Author Archives: Jenny Hwang

Community Service Ideas for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time for love and joy. For students (and adults), it’s also a great time to give back. While it’s important to volunteer and help out in your community year-round, the holiday season can be a wonderful start for you. There are many activities you can explore during the short break, and you may just find the volunteer work that you truly enjoy!

Read more: Beyond College Admissions: Why Extracurricular and Summer Activities Matter?


Creative ways to give back during the holiday season

Insight Tip #1: Volunteer & Community Service

Check out your local hospital, community center, homeless shelter, or any other charitable organization to ask how you can help out.  Some hospitals, like El Camino Health, have youth programs designed for high school students, but those may require a longer period of time commitment. is a great resource to check out volunteering opportunities nearby.

Read more: The Gift of Service: Why and How Students Should Volunteer


tutoring to help others is one way for high school students to give back Insight Tip #2: Tutoring

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many students, especially those with fewer resources. Many are struggling to keep up with their schoolwork. Programs such as Reading Partners or Schoolhouse offer online tutoring for younger students. 


Insight Tip #3: Declutter

With the temperatures dropping, many charitable organizations have warm clothing or blanket drives. Take a weekend to go through your closet. Ask your family to join you. Check if your neighbors or friends have anything they can donate, too. You are helping out someone who needs the warmth AND someone who needs to take that step to declutter their home.


Insight Tip #4: Help your neighbors

baking cookies or cooking a hot meal for the homelessYou can also bake cookies (or cook a simple hot meal) and distribute them to the homeless. Ask your elder neighbors if they need help setting up lights and decorating the tree (if applicable) or help them with wrapping gifts or getting groceries. 


Insight Tip #5: Share your talents

Put on a show at your local hospice, senior centers, or hospitals. First, contact them to see if they can accommodate your band or carol-singing group. Perhaps even record yourselves during the performance and inspire others to donate or help out! Or start your own fundraiser and purchase gifts for children. For more ideas, check out


Giving back can be a wonderful feeling, and we hope these ideas can get you started! May your holidays be filled with love and laughter. 



Team Insight

The Complete Guide to College Admissions Interview (Class of 2026)

As many of you have submitted your college applications for the 2021-2022 college admissions season, it’s important to update your calendar and check your inbox regularly for interview invitations.


You probably already know which schools on your list offer admissions interviews and whether the interview helps you demonstrate your interest in attending those colleges. To help you keep track of all the deadlines, interview formats, and requirements, we’ve compiled a list of popular schools where interviews are required or strongly recommended, as well as universities that value demonstrated interests as part of their admissions.


To Interview, or Not to Interview?

For 22 years, Insight Education is committed to helping high school students and families to navigate the college admissions process, and that includes understanding your concerns and providing a tailored strategy for you. Often, students will ask us if interviews are necessary. The answer depends on three factors:


  (1) Does the college highly recommend admissions interviews? 
  (2) Does the admissions office include demonstrated interest as part of their evaluation?
  (3) Your major and whether you’re applying test-optional


In most cases, we strongly recommend our students to interview with colleges if they have the chance. The reason goes beyond adding positive data in their college application; good interview skills will be useful (and essential) in their careers, too. Starting junior year, our students get a chance to schedule mock interview sessions with Insight counselors (for either their summer program application or practice for their admissions interview). In their senior year, Insight students will also have the opportunity to join workshops teaching interview techniques and etiquettes.


Need help to evaluate your college admissions strategies? Want to receive useful feedback from experienced college admissions counselors? Contact us today to schedule your personalized college planning session.


Start preparing for interviews early! The latest trend we are noticing is an accelerated timeline between when the application is received and when an admissions interview is scheduled. Don’t wait until the invitation is in your inbox to start your interview preparation. Even if the purpose of the interview is informational, you can still impress the alumni or admissions officer when you are well-prepared and feel confident! In addition, the interview gives you a chance to assess if the school will be the right fit for you or what resources will be available to you ahead of time! 

Preparing for your college admissions interview? Check out How to Answer College Interview Questions (In the Way Your Interviewer Wants!)



2021-2022 College Admissions Season –
College Admissions Interview for Class of 2026

Here is a list of popular colleges that require or strongly recommend interviews. Each school’s name is a hyperlink to their admissions interview page. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please contact us for more information.

