What to do if you were rejected by all of your colleges

acceptance letter

I recently received this question from a student who is a senior in high school. "I was so disappointed that I did not get into any of the colleges I wanted to attend. I never expected to be left without any college choices. I have a 3.8, good test scores and extracurricular activities, but I must have applied to too many competitive schools and didn't think much about any safety schools. It has taken me a few weeks to decide I need to do something. As a private college counselor, I wondered what you might suggest.

My response was, "I know how difficult college rejection can be and I understand your concern about the future. Do not take the rejection personally. There are simply too many qualified students applying for a limited number of spaces at many schools.. I always encourage students to have at least two or three colleges or universities on their list where I feel quite confident they will be accepted. Sometimes even the best college planning leaves students disappointed."

However, there are a few different steps you might want to take:
1. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) will post a list on their website on Wednesday, May 4th, that provides the names of schools that still have availability in their freshmen class. Last year there were more than 250 schools on the list. It will be available to the public and will remain on the website until July 1st. Sometimes colleges do not get the number of students they expected to enroll and they want to fill their freshmen class. Check out the list and see if there are any colleges that interest you. I understand that many of these schools also have financial aid available.

2. Consider attending a community college for a semester or two and take some of your core classes. It is a good and inexpensive way to get some of your requirements taken care of and if you make good grades, you can transfer to any number of colleges or universities. It is often easier to get into a school as a transfer student than it is as a freshman. With your high school GPA, you should be able to do well.

3. Sometimes state universities have classes that you can take for credit if they are not filled by other freshmen students. You will need to talk with the admissions office at a particular school, but it is worth a try. They may have, for example, a college algebra class that still has three seats available after registration. Some colleges are eager to fill these empty seats and you may be able to take some core curriculum classes this way. Sometimes universities may even have dorm rooms that are available.

I hope this gives you some ideas. College admissions does not always go the way we expect it to, but neither does life.

Susie Watts is an private college counselor and the founder of College Direction in Denver, Colorado. To receive the free monthly College Direction newsletter, go to There is advice on college planning, paying for college, college majors, and college admissions trends. Susie assists students with their college search, applications and essays, and provides college counseling throughout the college admissions process.


Making your final college choice

The waiting is almost over as admission notices get sent out within the next few weeks.

Making an informed and correct college choice is crucial. Here are things to consider and keep in mind:

There are a variety of ways that each person goes about making their final decision. Factors in selecting a college may vary from person to person. However, there are some common questions that most should take into consideration.

1. Eliminate colleges that you would not consider attending. This may reduce your acceptance list and make the college choice a bit easier.

2. Proceed with caution if you have not visited the college. If you have not had an opportunity to visit and still have time before the final decision, then make time. It's not a good idea to accept an offer of admission if you have not visited the college. If you don't want to visit, then this college should most likely be removed from your list.

3. Academically, make sure your college has a host of opportunities especially if you have not decided on your major. You will want to explore different courses and want to make sure you have lots of options.

4. Most colleges do have lots of extracurricular activities. However, if you have special interests and activities in which you would like to partake, make sure your college has this available or that your choices of activities are nearby.

5. Consider the location of the college. If it's close to home, you should still not visit home within the first few months to give yourself a chance to acclimate to your new surroundings. You may gain that sense of independence quicker if you don't live at home and visit too frequently.

6. Social relationships in college are important. Don't make a decision based on where your friends are going to college. Your college years will be a great time to make many new and lasting friendships.

7. Although your family loves you and wants the best for you, the final college decision should be the student's decision. If you listen to your parents and it winds up not working out, there could be resentments. Parents should set some boundaries and discuss finances, but stay out of the decision.

8. Accept a period of transition when you start college. Know that you will grow, learn and change regardless of where you attend. The right college choice does have an impact on your life and perhaps your eventual career, so give it lots of thought and be thorough in your research.

9. Finances do play a major part in your final college decision. Students should discuss this with their families as some may need to take loans and others may choose to live at home for a period of time. You can call the financial aid offices of the various colleges to see how they can help.

Contact: Ph: 866.348.3393 for additional help
Jeannie received her Masters Degree in Education and Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology/Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is Founder and President of the Los Angeles based independent college counseling firm College Connections. She has an extensive educational background having served as counselor, school administrator, admissions director, teacher and curriculum supervisor. Jeannie is a Julliard School of Music alumni and has first hand experience in selective admission auditions in top tier performing arts programs. Jeannie regularly attends professional conferences, networks with colleagues and visits colleges throughout the United States building contacts within the admissions staff. Jeannie has been awarded professional membership with the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Her affiliation with the National and Western Association of College Admissions Counselors as well as the Higher Educational Consultants Association keeps her on the forefront of innovative and current trends in college admissions and education.


