Tag Archives: apply to college

2023-2024 College Admissions Interview Policies

As many of you have submitted your college applications for the 2023-2024 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. Continue reading

College Essays: How to Slay Your First Draft?

Things I hear during application season:

“I read a bunch of college essays on ____ site to help me understand what I should be writing.”

“My friend/parent/older sibling told me I should do _____ – is that OK?

And on it goes.

Write College Essays DraftWhy is writing for college applications so very difficult? Why does it stir up so much doubt? Because of fear. Fear of looking silly. Fear of writing the wrong thing. Fear of being REJECTED.

When it comes to college essays, you often feel that the stakes could not be higher.

What should you do? Reframe the task. College admissions officers want to hear what you have to say. They are not out to play “gotcha” – they actually want to get to know you. That’s what your college essays are all about. How can you help them to see the real you? Let’s dive into that first draft!



How important is your college essay? Check out our post on Why The College Essay Matters


brainstorming and plan your college essay contentInsight #1: Channel Your Creativity!

Great writing starts with great…pre-writing. Yes, brainstorming! A simple pen with paper will do. So will sticky notes, or, if you like being able to move, erase, etc. your ideas, I highly recommend using a mind-mapping software (Coggle and Miro are examples). Check your environment – is being at home too distracting? Hit the library or literally take a hike (and bring your notebook with you).





Insight #2: Let Your Inner Editor Wait Its Turn


let your thoughts flow when you write your college essay draftsIf you are worried about your writing, while you are writing it, this means your editor and writer selves are battling for control. Who is the captain? The editor or the writer? If the answer is “both” that means the boat goes nowhere (“boat” in this metaphor being your draft). When you notice your inner editor interfering, questioning, or otherwise stopping the writing process, try thanking it for showing up and asking it to wait a while until it is time to work. When will that be? AFTER the first draft.


Writer’s block? Read more about Overcoming Writers Block

Insight #3: You are Feeling the Pain of Learning How to Write About…You

Quick, grab any adult you know and show them some of these college essay questions. Would they love to answer these? Of course not. They are difficult! So part of this process is learning that the discomfort of learning how to write about yourself doesn’t mean you are “good” or “bad” at it – it just means you are learning.


Insight #4: Everyone Can Do A GREAT Job

No matter how you feel about your writing skills, it is highly unlikely that you have written anything like this before. Do you think that my students who have written novels and scripts, or have worked on their school newspapers sailed through the applications process without a care in the world? Nope! If you write well, your fears may be even more pronounced than someone who feels less confident about their writing. Why? Because you know that you can always do a better job.

What if you struggle in English classes? That is also OK. I have worked with students who aren’t native English speakers, and they are still able to express themselves well in their college applications. How??? The fact that the process of writing your college essays is difficult. Keep in mind that your first draft does not predict the later quality of your work. At Insight, we work with students through one draft after the next, and every iteration pushes their college essays toward greatness. Don’t feel discouraged if your first few drafts aren’t perfect. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and making consistent progress – that is what matters!


Insight #5: You Are The Expert of Your Life

Lastly, something to remember is that you have had 11 years of people telling you to listen and follow their lead. It can be shocking to realize that colleges want to hear from you. It is a completely different dynamic. My goodness – now someone wants to hear what I have to say? It takes some acclimatization. However strange it may sound, you are actually an expert – on your own life. You are 100% qualified to discuss it.


Want more college essay tips? Check out 5 Tips for Your College Essays


I hope these college essay insights help you as you move through your drafts this summer/fall. Happy Writing!


Need help with your college essays? We are here for you! Schedule a 1-hour personalized college planning session with an Insight Counselor today to learn how we can help you write your college essays!


Written by Meilin Obinata

This article is written by Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin Obinata.

Meilin Obinata is a Senior College Counselor who enjoys learning from her students. She believes education is a creative endeavor and creates a space that allows students to explore new ideas. As a Bay Area native who grew up in Santa Cruz, she is familiar with the local schools. Read her full bio here.

2023-2024 College Admissions Options and Deadlines

When it comes to college admissions, understanding the various application deadlines is essential. Three popular options that students often consider are Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), and Single Choice Early Action (SCEA). Each of these deadlines comes with its own set of advantages and considerations.


