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admissions news

Below are notable news stories related to the every-changing world of college admissions. 


  • February 2024: Cornell University announced that it will remain test optional for the upcoming admissions cycle, leaving the door open for possibly requiring the SAT the following year. In contrast, Vanderbilt University stated that it will remain test optional for at least another three years. You can read the full article HERE.

  • February 2024: In a very important development, Dartmouth College is now requiring the SAT once again. This change in policy can potentially have a widespread impact if other Ivy League colleges follow suit. Dartmouth made this change after conducting research that revealed test scores were a better predictor of academic success than grades. The full story is HERE.

  • January 2024: "Direct admission" is becoming more prevalent among some colleges and universities. Under these programs, high school seniors who meet certain academic qualifications are granted automatic admission. Read about this new trend HERE.


  • January 2024: After the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action is banned in the college admissions process, students have been using their essays to highlight their racial backgrounds. The details are HERE.  


  • December 2023: The New York Times published its annual piece discussing college admissions essays on the topic of finances. Excerpts from four essays are included. The full story is HERE.

  • November 2023: According to Inside Higher Ed, the number of students submitting applications for early action has increased significantly this year. Details are HERE.

  • October 2023: The issue of college admissions essays that are created using ChatGPT continues to be of concern to colleges and universities. Read about this topic HERE.

  • September 2023: Yale revamps its mental health policies after years of neglect. The full story is HERE.

  • August 2023: Many colleges are changing their admissions essay prompts following the Supreme Court ruling. Read about this very significant change to the essays HERE.

  • July 2023: The issue of legacy college admissions, which has been criticized for many years, moves to the forefront. You can view the article HERE.

  • June 2023: In a ground-breaking ruling with far-reaching ramifications for the college admissions process, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of affirmative action. The news article is HERE.

  • June 2023: Columbia University announced that it would no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. The story is HERE.

  • May 2023: If requested, the Common App will conceal basic information on race and ethnicity starting later this year. Read the article HERE

  • January 2023: An interesting article on the ongoing debate pertaining to the use of affirmative action in the college admissions process. The full story is HERE.


  • October 2022: A junior at Stanford University offers a "Trick for Getting Into an Elite College." The article is HERE.

  • April 2022: The University of California has decided to waive all tuition costs for Native American students. The full story from CNN is HERE.


  • March 2022: MIT is reinstating standardized testing requirements for the SAT and ACT. Read the story HERE. Details and commentary from the admissions office is HERE.

  • March 2022: The governor of California signed legislation to halt UC Berkeley enrollment cuts. The story is HERE.

  • January 2022: The SAT is transitioning to an all-digital format, and the length of the test will be shortened to two hours. Read the full story from the College Board HERE.

  • December 2021: A fascinating new documentary called "Try Harder!" covering the admissions travails at the elite Lowell High School is now in theaters. Watch the trailer HERE.

  • November 2021: The number of applications submitted on the common app system are up significantly from last year. The number of applicants submitting test scores, however, is largely unchanged. See details HERE.

  • October 2021: A Los Angeles Times article discusses how quickly admissions offers are forced to read through applications. The article is HERE.

  • September 2021: An interesting article from Psychology Today about how to approach the college application. Read the story HERE.

  • August 2021: College admissions experts offer tips on selecting a topic as well as writing and editing the essay. Details HERE.

  • August 2021: An article in USA Today offers some insights into this year's admissions process. Read the story HERE.

  • July 2021: The Common App system will be down from July 28 until August 1 due to its annual relaunch. Details HERE.

  • June 2021: The annual QS World University Ranking was released, with MIT at #1 for the 10th year in a row. See the full list HERE.

  • May 2021: The University of California announced that it will no longer consider SAT and ACT scores for admissions or scholarship decisions. Read the news release HERE.

  • May 2021: The head of the National Association for College Admission Counseling publicly acknowledged the extent to which admissions decisions are influenced by the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Read story HERE.

  • April 2021: The New York Times reported that elite universities have admitted a significantly more diverse freshman class this year. See link HERE.

  • April 2021: The Wall Street Journal reported that Ivy League acceptance rates fell to an all-time record low, with Harvard at 3.4% and Columbia at 3.7%. See link HERE.

  • March 2021: The New York Times published its annual article discussing this past year's batch of college application essays. Excerpts from the top essays are included. Click HERE for the story.

  • March 2021: During the last admissions cycle, only 44% of students using the Common App submitted SAT or ACT scores. The previous year's number was 77%. See full story HERE.

  • February 2021: The Common Application Advisory Committee has announced that one of the common app essay prompts will be different this year. View the link HERE.  ​

       The essay prompts for 2021-2022:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


  • 2020: The PBS News Hour discusses how the pandemic is shaking up the college admissions process. Watch the video HERE.


  • 2017: WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show discusses the importance of the admissions essay and addresses the topic of essay coaching. Listen to the broadcast HERE.  

  • 2016: A former Yale admissions officer provides valuable insights into what goes on behind the scenes. Read this interesting story HERE.

  • 2015: From CNN: A student who was accepted by all eight Ivies as well as MIT and Johns Hopkins gives valuable admissions tips, the first of which is the importance of the essay. See story HERE.                                                

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