Foreign Students and the U.S. Higher Education Admissions Market

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Sep 19 2014 / Comments (0)


Let’s assume that a Chinese family, anxious to provide their child with a world-class education, searches the web to determine where to start. They also base their search on anecdotal reports of friends, among numerous other factors. But the Chinese family is unlikely to visit the United States to participate in an extended college tour to allow the child to “know it when you see and feel it” before making a choice of where to attend college in America.

Students across the globe repeat this experience each day.

How then do American colleges and universities compete for growing foreign student markets as a way to infuse talent, diversity, and often cash to meet the college’s strategic goals and add revenue to their bottom line?

The fact is that American colleges and universities, especially smaller ones known for personalized attention, good counseling, and strong alumni networks, are doing a miserable job at recruiting students that they would welcome and who would add tremendous value to the campus community.

There are four problems.

First, American college and university enrollment officers note that foreign recruitment is expensive and the rate of return may take a number of years to play out. As they ration enrollment resources, the support necessary to build out a foreign profile is difficult to find, sustain and administer.

Second, many choose an incremental step by hiring a single foreign student admission officer, narrowing their search to familiar patterns like visiting prospective applicants at “Americans Schools” abroad often disproportionately geared to American expatriate families, or participating in a consortium of schools on annual jaunts to targeted areas that respect American higher education with students whose families have the discretionary income to support full-pay tuitions in America.

The third approach is to use any number of for-profit ventures to assist in foreign student recruitment. This approach is controversial, of course, because most enrollment experts present the approach that typically includes a sizeable cash payment to the for-profit per capita, as a “bounty hunter” arrangement. Until the for-profit sector modifies its business plan, payment schedule, pattern of service delivery, and marketing and communications strategy, these criticisms are likely to continue.

And finally, there is an understandable preference for “brand” name colleges and universities among foreign students, especially in the sciences, business and engineering. A recent Academic Ranking of World Universities illustrates this point.

In this academic ranking, American universities accounted for eighteen of the top twenty-five institutions listed. Harvard University topped the list and continues as the gold standard in the survey results. Two British universities Cambridge (5) and Oxford (9) secured top ten spots but the German universities barely made it into the top fifty among those listed. Interestingly, there is no differentiation between public and private among American universities. Further, while a few small research universities made the cut like Rice and Johns Hopkins, the list contains no American liberal arts colleges.

In fairness to those not listed, the ratings methodology focuses on the sciences and engineering, including measurement categories like the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel laureates and Fields Medals at each institution and their papers cited in Nature and Science. These measurement categories do not likely affect the quality of undergraduate education. The problem is, of course, that families and prospective applicants may not discriminate by measurement standards that effectively confuse the undergraduate and graduate experiences when terms have very different meanings to prospective applicants in different countries.

Lists like the Academic Ranking raise a larger question about how best to communicate quality by developing a global brand. As Dr. Joey King, a Distinguished Fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education suggests: “The lack of brand recognition seems to be worldwide. These markets will be tough to crack for most US institutions, especially those who turn to foreign nationals as a building block for increasing enrollment. The tragedy is that at the undergraduate level selective liberal arts colleges, particularly for those with students who speak English as a second language, are just as effective as selective research universities.”


To address the name recognition issue, American colleges and universities must adopt different strategies to reflect how families and prospective students perceive them abroad. To this end, here are six suggestions for American colleges to attract foreign students:

  • Market to what matters to them on terms that they accept and understand when it is consistent with your mission and approach;
  • Focus on outcomes, including graduate, alumni networks, internships and externships, and job placement after graduation;
  • Think how consortial approaches – for example, excellent undergraduate engineering institutions banding together by academic program – can create efficiencies and economies of scale;
  • Stratify the foreign market since urban research universities may not appeal, for instance, to rural Chinese or South Korean families;
  • Emphasize the personal approach, especially to students who might be overwhelmed by a first educational experience in America or for whom English is a secondary language; and
  • Work with faculty to tweak the curriculum and student service experience to mimic successful diversity initiatives like Posse.

New enrollment patterns will require greater attention to how colleges find students and fill their classes. At most traditional undergraduate institutions, some combination of legacies, student athletes, transfers especially from two-year colleges, and foreign students will complete and round out the admissions profile. American higher education must become more innovative and entrepreneurial in attracting foreign students.

