A weekly podcast for parents and high school students about the world of college, brought to you by Policy Studies in Education.

A weekly podcast for parents and high school students about the world of college, brought to you by Policy Studies in Education.


New York, NY


A weekly podcast for parents and high school students about the world of college, brought to you by Policy Studies in Education.




Episode 117: The Best Case for Historically Black Colleges and Universities?

We know that some of you are still discussing which college your teenager should attend next fall, and we are sure that, by now, you are tired of re-listening to Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 114 of USACollegeChat—all of which we hoped would guide you through these difficult days. So, we thought we would let someone else do the talking today. Not us, but rather a college student--one we found to be remarkably insightful. This episode will also start a new series, which we are calling Colleges in...


Episode 116: Getting a Remarkable College Recommendation Letter

For those of you still debating which college your teenager should attend next fall, let us remind you, one more time, to take a look at Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 114—all of which aim to help you sort through some of the issues you might be facing in choosing the best college for your teenager. We wish you the best during this often stressful time--and, if you need an outside perspective, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Seriously. Well, we thought about taking this week off to enjoy...


Episode 115: What About a Gap Year Before College?

While today’s topic might not be an issue in higher education generally, it could well be an issue in your own teenager’s higher education--and it’s an issue that you might want to think about quickly right now if you have a high school senior. It is the notion of having your teenager take a gap year between finishing high school this spring and starting college this fall. For those of you who have high school juniors at home, it’s not too early for you to be thinking about this option,...


Episode 114: It’s College Decision Time!

Well, it is almost April 1, the date by which a lot of colleges will make high school seniors happy or sad. In fact, many colleges have already done that in the past two weeks, with some doing so today and tomorrow. We are sure it is a tense time for lots of families--whether it leads to great joy or considerable disappointment. There is hardly a bigger issue in higher education, of course, than the admissions game, its fairness and unfairness, and its results for thousands and thousands of...


Episode 113: The Community College Challenge

Today’s episode focuses on a higher education issue that we have talked about before at USACollegeChat, though not recently--that is, the pros and cons of attending a community college, which is a marvelous institution in theory, but a somewhat more disappointing institution in reality. At least, that has been our position in the past. When I read a recent article about where community colleges find themselves these days, I thought we might look at them one more time. If you are the parent...


Episode 112: Speeding Up College Graduation

One of the biggest practical issues in higher education today is the rising and insanely high cost of a college education--obviously. The cost of going to college is not something we talk about a lot here at USACollegeChat, partly because there are so many other people talking about it all the time. But sky-high cost is the reason behind the topic we are going to discuss in this episode: speeding up college graduation--that is, graduating in fewer than the traditional four years. Of course,...


Episode 111: The College Major Dilemma

We believe that today’s topic is an issue in higher education not only because the ins and outs of it are talked about often by professors and college administrators, but also because it is something that you as parents will undoubtedly be talking about to your kids once they get to college--if you haven’t started already. It is an issue that comes up in college applications—far too often, from my own point of view. It is the issue of what kids should major in when they go to college. “Why...


Episode 110: The New Common App College Essay Prompts

We are not sure that the topic of today’s episode qualifies as an “issue” in higher education, which is the name of our current series, but it is certainly something that will soak up a lot of the time of high school students who will be applying to college next fall and likely of their parents as well. The topic is The Common Application essay prompts. Now, I feel as though we just finished discussing college application essays a few weeks ago back in Episode 106, “The Nightmare of the...


Episode 109: Early Decision and Early Action Anxiety in College Admissions--Part II

This is the third in our series of episodes discussing issues in higher education, and it’s the second part of a two-parter that looks at the Early Decision and Early Action options for high school students who will be applying to colleges next fall. I mentioned last week that I was infuriated by this issue. I meant that I was infuriated on behalf of the kids and families who are trying to figure out how to play this college admissions game, which is hard enough without having to calculate...


Episode 108: Early Decision and Early Action Anxiety in College Admissions--Part I

Welcome back to Series 10, Issues in Higher Education. This is the second in our series of episodes discussing a variety of issues in higher education, and it’s a two-parter. Today’s and next week’s issue is one that, to put it bluntly, I find infuriating. This infuriation has likely been felt by anyone who has tried to navigate the world of Early Decision and Early Action admission to colleges in these past five or six months. So, let’s get started sorting it all out. We will talk about...


