SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

What to Do If You Get Rejected From Your Dream College

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Mar 8, 2018 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

You’ve sent out your applications and can't stop envisioning yourself at your top-choice school. But then the unthinkable happens: you get a college rejection letter. You start to wonder: what went wrong? What do I do now? Is it still possible to attend my top-choice school?

The truth is that I've been in this exact same situation. In 2008, I got rejected from my top-choice school, Stanford. Though the rejection letter hurt, on the plus side, it taught me a lot about what I did wrong, both in my application and my overall high school career.

In this article, I use my own rejection experience as a guide to explain how likely a college rejection is for you, how to avoid getting rejected from college, and the steps to take in case your top-choice school just isn’t that into you.

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Colleges With Guaranteed Admission for SAT/ACT Scores

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Feb 15, 2018 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, SAT General Info, College Admissions

Some colleges will guarantee admission to applicants who meet certain requirements for test scores and GPA. These schools are good choices for students who are looking for sure bets in the college application process.

In this guide, I've compiled every single school that offers guaranteed admission based on SAT/ACT scores, along with other requirements like residency and GPA. If you're lucky, you'll fit the criteria at one or more of these colleges and be 100% certain of your acceptance if you choose to apply.

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My Successful Harvard Application (Complete Common App + Supplement)

 

In 2005, I applied to college and got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. I decided to attend Harvard.

In this guide, I’ll show you the entire college application that got me into Harvard - page by page, word for word.

In my complete analysis, I'll take you through my Common Application, Harvard supplemental application, personal statements and essays, extracurricular activities, teachers' letters of recommendation, counselor recommendation, complete high school transcript, and more. I’ll also give you in-depth commentary on every part of my application.

To my knowledge, a college application analysis like this has never been done before. This is the application guide I wished I had when I was in high school.

If you’re applying to top schools like the Ivy Leagues, you’ll see firsthand what a successful application to Harvard and Princeton looks like. You’ll learn the strategies I used to build a compelling application. You’ll see what items were critical in getting me admitted, and what didn’t end up helping much at all.

Reading this guide from beginning to end will be well worth your time - you might completely change your college application strategy as a result. 

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Low GPA but High SAT/ACT: What Should You Do?

Posted by Halle Edwards | Jan 31, 2018 9:30:00 AM

College Admissions

Say you have done the near-impossible, and gotten an amazing SAT score of 2200 or higher or an ACT score of 32 or higher. Many high school students across the country are probably jealous of you!

But what if your GPA is much lower – a 3.0, or even a 2.0? Do you still have a shot at top colleges? What will admissions officers think about you?

Read on to find out what to do with a low GPA, high SAT/ACT score application. That high score could be worth a lot more than you think!

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Complete List: The Smallest Colleges in the United States

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jan 17, 2018 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions

You might be interested in going to a small college, but just how small? In general, schools labeled small have fewer than 5,000 students in total. However, quite a few schools are actually at least 10 times smaller than this.

In this article I’ll describe the characteristics of small colleges and then provide a list of the smallest colleges in the nation by category.

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How to Get a 4.0 GPA and Better Grades, By a Harvard Alum

Posted by Allen Cheng | Jan 17, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Coursework/GPA

On the 4.0 scale, an unweighted 4.0 GPA means perfection. You need straight As in every classnot even one A- is allowed. In college applications, this carries a lot of weight. You’re essentially telling the college, “High school classes are a cinch. I’ve taken a tough course load, and I’m more than prepared for what college has to throw at me.”

In high school, I got a 4.0 GPA with a course load featuring 10 AP courses. I got straight As and 12 A+'s. This strong course load, along with a strong application, got me into Harvard and every college I applied to.

While it's flattering to say, "Well, Allen's just a smart guy," in reality I relied a lot more on high-level strategy and effective academic habits. These were the same strategies I applied to my undergraduate work at Harvard and that led me to graduate summa cum laude with a 3.95 GPA. This is the guide I wish I had my freshman year of high school.

