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




Episode 163: What High Schools Do Colleges Visit?

Welcome back to our new series entitled Looking to Next Year. Today, we want to look at a well-known college recruitment practice and its ramifications. That practice is the visiting of high schools by college admissions staff. Maybe our discussion today won’t come as a surprise to you; but, whether it does or doesn’t, it’s a sad commentary on the U.S. in 2018. 1. A New Study Just a few episodes ago, we quoted from an article in Inside Higher Ed by Scott Jaschik, and today we find...


Episode 162: The High School Courses That Colleges Require

We are starting a new series today because we think that the college ship has sailed for almost all of our listening families with seniors. Of course, some of you are still looking at a few options; some of you have even put down deposits at more than one college, or so we hear; and, some of you might be frantically searching for a new choice that offers rolling admissions or very late deadlines in the next couple of months. As always, if any of you are in the still-undecided group, give...


Episode 161: College Wait Lists

As we said last week, most of you have made a decision about what college your kid is going to by now. You all have compared and contrasted the colleges that accepted your son or daughter and made the best decision you thought you could. However, there might be one or two of you still holding out some hope for coming off the wait list of your kid’s favorite college choice. I know that some of you have even put a deposit down on a sure thing while not entirely giving up hope on the long...


Episode 160: The Best Advice About Choosing a College

Well, most of you have made a decision about what college your kid is going to by now. You all have sifted through the acceptances (hopefully, there was more than one), weighing all manner of things while making the decision. However, I know there are still a few of you out there who have not quite decided yet. I know because I talked to a mother just a few days ago who was in the throes of helping her daughter make her decision. Our meeting was quite accidental; she was the physician’s...


Episode 159: Going to College in California?

This is the third episode in our series, Decision Time Again, because, of course, it is actually decision time for lots of parents and kids out there. Although USACollegeChat is headquartered on the East Coast, we have some loyal listeners in California, and California colleges, including its public universities, are increasingly popular among students back here in the East. So, with that in mind, we have today’s episode. It is designed to make some of you feel better if your senior...


Episode 158: Does the College Matter?

This is the second episode in our new series, Decision Time Again. It’s “again” for us because, as we said last week, we always do some episodes about college decision making in April, for obvious reasons. 1. Isn’t This Counterintuitive? Every year at this time, pundits and educators write articles and op-ed pieces about how it doesn’t matter if your kid didn’t get into an Ivy League school, how admissions at top schools is an insane process that turns down thousands of perfectly...


Episode 157: Thinking Through College Acceptances

This is the first episode in our new series, fondly entitled Decision Time Again. It’s “again” for us because we always do some episodes about college decision making at this time of year, and it seems that the decisions just keep get harder and harder each year for all of you parents and your kids. Of course, we know that it might be your first decision time, and we are wishing you the best of luck! 1. A Case from the Real World So, here is something that happened last week: It is a...


Episode 156: They Teach Happiness at Yale

This is the fourth episode in our new series of things we didn’t know about certain colleges--or about higher education generally. Today, we are taking a look inside the ivy-covered walls of Yale University, but I think you will be very surprised about why we are taking that look. I know that many of you parents listening today have kids who have their hearts set on attending Yale or one of the other Ivy League universities or one of the other highly selective universities next fall. And I...


Episode 155: Foreign Languages and College Admissions

This is the third episode in our new series of things we didn’t know about certain colleges--or about higher education generally. But today, we are actually going to talk about some new data out about high schools because those data have implications for college-going, I believe. To be fair, I already knew a lot about today’s topic, but I did not know the data we are going to share with you now--and I think the situation is really very troubling. 1. A Look Back at Foreign Languages Last...


Episoe 154: Instant College Admission Decisions

This is the second in our new series of things we didn’t know about certain colleges--or about higher education generally. I think this is a case of the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. Even though we have worked with colleges for a living for decades, we have learned a lot doing our 150-plus episodes, and we hope you have, too. Today’s episode focuses on something that I did not know existed: instant college admission decisions, which sound like a great...


