We firmly believe that every student we work with is amazing in their own right. Every student has strengths, talents, skills, abilities, traits, and more that are amazing, and our job is to help them understand their gifts and highlight them.
As parents we understand how it's hard to not get caught up in what we see around us, but we also work hard at recognizing how each student has their own journey on their own pathway.
Few newsworthy articles:
How the University of California Strike Could Reshape Higher Education
Law schools with LSAT rule change: In an unprecedented move, top law schools decide to move away from LSAT and also stop sharing data with US News for rankings. The move to drop LSAT requirement for admissions starting fall 2025 is a direct consequence of the American Bar Association's decision to stop requiring law schools to use this or any other standardized test when admitting students. The interesting question now is whether we will see a change in how undergraduate colleges view US News rankings. So far, only one undergraduate institution, Reed College shunned rankings.
Some of the most common corrections we make in essays:
November's annual NACAC Fair in Seattle is a great way to start the month! College and universities make a big effort to come to Seattle and we're always thankful for the time they spend here with students and families.
Seniors have been doing the final push with their applications and finishing up all their essays. We're so proud of them submitting so many apps in November and queuing up the remaining ones for December and January deadlines. As of today, we have reviewed 1,504 essays that accompany applications! This does not include resumes or other essays that we do for summer programs, juniors, or others.
While most of our reading this month was essays, beyond that we especially appreciated this article by Jeffrey Selingo: What Does an SAT Score Mean Anymore? The mass pivot to a test-optional approach reshuffled college admissions. MIT Decided it was done. We encourage you to take some time to read it. The switch to digital SAT testing outlined by the College Board is on track. For international students, the digital format is only a few months away as the Dec 2022 is marked as the final paper test. For domestic (US) students, the migration to the digital platform takes place in March 2024.
While our blogs are mostly good news and industry updates, we do want to extend our heartfelt wishes for the students who were personally impacted by unnecessary gun violence this month. We hold space for you.
Whew! As soon as summer came, it left. The return of school also brings in the return of a get-it-done mindset. Every time this year, we in the thick of helping seniors with essays, shaping their college lists, applications, managing letters of recommendation, and visiting with college and university reps who are once again out travelling.
Fall is the busiest "travel season" for all the admissions officers; their goals are simple: recruit and get great applicants to apply. Take advantage of all the visits and online events the admissions staff are doing!
WalletHub published a great, searchable rankings that determines the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergraduates while also analyzing post-attendance metrics. (Hint: check out Whitman vs Univ. of Washington)
A few other recommended reads are:
Since travel started up again this summer, ICC took advantage of that and visited many colleges and universities both in the US and abroad.
We always try to keep up with current trends and a few articles that we recommend:
Colleges Weigh New Admission Strategies
The Status of Federal Student Aid Programs
Kids' Mental Health Is a 'National Emergency.' Therapists Are in Short Supply.
July has kept us busy as we motivate students to maximize their summer to work on their applications! Our biggest push has been towards finalizing college lists and fine tuning it with a balanced spread to craft a stronger application. This is hard work. It means helping students and their families break out of a mindset of known names and comfortable spaces. It means being open to new and untried options and requires us to be flexible, empathetic and knowledgable in the process.
This goal fuels our professional growth with campus visits and webinars. Anu visited several campuses in Texas that included both public and private institutions - Baylor University in Waco, UT Dallas, UT Arlington, Midwestern State University, University of North Texas, Austin College, Texas Christian University, and Southern Methodist University. The notes from these visits are in the software and available to ICC clients.
The big news for WA students was the announcement of UW Seattle joining the Common App for freshmen applicants for fall quarter 2023. An interesting read we came across: College Financial Aid,
CONGRATULATIONS SENIORS! You have all graduated and we are so proud of each one of you!
A MUST READ: this article, "CodeSignal Publishes Second Annual University Ranking Report Based on Technical Skills." This "is the only skills-based ranking of the top universities and colleges for software engineering nationwide." Which ranking are you going to value more?
The College Board announced the launch of a new AP Pre-calculus in fall 2023, to help students succeed in college level math. Read more about this announcement.
