The Best College Admissions Blogs

As a first time parent going through the college admissions process I was lost and confused. I often turned to parents who had preceded me on this path but, in truth, their advice was often specific to their own teen or contradicted what another parent had told me.

Then I stumbled on a font of insight and expert information. I discovered College Admissions Blogs. In the college admissions desert I had found an oasis.

University of Virginia

College admissions blogs for parents and teens

Instead of listening to another parent who had the insights of just a student or two, I read the advice and wisdom of those who read thousands of applications every year and make the actual admissions decisions.

Most of these sites are written by Admissions Deans with years, if not decades of experience, and they have seen it all. And while they are generally writing for the students, they are quick to dispel many of the myths that parents believe.

Somehow my internet travels led me to Dean J’s College Admissions blog at the University of Virginia. My son was not applying to UVA, but that hardly mattered because the posts that Dean J wrote, with such humor and kindness, were valuable insights for any parent whose kid was applying to almost any university.

I became an avid reader and soon found there were admissions professionals on other campuses, most notably Georgia Tech and MIT,  who wrote expert blogs that took parents and students by the hand and helped them on their way.

It is well worth having your teen delve into any college admissions blogs for the colleges that interest them. It is great to have a peek behind the curtain and schools offer much insight and advice.

Simply go to the undergraduate admissions section on the University website and look at their writings. Your student will benefit from reading the advice of any admissions director whose college he is thinking of applying to and we offer these as other great places to learn. Often they have current students or recent grads posting as well as admissions professionals.

UVA Admissions Blog: Notes From Peabody with Cav Dog

Some of their Best Posts:

Course Rigor and Curriculum Strength Aren’t Just Numbers

“High school is the time to get a broad foundation in several areas and college is the time to specialize. We are most concerned with a student’s work in five core areas (in alpha order, not order of importance): English, Math, Science, Social Science, and World Language.” 

The Role Of Parents in the Process

“In my opinion, most parents are completely appropriate when it comes to their involvement in the process. There are some that go a bit overboard. Here are a few areas where parents might be tempted to overstep…”

Should I Apply Under Early Action or Regular Decision?

What Does Holistic Admission Mean?

“I spend five months of the year cloistered away, dedicating most of our waking moments to file review. Students don’t want to be reduced to numbers and admission officers don’t want the process reduced to them, either.”

Georgia Tech Admissions Blog: A Dialog on College Admissions 

Some of their Best Posts:

Holistic Admission The Struggle Is Real:

“Be sure your essays and short answer questions broaden our understanding of who you are—not simply what you’ve done. We can pick up your accomplishments from your transcripts or extracurricular record. We want to hear your voice and deepen our understanding of “why and how” you would thrive on our campus or contribute to the dynamics.”

Lies We Tell Ourselves: Parents  

Lie 2 “Where my son or daughter goes to college is a reflection on my parenting achievement. This is a tough one to admit, but is a very common, incredibly insidious lie. We have already established (hopefully) a few key things that refute this:

  1. Admission decisions are not character judgments
  2. Holistic admission by nature means that incredible students don’t always get into certain elite schools
  3. Where you go to college does not dictate your future success or happiness”

College Essay Greatest Hits

MIT Admissions Blog 

Some of their Best Posts:

50 Things 

At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn’t do so well on the final, but I haven’t thought about psych since 1993. I’ve thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son’s godfather) at least once a month ever since.

On taking Care Of the People We Love  

“Admissions in 2021 will be different and this is how a group of 315 admissions officers is reframing the year to come.” 

Tufts Blog: Inside Admissions   

One of their Best Posts:

Juniors: A Guide to Senior Schedules That Colleges Will Love  

Now is the time to pull out all the stops and make the most of your abilities.  If you’ve just had a solid three years, try to take it up a notch.  We often see students who we wax and wane about but, if that file has a REALLY challenging senior year, it can be enough to make us pause and say, ‘Ok, the heat’s on. Let’s see how they’re doing at the mid year.’  A very strong first semester performance can make you a real contender in this process.

USC Undergraduate Admissions Blog

One of their Best Posts:

Making the College Admission Process About You

“While it is very easy (and sometimes a good thing) for outside influences to shape your decisions, the college process should be one where you let your own thoughts and ideas navigate your choices. Here are three basic principles I think every high school student should keep in mind while they decide where they are going to apply to college.”

Tulane Admissions Blog

Some of Their Best Posts:

Love Will always Be Stronger Than Hate 

This blog is for every single high school student out there who is scared right now. This blog is for those who are fearful of the people in this world who have hate in their hearts. This blog is for any gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning student who is feeling that there is a little less love in the world tonight. Or for anyone who is struggling to make sense of Sunday morning’s events. Or anyone who just needs to feel… love.

Apps 101: Ten Tips for an Epic College Essay

“What every student needs to read before writing a word”

admissions @ lawrence

One of Their Best Posts:

What to do about those looming deadlines?

“I frequently found myself asking – usually as he was watching Sunday football or late-night SportsCenter – “When do you think you might want to start working on your college applications?” This question usually elicited one of the following (wonderfully verbose) responses

“When they’re due.”  “Soon.”  “When I’m ready.”

I countered with some award-winning questions myself: “Do you know when they’re due?”  “What does ‘soon’ mean?”  “When do you think you will be ready?”

The conversation usually ended there. So, I spent weeks encouraging, cajoling, nagging and yes, at times, raising my voice (OK, yelling); still no movement toward the college application websites. I went through ALL my “internal mom rationalizations.”

Maybe if I stop asking, he’ll actually work on them. (Reverse psychology)

Maybe he’s silently trying to tell us he’s not ready to go to college. (Oh, really?!)

Maybe I just need to be patient and let him figure this out for himself. (But this might bring about my early retirement from motherhood, if you know what I mean.).

University of Illinois Admissions Blog

One of Their Best Posts:

25 Common College Terms  

“College admissions is a whole new vocabulary. Here is your dictionary.” 

You Might Also Want to Read: 

The Eight Most Important College Application Dates

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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