Class of 2022 Results

So happy to share the list of acceptances for my incredibly resilient class of 2022 students! In bold are colleges/universities where at least one student plans to enroll in the fall.

  • Amherst College
  • Princeton University
  • UCLA
  • Wellesley College
  • Barnard College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Pomona College
  • New York University
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern California
  • UC – San Diego
  • UC – Santa Barbara
  • UC – Santa Cruz
  • Carleton College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Clark University
  • Middlebury College
  • University of Washington
  • Washington State University
  • Lake Forest College
  • University of British Columbia
  • Macalester College
  • University of Victoria
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Oberlin College
  • Occidental College
  • Gonzaga University
  • Western Washington University
  • St Olaf College
  • Purdue University
  • University of Vermont
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Temple University
  • Syracuse University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • University of Miami
  • Wesleyan University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Worcester Polytechnic University
  • Reed College
  • American University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Montana State University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Denver
  • University of Oregon
  • Oregon State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Vassar College
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Willamette University
  • University of Portland
  • Colby College
  • Kenyon College
  • Drexel University
  • Seattle University
  • DePaul University
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • University of Puget Sound
  • San Diego State University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Fordham University
  • Parsons The New School
  • University of St Andrew’s
  • University of Maine
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Connecticut
  • Chapman University
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Redlands
  • Whitman College
  • Arizona State University
  • Skidmore College
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of San Francisco
  • Colorado State University
  • CSU Long Beach
  • University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
  • University of Minnesota
  • North Carolina State University
  • Villanova University
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Pratt Institute
  • George Washington University
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • Ithaca College

This admission season came with some surprises (both positive and negative) and has reinforced the need for students to have balanced college lists. One of the most fun aspects of my job is shedding light on those hidden gems, those under the radar schools, those unique programs that may not make the rankings. Though everyone comes away from the season with some great options, the highly selective schools continue to be, well, highly selective and unpredictable! Enrollment goals and “shaping the class” are hard to understand when you have a perfect GPA, 1600 SAT, and killer resume, but there really is so much at play at those sub 20% admission rate schools! Plus, at the end of the day, students can have an amazing college experience anywhere as long as they seize the opportunities in front of them!

Campus Visit Notes: Clark University

College: Clark University

Location: Worcester, MA (about 50 minutes from Boston)

Type of Institution: private research university

Size: 2,200 undergraduates, 800 graduate students

Admissions Advice: Clark University has a very holistic application process (and yes, that means test-optional). They ask for the Common Application, a supplemental essay, and also encourage interviews for all prospective students. Clark focuses on later high school grades more than freshman year, so this is a good option for late-bloomers who have a strong upward grade trend. At a ~50% acceptance rate, Clark is selective but accessible.

Most popular majors: Psychology, Education, Geography, Management, Political Science

Words to describe students I met: agents of change, passionate, liberal, collaborative, learn by doing, friendly, supportive

Unique academic aspects: Clark University started as a graduate school for social sciences, with a particularly rich legacy around the Psychology program. It is the birthplace of the American Psychological Association and even had Sigmund Freud on its teaching roster. Psychology continues to be a popular and strong program on campus, with tons of hands-on learning opportunities, access to research, and connections to faculty who are active practitioners in the field.

Clark operates like a liberal arts college in many ways (robust core curriculum, small classes, emphasis on writing and communication), but does still have a healthy graduate student population. In fact, Clark has many accelerated Master’s program options which allows students to graduate in five years with both the undergraduate and graduate degrees in their field. Almost 1/3 of Clark students take advantage of this program, which may come with a full-tuition scholarship for qualifying students! This can save students a lot of time and money.

Unique social/cultural aspects: Clark students are highly involved, both on campus and in the community. This isn’t a great place for a student who just wants to sit in their dorm and study all weekend. My guide raved about the numerous clubs and organizations they were involved in on campus, service opportunities (both independently and connected to campus learning), and the International GALA each spring. Though many students move out of the dorms after two years, there is still a lot of weekend campus activity. Clark certainly isn’t the only smaller college with a vibrant on-campus social life, but Clark’s location in a manageable city and the fact that they don’t have a 3+ year on-campus dorm requirement means students can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Colleges that seem similar: Occidental College, Lewis & Clark College, Brandeis University

Concerns about this college: Worcester is not as glamorous as Boston, NYC, or other larger east coast cities, but it is a lovely smaller regional city with a lot of personality and a surprising amount of diversity. There are multiple colleges in Worcester, so it has a younger energy as well. That said, many of my students have fallen in love with Clark but have been lukewarm on Worcester (these are students who I nudged to consider the school when they were doing east coast visits). I think this is a great fit for students who are interested in a more urban environment but still want that traditional campus feel, and students who are okay with experiencing big city life every week or two. It is a tougher sell for those who see themselves in the heart of a bustling metropolis with the city as your campus.

