Your College List

11 July 2024

Top Undergraduate Honors Programs (Class of 2029 Edition)

Posted in Your College List

Honors ProgramsHonors programs are a terrific way for academically talented students to reap the benefits of a liberal arts education within the context of a large research institution.

To give you a better sense for how this can enrich your college experience, we’ve compiled a list of undergraduate honors programs from top public and private universities across the nation. We've included admission profiles where available, program benefits, whether an extra application is required and a link to each institution's offering for more details.

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of top undergraduate honors programs now.

27 June 2024

Colleges with Interviews Where Demonstrated Interest is Important (Class of 2029)

Posted in Your College List

interviewWith the fall 2024-25 application cycle approaching, it's important to keep an eye on interview requirements for the schools on your list—especially if they're looking for evidence of demonstrated interest.  

For example in cases like Hillsdale College where interviews are encouraged and demonstrated interest is very important, it's a good bet that taking advantage of an optional interview — in-person or virtual — is worth your time and may more strongly weigh on your candidacy for admission.

To compile this list, we first surveyed every school in our coverage universe where the latest Common Data Set entry for "level of applicant's interest" was reported as important or very important.  We then identified the schools where interviews are offered, encouraged, or required. 

 The devil is in the details, so to help you figure out your strategy we've also included a link to each listed school's interview policy.  Do keep in mind that interview requirements may often vary by major.   Also note that the Common Data set defines four options—very important, important, considered and not considered—and that inconsistencies are likely to exist in the way colleges define these terms.

This information is current as of 6/26/2024.

College Kickstart subscribers: this information is already available to you in the Summary and Requirements views.


Click on Continue Reading for the list.

14 February 2024

Schools Supporting the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR/SSAR)

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028

Self-Reported Academic Record Several popular colleges and universities now support the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR), also known as the Self-Reported Student Academic Record (SSAR), which allows students to submit their courses, grades, and test results to colleges during the application process.

That said, how the SRAR is used by these institutions varies. To help you navigate it all, we've enhanced the current list of participating institutions and polices for domestic and international applicants with admit rates, test score ranges and direct links to the SRAR section of their admissions websites.

Note that while most of the 30+ participating institutions are public universities, there are two notable privates requiring the SRAR: New York University (NYU) and Northeastern University.

Click on continue reading for the details.

25 October 2023

Boost Your Odds 50% With These Early Action Schools

Posted in Your College List, Early Admission, Class of 2027

earlyactionLooking for a way to enhance admission odds without obligating yourself to attend?  Here's a list of colleges with early action admission rates that are at least 50% higher than their regular decision admission rates.  

Unlike Early Decision, Early Action is non-binding, so it nearly always works to your advantage.  And as the list shows, this advantage can be meaningful if you're a competitive applicant...all for simply applying 45-60 days earlier than normal.  

With most early action deadlines occurring in early November, the time is now to take a closer look. 

25 October 2023

Early Decision Schools That Double Admission Odds

Posted in Your College List, Early Admission, Class of 2028

earlydecisionLooking for a way to enhance admission odds? Here's a list of schools with early decision admission rates that are at least twice as high as their regular decision admission rates.  

Because Early Decision is a binding commitment, it only makes sense if you're a competitive applicant, affordability isn't an issue, and you're absolutely certain it's the school for you. But as the list shows, there can be a meaningful advantage in applying this way if you are.  For example, at Barnard College, roughly 60% of the Class of 2027 was admitted through Early Decision, and the admission rate was 25% vs. 3% for those who applied via Regular Decision.  Or at Washington University in St. Louis, over 70% of the incoming class was admitted through Early Decision and the admission rate was 26% vs. 9% for those who applied via Regular Decision.  These are differences too big to ignore.

Note: most early decision deadlines occur in early November, so the time is now to consider if it makes sense for you. Click here for more information about early admission, and here to find out how College Kickstart can help you take full advantage. 