Last Updated: November 16, 2021

Colleges that offer Interviews

Interview Importance

Demonstrated Interest

Interview Purpose/Format
& Timelines

Allegheny College Recommended Important Informational/On-campus
American Academy of Art Required  –  Evaluative
Bard College at Simon’s Rock Required Considered Evaluative/In-person
Bates College Optional Important Informational/Online
Berea College Required Considered Evaluative/On-campus
Bowdoin College Recommended Not considered


Optional 2-min video

Alumni interviews are available Sept 1

Brown University Recommend Not considered Evaluative/Video
Bryn Mawr College Highly recommended (Required for homeschooled and early admissions) Not considered



Deadline: ED I (Nov. 15)
ED II/Reg (Jan. 15)

Carnegie Mellon University No interview for 2021-2022 Not considered

No interviews for 2021-2022

Christopher Newport University Highly recommended (Required for scholarship and Honors Program) Important



Interviews are available from June 1 – March 1.
Deadline: ED I (Nov. 15)
EA & scholarships (Dec. 15)
Reg (Feb 15)

Claremont McKenna College Highly recommended (Required for homeschooled Considered


Optional video/Online

Interviews are available from May through Mid-December.
Deadline: ED I (Mid-Nov)

Clark University Highly recommended  Considered



Colgate University Recommended Not considered


College of the Atlantic Recommended Considered Informational/Online
College of the Holy Cross Highly recommended Considered



Interviews are available from June 1 – Dec 10

Colorado College Highly recommended Considered


Must fill out a preliminary application or submit the Common App before you can request an interview

Columbia University Recommended Not considered


Deadline: ED (Nov 15)
Reg (Jan 15)

Connecticut College Optional Considered


Cornell University Recommended (Required for architecture program; Recommended for Dept of Art or Urban and Regional Studies) Not considered


Request the interview through the student portal on application status page
Architecture program deadline: ED (Nov 1) and Reg (Jan 2)

Dartmouth College  Recommended Considered


Interview by invitation only after you’ve submitted your application

DePauw University Highly recommended (Required for homeschooled) Considered



Drew University Highly recommended (Required for BA/MD program) Considered



Duke University Optional Considered


Interview by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Elmira College Highly recommended Important


Call the Office of Admissions to schedule

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Required for Candidates’ Week participants Very important


By invitation only (takes place Feb 25 – Mar 6, 2022)

Georgetown University Required Not considered



Students are in charge of contacting the alumni to set up interviews after the students have submitted the application

Gettysburg College Highly recommended Considered Evaluative/Online
Grinnell College Highly recommended Considered



Grover City College Highly recommended Very important



ED I (Nov 1)
ED II (Dec 1)
Reg I (Jan 20)
Reg II (Mar 20)

Hamilton College Recommended Considered



Deadline: ED 1 (Nov 15)
ED 2 (Jan 15)
Reg (Jan 25)

Hamline University Highly recommended Considered Evaluative
Harvard Recommended Not considered


Interview by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Harvey Mudd College Highly recommended Not considered


Interviews are available starting May of your Junior year and should be completed before the application deadline

Haverford College Recommended Considered


Hillsdale College Highly recommended (especially for those wishing to be considered for scholarship) Very important Evaluative
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Highly recommended Considered Evaluative/Online
Iona College Optional Important Evaluative
Johns Hopkins  No interviews for 2021-2022 Not considered No interviews for 2021-2022
Juilliard School Required as part of audition callback process Important Evaluative
Juniata College Highly recommended Not considered Evaluative
Knox College Highly recommended Considered



Lake Forest College Highly recommended (Required for those applying without test scores) Considered



Meredith College Required for homeschooled students Important Evaluative
Middlebury College Optional Considered


Alumni interview by invitation after you’ve submitted your application. For ED I applicants, interviews typically happen in November (January for ED II and Regular Decision)

Mills College Highly recommended Not considered Evaluative/Online
MIT Highly recommended Not considered


Interview by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Moravian College Highly recommended Important


Email the admissions office to schedule

Mount Holyoke College Highly recommended (Required for Frances Perkins applicants) Considered


ED 1 (Nov 15)
ED 2 (Dec 10)
Reg (Feb 4)