Overall impressions: The campus itself was lovely, not spectacular, but the education and community is what’s most important. Clark is a fantastic option for curious and thoughtful students interested in the social sciences, and those who are considering graduate school later on. I was impressed with just how progressive and inclusive the campus felt and know that every student would feel supported here. This is a great place for budding activists to put their values into practice in the community.

I got my PSAT results. Now what?

Here in Washington state, PSAT results came out a few weeks ago, and since then I have received a steady stream of new junior inquiries. (It happens like clockwork each year.) Usually the biggest stressor for families is what to do with these scores and how to move forward with a testing plan for the next year. But test optional (or even test blind!) is here to stay, which further complicates the testing question for many students. Here are a few of my favorite resources for those navigating the testing landscape and trying to figure out where to go from here.

**Applerouth: A helpful summary of what happened in 2021 and some predictions for this new application cycle.

**Akil Bello’s blog: This post is full of excellent information on how to decide on those next steps.

From where I stand, I do see testing coming back into play much faster than I had anticipated. Results from last year’s seniors (class of 2021) and early results so far this year (class of 2022) seem to show students with solid scores getting in over those who opt to apply without scores. (With all things equal-ish in other parts of the student profile, like GPA, rigor, resumes, etc.) Anecdotally, many college admission officers have shared that they are concerned about online learning, grade inflation, cheating, and/or shifts in grading policies during the pandemic year, so testing can be helpful to provide that extra data point and validation of a student’s academic ability. I don’t necessarily agree, but I do understand that perspective.

So, unfortunately there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to testing, and we haven’t magically transitioned to a test free world. But I hope the resources above with help as you and your family navigate those next steps!

Campus Visit Notes: UC San Diego

College: University of California – San Diego

Location:  La Jolla, CA (but close to San Diego)

Type of Institution: Public research university

Size: 30,000 undergraduates, plus about 7,000 graduate students

Admissions Advice: UCSD has many “capped” majors, especially in STEM fields, so students should select a second choice major when they apply. The UC personal insight questions are some of my favorite essay prompts out there, though student should treat them more as interview questions than essays. And finally, like the other UC campuses, UCSD is not taking the SAT or ACT into consideration for the foreseeable future.

For non-resident students, admission has been slightly less competitive than for CA residents in recent years (around 50% admit rate), though that may not continue to be the case. I have also recently seen some merit scholarships for talented incoming non-resident students, making this incredibly expensive option more financially feasible.

Most popular majors: Biological sciences (including Marine and Oceanography), Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Psychology, Cognitive Science

Words to describe students I met: diverse (including impressive socioeconomic diversity), intellectual, culturally aware, friendly, go-getters

Unique academic aspects: UCSD’s college system is unique and something that often trips up my students as they apply to the university (you have to rank your college choices at the time of application). There are seven different college options which each have their own general education requirements, dorms, and culture. This helps break the large university down into more manageable chunks both academically and socially. Revelle, for example, is a college with a large number of core requirements and a focus on great works such as Greek classics and original texts. Roosevelt is a great college for those interested in cross-cultural dialogue and international studies and allows students more freedom in their core course selection. My guide spoke highly of her experience with the college system, and I left the visit with a much better understanding of how this shapes the student’s experience at the university. Note: You can be a member of any college and pursue any major, though some college philosophies and course requirements naturally overlap with certain majors.

Unique social/cultural aspects: You would think a university with 30,000+ students would be an athletics powerhouse, but I wouldn’t describe UCSD like that. In fact, the school only recently made the transition from Division II to Division I athletics. For students hoping to have a vibrant social life that centers around tailgating and cheering on the teams, UCSD might not be the best option.

That said, beach lovers will absolutely love UCSD’s relatively easy beach access. Students take advantage by participating in surfing and kayaking clubs, or just relaxing on the beach with friends. And San Diego’s climate is pretty incredible year-round, so this beach culture isn’t just limited to the beginning and end of the school year.

