Monthly Archives: March 2019

Common and Coalition App Essay Prompts

Next week is spring break for many students. Those looking for something to do might consider reviewing the Common App and Coalition App essay prompts, since next year’s are already available. Those for whom college is a few years out may also find it helpful to look now, for a couple of reasons:

  • Thinking about essays now may give you a lens through which to consider activities or incidents that come up during your high school year and to start establishing a narrative from them.
  • Reviewing previous years’ prompts shows that they don’t change significantly from year to year, especially since the last prompt for each is “a topic of your choice.”

Something else to think about: The Coalition App essay is 500-550 words; the Common App is up to 650. Students who need to use both applications should prepare themselves that the differences in length are likely to require them to write two different essays, even if they’re writing on the same topic.

Finding Money

Of his two college choices, my son is leaning heavily towards the more expensive one. (Good news: it’s not as much more expensive as we had originally thought, but still around $4,000-$5,000 more for freshman year, including transportation– not exactly chump change.) We tasked him with finding some ways to bring his costs down and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with what he’s learned. Continue reading Finding Money

Athletics and Admissions

David Leonhardt at the New York Times points out that the enrollment scandal all over the news this week would not happen but for the outsize role that athletics plays in college admissions. To summarize: admissions decisions give preferential treatment to excellence in a variety of areas beyond academics– music, art, social service, research activity, athletics. They also boost admissions chances for other groups including low-income, underrepresented minority, and legacy students. However, by far the biggest admissions boost went to recruited athletes, who were “30 percentage points more likely to be admitted than a nonathlete with the same academic record.” Continue reading Athletics and Admissions

Planning for All Four (or More) Years

A friend whose son is my twins’ age was surprised recently when I told her some of the colleges my daughter was applying to. She thought they seemed unlikely choices given my constant messaging of finding affordable schools. Her son was interested in some of the same ones and the net prices they found were quite high. The answer: we have the benefit of two children in college all four years. That means our EFC gets divided between then and in many cases, this yielded lower likely net costs. Good news for my Continue reading Planning for All Four (or More) Years