Category Archives: College Admissions


The University of Pennsylvania accepted 3551 students this year out of 35,788 applicants. The ratio, of about 9.9%, is simple to explain arithmetically-one kid in ten got admitted-harder to process emotionally if you are one of the nine who was not. If your family member got the “we’re sorry; there were so many qualified applicants…Read the full article


Which small colleges in the Pacific Northwest have a competitive women’s varsity volleyball team and a strong musical theater department? Which Midwestern universities have support for students with learning differences and good Greek life? Which colleges have the best four-year and six-year graduation rates? Which colleges have the highest percentage of alumni contributions? Which liberal…Read the full article

Rejected from Amherst, Percy Goes to Live in a Trailer Park with an Older Woman and her Three Children then Gets a Tattoo

College admissions counselors are taught to communicate that “Admissions is a match to be made, not a game to be won.” We are trained to help parents understand that a child who is academically and socially well suited to a university is more likely to succeed there than one who doesn’t fit. Consider John, whose…Read the full article

Did I Say that Out Loud?

April showers will bring college admissions decisions this week and although “fat envelopes”-filled with roommate selection, immunization and myriad other forms-have been replaced by lengthy emails with links, the elation and sadness remain constant across generations. Thin envelopes still represent “we had too many qualified applicants.” Fat envelopes remain the door to a world of…Read the full article

Tenth Grade Math

One of my running buddies is, by any objective measure, absurdly successful. He is blissfully happy in his personal life with a supportive, accomplished, well-spoken wife. They are that rare couple who met young, fell hopelessly in love, have been happily married forever, and now have three adolescent children whom they adore. Professionally, Ben is…Read the full article