Category Archives: USA

Colleges posting the Gallup Purdue results

Gallup and Purdue teamed up back in 2014 to look at what actually matters during a person’s college years. They found six dimensions that prove transformation:

1. A professor who made them excited to learn;

2. A professor who cared about them as individuals;

3. A mentor who pushed students to reach their goals;

4. Working on a long-term project;

5. Completing a job or internship related to classroom lessons;

6. Being engaged in extracurricular activities and groups.


The following colleges share their own data:








Goucher –one of the best usages I have seen. 

Grace College

Indiana public and private colleges

James Madison University

Ohio State


Robert Morris University

St. Michaels College

Temple University

University of New Hampshire

University of Pittsburgh

University of Tennessee

University of Virginia and here

Virginia Tech



Deep Springs goes co-ed…again…this time for real

Last time (2011) they announced their plan to admit women to the venerable men’s only institution, they landed in a lawsuit with themselves. The charter clearly states for men, but courts decided that the trustees can refine that as needed:

The key finding of the appeals court was that the lower court had been within its discretion to approve a change in the trust guidelines for the college from promoting “the education of promising young men” to “the education of promising young people.” There was no evidence, the appeals court said, that the lower court had exceeded its authority to determine which trust provisions were “administrative” (such as the reference to men) and which ones were focused on the central mission of the college (the overall approach.

Now that the lawsuits are done, the board of trustees again voted to go coed for the fall of 2018. With a freshman class of only 14 men people, we can expect it become even more selective since it looks like they will not increase the college size.

The Applications Committee (ApCom) receives between 180 and 250 applications each year. Of those prospective students, 15 are invited to enroll and 10 are added to a wait-list. Our goal is to have 14 students in each matriculating class.

With all expenses paid, Deep Sprigs offers an exceptional possibilities: 

“The desert has a deep personality; it has a voice. Great leaders in all ages have sought the desert and heard its voice. You can hear it if you listen, but you cannot hear it while in the midst of uproar and strife for material things. ‘Gentlemen, for what came ye into the wilderness?’ Not for conventional scholastic training; not for ranch life; not to become proficient in commercial or professional pursuits for personal gain. You came to prepare for a life of service, with the understanding that superior ability and generous purpose would be expected of you.”


Deep Springs Founder L.L. Nunn, 1923

colleges who require self -reported grades/coursework on their applications

Colleges who require self -reported grades/coursework on their applications

  • Chapman University, CA
  • Florida Atlantic University,
  • Florida Polytechnic 
  • Florida State University
  • George Washington University, DC
  • New York School of Career & Applied Studies of Touro College & University System, NY
  • Ohio State University, OH
  • Purdue University, IN
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • University of California all campuses, CA
  • University of Florida,
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Southern California, CA
  • West Virginia University, WV





Finding the right college by looking at its peers

This Cartoon pretty much summarizes many people’s attitudes about colleges. They mistake the joining of an athletic conference as a confirmation of shared values and qualities. While the Ivy League IS an outstanding collection of colleges, but several of them are quite different from each other. Rural pre-profession Dartmouth vs Urban Great books of Columbia vs the Open Curriculum of Brown. Would you apply to all three? Perhaps. And Perhaps there is a better way than loading up the shotgun and aiming at just one specific college league. 

Every year, colleges are asked to list their peer institutions, the ones they compare themselves against. Brown, for example, picked 17:


  • Columbia U
  • Cornell U
  • Dartmouth C
  • Duke U
  • Georgetown U
  • Harvard U
  • Johns Hopkins U
  • Massachusetts Inst of Tech
  • Northwestern U
  • Princeton U
  • Rice U
  • Stanford U
  • U of Chicago
  • U of Pennsylvania
  • U of Rochester
  • Washington U in St. Louis
  • Yale


Yes, they selected all of the Ivy plus several other intellectual powerhouses. They also slected Columbia (which indetified no peers) and Dartmouth, who choose many of the same in their group of 16:

  • Amherst C
  • Brown U
  • Columbia U
  • Cornell U
  • Duke U
  • Georgetown U
  • Harvard U
  • Johns Hopkins U
  • Northwestern U
  • Princeton U
  • Stanford U
  • U of Chicago
  • U of Pennsylvania
  • U of Rochester
  • Williams C
  • Yale U

