Seniors, it is September 18th. College doesn't start for 11 months. No college has closed admission, and one isn't likely to until November 30. After that, there will only be, oh, about 3000 other colleges to choose from.
Today's college-going students and the people who advise them know even less about college and careers than in my era, and college recruiters who visit schools aren't unbiased about where they want you to go to college.
It's not just about having a dream and safety school, especially in this highly competitive time. It's important for students to have realistic expectations about which institutions will be the best academic, financial, and social fit.
Since public colleges tend to charge higher tuition for out-of-state residents, how will affordability be defined? Why will graduation rates matter at two-year colleges, since students attending those schools are often looking to update skills, not to earn a degree?
The Best College in America does not exist. It's a myth. It would be too easy. Sure, it might be Stanford, as Forbes insists, but Forbes is only guessing. Consider the primary sources -- then ask yourself, not Forbes.
Does your high school student need a private admissions consultant? It depends on your situation. Can you afford one? It depends on the service, which can range from about $1000 to tens of thousands of dollars.
In recent years, applying to college has become almost as daunting as going to college -- and maybe even more so. The pressure to write essay after essay can be stifling. It can be downright overwhelming.
Sophomore year is the time to get serious about academics and extracurricular activities. If your freshman experience was not what you hoped it would be, don't worry; you can get a fresh start as a sophomore.
After four years of choosing the right classes, joining the right teams, trying to get leadership positions, waking up early on Saturday mornings to do community service and finally opening up the email that holds the decision, it's all over.
Earnest interest in applying to college may be doing more harm than good right now. Common Application is reporting a high number of students tweeting Common App to ask when they can start their applications.
While it's certainly possible a student will to try to "game" the system to an advantage -- with a financial aid package, for example -- colleges, like the NSA, will continue to be one step ahead in identifying some new system with better predictive value than the next.
Because there is so much to do, many students (and parents) worry themselves sick about getting every last piece in and on time. In order to assuage people's anxiety a bit, here is a list of things rising seniors need to do between June and the end of January.
Should rising high school seniors have to spend their summer working on Capitol Hill, discovering cures in a research lab or volunteering in exotic, far-flung locations in order to get into the school of their choice?
Those same classmates are swearing college will be different, that they'll be more focused and organized -- but that's only a hope, when what they really need is a plan. Be strong. Be you. Let the crowd pass by without you.