A visit to Harvard College

Author and two others pictured on steps in front of massive pillars of Widener Library
I have both good news and bad news for Harvard hopefuls. There is no formula for getting into Harvard. The university states this more than once on its website, and our experience with Harvard applicants confirms the sentiment. However, at a minimum, successful applicants are among the top 10 percent of their graduating class, get mostly As in the most rigorous courses offered, and can de...
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February College Expert Newsletter

February 2024 College Expert Newsletter-4x6
According to a survey of 30,000 college graduates, your experiences in college have a bigger impact on your job and life satisfaction than the college you attended. Which experiences matter most? Find out in our February issue. Other articles include: Focus on Majors, Minors and Concentrations – Choosing and customizing your academic path. Financial Matters – Comparing college financi...
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Making the Most of Your Summer

Are you longing for summer as much as we are? While you’re dreaming of warmer days, you should also start looking ahead for summer opportunities either close to home or on a college campus. While summer programs are completely optional, they are a great way to dive deeply into one of your interests, and colleges like to see how you’ve engaged with something you love outside of c...
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January College Expert Newsletter

Jan 2024 College Expert Newsletter
Preparing for college involves more than academics. Giving your student some freedom in high school will ease their transition after they graduate. Read five tips for how to get started. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Social Work – Passionate about helping others? Explore this alternative to psychology. Financial Matters – Considerations when applying for scholarships. Admiss...
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December College Expert Newsletter

December 2023 College Expert Newsletter
As you plan for college, it isn’t a bad idea to have a few career interests in mind. Not sure what you want to do? This month, we offer five ideas for connecting the dots between your interests, your major and potential careers. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Human Centered Design – Creating products for diverse users. Financial Matters – It’s time to complete the FAFSA and C...
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A Visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT Great Dome
By Sue Luse MIT has serious name recognition. Everyone has heard of MIT and immediately associates it with some of the brightest minds in science, math and technology. It isn’t for applicants who have a passing interest in a subject but deep passion and engagement beyond high school courses that they can demonstrate on their applications. MIT students are described as inventive, obsessed ...
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November College Expert Newsletter

November 2023 College Expert Newsletter
Building your college list? It’s important to understand an institution’s strengths. Some excel in engineering, while others may be tops in education or journalism. In this issue, we tell you what to look for in an academic department. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Viticulture and Enology – The study of winemaking and marketing.Financial Matters – Understanding financial aid ...
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October College Expert Newsletter

October 2023 College Expert Newsletter
Colleges will be on the lookout for ChatGPT generated essays, and while there are legitimate and helpful ways to use the technology, relying on it for writing is risky and ineffective. In this month's issue, read about the implications of ChatGPT. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/English – Career opportunities beyond writing and teaching. Financial Matters – Important changes t...
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September College Expert Newsletter

September 2023 College Expert Newsletter
You have your college list, now it’s time to decide on an application plan. Your decision can impact deadlines, when you’re notified and whether you’re making a binding commitment. In our September issue, we decode six options, including Early Decision and Early Action, and the pros, cons and requirements of each. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Animal Science – Careers in anim...
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What is the True Cost of College? Read Sue’s Interview in the Star Tribune

Star Tribune headline and image of dollars flowing out of graduation cap
College costs far exceed tuition, books and room and board. What’s the true cost of college? Sue was interviewed for a recent Star Tribune article addressing hidden costs that can add up to thousands of dollars. Read the article for budgeting and spending advice and learn why “who pays for what” should be addressed in advance.
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Four Trends Shaping College Admissions

College admissions is a changing landscape. Each year trends emerge as a result of new technology, new practices and shifting priorities. For example, years ago the introduction of the Common App streamlined the process and drove up applications. And after Covid, test optional became the norm rather than the exception. It’s important to consider trends like these as part of the college pl...
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June College Expert Newsletter

June 2023 College Expert Newsletter
Would you rather graduate from a prestigious school or debt-free? Do you love an intimate campus or the energy of a big city? Establishing priorities will help you build your college list. Learn more about finding your fit in our June issue. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Nutritional Sciences – Paths, opportunities and requirements for dietetics majors. Financial Matters – Th...
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Reflections on our Class of 2023

Silhouette of a group of graduates tossing caps
Each year, we are privileged to get to know our high school students across the state and country as they complete their college journey. And every May, we reflect on their stories and accomplishments with gratitude and awe. We are so proud of you, Class of 2023! This has been the most competitive year for admissions since we started College Expert 20+ years ago. Most colleges remained...
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The PSAT/NMSQT and SAT Going Digital