Gain an admissions advantage with social media

FB twitter

Five years ago, if you were applying to Stanford's Graduate School of Business, you likely wouldn't have known much about the program's dean beyond his official biography and a few interviews. Today, applicants know what conferences Dean Garth Saloner has attended recently, what articles he's reading, and even what his vanity license plate says—provided they follow him on Twitter. (In case you were wondering about that vanity plate, it's "Change 3," which refers to the Stanford GSB motto "Change lives, change organizations, change the world.")

Before the age of rampant blogging and social media, b-schools often seemed shrouded in mystery to those hoping to be admitted: What is the admissions committee really looking for? What kind of students get in? What restaurants do program deans frequent?

O.K., that last question probably wasn't foremost on applicants' minds, but now thanks to deans sharing snippets of their personal lives on Facebook and Twitter, social media-savvy applicants could indeed tell you where certain deans like to eat. More importantly, they have a far better handle on the application process and program cultures than would have been possible even a few years ago. Here are a few of the social media tools you can use to gain an insiders' perspective on the b-school communities you hope to join:

Deans' and professors' Twitter feeds: Often, deans and b-school professors use their Twitter feeds to share noteworthy articles and alumni news, so it behooves applicants to follow them. Of course, the sheer number of deans and professors who Tweet makes it difficult to keep up with all of them. The website Poets and Quants put together a helpful primer on deans worth following. I would add the deans of any other schools where you plan to apply to this list. Also, see if some of the well known professors in your departments of interest are on Twitter, and follow them.

Official program Facebook pages: M.B.A. programs including The Wharton School, the Ross School of Business, and the Yale School of Management all have official program Facebook pages that provide another method of keeping up with important program news. Simply "like" the program's page and its updates will be added to your Facebook wall.

Admissions blogs: When visiting the admissions websites of the schools where you're planning to apply, bookmark any admissions blogs that you find. At the very least, admissions directors and staff write about important application deadlines and events on these blogs. The best admissions blogs go even further, answering common applicant questions and giving advice on the application process. For example, the Chicago Booth admissions blog includes everything from announcements for student-hosted events to
advice on a preparing for a successful interview.

Student blogs: By reading student blogs, applicants can glean insights about the daily lives of current students and also get an idea of the variety of paths students have taken to get to b-school. For example, the Berkeley M.B.A. Student blog, which is updated frequently by several students and has archives dating back to 2006, should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in applying there. Most student bloggers also post their contact information, and you'll find that many of them welcome questions about their programs and will respond to you personally or may even use your question to prompt a blog post.

Once you've done your virtual homework on your top programs, it's still a good idea to make time for a campus visit. Face time with students and professors still trumps Facebook…at least for now.

By STACY BLACKMAN, U.S. News & World Report


College Board releases National AP Report

From College News - College Board study: Minorities do worse on AP exams.

College Board has released its National AP Report today, showing that minorities are stills struggling with Advanced Placement (AP) exams in public schools, according to the Huffington Post.

Unlike SAT scores, which allow students to gain acceptance to universities, high AP scores can provide students college credit before they even graduate from high school. According to the College Board report, the number of minorities who actually take AP exams has tripled since 2001. However, only 14 percent of Hispanic and Latino students, and four percent of African American students in 2010’s graduating class, got passing grades on such tests.

“ I wish we could fix this overnight, but it doesn’t fix overnight,” Marica Cullen of the Illinois State Board of Education told the Chicago Tribune. “When you bring in more test-takers, you get more students who are edging over and challenging themselves for the first time. It’s a long process ... to set the bar higher and help kids achieve.”

In general, according to the College Board report, the number of high school students taking college-level courses is growing nationwide. About 508,818 students took 2.5 million AP tests last academic year. According to the Washington Post, Maryland ranked No. 1 in the nation for the third year in a row in high school graduates who passed AP exams.

Overall, College Board has been revamping AP exams to reflect students’ analytical skills more than their knowledge of individual facts. If you want to see more trends from the national report, look at this excellent interactive graph explaining the results on

By Alina Dain


Facebook app gives college applicants a break

From College News - New facebook app tells chance of college acceptance.
With more than 2,000 universities all over the country, applying to college can be a bit overwhelming. Anyone who was, or still is, in high school can relate to the feeling of anxiety as you wait for that college acceptance letter. However, the wait could be over with the new facebook app.
On Tuesday, Facebook launched a new app called Admission Splash that will make the application process much easier. It will show prospective college students how likely it is for them to get into any school. The app asks basic information from the student including test scores, address and whether they volunteer or play sports. The app will then give the student a rating ranging from “very poor” to “very good” of getting into the school.