We learned more about these liberal arts colleges throughout the country: Claremont McKenna College, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Kenyon College, Macalester College, and Sarah Lawrence College. In-person college visits this month include Reed College, Portland and University of Hawaii, Hilo campus.
One of the best articles was this one about UW Seattle. College sports enthusiasts may be interested in this news about USC and UCLA.
CONGRATULATIONS to all our seniors on selecting their schools!!! The first of May is such a special day for our seniors and their families, and we're proud of how they've all come to their decisions with grace, thoughtfulness, and excitement!
UPenn released an article describing their incoming class which ultimately reflects how they are offering admission to students who are engaged. They are engaged in research, they are taking action, they are making a positive impact on a variety of levels, they care about the environment, they are working to help their families, and all this regardless of the pandemics. Ultimately, they are engaged in intellectual discovery and innovation. Engagement comes at all different levels and we always try to encourage our students to engage in whatever interests them. Showing up and checking in is what matters.
May is also a very busy month with AP tests. These exams are demanding for students so we try to lay off a little during this time.
Additionally, spring always brings recruitment sessions and we've encouraged our students to attend several in-person and virtual fairs and presentations. With the pandemic, the outreach footprint of colleges through virtual platforms increased dramatically and their social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. etc) presence is a great way for students to explore and get information about campuses.
Other tidbits from May are this article on plunging admit rates, and we have been learning more about universities through many webinars.
We learned more about universities like Rice, Emory and U Mich through webinars.
As our seniors think about which schools they want to attend, colleges and universities watch their confirmation numbers daily as they hope students will choose their school. There is concern on the college/university side about enrollment dropping nationwide as explained in this article. While the highly rejective schools are receiving record breaking numbers of applications, many schools are seeing a student shortage. What does this mean for applicants? This translates to the top tiered schools becoming even more selective while the remaining schools being even more welcoming. Creating a balanced list is more important than ever, and we want to see all our students receive offers as well as denials. The range of decisions is important because it signals that the student applied to a range of schools.
Like many families, spring break is a time for visiting colleges, and the same is true for many independent counselors, including us. This month, Anu visited several schools in southern California and has included some photos below. In our software she has written notes about her visits which our clients can find in our software.
Almost all of our juniors have received their college lists and we hope they're getting to know the schools we recommended so we can make any necessary adjustments. We've had a few juniors join us recently and we are working on getting their lists to them as soon as possible.
All of our students have summer plans that are pretty solid at this point and are looking super!
This month's reading includes this timely and beautiful article regarding what parents/family should give kids when a top-tier school may not be best. Our favorite quote from it is: "...the prestige of the college a student attends is not necessarily a direct indicator of their success in life."
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our seniors who have done exceptionally well with their admissions! We are so proud that everyone was admitted to such excellent schools and we celebrate all those offers. April will be busy for most as they dig in even deeper to decide which school they will ultimately attend.
March is always a month of so many ups and downs as seniors receive the remaining admission decisions. If you can access the WSJ article on Ivy League admission this year, we recommend reading it here. Admission decisions trends continue along what we saw last year in terms of institutions having "a growingly diverse student body is an intentional shift", as demonstrated by this article from the University of Virginia. The articles states, "We've invested a lot in trying to reach as many different types of students as possible...and we will continue to do that....continuing to look to enroll more low-income students." Tufts is also sending the same message.
California sure made waves in higher education this month! An important development impacting students is California Supreme Court's order asking UC Berkeley to freeze its enrollment at 2020-21 levels. This means fewer seats are available for admissions for the upcoming academic year. Additionally, we celebrate that the Cal State Universities have permanently eliminated the SAT/ACT while the opposite message is coming from MIT as they are once again requiring the SAT score. The university admission landscape is rightfully changing albeit slowly, but clearly pressure is mounting.
Additional great reading that came out this month is this article about how the college admissions system is broken by Jeff Selingo, a reputed writer covering college admissions.
Lastly, we have been busy with building college lists for juniors, attending an update session on UC schools, planning our spring break school visits, and participating in several webinars.