25 October 2023

Colleges Offering Assured/Automatic/Guaranteed Admissions (Class of 2028)

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028

guaranteeDid you know it's possible to be guaranteed admission to certain public universities based solely on your academic credentials?  

While institutions like the University of California won’t guarantee you admission to a specific campus, the good news is that most will based on some combination of class rank, GPA and test scores.

For example, if you’re a Texas resident interested in the University of Texas at Austin, a top 6% class rank will grant you automatic admission.

Better yet, assured admission often extends to non-residents as well. A 3.0+ GPA or Top 25% rank will assure admission to the University of Arizona, or a 3.25+ GPA will assure admission to the University of Kansas.

Of course, you’ll still need to complete an application and sweat the details, like making sure you’ve satisfied curriculum requirements and that your GPA is calculated appropriately. To help you understand the specifics, we’ve included links to program criteria for the public institutions listed.

If that’s still too much work, consider checking out College Kickstart. We track assured admission criteria for over 50 programs across the nation and will automatically flag situations where your academic credentials appear to meet assured admission criteria for schools on your list.  It's a great way to take some of the stress out of the process!  

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of selected institutions with assured admission programs.

13 September 2023

Keeping Vigil on 2023-24 Merit Scholarship Deadlines

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028, Affordability

moneyIf you're in the hunt for merit scholarships, be sure to stay on top of explicit deadlines a school on your list might have.

In some cases, like Boston University and USC, it's a hard deadline that you have to meet in order for you to be considered at all.  In others, like Indiana University and many other public institutions, it's a "priority" deadline that maximizes your chances of merit aid before the money runs out.  Either way, merit aid continues to be an excellent way for good students to defray the cost of an education.  

We've compiled a sampling of schools in our coverage universe with explicit deadlines, along with some stats to help you gauge the size and breadth of the institution's merit offerings.  We've also included links to each school's scholarship page for easy access to the details.

Most of these schools automatically consider you for merit scholarships without the need for an additional application.  

College Kickstart subscribers: full listings of 2023-24 explicit merit scholarship deadlines and schools with generous merit aid are already incorporated into the product.

Click on Continue Reading below for the list.

03 September 2023

Selective Institutions That Don't Consider Legacy Status

Posted in Your College List

UPDATE #2 (9/3)

Legacy AdmissionsWith all of the media attention surrounding legacy admissions, we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of selective public and private institutions that don't consider legacy status as part of the admissions process.

To come up with the list, we pulled data from the 2022-23 Common Data Set (or Fall 2022 NCES database) for each institution in our coverage universe with acceptance rates of 50 percent or less. We then cross-checked with recent announcements to identify recent changes to policies, such as with Wesleyan University and Occidental College.

Of the 138 schools currently in our coverage universe with acceptance rates of 50 percent or less, 33 percent do not consider legacy status—42 percent for publics and 25 percent for privates.

Bookmark this page, as we expect to update it periodically with institutions opting to drop legacy consideration for this cycle.

Click on Continue Reading for the list

31 August 2023

Great Schools for International Financial Aid

Posted in Your College List

International Financial AidIn search of schools that offer financial aid to international applicants?

Look no further! We've compiled a list of 30 schools worth considering. To create the list, we considered two factors: international student representation and the breadth and depth of international aid packages.  

We've also included admission rates for each institution and whether aid packages are need and/or merit-based.

Click on Continue Reading for the list

30 August 2023

Common App Schools That Don't Require Extra Essays (2023-24)

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028

commonapplogoIn search of schools with no extra Common App essays?  Look no further, check out our list of popular schools here, updated for the 2023-24 application season.  

The list includes schools that simply require the base essay (e.g. personal statement). Keep in mind that many of these schools may have "optional" prompts which you might want to complete anyway to strengthen your application.  

If you're a student or parent with a College Kickstart Plus or Premium subscription, this information is already available to you as part of our key application requirements view.

Click on Continue Reading for the list.

