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College Planning Blog

How to Stand Out on Highly Selective College Applications

by Karen Daluga on July 12, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


If you’ve determined you might be a good fit for applying to highly selective schools, there’s more to consider than your GPA and test scores. Those types of colleges look beyond pure academic achievement. They also pay close attention to demonstrated intellectual interest or curiosity, also called the standout factor.   Highly selective schools expect […]

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What is Demonstrated Interest?

by Kevin Krebs on June 26, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


In many ways, the college admissions process is a game. You need to understand all the rules of the game in order to maximize your chances for success, and “demonstrated interest,” or taking extra measures to show that you want to attend a particular school, is among the key aspects.   Colleges are always concerned […]

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How to Choose Likely, Target and Reach Schools

by Tracy Mehr on June 13, 2018 in Building a College List


High school students often enter into the process of searching for a likely, target or reach college with unrealistic expectations, both positively and negatively.   Recently, I met with a Partners For Achievement student who had 20 schools on her list, all of which were the most selective in the nation, including Ivy Leagues, the […]

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Five Must-Do College Visit Tips

by Kendall Hayes on May 25, 2018 in College Visits


Many high school students enter the process of choosing a college with a preconceived notion of what they want or don’t want.   For instance, I often hear, “I know I don’t want to go to a college that’s smaller than my high school.” In response to that, I say, “How do you know? The […]

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Play it S.A.F.E. with College Planning

by Kevin Krebs on May 11, 2018 in College Planning


When Partners For Achievement was founded in 2012 and I delved into statistics regarding how successful kids are at making their college planning choices, I was appalled. Consider these nuggets of information: What to do? At PFA, we created a college planning process to help students think through building their college lists in a more […]

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Show Academic Mastery with SAT Subject Tests

by Shelly O'Neill on April 24, 2018 in Standardized Tests


SAT subject tests may not be what push you over the top at a given college, but they still can be an important piece in the application puzzle. They provide another way for you to demonstrate your mastery of a particular subject while showing a more complete picture of you, the applicant.   There are […]

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Requesting Teacher Recommendation Letters

by Jennifer Taylor on April 12, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


High school juniors winding down from what is traditionally considered one of the most academically challenging years should shift their focus before the end of the school year to which teachers could provide positive recommendation letters for college applications.   When applying to colleges, commonly two recommendation letters are required. On many applications, a letter […]

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Five Fast Tips to Help With Decision Day

by Kendall Hayes on April 10, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


Decision Day—May 1—is rapidly approaching, but we don’t need to tell you that. It’s probably been circled on your calendar for months, if not at least a year.   If you’re anxious about making your college choice, you’re certainly in the majority. There’s good reason for this to be a stressful time. You’ve been building […]

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Deferred? Waitlisted? Now what?

by PFA Staff on March 30, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


As the current college application season starts winding down with Regular Decision announcements being released, it’s important to understand the difference between being deferred and waitlisted.   I’ve been deferred   If your application is deferred, don’t panic. It means your application hasn’t been accepted, but it still could be, albeit later. For students who […]

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Deciphering Financial Aid Award Letters

by Kevin Krebs on March 14, 2018 in College Admissions Counseling


One of the most important undertakings this time of year at Partners For Achievement is helping families get a handle on all the financial aid award letters they’re receiving from colleges. Since each school lays out its letter differently, families often have difficulty figuring out what’s what.   The first order of business is to […]

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