The brand matters, especially on a global scale.


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Timelines for College Admissions

Posted by: Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan on Sep 17 2014 / Comments (0)

Ever heard of being in the right place at the right time? When it comes to college admissions, applying at the right time can increase your chances of getting accepted.


Early Action or Early Decision?

Both are similar names for the same thing, an accelerated college application process in which students usually complete their applications in November. In the majority of cases, students will then receive a decision from the college before the new year.

According to the admissions department at MIT, “If you feel strongly that MIT is right for you, you may want to consider applying to MIT “Early Action” in November of your senior year. If you have taken all the required standardized tests on or by the November test date and postmark all of the application materials by November 1, you may ask that we review your application and notify you of admission by mid-December. At that time we will either offer you admission, defer the decision until March, or (in rare cases) deny the application.”


MIT’s early program is non-binding; if admitted under Early Action, you may accept or decline the offer, and in either case you are not required to reply until May 3. They do not require a deposit to hold your place, and here’s the best part: “We are committed to taking no more than 30% of our total admitted freshman class under Early Action.”

Did you know? MIT’s Early Action program is available only to citizens and permanent residents of the United States.

Benefits of Early Action

  • At many colleges, the acceptance rates are higher for early action than for regular admission.
  • Students who are not accepted early are still considered for admission with the regular admission pool.
  • Early action is not binding — students are free to apply to other colleges.
  • Students can apply early to other colleges.
  • Although students receive early notification of an acceptance, they do not need to make a decision until the usual May 1 deadline. This allows time to figure out financial aid.
  • If accepted early at a college, the spring of a student’s senior year will be far less stressful.
  • Even if accepted early, a student can choose to go to a different college with no penalty.



Early Decision vs. Early Action

While the rules vary by college, it is important to be aware of the differences between early decision and early action before sending in your applications.

Early decision plans are binding. You agree to attend the college if it accepts you and offers an adequate financial aid package. Although you can apply to only one college for early decision, you may apply to other colleges through the regular admissions process. If you’re accepted by your first-choice college early, you must withdraw all other applications. Usually, colleges insist on a nonrefundable deposit well before May 1.

Early action plans are similar but are not binding, unlike early decision. If you’ve been accepted, you can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, you may also apply early action to other colleges. Usually, you have until the late spring to let the college know your decision.

Single-choice early action is a new option offered by a few colleges. This plan works the same way as other early action plans, but candidates may not apply early (either early action or early decision) to any other school. You can still apply to other schools and are not required to give your final answer of acceptance until the regular decision deadline.

Application Type Binding Can Apply Early to Other Colleges Can Apply to Other Colleges Under Regular Admissions
Early Decision Yes No Yes
Early Action No Yes Yes
Single-Choice Early Action No No Yes


“The most attractive aspect of early admissions programs is that colleges and universities tend to admit a significantly higher percentage of the early applicant pool than they do of the normal applicant pool – in other words, there is the possibility that your chances of being accepted as an early admissions candidate are better than they would be as a regular applicant. The most selective colleges currently admit 25% to 50% of their total students from the early admissions pool. In recent years, as many as 40% of freshmen at Ivy League schools have been early admissions applicants.”


Single-Choice Early Action:

Imagine that you are 100% sure you want to study at University X and nowhere else. One way to distinguish yourself in the eyes of the college is through single-choice early action which has the benefits of early decision with the caveat that you are not allowed to apply to other colleges early. Schools love it because it allows them to predict its application yield, which is the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll in college.

Why is yield so important? “The admissions office needs to estimate the yield in order to figure out how many students to accept. If they guess the yield wrong, they will end up with an incoming class that is either too big or too small. The yield varies widely from school to school. A prestigious university like Harvard may yield around 80% of the students they accept, while some of the less competitive colleges and state universities may yield closer to 25%.”


Rolling Admissions

While several institutions of higher learning use a rolling admission policy, very few of the most exclusive colleges use it. Rolling admissions gives you a large window of time during which you can apply to a university or college. The process usually opens in the fall and may continue through the summer.