Bubble test and red No. 2 pencil
Bubble answer sheets and No. 2 pencil reminders will soon become a thing of the past with the launch of the new digital PSAT/NMSQT and SAT. In March 2023, the first digital SAT was administered internationally. The class of 2025 will take the new digital PSAT/NMSQT in 2023, and digital SATs will replace paper-based SATs in the US starting in March 2024. Advantages of the new digital forma...
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May College Expert Newsletter

Studying abroad is not only fun, some colleges require it – whether it’s a short stay, internship or extended immersion program. Wondering about your options for an international experience? Read our May issue! Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Molecular Biology – A path that leads to careers in research, medicine and bioengineering. Financial Matters – AP classes, employment an...
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A Visit to the University of Miami

View of fountain on Lake Osceola with white campus buildings in background
By Ryan Luse I have been to almost 20 colleges and universities in the Sunshine State, but logistics and timing never put me close to the University of Miami - until recently.  Speaking of location, this is an important point. Despite its name, the main campus is not located right in Miami. It is not located downtown. It is not located by South Beach either (which is probably for ...
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April College Expert Newsletter

College Expert newsletter banner
Colleges are looking beyond math and science skills to identify the most-qualified applicants for competitive STEM programs. Wondering if you have what it takes? Read our April issue! Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Communications Studies – A path that combines liberal arts with practical training. Financial Matters – Appealing financial aid awards. Dealing with Denial – How t...
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A Visit to Seattle University

By Isaac Eng Seattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic University located smack dab in the heart of Seattle’s bustling Capitol Hill neighborhood. Nestled between cutting-edge hospitals up the street on First Hill and the lively night life scene on Broadway Ave and 12th Street in Cap Hill proper, Seattle U is correctly described by its admissions officers to be an “oasis” i...
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Rochester Student Develops App to Support Peers Who are Struggling

Nandini facing camera smiling with laptop turned toward viewer showing SafeSphere app she developed
During her freshman year, Nandini noticed how isolation during the pandemic was affecting her own mental health as well as that of her peers. To elevate her mood, she turned to journaling, running and working out with her brother. She also began to think about how many people didn’t only struggle with mental health during the pandemic, but throughout their lives, and considered ways she could hel...
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March College Expert Newsletter

Want to really get to know a campus? Here are some tips for your next college visit. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/International Business – Cultural competence is in demand. Financial Matters – How to compare your financial aid packages. Navigating the Waitlist – Increasing your chance of acceptance while waiting.    College Visit Tips for Parents – Your to...
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A Visit to Swarthmore College

The backs of a group of students walking across campus past historic gray brick building on sunny day
By Sue Luse I visited several colleges in the Philadelphia area in early October, and months after my visit Swarthmore College still stands out. It is located in a beautiful suburban area, only 10 miles from Philly and with close, easy access to the airport. There is a train on campus to take students into Philly and all over the east coast, which gives students the flexibility to explore...
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Seven Great Ways to Get to Know a College

Three students walking outside science building
It’s never too soon to start researching colleges. If you’re college bound, then it’s time to begin. The better you understand your options, the easier it will be to build a college list that excites you and one in which you feel confident. Not sure where to start? There are a number of ways you can learn about a campus to determine if it is the right fit for you. Colleges responded quickl...
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A Visit to Grinnell College

Grinnell College sign and columns in fall
By Sue Luse We love sharing hidden gems with students. One of the benefits of working with us is we often can identify colleges that are just the right fit for a student but that may not be on their radar. Grinnell College is just that kind of school. With an enrollment of only 1,700 students, Grinnell is a small campus with a lot to offer. Located halfway between Des Moines and Cedar...
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December College Expert Newsletter

December 2022 College Expert Newsletter
Considering an honors program or college? The benefits go beyond a diploma designation. Read about the perks of undergraduate honors. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Biomedical Engineering – An aging population is driving demand in this field. Financial Matters – Writing your way to a college scholarship. Early Admission Decisions – What you need to do once early decisions rol...
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November 2022 College Expert Newsletter

November College Expert newsletter
While they may not ask specifically, colleges want to know how you’ll contribute to campus. Read our tips for making your case. Other articles include: Focus on Majors/Peace and Conflict Studies – A field that’s part theory, part hands-on experience. Financial Matters: Do you need to submit the CSS Profile? Impact – It’s an admissions buzzword, but what exactly are they looking ...
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