How to Stay Ahead in the Changing Game of College Admissions

The college admissions process is evolving rapidly and has changed markedly over the past half-to-full decade, as the most selective schools look for demonstrated passions rather than the well-roundedness that was most desirable for Gen X and early millennial applicants.

I experienced this firsthand last year when by brother went through the admissions process, and it is consistent with what several college counselors told me off the record.

“Parents need to know that signing their kids up to play an instrument and be on the board of three student clubs doesn’t matter anymore for an elite school,” said one anonymous admissions director at a school ranked in the top 20 in the last US News and World Report Rankings. “If they are deeply passionate about music and played at Carnegie Hall, well that is a different story.”


The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) – one of Australia’s most innovative universities.

Whether your passion is business, communication, design, engineering or science, at UTS you’ll get to learn in some of the best facilities in the country. Here you’ll conduct real world research into issues facing our community, benefit from internships built into degrees and have the opportunity to showcase your work to potential employers.

20 Things College Girls Should Know

It was a college football game weekend, and as my friend walked down sorority row with her teenage daughter, her daughter took it all in.

The energy. The buzz. The sea of people dressed in the school colors, full of excitement and hope. Out of the blue, her daughter asked a question.

 “Mom, what’s the hardest part of college?” Her mother said the first thing that came to mind: Saying no.\
Here are 20 things I believe college girls should know.

The Hidden College Cost of Differential Tuition

Are you going to be charged more for college tuition than you anticipated?

Differential tuition, also known as tiered tuition, is a hidden college cost that affects undergraduates at colleges and universities across the country.

Many students, according to a new study, are being charged more than the published sticker price for choosing particular academic majors or simply for being an upperclassman. It’s possible that some students are being dinged with a higher bill for enrolling in a university’s honors college.

The 7 parents you meet at college orientation: Which one will I be?

I filed into the new student orientation on the second floor of the Memorial Union at Arizona State University, walking behind my son.

They gave us ID badges on Sun Devil lanyards. Mine had an added maroon ribbon on it that said “Alumni.”

These were my old stomping grounds. I was the first person in my family to go to college. The first two years were at Glendale Community College, and then to ASU where I worked on the student newspaper.

I came back three years later and started work on a master’s degree, one class at a time. It took me seven years to finish.

This time, I was here as someone’s mother. There were a lot of us. Dads, too, but the majority of parents were moms

College Admissions: 10 Western Colleges Worth the Trip This Summer

Here on the East Coast, students and their families often focus on the plethora of fine colleges in the Northeast. Middlebury, Bowdoin, Williams and other highly competitive liberal arts colleges have no shortage of Eastern applicants. And while many families know about Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and USC, few realize that there are some top-notch smaller liberal arts colleges out West. Many of these Western colleges are also in a city vs. their Eastern counterparts in the wilds of New England and upstate New York.

Forget hookup culture. The ‘talk’ your kids need is about relationships

When I was 11 years old, copies of the now defunct Australian teen magazine Dolly started mysteriously showing up in my family’s living room. At the time, I thought my mother was buying them for her own entertainment, and passing them on to me when she was done the way she did the other magazines she read. But with a couple of decades hindsight, I now realise the magazines were purchased for my benefit.

At that point, I was already educated in the basics of sex and puberty. But the magazines provided answers to the questions that would plague my adolescence. How to a form a relationship? When was the right time to have sex? What did it mean to desire and be desired, and how did I fit into that? What is love? (Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me…)

The answers the magazines gave me weren’t always the most constructive, but their presence in our house sent a clear and important message: that in our family, sex and relationships were subjects that could be discussed openly and without fear.


I suppose I could have gone with “An Admission: It’s not fair!” What can I say, catchy titles are not my thing. Working on it. But at this time of year, “fairness” is a resounding theme.

“How can you waitlist my son? He has 30 points higher and two more APs than your average. And we know someone down the street who got in that….”

“Something is wrong with your process if my daughter who has been through as many medical issues as she has and still has a 3.8 is not getting in. Talk about not being fair….”

“And don’t get me started on financial aid… or lack thereof.”

13 Reasons Why – Suicide Warning Signs & Resources for Families

This series, based on the young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, tells the story of a high school student who commits suicide—leaving behind audio tapes aimed at people she believes have had a role in her death. While we are aware that some students have already watched the series, we do not recommend it. The graphic depiction of death by suicide is disturbing, and the message the series sends—which can be interpreted to romanticize suicide—has raised alarm among many youth-oriented organizations. On the other hand, it is important for caring adults to be sensitive to the discouragement, sadness, and hopelessness that may lead some students to consider suicide as an option.

Suicide Warning Signs (source:

  • Suicide threats, both direct and indirect. For example, “I’m going to kill myself” or “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up”). Threats can be verbal or written, and are often found in online postings.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
  • Emotional distress.
    Guidance for Families (source:

    • Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them that if they do want to watch it, that you want to watch it with them and then discuss the movie.
    • If your child exhibits any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plan the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
    • As your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk to them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
    • Listen to your child’s comments without judgement. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
    • Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.


U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 001-800-273-TALK (8255)

India Suicide Hotline (Aasra): 022-27546669  

South Korea Suicide Helpline: +82-2-715 8600

Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators

Preventing Youth Suicide: Brief Facts

Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide

Step Up Program (Depression and suicide awareness and prevention)