Muhlenberg College Highly recommend, especially for those wishing to be considered for merit scholarships (Required for academic partnership applicants) Considered Evaluative/Online
Northwestern University Optional Considered


Alumni interviews are by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Occidental College Highly recommended Considered


Schedule your interview before the application deadlines

Point Loma Nazarene University Highly recommended Considered



Schedule 1-month before the application deadline

Princeton University Recommended Not considered


Alumni interviews are by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Reed College Optional Considered



Deadline: ED I (Dec 1)
EA (Dec 10)
ED II (Dec 31)
Reg (Feb 1)

Rice University Recommended Considered


Deadline: ED (Nov 30)
Regular (Dec 3)

Sacred Heart University

Highly recommended (Required for ED applicants) Very Important Evaluative/Online
Saint Johns College Highly recommended (Required for homeschooled or international applicants without test scores) Important



Saint Louis University Recommended Considered


Contact the admissions office to schedule your on-campus interview

Saint Marys College Recommended Considered


Sewanee: The University of the South Highly recommended Considered Evaluative
Simmons University Highly recommended Not considered Evaluative
Southwestern University Highly recommended (Required for those applying without test scores and special programs) Considered



Stanford University Optional (only offered in selected geographies) Not considered


Alumni interviews are by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

St. Lawrence University Highly recommended Considered



Stevens Institute of Technology Highly recommended (especially for applicants in the accelerated pre-medicine program) Considered



Interview must be completed by student’s application deadline

Swarthmore College Optional Not considered


Students can request an alumni interview at the start of Fall of their senior year

Trinity College Recommended Important



Students can make interview request as early as February of their Junior year

Tufts University Optional Considered


Deadline to request: 
ED I (Nov 6)
ED II (Jan 9)
Reg (Jan 9)

Union College Recommended Considered


ED I, EA, Leadership in Medicine (Nov 15)
EDII, Reg, 3+3 Accelerated Law (Jan 31)

University of California (UCs) Only available for some Regents and Honors Programs Not considered


Invitation only available for some Regents and Honors Programs applicants

 University of Michigan (Engineering) Optional (only for Engineering applicants) Not considered


Alumni interview by invitation after you’ve submitted your application. Do NOT contact the admissions office.

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Recommended Not considered


Alumni interviews are by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

University of Rochester Highly recommended for merit scholarships consideration Considered



ED I (Nov 30)
ED II (Jan 5)

University of Southern California (USC) For selected scholarships applicants Not considered


By invitation only for selected students applied by Dec 1 for the Trustee/Presidential/Deans Scholarships

Vassar College Optional Not considered


Deadline to request:
ED I (Nov 15)
ED II (Jan 7)
Reg (Jan 7)

Wake Forest University Recommended Considered



Deadline to request an interview is Nov 17 and the deadline to submit a 2-3 min video is Jan 5.

Washington and Lee University Highly recommended Considered


Available from May 1 (of junior year) to January 31 (of senior year)

Washington University in St. Louis (Wustl) Optional Considered Informational/Online
Wesleyan University Recommended Not considered


Available starting Sept 7 to Feb 28, 2022.

Yale College Recommended Not considered


Alumni interviews are by invitation after you’ve submitted your application

Yeshiva University Required Considered Evaluative/Online


Terminology explained:

  • Interview Importance is ranked from Required, Highly Recommended, Recommended, to Optional. If you see a school that highly recommends admissions interviews and also considers demonstrated interest, you should sign up and prepare for the college admissions interview when the school extends an invitation. 
  • Demonstrated Interest starts to play a role in some college admissions evaluation processes. In this table, demonstrated interest is ranked from Very Important, Important, Considered, to Not Considered. To learn more about demonstrated interest and what you can do to show it, check out our article on ” All You Need to Know about Demonstrated Interest.”
  • Typically, the college admissions interviews serve two Purposes: evaluative or informational. An evaluative interview helps college admissions officers decide if you will be a good fit for their school, whereas an informative interview is typically conducted by current students or alumni and aims to provide you with more information on their schools. Despite the purpose, you should always be prepared with concise answers and great questions before entering an interview. Wondering what an informational interview is? Check out our article on “The Art of Informational Interviews.”
  • Interview Format used to be mostly in-person, either on campus or in a nearby coffee shop. However, the pandemic has accelerated the adaption of online interviews or video portfolios.

