TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Andrew Belasco

Andrew Belasco is CEO of College Transitions LLC, a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. In addition to his role as CEO, Andrew is a published higher education researcher and consultant to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admission and financial aid policy. For more information about Andrew and his team, please visit www.collegetransitions.com

Posted March 21, 2014, 2 p.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
tips for aspiring lawyers

So you want to be a lawyer? Welcome to installment one of College Transitions’ "So you want to be a..." series. Designed to help career-minded high school students think intelligently about their postsecondary journeys, these blogs will look at the financial, academic, and personal factors one should consider when exploring various academic pathways and professions. Does going to a prestigious undergraduate school help? Getting into a top law school is first and foremost a numbers game. Simply put, a high GPA and sparkling LSAT score are your ticket to the country’s top law schools. So with that in mind, does ...

Posted March 19, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Does Being a College "Legacy" Matter?

In the past several years, higher education researchers have yielded some interesting findings on the advantage held by so-called "legacy" applicants who have familial ties to a given school. If you happen to be interested in attending your parent’s alma mater, you will likely find their work highly encouraging. If not, it’s still important to be aware as you enter the admissions process that not every decision to accept or reject is driven by merit. A few key facts that may surprise you: 1. Applicants to highly selective colleges experience a 45 percentage-point increase in their probability of admission, on ...

Posted March 7, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Advantages of Liberal Arts Colleges

Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other large, prestigious universities contain top-notch student bodies and, for the most part, provide excellent undergraduate educations; but so do places like Macalester, Reed, Bowdoin, and other small, liberal arts institutions. While their names may not inspire as much awe around the dinner table or look as good on a bumper sticker, liberal arts colleges offer several academic and extracurricular advantages that students at larger and more pre-professional schools would be hard-pressed to find. Advantages of Liberal Arts For one, the faculty at liberal arts colleges put undergraduates first. Often without a graduate cohort and less ...

Posted March 6, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
What You Need to Know Before College

In their quest for acceptance, college applicants often fail to see the bigger picture. They obsess over “getting in,” while ignoring current realities about the value and role of an undergraduate education. These realities should play a central, rather than ancillary, part of the college choice process because, when considered, they can help students circumvent the financial hazards and career dissatisfaction that currently plague so many American adults. Before deciding on a college and course of study, students (and their parents) need to account for the following truths: A college degree, while necessary, is no longer sufficient for entry into ...

Posted March 1, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Out-of-State Applicant: Advantage or Disadvantage?

It is common knowledge that private colleges and universities are typically eager to recruit out-of-state applicants in order to help enhance the geographic diversity of their freshman classes. However, many elite public schools have traditionally set a higher bar for those applying from afar in order to maintain a student body that is heavily comprised of in-state residents. Yet in recent years, the landscape has changed significantly. The financial crunch at many institutions, brought on by a challenging economic climate, has led many top public schools to begin to draw more from the out-of-state pool for the simple, bottom-line reason ...

Posted Feb. 18, 2014, 2 p.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
College Admission Mythbusters (Part 2)

I got a letter from the Dean! I’m in! For a high school student, there is something undeniably exciting about being the recipient of an unsolicited brochure from a prestigious university, or even better yet, a personalized letter from the Dean of Admissions practically begging you to apply. Unfortunately, this material usually has about as much value as the L.L. Bean catalog that arrived in the same stack of mail. It’s no great secret that in the age of U.S. News rankings, colleges are engaged in a never-ending battle to reject more applicants every year as evidence of their selectivity. ...

Posted Feb. 17, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
College Admission Mythbusters (Part1)

Applying to college is a stressful and busy time for all teenagers. Waiting for an acceptance letter is even worse! We're here to debunk common myths about college admission. Download Myth #1: An applicant should try to present as “well-rounded” to please admissions committees This myth remains pervasive among nervous applicants and their families. Sadly this misconception usually ends with many applicants entering their admissions interviews dressed in a safari outfit while simultaneously riding a unicycle, playing a didgeridoo, and explaining their design plans for a Super Soaker that combats diabetes. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but the bottom line ...

Posted Feb. 13, 2014, 11 a.m. by Andrew Belasco | View Comments
Short-Term Strategies for Financial Aid Success

With FAFSA season fast approaching, you no longer have the luxury of long-term financial planning for college unless you happen to stumble upon a 1985 Delorean fully- loaded with a flux capacitor (in which case you should pull a Biff, bet on future sports events, and not even worry about financial aid). Space-time continuum transcending scenarios aside, here are some essential strategies for maximizing your federal aid. 1. Don’t assume that you are too wealthy to be eligible for aid Common sense would tell you that a family living in a 20,000-square-foot McMansion, driving matching his/her Maseratis, and spending Sunday ...

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