College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step

The Anti-Karma of College Admission

Thank you to Teen Life for featuring advice from Christine VanDeVelde in Evaluating College Choices

If your teen has been accepted to several different colleges, first off, Congratulations! They should be very proud of this accomplishment. But now they need to determine which school they will ultimately attend.

How can teens evaluate their college options and determine which school is right for them?

Factors to Consider

Once your teen knows where they have been accepted, they need to compare each school and what it has to offer. A simple pros and cons list of each school can be very helpful.

Christine K. VanDeVelde, journalist and coauthor of the book College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step, says, “It has been several months since the teen submitted their application to the school. They need to determine whether each school still lines up with their original goals and whether in these past few months, any of their goals have changed.”

Financial aid packages are an important consideration. Think about all the costs involved – housing, travel, books, etc.

Keep Calm and Carry On Applying to College

Colleges aren't asking 17-year-olds to do anything 17-year-olds are not 
capable of doing. College Admission is on the Siena College blog talking maintaining calm in the face of college admission -- Quick Tips for Staying Calm During the College Application Process. Check it out for more advice, support, and quick tips! 

Available now! A Completely Revised and Updated College Admission

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step has been completely revised and updated for changes to the Common Application, testing, the essay, financial aid and more, including information for transfer students and  undocumented students, and timelines for the college application process. Look for the red banner! You can find it here.

College Admission in the Washington Post

College Admission is featured in "A Summer Reading List from College Admission Counselors" in Valerie Strauss' Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Thank you to Kenyon College Dean Jennifer Delahunty for recommending our book! This is a great list overall, assembled by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling of The Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire with suggestions for parents and students, as well as some all-around fun summer reading such as Claude Steele's “Whistling Vivaldi," recommended by: Susan Weingartner, Director of College Counseling at Chicago's Francis W.

Van Gogh's Shoes, Martin Heidegger and My Little Pony: Embracing the Essay

Mark Moody, Co-Director of College Counseling at Colorado Academy, joins us again today with some fantastic guidance on the college essay. There is so much good stuff here, we don't even know where to begin to describe how helpful this will be to rising seniors as they begin their essays -- hopefully this summer. Moody's vivid explanations of "Show, Don't Tell,"  the concept of framing and the essay's first words are worth their weight in Common App gold. All we can say is, "Enjoy..." 


Many thousands of young people take on the writing challenge of the college essay each year, making 500 to 650-word personal narrative one of the most popular forms of writing in America. Yet most of the authors of the form have never done it before, and most won’t do it again. 

Carolynn Laurenza, Uncommon Charter School

Carolynn Laurenza grew up in a farm town in the middle of western Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley, also known as the "Five Colleges" corridor because it's home to Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. This might have presaged her choice of profession in life.

Today, Laurenza is the College Placement Coordinator for Uncommon Charter High School in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of Swarthmore College, she earned a Masters in Education from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Laurenza spent three years as a guidance counselor at a regional public high school in the "Five Colleges" area before joining Uncommon Charter in the summer of 2011.

"It's a different reality," says Laurenza, who was named a "Counselor that Changes Lives" earlier this year. "As a public high school guidance counselor, you're juggling many types of social/emotional issues, the administrative needs of the school, trying to help kids in all grades and doing college counseling. At Uncommon, I get to focus on college counseling."  

Maureen McRae Goldberg of Occidental College Answers 8 Questions

February is Financial Aid Awareness month. As students and families research financial aid, fill out the FAFSA, and assess their options this month, we asked Occidental College's Director of Financial Aid Maureen McRae Goldberg "5 Questions." And she graciously answered eight for us.

Occidental College is a private liberal arts school located in the oak and eucalyptus covered hills of Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood. Designed by Rose Bowl architect Myron Hunt, the campus' stucco and red tile roofed Spanish Colonial architecture covers 120 acres. No surprise then that Occidental has been the setting for more than 80 movies and television shows -- from the Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers to Star Trek III, as well as Glee, Parenthood and Arrested Development. It has also been a feature film stand-in for the real-life college campuses of Stanford and Princeton.

Misty Whelan, Conestoga High School

Misty Whelan has lived the college admission process from both sides of the desk, so to speak. True, she worked early in her career at Bryn Mawr College. But that's not what we're talking about. Now a counselor at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsyvania, Whelan has also navigated the college application process as a parent. Her 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, is taking her first steps in the process and her 19-year-old son is now attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The view from the parental side of the process has been invaluable for Whelan.

"It has really, really helped me immensely as a professional in terms of sympathizing and empathizing with families as they go through this process," says Whelan. "And the other thing it validated for me was letting my son do the work and not to do it for him. He did the bulk of the work. I learned a lot about how to center him and not have him panic or get too stressed out. Luckily, he knew what he wanted and did not have too many schools on his list.  I also learned a lot about financial aid and the scholarship process. That was the biggest eye opener for me -- how colleges fund students."