According to CNN, Admission Splash currently runs customized equations for about 1,500 schools that it developed using the admission data released by the schools.

However, do not be discouraged if you get a low rating for a particular school. “Although high school grade point average and standardized test scores are important indicators of academic achievement used in UCLA’s admissions review, they only tell part of the story” UCLA’s prospective student Web site states.

Admission Splash does not take essays into account, which is a pretty big part of the application process. So before you jump to conclusions from your results, you should still apply and wait for your real acceptance letter.

If you are applying right now, also consider the new widget on Facebook called College Planner. This lets prospective college students research schools and then apply to them without actually leaving their Facebook profiles. According to Cnet, you can also see which people on your friend list are interested in the same schools.
Whichever way you decide to take the application process, remember it is how you stand out on your own that matters, not how you apply.

By Candice Silva


How to ace the college interview

The college interview is often an important part of the admissions process, one that many students stress over. While every interview is different, they do have many things in common, and following certain steps can help you ace it.

Take the interview as seriously as you would an important job interview

Ask your guidance counselor for examples of some common interview question, then practice them with someone - a friend, a parent, a teacher - so you can get an idea of what you might say. Dress up for the big day in business or business-casual attire, and avoid showing up late.

Come prepared

Bring a copy of your resume with you. If you don't already have one, prepare one that includes any jobs you've held, extra-curricula activities you did, your volunteer work, awards you've won, and anything else that makes you seem worthy of admission. It can also help guide the interview - your interviewer will probably use it as a spring-board for asking you questions.

Bring questions and take notes

The interview is as much an opportunity for you to get to know the school on a more personal level as it is for them to get to know you. At the end you will be asked if you have any more questions - if you don't it will seem like you lack real interest in the college. Your interviewer will either be an alum or a current employee, so take advantage! Ask questions whose answers can't easily be found on the admissions website. But make sure to curb your enthusiasm - excessively fawning over the university can seem insincere. Don't forget to write down the answers you're given; later, this list might become an important tool for choosing between schools.

Be yourself

Unless you are an accomplished actor, an interviewer will probably be able to tell if you're projecting a false image of yourself. If you figure out what your best traits are and how to highlight them, you can use that knowledge to give you the confidence to shine. Your enthusiasm for the school will likely show through, and you'll be one step closer to your undergraduate education.

- Modupe Akinnawonu, Examville Blog Contributor

Modupe Akinnawonu is a Blog Contributor at Examville is a global online education platform where users can connect and interact with others from around the world. Our innovative platform creates an open, virtual meeting place that allows for learning without borders. Examville facilitates online user-to-user collaborative learning at an affordable cost.


Test prep for the SAT and ACT - what you don't know might hurt you

Since the SAT and ACT are important criteria for college admissions, you should not assume that your student can take these tests with no preparation. Test scores can make or break a student's chances for college acceptance and scholarships. Most experts believe that a good test prep course can help to improve students' SAT and ACT scores. Here are 5 tips to find a good SAT and ACT course near you:

1. The teaching is most important. Most test prep courses offer similar information, but a good course will have a teacher who can motivate the students. The course should be taught by an experienced coach, not a high school teacher or someone who has only scored high on the SAT and ACT.

2. The course should be affordable. There is no reason why parents need to spend $1000 for a course. Paying more does not make a course better nor does a big name make it more effective. Parents should contact local, small test prep companies and inquire about what they offer before they sign up for another SAT or ACT course.

3. Students should practice and take real tests. Students should only take test prep courses that utilize tests that are published by the College Board and the ACT. Practice should also be done on real tests. This helps students to know exactly what to expect and makes for a less stressful experience. What good is practice if you are not using the real thing?

4. The course should focus on content and strategies. Parents should inquire about whether a course focuses on test-taking strategies or also includes practice materials with review and explanations. Students need to understand the content of the test, but they also need to know how to approach each part of the test and some test-taking techniques that will help them improve their scores.

5. A test prep course should fit the needs of your child. Is the course small enough to be beneficial? A course should include no more than 8-10 students. Does it take too much time away from homework and other activities? Students should spend only as much time as they need and once a week classes should be sufficient. Will your student learn how to handle anxiety and gain confidence? Stress relieving practices should be introduced and practiced.

Parents should always read the fine print of any test prep course. There are no score guarantees in spite of what you may be told. Students are usually given the opportunity to retake the course, but parents do not receive their money back.

