for their needs, it's a good time to take a close look at how they might affect your college search. Earlier this week, in Part 1 of my discussion of alternatives to the U.S. News "Best Colleges" rankings, I wrote about the pros and cons of the Forbes "Top Colleges" rankings. Today I'll...

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Consult This Financial Aid Checklist as You Prep for the FAFSA

The free application for federal student aid, commonly referred to by its acronym, FAFSA, opens a week from today. This means that students and their families should start gathering the documents they'll need to complete their FAFSAs accurately.

To get an accurate picture of how the financial aid process works, College Confidential connected...

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Check These College Ranking Options: Part 1

If you're a follower of higher education news, then you probably heard that the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Colleges rankings came out last week. Many high school students and their families eagerly await this late-summer publication every year. They use it as a guide to see where their’ favored colleges stack up against others, according to the U.S. News edit...

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Who Am I Competing Against in College Admissions?

I am wondering exactly who I am competing against with my college applications. I'm an Asian public school student from Illinois applying for electrical engineering. If I apply to, say, Georgia Tech, am I competing against all other Asians across the spectrum? Am I competing against only other kids from Illinois? Only people majoring in EE? Only public school...

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5 Tips to Get You Through Tough Texts on the SAT/ACT

Reading passages on the SAT and ACT may seem difficult and intimidating: You don't know what sort of excerpts you're going to encounter, and when you first see the content, the paragraphs can come across as long and complex. We always suggest you follow your own Personal Order of Difficulty and begin with the passages you find the easiest, but when the time comes to take...

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Webinar Replay: FAFSA and Paying for College 101

Join us as College Confidential, FAFSA experts and financial aid officers take attendees through everything you need to know to complete the FAFSA for the 2021-22 school year. They'll also discuss strategies about paying for college.

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