List of Colleges Extending Test-Optional Policies

Friday, August 11, 2023
2020-21 test optional schools UPDATED: List of Colleges Extending Test-Optional Policies

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a number of changes within the standardized testing industry, including the introduction of a new, entirely digital testing format and many colleges shifting to a test-optional admissions process for the 2020-21 admissions cycle. In fact, 75% of four-year colleges and universities did not require SAT or ACT scores for the 2021-22 admissions cycle.

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What Vanderbilt Admissions Officers Look for in Essays

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Beautiful casual student using laptop indoors.

If Vanderbilt University, also known as Vandy, is one of your top-choice schools, you may be wondering how to craft your admissions essay to help you stand out. Vanderbilt is incredibly selective, so they look for students who demonstrate what they can contribute to the diverse campus community academically and otherwise. Your response to these essays contributes to the holistic review of your application, so it’s important to put a lot of thought into them. 

Keep reading for more information about the Vanderbilt essays and some strategies for writing them, including tips from one of our IvyWise counselors.   

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Your Step-by-Step Athletic Recruitment Plan

Saturday, August 5, 2023


The rider in a black and white suit performs the task in equestrian competitions in dressage riding a beautiful Bay horse, dressed in ammunition for equestrian sports.

Many high school athletes dream of continuing to play their sport at the collegiate level, but it’s important for students to understand the basics of the athletic recruiting process before deciding if it’s an avenue they want to pursue.

At IvyWise, our admissions counselors are experts at every component of the college admissions process, including athletic recruitment. Experts who have led students through their athletic recruitment process — both from the admissions office and the counseling office — have created this step-by-step plan for student athletes interested in pursuing the athletic recruitment process.

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UCLA Acceptance Rate and Stats: What it Takes to Get In

Saturday, August 5, 2023


With a sprawling California campus, top tier academic offerings and Division 1 sports teams, it’s no wonder that the UCLA acceptance rate is so low. The Los Angeles-based university emerges as a top-choice institution for many high school students, so students need to prepare thoroughly in order to emerge as competitive applicants.

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3 Tips for Standing Out During the College Application Process

Thursday, August 3, 2023

The Common Application opened August 1, and millions of students across the globe will apply to college via the Common App this year. With so many students applying to college every year, most applicants have the same question on their minds: what can I do to increase my chances of standing out?

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How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essays

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

How to Write the Brown Supplemental EssaysBrown is at the top of plenty of students’ best-fit lists, so it’s no surprise that most prospective applicants want to do everything they can to stand out in their applications. While grades and course rigor carry the most weight in admissions decisions, students also need to write compelling essays that demonstrate their interest in attending the college.

In addition to the personal statement, students must prioritize the Brown University supplemental essays when compiling their application. Keep reading to learn more about the supplemental essays that Brown requires, as well as what it takes to write a top-tier personal statement.

What Essays Does Brown Require?

Like most colleges, Brown University requires applicants to submit a personal statement as part of the Common Application. Students can choose from the Common Apps’ list of prompts and compose a response of approximately 650 words.

Brown University has a series of supplemental essays that students must answer in addition to the required Common App essay. For first-year applicants, there are three questions, and each response should be approximately 200-250 words. For students applying to Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), there

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2023-24 Coalition Application Guide

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Coalition ApplicationWhile the Common Application is the most widely used college application, it’s not the only option for students who are getting ready to apply to their best-fit colleges. The Coalition Application is an alternative that now counts more than 150 institutions as member colleges.

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The Flutie Effect: How Athletic Success Boosts College Applications

Thursday, July 27, 2023


Have you ever dreamed of going to a certain college or university based on how much you love its sports team? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Research shows a connection between the success of a college football or basketball team and a spike in admissions to the school. This is known as the Flutie Effect. 

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What Is an Externship and How To Get One

Monday, July 24, 2023

Male indian teacher, manager or mentor discussing papers with latin student, client at business meeting, helping employee with contract, teaching intern showing documents, doing paperwork together.

Experiential learning opportunities are an important part of your college education because they give you practical experience outside of the classroom. These opportunities often take the form of externship and internship experiences. Internships provide opportunities to expand your skill set — which can enhance your resume — and give you a taste of your desired career field, but their longer duration can sometimes conflict with a busy college schedule. Or, you may just want to get an idea of a potential career without committing an entire summer to exploring it. This is where externships come in. 

