The Edge Our college admission blog

From The White House To Your House

by Katie Z, Ph.D September 15, 2015


Social media has been buzzing over the last few days, sharing and commenting on news about the U.S. Department of Education’s new College Scorecard, “empowering students to choose the college that is right for them.”  This is a great initiative, and in case you haven’t yet delved into its details, here’s a quick run-down for you, in the form of the best quotes (in my humble opinion) from President Obama’s September 12th Weekly Address:

White House
  • “In an economy that’s increasingly based on knowledge and innovation, some higher education is the surest ticket to the middle class.”
  • “As college costs and student debt keep rising, the choices that Americans make when searching for and selecting a college have never been more important.  That’s why everyone should be able to find clear, reliable, open data on college affordability and value, like whether they’re likely to graduate, find good jobs, and pay off their loans.”
  • Many existing college rankings reward schools for spending more money and rejecting more students, at a time when America needs our colleges to focus on affordability and supporting all students who enroll.  That doesn’t make sense.  That has to change.”
  • “Americans will now have access to reliable data on every institution of higher education – you’ll be able to see how much each school’s graduates earn, how much debt they graduate with, and what percentage of a school’s students can pay back their loans.”
  • “There are colleges dedicated to helping students of all backgrounds learn without saddling them with debt.  We should hold everybody to that standard.”
  • “The goal is to help everybody who’s willing to work for a higher education search for and select a college that fits their goals.”

This increased transparency is definitely a good thing, and the launch of the new College Scorecard has resulted in many conversations and articles on the topic.  Among my favorite “food for thought” articles is this piece from The New York Times, which considers the data from the point-of-view of post-graduation earnings.  I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say that there are significant differences on this measure between schools – “The deeper that you delve into the data, the more clear it becomes how perilous the higher education market can be for students making expensive, important choices that don’t always pay off.”

These questions and decisions surrounding the college admissions process (in particular, the “where should I study?” question) can have ramifications long after you move into your dorm room, and I applaud the new College Scorecard initiative in helping to make the decision-making process less convoluted and more straight-forward for everyone.  Making an informed decision is, after all, far better than simply making a decision.

Wedding Bells

by Katie Z, Ph.D September 11, 2015



September is upon us, students across the country are back in class, and many high school seniors are likely mulling over in their heads the question of whether they should apply to college early (note that the deadlines for early applications are usually in November – just a few weeks away!), apply via rolling admissions, or apply through the regular admissions deadlines.  There is much to consider! To begin with, know that there are crucial differences between applying to schools using early decision versus early action.  An earlier post covered this in greater detail (click here to delve into it) but for today’s purposes, suffice it to say that you can apply early action to more than one college and an acceptance does not commit you to that particular school.  Applying early decision, on the other hand, means that you can apply to only one school (the one you dream and daydream about on a regular basis) and if you’re accepted then you’ve already committed yourself to attending.

Using an analogy, think of early action like being in a committed relationship (you’re definitely interested in this person!), but neither one of you has yet gotten down on one knee.  Early decision takes things to the next level – it’s marriage, it’s commitment.  If both parties (applicant and college) are on the same page, it’s the equivalent of rings on fingers, new in-laws, you’re talking kids and mortgages, and before you know it you’re posting videos like this on youtube!



In other words, you should only apply to school early decision if you are really and truly ready to commit.  Two things that would be high on my list of factors to consider?

  1. Any couple about to tie the knot should first have discussed their personal finances with each other, and this is no different.  Know that if you apply early decision, you’re only applying to one school so will only receive a financial aid offer from one school – in other words, you won’t be in a position to compare different financial aid packages.
  2. Think about the timing of an early decision application.  I like the description of this given in a recent Burlington County Times article – “If you think of yourself as a stock, the goal is to sell yourself at the highest possible point. Early decision applicants are selling themselves based on where they stand at the end of the all-important junior year. If you feel you’ve maxed out your SAT/ACT score, feel confident about your GPA as-is, and have no regrets about the rigor of your courses from 9th through 11th grade then you may have hit the apex of your high school career.”  If this describes your situation, then feel free to apply early decision to your dream school.  You’re in a very good position to do so.  However, late bloomers, those who need just a little more time to prove their academic and extracurricular prowess, should probably apply to college using regular admissions deadlines.