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What Exactly Is a Target School? How to Find Yours

Posted by Justin Berkman | Jan 15, 2018 12:00:00 AM

College Admissions

 

If you have researched the college application process, you may have heard about the concept of a “target school.” What is a target school or college? Simply put, it's a college that you are likely — but not guaranteed  to be admitted to based on your qualifications.

In this article, I'll define and explain the concept of a target school. Furthermore, I’ll discuss how to identify your target colleges and determine how many of these schools you should apply to.

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Early Decision Deadlines for Every College with ED

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 12, 2018 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

If you're applying early decision, then you've already accomplished something pretty rare in the college application process - you know exactly where you want to go to college!

This guide will go over your timeline for applying early decision, as well as provide a comprehensive list of deadlines for all the early decision schools. Read on to learn everything you need to know about applying early decision to your dream school.

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Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples

How do you like to spend your time after school? Did you know that how you choose to spend this time could be one of the most important ways you shape your future?

Extracurricular activities are a critical component of your college application, and you need to impress colleges with your interests. But you might not know what good extracurricular activities look like or what you should be spending your time on.

We've got you covered here in our guide of hundreds of examples of extracurricular activities. Read on to get some inspiration for how to spend your valuable free time during high school!

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The 3 Best Extracurricular Activities for Your College App

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Extracurriculars

As you know, extracurricular activities are an important part of your college application. The things that you choose to do outside of the classroom help college admission officers understand your personality in a way that your grades and test scores can’t show.

With so many activities to choose from, how do you know which ones are going to make the biggest impact on your application? Do colleges prefer students with traditional activities like sports and student council, or are you better off if you have something unconventional on your activity list?

If you're unsure about how to strategize a list of activities that will make an impact on your application, read on to see the three best extracurricular activities that will really get you noticed.

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International Students and the SAT/ACT: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 4, 2018 3:00:00 PM

SAT versus ACT, College Admissions

 

Are you an international student aiming to attend college in the United States? Colleges are looking for students with language skills and global competencies more than ever, so you already have several strong assets to draw on in your college applications.

One requirement for your applications to most universities is the SAT or ACT. Let's go over the information you need to know about deciding between the SAT and ACT, registering for the tests, and preparing to achieve a high score. First, why are the SAT and ACT important to go to college in the U.S.?

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What Is a Safety School? How Should You Choose Yours?

Posted by Justin Berkman | Jan 3, 2018 3:30:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

For those of you who have started researching college admissions, you may have heard of the concept of a “safety school.” What is a safety school? Simply, a safety school is one in which your odds of getting in are extremely high. Everyone who applies to college should apply to safety schools. Why? You don’t want to risk getting rejected from all the schools you apply to.

In this article, I'll define and explain the concept of a safety school. Furthermore, I'll discuss how to identify your safety schools and determine the number of safety schools you should apply to.

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How to Apply for College: Complete Expert Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions

Applying for college is a complex process with a lot of moving parts. However, the process doesn’t need to be confusing!

By learning about each step and starting early, you can navigate your applications like a pro. This comprehensive guide will go over the ABC’s of how to apply to college, from each requirement to what you can be doing as early as freshman year to start planning.

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High GPA but Low SAT Score: What Do You Do?

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jan 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies, College Admissions

For a lot of smart students, the SAT is a struggle. If you have a high GPA, but a low SAT score, you're not alone!  

If you feel like you're good in school but not great at test taking, here's our expert guide on how you can boost your chances of getting into a great college. You'll be able to show colleges your true academic potential.

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How to Write About Extracurriculars on College Applications

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions

One of the trickiest parts of the Common App is understanding how to make the most of the extracurricular activity section. You might have a ton of activities - or not very many - and be wondering how you should write about your activities to impress college admissions readers.

If you’ve felt stumped by what you’re supposed to do in this section and how to make the most of your very limited space, read on.

In this guide I will tell you:

  • How many extracurricular activities you should list
  • How to choose which activities to list
  • How to write about your extracurriculars

But before we get into that, you may be wondering...

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