However, unlike a regular admission process with a firm application deadline, “rolling admission applicants are often notified of their acceptance or rejection within a few weeks of applying. A college with rolling admission typically accepts applications for as long as spaces are available. Applicants should realize, however, that it is a mistake to view rolling admission as an excuse to put off applying to college. In many cases, applying early improves an applicant’s chance of being accepted. Also, while there may be no application deadline, there typically are deadlines for scholarships, financial aid and housing. A late application may make it impossible to get any decent financial aid.”

Benefits of Rolling Admissions:

  • Applicants may receive a decision long before the March or April notification period of regular admission colleges
  • Applying early can improve an applicant’s chance of being accepted
  • Applying early may improve an applicant’s chance of receiving a scholarship
  • Applying early may give an applicant first choice for housing
  • Some rolling admission colleges still give students until May 1 to make a decision; this allows an applicant to weigh all options
  • A student who applies early and is rejected may still have time to apply to other colleges with winter deadlines
  • Rolling admission colleges may remain an option if a student gets rejected elsewhere; some rolling admission colleges accept applications right up until classes start



Some sample rolling admission policies:

  • University of Minnesota: Application review begins September 15; priority is given to applications received by December 15; after December 15th, applications are considered on a space-available basis.
  • Rutgers University: December 1st priority deadline; February 28th notification date; May 1st decision deadline; after December 1st, applications are considered on a space-available basis.
  • Indiana University: November 1st priority date for merit-based scholarships; February 1st priority date for admission; April 1st deadline to be considered for admission.
  • Penn State: November 30 priority date for admission
  • University of Pittsburgh: Applications accepted until class is full; January 15th deadline for scholarships


Open Admissions:

In theory, an institution with a policy of open admissions should allow any student with a high school diploma or GED to attend. Thus, open admissions are supposed to give any student who has finished high school the chance to pursue a college degree.

“The reality isn’t quite so simple. At four-year colleges, students are sometimes guaranteed admission if they meet minimum test score and GPA requirements. In these situations, a four-year college often collaborates with a community college so that students who don’t meet the minimum requirements can still begin their college educations. Also, guaranteed admission to an open admission college doesn’t always mean that a student can take courses. If a college has too many applicants, students may find themselves waitlisted for some if not all courses. This scenario has proven all too common in the current economic climate.”


Did you know? The open admissions movement started in the 1950s and had ties to the civil rights movement. California and New York were pioneers in making college accessible to all high school graduates.

Examples of Open Admissions include most community colleges and a number of four-year colleges and universities. However, the policy has been criticized because graduation rates tend to be low, college standards are decreased, and more students seem to need remedial courses.

How to Choose:

“Early admissions programs can be very advantageous to college applicants, depending on their profile and situation. A high school student who is sure of what school they want to go to, and whose junior year grades, extracurricular activities, etc., are strong enough to secure admission, can benefit from early admissions. However, we do not encourage clients with any questions at all about their college preferences to seek a binding early decision from any school, regardless of how much better the statistical chances of acceptance may be under an early decision program. Keep in mind that you’re not just being asked to indicate a school preference; you’re being asked to forego all other options and to commit yourself to spending four years (and tens of thousands of dollars) at a particular institution. That’s a big decision for anyone to make. It should only be undertaken with the best possible information and advice, and without undue deadline pressure.”






8 Mistakes Parents Make When They Help Kids Apply To College

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Sep 17 2014 / Comments (0)


The 2015 college application season has officially opened. But in our desire to help our kids navigate this land-mine-fraught road, we might actually be doing some things that harm them. Lynn O’Shaughnessy, a nationally recognized college expert, author of “The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, and blogger at The College Solution, helped us develop this list of 8 mistakes parents frequently make when attempting to help their kids apply to colleges:

Ignoring schools you never heard of.
If you limit your search to the same 200 schools where everyone else is also applying, you are shortchanging your student, said O’Shaunghnessy. One of the realities is that when so many people apply to the same places, those schools become highly selective in who they pick and far less generous with financial aid. O’Shaughnessy suggests adding some smaller, lesser-known schools to the list. Colleges That Change Lives , a consortium of smaller liberal arts schools, is a good place to start, she said.

Smaller colleges also provide a more intimate learning experience, she said. Students get to know their professors, can find role models and mentors to help shape their future, and in general, don’t get lost in the masses. You are more than just one of the bodies warming a seat in a big lecture hall taught by a TA who never really wanted to be a teacher in the first place, she said. “Even dance classes at big universities are taught ‘lecture style’,” she said.

