Don’t Lock Yourself into One Career Goal: A College Junior Offers Advice to High School Students

The best part of Blue Stars is becoming friends with our students and catching up with them in college and beyond. I recently had lunch with Matt, now a rising junior at a large university in the Northeast who was brimming with valuable insight. Over Indian food at a local spot in San Francisco, we [...]

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As Acceptance Rates Fall, Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever

Admissions rates are falling quite dramatically, and not just at the nation’s top 10 schools. Mt. Holyoke’s overall acceptance rate dropped 15 points, from 51% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. NYU’s fell from 28% to 16% in the same two years. For a survey of some of the most significant reductions between 2017-2019 as [...]

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7 Key Traits that Impress Top Colleges (It’s Not What You Think!)

I spend a great deal of time in consultation sessions with new families dispelling myths about what top colleges look for in applicants.1 Most parents come to our initial meeting thinking their child needs to be well-rounded, hardworking, and a perfect 4.0 student (a retro model of college planning belonging to the twentieth century). I [...]

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Our New College Planning Workbook for 9th and 10th Graders!

At Blue Stars, we define TEEN POWER as: Knowing who you are Knowing what you want Knowing how to get there And guess what? Top schools happen to be excited about students who know these things. So we’ve created a FREE WORKBOOK with exercises to help you sketch out your plans for all four years [...]

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Harvard Admissions Demystified: What Can We Learn?

Harvard doesn’t appreciate applicants who are too techie or give off an arrogant vibe. It divides its applicant pool into “regular” and “special” groups. It actively scouts athletes, under-resourced students, and students from less-populated areas long before most teens think about their college list. It also admits legacy students at five times the rate of [...]

Interview with Blue Stars Art Mentor Nicole Mueller

What was your favorite thing about being an admissions officer at a top art school? Working with so many talented students who are all passionate about their work, their communities, and about using art as a means of expression or vehicle for change! One of the best parts of the job was getting to travel around [...]

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Comparing Art Colleges: Where to Start and What to Look For (Part II)

In Part I, we shared the story of Jacob, a talented student in need of artistic direction who landed scholarship offers to five top art colleges within a year of us working together. Like Jacob, it’s possible for you to find the best program fit using the same research strategies. Start with the three-point checklist described in Part [...]

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Comparing Art Colleges: Where to Start and What to Look For (Part I)

When Dr. M and I first met Jacob as a junior in high school, we recognized his strong artistic talent in experimental animation. We also realized that he had no idea how to create a best-fit school list or package his impressive work. Not a problem! A year later, when admissions announcements came out, Jacob was [...]

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College Admissions Calm Case Study 3: Embrace The Winding Road

Wouldn’t it be great if our teens picked a career in ninth grade and followed that clear trajectory throughout high school and college, ultimately landing that matching dream job? Whew! That would be relaxing. But guess what? Most teens (and lives) don’t work that way. And neither does admissions. When I first met Thomas in the [...]

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Get Unique College Planning Ideas for your Teen: Sign up for a Strategy Consultation with Dr. M!

“We think our daughter should major in finance or plant biology,” Alicia’s mom announced during our initial meeting a few years back. Hmm, I thought to myself, other than AP Bio on her transcript and some casual foraging activity while camping, I saw no strong case for plant biology. Same for finance. “What do you [...]

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