Episode 107: What’s All This I Hear About Online College Courses?

Welcome to Series 10, Issues in Higher Education. We want to spend at least the next handful of episodes discussing a variety of what we believe are issues in higher education--not necessarily about college access or college applications or college admissions, which is where we spend most of our time with you. Yet, we believe that these issues could have long-term implications that are important for your family. When casting about for a good definition of what we mean by an issue, we came...


Episode 106: The Nightmare of the Supplemental College Application Essays

We are still in Series 9, The Last Minute. That’s because we told you in our last episode that many colleges, including some top-ranked public and private ones, were still accepting applications--and will be doing so right through January and February, with some into March and April, and a few even beyond that. So, if you have a high school senior at home and he or she intends to take advantage of that fact, this episode is for you. And perhaps equally important, but less urgent: If you have...


Episode 105: Colleges Still Accepting Applications!

Well, we thought we would be starting a new series for the new year, but it turns out there are one or two things we would like to say to the seniors who are looking at their college prospects now--albeit a bit late--with newly serious eyes. I was talking to one of my best friends recently. He has twin girls, who were just finishing up their applications when we chatted on December 27. He said that one of the girls was feeling a bit blue as she looked over the list of colleges she had...


Episode 104: Public Universities--One More Time

This is our final episode before the holiday break and before those of you with seniors are facing what is likely D-Day--Deadline-for-college-applications Day--at least, for many, many colleges anyway. We struggled to think of something hopeful to say, and we settled on one last look at a group of colleges your teenager and you might not have considered sufficiently, and that is public universities. They have long been a favorite topic of ours, as evidenced by our detailed coverage of them...


Episode 103: Can You Find a College Like Georgia State?

We are going to Georgia--well, not literally--in today’s episode to talk about a college that we did not include in our virtual nationwide college tour (Episodes 27 through 53), but I now wish we had. I have to admit that I did not know virtually anything about the college we are going to talk about, and that’s why Marie and I say all the time that we learn something every day while navigating the ever-changing world of college. I think this episode will be eye-opening to many of you. 1....


Episode 102: Using Technology To Communicate with Colleges

Today’s episode takes us into the world of technology, so that means I’m already in trouble, but fortunately not Marie. We want to highlight four ways colleges find out things about applicants, now that we live in a world of super-connectedness--which can be good and can be not so good. 1. Email Address So, let’s start with the most obvious: an applicant’s email address. Virtually all kids have email addresses these days; indeed, kids are called on to provide them as part of the Common...


Episode 101: College Application Fees--Oh, My!

Welcome back after our Thanksgiving break. We hope your holiday was not ruined by college application hysteria. With about a month to go until many application deadlines hit, we would like to take up a practical topic that might affect how many applications your teenager is thinking about submitting in a few weeks. That topic is application fees. 1. The Cost For some of you, the cost of submitting an application--which is likely to be somewhere between $35 and $75 per application--is not a...


Episode 100: Historically Black College and University Freshman Enrollment on the Rise

Well, it is the 100th episode of our podcast, which started out as NYCollegeChat and then rapidly became USACollegeChat when we realized that everything we had to say was useful to families all over the USA and not just in our home state of New York. In the television business, having 100 episodes is a big deal because it means that the show lasted long enough and with sufficient quality to be syndicated (actually, it’s really only 88 episodes, or what used to be four full 22-episode...


Episode 99: College Application Essays—One More Time (Part II)

As I said last week, I am still mired in the swamp of college application essays, which I am reviewing and editing for 50-plus kids. As you might recall, my comments last week and this week are based on the essays of kids who attend top-ranked public high schools. Let me just say that all of the kids are smart and that all of them take honors and Advanced Placement courses. Last week, we talked about the content of their application essays, and this week we are going to talk about the...


Episode 98: College Application Essays—One More Time (Part I)

In November and December, we will be doing a mercifully short series entitled “The Last Minute.” Because that’s what it is--the last minute for finishing up most college applications and getting them submitted. Of course, some colleges have Regular Decision deadlines beyond the first of the year (especially some large public universities), and some colleges have rolling admissions (meaning that they take in and decide about applications virtually year-round). And some teenagers have just...