If you feel that applying early decision is definitely the way forward given your personal situation and aspirations, then be sure that you meet all of your deadlines for the submission of your application and for standardized tests, if you intend to submit them.  For instance, you need to take the SAT by October for the scores to be available in time for early applications.

A great starting point in thinking about all of this?  Click here to see which schools offer early decision and to take note of when, exactly, all of the deadlines are.  Do I hear wedding bells ringing?

Domestic, Meet International

by Admitster September 10, 2015



Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Carolyn Aker, author of today’s guest blog post.  Carolyn is President of Culture Counselors and writes an international student-focused blog, advising on college admissions and culture shock. She has been passionate about international exchange since she was a child, has lived in three countries, and has a great deal of experience in the establishment of international programs.


One of the best reasons to go to college is to gain exposure to new ideas. Whether in a classroom or a dining hall, students can learn about different points of view from both professors and other students. Experiencing diversity is becoming more and more fundamental to the college experience, and one way to do so is through interactions with international students on campus.

International2Currently, there are more than one million international students in the United States, most of them college students. This represents a 14% increase in enrollment since last year and continues a growing trend in international enrollment. With more and more international students involved in US higher education, and with an increasingly globalized economy, international students are truly becoming a vital part of student bodies on college campuses across the country.

The possibility of meeting international students on campus offers many benefits for domestic students. A recent study by Duke University, for instance, found that domestic students who actively interacted with international students displayed stronger leadership skills and self-confidence both during college and after graduation. They also thought more critically about their political beliefs than their peers who did not engage with those from other countries.  Domestic students actively looking for engaged membership in an international community should consider how some colleges have gone above and beyond in embracing globalization. Some examples of this are:

  • Northeastern University (Boston, MA – 18% international) offers its students the chance to have a six-month international internship in one of over 70 countries. In addition to the many opportunities to share classes with the international students already on campus, the university offers a Dialogue of Civilizations program during the summer terms to allow students of any major the opportunity to participate in global exchanges right from Northeastern’s campus.
  • Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA – 25% international) is home to the award-winning McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. The institute hosts a global issues conference every two years, welcomes scholars from around the world for a dialogue on important issues, and allows students who engage with international students on campus the opportunity to earn the Global Competence Award to truly demonstrate their commitment to global citizenship.
  • University of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA – 18% international), one of the most diverse schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, hosts students from around the world and offers a year-long service learning program where fellows study sustainable development, live with host families in India or Bolivia, and solicit grant funding for a development project of their own.
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN – 23% international) hosts a well-regarded international student orientation program that continues throughout the year. Returning domestic students can apply to serve as a mentor for a new international student, introducing them to American culture through field trips and fun excursions, such as to football games. Purdue also celebrates International Education Week, whereby domestic students can learn more about international students’ home cultures.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA – 11% international) integrates global competency into 26 of its undergraduate majors. Their International Plan program includes globally-focused coursework and appears as a degree designation, displaying graduates’ intercultural proficiency to the world. Students can also take advantage of a number of on-campus global activities to practice their language skills and engage in cultural exchange.

These institutions represent only a few examples of schools which have embraced the internationalization of their respective campuses, and for students who value a diverse student body in their undergraduate experience, they are a great starting point in the college search!



To contact Carolyn, e-mail her at OR click here.

Marlboro College

by Katie Z, Ph.D September 8, 2015


Welcome to the showcasing of another unique college in Admitster’s 3026 Series!  Today’s school has as its mascot a “Fighting Dead Tree” (and some of the undergraduate student organizations include Dead Tree Radio and The Dead Tree Farm), so you know this is going to be an interesting post!