Colleges that seem similar: University of Washington – Seattle, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California

Concerns about this college: UCSD is large and can be impersonal, and really does require students to be proactive and motivated to stay on track for timely graduation. I would hesitate to recommend this university (or most of the UC schools) to students who have absolutely no idea what they want to study and/or students who are afraid to seek out help independently.

Additionally, UCSD is not actually located in San Diego, but rather in La Jolla which is a wealthy suburb of the city. The area around campus doesn’t have a ton to offer for college students, though access to more exciting parts of the city is decent (especially if you have an older friend with a car).

Overall impressions: UCSD is a research powerhouse that comes close to rivaling the research activity at UW-Seattle, so this is an amazing option for students with Ph.D. or other graduate program aspirations. The STEM facilities and opportunities are particularly impressive, especially in the marine sciences, life sciences, and oceanography realms. And the college system does provide a little extra level of support and community for incoming students. And honestly, nothing compares to the amazingness of a sunny and 70-degree day in the dead of winter.

Tips for your UW Coalition application

Because University of Washington – Seattle is our local public flagship (and an excellent one, too!), the majority of my seniors end up applying each fall. This is the time of year when I receive messages of dismay when students realize that not only is UW-Seattle not on the Common Application, but that they are one of the only colleges that exclusively uses the Coalition Application. This application system rolled out a few years ago with a goal of increasing college access (but really a goal of taking some $ away from the Common App), and unfortunately it has just not been utilized much by colleges or students. Except for UW. The application system is clunky and not particularly user friendly, requiring students to fill in huge sections of information before they can even access college-specific materials. Additionally, there are a lot of add-on components (like the Locker) that sound good in theory but are in fact not viewed by many colleges. <Okay, rant over.>

Here are some tips as you approach your UW Coalition application this fall.

*Transcript information – As mentioned above, UW requires you to fill in all of the general Profile information before you can access the UW-specific questions, essay sections, etc. This includes basics such as demographic information, but it also requires students to manually type in every single class they have taken from 9th to 11th grade, their grades in each class, and then their current/projected senior year schedule. This process is very tedious, so I recommend starting the app a few weeks early and ensuring you have your HS transcript (+community college transcript if you did dual enrollment) ready to go when you work on the application.

*Testing – UW moved to a test optional (almost test-blind) admission process earlier in the pandemic, but the language on the website has been confusing to students, leading many students to think that they should go out and take tests in order to be competitive for admission. In a recent webinar, I learned that only 200 / 48,000 students actually had SAT or ACT taken into account when making the final admission decision last application season. (Yes, that is 0.4%.) Because this is such a small percentage of applicants, and because they are only looking at scores to bump a student up into a more positive outcome (versus pulling a student down), testing exclusively to improve chances at UW does not make sense for the vast majority of students. Some exceptions: home-schooled applicants (2023 and beyond), students with 1400+/31+ and a weaker curriculum and/or GPA, and possibly some international students.

* Activity log – Unlike the Common Application which has space for 10 activities, the Coalition only allows students to include eight extracurricular activities. Students with expansive resumes will likely need to cut down their activity log to fit. That said, I love that the Coalition gives students additional character count to describe their activities, as well as any leadership roles, individual distinctions, etc. While you can just cut/paste from the Common App, I strongly recommend that students work on their activity log for UW in a separate document (Word, Google Doc) to refine the descriptions and take advantage of the extra space.

I hope this helps to clarify some of the fun nuances of the Coalition application. Happy application season, everyone!

Campus Visit Notes: College of Wooster

College: College of Wooster

Location: Wooster, OH (a small city approximately 1 hour from Cleveland)

Type of Institution: Private liberal arts college

Size: Approximately 2,000 undergraduates

Admissions Advice: College of Wooster has an incredibly holistic review process and a small (and wonderfully) supportive admissions office that is ready to work with students throughout their application journey. While the majority of applicants have strong academics (3.5+ GPA), this is a college that is willing to take a chance on “good fit” students who show promise or have a story behind their grade trend. Essays, interviews, and letters of recommendation are very useful in the process. Additionally, Wooster is generous with merit scholarships. I’ve routinely seen awards in the $15,000-25,000+ per year range.