Class of 2026 Early Decision / Early Action Notification Dates

For many of you, your college admissions season is almost wrapped up (and there is light at the end of the tunnel, we promise). The next big item coming up is early admissions decisions!


The effect of COVID-19 continues to impact college admissions this year. Many universities and colleges have extended the test-optional admissions policy due to SAT/ACT cancellation. While some colleges resume in-person campus tours, many universities continue to offer virtual information sessions and admissions interviews. In the Common App‘s optional essay section, students will have a chance to discuss how the pandemic affects their lives. One thing remains true: both students and parents are eager to know the admissions decisions!


Insights on Early Decision & Early Action

For 22 years, Insight Education is committed to helping high school students and families to navigate the college admissions process, and that includes understanding your concerns and providing a tailored strategy for you. Here are the top 3 common questions surrounding ED/EA, and you can always reach out to your Insight Counselor or contact us to find out more!


Q: What do I need to do between now and the decision time?

A: Check your portal regularly! Set up a weekly reminder and commit to checking your email and college portal. Some schools may require you to send in your progress report for the current school year.


Q: What do I do about ED II if my ED I decision won’t come back until January?

A: You can still apply to ED II. When ED I notifies your acceptance, you can withdraw your application from ED II school.


Q: What do I do if my current progress report is not as good?

A: If you are improving but your progress report doesn’t show it, ask your school counselor to make a note on your progress report before you send it to your ED school.



2021-2022 College Admissions Season –
Early Decision / Early Action Notification Date for Class of 2026

Here are early admissions decision notification dates for the upcoming Class of 2026. Please check back regularly for updated dates and times as we gather the most updated information – especially for those without specific dates and times or those labeled “TBD.”

Last Updated: November 3, 2021


Early Decision I Notification Date

Early Action Notification Date

Early Decision II Notification Date

American University December 31   February 15
Amherst College Early to Mid-December    
Babson College Mid-December  January 1 Mid-February
Barnard College Mid-December    
Bates College December 20   February 15
Baylor University December 15 January 15 March 1
Bentley University January 20   February 20
Boston College December 15   February 15
Boston University December 15   February 15
Bowdoin College Mid-December   Mid-February
Brandeis University December 15   February 1
Brown University Mid-December    
Cal Tech   Mid-December  
Carleton College December 15    
Carnegie Mellon University

December 15

April 15 February 1
Case Western University December 4 December 21 Beginning January 9
Clark University Late December Mid-January Early February
Clemson University   Mid-February  
Colgate University Mid-December   Late February
Columbia University Mid-December    
Cooper Union

Late December

Cornell University


Dartmouth College Mid-December    
Davidson College December 15   February 1
Duke University Mid-December    
Elon University December 1  December 20  
Emerson College Mid-December Mid-December February 1
Emory University December 15   February 15
Fordham University December 20  December 20  
George Mason University   December 15  
George Washington University Late-December   Late-February
Georgetown University   December 15  
Georgia Tech   TBA  
Hamilton College December 15   February 15
Harvard University   Mid-December  
Harvey Mudd December 15   February 15
Haverford College December 15   February 15
Hofstra University  

December 15

(EA 2: January 15)

Indiana University Bloomington   January 15  
Johns Hopkins University December 11   February 12
Lafayette College December 15   February 15
Lehigh University Mid-December   Mid-February
MIT   Mid-December  
Middlebury College Mid-December   Mid-February
Mount Holyoke College Late December   Late January
New York University (NYU) December 15   February 16
Northeastern University December 15 February 1 February 15
Northwestern University Mid-December    
Oberlin College December 15   February 1
Occidental College December 15   February 20
Pomona College December 15   February 15
Princeton University   Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) Decision Notification by Mid-December  
Purdue University   January 15  
Rice University TBA    
Rutgers University   January 31  
Santa Clara University Late-December Late-December Mid-February
Stanford University   December 15  
Suffolk University   TBA  
Swarthmore College Mid-December    
Tufts University Mid-December   Mid-February
Tulane University Decemeber 15 January 15 January 31
University of Chicago Mid-December Mid-December Mid-February
University of Georgia   Before December 1  
University of Illinois at Chicago   December 1  
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)   TBA  
University of Miami Late December Late January/Early February Late February
University of Michigan   Late January  
University of North Carolina (UNC)   January 31  
University of Notre Dame   Mid-December  
University of Pennsylvania Mid-December    
University of Richmond December 15 January 25 February 15
University of Rochester Mid-December   Early-February
University of San Francisco Mid-December Mid-December  
University of South Carolina   Mid-December  
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)   February 1  
University of Vermont   Late December  
University of Virginia TBA TBA  
Vanderbilt University January 15   TBA
Villanova University December 15 January 15 March 1
Virginia Tech Mid-December Late February  
Washington & Lee University Late-December   Late-January
Washington University in St. Louis (Wustl) TBA   TBA
Wellesley College Mid-December   Mid-February
Wesleyan University Mid-December   Mid-February
William & Mary Early December   Early February
Williams College TBA    
Worcester Polytechnic Institute December 15 January 15 February 15
Yale University   Mid-December  