Small improvements in test scores can make a difference in college admissions. That's why test prep can contribute to the overall success of a student's chances for college acceptance.

For more information on test prep or to receive a free college planning newsletter, go to Susie Watts is an educational consultant and test prep coach in Denver, Colorado. She is the founder of College Direction. Susie has been working with students for more than twenty years. Susie provides test prep for the SAT and ACT through tutoring, small classes, and an online program where she is able to monitor a student's progress. She also assists students with their college search, applications and essays, and college counseling throughout the college admissions process.

By Susie Watts, founder of College Direction in Denver, Colorado. She also works with students from other areas of the country. She assists high school students with the college search, applications, essays, and college counseling to help them become stronger college applicants. She is also a test prep coach for the SAT and ACT and provides individual tutoring, small classes, and an excellent online SAT/ACT course. She helps students with learning disabilities and works with student-athletes to find schools that are a good fit for them academically and athletically. Susie has been working with students for more than twenty years. As an educational consultant, her goal is to help students have success in college admissions. She is a member of five professional organizations and continues her educational development through state and national conferences and seminars. She also visits colleges and universities on a regular basis to determine what makes one unique from another. She is a writer who enjoys sharing her knowledge of college admissions, test prep, and the specifics of applying to college and finding ways to afford it.


7 ways to score 36 on your ACT test

Score a 36 on your ACT test? Wouldn't that be great? I can hear you thinking, "How am I going to do that?" Obviously you're going to have to start with some basic intelligence and some knowledge in Math, Science, English and Reading. But, I'm assuming you have a lot of that already, or can get some help from a competent tutor. You probably have more knowledge in those subjects than you give yourself credit for. So, in addition to applying your own natural capabilities, here are seven more ways to improve your ACT test score, and maybe even earn that top score of 36.

(1) Preparing for the test beforehand can be hard work, but is critical to help you score higher. If you go in blind without preparing, I guarantee you will get surprised by the unexpected. Get yourself a good ACT test prep book such as The Real ACT Prep Guide or from Barrons, Princeton, McGraw-Hills or get several.* Read the book(s) well and take the practice tests to see how you do on each of the four sections. This will help you know what kind of questions to expect in the actual test, and will tell you which section you need the most help with, if any. The test prep books also help you understand what kind of strategy you need to follow to score better on the real test. Take the practice tests under conditions that will be similar to those you will experience in the actual test (for example, on a Saturday morning in a quiet well lit room with no distractions like a TV or cell phone).

(2) Don't try to cram your review of the test prep book and your practice test taking into a few days. Spread it out over at least a month or even two, spending one to three hours per day on your test preparation. By giving yourself enough time, you'll absorb everything better and will be able to get help on any subjects you may not have quite mastered.

(3) When you take the practice tests, make sure you only allow yourself the amount of time you will actually have during the real test for each section. Use a stopwatch or alarm clock to make sure you stop after the allotted time. If you have trouble finishing in time, you should take another practice test forcing yourself to do one of two things; either mentally focus on speeding up answering each question, or set the timer for less time than the actual test will allow so you know you must answer questions faster. For example, if the test allows 30 minutes, set the timer for 20 minutes.

(4) Answer the questions in all sections of the practice test before you look at the answers in the back of the book. You have to practice relying on your own knowledge and thought process before relying on the book's answers. The answers at the back of the book are there just to check your answers and to show you which problems or sections you need to spend more time on. The ACT rewards you for correct answers and essentially doesn't penalize you for incorrect answers, so if you don't know the answer for sure, make an educated guess. Don't leave any question unanswered unless you completely run out of time.

(5) For the reading section, you should read the questions first and then read the text you are supposed to be answering the questions about. This seems to help many students tie in the questions to the context of the reading passages. It may help you to read the passage as if you were the author and you are reading what you just wrote. What would you have been thinking about if you just wrote the passage? What would you have been trying to say? What facts were you presenting? Then, answer the questions in the practice test for that passage.

(6) If you find a number of questions you can't answer correctly, or perhaps one of the four sections that gives you a significant problem, get some help from a qualified tutor who offers ACT test prep assistance. Don't assume that the actual test will be any easier than your practice tests. It won't be. If you need help, get it now before you take the real ACT test.

(7) On the day before the real test, get plenty of rest and good nights sleep. Have a healthy light breakfast in the morning and head off to the test well prepared. Make sure you have everything you need for the test including a calculator, pencils and your admissions ticket. Expect to be a bit nervous. It's natural. Expect to find at least a few questions that throw you a little. For those questions, take an educated guess at the answer by eliminating any answer that can't logically be correct and choosing the best of the remaining choices. Don't panic. With all your preparation, you will score better than you would have before the preparation. Maybe even that coveted 36. And, even if you don't like your score, you can take the test again and keep the best score. Good luck and here's to you scoring your best on the ACT.

