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Category: College Prep

College Facts Friday: Lehigh University

It’s another #CollegeFactsFriday! This week, we are heading to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to learn more about Lehigh University.



 1. Lehigh University’s Taylor Stadium was the third concrete stadium in the United States. It was built in 1914. The final game at the Taylor Stadium was on a frigid day where the temperature was in the mid-20s and the wind chill factor was somewhere between minus-10 and minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit.

 2. Their former mascot was the Engineers. Since 1995, Lehigh’s teams are officially known as the Mountain Hawks.

 3. The Rivalry between Lehigh University and Lafayette College went as far back as 1884.

 4. An interesting tradition until the 70s, freshmen wore “dinks,” which were small brown hats with their class years, from the beginning of fall to the first football game with Lafeyette.

 5. Hate taking the stairs? Thanks to Lehigh alumnus, Jesse W. Reno, we now have escalators. He was Class of 1883.

 6. For those of you from the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed by two Lehigh alumni, Howard McClintic and Charles Marshall.

 7. The week before the first Lehigh-Lafeyette Rivalry game, Lehigh’s Marching 97 band would make a campus tour, called the Eco Flame. During Eco Flame, the marching band storms into different classrooms while playing its spirit tunes in drum cadence.

 8. One of the oldest traditions of Lehigh’s Spirit Week is their annual Turkey Trot. Students would dress up to join this 2.6-mile running and fun walk through campus.

 9. After the death of Lehigh’s founder, businessman Asa Packer, Founder’s Weekend has become an annual tradition. This weekend celebration includes a lawn party, tailgate, fun run, and more!

 10. Want to learn more about Lehigh University? Check out their social media (Twitter @LehighU, Instagram @LehighU, TikTok @lehighadmissions)


Top 6 Summer Activities for High School Students

Planning for the summer can be overwhelming for high school students and their families. From figuring out what’s meaningful to you to what can help you in college admissions, you may have trouble picking the “perfect” summer activities. In this article, Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Zach Pava explains the top 6 summer activities for high school students and why you should consider them!


(Prefer to watch a video instead? We got you! CLICK HERE for Zach’s video.)


Summer Plan Looks Different from One Student to the Next

You may be tempted to join a summer program or apply for an internship because your friends are doing it, but keep in mind that this is YOUR summer. Whatever you decide to do, whether it is preparing for standardized testing or working in retail, it’s important that you build on those opportunities, so you can have a very well-rounded college application. Ultimately, you should have a terrific experience over the summer during those precious few months when you are away from school.


Let’s dig a little more deeply into some of these summer activities!


1. Taking a Course

It’s pretty self-explanatory; you are taking a class or two over the summer. Within this category, however, there may be many different reasons for joining summer classes. Some students are repeating a class to make up for a grade because they didn’t pass the class or they had withdrawn. Summer can be a great opportunity for them to focus on the class.

Read more: Help! I Got A D – Can I Still Go To A UC?

Take an enrichment course over summerSome students may choose to take a course to prepare for a very challenging course in the next school year. Having a preview of the course materials can help them stay ahead of the curve and feel prepared. For a similar reason, students may also choose to prepare for standardized tests, such as the ACT or the SAT, over the summer to help their minds stay sharp and to add positive data to their college applications.

Not sure which test to take? Read our full insight on ACT v. SAT

There are also students who are taking classes for a GPA boost. Even if their GPA is in good standing, they may have their sights set for a higher GPA. We’ve also seen students take college-level courses to explore an academic subject that they are interested in. No matter your reason, taking summer courses can be a good way to demonstrate to colleges that you care about your grades and have the academic rigor to be successful.


2. Volunteering

Another major area beyond coursework is volunteering over the summer. If there is a cause that you care about, go for it! Don’t volunteer for the sake of volunteering. (The same goes for any summer activities!) College admissions officers are very good at discerning if the student is doing something because they love it or just to pad their resume. One of our main functions as Insight Counselors is to help students figure out the summer opportunities that are worth their time, so they can have fun in the process and share their growth in their college essays.

Need to find your motivation to volunteering? Check out The Gift of Service: Why and How Students Should Volunteer

At Insight, we tend to give students a big list of volunteering options because finding your volunteering program can be like a contact sport. In other words, the more places you reach out to, the more likely you are going to receive a response. The process may be difficult. You may reach out to 15 or more programs and only hear back from two or three. You need to be proactive in these cold calls. You may need to follow up and call when the programs don’t respond to your emails. Colleges like these qualities in their potential candidates.

You may also be interested in 8 Unique Silicon Valley Teen Volunteering Opportunities


3. Student Internship

The word “internship” gets tossed around a lot, and it means different things to different people. Typically, with an internship, you are looking to apply the knowledge that you’ve learned in a classroom setting to a real-world problem. Internships exist in many areas of interest, so it’s important to first figure out what you want to do. The main point of a student internship is to gain relevant professional experience. In order to get an internship, you will often have to go through an application process involving essays, recommendation letters, and maybe even an interview.


Most summer internship application deadlines are between the end of December to mid-February, so as soon as Insight counselors are wrapped up with their seniors, they are usually working with juniors and sophomores on their summer internship applications (which have some similarities to college applications).

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


4. Student Research

Internships are slightly different from academic research. There are summer research programs designed to pair you with a college professor or a graduate student. You can also directly reach out to professors if you find their research projects appealing (and our counselors can help you figure out how to draft those emails!) It may start with simple tasks such as data entry, but as you learn more on the subject and develop a rapport, you may find yourself with more responsibilities.