Episode 153: Outstanding New Documentary on HBCUs

It is officially March, and I feel that we have done all we can for the Class of 2022. Before we head into advice for the Class of 2023, we are going to do a few episodes on things we didn’t know about certain colleges--or about higher education generally. As we have always said, we learn something every time we do an episode, even though this is our business and we have been doing it a very long time. Today’s episode focuses on a favorite topic of ours here at USACollegeChat--that is,...


Episode 152: Choosing a College Because of a Major

I come to our topic today with mixed feelings. We have talked about it on numerous occasions and written about it in our books. It’s a topic that lends itself to some data-based analysis, but I have to say that it also causes me to think about my own philosophy about academics and what is important and what isn’t. So, this is a big topic, and it is college majors. As I have been working with students during this round of college applications, I listen to them talk about choosing colleges...


Episode 151: What About a College’s Grading Practices?

Today we are going to talk about a topic that I bet you and your high school senior have not given any thought to. And yet, it’s a topic that you and your high school senior have done nothing but think about for the past year or so, just from a different perspective. That topic is grades. Or more precisely, today’s topic is grading practices, which is not exactly the same as your kid’s grades. Probably the most you have thought about your kid’s high school’s grading practices is whether...


Episode 150: College Acceptance for the Spring Semester?

Today’s topic is something I have never thought much about at all. And that’s true even though my oldest child was in this situation, and no one seemed to think much about it when he was accepted to Berklee College of Music a dozen years ago. When Jimmy applied to Berklee (the college we like to say that offers the best contemporary music education in the world), he was admitted for the following spring semester rather than for the fall. I looked at that as a great opportunity for him to...


Episode 149: Colleges with Late Application Deadlines!

Last year about this time, we did an episode on colleges with late application deadlines. We would like to do that again today, realizing that some colleges have changed their deadlines, of course, since our episode last January. It is amazing to me--still--that so many colleges have deadlines well past early January, even as we seem to focus our high school seniors every year on meeting a January 1 deadline for their college applications. Apart from those colleges that have mid-January or...


USACC 148: College Deferment and a Letter of Appeal

Hello, again! When we signed off in mid-December to take an end-of-year break, we thought that we would be back with you the first week of January. But, you know what they say about the best-laid plans…. So what happened? The flu, the snow, and the unexpected week-long extension of a business trip I was on in Alaska on the shores of the Arctic Ocean! I am taking full responsibility for our absence, and let me say that these few weeks are the longest we have been off the air since we...


Episode 147: It’s a New College World, Or Is It?

It’s the middle of December, and those of you with teenagers who are facing application deadlines in the first week of January either see that the end is in sight or are pulling out your hair. Whichever it is, I am not sure how much more we can do for you. I will make our standard offer, nonetheless: If you are wrestling with a question about a college application or trying to figure out another college or two to add to your list--yes, it’s not too late--then, give us a call. Quick, free...


Episode 146: The Biggest College Application Mistake You Are About To Make

As you head into December and draw near to the looming college application deadlines that follow in the first two weeks of January, we are sure you have a lot on your minds, parents. Almost all of you are worried about how you are going to pay for whatever college your teenager eventually enrolls in. Most of you are worried about whether your teenager is going to get into his or her first choice. Many of you are worried about whether your teenager will get into any of his or her top...


Episode 145: Supplemental College Application Essays—The Sequel

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all our listeners! We hope you will have a lovely day, filled with family and food, and that you will have a relaxing long weekend. Oh, except for the fact that some of your teenagers will be finishing up college application supplemental essays--or worse still, just starting them--so your weekend is not likely to be all that relaxing. Those of you who listened last week heard our discussion of the number of supplemental essays that various colleges require,...


Episode 144: Supplemental College Application Essays—Oh, My!

I really was not going to do this episode. I resisted doing our last two--one episode about The Common Application main essay (that 650-word statement that all seniors’ parents and teachers have come to loathe at this time of year) and one episode about the sad fact that our high school seniors in the U.S. cannot write. I was glad when last week was over, and I thought that I could move on to other topics of importance in the college applications season. And yet, I am drawn back into the...


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