These are the company they keep. Motivational expert Jim Rohn opined that  “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Identifying peers can be a proxy for that sentiment on an institutional level. These are often the institutions that the colleges cross apps with. Like, so to speak, finds like. But drilling into the data deeper may help you build a deeper college list. Brown identifed 16 colleges, of which 11 liked them back so to speak:

  • Cornell U
  • Dartmouth C
  • Georgetown U
  • Johns Hopkins U
  • Northwestern U
  • Stanford U
  • U of Chicago
  • U of Pennsylvania
  • U of Rochester
  • Washington U in St. Louis
  • Yale U

But many other colleges identified Brown–we might call these aspirational colleges:

  • Boston C
  • Bowdoin C
  • Brandeis U
  • C of William and Mary
  • Emory U
  • Lehigh U
  • New York U
  • Stevens Inst of Tech
  • Tufts U
  • U of Delaware
  • U of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • U of Notre Dame
  • U of Southern California
  • U of Virginia
  • Vanderbilt U
  • Wellesley C
  • Wesleyan U
  • Worcester Polytechnic Inst

While some of these are similarly selective, many are a little less selective. Building a deep college list means going deeper into the pool. Yet, this information does not really point WHY these colleges include Brown on their list. They do not share what characteristics they identified as worthy of aspiring to. Another tool many counselor love comes courtesy of Steven Antanoff: College Express, which is based on high book of college lists, The College Finder:

Lists & Rankings 


You can click on any list to discover other colleges on that list. For example, perhaps you love Brown for two reasons, 

Lover of Ideas Internationalism

1. St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD)

1. St. John’s College (Santa Fe, NM)

2. Reed College (Portland, OR)

3. University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

4. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)

5. Brown University (Providence, RI)

5. Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

5. Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)

8. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

9. Bard College (Annandale on Hudson, NY)

9. Carleton College (Northfield, MN)

9. Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)

12. Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY)

13. Amherst College (Amherst, MA)

13. Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)

13. Haverford College (Haverford, PA)

13. Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY)

13. Yale University (New Haven, CT)

18. Earlham College (Richmond, IN)

18. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

18. The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)

18. Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)



  • Beloit College (Beloit, WI)
  • Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)
  • Clark University (Worcester, MA)
  • Colby College (Waterville, ME)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
  • Davidson College (Davidson, NC)
  • Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts (New York, NY)
  • Furman University (Greenville, SC)
  • Goucher College (Baltimore, MD)
  • Guilford College (Greensboro, NC)
  • Hamilton College (Clinton, NY)
  • Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY)
  • Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA)
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Lafayette College (Easton, PA)
  • Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR)
  • Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)
  • Marlboro College (Marlboro, VT)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • McGill University (Montreal, CAN)
  • Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Pitzer College (Claremont, CA)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Scripps College (Claremont, CA)
  • Sewanee: The University of the South (Sewanee, TN)
  • Smith College (Northampton, MA)
  • St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA)
  • The New School (New York, NY)
  • Tufts University (Medford, MA)
  • United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD)
  • University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  • University of Redlands (Redlands, CA)
  • University of Richmond (University of Richmond, VA)
  • University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
  • Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA)
  • Williams College (Williamstown, MA)


  • American University (Washington, DC)
  • Bard College (Annandale on Hudson, NY)
  • Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)
  • Boston University (Boston, MA)
  • Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH)
  • Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)
  • Brigham Young University — Provo (Provo, UT)
  • Brown University (Providence, RI)
  • Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario, CAN)
  • City University of New York, Graduate Center (NY)
  • Clark University (Worcester, MA)
  • Clemson University (Clemson, SC)
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
  • Duke University (Durham, NC)
  • Emory University (Atlanta, GA)
  • Florida International University (Miami, FL)
  • Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA)
  • Hamilton College (Clinton, NY)
  • Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (Bloomington, IN)
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)
  • Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • toggle favorite saveYes, connect me!
  • Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
  • toggle favorite saveYes, connect me!
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • McMaster University (CAN)
  • Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey — New Brunswick (Piscataway, NJ)
  • SUNY — Binghamton (Binghamton, NY)
  • Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
  • St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH)
  • The George Washington University (Washington, DC)
  • The University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
  • The University of British Columbia (Vancouver, CAN)
  • The University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)
  • Trinity College (Hartford, CT)
  • Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
  • University of Alberta (Edmonton, CAN)
  • University of California — Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
  • University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
  • University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
  • University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
  • University of Denver (Denver, CO)
  • University of Houston (Houston, TX)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (Champaign, IL)
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA)
  • University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • University of Minnesota — Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
  • University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN)
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)
  • University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  • University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX)
  • University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, CAN)
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
  • University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, CAN)
  • University of Wisconsin — Madison (Madison, WI)
  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  • Wells College (Aurora, NY)
  • Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  • York University (Toronto, Ontario, CAN)