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


5. Getting a Job

Of all the options, getting a job is sometimes the last thing students want to consider. However, this can be a wonderful experience. Whether you get a full-time or a part-time job, you can learn about life skills, such as responsibility, punctuality, and accountability. Working with other people and dealing with situations that are out of your comfort zone can be valuable life lessons. The fact that you are also earning money at the same time is a great bonus!


6. Creating Your Own

While there are age restrictions and other requirements for some summer activities, this shouldn’t limit your options. You can always create your own business or conduct your own research project. Starting a new thing can be daunting. That’s why Insight Counselors guide their students through this process and help them realize their potential in creating and bringing their visions to life.



Concluding thoughts

Summer is a great time for you to explore and build. Understanding what you need and what you may want to pursue is a great starting point for you to plan your successful (and enjoyable) summer activities!



Written by Zach Pava

This article was created from an interview with Insight Senior Counselor Zach Pava.

Zach has guided hundreds of students throughout the college admissions process. His extensive writing background includes essay contributions online and in print, a sports blog, screenplays, and film reviews. Contact Insight Education today to schedule an initial consultation with Zach. Read his full bio here.

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: December 13, 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 11   February 15
Baylor University December 15 January 15 March 1
Bentley University January 20   February 20
Boston College December 2   February 15
Boston University December 15   February 15
Bowdoin College Mid-December   Mid-February
Brandeis University December 15   February 1
Brown University December 16    
Cal Tech   Mid-December  
Carleton College December 15    
Carnegie Mellon University

December 11 at 6am

  February 1
Case Western University December 4 December 21 Beginning January 9
Chapman University December 15 December 15  
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

December 13

Dartmouth College Mid-December    
Davidson College December 15   February 1
Duke University December 16    
Elon University December 1  December 20  
Emerson College Mid-December Mid-December February 1
Emory University December 15 @6pm ET   February 15
Fordham University December 20  December 20  
George Mason University   December 15  
George Washington University December 13 @9am EST   Late-February
Georgetown University   December 13 @7pm EST  
Georgia Tech   December 11  
Hamilton College December 15   February 15
Harvard University   Mid-December  
Harvey Mudd December 15   February 15
Haverford College December 10   February 15
Hofstra University  

December 15

(EA 2: January 15)

Indiana University Bloomington   January 15  
Johns Hopkins University December 10   February 12
Lafayette College December 15   February 15
Lehigh University December 15   Mid-February
MIT   December 18 @3:14pm  
Middlebury College Mid-December   Mid-February
Mount Holyoke College Late December   Late January
New York University (NYU) December 15   February 16
Northeastern University December 8 February 1 February 15
Northwestern University December 17    
Oberlin College December 15 @7pm EST   February 1
Occidental College December 15   February 20
Pomona College December 15   February 15
Princeton University   Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) Decision Notification on December 16  
Purdue University   January 15  
Rice University December 9    
Rutgers University   January 31  
Santa Clara University December 15 December 15 Mid-February
Stanford University   December 15  
Suffolk University   TBA  
Swarthmore College December 14 @7pm ET    
Tufts University Mid-December   Mid-February
Tulane University November 22 @4pm CST December 20 @4pm CST January 31
University of Chicago December 17 December 17 Mid-February
University of Georgia   Before December 1 (for GA resident)  
University of Illinois at Chicago   December 1  
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)   TBA  
University of Massachusettes   December 15  
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 December 16    
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   December 13  
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)   February 1  
University of Wisconsin-Madison   January 31  
University of Vermont   Late December  
University of Virginia December 10 at 5pm EST TBA  
Vanderbilt University January 15   TBA
Villanova University December 15 January 15 March 1
Virginia Tech Mid-December Late February  
Washington & Lee University December 15 @8pm EST   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  



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 (info@insight-education.net) 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

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.

College Facts Friday: Emory University

Welcome back to another round of #CollegeFactsFriday! This week we are visiting the Peach State, Georgia. Just 3 miles away from Georgia’s state capitol Atlanta is Emory University, a private research liberal arts college.


 1. Emory’s official mascot is Swoop the Eagle, but its unofficial mascot is Dooley the Skeleton, a dapper biology lab skeleton (completed with top hat and cane). Dooley first appeared on the Emory Oxford campus in 1899 and 1909, where he was seen perching in a science lab and writing letters to the student publication the Emory Pheonix.


 2. Founded in 1836, Emory is the second oldest private higher education institute in Georgia (established just three years after Mercer University)


 3. In 1841, Emory sent off its very first graduating class. The class size was three! Fast forward 180 years later, now the university has almost 2000 students in their first-year class.


 4. The largest healthcare system in the state of Georgia is Emory Healthcare, part of Emory University. 


 5. Famous Emory alumni include Robert W. Woodruff (former president of The Coca-Cola Company), Thomas Milton Rivers (also known as the “Father of Modern Virology”), and Warrick Dunn (former NFL player).


 6. Love song and dance? Songfest is a fun Emory tradition, in which first-year students from each residence hall perform an original song about their new home on campus! It’s a great way to meet your hallmates. Learn more about other wonderful first-year events.


 7. The first PhD studied at Emory was Chemistry in 1948. Learn more about Emory’s history and traditions.


 8. Another tradition is Wonderful Wednesday. It’s a weekly celebration happening on Wednesday afternoon where faculty, staff, students, and all members of the Emory community join in for food, fun, and themed events!


 9. For three consecutive years, Emory has been recognized as the largest employer in Atlanta! Read the news here.


 10. Want to learn more about Emory? Check out their undergrad admissions blog or follow them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, & Youtube)

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