College Admissions and the impact of Coronavirus

We present a weekly 30-minute webinar on the college admissions process and the impact that the coronavirus has on higher education. You can subscribe to the webinar and our newsletter on our main web page:

Below are links to the webinars:




The College That Fits Your Child: Pasadena Seminar 10/2/18

Looking to find the college that best fits your child or to obtain free money?  We will show you how to find schools that are the right fit as we walk you through the admissions process.  Learn about merit money opportunities and what you can do to better your child’s chances of receiving this free money, regardless of whether your child is a top student or an average student.

Understand why starting the college early can offer significant advantages. This seminar class is particularly important if your student is at the top of the class, has learning differences, is an athlete, or is average. See what it takes to get into an Ivy and why your child may be rejected from the school you considered to be a “safety” school.

2018 was a year of significant change, Standardized testing has changed, admissions have become more competitive than ever, and a new “Coalition” application is being used by some colleges. In addition, the financial aid application process has undergone recent changes that require planning in the freshman year of high school.

Parents who are separated, divorced, or never married will learn what they should know about financial aid. Dr. Lee Ann Cornell has spent years working in this field and has a wide breadth of knowledge on this subject and a staff of recognized experts to help your child achieve their dreams.

Immigrant parents or parents whose children will be the first in their family to attend college will find this class very helpful.  You will learn the subtleties of the college process and develop an understanding of how your child may be at a disadvantage at some schools and have advantages at others.

Dr. Lee Ann Cornell manages the California practice of College Solutions. She brings ten years of admission experience from several colleges. Dr. Cornell understands exactly how to position a student in the admission process. She specializes in essay brainstorming and editing, as well as application mapping.

So You Don’t Have To: A Visit to Guilford College

Guilford College

In mid-January I was passing through North Carolina and decided to pay a visit to Guilford College, in Greensboro. I’m so glad that I did! I think that I’ve previously mentioned in this space that I am an alumn of Hampshire College, and so it’s understandable that I have a soft spot for small, liberal arts colleges that give students a chance to form close mentorship relationships with faculty while also fostering a deep focus on issues of social justice. All I knew previously about Guilford was that it was a Quaker college, and that one of my former students went there and loved it. Now that I’ve seen it up close I can see why. Guilford would be a great match for students interested in pursuing public service during and after college, but I think it would also be a very good fit for a student who wants a “small” college with “big” college spirit and sports. It’s definitely one of the most interesting colleges I’ve visited in the last few years, and I recommend it heartily.

Guilford College At A Glance

Size: Just under 2,000 undergraduates (approximately 53% women/ 47% men). Guilford is somewhat selective, having accepted about 1,800 of their 3,000 applicants to fill a first-year class of 350– an overall acceptance rate of around 60%.
Programs of Study: 38 majors and 56 minors for undergraduates; students can also combine majors into a customized area of study. Pre-dentistry, pre-medical, pre-ministerial, pre-engineering and pre-law programs. Guilford students can get Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.
Sports: NCAA Division III; 18 varsity teams (9 women’s, 9 men’s); numerous club and intramural sports.
Campus Life: Over 44 clubs and organizations on campus; no fraternities or sororities. On campus housing is guaranteed and virtually all students live on or near campus. Greensboro is a vibrant, interesting city a short drive away but nice shopping and dining options are within walking distance.
Costs & Aid: Tuition, room & board and fees total just about $48,000 (depending on housing and meal plan options).  Parents need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Deadlines: Guilford has Early Decision, Early Action and Regular admissions options. The ED deadline is November 1, the EA deadline is December 1, and the RD deadline is rolling (which means that it’s still a good idea to apply sooner rather than later). Students use the Common App or Guilford’s own application.
Tests: Guilford is test-optional, so students do not need to send ACT or SAT scores if the tests don’t show them at their best. But applicants who opt to forego sending test scores will need submit an academic portfolio that includes at least two examples of writing, one of which must have teacher grades on it.
Guilford College traces its history back to 1837, and played a role in the Underground Railroad in antebellum North Carolina; in 1990 the entire campus was added to the list of national historic places. Guilford became a four-year college in 1888, and has always been co-educatioonal.

Beautiful Campus

Guilford has also always been associated with the Society of Friends, or Quakers. According to Assistant Director of Admission Fernando Gomes, while Quaker heritage is still very important to Guilford, it is not a “religious” school; only 6% of students are Quakers, and while there are “planned meetings” on Sundays, the campus ministry building hosts over 15 different religious organizations.

Photo by Courtney Lewis ©2017

Guilford students call professors and administrators by their first names. Having had the same experience at my college, it takes getting used to at first, but really goes a long way towards building the sense of being part of a community of scholars. Guilford seems to be a “liberal” campus, but (perhaps due to its Quaker background), one that is very welcoming of divergent beliefs and one that has a much more diverse population than I would have expected. Some of that diversity is economic: according to the Federal government’s College Scorecard, 43% of Guilford’s students come from families that earn less than $40,000–that is a large number (compared to, say, Duke University, which comes up at 14% or UNC-Chapel Hill, which has 21% of students from low-income families). A further example of diversity includes a freshman class this year with 49% students of color.

Reserved Parking in Admissions

The Guilford admissions office works hard to give visitors a personalized experience; besides the usual information session students get a personalized meeting with an admissions officer and I received a lovely handwritten card from Jocelyn, my super tour guide, about 10 days after the visit.  As you can see from the picture at left, I also had my own visitor’s parking space! This doesn’t seem to be a level of treatment just for visiting admissions professionals, because a young woman was visiting that day with her father, and she had a parking space too.

The campus is just beautiful. Brick architecture, mature trees and sloping, expansive green spaces are the highlights. There is also a thriving working farm (which contributes much of its produce to the campus dining hall and also to local food charities) that I did not get to see on my visit. Guilford College is located in Greensboro, the seat of Guilford County and part of the ‘Piedmont Triad’ which also includes High Point and Winston-Salem. The area is home to over a quarter million people and is considerably more liberal than the majority of the state (North Carolina voters narrowly preferred President Trump to Secretary Clinton in 2016, but the former First Lady won Guilford county by almost 20 percentage points). Greensboro and its surrounding area has sports, music, arts and a thriving dining scene that makes it seem like a very congenial place to spend four years of one’s life.

According to Mr. Gomes, the most popular fields of study at Guilford are business, creative writing, psychology, health sciences and the BFA in studio art. According to their latest alumni magazine (pro tip: always take a copy of campus publications) Guilford is adding a new major in Cyber and Network Security that will be the first one in North Carolina to feature 100% face to face classes. Other popular programs include sport science, sports management and exercise science, not surprising on a campus where over 1/3 of the students are athletes. If that number sounds high to you, it is; in fact, the deeper you look, the more amazing it is, because over 150 people play on the football team!  The size of the football team has a couple of interesting (probably unintended) consequences:
  1. the ratio of men to women is much closer to 50/50 than at other similar institutions
  2. it is very likely that every student knows someone on the football team

That second one might seem trivial, but it’s not. I have worked with a lot of students who have said that they would prefer a smaller school, but they really want to have a football team to cheer for. Guilford gives the best of both worlds–students can be part of the panoply of college football, but compared to a bigger school they might actually be cheering for their friends, not just for laundry.

There is a lot to do on campus, ranging from the school newspaper and radio stations, to political and religious groups, to intramural athletics; but the strongest emphasis is placed on service opportunities. Guilford makes a point to have its curriculum (in and out of class) reflect their seven core values:

  1. Community
  2. Diversity
  3. Equality
  4. Excellence
  5. Integrity
  6. Justice
  7. Stewardship
The campus was full of art that made me think–I was particularly impressed by a series of posters I saw all over the campus (pictured at left) about consent. I also liked the statue outside of the science building that was a bike stand shaped like an endorphin molecule (for the pleasure derived from exercise) and the murals near the community service offices that showed Guilford students at work all over the world. Guilford has six dorms, three themed houses and two apartment complexes on campus. Pricing for housing varies with the levels of amenities, but all of the rooms have air conditioning, a necessity in humid North Carolina! There is no Greek life at Guilford, but the themed options (Environmental Sustainability, Sustainable Farming, and Cross Cultural and International) are there for people who like to live with like minded peers. As you’d expect from a small college, students get to work closely with their professors. There is a 14:1 student to professor ratio, but small classes are the rule, not the exception. My tour guide, Jocelyn, is an education major and she has had classes with as few as three and six students. In fact, the largest one she’s had was introduction to psychology, with 26 students, which is remarkably small for such a typically oversubscribed course. Students sit around a table, or with desks arranged in a circle to help break down the hierarchy and make classes a place for discussion and collaboration.
Admissions-wise, applicants can choose from a binding Early Decision plan, a non-binding Early Action plan, or regular, rolling decision options. Guilford claims to take a “holistic” view of applicants. Unlike some much larger schools, (such as the University of Virginia), I actually believe Guilford when they say this. Partly it is due to the comparatively small number of applicants (around 3,000), of whom more than half will be admitted, but also it is due to the self-selecting nature of Guilford students. Mr. Gomes said that they are looking for “self-awareness” and “open-mindedness” which are not common among 18 year-olds, and are e
ven more difficult to convey in a college essay. If at all possible, I think that interested students and their families should try to visit the campus to meet the admissions staff–this will help reinforce your case.
Photo by Courtney Lewis ©2017

Another aspect of “holistic” admissions is Guilford’s test optional admissions method. To take advantage of this, students submit a portfolio of work including at least one example of graded expository writing, and one that can be un-graded along with optional artistic, musical or other examples of student work. This is growing more common, and it’s a good idea for students (especially those who do not score very highly on standardized testing) to get in the habit of keeping their school work when they get it back from teachers just in case they can use it as part of their application to college.

I have visited dozens of colleges in my time, and I always look at a school through two lenses: first, to see if I can recommend it to one of my students, and second if I would want to go there. Guilford is absolutely a place that I will recommend to a wide variety of students, and it’s also a place that I wish I could attend myself. The friendliness, the collegiality, and the unwavering focus on social justice and improving the world are an unbeatable combination. For a student who wants to be actively involved in her/his learning, who is interested in the planet and the people who live here, who wants to make sure that everything they study has a “values” component, and who is interested in being part of a lively community with strong school spirit, Guilford would be a great place to look; it’s on the short list of my favorite colleges in America.



Georgia Tech senior Adam Forstall on his college experience:


You can never truly know if the college you choose to attend is going to be the ‘perfect’ fit. Eventually youGeorgia Tech   need to settle on a choice though. It was the breadth of offerings, study abroad programs, co-op programs, research, etc. that made Georgia Tech seem like a rational choice for me.  I can safely say that deciding to attend Georgia Tech was the single best decision I have ever made.


I was also considering such schools as Drexel, Lehigh, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I was on the search for engineering, a fair bet for those interested in math, science, and technology. Math and science alone are typically for the advancement of theory, while engineering aims to bring theory to reality (aka technological development). Georgia Tech is at the forefront in multiple engineering disciplines. It also carries the weight of being a recognizable ‘brand’ name, which has proved most helpful post-college.

The most important thing to mention about GT is its access to quality study abroad programs, co-op programs, and research. There are hundreds of study abroad options, a few of which the school ‘hosts’ directly. Examples of these are a group of 120 students that travels to a remote campus in France, a group that tours around England, and a group that tours around Australia (while taking classes, of couBoschrse). A substantial number of students study abroad. The co-op programs are strong, with big names like GE, Siemens, Bosch, NASA, Tesla, and they very often lead to full-time employment for students who stick them out. There are also numerous start-ups just off the main campus, as well as multiple opportunities to bring your own start-up ideas to realization (InVenture prize, StartupX, etc.). StartupX is as simple as a single interview, which if they believe you have a good enough project and prototype, will promptly give you $20,000 to use toward your project. InVenture is also great for getting some cash, with recognition on live TV as a nice bonus. Research is also in abundance at the school, with many ongoing projects for the military and government (as well as many that are purely academic).

A typical week day consists of 2-4 hour-long classes, followed by whatever extracurricular you eGeorgia Tech footballngage in, and then anywhere from 2-4 hours of homework. Students study either in their common areas at the dorms, which are very popular for freshmen, or in the main ‘study’ building on campus (used more by sophomores and above). Dorm noise is somewhat dependent on what side of campus you are on. East side is where all the fraternities are, so it is ever so slightly noisier on Thursdays and Fridays. West Campus is nearly always quiet.

In terms of daily academics, introductory classes are, at their largest, 150-200 students. Most of those, though, are accompanied by a second meeting time in a smaller setting of around 30 students. Most classes use teaching assistants, and they are really hit or miss for their teaching ability; however, they almost always want you to do well and are accommodating. Homework daily totals around 2-4 hours (for Mechanical Engineering). There are very few papers, mostly lab reports for anything written. These are typically done as group projects and are no longer than 10-15 pages of written text. Faculty, administration, and support staff (counselors, tutors) are all very good. Some teachers are less accommodating than others, but that goes without saying at any school. On that note, there are an extensive number of programs to help students succeed; free tutors and a plethora of other free services are offered year-round.

Students are friendly, homogenous, techie, but not overly competitive. There is a collective spirit to succeed at Georgia Tech. Clubs relating to building cars and developing software are the most prominent on campus. The school is made up of a notable portion of in-state students, but most, if not all, remain on campus during the weekends.

The weekends are quite lively, and as there is a student body of over 10,000, there are always tons of people around. Weekends at GT unofficially run from Thursday to Saturday. Thursday and Friday are the “going out” nights, while Saturday is more often for something quiet or homework. Approximately one-third of the population is engaged in Greek life. Students can rush either semester (fall or spring), but most of rush in the fall. Parties are everything short of trashing the house. While things rarely, if ever, completely get out of hand the way you may have seen in some movies, there are water slides, themed parties, toga parties, and plenty of mayhem to go around. Students mostly use the campus bus system to get around; it is efficient, and there is an app to track where the buses are.

One thing I noticed was a lack of well-rounded, non-Greek individuals. I say this as someone who was right in the middle. I am a very social individual, but I also like my free time, my own space, and my hobbies (cooking, playing the piano, playing tennis). I too often found individuals at Georgia Tech who were either completely involved in Greek life and were otherwise unaware of other things (and people) in life, or individuals who were so absorbed in school that a night out was never going to happen. Long story short, I would not advocate Georgia Tech as a school of well-rounded individuals who know how to do their own laundry or cook their own salmon.


The college search process helped me understand the different types of opportunities that various colleges offered. This was essential for me to see how Georgia Tech stood out. As a college senior with a mid-range GPA, I was still able to take advantage of all the opportunities presented at this highly rated school …and I never once stayed up past 2:00 AM for it! I am now enjoying the job search and looking forward to a career as a Mechanical Engineering Designer. You can reach Adam Forstall at .







“Finding The Right Fit”: A Visit to Rollins College

At the end of June I visited Rollins College during a trip to central Florida. I had been peripherally aware of Rollins for years, but only in the sense that I knew it was well regarded for the beauty of its campus and that it often appeared on “best of the South” ratings lists. Despite 96º temperatures and unbelievable humidity, the tour was excellent and I came away with a strong sense that Rollins knows what kind of school they want to be and that they are justifiably proud of their institution. Having seen the college first-hand, I would definitely recommend Rollins to any student looking for a small liberal arts college with excellent academic and athletic opportunities in the South. I would also consider suggesting it to a student who wasn’t necessarily considering a southern campus, because while central Florida has the weather of the South, it feels much more cosmopolitan.

Rollins College At A Glance

Size: A little over 1,900 undergraduates (approximately 59% men/ 41% women). Students come from 50 states and 50 countries. Rollins accepted about 47% of their 5400 applicants to fill a first year class of 550.
Programs of Study: 36 majors and 64 areas of study for undergraduates; 10 different graduate programs. Bachelor and Master degrees awarded. They also have a 3:2 accelerated B.A./M.B.A program.
Sports: NCAA Division II (with one exception); 23 varsity teams (12 women’s, 11 men’s); numerous intramural sports.The women’s golf team won the NCAA National Champion in 2016. Waterskiing is the sole Division I sport on campus.
Campus Life: Over 100 clubs and organizations on campus. 6 fraternities (four with housing) and 7 sororities (six with housing); about 45% of the campus participates in Greek life. On campus housing is required for all first and second year students (unless their family lives nearby); housing is only guaranteed for two years. Downtown Winter Park, a cute little town with a good mix of shops and restaurants, is a short walk away.
Costs & Aid: Tuition, room & board and fees total just about $57,000.  Parents need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the average need-based aid package for first-year students is between $28,000-$38,000 before merit aid. 85% of students receive merit assistance. While the tuition is the same for students whether or not they hail from the Sunshine State, Florida residents can use a $3,000 annual “Florida Residents Access Grant” to defray costs.
Deadlines: Rollins has Early Decision I and II as well as Regular Decision options. ED I has a deadline of November 1, with ED II’s deadline being December 15. The RD deadline is February 1. Note that the priority date for students seeking merit aid is November 1. Students use the Common App.
Tests: Test optional, or Rollins will accept the SAT or ACT. Mid 50% of the old SAT was 1120-1290 (CR+M) and 24-29 for the ACT. Rollins will encourage applicants with lower test scores but good high school grades to resubmit their applications as test optional.
Rollins has a shady, tree-lined campusRollins College is located in Winter Park, Florida, which is about 10 miles north of Orlando. Winter Park is a small city (c. 27,000) in the central part of the state. Winter Park boasts beautiful weather, a thriving shopping, dining and arts culture and proximity to Orlando, which is one of America’s top 25 most populous cities.

Rollins College was founded in 1885 by Lucy Cross with an eye towards giving the South a New England style liberal arts college. The school is now non-denominational, but the campus chapel is still a destination wedding location for Rollins grads. The campus is on 70 acres of land along a lake, and is very pedestrian friendly.

At just under 2,000 students, Rollins is a small liberal arts college that has some very unique approaches to undergraduate education. First semester students choose from one of several “Rollins Conference Courses“–a seminar whose professor serves as their academic advisor, and whose classmates comprise their orientation group. The list of options available show the breadth of interests of Rollins professors and make it unlikely that a student wouldn’t find something of interest. Incoming students list their top eight choices and 90% of students gain admission to one of their top three choices. In addition to the professor, the class also has two Peer Mentors (upperclass students) who serve to help first year students adjust to life at Rollins.

When students complete their first semester they still need to fulfill the distribution requirements and need to take classes in each discipline. Rollins has taken an approach to this that is (to my knowledge) unique: the Neighborhood Program. Named after Rollins graduate Fred Rogers’ TV show, the Neighborhood Program consists of four divisions:

  1. Innovate, Create Elevate
  2. Identities: Mirrors and Windows
  3. Mysteries and Marvels
  4. When Cultures Collide

Designed to help develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, the students choose one of the four neighborhoods and take all of their general education classes within it. To take one example, from the “Mysteries and Marvels” neighborhood, students could take the following classes:

  • Science: “Fiat Lux” (Rollins’ motto): a study of light and optics
  • Science: “Springs, Swamps and Sinkholes”: Ecology of Florida
  • Social Science: “Who Are You and Where Am I?: Spaniards and Amerindians Confront the Unknown in 1500’s Florida”
  • Arts: “The Mysteries of One Hit Wonders in Popular Music”
  • Economics: “The Economics of Piracy”: from the Caribbean piracy of the 1600’s to modern intellectual property issues

and so on. Students are expected to come to see connections between the different subjects they are studying, and it is easy to see how this program can facilitate that.

Many of the buildings feature covered arcades–necessary
under the hot Florida sun! The most popular major at Rollins is business, followed by biology, marine biology, studio art, communications, education and music. Every class at Rollins is deliberately small (all classes are capped at 25, and the average is 17) and heavily features student discussion. Nearly every classroom has either a large round table or desks in a semi-circle; professors want students to be able to make eye contact with each other. There is an enviable 10:1 ratio of students to professors, 99% of whom have a terminal degree. Professors are always available and encourage students to do research with them. My tour guide, who will begin her fourth year in the fall of 2016 told us that she co-published an article about a Robert Browning poem with one of her English professors following her first year of college. Very impressive!
This picture from Rollins’ website shows
a view of the 70 acre campus from Lake Virginia. Rollins has 23 varsity sports teams all of which are NCAA Division II, except for waterskiing, which is Division I. Athletic scholarships are available for Division II sports, and they can be a great opportunity for talented athletes who can’t find a Division I program, or who would prefer less travel. Rollins teams compete in the Sunshine State conference against other Florida colleges and universities. The campus boasts multiple tennis courts, an all-purpose soccer/lacrosse field (being renovated with new turf surface when I visited), multiple pools, and Lake Virginia, which hosts the crew, sailing and water-skiing teams. Baseball and softball play down the road, as do the golf teams; the women’s golfers just took home their 13th national title.
Ward Hall, the first-year student dorm shown on our tour. First year students at Rollins stay in one of four freshman dorms; after that they can live in a variety of upperclass housing options, including fraternity and sorority dorms. Third and fourth year students can opt to live off-campus if they wish. The dormitory that we were shown on our tour was nice as these things go; we saw a sample furnished double which was a pretty tight space, though we were told that it was the smallest room in the building. Among the plusses of the dorms are 200 cable TV channels, abundant WIFI and free laundry machines. Unlike some schools that tightly police entry to dorms, there are no sign-in desks at Rollins, but every door (including student rooms) locks automatically, and no one can gain admittance to a dorm building not theirs unless accompanied by a resident. Rollins has rules providing for quiet hours in the dorms from 11pm-8am on weekdays, 1am-9am on weekends and 24 hours during exams; they also have “courtesy hours” around the clock year round where anyone can be asked to quiet down by a neighbor. This sounds good, and according to our tour guide, it works well in practice.

The dining options are varied: students who are on the meal plan can buy food at one of four campus locations (including “Dave’s Boathouse”, a new pub by the pool that stays open until 2am) or they can use their meal plan money to get food from local pizza shops, smoothie stores and even the Cheesecake Factory! Perhaps it is this variety that accounts for Rollins’ outstanding reputation for good food. Last year they were #26 nationally, and are perennially in the top 30 of campus dining.

Rollins’ library was a nice, welcoming space. It’s four floors have books on the top two floors, a main floor (and cafe space) open around the clock, and multiple computer labs. I really enjoyed some of the art on display in the library, including some very interesting prints by Julia Lanfersieck, an alumna of Rollins that juxtaposes quotes by prominent women with fanciful images of them in different roles.Rollins Lib
Prominently featured in the library and in the academic buildings was Rollins’ honor code. Rollins’ honor board is run by students (with faculty support) and students affirm that they have neither given, nor received, nor witnessed any unauthorized aid on academic assignments. According to my tour guide, the students take this quite seriously and are proud of it. Compared to, say, the University of Virginia’s honor code, this one seems a little less rigorously enforced, but it also seems more focused on providing teachable moments than on being a punitive body. That said, having worked at schools that required students to agree to similar honor codes, I think it is a valuable thing to make students affirm that their work is entirely their own.

Students applying to Rollins can use either the Common Application or Rollins College’s own application. There is a $50 application fee, and students can opt to apply without sending ACT or SAT scores, though merit aid is much more likely to come to students who submit standardized test scores. Speaking of merit aid, the college awards a lot: 85% of students receive some kind of merit assistance. But if students want to be considered for this money, they need to be on their toes. The “priority” deadline for consideration for merit (non need-based) aid is the same as the Early Decision I deadline: November 1.

Rollins' motto "Let There Be Light" is appropriate for the sun-dappled campus

Rollins’ motto “Let There Be Light” is appropriate
for the sun-dappled campus

Rollins accepts just under 50% of their applicants and the application process is highly individualized: regional admissions officers take great interest in their applicants and try to get to know the students very well during the process. Obviously this takes time, so students who want to go to Rollins and who are seeking merit aid should definitely start with an admissions tour before or during their junior year so that they are ready to submit a competitive application very early in their senior year.

I really enjoyed my tour experience at Rollins, I made my reservation by phone and was warmly welcomed when I arrived at the office. The admissions office had multiple TV displays welcoming the students their for the days’ tour (“Rollins welcomes Jenna from Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri”, for example) which delighted the parents and embarrassed the kids. My 10AM Monday tour had students from Florida, Texas, Missouri, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia and Minnesota. My tour guide was candid, thorough and funny. She was not shy about expressing her opinions (such as the feeling that Rollins’ men’s sports teams lose more than the women’s teams) and her love for Rollins was clear. After the hour and ten minute long tour we had an info session that attempted to model Rollins’ discussion based classroom model. Instead of watching a video we were encouraged to ask questions of the admission counselor who gave detailed, complete answers.

According to the presentation, Rollins makes its decisions based on the following:

  1. the Common App or Rollins app.
  2. the transcript–Rollins recalculates GPA to an unweighted 4.0 scale, so students should know that letter grades are important no matter how “advanced” a class might be.
  3. that said, students will receive college credit for a 4 or 5 on an AP exam, a C+ or higher in a dual enrollment college class, and can transfer up to a year of IB credit.
  4. standardized test scores.
  5. extra-curricular activities. Rollins encourages students to submit a resume if their activities do not fit in the space provided by the Common App.
  6. recommendation letters; 1 counselor statement is required, and up to 2 supplemental letters from teachers or coaches are allowed.
  7. the personal statement.

This is all pretty typical, but at multiple times in my couple of hours at Rollins I was told how much the admissions office wants to get to know students. Besides a strong personal statement, I really got the feeling that students should cultivate a relationship with their regional admissions representative–kids should not hesitate to call the office to ask questions, and if at all possible, a visit to campus should probably be arranged.

Rollins College boasts a beautiful campus, a great location in central Florida, and very innovative approaches to liberal arts education. It combines the virtues of a small college with big college opportunities for research and faculty collaboration; small town location with proximity to a big city; and excellent weather. While it was very hot when I was there in the last week of June, average temperatures October through March are in the 70s and very comfortable. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Rollins to students looking for southern liberal arts colleges, but would also suggest it to more open minded students who are not explicitly searching for schools south of the Mason-Dixon line.

By Ethan Lewis

“Finding the Right College”: A Visit to the University of Mary Washington

Ever since I moved to Virginia in 2015 I’ve been struck by how many students and families aspire to gain admission to one of the many state colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. But the more I’ve learned, the less surprised I am; Virginia public colleges and universities have something to offer everyone, and at very competitive price points. Last week I had the chance to visit the University of Mary Washington, a small-to-medium sized institution in Fredericksburg, and I was quite impressed. I would not hesitate to recommend it to a student looking for challenging academics in a nurturing community with ample chances to work closely with a talented faculty.


University of Mary Washington At A Glance

Size: A little over 4,300 undergraduates (approximately 64% women/ 36% men). UMW is somewhat selective, having accepted about 4,500 of their 5,500 applicants to fill a first-year class of 972– an overall acceptance rate of around 80%. Despite being a public university, UMW does not put a quota on Virginians, so this might be a good choice for out of state students.
Programs of Study: 50 majors and 35 minors for undergraduates; students can also combine majors into a customized area of study. Pre-dentistry, pre-medical, pre-veterinary and pre-law programs. Master’s degrees awarded in education, business and geospatial analysis.
Sports: NCAA Division III; 22 varsity teams (12 women’s, 10 men’s); numerous club and intramural sports.
Campus Life: Over 130 clubs and organizations on campus; no official Greek life. On campus housing is guaranteed for the first two years. Fredericksburg is a quiet city a short walk away; it’s conveniently located one hour south of Washington, D.C. and one hour north of Richmond on Interstate 95.
Costs & Aid: Tuition, room & board and fees total just about $23,000 for Virginians, and about $37,000 for non-residents.  Parents need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). UMW touts their distribution of over $35 million in financial aid (though this includes loans).
Deadlines: UMW has Early Action AND Early Decision as well as Regular Decision options. The ED deadline is November 1, the EA deadline is November 15, and the RD deadline is February 1. Students use the Common App.
Tests: Students must send official scores for the SAT or ACT. Mid 50% of the old SAT was 1040-1230 (CR+M) and 23-28 for the ACT. There is a test-optional application method available to students with high school GPAs over 3.5, but not if they want to be in the honors or nursing programs.


For over a century, the University of Mary Washington (UMW) has continued to evolve, growing from a women’s college, to a co-ed college to a university with an expansive campus and excellent facilities. UMW is a great option for first-generation college students; about 1/3 of their undergrads are the first in their families to attend college, and the University has several programs in place to help students of all backgrounds make a smooth transition to higher education.  This also helps give a certain level of diversity that may be lacking elsewhere.

During my visit I was impressed by the campus, which is deceptively big. Driving up to the university it seems nestled in a residential neighborhood of Fredericksburg, a small city halfway between Virginia’s capital city of Richmond (to the south) and Washington, D.C. (to the north), but once I arrived on campus, it was much larger than I thought. All told, between parking my car, walking to the admissions office, going on the tour, and getting back to my car was 6,000 steps, according to my iPhone. Dorms, dining halls, the library and fitness center and academic spaces are pretty spread out, so students at UMW do a lot of walking!

During the information session we were told that the most popular fields of study at the University of Mary Washington are business, psychology, history and the sciences. They are particularly proud to have the #1 historic preservation program in the country. UMW students can also partake of 5-year education and business programs to get master’s degrees, and there are pre-professional tracks for future doctors, lawyers, dentists and veterinarians; additionally, the university is in the early stages of planning a program that would give students a Master of Science in Nursing degree. The University touts its study abroad program; we were told “you can go anywhere but North Korea, and if you want to go there you haven’t thought it through”. That’s a witty line, but they do seem to have a wide range of options, and financial aid travels with students. Finally, the honors program is available to any student with a high school GPA of 4.0 or above with 1300 SAT/29 ACT. Those are lofty numbers, but students who qualify get a research grant in their junior year, priority scheduling and access to an “honors lounge”. Interested? If so, there is an extra essay on the Common App.
One thing that struck me on my visit was that UMW has many of the features of a university while combining the size and accessibility of a mid-sized college. The average class size is 22, but my tour guide (a senior) mentioned that she had a class of six last year. All of the courses are discussion based, seminar style classes and there are no graduate teaching assistants. Besides giving undergraduates greater access to research opportunities and resources, it also makes for a campus where students and faculty can forge tight bonds. I heard several stories of professors looking out for students’ welfare and going over and above the call of duty to make sure that students were healthy and succeeding. The overall vibe was of a group of educators who really wanted to help their students succeed. I think that students who want to have the chance to find a mentoring relationship with their professors should take a close look at the University of Mary Washington.
The University has a wide array of Division III, club and intramural sports. No football, wrestling or ice hockey, but most other popular sports, along with some unusual options, like equestrian, and burgeoning club programs in rugby, rowing and fencing to name just a few. There is a very extensive fitness center/athletics center attached to the library that seems to be the nexus of student healthiness and would appear to give every conceivable option to students looking to stay in shape.
The information session and my tour guide both reinforced the idea that with over 120 clubs and organizations there is a lot to do on campus. One thing that impressed me was the emphasis that was placed on service related organizations. Quite a few student groups seem focused on campus based or community based outreach and service opportunities. UMW does not seem to have an official Greek life, but in talking to the tour guide, it appears that many of the sports teams serve as loci for gatherings and group bonding. Students overwhelmingly stay on campus on weekends and there is apparently a lot to do at school, in town, and a short drive away.
UMW has 17 residence halls and apartments, ranging from traditional dormitory rooms, to suites to modern furnished luxury apartments across US 1 and connected to the campus by a sky bridge. Housing is guaranteed for the first two years and 70% of students stay on campus all four years of their college careers. The dormitory we were shown was clean and comfortable; most impressive was that we were shown an actual student’s room! This rarely happens anymore, and I appreciated seeing an authentic space, as opposed to a Bed, Bath and Beyond window display. The room was a traditional double, and while small, it seemed like it would be perfectly comfortable. First year students are housed with the other members of their First Year Seminar class, which helps make sure that students are prepared for the writing, speaking, and creative and critical thinking skills they will need for the next four years.

Another thing that stood out for me was the emphasis on UMW’s honor code. Like the University of Virginia and other institutions in the state, UMW has a simple code (“a student will neither lie, cheat nor steal”) that defines a myriad of interactions every day. Students can feel safe leaving their belongings at a table, or leaving a door unlocked because their possessions will not be molested. I heard multiple stories of professors giving students their end of term exams, then saying “I’ll be in my office if you need me”, trusting students to take the tests un-proctored, without fear of cheating.   I heard similar stories at the University of Virginia, but it is nice that students looking for a smaller, more intimate campus can still have this experience at the University of Mary Washington. My tour guide said that the honor code was a reason why she chose UMW, and I’m sure that she isn’t alone in that sentiment.

Admissions-wise, I found it very interesting to learn that (unlike, say, the University of Virginia) there is no quota requiring a certain percentage of students to be Virginians. The majority of students ARE from the Commonwealth, but UMW could be a good option for students from other states for several reasons, including the relatively reasonable cost. $37,000 is the total cost before financial aid for non-Virginians, which is a pretty competitive price.

Students who want to apply can choose from several plans (Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision) and will be reviewed “holistically and individually”–this is a reason why the essay is “a huge part of a student’s application”, so don’t phone in the writing portion!  There is “no rigid formula” for admission, but they want to see students who have challenged themselves with the most rigorous curricula available at their schools. Standardized test-wise, the mid-50% of accepted students’ test scores are not super high, so UMW should be achievable for a wide range of good students. There IS a test optional path, but it is only available to students with at least a 3.5 GPA in high school, and there are quite a few other exceptions, so it is worth reading carefully to decide if it is best for you. Students who apply test optional will have their strength of curriculum play an even larger role in the decision, so it probably isn’t for low test scorers who didn’t push themselves in the classroom.

The University of Mary Washington has a lot to offer to any student, but I think it is a great choice for a student who is looking for a challenging college curriculum but who would like the support of a faculty and administration that puts its focus on teaching and student achievement. For Virginians, the cost (around $22,000) is extremely reasonable and even for out of state students it could be a competitive option, especially for wealthier families. The University of Mary Washington seems to be a place that will support students as they go through their college careers, and will make sure that they are prepared to succeed. Perhaps this is why 95% of students are in graduate school or their chosen career field six months after graduation?  I think that any student interested in a small to medium sized university, especially someone who wants to have the chance to work closely with professors for four years, should give the University of Mary Washington a close look.

Written by Ethan Lewis

“Finding The Right Fit”: A Visit to University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

In late July I drove down to North Carolina to visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Ever since I moved to Virginia a year ago, I have been committed to visiting more Southern colleges and universities, and for years I have heard about the beauty of UNC’s campus so I definitely wanted to check it out. My wife and I turned it into an overnight trip, staying at the lovely Siena Hotel, and braving the triple digit temperatures to check out the dining options on Franklin Street (the main drag in town). We had great sandwiches at Al’s Burger Shack followed by delicious dessert at Mama Dip’s, in case you want to follow our footsteps.

We really enjoyed the town, and the university is almost as gorgeous as advertised, but unfortunately the info session and tour were the worst I have ever experienced. I’ve been to scores of colleges over the years (the few I’ve described on this blog only scratch the surface) and I’ve never been more disappointed or baffled by the complete lack of consideration for potential students and their families. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like UNC–on the contrary, it is a really great choice for North Carolinians, and very attractive to out of state students who recognize how hard it is to gain admission. But I think that any potential visitor to UNC needs to do a lot of research prior to going on the tour, because it is unlikely that the tour will answer your questions.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill At A Glance

Size: A little over 18,000 undergraduates (approximately 58% men/ 42% women). UNC accepted about 9,500 of their 36,000 applicants to fill a first-year class of 4,000 for an overall acceptance rate of around 25%. But UNC policy dictates that 82% of students must come from North Carolina, so the remaining 18% come from 44 states and 20 countries; obviously the admission rate for those students is much lower than the overall number.
Programs of Study: Over 75 majors and minors in 60 departments for undergraduates; 113 Master’s and 68 Doctoral programs.
Sports: NCAA Division I; 28 varsity teams (15 women’s, 13 men’s); numerous club and intramural sports.
Campus Life: Over 800 clubs and organizations on campus. 58 fraternities and sororities (30 with housing); about 36% of the campus participates in Greek life. On campus housing is required for all first  year students. Chapel Hill is a wonderful college town with excellent shops and restaurants and is only a short walk away.
Costs & Aid: Tuition, room & board and fees total just about $19,500 for North Carolinians, and about $44,500 for non-residents.  Parents need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS PROFILE. UNC tries to meet 100% of student need, and their Carolina Covenant guarantees that students from in-state families earning below 200% of the poverty line will graduate debt free. 
Deadlines: UNC has Early Action as well as Regular Decision options. The EA deadline is October 15, and the RD deadline is January 15. Students use the Common App.There is an $80 application fee.
Tests: Students must send official scores for the SAT or ACT. Mid 50% of the old SAT was 1790-2090 (CR+M+W) and 27-32 for the ACT.
UNC has a beautiful campus. © Courtney Lewis

The University of North Carolina’s flagship campus is located in Chapel Hill, which is in the center of the state and forms part of the “Research Triangle” along with Raleigh, Durham, Cary and other locations. The Research Triangle area is one of the more economically prosperous parts of the state and is also home to Duke University and quite a few additional higher ed options. The metro area is home to over 2 million people, but Chapel Hill is a small city of approximately 54,000.

The University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in America; it was chartered in 1789 and opened for classes in 1795. It is now an R1 Research Institution, which is shorthand for saying that there is pretty much nothing a student can’t study at UNC; it also means that professors do cutting edge work in every field–in fact, Prof. Aziz Sancar won a Nobel Prize in 2015. The campus is on over 700 acres and features handsome brick architecture and countless mature trees that provided much needed shade for my summer visit, and must provide gorgeous autumnal color.The large campus is doubtless a boon for students, but it was one of the factors making the visit so difficult and unsatisfactory. Visitors are asked to come to the admission office (located at the right arrow point on the blue line on the map); when asked about parking, one is told that there is parking outside the office. That’s true, but there are only a few metered spaces. Once ensconced in the admission office waiting room (which holds about 50) someone comes to walk the group to Carroll Hall, the actual building where the info session takes place (something not told to visitors prior to arrival). Unfortunately, as the blue line in the map at right demonstrates, the buildings are pretty far apart (my iPhone pedometer said nearly 3/4 mile) and Carroll Hall is an uphill trek most of the way.

When I was growing up my father was disabled, and so I always pay attention to how colleges accommodate people who have difficulty walking. In many cases it is hard to avoid having visitors trek all over campus, but this was ridiculous. There was no excuse to make the nearly 350 people visiting start at the admission office if the info session was in Carroll Hall–UNC should have simply asked people to report to Carroll. I have since spoken with other people who had similar experiences at UNC, which makes me think this is standard operating procedure for them. If you or a member of your party have difficulty walking, save yourself some pain and go straight to Carroll Hall. The admission office had very little materials to pick up and they do not give interviews, so I can’t see a good reason to stop there (except to check in and demonstrate interest of course, but that could be accomplished by speaking with the officer giving the information session).

UNC prides itself on it’s wide-ranging liberal arts curriculum. Everyone starts in the College of Arts and Sciences, and students have a full four semesters to choose a major. Some of the most popular majors include:

  • Biology
  • Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Exercise and Sport Science
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Business
78% of classes have fewer than 40 students and large classes have recitation sections (led by teaching assistants) of no more than 25. As at any large college, it is a good idea for first year students to go out of their way to get to know their professors to make a good impression on them. As far as out of classroom education, the university touts the incredible 30,000 internship opportunities published on campus every year as a selling point, and there is no doubt that the Research Triangle location must help with this. We were told that 60% of students do independent research, which is a pretty respectable figure for a large state university.
Unfortunately, neither the info session nor the tour that followed made any effort to describe any appreciable reasons why students should come to UNC, nor what might set UNC apart from other options they are considering. As I noted above, unless you already know a lot about the place, it is likely that you will leave your visit to UNC still wondering just what makes it special. I mean, there was no mention of campus life, no mention of the shops and restaurants in Chapel Hill, and no real attempt to dazzle us with successful academic or athletic programs.  Inexplicable!