Only Brandies makes all three lists–the aspirational peers, the college for lover of ideas and the list for Internationalism. Collegexpress has limitation sin that it does not identify how they generate their list. Some comes from experts (who are these), some from actual data, and others from outside sources. Still, for most veteran college counselors, the lists typically prove valid. 

End Note: The Chronicle of Higher Education has complied the data in an interactive feature that allows you to drill into colleges and their peers. Here is what Princeton looks like:


New approaches to reviewing applications

UPENN has been pioneering a different approach to file review:

In the traditional system, the first review was done solo by an admissions officer, typically taking 25-30 minutes, followed by another five minutes writing a brief report for colleagues to review the recommendation.

In committee-based admissions, the first review is done in teams of two, DaSilva explained. In a private room with computer screens, all of the materials are displayed. One admissions officer focuses on academic materials (transcripts, test scores, etc.) while the other focuses on non-academic factors. The two discuss the candidate as they do their reviews and are able to make a recommendation typically within 4-10 minutes. You could have two people reviewing five applications or more in committee-based admissions in the time it would take two people to review two applications if working solo.

It has garnered a fair bit of attention with Swarthmore, Bucknell, Emory and Case Western Reserve utalizing it. NYU used it for early. This is another aspect to go with our understanding the admission process. 

Common App Essay prompts for 2017-18

The essay of your choice returns for the 2017/18 school year as the common app unveils the pompts–now 7 choices. Does this make it luckier? (University of California has 8, making them auspicious in China. 


1. Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change]

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change]

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]

6. Describe a topic, idea or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]

Early results 2016

Yep…bumper year…increase in applications. Increase in quality…lower admit rates…you know the drill…but what is the story? Colleges have been slower to release details this year. Some (I am looking at you Stanford) has decided not to tell us at all. Why? Who knows. Certainly puting uup lists of admit rates potentially contributes to the admission rat race, but for many of us it helps us in our advising and making sense of what is happening. Why did Emory’s great side door known as Oxford suddently get discovered? How did Chicago’s addition of ED I and II plans impact their EA applicants and rates? We don’t know becuase they have not told us?

Below is the list of shools that have shared some ifnormation with relvant links:

Early Decision


College/University Name

ED Acceptance Percentage

Increase in ED Applications

% of class filled


Babson College




Barnard College

Historically: 42%



Bentley University





Brandeis University
























Emory (oxford)







Fordham University



Harvey Mudd College




Johns Hopkins




Loyola Marymount University


first year with ED
















University of Rochester



Up 20%






Does not have questbridge. Will go up.










* approximation based on information provided in common data set.


Early Action

College/University Name 

EA Acceptance Percentage 

Percentage Increase in EA 



Babson College




Chapman University




Fordham University




Georgetown Univerrsity






Loyola Marymount University













Notre Dame






U Georgia








Colleges and guns

The US has long had a special relationship with guns, one that often puzzles many international students. Several states potentially allow tudents to carry concealed guns. While some states allow it, they leave it up to the invidual institution. Others do not permit an instutional choice. The map below, from armedcampus, gives a quick insight of states and their guns on campus policy:

RED = Concealed guns allowed by law
GREY = Concealed guns allowed by law, but schools limit locations/who carries
GREEN = Concealed guns on campus prohibited by law
YELLOW = Schools decide weapons policy
ORANGE = Concealed guns allowed only in locked cars in parking lots

Colleges and guns

The US has long had a special relationship with guns, one that often puzzles many international students. Several states potentially allow tudents to carry concealed guns. While some states allow it, they leave it up to the invidual institution. Others do not permit an instutional choice. The map below gives a quick insight of states and their guns on campus policy:

Colleges and guns

The US has long had a special relationship with guns, one that often puzzles many international students. Several states potentially allow tudents to carry concealed guns. While some states allow it, they leave it up to the invidual institution. Others do not permit an instutional choice. The map below gives a quick insight of states and their guns on campus policy: