Far too many students don’t have anything worthwhile to say in their conclusions to application essays about why they want to attend a particular college or university. If you are completely out of ideas, it’s always a good idea to express appreciation at the end of your college-specific essays.
Depending on when you are reading this, you may be just days away from learning whether or not you have earned early action or early decision admission to your top choice college or university. Or you may have just gotten the news you dreaded most.
If you get in, celebrate and congratulate yourself (and all those who have supported you) for such a terrific achievement.
If you don’t get in, don’t flip out! It is human nature to become quite sad when one does not get what one wants. We all handle disappointment differently, so some of you who are rejected may scream, cry, or stay in bed all day, while others may simply go for a run, workout at the gym, or eat a lot of ice cream.
While you can react in any of the above ways in the moments and hours immediately following bad news, I suggest that you reengage with the college admissions process quickly in order to increase your chances of getting acceptance letters from colleges that you have applied to (or will apply to) regular decision.
Make sure to finish up your applications strong before your regular decision college application deadlines. Make sure to request on that your transcripts be sent to regular decision colleges if you have not already done so. And make sure to have CollegeBoard and/or ACT, Inc. send your test scores promptly to all colleges still pending on your list.
Watch below for some more tips on how to recover from ED/EA rejection.
If you only have one more spot to fill on your college list and it comes down to Northwestern University or Washington University in St. Louis, here are the factors you should consider before making the final cut.
Enjoy this installment of College List Deathmatch below!
When deciding how to apply to a particular college, many students look for that college’s final application deadline, and then, working backwards in their minds, such students decide that they simply need to get all of their application materials into that college by that application deadline date. What such students fail to realize is that many (but not all) colleges that have such Regular Decision application deadlines also review applications and make admissions decisions on an ongoing basis well before their application deadlines.
Don’t be Regular if you can help it! What I mean by that statement is this: while many colleges have Regular Decision application deadlines (usually in January through March) many of these same colleges will review applications and make decisions on such applications well before their drop-dead deadlines (in most cases Regular Decision deadlines, but in other cases these are known as simply “Application Deadlines” at colleges where the deadlines extend very late – approximately late spring through summer). Don’t treat such colleges as Regular Decision for your purposes. Treat them as Rolling!
When you apply Regular Decision you are applying by the college’s Regular deadline. Students can apply to more than one college Regular Decision. Regular Decision admissions decisions tend to be received by students between March and April. When a college is Rolling Admissions, it reviews applications on an ongoing basis and accepts students on a space available basis. Students can apply to more than one college Rolling Admissions as well.
Yet, many of the same colleges that will let you throw in an application by a Regular deadline also review applications by either an earlier Priority or Early (Action or Decision) deadline OR are simply Rolling Admissions colleges.
Of course you would want to apply to a college that offers both Priority and Regular deadlines by the Priority deadline! After all, what’s the definition of priority?! Early Decision can come with major pros and cons. Early Action is generally a good idea for students to consider as well.
But in the case of colleges that offer Rolling Admissions – again, when a college reviews applications as they are received and makes decisions on an on-going basis – it is always best to apply to any such college as soon as you have decided on applying to that college. Some Rolling Admissions colleges don’t have any application deadlines, but a good number of Rolling Admissions colleges do have firm deadlines. Which means they are both Regular Decision and Rolling Admissions colleges. In such a scenario, you want to get your application in ASAP.
Some examples include Indiana University (which has a Regular deadline of February 1, but starts rolling out admissions decisions as early as September; it should also be noted that IU has an EA deadline of November 1), University of Arizona (Regular deadline is February 14, but I regularly have students who have gotten into Arizona by mid-September of their senior years), and Penn State University (which has a Regular deadline of November 30, but also is famous for rolling out decisions in tranche after tranche starting in November; like IU, Penn State also has an EA deadline these days of November 1). Many private colleges also roll out their decisions starting in either the fall or early winter.
The bottom line is this: always work your hardest to determine as early as possible whether colleges on your list review applications on a Rolling basis and make admissions decisions on a space available basis – even if these colleges have firm Regular Decision application deadlines. Colleges that do this are often objectively easier to get into the earlier in the admissions cycle that you can apply. So apply as early as possible if you can put together a strong application early in the fall. Other than Instant Admissions, my favorite way for students to apply to college is Rolling Admissions, and now you can see why. It’s a great feeling knowing you have gotten into one or more colleges by Thanksgiving of your senior year in high school without having to commit to attending such colleges until much later in your senior year (usually by May 1).
So, embrace the superficial contradiction and celebrate colleges that are both Regular Decision and Rolling Admissions because in so doing you will always treat such colleges as Rolling at heart.
Restrictive Early Action and Single-Choice Early Action policies used by hyper-selective colleges such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton aren’t as restrictive as you may think. These colleges still allow you to apply to two classes of colleges at the same time as applying REA or S-CEA. There is no reason why you can’t receive admissions decisions from multiple colleges by no later than January of your senior year in high school. Don’t use REA or S-CEA as an excuse to apply to most colleges Regular Decision.