UNC has 28 varsity sports all of which compete at the NCAA Division I level. Many sports have been quite successful recently, such as men’s basketball and lacrosse; in fact, one of my former students played women’s field hockey at UNC and is currently on the US Olympic team. Sports seem to be a source of civic pride; it was great walking downtown in Chapel Hill and seeing how many shops and restaurants prominently featured posters supporting Carolina sports teams, including relatively obscure ones like track and field, women’s tennis, and swimming.

For students who want to continue competing in sports but who are not Division I material, the university offers lots of club and intramural opportunities. For a student who has played varsity sports in high school, club sports can provide a great chance to continue to improve at a sport and to represent their school. UNC’s website shows that there are a wealth of club sports for Tar Heels to play, including baseball, softball, basketball, football, field hockey, ice hockey, soccer, and volleyball as well as others which are less common at the high school level, such as team handball, ultimate frisbee, and sailing.

The tour I was on did not show us any dormitories, though we were encouraged to look for a video of a sample room online; I found this one on YouTube.

First year students under age 21 are required to live on campus. Other than that, we were not given any useful information. I did see a municipal bus system that seemed to go through the campus, so it is likely that students do not need to have a car to be able to get around the Chapel Hill area.  The campus seemed very well lit, and there were security call boxes all over. Interestingly, in the Classics building classroom we were shown there were posters advising what to do in case of an active shooter on display, as well as automatic blinds, which could come in handy during a lock-down.

UNC Student Union © Courtney Lewis

The center of campus appears to be “the Pit”, which houses the student center, the dining hall (decorated with a poster showing it has been in the USA Today top 25), the bookstore and a brick plaza. Campus lore holds that if a person stands in the Pit for 24 hours she will see every undergraduate at UNC! Unfortunately the tour continued to disappoint by telling, but not showing the facilities and features near the pit. The dining hall was understandably closed for my summertime visit, but we were not taken to the student center, which is a shame. I left the tour at this point and went in myself, and it was a vibrant, welcoming facility.  I was especially impressed with a “free-speech” display that encouraged students to write their responses to the “Black Lives Matter”/”Blue Lives Matter” controversies that convulsed the nation this summer. I really liked the effort to give every student a voice and a chance to express themselves in public in a non-volatile way.

Comment board in Carolina Union  © Courtney Lewis

Students applying to UNC use the Common Application and should be prepared for two short (200-250 word) supplemental essays in addition to the standard Common App essay. There is an $80 application fee, and students need to arrange to send their SAT or ACT scores as well. Test scores are part of the calculations for merit aid, and UNC will “superscore” both SAT and ACT scores; in other words they will use the scores that make students look their best. As far as high school grades go, UNC says that they will “look at them, but not focus on them”. They do NOT recalculate or change the weight of grades. Their main focus is on whether or not students took the most challenging classes available to them and for an upward grade trajectory.

As far as need based aid, UNC is proud that the New York Times named them one of the most economically diverse colleges in 2015. In last year’s freshman class, 19% of students were the first in their family to attend college, 33% were students of color and 14% were Covenant Scholars, meaning that their families earned less than 200% of the poverty level. So while geographic diversity is comparatively low at UNC, economic diversity may be higher than at most similar flagship state universities.

Clock Tower © Courtney Lewis

UNC accepts about one quarter of their applicants and they claim that the application process is highly individualized. The presenter at the info session promised that “We read every application line by line, there are no score cut-offs, and no recipe”.  In light of that, it makes sense that they put so much weight on the application essays; the presenter made sure to say that “the essay is the only way we will hear the student’s unique voice”.  In fact, the presenter made an excellent point that I think deserves to be quoted in full:

“If you dropped your essay on the floor of your high school and it didn’t have your name on it, could someone know who wrote it to give it back to you? Your college essay should be that individualized.”

This is super advice that should apply to every application essay for every college. Good job for pointing that out, UNC!

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill boasts a beautiful campus, a great location in an economically vibrant part of the state, and excellent resources devoted to student education. The university has a refreshing emphasis on educating the residents of its state first, and making sure that their education is affordable to all North Carolinians. If I knew a teenager in North Carolina I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend UNC, and I would also gladly put it on the list for out of state students looking for a southern experience.  The admission office does their best to keep the University a hidden gem, but I think that if you are willing to do some of the research yourself you may find that UNC is the right place for you.

By Ethan Lewis

65 Colleges Looking To Increase Diversity Offer Fly-in Programs

More than 65 colleges offer free summer and fall visits for under-represented and diverse students. An * before the college name, the trip is free.  A (D), trip is for first gen students. We also give you estimated GPA and test scores for each college. A great resource is 

Staged diversity picture in Humanities Plaza

Staged diversity picture in Humanities Plaza

*(D) Amherst College (2016)

Amherst, Massachusetts

Small private university; part of consortium, 3.7+ GPA ; mid to high test scores

Program: Fall 2016 Diversity Open House weekends (DIVOH): September 24-26, 2015 and October 15-17, 2016

The application deadline for both DIVOH weekends is Monday, August 15, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).

*(D) Babson College (2016)
Babson Park, Massachusetts (suburban Boston)

Small private business oriented college, 3.5+ GPA, mid test scores


Deadline: September 15, 2016 (noon EST) noon EST. Application will be released in July.


*(D) Barnard College (2016)

barnard bound

New York, New York

Small private all women’s college. Big city. Connected to Columbia. 3.7+GPA; mid to high test scores

Program Dates:

Saturday, October 8 – Sunday, October 9, 2016(BARNARD BOUND – for students admitted to the Barnard Bound program)
Monday, October 10, 2016 (OPEN HOUSE – All Barnard Bound participants will be automatically registered for our Open House.)

If your student is not selected to attend Barnard Bound, she may register for the Open House only on our Open House RSVP page, available at the end of August. 

Application Deadline and All Supporting Material: Friday, June 17th, 2016

For more info, visit-

*(D) Bates College (2016) bates

Lewiston, Maine

Small rural campus; liberal arts, 3.2+ GPA and higher. Optional test scores.

Prologue I runs October 9-11, 2016 and Prologue II runs November 13-15, 2016.

Application deadline for Prologue I: Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Application deadline for Prologue II: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Beloit College (2016)

St. Beloit, Wisconsin

Small suburban college; 3.0 and higher GPA. Middle test scores.

Program: 2016 Summer Days: July 15, 2016; August 5, 2016. Admitted Student Open House in the Spring that offers fly-ins

2016 Summer Visit Days
Take a campus tour with a student guide. Meet our faculty. Learn about the college’s academic programs, financial aid, and scholarships. Enjoy lunch in our dining hall. on a date below to register:

If our visit program dates are not convenient for you and you would rather schedule an individual visit on a different date, please contact us directly by calling the Admissions Office at 800-9BELOIT (923-5648) at least one week prior to your planned visit. Or, if you prefer, you may complete an online visit request form.

We welcome all guests to take part in all that Beloit has to offer: have lunch in the dining hall, attend an athletic event, see an acclaimed performance in Neese Theater, or take advantage of the various events occurring across campus.

*(D) Bowdoin College (2016)bowdoin

Brunswick, ME

Rural college, private, liberal arts. 3.2+ GPA and higher. Optional test scores.

Explore Bowdoin I: September 15-18, 2016   Application Deadline: August 22, 2016

Explore Bowdoin II: November 3-6, 2016      Application Deadline: September 23, 2016

*(D) Brandeis University (2016)

Waltham, Massachusetts


Medium private college, 25 minutes from Boston. 3.4+ GPA and higher. Mid test scores

Program: SEED-Students Exploring and Embracing Diversity, October 6-8, 2016

 Application deadlines: Application opens August 1. Applications due September 9, 2016



*(D) Bryn Mawr College (2016)

Bryn Mawr, PA (Suburban PA)brwy mawr

Small, all women’s college

Program Date: Fall Travel Scholars: October 1-3, 2016 (for both juniors and seniors)

Application Deadline: June 13, 2016

*(D) Bucknell College (2016)

Lewisburg, PennsylvaniaScreen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.38.59 AM

Small suburban private college. 3.3+ GPA. Middle to high test scores.

Program: Journey to Bucknell, November 6-8, 2016

Application Deadline: Apply as soon as possible. Both students can apply on their own and counselors can nominate.