Most popular majors: Psychology, History, Political Science, English, Chemistry

Words to describe students I met: inquisitive, well-rounded, mature, independent thinkers, engaged, collaborative, down-to-earth

Unique academic aspects: Mentored research and independent study are core values of Wooster. This mentored research starts during first year seminars, continues into a sophomore program (paid research, yay!), and culminates in the senior independent study (I.S.) which is basically a one-on-one mentored thesis, final project, or other creation. The guides and students I spoke to were pursuing a unique range of projects, including: creating a graphic novel, researching sensory processing disorders in elementary students, writing and producing a rap album, completing a screenplay, researching leadership styles of women in the United Nations, and conducting more traditional lab science research. Some of these students were completing the work entirely on campus, while others were inspired by study abroad experiences or internships and were incorporating that into their research proposal and final projects.

Unique social/cultural aspects: Wooster is proud of its Scottish Presbyterian roots. Bagpipers will love the opportunity to get involved with the pipe band or bagpipe lessons, and Highland dancers will find their home here.

Additionally, though Wooster is located in a more rural area, the student body is fairly diverse (25% students of color) and it has a definite international flair (17% international students). Though Wooster lacks a big national profile, the school does draw students primarily from outside of Ohio (70% out-of-state). I met several students during my visit who didn’t necessarily fit into any underrepresented student groups, but who had very unique life experiences such as extended travel abroad during high school or gap years, rural students, and budding activists, so I feel confident that a variety of perspectives are represented on this campus.

Colleges that seem similar: This is a tough one! College of Wooster has a really unique blend of liberal arts, research, and traditional college social life. But a few possible overlaps include: Whitman College, Dickinson College, Swarthmore, and Hamilton.

Concerns about this college: Over the years, I’ve tried and tried to get students to consider this hidden gem, but they often rule it out because of the location. (Though many of these same students will tell me about their lists which feature more isolated colleges like Middlebury, Bowdoin, Cornell, Williams, etc., so there’s that.) Wooster is a small city with less than 30,000 people. The “downtown” area is a short walk from campus and features about 10 blocks of shops, restaurants, and stores. However, Cleveland is the closest major city at about an hour away, so this isn’t the place for students who want an urban campus. That said, for students seeking a residential liberal arts education, the vast majority of your time will be spent on-campus, and Wooster has a lot to offer.

Overall impressions: My visit to College of Wooster was one of the most thoughtful and personalized visits I’ve ever done, indicative of an admissions office, student body, and faculty that really cares about everyone in their community. This is a college that will mentor and mold students throughout their four year experience, giving them real-world skills for the job market or making them competitive applicants for the nation’s top graduate programs. Every student I spoke to was incredibly articulate, honest, and curious, and they all spoke about their professors (and fellow classmates) with respect and admiration. This is an absolute gem of a school for students who are ready to be engaged learners, and those who also know how to have fun.

I’m back!

Hello, followers. Just a quick note to let you all know that I am officially back from my extended maternity leave and taking on new students (including rising seniors) for hourly support. This pandemic year, coupled with the craziness of parenting a toddler and preschooler, has been a great chance for me to step back and reevaluate my business structure and strengths. Here are a few of my plans for the coming application cycles:

*Focus on rising seniors! This is especially the case for this year. Many students did not have any in-person learning or advising for a year or more, families didn’t get the chance to tour colleges during junior year, SATs and ACTs were regularly cancelled, and students are just plain burnt out! The traditional college preparation timeline is out the window. But I am ready and excited to support rising seniors on their college admission journey, whether you’ve already started a list and essays, or whether you have absolutely no idea what’s on the horizon. Because my background and experience is on the college admission side, my strengths are working with students during the immediate lead up to the application process, and I actually enjoy working on such an accelerated timeline. So, let’s do this!

*Virtual work, at least for the foreseeable future. I’ve found that many students and families prefer virtual work to driving, parking, and meeting in-person. And I’ve realized I enjoy working in PJ pants (and a professional shirt). I may reevaluate this once my children are old enough to get vaccinated, but in the meantime I will continue to support families through Zoom (or an alternative, if preferred).

*Hourly support as the default option. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that disruptions can happen and flexibility is key! For me, this means I’ve decided to pivot away from multi-year college counseling programs and instead focus on supporting students on an hourly basis as needed. If you are looking for comprehensive guidance starting earlier in the process, let me know and I would be happy to refer you to some excellent area counselors.

*More DIY resources, such as how-to videos and templates. Though I haven’t been working with my normal student load during the past 18 months, I have been busy staying up on current admission trends, doing virtual visits, attending professional conferences, and connecting with admission professionals. I’ve also improved my DIY resources and processes so that students feel empowered to tackle things independently after our session(s).