Beyond College Admissions: Why Extracurricular and Summer Activities Matter?

Community service, student internship, and summer research – these days, high school students are trying to pack too many extracurriculars in their resumes, hoping to impress the admissions office. It’s common knowledge that other than a strong GPA and standardized test scores, colleges are looking for students who have devoted time in the fields of their interests. In this article, we will explore what other benefits students gain through their extracurricular and summer activities experience.


Time-Management Skill

Ask your parents or any adult and they will share the importance of time management. The ability to prioritize, focus, and balance your time is key to a less stressful and more productive life. College admissions officers know this, too! That’s why they want to see how you use your free time through extracurricular and summer activities. Once you’re in college, you’d be expected to juggle classes, activities, and social commitments. It’s good to get a head start now and learn how to manage your time and balance your life.


Community Service

It is more than just a graduation requirement or a checkmark in your college applications. Community service gives you the opportunity to give back and help those in need. At Insight, we encourage our students to think about how their skillsets can better the world around them. Whether it is tutoring kids or planting trees, volunteer work can expand your worldview. You may even find a cause that you wish to study further during college. Plus, it feels good to help others and give back!


Read more: Don’t Seek Summer Internships Just to Impress Admissions Officers 


Leadership Experience

Many extracurricular and summer activities offer the chance for you to take ownership of a project (or a piece of a project). Keep in mind that you don’t need the title to be a leader. Even if you aren’t the team captain or the club president, you can still be a leader. Leadership can be seeing a project from start to finish or guiding your teammates through a rough time. Building up leadership skills is important, not only in your college admissions but also in your career path.



Extracurricular activities and summer programs are excellent for expanding your network beyond school and family. You can meet students who share the same interest or adults who can mentor you. The friendships you build through these activities can help you throughout your life. Other than letters of recommendation, you may know just who to call for an internship or career advice.

Read more: The Value of Networking


Career Exploration

By exploring different activities, you may discover a few fields or potential career paths. Knowing your likes and dislikes can help you narrow down your majors and your college list. Beyond college admissions, these opportunities offer you an early insight into what the potential job entails and what skillsets you will need to excel in those fields.


Concluding Thoughts

While extracurricular and summer activities take time and effort to plan and participate in, there are so many benefits to getting involved. If you are not sure what you should do, we’re here to help! Schedule a 1-hour college planning session with our counselors today!

Want to explore summer and extracurricular activities options? Join us on November 6, 2021 for Insight’s Summer Opportunities Fair! Grab your free tickets here.

List of SAT ACT test optional schools

List of Test Optional Colleges 2022 and Beyond

The list contains the test-optional colleges that changed their admission policies due to COVID-19. Some have extended their test-optional policies. These policies are for first-year U.S. undergraduate applicants. This list was last updated on Oct 20, 2021.

Need help improving your SAT scores? Check out our SAT classes here.
Taking the ACT instead? Check out our ACT test prep classes here.

*While we try our best to keep this list complete and updated, please note that this list is not exhaustive.


 FAQ About Test-Optional and College Admissions


1. Test-Optional vs. Test-Blind

Test optional means that you can still submit your scores (and you should if you can) and universities will take them into consideration. On the other hand, test blind means colleges won’t look at test scores at all. In both cases, test scores may be used for placement purposes, so you won’t have to take a placement exam before course selection. In some test-optional colleges, test scores are required for certain programs, majors, and/or merit-based scholarships. You may also need to submit test scores if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirements. Please see the “Notes from Insight Education” section for specific college admissions requirements.

