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The Future of College Admissions

The field of admissions is constantly changing—leading to extensive confusion and inaccurate information. The Ivy Dean is up to date on these trends and brings truthful, accurate information to my students and families. Recently, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education released a report encouraging even greater changes in the field. Read my recent article on the Huffington Post, below, to learn how to interpret and prepare for the changes.

Recently, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a thought-provoking report, Turning the Tide, which makes the bold statement that admissions offices across the country need to change how they select students—and soon. With the wide publicity and attention of this report, changes to admissions requirements may take place at many colleges. Do you know what to look out for?

While most people are focused on the new, redesigned SAT to be rolled out in several months, few realize that the entire field of admissions has been changing for years. For example, leadership is no longer an admissions buzzword, a perfect SAT score does not guarantee admissions and too many activities could actually harm your applications.

So what will happen next? If the report’s goals are fulfilled, colleges will give preference to students with experiences focused in prolonged community service and engagement.

What is the goal? According to the report, it is the responsibility of colleges to facilitate societal awareness and change, which can be achieved by admitting more students with years of demonstrated community involvement in just one or a few fields.

In other words, admissions offices should change their requirements to include a demonstrated commitment to community service and engagement. And for students, rather than focusing on a plethora of short-term experiences and a laundry list of AP classes and high test scores, they should focus on a few community opportunities of sincere interest—making extensive contributions, learning key insights regarding the needs and differences of communities, and becoming more empathetic, and able, to improve society as a whole.

Can this be done? Of course! These are simple changes to a college’s admissions process. And if highly desired colleges place greater weight on genuine, sustained community involvement, then students will listen and school districts will react.

What may actually happen? While the publication’s goals are admirable and seemingly simple to accomplish, it may promote even more anxiety and frustration among current students, as today’s students receiving this message are in systems unlikely to change anytime soon. As a consequence, instead of students reallocating their time, they may likely increase their time spent on various activities—fostering even more stress among high school students.

How can you prepare? These complications can be overcome. Everyone may have different viewpoints on how to handle college admissions, but one factor in recent years has remained true: Students who tell a powerful, compelling story are more likely to get accepted to their top colleges. So rather than a student continuously adapting their life to meet new trends or changing admissions requirements, they should focus on discovering their unique, personal story of what drives them to accomplish something of meaning.

In my many years of college admissions experience, I have found a unique story in every student I have met. It solely takes the right amount of time, insight, and help to uncover it. Thus, if there is one message to take home from this, all students should work with their teachers, high school counselors, families, friends, and communities to discover their story.

College admissions will always be changing; it is important to be aware of new trends and find accurate information from trusted sources. Equipped with correct information, the right story can be shared to give any student a chance of getting accepted to their dream school.


On paper, I am by no means a perfect student. However, thanks to my Application Positioning, I was able to maximize the strengths that I bring to a college to compensate for other factors. Thanks to The Ivy Dean Team, I will be attending Princeton University, my dream school, in the fall.

Douglas R. – Princeton University

Dee provided excellent advice and guidance throughout the application process. Her overall expertise in admissions, professionalism and warmth made the experience a great one. I was thrilled that I was accepted to several of the most selective colleges in the country and will be attending Stanford in the fall.”

Laurel P. – Stanford University
It's my pleasure to inform you that I've been admitted to my first choice college: the University of Southern California. My dream is becoming reality! I am thrilled to get the chance to belong to the USC and to start a new adventure there. It is also thanks to your great help that I've been accepted, I'm very grateful! Thank you so much for everything.
Sonia G. – From Switzerland
Our son and daughter wanted to go to colleges in the same city but they had different interests and different strengths. She matched them each with their ideal college, one Columbia University and the other NYU, and worked to get them admitted. We couldn't have been more pleased.
Niki and Roger S.
I was a serious student but also wanted a university where I could continue competitive cycling. There weren't many schools that met my needs and fit my personality. From her experience, she was able to hone right in on what became my first choice school. I graduated last year and the entire college experience was awesome.
Colin J.
My parents and I didn't know how helpful it could be to have someone who understood things from the inside working with us. Ms. Blackman was able to identify just what would make me the most attractive candidate to colleges.
Bob M. – Harvard University