30 August 2023

Colleges with Test-Blind/Score-Free Admission Policies for the 2023-24 Cycle

Posted in Your College List, Standardized Testing, Class of 2028

testbrokenpencilWhile the vast majority of institutions in our coverage universe offer some form of test-optional admissions, some have completely eliminated standardized testing from consideration—even if you submit scores.

Click on Continue Reading to see our list of schools offering test-blind/score-free admissions for the 2023-24 cycle. For your convenience, we've included admit rates, test score ranges and links to each school's standardized test policy details to help you find suitable candidates for your college list.

College Kickstart subscribers, this is automatically updated and visible as part of the requirements view.

15 August 2023

University of California Fall 2023 Admission Trends

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028, Class of 2027, Perspectives

ucHot off the press!  We've had a chance to review the preliminary Fall 2023 admissions data released recently by the University of California and we thought it would be helpful to summarize it and share our key findings.  

Overall freshman admission rates increased systemwide from 60 percent to 63 percent year-over-year, fueled by a 2.1 percent decline in applications and 3.3 percent increase in acceptances. If you're an out of state or international student, pay close attention...there continues to be a window of opportunity to take advantage of favorable rates at a couple of UC campuses.

Click on Continue Reading for the details.

26 July 2023

Great Colleges for International Relations Majors

Posted in Your College List

International RelationsInterested in pursuing an interdisciplinary field that delves into how individual states and global interactions impact diplomacy and conflict? If so, consider majoring in International Relations (IR)!

In International Relations, students can evaluate how global, regional, and domestic factors influence relations between state actors. Given the vast variety of tracks within international relations, such as an emphasis on international economics, human rights, or global health, international relations also serves as a perfect interdisciplinary supplement to other fields of study. Studying International Relations prepares students for a wide variety of careers, ranging from law to politics, and the major continues to expand as the world becomes increasingly globalized.

To help you evaluate your options, we've curated a list of great undergraduate International Relations programs in the United States based on Foreign Policy magazine's Best International Relations Schools in the World. Our list covers a mix of private and public universities and liberal arts colleges, and includes admission rates, test profiles, program highlights and links for more information.

Click on Continue Reading for the list

10 July 2023

Great Colleges for Climate Action and Environmental Studies

Posted in Your College List

Climate Action and Environmental StudiesMany students care deeply about the environment and sustainability and want to incorporate their passion about the Earth into their college experience. But how to choose a college that best facilitates that?

Colleges' commitment to climate action manifests in a variety of ways. Many colleges focus on implementing sustainability on campus, so students can rest assured that not only is their day-to-day life at the institution they attend eco-friendly, but also that their college is upholding a commitment to care for the environment alongside the students. Some colleges prioritize funding environmental research. Colleges tackle this from different angles, including politics, economics, engineering, ecology, earth science, and more. The research a college conducts is important for prospective undergraduates to consider because they will get to learn directly from the faculty responsible for such meaningful work and may even have the opportunity to contribute to the research themselves. Finally, although most colleges offer some course of study related to the environment, certain colleges go above and beyond, whether that be through the breadth of courses and educational resources focused on sustainability, the strength and rigor of one particular program, or the number of majors beyond environmental science that relate to climate action.

From a multitude of sources with differing perspectives and priorities, we've comprised a list of the 30 best colleges for climate action. Continue reading to learn more about each.

09 February 2023

Colleges Where Male Applicants Have an Edge

Posted in Your College List, Class of 2028

student male

QUESTION: what happens when a college wants a balanced class but has to draw on a much smaller male applicant pool?

ANSWER: higher admission rates for guys!

We looked at several popular coed institutions and searched for places where there was a 20% or greater admission rate advantage for male applicants.  The result: an intriguing list of 12 schools to consider.

The majority of the schools on the list are liberal arts colleges, but you'll also be surprised to see names like Baylor and Cal State Long Beach.    

To help you categorize schools into likelies, targets and reaches, we've included admission rates, mid-50th percentile SAT and ACT scores.  We've also provided links to each school's website to help you explore fit.  

Click on Continue Reading for the details. 

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