Find out if you should self-report your weighted or unweighted GPA on your college application, including the Common Application. The importance of the answer may surprise you.
The most successful college applicants (the ones who get into America’s top colleges) demonstrate interest AND demonstrate addictions. Yes, you read that right. Watch the video to learn more.
When registering for standardized tests and filling out college and university applications be ready to provide your high school’s CEEB code, which helps your counselor and admissions officers.
Picture it. You are all alone in your bedroom at 11:47 p.m. on a Tuesday night.
By day you are an overloaded high school senior year who feels dominated by IB or AP course assignments, juggling the responsibilities that come with leading four time-sucking extracurricular activities, and cramming to get an 800 on your fourth SAT Subject Test.
Unlike your classmates who could best be described as one or more of the following —
- Ivy League legacies
- Recruitable athletes
- Paying unscrupulous New York, LA, or Palm Beach consultants to write their applications for them
- Paying dastardly ‘doctors’ to write faux concussion, migraine, or Crohn’s Disease sick notes for them in order to secure very real SAT or ACT extended time testing accommodations
- Underrepresented minorities who, ironically, also happen to be children of doctors, lawyers, bankers, bureaucrats, or other assorted white collar professionals
- Full-pay international students
- Completely disinterested in college (and, as a result, probably far smarter than you give them credit for)
— you are going to have to actually earn your way into an Ivy on your own! So, you find yourself staring at your computer screen at nearly midnight and into the abyss that is the Common Application filled with various application supplements that you have yet to complete.
By night, you must shift into truly high gear. You need inspiration. You are tapped out from doing summersaults throughout high school but you can’t afford to get tired now when there are so few spots at America’s ‘top’ colleges for students who actually have to earn their way into them on their own – with their own wits and moxie. Your fate will depend on your wisdom and your will – and whether or not a lot of legacies et al. are applying to your first choice college this year.
You have to work for at least two more hours to draft essays if your final essay drafts will ever be of the quality that they need to be to get you in. You turn to YouTube for a song or a soundtrack to pump you up; yet, most of the tracks that pop up aren’t capable of taking you to the level that you need to be at in order to pump out what you need to pump out tonight – and every night – between now and November 1, the date when you aim to submit all of your college applications to your one Early Decision, five Early Action, two Priority, and two Rolling admission colleges.
You turn to Google to find inspiration and you type in, “College Application Completion Playlists” or “Motivational Songs” or “EDM Motivation” or some other search query that gets you to this blessed page where you find yourself right now.
Without further ado, here they are – the top 20+ tracks to have playing in the background as you complete your college applications, especially the essays, if you are serious about doing all that you can do to get in by virtue of your work ethic alone:
21. T-Pain – Best Love Song ft. Chris Brown
You really do need to consider your college application supplemental essays as individualized ‘love songs’ to each college on your list. If you write a generic love note or song to a potential love interest, he or she is not going to take your seriously, and the same goes with colleges getting a generic supplement from you. This track underscores the point that you are in the love song writing business until you are finished each and every app that has supplemental writing.
20. Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now
That feeling you get either when your writer’s block clears or you realize the sun is rising and school starts in two hours.
19. Alex Gaudino feat. Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria
Because, let’s face it, even if you put in 200% effort over the coming nights, the “destination [is] unknown” and you very well may end up at Michigan or Wisconsin.
18. Ida Corr vs Fedde Le Grand Let Me Think About It (Extended)
What the heck is your favorite word and why? Come on UVA! “Let me think about it.”
17. Better Off Alone
No. You won’t be better off alone. The very thought of a gap year “alone” scares/inspires you to complete a better application during the dead of night. Plus, you can’t afford a gap year to find yourself like Malia or your lax-playing buddies.
16. Gina G Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit
This one’s good because it reminds you that one day this will all be over. You can do it! “Just a little bit” more.
15. Viola Wills – If You Could Read My Mind
Why can’t the admissions officers “just read my mind” instead of forcing me to communicate well in 650 words or fewer? After all, you’ve likely endured an extremely poor education in English throughout your K-12 career due to too many English teachers being focused on serving up critical theory rather than traditional literary analysis, strong writing instruction, or any sort of celebration of the best works of Western Civilization. By the way, there are a lot of versions of this song, but we chose this one because Viola Wills put her soul into it – just like you will need to put your soul into your apps.
14. Lighthouse Family – High
“When you are close to tears remember, someday it will all be over, one day we’re going to get so high!” Enough said, but don’t do drugs, even if it’s legal.
13. Don’t Stop Believin’
Don’t stop believin’ that you will get in…unless you are honest and of Asian heritage, in which case, just stop believing because the Ivies value ‘diversity,’ which is code for ‘they have more Asians than they currently wish to accept.’ Your only hope is the Supreme Court.
12. The Jacksons – Can You Feel It [Audio HQ] HD
Can you feel the acceptance notifications coming your way?