But don’t those big brand-name schools mean a happier college experience and a higher jobs placement rate after graduation? Au contraire, O’Shaughnnessy said. It turns out that your future happiness at work and at home has more to do with what you do at college than where you went to school, according to a recent poll by Gallup and Purdue University. College is what you make of it, O’Shaughnessy, whose own daughter when to a school you likely never heard of and can’t spell and propelled herself into semesters abroad, launched a business while an undergraduate, and is now the head of marketing for a toy company.

Not knowing what you can actually afford ahead of time.
Amazingly, she said, many parents get sucked into this quicksand trap. Their kids start the college application season without knowing how much money they have to spend. This is the educational equivalent of looking at $2 million homes at open houses when you can realistically afford to buy a $300,000 condo. And we all know what happens after we do that: Those $300,000 condos just look so darn uninviting afterward.

Why let your student apply to schools that you can’t afford? asks O’Shaughnessy. Affordability is a conversation to have with your kids before they apply, not after they get accepted to a “dream” school and have no viable means to pay for it.

O’Shaunghnessy says everyone should run their numbers through the Expected Family Contribution calculator to learn what colleges and universities are likely going to say about what your contribution should be.
To get your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number, you can use the EFC calculator on the College Board site.

“You need to obtain your EFC to get an idea of what any college will cost you at a minimum,” said O’Shaughnessy. But, she notes, usually you will have to pay more than that. When you know what your EFC is, you start looking for schools that would be a reasonably good match financially.

If you have a lower EFC (you are low/middle income), look for schools that are very generous with financial aid. If you have a high EFC (you are wealthy) and don’t want to pay full price, look for schools that give merit scholarships to rich kids.

Then there is the Net Price Calculator, which provides a personal estimate of what aparticular school will cost your family. Here’s where it can get a little dicey: About half of the schools’ calculators are bad because they used the federal template that doesn’t ask enough questions.

Counting on your brilliant student to get a full merit scholarship ride.
Yes, Abe Lincoln rose from poverty and became President. Sure it can happen, but it’s hardly the norm. If one of the pillars of your college planning includes having a miracle occur — which would be the definition of a full-ride merit scholarship — chances are your student is going to be disappointed. Here’s the reality: The kids who get the full ride with merit scholarships are a tiny minority; they are generally kids with great potential and no money. Everybody else? Get your checkbooks out.

O’Shaughnessy tells the story of a two parents — both doctors — with a daughter with a 4.7 GPA bolstered by about a dozen AP classes, nearly perfect test scores and major notable extra-curricular accomplishments. She was admitted to the top schools in the country — and not one offered a penny in merit scholarships. Her mother bemoaned how unfair it was that a “less meritorious” student whose parents hadn’t scrimped and saved the way her own family had would get financial aid and her daughter would not. Foul, she cried.

O’Shaughnessy says that elite schools receive an overabundance of high-income applicants so they can turn away teenagers whose parents balk at paying full price. “These schools do tend to provide excellent financial aid to students who need it, but these institutions are largely dedicated to educating the nation’s most privileged teenagers.” Another reason to maybe steer away from those schools?

Believing that your student-athlete will win a scholarship.
This is a dream you share with every other soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, cross country and football parent. Many are called; few are chosen. Only Divisions I and II schools offer athletic scholarships; Division III teams do not.

Division I students are essentially employees of the school and the best chance for a full-ride athletic scholarship is to compete in one of Division I’s six head-count sports — which your student will either get a full-ride or nothing. For men’s basketball, there are a grand total of 13 scholarships. How’s that for sobering?

In other sports, known as equivalency sports, there are lower scholarship amounts available; some of these could only cover books.

Excluding the glamour sports of football and basketball, the average NCAA athletic scholarship is about $8,700 — nowhere near a full ride. For track or baseball, it’s generally about $2,000. College expenses at NCAA schools range from $20,000 to $50,000 a year. So the idea that your left-handed relief pitcher can write his own ticket to any school is pretty much a myth.

As for scholarships in general, thinking local tends to yield more money. Better to try your local civic organizations where there is less competition for money. Remember, it takes a village.

Believing that student loans will be your salvation.
Student loans are the work of the devil, believes Zac Bissonnette, author of “Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents.”

Bissonnette says “Student loans are one of the top three things teenagers can do to ruin their lives. The others are heroin and pregnancy.” O’Shaughnessy thinks that parents who go into massive debt — or allow their children to — are misguided at best.

College — and retirement — are things that require planning. You don’t just arrive at the doorstep of college penniless and think it’s all going to work out “somehow.” And should you be among those who do precisely that, maybe consider a gap year where your student works and saves some money. Community colleges, where you can take your general ed classes and then transfer to a four-year school for an advanced degree, is another option. But loans? You need to really consider what you are getting yourself into — years of debt that will strap you and hinder your ability to live on what you can earn once you get that expensive college degree.

Worrying that your home equity matters.

Many people are house-rich and cash-poor, meaning they have their life savings tied up in the equity of their homes and would rather not sell their house in order to get at the money to pay for college.

The good news is that at most state and private colleges and universities, the equity in your primary home is a non-issue, said O’Shaughnessy. That’s because most schools only require families to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when applying for financial aid and the FAFSA doesn’t even ask about home equity. What you just heard was a collective sigh of relief coming from California and other states where home prices have long been inflated and there are many “paper millionaires.”

There are, however, roughly 260 schools, nearly all private, that are quite interested in the value of your house and how these schools treat home equity varies dramatically, O’Shaughnessy said. The schools in this category include the nation’s most prestigious institutions. These colleges use an additional financial aid form called the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.

Depending on how schools treat your home equity, your chances of getting financial aid could blow up while at other institutions your money in your house won’t be jeopardized even if you are living in an exclusive zip code, notes O’Shaughnessy.

One big drag, she said, is that while you can technically appeal any financial aid decision, you are at a disadvantage time-wise — you only get a couple of weeks to let the college know if you accept its offer — and you don’t actually know what the school considered when factoring what aid to give you. So did they count your home equity or not?

Not knowing how to evaluate an offer.
O’Shaughnessy says financial aid offers are intentionally designed to confuse families. The one thing parents really want to know is “what is my EFC (Expected Family Contribution?”) And sometimes, that answer is convoluted. Does it include room and board, all fees, or just tuition?

Sometimes, schools don’t identify loans as loans but insist on calling it “financial aid.”O’Shaughnessy recommends the website College Abacus to compare offers.

Thinking Community College is a great fallback.
For some, it may be. But let’s take a reality check on community colleges. They are inexpensive and allow students to go to school part time and work. The problem is that overwhelmingly when they do that, they don’t finish. Many are eligible for Pell Grants — which would give them the money they need to live while they study — but don’t apply. Yes, some motivated kids who do graduate two-year schools do go on to four-year universities — but many more never get to that stage. Placement tests are required at four-year schools and students don’t know they need to prepare –practice — for those tests, said O’Shaughnessy.

If your student wasn’t motivated in high school to get good grades, why do you think he or she will be motivated in junior college to get the grades for a four-year college?


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Newsletter from Miami-Dade College – Scholarship Opportunities

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Sep 8 2014 / Comments (0)


Here is a newsletter from MDC. It does not just have information about MDC  scholarships; it also has good valuable information about other internet scholarship  search sites as well.

It is typical that many students apply to MDC late in their senior year. This usually  occurs shortly after they realize that their acceptance into one of our STATE  UNIVERSITIES is fading away and they have almost lost all hope.

This is fine,  HOWEVER…please understand that MDC awards a majority of their  SCHOLARSHIPS in the month of December. Students who have applied to MDC before December are exposed to a good number of scholarships that really help. IF YOU APPLY LATE IN THE SCHOOL YEAR THERE IS A 99.9% CHANCE THAT YOU WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR ANY OF THESE SCHOLARSHIPS.

Students who aren’t in the Honor Society can win scholarships, too. They simply need to find a scholarship that matches their needs and interests. Here are a few tips to help students apply for scholarships, no matter their academic standing.


Focus on What Makes Them Stand Out 
More than grades are considered for some scholarships. Several also look at students’ character and what they have to offer. 

Many scholarships look at more than just grades. If students have shown exceptional community service or have overcome adversity, they might be eligible. Perhaps they have promoted vegetarianismlove music or can write a good essay. These and other qualities can be helpful as well.

There are many scholarships aimed at niche groups. Students just have to find the right niche. Tell them to consider everything from their activities, interests and  expected major to their ethnicity and their family’s socioeconomic status.

It Pays to Research 
While students often hear of scholarship opportunities through school counselors, they should also do some research on their own. With a little time invested, they’re likely to find more opportunities than expected.

How can they find these scholarships? The Internet is a powerful tool, but students must beware. There are websites offering to research scholarships or even guarantee a scholarship for a fee. No one should pay for scholarship information. Instead, advise students to use websites like:
MDC’s American Dream Scholarship

A full list of free websites is also available on MDC’s scholarship web page.

Apply Often
Students often stop with one or two applications or after winning one scholarship, but they should apply again and again. They might also have to revise their understanding of what makes a “good” scholarship.

The more scholarships applied for, the greater the chance of winning one, two, three or more. There are also scholarships for which one can apply more than once. Above all, students should remember that it’s OK to think small. While it would be nice to win one big scholarship, they’ll face more competition. Small scholarships are still good scholarships. Whether they cover tuition for a year, a semester or part of a semester, they can add up.

Students have some work ahead of them, but the potential savings in tuition is worth it!

To view the entire newsletter, please click here.

Indiana University – Preview Event in South Florida!

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Sep 4 2014 / Comments (0)


Greetings from Indiana University!

Indiana University Bloomington is coming to your area!

You have questions about college, and we’re coming to you with answers. At the IU Preview in your area you will learn more about the outstanding opportunities at Indiana University Bloomington. You can also meet other students and connect with admissions staff to get the inside scoop on IU.

Feel free to bring your parents and dress casually (it’s an informal event), and make sure to register at:

 South Florida IU Preview Click on your region to find your event.

 South Florida Preview

Sunday, September 7, 2014 2 p.m.

Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center

5150 Town Center Circle Boca Raton, FL

The Early Decision Dilemma

Posted by: Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan on Sep 2 2014 / Comments (0)

Early decisionApplying to college is a gamble.  You send your applications and test results off to a handful of universities with no guarantee of which ones will accept you, which one you will choose, or if you’re going to be happy with the end result.  You play your cards and hope to win.  There are a few steps you can take, however, to increase your chances of a happy outcome.  The obvious step is to be extremely studious, ace your exams and get top grades.  Another way of increasing the odds of getting into a good college is to apply Early Decision, but this option comes with its own set of risks, and is generally beneficial to only a select group of applicants.

The Early Decision program is a binding contract between the student and the institution whereby they mutually agree early on – the ED application deadline for 2011 is November 1st, and the student can expect to hear from the school within a month – that the student will attend that school and withdraw all other college applications.  The only way you can break this contract is if you can prove that the school’s financial aid offer is insufficient for your needs.  Because of its binding nature, it is designed for students who are completely, 100% certain about which school they wish to attend.  If you have any doubt about where you want to study, ED is not for you.  If, however, you are one of the few students who do feel fully committed to attending a particular college, ED can make the college application process a relatively smooth experience. You may only apply ED to one college, but you should consider sending regular applications to other schools in case you are not accepted to your first choice.   Not all schools use the ED program, so be sure to check the school websites if you are considering this option.

Applying Early Decision can be quite advantageous if you have done the research and truly feel you have chosen a college that you can afford and is a good fit.  Using this program can eliminate a great deal of the stress typically involved in applying for college.  There’s a lot to be said for knowing where you are going to study, as you can stop waiting and worrying and start to focus on your priorities.  Likewise, you can save a lot of money by reducing the number of applications you file.  Statistics show that students who apply ED increase their chances of admission, possibly due to the fact that these students tend to have high academic records.  Applying ED can also increase your financial aid package as the school coffers are still be quite full at this stage of the game.  Schools like to have a good idea of how many students will be attending and paying fees each year and ED helps them plan their budget.  It’s a win-win situation.

But Early Decision is not for everyone.  If you are one of the many students whose higher education choices will be strongly influenced by finances, then you will probably want to take the standard route to applying for college.  Most colleges offering ED are private schools with high fees.  They may offer some level of financial assistance, but when applying ED, you do not have the option of comparing financial aid offers.  Once you have been accepted, you cannot wait to see if a different school will offer you more money.  State schools do not generally offer the ED program, but tend to be much more affordable.  Unfortunately, this is a real deciding factor for many students.

Another disadvantage to the ED program is the pressure it puts on young people to make a very big decision.  Choosing where you want to spend the next four years studying is no small matter and many students just haven’t completely decided by their senior year.  Applying to a variety of schools can help with this process.  When you send out your applications, choose schools where you think you will be happy.  No choice will feel perfect, but lots of choices will feel very good.  Look for schools where you think you will be happy, but let go of any expectations of finding a school where you will be happiest.  All campuses will have things you like and things you hate.

There is no doubt that in every graduating class there will be a small group of students who will benefit from applying ED as it will get them into their first choice college and they can spend the rest of their senior year focusing on their studies.  These students have done their research and set their sites on a particular college.  Most high school seniors, however, will apply to many colleges and choose their final destination by a process of elimination.  Both systems work, but ultimately, it is up to the individual student to decide if ED is the best option for getting into college.




Why Hire an Independent College Counselor to Help You in Your College Admissions Process?

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Aug 29 2014 / Comments (0)

   Job interview

When dealing with the college admissions process, there are two types of counselors available. There are the independent college counselors, and there are college counselors or advisors. These two types differ in many ways. The first one is paid for by the student, while the latter is employed by the school. The organizations that support independent college counselors are the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) endorses the college counselors. For graduate school admissions, the association that leads this industry is the Association of International Graduate Admissions (AIGAC). Any college admissions counselor should be a professional member of these organizations.


Independent college counselors, also known as consultants, assist students and their families to handle the graduate or undergraduate college application process. They help with various tasks to ensure that students are on the right track for high school graduation. These tasks are quite comprehensive. They meet groups of students, and usually provide one-on-one counseling. They coordinate college tours, college applications, and college selections to relieve family stress and maximize results. Other tasks of independent college counselors include revealing available avenues for financial aid, and sharing unbiased information on a wide scope of graduate and collegiate programs… So why do you need to hire a private admissions counselor? Here are the major benefits of hiring an independent consultant:

  • Helps in determining what types of colleges would be best suited for your requirements
  • Guides you to plan college visits and  helps in improving your time management skills
  • Reduces stress in both students and parents in finalizing college application process
  • Provides unbiased ideas about financial aid, colleges, admissions process, and other related concerns
  • Able to tell stories to show your strengths and how you can help to the community
  • Helps in  completing the application within a short period of time
  • Assists with application essays and personal statements
  • Guarantees college and scholarship applications
  • Explains college finances, review acceptance, and much more



With all these benefits of an independent counselor, why doesn’t everyone hire one? Choosing a professional independent college counselor can be challenging, but when done correctly, can be an extremely rewarding experience. You have to consider various criteria to guarantee that you will get what you really need. To hire private admissions counselors, your first move is to pick one with excellent rapport. Your preferred independent counselors must possess interest in your goals. They should also have enough time to work with you. Before hiring them, ask them about their office hours and determine if they are willing to make appointments to fit your schedule. They should know the degree program requirements, college policies, prerequisites and content of various courses.  Above all, you need to find out if they have contacts that could help you in getting exposure, scholarships, or internships.

After searching for the best independent college counselors, and choosing one that is right for you, they will start working for you immediately. They are here to help you with any and all of your college application concerns.  Therefore, you can be confident that you will never experience any trouble, and you will easily find answers to your college application issues. So, start searching for the best independent college counselor, and witness how they work for yourself!

Updated list of test-optional schools from

Posted by: Editor EduPlan on Aug 27 2014 / Comments (0)


This list includes institutions that are “test optional,” “test flexible” or otherwise de-emphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants who recently graduated from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT.

As the notes indicate, some schools exempt students who meet grade-point average or class rank criteria while others require SAT or ACT scores but use them only for placement purposes or to conduct research studies. Please check with the school’s admissions office to learn more about specific admissions requirements, particularly for international or non-traditional students.

To view the full list on, click here!

Sources: Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges 2013College Board 2013 College HandbookU.S News & World Report Best Colleges 2014; admissions office websites; news reports; and email communications


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