Category Archives: College

Have you ever heard of the United States Naval Academy? Most people know it as Annapolis, since it’s located in Annapolis, Maryland, or USNA for short. It’s also, like most U.S. military academies, one of the most competitive schools in the country. For anyone interested in applying to the Naval Academy, we asked our colleagues at Gain Service Academy Admission to share some insightful tips: How to Prepare Early in your High School Career The general theme here is to make sure you challenge yourself! The Naval Academy core courses are challenging. Taking challenging classes during high school will help you prepare for USNA’s academic rigor. Start early! If you have a choice to take Advanced Placement or IB classes, do so. Focus on being in the top 20% of your high school class academically, at least. Get involved in your community and take on leadership opportunities. Find activities you…

Read more

Once Chariot Learning has already helped a student achieve her best SAT and ACT scores, she often comes back for help with another challenge: the college application essay. Writing the college application essay is a daunting task–in 650 words, a student must share something striking about herself that will convince an admissions committee that she will be a worthy addition to the college’s incoming class. With so many applicants to choose from, many of whom have strong numbers, the essay becomes a crucial part of a student’s college application that can make the difference between admission and rejection. What can a student do to make her essay succeed at this highly unique genre of high-stakes writing? First and foremost, I tell my essay students, “Write an essay that nobody could write except you.” What does that mean? Someone who knows you well should be able to read a pile of…

Read more

Considering all the lives, livelihoods, and opportunities that COVID-19 has taken from us so far, finding something good that arose out of the pandemic seems too much to ask. However, the global shutdown hurt some industries more than others, which meant 2020 may have been one of the worst years ever for America’s thousands of colleges and universities. The College Stress Test predicted that a surprising number of institutions of higher education were in financial peril this year, and those models didn’t even take the threat of a massive shutdown into account. COVID has been absolutely horrible for most colleges. Many college students–or at least the ones willing and able to enroll in a school that was partially or entirely remote–found an unexpected benefit from the crisis: historically low increases in average published tuition prices. College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report usually tells a story…

Read more

Love them or hate them, the ACT and SAT serve a number of valuable purposes. Currently, both tests are primarily (but not entirely) college admissions exams. And despite the controversy and anxiety that inevitably accompany the ACT and SAT, most colleges continue to rely on them to inform admissions decisions. Granted, a human being is so much more than a number, but quantitative data matters a lot when evaluating applicants in a pool that exponentially exceeds the number of available seats. Furthermore, standardized test scores aren’t even the most important numbers. All things being equal, a student’s grade point average is the first and foremost metric that matters. Why, then, are tests needed at all? Can’t grades tell the full story of a student’s academic ability? Unfortunately, grades are not enough in most instances. One reason they cannot always be trusted is the dramatic variability in academic excellence from school…

Read more

Ask a high schooler what college he or she wants to attend, and you’re likely to hear one of about fifty big name schools–typically either ultra-competitive or beloved for sports. However, the pool is far larger, approximately 5,300 in the United States alone, though that number includes even small technical and for-profit schools. How can a student choose from such a dizzying array of options? Geography plays a major role, particularly among students at public four-year colleges; nearly 70% of such students attend within two hours of their home. Location aside, every institution of higher education possesses something unique to itself, some tradition or cultural distinction that instantly bonds students and alumni alike wherever they meet. On a broader level, however, colleges and universities can be sorted into classic categories, such as the archetypes NACAC describes: Liberal arts colleges “focus on the education of undergraduate students. Classes are generally taught…

Read more

Few aspects of the college admissions process cause as much consternation and confusion as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better know as the FAFSA. This document is critical: you need to fill out the FAFSA to get any college financial aid from the federal government in the form of grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. What are some fast facts worth knowing about the FAFSA? Filling out the FAFSA is free. The FAFSA isn’t just used by the federal government. Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid and how much will be awarded. The FAFSA doesn’t focus solely on the applicant but also requires information a family’s finances, including tax returns. The FAFSA needs to be filled out every year. Of course, fast facts can only tell you so much. This topic deserves as much…

Read more

6/101