Getting In


The facts about college admission.


Finding Colleges That Are Affordable

Jeff Levy - Monday, June 02, 2014

When preparing your child's college list, parents are often underserved by professional consultants. Few college "experts" understand how to evaluate a family's financial profile and few financial planners know enough about colleges to recommend them knowledgeably. College consultants need to understand both of these worlds or they will be incapable of suggesting a sensible list to the family.   Read more

Dealing With the Disappointment

Jeff Levy - Saturday, April 05, 2014

Now that all the decisions are in, most high school seniors can say from tough personal experience, "There's nothing predictable about college admissions." One of my students was admitted to four of the most selective colleges in the country (including UC Berkeley) and denied at UCLA and Tulane. A colleague's student was waitlisted at her three Ivies. For students who took the risk of applying to a handful of dream schools and did not receive the results they hoped for, try to take this to heart...  Read more

These Anxious Last Days Before the Decisions Arrive

Jeff Levy - Saturday, March 01, 2014

In a few short weeks your kids will hear from their colleges. You may be as anxious as they are while you wait for the news, not knowing if you will be celebrating or consoling. These final weeks are a great opportunity to help your kids manage their expectations, preparing them for both the thrills and disappointments that are just ahead.  Read more

The SAT and ACT - How Are They Different?

Jeff Levy - Friday, February 28, 2014

As high school juniors begin to plan which standardized tests to take and when to take them, it's important to know how the SAT and ACT compare. The differences between the two are significant, and many students find they can do significantly better on one than the other. Here's how they compare...  Read more

February To Do List for Seniors and Parents

Jeff Levy - Friday, January 31, 2014

Those college application deadlines are almost behind you. Just as you think the worst is over, you realize...NO!!!! The FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE are due in two weeks! Will this nightmare ever be done?  Read more

February To Do List for Juniors

Jeff Levy - Thursday, January 30, 2014

If you've been watching any seniors during their college application process, you know that starting early will save you a lot of anxiety. What are some of the things you could be doing right now?  Read more

Early Admission Results - December, 2013 (Part 1)

Jeff Levy - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The early admission stats for the Class of 2018 are trickling in. What's the story behind these numbers? Do they tell us anything new about the admission process? Is there anything we can learn that will give an applicant a leg up?  Read more

Early Admission Results - December, 2013 (Part 2)

Jeff Levy - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking at the early admission results from Part 1 of this blog post, we might mistakenly assume that all competitive applicants benefit equally from these higher acceptance rates. Actually this advantage is spread unequally among applicants and applies to particular applicants based on the institution's enrollment needs.   Read more

FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE - The 10 Most Important Things to Know

Jeff Levy - Friday, November 29, 2013

Make sure you understand these important facts about the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE before applying for financial aid...  Read more

Average Student Debt at 40 Colleges

Jeff Levy - Friday, November 22, 2013

Average per-borrower student loan debt for the 2012 graduating class...  Read more

No-Loan Colleges Can Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs

Jeff Levy - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One approach to reducing college costs is to find institutions that have eliminated loans altogether from their financial aid packaging. Currently, there are fifteen such schools and many more that have eliminated loans for low to medium income applicants. Many of these schools, though not all, are among the most selective in the country, making this approach primarily useful for high-achieving students.  Read more

How the FAFSA Hurts Students

Jeff Levy - Monday, November 04, 2013

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't think that 9/11 was a government plot or that Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was made in Hollywood. But I do know this: colleges use the non-financial information parents provide on the FAFSA to systematically lower financial aid awards and deny admission to some students.  Read more

Before You Submit Your Common App...

Jeff Levy - Saturday, October 26, 2013

When you think you have completed the Common App and are ready to submit, you need to do one more thing...Preview!  Read more

The SAT is Here To Stay

Jeff Levy - Friday, October 25, 2013

October 24 was SAT score delivery day, one of seven during the calendar year. On these cruel Thursdays I've seen students become disappointed and even depressed over not reaching their target number, thinking that their college plans have been ruined.  Read more

The Great "Success" of the University of Chicago

Jeff Levy - Saturday, October 19, 2013

As its freshman acceptance rate plummets into the single digits, the University of Chicago's meteoric rise in the college rankings says a lot about the business of college admissions.  Read more

September - Time To Decide About Early Decision

Jeff Levy - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Many families believe that Early Decision is the best way to get into highly selective colleges. They know that ED admit rates are often higher than those of Regular Decision, sometimes even twice as high. And when looking at single digit RD admit rates, anything helps! But is applying Early Decision the right decision for all applicants?  Read more

Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

Jeff Levy - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Who's got a better shot at professional success...a graduate from an impressive name-brand college or a graduate from a school that's a great personal fit? Or doesn't it matter at all? The debate has been raging for years and will probably never get settled. You may be surprised to find out where these highly successful people went to college...   Read more

Obama's Plan - Will Ranking Colleges Make Them Cheaper?

Jeff Levy - Saturday, August 24, 2013

President Obama has just wrapped a two-day bus tour introducing the country to his plan to curb rising college costs and student debt. It's not much of a plan.  He said that by the 2015-2016 school year, it would look at "metrics like how much debt does the average student leave with, how easy is it to pay off, how many students graduate on time, how well do those graduates do in the workforce. The answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers."   Read more

August is Essay Brainstorming Month

Jeff Levy - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The 2013-2014 Common App will officially be unveiled on August 1. Many students think that the Personal Essay--that 650-word challenge to simply be yourself--is the most intimidating part of the application. "I'm not a good writer." "I've got nothing interesting to say." "I have no idea what a good essay topic is."  Read more

Good News From Oregon!

Jeff Levy - Monday, July 08, 2013

If you aren’t aware that college costs are out of control and student debt is a serious problem, you don’t have a pulse.  But during the same week that Congress allowed federal subsidized student loan interest rates to double from 3.4% to 6.8%, one state is actually trying to do something to solve the problem.  Read more