Have questions regarding test-optional? We can help! Talk to our team by clicking HERE.


2. For freshmen, should they prepare for SAT/ ACT or wait to confirm or later is test-optional or not?

It depends on your college list. To keep your options open, it’s good to take the diagnostic test and then strategize to see if test scores can give you an advantage. Also keep in mind that certain majors, athletic admissions, honors programs, and scholarships require ACT / SAT test scores, and the scores can be submitted for placement tests.


3. Will I have an advantage with ACT / SAT scores?

Yes! From the 2021 admissions results, we’ve seen those who submitted test scores have a higher acceptance rate than those who did not. In some cases, the school may ask you to submit test scores as they are reviewing your applications. Certain colleges require additional essays and/or admissions interviews when you apply without a test score. To learn more, check out our blog on “Top 3 Tips to Prepare You for College Admissions” or “How to Approach Standardized Testing“. 


5 Tips for Your College Essays

It’s no secret that your college essays can influence your college admissions chances. You probably have been planning (and possibly stressing over) what to write and how to tell your story. Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Jenny Bloom is here to share five tips to help you get started on your college essays!


(More of an audio-learner? Check out Jenny’s video here)


1. Start early.


Unlike most of the essays you’ve written in school, college essays, especially your personal statement on the Common Application, require you to introspect. You don’t want to provide a laundry list of extracurricular activities, but you shouldn’t also write about how you worked really hard and finally became captain of the team. Thousands of other students share that. To craft a college essay that helps you stand out takes time. It takes time to find your unique story. It takes time to find your own voice and express your characters. It definitely takes time to revise and rewrite. A solid college essay or personal statement is something you build up, and you can’t do that in a week or two before the application is due.

Read more: How to Answer the New 2021-2022 Common App Essay Prompt


2. Build a routine.


Once school starts, you will need to balance your classes, activities, and social time. You may find it challenging to focus on your college applications. It’s really important that you build a routine and include the college admissions tasks in your routine. Designate 30-60 minutes per day to write or edit your college essays. Sometimes it can be just doodling ideas or answering a short question about yourself. Schedule it as part of your day until it becomes a habit.


3. Use “I” Statements.


Your college essays are all about you. It’s your time to shine. You want to tell colleges what you have been through or other great qualities about you. Thus, it’s important to say “I did this” or “I learned this” to put yourself in the spotlight.


4. Show us. Don’t tell us.


It’s easy to start listing your qualities or your activities, but you want to show “why this is important to you.” Rather than saying “I care about my community,” you want to dig deep and figure out why do you want college admissions officers to know about your volunteering experience, what did you learn from it, and how is this lesson meaningful to you.


5. Rewrite and revise.


No one writes the perfect first draft. That’s why they are call drafts. Review your essays and ask yourself: “does this show who I am?” or “is this what I want colleges to know?” Be critical. Read it out loud. Ask someone you trust to read it and provide you with feedback.


Final Thoughts:


Writing college essays is not easy, but you will learn a lot about yourself during this process. Invest in the time. Seek help if you need to. As always, we are here to guide you every step of the way. If you would like a 1-hour personalized college planning session, please reach out to us via email ( or give us a call (408)252-5050.

Read more: Why The College Essay Matters


Written by Jenny Bloom

This article is based on our interview with Insight Senior Counselor Jenny Bloom.

Jenny has worked with a variety of students since 2012 to help them take the right steps to achieve their academic goals. Part of her philosophy is to guide students to consider how they will build and hone their skills and talents to make a difference in the world around them. Contact Insight Education today to schedule an initial consultation with Jenny. Read her full bio here.

College Facts Friday: Barnard College

For this week’s #CollegeFactsFriday, we are going to New York, New York! Cue the music and let’s learn more about Barnard College.


 1. Barnard College was named after Frederick A. P. Barnard, who founded the school (with the help of a student Annie Nathan Meyer) in 1889. Barnard was the 10th president of Columbia University, who believed that women should be in the same challenging curriculum as men. Learn more about their history here

 2. The campus and its classrooms have been used in films and TV shows, such as The Bedford Diaries and Mistress America.

 3. In 1960, one of the biggest scandals in Barnard was the ban on pants and Bermuda shorts. Read more here.

 4. Are you a breakfast lover? One of the traditions at Barnard is the Midnight Breakfast. On the night before the first day of finals, college deans, trustees, staff and the president serve food to over to a thousand students. What could make this better? The breakfast food usually has a theme! 

