Who thought that the royal wedding would bring new focus on college issues?

Between AP exams and PARCC testing, it hasn’t been a typical week around many high schools. Hopefully students, especially juniors, are gearing up to finish their academic years on a high note.

Royal Weekend In honor of this weekend’s Royal festivities, I took at look at the backgrounds of the happy couple. Prince Harry took a gap year after Eton and eventually found himself at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which trains all British Army officers. Meghan Markle earned her degree from Northwestern, where she studied theatre and international studies. Hmm . . . Northwestern. If that isn’t a challenging admit! But Meghan grew up in Hollywood, attended an all-girls’ Catholic school, and wound up in Evanston, IL. In a news release issued by Northwestern, Meghan’s theatre professor recalls, “Being a biracial actress, Meghan had a sophisticated view and understanding of what it means to be perceived and treated differently.”

The ED acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 was 26.5 percent, compared with Its overall rate of 8.4 percent. Northwestern, which takes about half of its class Early Decision, encourages candidates to apply ED:

“If Northwestern is your first choice for college, applying Early Decision best positions you within a competitive applicant pool. If you’re applying for financial aid, we use the same need-based process for financial aid awards for early decision and regular decision; your aid package will be the same regardless of when you apply.”

The university’s theatre major is highly regarded. For more information, I turned to colleague Amy Goldin, Principal Consultant at College Options in the Performing Arts (COPA), who provides this insight for prospective applicants:

” . . . today’s student needs to be as strong performance-wise in terms of talent, experience, and training, as he or she is academically. Theatre students come into the program with a great deal of experience and training already under their belts.The kinds of students that Northwestern takes start at a very high level of quality.”

Goldin notes that Northwestern is similarly “very strong in dance and also looks for those same kinds of high academic and highly skilled, talented, and experienced students.”


Summer Testing In the rush to complete AP tests and the academic year, some students are deferring their standardized tests until the summer. Other students testing this spring may just want another shot.

  1. The ACT is Saturday, July 14. Register by June 15.

  2. The SAT is Saturday, August 25. Register by July 27.

I do not believe that any rising juniors should use those dates to “get experience” or “get the test over with.” Rather, the dates are ideal for rising seniors needing to retest.

More on the Personal Essay Many people read with interest college essays from 2017-18 that were featured in the New York Times. These essays are often are written by students whose circumstances are not exactly common in my world of college counseling. After all, the article is called “5 High Schoolers and their College Application Essays About Work, Money and Social Class.” But this year, I was touched by the wonderful essay submitted by a young lady bound for Yale who wrote about her volunteer activity: helping the needy with their taxes. It taps into themes of good essays that I often emphasize with rising seniors, including writing about a job and making an essay uniquely their own. (If you’re the parent of a rising senior who needs help getting started, schedule an appointment.)

Want Your Kid Back (Near) Home? After all the fuss about getting in and eventually graduating from college, where might your student wind up? This week, the Wall Journal looked at where graduates move after they graduate college. The Journal teamed with a research firm and used data from over 400 universities. Here are some interesting findings:

The most popular urban draw for grads studied is New York City, still the most populous U.S. city.

The second most popular city for grads is Washington, DC, even though it’s the nation’s sixth in terms of population.

The Big East conference, which includes Georgetown and Villanova, sends 75 percent of grads to major urban areas.

The study concluded that over 25 percent of Ivy grads live in New York City, San Francisco, or Washington, DC.


Financial Issues This week, Business Insider released the nation’s most expensive colleges by state based on data released by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s interesting to look at, but what does it all mean? Remember that some of the nation’s most expensive colleges give the most attractive financial packages. But if you’re into trivia, here are some surprises:

  1. California: Harvey Mudd (not Stanford)

  2. Massachusetts: Amherst (not Harvard)

  3. New Jersey: Stevens (not Princeton)

  4. Pennsylvania: Drexel (not Penn)


Regarding the high prices, I reached out to college funding expert Beau Kuhn of College Application Training. According to Beau, “It is important to look at schools in all price ranges. Quite often the lowest sticker priced school ends up being a student’s mid-range school in price after all the financial and merit aid packages are awarded.”

If you’re up early tomorrow, enjoy the wedding. And if you’re thinking about college-related issues, be sure to get in touch before the end of the year.

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