If you are looking for a ACT tutor in Naperville, IL please visit us at Descriptions and a few tips of some of the ACT prep offerings are available for viewing on our ACT resource page.

© Joan Geyer Kaliher All rights reserved Permission granted to reprint with author, Joan Geyer Kaliher and website link provided.


Secrets to college application process

Planning to get into college can be one of the toughest tasks a student has to make and can be the most stressful time in a teen's life. However, understanding the college application process can greatly help a student in his or her search for a bright college life.

Application Strategy

Though there may be no exact rule or limit to the number of applications one should send, it is generally ideal to submit applications to 6 to 8 colleges or universities. It is also wise to come up with a final college list which has the following categories:

  • Reach College. These are colleges that may pose application challenges but applying is worth a try. You may choose 1 to 2 schools for this group.
  • Realistic/Probables. These are colleges that are close to what you are looking for and most likely have the chance of being accepted. You may choose 2 to 4 colleges or universities for this group.
  • Safeties. You can choose 1 or 2 colleges that you think you are very confident with. At least you think you have a 90% to 100% chance of being accepted and that you know you can afford studying there. These

There are students who choose 2 or more for the reach and realistic groups and more for the safeties. However, if you are deciding from the safeties group, you should make sure that you are really happy to attend these colleges. Always take time to consider all your options. Make sure that at the end of the day, you are happy and contented on what you have decided.

Application Procedures

Once you have finalized your school list, you must now secure your applications and catalogs from those schools. It is very important that you have read and follow their application requirements and directions as stated in their information. You may ask to fill out forms and submit necessary documents to support your application. If you are confused and would need help, you can always visit your counselor to ask for advice. Remember, as a responsible student, you need to know the details applicable to each school that you are applying. Always check for admission requirements, deadlines and tests to be taken.

By Jane Ward, Want the # 1 secret to choosing the right college and major while saving up to $26,000 in the process? Get this and more in our free college exploration video.


Do colleges look at PSAT scores? The truth about the PSAT!

During the college application process for many senior students, the question arises: do colleges look at PSAT scores? However, many students and parents don't even know what the PSAT actually is, how the scores are used, and if they even HAVE a PSAT score!

In this article, we'll first clarify what the PSAT is, how the scores are used and attempt to answer the question that got you here in the first place: Do Colleges Look at PSAT Scores?

First let's explain what it is. The PSAT is an acronym for the "Preliminary SAT" test. So basically it's a test that is administered to high school Juniors (and sometimes Sophomores and Freshman) as a practice for the real SAT subject test that may or may not be taken by a student. Remember, the SAT is a form of college entrance exam/test and is sometimes required for admission. However, most schools across the country will require only the ACT test for admission.

The PSAT covers 3 different sections:

  • Critical Reading Skills
  • Math Problem Solving Skills
  • Writing Skills

You will receive a score in each section that will be added up together to form your overall PSAT score.

So, how do you use the PSAT scores and what are they even for? Well, the test is developed to do a couple main things:

First, it measures your ability and give you an idea of what areas you need to brush up on before taking the actual SAT tests. And secondly, the PSAT is also associated with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and if a student does well enough on the test, he or she could qualify themselves as a National Merit Finalist which could have some scholarship money associated with it.

But don't get your hopes up yet. Only a very select group of students do well enough on the test to gain "finalist" status and then get awarded scholarship money. If you don't win a scholarship, just becoming "commended" or a finalist goes a long way with college admission and looks very good on your transcript.

So, do college look at PSAT scores. The answer to that is NO, absolutely not. When you apply to the college of your choice, you will be sending in an application, any recommendation letters or essays (if they ask for them) and an official high school transcript. The ONLY way they can see a PSAT score is if it's listed on your transcript. If it is, you can have it removed but 99% of high schools across the country do not list this score on an official transcript.

Once you take the actual SAT, those scores can be sent to the colleges, but again: If you don't want them sent you can have them removed from you transcript before applying for college admission.

By E. Thomas, College Admissions is different every single year, and it's getting harder and more competitive! Just making the slightest mistake in high school course selection, involvement or even on your application can make or break your chances of getting accepted to college. Taking an active role in your education NOW is the first step to a successful future! Stop by College Prep University to get your FREE report: Top 10 Reasons You WON'T Get Into College!


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