Dead Tree

Dear Readers, meet Marlboro College, “The Trinity Of Place, People & Purpose”!  There are many notable facts about this school, and I can’t decide where to begin so will instead list some of the highlights, in random order, below:

  • Founded in 1946 by Walter Hendriks (who was a close friend of Robert Frost’s), this liberal arts college boasts a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio – 96% of its classes have fewer than 20 students enrolled!  As is written on their website, the college is “small by design.”
  • The rural campus, home to around 300 undergraduates, is located on 360 acres of scenic land in Marlboro, VT.  Brattleboro, VT (aka “town”) is about a 20 minute drive from campus.
  • The college is home to a cool World Studies Program that “integrates the best traditions of liberal arts learning and international studies with a six-to-eight-month working internship in a foreign culture.”
  • Housing options include residence halls, houses, apartments, cottages, and cabins – imagine living in a cabin in the woods of Vermont during your undergraduate studies!
  • Of its overall student body, 13% were home-schooled – its incoming class includes “a National Youth Theater award recipient for stage lighting, two blacksmith apprentices, a novice state champion in policy debate, a TESOL teacher, a licensed plumber, a student and teacher in a home school co-op, and one Navy veteran.”
  • The college received 4.5 (out of 5) stars on Campus Pride‘s LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index.
  • The Outdoor Program is a fantastic way for students to explore the great outdoors while staying active!
  • Marlboro is proud to be a veteran-friendly institution.
  • All accepted students with an unweighted high school GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for renewable Marlboro scholarships.  Click here to read more about scholarship options!
  • The college offers free classes to high school students – nice!
  • Marlboro is a self-governing community.  As members of this community, students participate in a monthly Town Meeting in order to discuss and vote on college-wide issues with fellow students, faculty, and staff.
  • Although “extracurricular groups and activities evolve yearly with each incoming class”, there are a number of traditions at the college, including Midnight Breakfast, Apple Days (an October tradition where students make their own cider, combined with other apple-themed activities), an annual cross-country ski race, a broomball tournament, and an annual Community Trails Day, to give but a few examples.
  • This weekend (9/11-9/13) the college will celebrate the inauguration of its 9th president, Kevin Quigley.  Over the summer, on his first official day on the job, President Quigley described Marlboro College as having “that essential trinity of place, people, and purpose” – I love that!

Like many other schools, be aware that Marlboro College has a strong presence on social media – take advantage of this, using your own social media presence to show admissions officials your enthusiasm.  If you’re intrigued by what you’ve read, click here to learn more about this very distinctive college!

Top Ten Colleges For Social Media Addicts

by Admitster September 3, 2015


Hands off the hashtags, put away your guilty-pleasure Pinterest Board — college admissions pro Admitster‘s got the lowdown on where to get your social media fix while you (find enough time away from Facebook to) apply to college. At least one of our Top 10 Best Colleges should get you in the mood to #jumpstagram out of sheer joy.

  1. U of Michigans Instagram is kinda amazing:

  1. At SNHU, your online marketing bachelor’s degree can have a concentration in social media. We checked. It’s real:
  1. …or you can get an in-person associates degree in social media from FIDM. Fashionista-style.
  1. Purdue University posts at least 6 times a day on FB — at least one of them on creepy Purdue Pete:


  1. Get at least 15 Dwight-worthy tweets a day from the University of Wisconsin:
  1. Texas A&Ms one of the few schools to be a stud on all of three of the big networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  1. USC is a Twitter powerhouse, getting at least five mentions, hashtags or tweets every minute.


  1. Harvard = The. Social. Network. #dropsmike



  1. Yahoo!, Google, Snapchat, Periscope: all started by social-savvy Stanford kids. Plus FB’s headquarters is basically right down the street.



  1. Proof that Emerson College is tops for social media after high school: you can take a class there that requires you to tweet. #craycray




LET US KNOW — which college is your social media paradise?

Before you go, head to Admitster to find help making your college dreams a reality. You may now resume practice with your selfie stick.

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