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10 Best Summer Internships for High School Students

Thursday, July 20, 2023

How to Balance Fun and College Goals Through Activities

Do you already know what career you want, or are you still exploring your options? A summer internship is a great opportunity to gain work experience and leadership skills, network with professionals, and learn more about a career field you’re interested in — even if you’re still in high school.

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Insightful Tips for Adjusting to Life as a Transfer Student

Monday, July 17, 2023

Group of young college students sitting on grass in the park

It can be difficult to choose where to go to college, and it sometimes happens that a student realizes their current school isn’t working for them. Or perhaps a student starts out at a community college before continuing on to a four-year school to finish their degree. Whatever the reason, transferring to another school is always an option. If you’re considering a transfer to another school, you are not alone.  

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The Challenges and Advantages of Being an Older College Student

Monday, July 17, 2023

test-optional policies

When most people think of college students, the image of young adults — recent high school gradsengaging in all aspects of campus life may come to mind. However, a growing number of college students are older. Known as adult learners or nontraditional students, they don’t fit the mold of the conventional college student. In fact, 37% of college students are 25 and older, according to recent data from the Lumina Foundation. Adult students face many challenges when they go back to school, but they also have many advantages. 

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How to Get Into UCLA: All You Need to Know

Monday, July 17, 2023



When to Apply to UCLA 

As a part of the University of California system, UCLA participates in the UC application. This is the only way for a prospective student to apply to UCLA. The University of California system does not use the Common App. When a student applies to any school in the University of California system, they apply using the same UC application. That means that if you apply to one UC school, you can apply to any other UC school using the same application. The UC application deadline is November 30, slightly earlier than most regular applications for admission.

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Vanderbilt University: A Legacy of Academic Excellence and Innovation

Thursday, July 13, 2023
Peabody Lawn on the Vanderbilt University campus

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt University is a private research institution known globally for its strong academic programs and research opportunities. This close-knit campus community is located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, and offers a college experience unlike anything else. While not an Ivy League school, Vanderbilt is known as a “Southern Ivy” because of its highly selective admissions process and stellar academic reputation.

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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Financial Aid for Colleges

Monday, July 10, 2023

In addition to navigating the college admissions cycle, students and families need to prepare for the cost of college and understand the financial aid process. Applying for financial aid is a multi-step process, and the financial aspect of college life can be significant. So, it’s worth learning as much as you can about different financial aid programs.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Colleges in the U.S.

Thursday, July 6, 2023
A stone arch hallway at a university with unidentified female in the distance

Students who are starting to research undergraduate programs can easily be overwhelmed by information. It’s not just a matter of which schools to apply to, but which type. Different types of colleges and universities offer different campus environments, class sizes, and program offerings, among other things. 

Let’s examine the different types of U.S. colleges you may come across.   

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What to Expect During Your Dartmouth College Interview

Thursday, June 29, 2023

grad school interview

Dartmouth, like many colleges and universities, invites applicants to interview. However, these interviews are not conducted by the admissions committee but alumni volunteers. The college does not offer campus interviews. 

If you’re invited to an interview, it’s perfectly normal to be nervous. Being prepared can help boost your confidence, so keep reading to learn what to expect and for tips on acing the interview. 

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2023-24 Common App Supplements

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
creative application essay prompts.jpg Many schools utilize the Common App as their primary application form, and school-specific supplements allow every institution to customize this universal application in order to build a well-rounded first-year class. From asking about a student’s favorite snack to designing their dream seminars, many colleges are getting creative with their supplement questions so that admissions officers can learn as much about applicants as possible.

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Crafting a Winning Why Dartmouth Essay: Tips and Tricks

Monday, June 26, 2023

Closeup man hands using computer laptop for online learning, online business, chatting, social media.

One of the most stressful parts of the admissions process for many students is writing the college essay. After all, the essay carries so much weight because it provides more insight into who you are, how you think, and whether you’re a good fit for the school. Because the essay is so stressful, many students put it off until the last minute. However, the trick to writing a winning essay is to prepare in advance.  

Knowing what to expect can help you feel more confident about how to respond to the essay prompts. If you’re interested in attending Dartmouth, you will be expected to write the “Why Dartmouth?” essay. Read on for some tips and tricks to write a winning essay that will get the attention of the admissions committee.   

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The Ultimate Guide to Finding & Applying for Merit Scholarships

Thursday, June 22, 2023

For most students, financial aid is an important part of the college admissions process. You will likely complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is useful for receiving need-based financial aid, but that isn’t your only option. There are countless merit scholarships available if you take the time to seek them out.  

Let’s look at how to find and apply for merit scholarships.     

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