 5. Famous Barnard alumni include Joan Rivers (comedian), Utada Hikaru (singer and songwriter), Martha Stewart (TV host and businesswoman), and Jaqueline K. Barton (pioneer in DNA structure study).

 6. Located just across the street from Columbia University, Barnard College shares its resources with Columbia. It is also part of the Seven Sisters, which are made up of historically women’s colleges. These seven schools, which are highly selective liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States, are created to provide women with the same academic rigor as the Ivy League.

 7. At the beginning of the fall semester each year, students are welcomed to a 700 feet long subway sandwich. It has different sections for each dietary preference, such as kosher, vegetarian, or vegan.

 8. Barnard’s mascot is a bear, name Millie the Dancing Bear. She is named after the first president, Milicent McIntosh.

 9. Like to challenge the way you think? Check out the provocative bench – a marble bench engraved with statements such as “an elite is inevitable” or “stupid people shouldn’t breed.” The bench “Selection of Truism” is a Jenny Holzer sculpture, gifted to the college from trustee emerita and art-history major Virginia “Jinny” Bloedel Wright. 

 10. Want to learn more about Barnard College? Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.


Curious about #collegefacts on Columbia University? Read more: College Facts Friday: Columbia University

Back to School: Get ready for a great academic year!

As your summer break comes to an end, you may be excited about a new school year (especially if you get to meet your classmates in person again!) or dreading the early mornings. Whichever describes you, it’s always a good idea to start preparing early, so you can set yourself up for a great school year. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the year ahead!


Have a plan and set goals

Before the first day of school, you should list some long-term and short-term goals. For example, “preview chem textbook before class every day” or “work on college essays for 30 minutes every morning.” Try to set goals that you can realistically achieve. Be specific on what you want to accomplish. Then, mark your calendar with deadlines and methods on how you can reach those goals.


Are you using your time wisely? Learn more: Setting up Routines for High School


Complete back-to-school tasks before your first day

The first day of school can be chaotic, especially if you have not been to the campus for 18 months! If you have never been to your school, try to arrange a visit before your first day. Get your student ID early and check out your textbooks. Figure out the route to your classrooms. Gather all the necessary school supplies and pick your outfit the night before. You want to be as ready as possible, so you can fully enjoy your first time back at school!


A note for seniors, you may be familiar with the campus and registration process already, so spend some time completing your college applications before school starts. Schedule a quiet afternoon (or two) before your first day back to school, have your transcript in hand, and fill out all the necessary data for your college applications. It’s one less thing off your plate for your senior year!


Read more: Top 10 Summer Tasks for College Admissions


Manage your time and schedule wisely

Staying organized and planning out your day can help you use your time wisely. Time-draining activities, such as mindlessly browsing social media, can result in last-minute panic or sleep loss. If procrastination has always been your arch-nemesis, a new year is the perfect time to tackle it. At Insight, some of our counselors prefer the time-block method: they schedule or block off time to work on college essays or application reviews. You can do the same! Simply schedule when you will be in class or studying or participating in club activities AND stay true to your calendar. Don’t forget to schedule short breaks in between, too!


Create your space

Imagine this: your parent’s talking on the phone; the TV is on; your sibling is jumping on the couch; the dog is barking; and your phone vibrates every 3 seconds, showing a text or a notification. How productive do you think you’d be? Probably not too much. Find a space in your house that you can claim as yours. Set up your study space and minimize distractions. Yes, that means turning off your phone and close all unnecessary windows on your computers, too. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish when you only focus on one task.


Talk to your teachers and counselors

Get into the habit of talking to your teachers, even something as small as “how are you” or “thank you.” Schedule a time to meet with your guidance counselor. Don’t wait until you need something from them (like a letter of recommendation) to start building that relationship. Besides the subjects they teach, your teachers can be a great source of information. They may have recommendations for books or activities that you may be interested in. Besides, it’s a great practice to talk to people who are different from you and build rapport, which is useful in interviews.



Preparation is only the beginning. You will have to devote time and effort to keep building a successful year. If you need help or guidance, all of us at Team Insight are always happy to help! Reach out to us!


