Financial Aid: Deconstructed

Here's a nifty video presented at the College Board Forum by Duke University's  financial aid director -- and College Admission contributor -- Alison Rabil. You'll find it here in this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, which makes the valuable observation that "words that mean one thing in regular conversation can mean something entirely different in the financial-aid office."

Can you negotiate merit aid?

The Choice blog at the New York Times has a nice round-up on the “Merit Aid Negotiation” panel at the annual College Board conference which aimed to answer the question we posed in our headline here. The panel included two Deans of Admission featured in True Admissions' "5 Questions" -- Purdue's Pamela Horne and University of Chicago's Jim Nondorf. Check it out here.

Media Madness

Headlines we hate: "Volunteering. A Secret Step to Make You Really Stand Out." First of all, there are no secrets in college admission. And, in fact, this particular canard has achieved the status of myth it's been around so long. The truth: NO ONE ACTIVITY is necessarily valued more than another by admission offices.


Fact v. Fiction

The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss and Jenna Johnson bust some of the most popular delusions about applying to college in "7 College Admission Myths" -- providing the real deal on the "sticker price" of college, recommendations from the rich and famous, and how students spend their time outside the classroom.  A must-read for students and parents!

Is there a college bubble?

In a poker tournament, the "bubble" is the point in the tournament at which the next player out will not win any money. Merriam-Webster defines a bubble as "something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality." Richard Vedder of The Independent Institute and Andrew Gillen of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, note the "defining characteristic of a bubble is unsustainable growth that eventually reverses." In Cost Versus Enrollment, a provocative -- but seriously wonk-ish, you've been warned! -- article, Vedder and Gillen examine whether there is a higher education bubble -- with an in-depth look at cost, outcomes, the benefits of a degree, and whether so many students should be attending college.

The bottom line: a saner future most likely awaits applicants and their families!

Math and Magic

Students -- and parents! -- who think there is a "resume" of extracurricular activities that colleges are looking for should take the time to read this Chronicle of Higher Education story about Persi Diaconis, magician-turned-Stanford mathematics professor.  It's a great illustration of how simply following your deepest interests can lead to success in unexpected ways. One caveat: While Diaconis' tale is compelling, we're not recommending you run away from home.  No need to take things that far. But that hobby you're obsessed with? You never know where it may lead and what contribution you may make with it. Click here to read the story.

WGN-TV in Chicago!

Christine VanDeVelde joins WGN-TV anchor Dina Bair to talk about navigating the college admission process. You can see the interview here.

College Admission in Third Printing!

winCollege Admission has gone into a third printing after eight weeks! A grateful shout-out to our readers -- students, parents, and counselors -- for their support! And a huge thank you to our teams at Crown Books and ICM!

Princeton joins the Gourmet Guide

Check out the latest addition to the Gourmet Guide. The best sweets, late night restaurants, nouvelle cuisine, and -- most important -- coffeeshop to be found in the environs of Princeton University. The little town of Princeton, we are told, has more ice cream shops per capita than any other place this world traveling alum reviewer has visited.

Purdue University's Dean of Admissions Answers Our Questions

Pamela T. Horne, Purdue University's Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions, answers "5 Questions" for us in True Admissions!  Check out what she has to say about the kind of student that does well at Purdue, her advice for parents as their students go through the application process, and some of her favorite things, including Boilermaker Special waffles!