I am excited to jump back in with this resilient class of 2022 and beyond! Watch out for more frequent blog updates (and the return of my Campus Visit Notes series) in the weeks to come.

Class of 2020 Results

I am excited to share the admission results for my incredible class of 2020 students! Though the first months (or more) of their college experiences will be different than they imagined, I am so proud of their hard work and hopeful that they will have the opportunities to thrive once we get this virus under control!

Students will be enrolling at the following colleges:

  • Tufts University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Pitzer College
  • University of Southern California
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Boston University
  • University of Washington (including Computer Science, Engineering, and Honors)
  • Pepperdine University
  • Colorado College
  • Middlebury College
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
  • Reed College
  • Occidental College
  • University of Redlands
  • University of Colorado – Boulder
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Oregon
  • Penn State University
  • Baylor University
  • University of Vermont
  • California Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo
  • University of Rochester
  • Loyola University New Orleans

Additionally, students were offered admission to the following colleges:

  • Washington University in St. Louis, University of Michigan, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Berkeley, Wesleyan University, Chapman University, Santa Clara University, Purdue University, College of Wooster, Kalamazoo College, Willamette University, Quest University, University of California-San Diego, Whitman College, University of British Columbia, University of Portland, Western Washington University, University of Montana, University of Denver, Washington State University, Indiana University, University of Maryland, University of Wisconsin, Montana State University, Colorado School of Mines, Beloit College, American University, University of Minnesota, Clark University, Ithaca College, Oberlin College, Northeastern University, Skidmore College, Wheaton College – MA, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Loyola Marymount University, University of San Diego, University of California – Santa Cruz, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of San Francisco, University of Utah, Case Western Reserve University

**Availability update: Due to COVID-19, I have extended my maternity leave and will not be able to return to work as I expected this summer/fall. I apologize for the inconvenience but will provide updates when I am available to work with families again.

Maternity leave

The title basically says it all.

I will not be available to work with any new students (from any grade level) until the summer of 2020 at the earliest. I am so sorry for the inconvenience!

My blog will also be quiet during these next few months as I attempt to balance life with a newborn and young child. Wish me luck!

-Heather

Campus Visit Notes: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

RITCollege: Rochester Institute of Technology

Location: Rochester, NY

Type of Institution: Private university

Size: 15,000 undergraduates

Admissions Advice: RIT reads applications by major with a lot of variation in requirements and eligibility standards. Students should thoroughly research their top major(s) to ensure they meet the requirements before applying.

Most popular majors: Computer Science, Engineering, Film & Animation, Photography

Words to describe students I met: slightly nerdy, career-oriented, focused, casual dressers, unique

Unique academic aspects: RIT’s campus houses National Technical Institute of the Deaf, enrolling around 1,000 deaf students. This is a federally-funded option with a separate admissions process, though RIT students are able to take American Sign Language (ASL) classes or even serve as interpreters for those deaf students enrolling in RIT classes.

I was also incredibly impressed with the brand new MAGIC building on campus, which is the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity. This state-of-the-art building houses majors across these disciplines but also serves as a center for collaboration, entrepreneurship, and production. They also allow access to outside companies (producers, filmmakers, businesses) – it is becoming a hub of creative activity in the region.

Unique social/cultural aspects: RIT has one of the best Formula SAE clubs in the country. Students spend the entire year designing, building, and then racing a car in competitions across the United States and even abroad. This is a great opportunity for Mechanical Engineers in particular, though students from other majors are welcome to join.

RIT also offers a number of Division III athletics programs, one of the larger DIII universities out there. For student-athletes who want to continue at the DIII level but don’t want to attend a small college, RIT could be a great match! Ice hockey, however, is serious business here and competes in Division I.

Colleges that seem similar: Champlain College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Northeastern University, Purdue University

Concerns about this college: Gender diversity continues to be a struggle for RIT. They currently have a university-wide goal of enrolling 40% female students. Though the imbalance isn’t as dramatic as it is at peer institutions or other technical universities, it was definitely something I noticed on campus and particularly when visiting the Computer Science and Engineering programs.

Overall impressions: I enjoyed my visit to Rochester Institute of Technology, a school which has been popular with my students for years due to their strengths in high-demand fields and focus on career preparation through their robust co-op program. The physical campus included a mix of different building styles and, though it wasn’t the most beautiful around, I was actually pleasantly surprised (and again especially impressed with the MAGIC building). RIT is a great match for students who know what they want to study and have career goals in mind, but who don’t want to attend a large and impersonal public university.