Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    International Office Director

College-Savings/529 Plans to Benefit from Bush’s Budget Plan

Don Betterton -

college admissions expert advice from Reporter Paul Fain’s article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education discussed how Bush’s proposed budget would affect college-savings plans (also known as 529 plans). The language of the proposed budget would create a small tax credit for low-income families and significantly change the way plan savings factor into federal financial aid calculation. This could be big for savers.

For some general background information on saving for college and 529 plans, see my ePrep video interview.

Proposed Pell Grant Increase: Good News and Bad News

Don Betterton -

college admissions expert advice from Reporter Kelly Field of The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today that President Bush’s proposal to increase the maximum Pell Grant is likely to be made possible through cuts in lender subsidies and the elimination of the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants program (SEOG), which augments Pell Grants for low-income students.

This is a follow up to my post dated February 2, 2007. While we still have a long way to go, I am more confident now that most of Bush’s proposals with will be implemented in one form or another.

Student Frustrated with ETS Fees Allegedly Sent Bomb Threat

Karl Schellscheidt -

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comThe reported that police are investigating a bomb threat made to an Educational Testing Service office building in Ewing, New Jersey. The threat was allegedly made by a Maryland teenager who became “agitated” when he learned that there was an additional $17 fee associated with having his SAT results forwarded to each of two “unnamed” colleges.

While my gut tells me that the student’s threat was idle and made purely out of frustration during the heat of the moment, the consquences may be harsh.

College Admission Topics: The 18 Things You Should Know Junior Year in High School

Seamus Malin -

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comThe 18 Things You Should Know
Junior Year in High School
(11th Grade)


There’s a lot to do junior year . . . so get ready. If you plan to take an Early Admission option and apply to college in the fall of your senior year, you should know that the decision made on each of your applications will be based almost entirely on your record of achievement, both academic and non-academic, through junior year. If you decide to wait and apply in the winter or spring of your senior year, the first half of senior year will also be considered.


1. Meet with your advisor or guidance counselor to ensure that your course selection continues to be consistent with your college objectives.

By the start of junior year you should have a college list that is beyond the preliminary stage. This means (more…)

What Makes a Good Writer?

Essay   Writing   ePrep
PK -

eprep test prep videoWhat makes a good writer?

It’s a question that appears to have some magical, formulaic answer. For better or for worse, it doesn’t. A Princeton graduate and accomplished writer, John McPhee (‘53), gave the best answer to this question: “Perseverance.” Of writing, McPhee said, “You have to stay with it.” Great writing doesn’t simply happen; it takes time, struggle, and a willingness to accept that sometimes you won’t know where you’re headed.

When will I know when I’ve gotten there (to where my writing is “good”)?

As in any other pursuit (more…)

ePrep Welcomes New Guest Experts: Malin and Kennedy

Karl Schellscheidt -

college admissions expert advice from I am excited to announce the addition of two new Guest Experts: Seamus Malin and PK Kennedy.

Seamus, a former administrator at Harvard University, will join Fred and Don in sharing thoughts and insights on topics related to admissions and financial aid. PK, a current lecturer in the Princeton University Writing Program, will share her thoughts on becoming a better writer for college applications, standardized tests, and high school classes.

Both Seamus and PK are amazing people whose energy, wisdom and generosity will surely add to’s wealth of free resources. If you are motivated to learn about college planning and test preparation, you have come to the right place. At, we are committed to making expert advice available to everyone. And remember, an expert is not just someone who knows a lot about a given topic; an expert is someone who is able to communicate his or her mastery in ways that are easy to understand. I hope you come back to again and again to “Connect with an Expert.”

When you have a chance, please click on the bios of our two new guest experts for more details about their impressive backgrounds.

Quiz: What is Seamus widely known for aside from being a former high-ranking administrator at Harvard University? The answer is not in his bio. See if you can figure it out.

What Were They Thinking?

Karl Schellscheidt -

college admissions expert advice from It seems that two teenagers from Fresno, California, seriously messed up their changes of being admitted by their colleges of choice. The article written by Andy Boogaard of The Fresno Bee describes how one of the teens impersonated the other at a recent administration of the SAT. The article also details how they got busted.

The Post Graduate Year

Karl Schellscheidt -

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comIncreasingly, seniors in high school consider taking a post-graduate year, or “PG” year, prior to enrolling in college. This means that after graduating from high school, they enroll in another secondary school — typically a “prep” or “private” high school — in order to study one more year before becoming college freshman. Why in the world would anyone ever consider a fifth year of high school before escaping to college? Good question. There are several reasons. Join me in this prepcast as I discuss some of the possible benefits of a post graduate year. (more…)

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Proposed Pell Grants Increase

Don Betterton -

college admissions expert advice from This has a way to go, but I thought it would be of interest to ePrep visitors.

Pell grants provide the nation’s main financial aid program for low-income college students. Yesterday the Bush administration proposed boosting the annual per student grant by $550 to $4,600, the largest increase in over thirty years.

Real SAT Stories: PSAT to SAT Scores Are Not Preordained

Karl Schellscheidt -

eprep test prep video When students first take the PSAT and get their scores back, they also get a projected range of how they will likely score when they take the SAT. Let me state very clearly that you should never limit yourself to what the “experts” predict for you. The PSAT and SAT employ as much test taking strategy as they do academic knowledge. You can break free of your “SAT score range” with proper SAT preparation. Join me in this prepcast as I relate the real SAT story of a student, now a junior at Princeton University, who marched right past her SAT range as first indicated on her PSAT. (more…)

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