1. Early Decision (ED):

Early Decision is a binding commitment to attend a specific college or university if admitted. It typically has a deadline in November, with admission decisions released in December. ED is an excellent choice if you have a clear first-choice school and are certain about attending, as it can boost your chances of acceptance. However, it’s crucial to be aware that you must withdraw all other college applications if you are accepted through ED. This option may not be suitable if you wish to compare financial aid packages from different schools.


2. Early Action (EA):

Early Action is a non-binding option with a similar application deadline to ED in November, but it allows you to apply to multiple schools. You’ll receive your admissions decision in December or January, and you’re not obligated to attend the school if accepted. EA is an excellent choice for students who want to demonstrate their enthusiasm for a school and potentially receive early acceptance while keeping their options open. It also offers more time to compare financial aid offers.


3. Single Choice Early Action (SCEA):

SCEA, sometimes known as Restrictive Early Action, is a hybrid option. Like EA, it’s non-binding, but you can only apply to one school using SCEA. The application deadline and decision release dates are the same as EA. SCEA is ideal if you have a clear top choice, but you want to keep your options open at other institutions. It offers the best of both worlds, allowing you to apply early to your preferred school while maintaining flexibility.


When deciding which early admission option to pursue, consider your academic and personal preferences, your level of commitment to a particular school, and your financial situation. It’s also crucial to review the policies and requirements of each school, as they may vary. Keep in mind that not all colleges offer these early admission options, so research your chosen institutions carefully. Team Insight has compiled a short list of popular colleges and their admissions options and deadlines. This chart was last updated in September 2023.

Read more: Applying Early – Insights to Optimize Your College Admissions Strategy



In conclusion, understanding the differences between Early Decision, Early Action, and Single Choice Early Action can help you make an informed decision about your college application strategy. These options can provide a competitive advantage and potentially relieve some of the stress associated with the regular application process. Ultimately, the key is to choose the approach that aligns best with your goals and circumstances.

The Truth Behind Powerful College Essays

Learn from Insight Education’s 24 years of college admission experience and write compelling college essays to stand out!


College essays portray your story to the college admission officers. The last thing you want is for your unique narrative to get lost in the sea of hundreds of similar stories. In this webinar, Insight Admissions Counselor will share valuable tips and advice on ways you can stand out with your college essays.


Date/Time: Tuesday, July 18 from 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Pacific) | 8:00pm – 9:00pm (Eastern)

Location: Online via Zoom

RSVP for your FREE tickets now



As you dive into the essay writing process, get the best insights on what makes a compelling college essay! We will cover:

  • An overview of college essays, including Personal Statement and Why essays
  • Common mistakes and topics to avoid
  • How to level up your college essays and stand out!


Can’t wait until the event to meet with us? Contact us today and schedule your 1-hour personalized college planning session!


We are looking forward to meeting you! 

Team Insight

Insights into Honors College and Honors Program

So, you have heard great things about honors colleges and college honors programs. Now what? In this blog post, Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin Obinata will guide you through various factors to help you figure out if one of these would be a good fit for you (or not).


What is an Honors College ?

insights into honors college program and benefitsUsually, an honors college is part of a larger school, such as a university system, but often has its own funding sources, residential buildings, and activities specifically designated for honors students to use, live in, and participate in. I tell my students that these big schools often want to offer honors students some of the warm and fuzzy feelings of a liberal arts college, which is dedicated to giving undergraduates more attention and care than a typical big research university would.



Some perks and requirements you may find within an honors college:

    • Separate application guidelines, with distinct prompts and specific restrictions about who can write your letters of recommendation
    • Small living communities with other honors students
    • Social / networking opportunities with other honors students, faculty, or professionals
    • Priority class registration
    • Smaller class sizes
    • Exclusive classes, events, and scholarship opportunities
    • Mandatory thesis /capstone projects
    • Access to internships or research opportunities designated for honors students
    • Additional required coursework or assignments


Honors colleges vary widely. So, it is important to dig deep to understand if their philosophy of learning and living is a match for you if you were to be accepted.