*(D) Carleton College (2016)

explore carleton

Northfield, Minnesota

Small suburban private college. 3.3+ GPA. Middle to high test scores.

Program: 2015 Taste of Carleton, October 27-October 29, 2016

Deadlines: September 30, 2016

*(D) Carnegie Mellon University (2016, Application Opens September)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Medium college, great sciences & arts, medium city, 3.3+ GPA, mid to high test scores (3.3 GPA and combined 1800 on SAT or 27 on ACT to qualify for travel aid)

cmutepperbw4Program: Celebration of Diversity Weekend- November 12-14, 2016 and January 21-23, 2017

Deadlines: November Program: Open to all prospective high school seniors
Registration will open in September.
January Program: Open to students who have applied for admission to Carnegie Mellon

Deadlines: Registration still open

January program. Open to students who have applied for admission to Carnegie Mellon. 
Registration will be available in September.

(*D) Colby College (2016)

Waterville, ME

Small rural college. 3.3+ GPA. Middle test scores.

Program: 2016 Colby Commitment Experience –September 16-18, 2016

Application Deadline: August 1, 2016, 5 p.m.

*(D) Colgate University (2016)

colgateHamilton, New York

Small liberal arts college. Upper state New York. 3.2+ GPA. Middle test scores.

Program: Colgate in Focus: A Diversity Open House, Sunday, October 23–Monday, October 24, 2016

Deadline: September 16, 2016


(*D) College of Charleston (2016)

Charleston, SC

Medium public, medium city. 3.0+ GPA. Mid test scores.charleston

Program: M.O.V.E.,Many backgrounds – One CougarNation–the Multicultural Overnight Visit Experience DATES: for more info and MOVE application.

*(D) College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University (2016)

St. Joseph and  Collegeville, Minnesota

Small, Catholic college. Recruits heavily from So Cal. 2.6+ GPA. Low to middle tests scores.

Program: National Fly-in Weekend Program:

Register for a 2016-2017 fly-in weekend:

    • November 12-14sjuairview
    • February 4-6*
    • February 25-27
    • March 18-20
    • April 8-10

Deadline: Two weeks before weekend.

Applications will be released September 1

*College of the Atlantic (2016)
Bar Harbor, Maine

Small liberal arts college, 3.0+, Optional test scores

Program: Fall Fly-In: September 29-October 2, 2016

Program for COA Presidential Scholars

Application Deadline: July 18, 2016

*(D) College of the Holy Cross (2016)

Worcester, MA

Mid-sized, Catholic college, 3.0+, Middle test scores

Program: Perspectives Weekend is November 5-7, 2016.

Application Deadline:October 3, 2016

*(D) Colorado College (2016)

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.40.52 AMSmall private college; one class at a time. 3.0+ GPA. Middle test scores.

Program 1: Tigers on a Quest: October 1 – 3, 2016

Application Deadline: *CBO Counselor nomination only: June 1 – August 17, 2016

Program 2: Flyin’ Tigers: October 29 – November 31, 2016

Application Deadline: September 21, 2016

*(D) Columbia University (2016)ce2

New York, NY

Ivy League, top scores, top grades

Program: Columbia Engineering Experience: October 9 – 11, 2016. 

Deadline:  September 7, 2016

 *(D) Connecticut College (2016)

New London, Connecticut

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.40.52 AMSmall liberal arts. East coast. Near NY and Boston. 3.0+ GPA; middle test scores.

Program:  Explorer Weekend- November 12-14, 2016

Deadline: October 3, 2016


Undocumented students may apply.

*(D) Dartmouth (2016)

 Hanover, NH

Rural IVY League. 3.7+ GPA. High test scores.

Dartmouth Bound: Summer Program, July 17-20, 2016. Applications due April 8, 2016

Dartmouth Bound: Native American Community. Oct.9-12, 2016 (Deadline, Not Yet Available for 2016)

*(D) Davidson College (2016)

Davidson, NC

Suburban, private college. 3.5+GPA; medium to high test scores.davidson

Program: Multicultural Visitation Program. October 30-November 1, 2016

Application Deadline: Friday, September 16, 2016

*(D) Dickinson College (2016)dickinson

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Small liberal arts college, test optional, 3.0+ grades. 

Program: Discover Diversity at Dickinson, November 10-12, 2016

Application Deadline: October 3, 2016

Limited travel assistance available.

*(D) Emory University (2016)

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.44.21 PMMedium college, mid to high test scores, 3.5+ grades

Program: Emory’s Cultural Overnight Recruitment Experience (CORE) Fall Visit Program, October 13, 2016 – October 15, 2016

Application Deadline: Wednesday, August 31, 5:00 p.m. ET.


*(D) Franklin and Marshall College (2016)

Lancaster, PA

Suburban small liberal arts, great business. 3.0+ GPA; test optional.

Program: Collegiate Leadership Summit 
*Fall Session 1: Sunday, September 25th to Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Counselor Nomination Deadline: Fall Session 1 program is Monday, September 5th, 2016.

* Fall Session 2: Sunday, November 6th to Tuesday, November 8th.
The nomination deadline for the Fall Session 2 program is Monday, October 16th, 2016.

Students must be nominated to apply and participate

Requires: A minimum GPA of 3.3 in rigorous classes. Must be of a background underrepresented in higher education. Must have demonstrated leadership in his or her school or community.



(*D) Grinnell College (2016)

Grinnell, Iowa

Small liberal arts; 3.0+ GPA; middle test scores.grinnell

Program: 2016 Diversity Preview Program, October 2-3, 2016.

Deadline for application: September 12, 2016

*(D) Hamilton College (2016)

Clinton, New York

Small liberal arts, upper state NY, 3.2+ GPA; middle test scores

Diversity Overnight Program:  Diversity Overnight Program: September 18-20, 20156 and October 23-25, 2016  


Application Deadlines: Priority Deadline is August 5, 2016


Application Opens July 1:

*(D) Harvey Mudd College (2016)

Claremont, CA

Small science and engineering, 3.5+ GPA, high test scores

harveymuddProgram: Fall Future Achievers in Science and Technology Program (FAST): September 29-October 1, 201 and November 10-12, 2016

Application Deadline: Monday, August 22, 2016 at 11:59pm PDT




haverford(*D) Haverford College (2016)

Haverford, PA (Suburban Philadelphia

Small liberal arts, 3.6+ GPA, middle to high test scores

Multicultural Scholars Experience Program: October 23-25 2016

Application Deadline:Friday, September 16, 2016


*(D) Johns Hopkins University (2016)

Baltimore, MD

homewoodAMedium, urban campus. 3.3+GPA and middle to high test scores

Program: H.O.M.E. (Hopkins Overnight Multicultural Experience), September 29-October 1, 2016

Application deadline: Monday, August 1, 2016 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Materials must be received by August 15, 2016



*(D) Kalamazoo College (2016 info not yet available)

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Small liberal arts. 2.7+ GPA, low to middle test scoreskalamazoo

Program: 2015 Intercultural Fly-In Program, November 6-7, 2015

ApplicationDeadline: Rolling

*(D) Kenyon College (2016)

Gambier, Ohio

Small liberal arts; Midwest, suburban. 3.2+ GPA; medium test scores

kenyonPrograms:  Cultural Connections: November 5-7, 2016

Deadlines: October 31, 2016. Qualified students may apply for a Travel Grant by October 12 to help cover transportation costs for this event.

 *(D) Lehigh University (2016)

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Small to medium campus, suburban, near Philadelphia, 3.3+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: Diversity Achievers Program, October 9-10, 2016

Application opens September 16, 2016 at noon EST

*(D) Lewis & Clark College (2016)

Portland, Oregon

Small liberal arts; 3.0+ GPA; optional test scoreslewis

Program: L.E.A.D. program, November 6-8, 2016

Application Deadline: Thursday, September 15, 2016


*(D) Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT (2016)

Cambridge, MA
mitdiversityMid-sized urban college, 3.8+ GPA, high test scores

Program: WISE: Weekend Immersion in Science and Engineering: September 18-20, 2016 and again October 2-4, 2016

Application Deadlines: Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.

