Great College Advice® Blog

The Demise of the SAT2 Subject Tests: Good News or Bad News for College Admission?

Hooray! The SAT2 Subject Tests are dead! But what does this news really mean for admission to highly selective colleges like the Ivy League? What will it mean for the colleges, for high schools, and for the College Board? A top college admission advisor prognosticates.


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Our college admissions blog offers application tips, reviews of individual colleges, and suggestions for how to make good decisions throughout your high school career to prepare for your educational future…and beyond.

student debt can be a heavy burden

Why Student Debt Is So Excessive – And How You Can Avoid It

Student debt in the US weighs down young people as they chase their personal & professional dreams. A college admissions consultant shares his tips for families to help them stay out of debt and find colleges that won't break the bank...and will create future opportunity for students.

How to Get Great Teacher Recommendation Letters in the Weird World of Covid

How do you build a relationship with teachers when you never see them in person? Covid complicates the process of getting a great teacher letter of recommendation. Read these tips for how to manage the weird world of online school.

What Does Test Optional Mean? It Means Take the Tests

What does "test optional" mean in college admissions, and how is it different from "test blind"? How should students and families decide whether to send scores or not? A college admissions consultant clarifies these policies and argues that most colleges still want your test scores--as long as they are really good. So take the tests. And get a really good score.

Malaysian student says Great College Advice has been “the highlight of my college application journey”

Zi is a Malaysian student who will attend Vanderbilt University. Zi worked with Mark Montgomery and the team
subjectivity in college admissions is a matter of comparing apples to oranges

The College Admissions Process and Covid-19–More Subjective Than Ever

Families continue to ask on a daily basis how Covid-19 will affect the admissions process.  The answers are

Expert Advice Matters for Admission to Top Universities

Every time I want to tamp down the pressure on high school students who are aiming for top

College Essay About Academic Interests

How do you write a college essay about academic interests for the Common Application or the Coalition application? Get expert tips to write the essay that college admissions officers want to read.

College Admissions and Covid-19: Summer Activities

Colleges want students who are involved in high school and who will stay involved in college. If you

Extracurricular Activities and Covid-19: Get Creative!

Stuck. Bored. Stir-crazy. Those are some of the sentiments we are hearing from our students. Without the ability
Study at University of St. Andrews in Scotland as an American

University of St. Andrews in Scotland – Undergrad Degrees for Americans

And why would an American want to study in Scotland, anyway? These are among the questions I get
students hanging out in a grassy area together

The Community Essay for College Applications

The community essay is an important, if common, supplemental prompt on college applications. It can be hard to write, but these tips help make it a breeze.

The College Extracurricular Activity Essay

How should you tackle that short essay about your favorite activity on the Common Application?
Learning disability concept and dyslexia or ADHD disorder

Disclosing Learning Differences on the College Application

Disclose Learning Differences on College Application…or Not? Nearly every week a student or two will ask me if
IB exams cancelled

IB exams cancelled due to Covid-19

Every spring around 200,000 students in International Baccalaureate (IB) high school programs worldwide study for and take subject
perfect Common App essay

Common App Essay: Choose Your Own Topic

Not sure what to write about for your Common Application college essay? Never fear: you can write about virtually anything--as long as your essay contains fundamental elements. Read Mark's tips here.
a sign that says "about me"

Coalition App Essay Prompts

The Coalition App essay prompts give you a springboard to write a perfect college admissions essay. This article shares tips for writing a winning personal statement for your college application.

College Admissions and COVID-19: Don’t Panic

College admissions and COVID-19. A combination to make you sick with worry. But don't panic. Keep calm. Read this article.
financial aid timeline for seniors

Financial Aid Timeline for High School Seniors

Financial aid planning for high school seniors is vital. Students and parents must work together to ensure that college is affordable. Read this guide.

Common App Essay – A Guide to the Prompts for a Perfect College Essay

The Common App essay is the most important way to stand out in the college application process. Writing it may be easier than you think. Check out this comprehensive guide.
Burning question mark

Email in the College Application Process

Email etiquette and the college application process. It's important. Email is still a primary form of communication, and you need to learn how to use it well.
stressed about college applications

Procrastination & Stress About College Applications

Stress about college applications is common. What can parents do about it? Here are some helpful tips.
college timeline for freshmen

College Timeline for Freshmen in High School

College bound? Here is a college timeline for freshmen in high school to get them prepared for college admission down the road.
letter of recommendation for college admission

Recommendations For College – Six Tips to Get Great Letters from Your Teachers

A strong LOR is vital to your college application. Getting that outstanding letter of recommendation depends on how you manage the process--and the people.
college timeline for sophomores and college application timeline

College Admissions Timeline for Sophomores

As you enter the 10th grade, you want to stay on top of things. This college admissions timeline
questions to ask college coaches

Questions to Ask Coaches: College Athletic Recruiting

What questions should you ask a college coach to ensure that this team, this coach, and this university are right for you? Check out this list to help you prepare for those conversations with college coaches during athletic recruiting.
study business in the Ivy League

Study Business in the Ivy League – Expert Advice

Want to study business in the Ivy League? If you want to get accepted to an Ivy League college and study business as an undergraduate, you may need to broaden your horizons.
Parent and child looking at a laptop

What Senior Year Courses Should You Take?

When making up their class schedule for senior year, juniors are often tempted to decrease their load. Not a good idea.