Best of luck,

Team Insight

List of Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest May Benefit You

As we dive deeper into the college application season, it’s important to build an authentic relationship with your top-choice university. For some colleges, demonstrated interest helps them understand which students will apply and attend their schools. These colleges want to know that when they send out acceptance letters, the students would likely attend. As for the students, the more you learn about a school, the easier it is for you to narrow down your college list and in the very near future, to make a decision on where you will be for the next four years!

Read more: All You Need to Know about Demonstrated Interest

The following list shows more than 300 schools and how they view demonstrated interest. For more information, search for the colleges and their admissions website (and maybe sign up for their newsletter, too)!

All You Need to Know about Demonstrated Interest

As some of you embark on the college admissions journey, you may start to hear the term “demonstrated interest.” How does it play into the college admissions process? What can you do to use demonstrated interest to your advantage? In this article, we will share our insights on demonstrated interest and its benefits!


(More of an audio learner? Check out this video by Insight’s Head of College Admissions Counseling Purvi Mody!)


What is demonstrated interest?

how do colleges look at demonstrated interest

Starting around 2015, demonstrated interest has started to play a role in SOME colleges’ admissions decision-making process. For the colleges, demonstrated interest helps them understand which students will apply and attend their schools. These colleges want to know that when they send out acceptance letters, the students would likely attend.


How does this help you, the students?

When you are demonstrating interest, you send a message to the college: “I am interested! I may want to join your school.” Beyond that, you are learning if this school is the right fit for you. Whether through online information sessions, college fairs, email lists, or college visits, you can build a better idea of what your college years may look like.


Do all schools care about demonstrated interest?

Not at all. Previously, we emphasized that only SOME colleges look at demonstrated interest. Those are usually small private or small liberal arts schools. However, that doesn’t mean you should just stop your college research completely. If you need to write supplemental essays or a “Why College” essay, attending information sessions and talking to an admissions representative are great ways to gather ideas!


Read more: List of Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest May Benefit You


What are some ways to demonstrate interest?

There are so many ways for you to learn about your potential schools (and for them to get to know you too!). Here are some examples:

  • Go to college fairs and fill out your information
  • Sign up for email lists (and actually check out the content that interests you)
  • Campus visit – online or in-person
  • Early application
  • Supplemental essay showing how well you have researched the school and why those qualities are important to you
  • Speak to college admissions representatives
  • Informational interviews with alumni or students
  • Attend information sessions. If you join a virtual session, make sure you ask thoughtful questions that can help you learn more about the school beyond what’s on its website


Read more: The Art of Informational Interviews


How do I get the most out of a virtual information session?

how do colleges look at demonstrated interest

First, be engaged. It’s so easy to have three to five programs on your screen while you sit in a webinar. It is also tempting to chat with your friends on your phone. Don’t. Focus on the presentation, take detailed notes, and personalize your data. You want to take notes of things you care about or find interesting, so you can use them in a supplemental essay or help you make the final decision to attend.


Do some research before you attend the virtual info session, so the questions you ask are actually meaningful to you. Don’t ask questions that you can easily answer by searching on the college’s website.


What about online college tours?

While walking on the campus and visiting the city that the school is located in can be a great experience, online college tours can save you time and money and provide you plenty of information about the campus. It should not be used as the only tool for you to use. Join an information session. Follow the school’s social media. Talk to a couple of alumni or current students. We have a wonderful network of Insight students who are either now in college or have graduated. Our counselors connect them with current Insight students, so they can learn about major choices, career paths, and college experience!


Final thoughts:

Remember, you don’t want to do this for every school. The most important key is to build a meaningful, authentic relationship with colleges. And that takes time and effort. You need to figure out which schools you may want to know better and adjust your list along the way. The college admissions process is a self-discovery journey for you, and learning to prioritize what’s important to you is part of that growth.


Read more: Think it Through: Early Decision


Created by Purvi Mody

This article was a summary of the video interview with Insight’s Co-Founder and Head of Counseling Purvi Mody.

Since 1998, Purvi has dedicated her career to education and is exceedingly well versed in the college admissions process. Her philosophy centers around helping kids identify and apply to the schools that are the best fit for them and then develop applications that emphasize their unique attributes and talents.