*(D) Miami University (Ohio) (2016)

Oxford, OH

Small Midwest college; 2.9+ GPA; medium test scores

Program: Bridges at Miami University, Session I: October 30-31, 2016; Session II: November 6-7, 2016; Session III: November 13-14, 2016 (Out of State); Session IV: November 20-21, 2016

Application Deadline: September 19, 2016

*(D) Middlebury College (2016)

disco_middMiddlebury, Vermont

Small liberal arts, rural. 3.3+ GPA, medium to high test scores

Program: Discover Middlebury, October 9-11, 2016

Application Deadline: Friday August 12, 2016.

*(D) Missouri University of Science and Technology 

Rollo, Missouri

Public university, large, medium grades and scores

Program: ¡Sí Se Puede!: Date:  October 29 – November 1, 2015

Deadline to Apply:  October 3, 2015: Capacity 25

Hispanic & Latino students. Bus service from St. Louis.

*(D) Mt. Holyoke College (2016)

South Hadley, Massachusetts, All Women’s College

Small all women’s; consortium, 3.0+ GPA; test optional

Program: Focus on Diversity. November 6-7, 2016middle

Nomination Form For Counselors: Friday, May 20, 2016


*(D) Oberlin College and Conservatory (2016)

Oberlin, Ohio

Small liberal arts and conservatory. 3.3+ GPA; medium to high test scores

Program: Multicultural Visit Program

2016 Program Dates and Application Deadlines

Applications will come out mid-summer. Questbridge and Posse applicants must attend first session.

Program Date Application Deadline
October 27-29 October 6
November 17-19 October 27
December 1-3 November 10


Los Angeles

Small suburban LA college; 3.2+ GPA, medium test scores

Program:  Multicultural Visit Program:  Fall MVP:


(*D) Occidental College

October 10-12, 2016

Application Deadline: September 26, 2016 will the program take place?


*(D) Pitzer College (2016)

Claremont, CA

Small liberal arts, progressive. 3.2+ GPA; test optional for GPA higher than 3.6 and top 5% of class

Program: Diversity Program.October 27 – 29, 2016.pitzer

Application Deadline: Monday, September 12, 2016.




* (D) Pomona College (2016)

Claremont, CA pomona

Small elite liberal arts college, 3.8+ GPA, SAT 2100, ACT 31

Program:  Fall Diversity Weekend, September 17-20, 2015 and October 8-11, 2016

Deadlines: August 14 and September 4, 2015 (respectively)

Application Opens in June:

*(D) Reed College (2016)

Portland, Oregon


Program: Reed Overnight Multicultural Experience (ROME), October 9-11, 2016

Deadline: September 6, at 11:59PM PDT or contact them at 1-800-547-4750 or email them at

*(D) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (2016)

Troy, NY

Mid-size science oriented. 3.3 Average GPA, medium test scoresrpi class

Program: STAR (Science, Technology, Arts @ Rensselaer):October 27-29, 2016 

Application Deadline: September 23rd.

Program is for under-represented students and minorities. Picks up from NYC. Limited other travel assistance available.

*(D) Rice University (2016)
Houston, Texas

Mid-sized private college, 3.6+ GPA, high test scores

Program:Seeking Opportunities at Rice (SOAR): September 24-26, 2016

Application Deadline: Monday, September 5, by 11:59 p.m. CT.

*(D) Scripps College (2016)

Claremont, California, All Women’s College


All women’s small, consortium, 3.3+ GPA, medium to high test scores

Program: Multicultural Outreach: Discover Scripps October 8-10, 2016 and Sunday, November 13 to Monday, November 14, 2016

Application Deadline to submit online application is September 7, 2016

*(D) Smith College (2016)

Northampton, Massachusetts

Small, all women’s, 3.3+ GPA, test optional

smithProgram: Women of Distinction: October 14-16, 2016

Application: Applications are available August 1 and due September 14, 2016




*(D) Swarthmore College (2016)

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Small, suburban, near Philadelphia. Intensive. 3.5+ GPA, medium to high test scoresswarthmore

Program: Discover Swarthmore 2016: September 15-17, 2016 and October 20-21, 2016

Applications Deadline: July 31, 2016 for students to apply (Nomination deadline for June 30, 2016 for counselors to nominate students)


*(D) Trinity College (2016, App Opens in September)

Hartford, Connecticut

Small liberal arts, 3.0+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: Preview Weekend: November 13-14, 2016

Application deadline: Application opens September 2016

*(D) Tufts University (2016)

Medford, Massachusetts

Medium, private college, 5 minutes from Boston. 3.3+ GPA, medium to high test scorestufts

Program: Voices of Tufts:


OCTOBER 20-21, 2016


OCTOBER 27-28, 2016

Application Deadlines:

*(D) Union College (2016)

Schenectady, NY

Small private college, 3.2+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: Getting to Know Union: October 9-10,2016

Application Deadline:

Students from the Northeast: September 22, 2016
Students outside of the Northeast: September 16, 2016


*(D) University of Pennsylvania (2016 info not yet posted)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mid-sized Ivy League college, 3.7+ GPA, high test scores

Program: Penn Early Exploration Program (PEEP): Sunday, October 9 through Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Application deadline: 11:59PM ET on Friday, September 9, 2016

(D) University of Richmond (2016) 


Richmond, VA

Small private college, 3.0+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: MOVE (Multicultural Overnight Visitation Experience) Date: Sunday, November 16, 2016 (Also include Preview Day, November 14, 2016)

Deadline: To register, please call the Office of Admission at (800) 700-1662 or (804) 289-8640.

*(D) University of Rochester (2016)

Rochester, NY

Medium college, medium city, upper state NY, 3.3+ test scores, medium test scores

Program: Multicultural Visitation Program, November 14-16, 2016

Application: October 9, 2016

*(D) University of Vermont (2016)

Burlington, Vermont

Medium public, 3.0+ GPA, medium test scores

uvmProgram: Discovering UVM 2016: October 23-25 and November 6-8, 2016

Application deadline:


(D) Virginia Commonwealth University (2016 info not yet available)

Richmond, VA

Medium, public college. 3.0+ GPA, medium test scores

Program:  Primeros Pasos, November 21, 2015

Deadline: November 13, 2015

*(D) Union College (2016)

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 1.08.57 AMSchenectady, NY 12308

Small-medium private college, 3.0+. test optional

Program: Getting to Know Union, Program Dates: October 8-9 and November 10-11


October 8-9 Program November 10-11 Program
Students from the northeast September 2016 October 2016
Students outside of the northeast September 2016 October 2016

*(D) Vassar College (2016)

Poughkeepsie, NY

Small liberal arts college, 3.5+ GPA, medium to high test scores

Program: Vassar View:Sunday, October 9 – Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Application Deadline: Friday, September 9, 2016

Limited travel grants outside of NY.

*(D) Wesleyan College (2016)

Middletown, Connecticutwesleyan

Small liberal arts, east coast. 3.3+ GPA, medium to high test scores

Program: Open House Travel Program: October 9-10 and November 10-11, 2016

Deadlines: August 15 and October 12, respectively

Visit the Wesleyan website for more info.

*(D) Wellesley College (2016)

 Wellesley, MA

welleAll women’s, near Boston, 3.5+ GPA, medium to high test scores

Discover Wellesley for FREE-October 16-17, 2016

Application Available: June 1, 2016

Priority Deadline: June 30, 2016

Final Deadline: August 31, 2015

*(D) Whitman College (2016)

Walla Walla, Washington

Small liberal
arts college, 3.3+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: Fall Visit Scholarship Program I (October 13-15) and Fall Visit Scholarship Program II (November 6-8)

Deadline: Program I: September 16, 2016. and Program II: September 30, 2016

*(D) Williams College (2016)

Williamstown, Massachusetts

 Small liberal arts, rural, 3.3+ GPA, medium to high test scoreswow

Program:  Windows on Williams (WOW)- September 22-24 2016 and October 13-15, 2016

Application Deadlines:  Application Is Available. SUBMIT ASAP

*(D) Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) (Available September)

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.54.13 AMWorcester, Massachusetts

Mid-sized private technical 3.3+ GPA, medium test scores

Program: Discover: The Diversity Experience Overnight. November 10-11, 2016

Application Deadline: October 21 at 5 pm (EDT).


See College Solutions founder, Larry Dannenberg, on Fox 25 News.