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

I See Patterns in SAT Test Answers

Karl Schellscheidt -

eprep test prep videoStudents often get into trouble when they begin to spot patterns in their SAT answer choices (e.g. A-A-A-D-D-D) and allow those patterns to impact their subsequent answers. Reacting to patterns on the SAT is pure folly.

Here’s a little math problem you would do well remembering when going into the SAT test. Assume you are flipping a coin where the odds of coming up heads is 1 out of 2 and the odds of coming up tails is 1 out of 2. You flip the coin and, remarkably, it comes up heads 5 times in a row. If you were placing a small wager on the sixth toss, would you assume the odds of coming up heads is 1 out of 64 (i.e., 1/2 to the sixth power) or the same 50% as the first toss? The obvious answer is 50%, (more…)

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Work Study Programs; Financial Aid Admissions Penalty?

Don Betterton -

eprep financial aid video

We continue our sit-down with Don Betterton to discuss financial aid issues for high juniors and their parents. In today’s post, Don discusses college work study programs and how they fit into your financial aid package. Additionally, we explore the question of whether indicating you will or “might” need financial aid negatively affects your chances for college admission. Click the “play now” button to enjoy our continued discussions with Don. (more…)

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Relax. The SAT is Only a Test :)

Eric Barnes -

eprep test prep videoToday is May 6, which means the May 5th SAT is over! We wanted to share this hilarious YouTube video, entitled “I Hate the SAT”, which perhaps summarizes how most high school students feel about the SAT. You should also check out all the video responses and comments by other student who concur.

Be sure to congratulate yourself for all the hours of hard work you’ve poured into your SAT preparation. You can now take a deep breath and relax. Regardless of how you think you scored, please remember it’s just (more…)

College Financial Aid Award Letters

Don Betterton -

eprep financial aid video

We pick up on our financial aid discussion for junior year and discuss the steps required to ultimately get your financial aid award letter. When and how should you estimate what your family is expected to pay for college? Do all colleges require the same financial aid forms? When will you receive your financial aid award letter, and what can you do if there’s still a major gap between what you’re expected to pay and what you are able to pay? Can you appeal a financial aid award to request more aid? What are the components in a typical financial aid package?

Guest expert Don Betterton discusses what steps you can take in the Spring of your junior year to begin estimating your financial aid profile relative to the colleges on your wish list. (more…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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