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

The Consistency of Your College Application

Seamus Malin

college admissions expert advice from
In our continued series with Seamus Malin, a former Harvard admissions officer and administrator, we focus on the various elements of the college application and the importance to ensure consistency throughout. How does an admissions officer create a composite picture of a student through their essay, letters of recommendation, and alumni interview? What are the ramifications of a student purchasing an essay through one of the many online services today and how easy is it for an admissions officer to identify the offense? Acccording to Seamus, now that the SAT requires a written essay, it’s quite easy for colleges to compare your SAT writing (albeit under pressure) with the prose you submit for your application. Click the play button below to start this prepcast on college applications. (more…)

AP Classes, Academic Burnout, and the Decline of Writing Skills

Seamus Malin

college admissions expert advice from
Question: Is it better to take AP classes and receive a lower grade than to take easy classes and receive high grades? According to Seamus Malin, who spent years reviewing applicants as a Harvard admissions officer, “it depends”. While that might not be the answer you’re looking for, in today’s podcast with Seamus we’ll cover everything from AP classes, the risks of academic burnout, and the decline of students’ writing skills. (more…)

Extracurricular Activies in High School and College Admissions

Seamus Malin

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comOne of the great attributes of our American university system is the inclusion of extracurricular activities within context of the educational process.The “well-educated” person is also a “well-rounded person”, both academically and non-academically. However, it’s not about fattening your application resume. Less is more. Elite colleges are not only looking for well-rounded people, but what you might call “well-lopsided” people – someone that has developed a strong skill in either an academic subject or extracurricular.

What role do a student’s extracurriculars play in the college admission process? How much is enough? Does working while in high school diminish your admission chances because of the impact on time for extracurriculars? These are exactly the questions we put to Seamus Malin, a former Harvard University admissions officer and current ePrep expert in College Admissions and Planning. Join us for our continued talk with Seamus as we explore the road to college. (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…)

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…)

SAT Vocabulary: Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

We all remember that classic scene in the movie Caddyshack when Carl, the Bushwood greenskeeper, plots the demise of the gopher while humming “Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts”. Based on this quote, or any number of the cleaning product commercials on TV, you might think you understand the definition of ‘grime‘. Not so fast! If you’re anything like me, you will be surprised to discover the definition is not so straightforward.

Join me in this prepcast video as I explain why it’s so critical to take the time to look up vocabulary words, not just to score higher on your SAT, but to prepare yourself for success in life. (more…)

Junior Year SAT Test

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video

Coming up in March, many high school juniors will take on the SAT test for the first time. Despite all your best efforts to prepare for the SAT test, chances are you will not “crush” the test and reach your highest potential score. Why? In this prepcast, I discuss why junior year SATs are for most a developmental step towards your final SAT goal. (more…)

Real SAT Stories: Second Guessing on the SAT

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video Preparing for the SAT requires practice and practice tests should always be completed under “simulated” conditions. It’s not enough to merely master the subject material given the number of extraneous variables at work on test day. In previous posts on ePrep, I’ve discussed the need to simulate the test environment by practicing at your kitchen table or high school desk instead of while lying on your bed. I’ve noted how the noise, temperature, and other distractions within your SAT test classroom are outside of your control. The devil is in the details. Join me in this Real SAT Story as I relate how allowing too much time for second guessing proved to be the undoing of a former student. (more…)

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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