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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
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

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
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

What You Can Learn from a Handyman

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

While I’m pretty handy around the house and enjoy home improvement projects, I occasionally get myself in over my head. It is at such times that I call upon Kevin, a local handyman, to help me out. I have known Kevin for a couple of years now. He is a great guy and a talented craftsman.

What separates Kevin from other handymen, however, is that he is currently earning a masters degree in education. Yes, at the ripe old age of fifty, Kevin has decided to change careers. (more…)

Article: Fooling the College Board

ePrep  SAT  Writing
Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

Insidehighered.com featured an article today entitled Fooling the College Board. I thought it was very interesting. It’s about an MIT professor, Les Perelman, who allegedly trained a young adult to write a high-scoring essay that contained various types of errors, including misspellings and inaccurate facts. One of Professor Perelman’s points was that students can be trained to write essays that earn high scores without improving their writing skills in a meaningful way. In fact, Professor Perelman argues that the College Board’s essay requirement is doing damage because, instead of working to become better writers, students are spending time merely learning how to ace the SAT’s essay. (more…)

Exposure to Possibilities is Half the Battle

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comThe old saying “knowledge is power” is never more true than in the game of college planning. SAT scores, GPA’s, and school activities play a major role in opening the gates of college, but they matter little if a student doesn’t know the incredible places that their abilities can take them. Access to powerful knowledge – be it the scores of free SAT prep resources, teachers who stand ready to point in the right direction, or financial aid and scholarship programs – continues to be a gating issue for lower income and inner city students in much of the U.S.

Today I stumbled upon this inspiring story of Don “D.W.” Cartier (more…)

Apples and Oranges: Comparing Grades from Different High Schools

Seamus Malin

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comAre all high school class grades created equal? One would certainly hope not. Is an “A” from an average high school better than a “B” or “C” from an academically more rigorous high school? How do college admission officers see through the grades and draw a comparison based on all the other variables that factor into a particular class grade? In today’s prepcast, Seamus Malin dives into the thought process of a college admissions officer and provides great advice how high school students can mitigate some possible misunderstandings with the college admissions office. (more…)

College Prep: Freshman Year in High School

Seamus Malin

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comPicture the situation – You’re a freshman in high school, fresh out of grade school and now surrounded with all sorts of new academic and social challenges. What, if anything, should you be doing freshman year to prepare yourself for college admissions? How important are freshman year grades with respect to your college application? These are exactly the questions we put to Seamus Malin, our ePrep guest expert in College Admissions and Planning. Join us for the first in a series with Seamus as we explore the road to college. (more…)

College Acceptance Letter

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comGone are the days when you used to run out and tackle the mailman and squint to see if your college admissions envelope was fat or thin, hoping for a college acceptance letter. In a few weeks, most college applicants will be heading online to login and hit the “refresh” button on their PCs to find out whether they are “accepted”, “waitlisted”, or “rejected”. In commemoration of this annual right of passage, we thought we’d repost a notorious, actual essay that landed applicant Hugh Gallagher a college acceptance letter at NYU.

    ESSAY: IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?

    I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

    I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

    Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. (more…)

Bring Your Passion to College Admissions

Karl Schellscheidt

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comWhat’s your GPA? Did you take AP level courses? How did you score on your SAT? Where do you rank in your graduating class? Is your high school competitive? What about activities? Honor Society? Tell me when to stop, because I could go on all day.

College admissions is often pursued on the part of students and their parents as a checklist, where a specific set of metrics will grant admission tickets to a specific set of schools. Students today will even post their stats online for others to weigh in on their chances for admission. I won’t argue that stats are not important, but what gets lost in the discussion is that most colleges are seeking to “craft” a freshman class, not specify one based on numbers. In between the metrics, admission officers are looking to identify your passion and how you will contribute to class as a whole. College admissions, it seems, is a lot like state of college football rankings or the NCAA basketball tournament selection. Stats and computer rankings mean a lot, but at the end of the day real people are making decisions based on a team’s “body of work”.

We’re thrilled to have guest expert Jeremy Johnson, a current Princeton undergraduate, discuss the importance of bringing your “body of work” – or passion – to the college admissions process. Jeremy will be joining the discussion on ePrep in the weeks ahead to provide prospective from a current college student. (more…)

Holistic Admissions

Don Betterton

college admissions expert advice from eprep.com If you are not familiar with the term “holistic admissions”, you may want to read this article by Scott Jaschik. In short, holistic admissions refers to the efforts of some colleges to individualize the process they use to review applications. In essence, holistic admissions de-emphasizes grades and test scores. Advocates of the practice claim that its emphasis on the qualitative elements of an application can help admission staffers predict more accurately the academic success of applicants and their future contributions to society.