11. Cass Elliot – Make Your Own Kind of Music (HQ)
Because, really, you do need to be true to who you are and utterly unique if you are going to have any chance of getting into Harvard, Princeton, or Yale without any of the characteristics mentioned in that bulleted list above.
10. One Day More! – Les Misérables – 10th Anniversary Concert
Only play this one on October 31 – or the day before you know you will be finished your dastardly applications once and for all.
9. Michael Ball, Alfie Boe – He Lives In You (From “The Lion King” / Lyric Video)
Indeed, you must, “have faith” and “he does live in you!” You need to draw on generations of your ancestors to find strength. After all, if they could get through famines, wars, living without an iPhone, you can complete a few college applications.
8. Avicii – Levels
You need a good feeling or two right about now.
7. Jason Derulo – “Want To Want Me” (Official Video)
“It’s too hard to sleep…” Please, Columbia and Brown, I just “want you to want me”…despite you preferring well-connected social justice activists and loaded legacies…or better yet, those who check both of those boxes. :-/
6. Deorro x Chris Brown – Five More Hours (Official Video)
Whether you are up against the deadline on November 1 with just five more hours to go or “you are just getting started,” this one works.
5. P!nk – So What (Official Music Video)
“So, what?” Even if I have to go to Emory, “I’m still a rockstar!”
4. Bob Seger – Hollywood Nights (Lyrics)
At least you can comfort yourself knowing that you are not Aunt Becky or a Desperate Housewife out in “Hollywood” bribing the powers that be at USC for the honor of living in Compton for four years.
3. Let It Be (Remastered 2009)
Try your best and all, but maybe it’s time to just “let it be” and settle for Barrett Honors College at ASU?
2. Eric Prydz – Call On Me (Official HD Video)
1. Kygo & Whitney Houston – Higher Love (Official Video)
Okay, it’s a complete visual knockoff of Eric Prydz’s song above, but the vocals are pure – early Whitney Houston – and the accompaniment is rock solid and by Kygo. And it’s 2019, so it’s current combined with classic. Not to mention the lyrics are perfect for ascending to the ‘higher’ level that you to need to reach in order to at least get into Cornell or Dartmouth.
P.S.: As you wait for your admissions decisions, or as an alternate to some of the options above, how about playing a one-hour constant loop of “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco?
P.P.S.: Do realize that the above list is completely subjective and somewhat satirical – just like the crazy college admissions process at America’s most selective colleges; therefore, I apologize in advance if your favorite songs didn’t make the cut, if you don’t get in where you want, and/or if you are offended. Life’s unfair like that. Just remember that if you don’t get in, you need to sing this one last song out loud whenever your friends – and frienemies – get into their top choices:
You will survive!
University of Pennsylvania announced today that its supplemental essay question in search of a 650-word response by applicants is no more. Students applying during the 2019-2020 admissions cycle for Fall 2020 admission will be asked two new questions instead:
- How did you discover your intellectual and academic interests, and how will you explore them at the University of Pennsylvania? Please respond considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected. (300-450 words)
- At Penn, learning and growth happen outside of the classroom, too. How will you explore the community at Penn? Consider how this community will help shape your perspective and identity, and how your identity and perspective will help shape this community. (150-200 words)
Students are still able to write up to a grand total of 650 words in their responses to these questions; yet, with the changes, applicants will now have the challenge and opportunity to deliver two distinct messages in response to two distinct essay prompts.
Also announced today is a new policy that would have kept both U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump (who both transferred to Penn’s Wharton School of Business as juniors) from ever attending or graduating from Wharton.
“From cycle year 2019-2020 forward, Wharton and Engineering will no longer accept external junior transfers. The College and Nursing will continue to accept junior transfers…We have made this change in consultation with our academic partners across campus. The curricular pre-requisites for transferring into Wharton or Engineering as a junior are both specific and extensive. As we reviewed Wharton and Engineering transfer applicants, we consistently saw that most applicants were unable to take the coursework necessary for a seamless transition into these schools. We hope this change will help applicants focus on the schools and programs that best align with their interests and preparation, and that allow them to successfully transition to our campus.” wrote Eric Furda, who currently holds the title of Dean of Admissions at Penn.
Ironically, earlier this month this site pondered how Ivanka Trump got into Penn back in 2002 and whether or not she would get in again today. It’s clearly a sore point with the powers that be at Penn these days that the current president of the U.S. and one of his top assistants both graduated from Penn. Whether or not this Penn admissions policy change has anything to do with the university’s current “resistance” to the leader of the free world is purely a matter of speculation.
Additional interesting tidbits shared by Furda this summer include:
-Penn will allow applicants to self-report test scores – as long as they are not athletes or international students. This means that certain students will simply be trusted to honestly report their highest scores on their applications and only send in official corroboration of their scores if they ultimately get into and deposit at Penn later in the admissions cycle.
– Penn is passive-agressively encouraging its IB applicants to take Math Analysis HL instead of other new math offerings rolled out recently by the IBDP.
– Penn will offer both regional and virtual information sessions during the year ahead and all of these will be listed here.