Read more: Why It Is Important to Find Your “Best Fit” College

From an admissions standpoint, an honors college will have an admit rate much, much lower than the school in general. For example, sometimes students do not realize that applying to Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University is very selective because they are thinking of the overall admit rate to ASU, which is very generous (as of today at least). This means you will need to take this into account when building your college list – an honors college may very well be a “dream” or “reach” choice when the college at large may occupy a different category of risk.

honors program insights to help you decide if you should apply to college

You may also want to research honors colleges with a very clear view of how these programs intersect with your life goals inside the college and beyond college. Schreyer’s Honors College students at Pennsylvania State University can apply to an Early Assurance Program for Penn State’s medical school, which could be very attractive if you wish to become a doctor one day, for example.


What is a college’s Honors Program ?

These are programs often requiring students to meet a variety of standards, such as keeping a certain grade point average or completing specific courses within a major or department. This is more like an academic lane. Students may need to complete additional assignments and/or projects in order to graduate “with honors.”


One of my students was interested in the University of Washington, and I encouraged her to consider the honors program because of the interdisciplinary nature of the subjects and activities that she pursued in high school. She applied – and that program turned out to be one of her acceptances. She ultimately decided to attend the University of Washington because of the opportunities related to that specific program.


What should you think about before applying?

    • Treat the application as an entirely separate entry on your college list, as in, it should “count” in your mind as a separate college, with its own category of risk.
    • Research honors programs and colleges deeply before deciding to apply – don’t underestimate the work involved with applying to one of these. You might ultimately decide to apply to another college instead of applying to an honors option due to your overall workload in the application process.
    • As wonderful as these might be, you might look at the requirements for being a student in an honors college or honors program and decide – hey, this is too restrictive for my needs!


We hope you learned more about honors options so that you are better prepared for your college research process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Insight counselor. Cheers!

Not an Insight Counseling family yet? No problem! CONTACT US to schedule a 1-hour personalized college planning session with an experienced admissions counselor. 

Written by Meilin Obinata

This article is written by Insight Senior College Admissions Counselor Meilin Obinata.

Meilin Obinata is a Senior College Counselor who enjoys learning from her students. She believes education is a creative endeavor and creates a space that allows students to explore new ideas. As a Bay Area native who grew up in Santa Cruz, she is familiar with the local schools. Read her full bio here.

Trending in College Admissions: Insights to who gets ACCEPTED

Analysis of the changes and trends in college admissions landscape by Insight Education’s Head of College Admissions Counseling, Purvi Mody.


Are you a high school student or parent curious about what it takes to get accepted into top colleges and universities? Join us for our upcoming event, “Trending in College Admissions: Insights to who gets ACCEPTED.” Our Co-Founder and Head of College Admissions Counseling, Purvi Mody, will share her knowledge and experience to demystify the college admissions process.


In this free online event, we’ll discuss the latest trends in college admissions, including what admissions officers are really looking for in applicants, the role of extracurricular activities and demonstrated interest, and how to craft a standout college essay. With our 24 years of college admissions experience, we’ll help you navigate the process with confidence and clarity. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on what it takes to get accepted into your dream school!


Date/Time: Thursday, April 27 from 4:00pm – 5:00pm (Pacific)

Location: Online via Zoom

RSVP for your FREE tickets now



Our Speaker:

Purvi Mody – Head of College Admissions Counseling

Optimize your admissions strategy with Purvi Mody

Purvi is the Head of College Admissions Counseling at Insight Education, as well as its Co-Founder. She has worked with thousands of high school students and families, and her belief centers on helping students identify and apply to schools that are the best fit for them. Purvi also works on guiding the students in developing applications and essays that highlight their unique strengths and talents.


Can’t wait until the event to meet with us? Contact us today and schedule your 1-hour personalized college planning session!


We are looking forward to meeting you! 

Team Insight

Insight Scoop: Building a Balanced College List for YOU

Learn from Insight Education’s 24 years of college admission experience on how to balance YOUR college list!


Attention high school students and parents! Are you feeling overwhelmed by the college admissions process? You probably already know that having a personalized and balanced college list is crucial, but do you know how to get started?


Join our webinar, “Insight Scoop: Building a Balanced College List for YOU,” where we will provide you with the insights to create a college list that fits your unique needs and goals. In the increasingly competitive admissions landscape, finding your best-fit colleges can make all the difference in maximizing your chances. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to gain a competitive edge in the admissions process – register now!


Date/Time: Wednesday, April 19 from 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Pacific)

Location: Online via Zoom

RSVP for your FREE tickets now


In this FREE community webinar, we will cover

  • The importance of finding your best-fit colleges
  • What it really means to have a personalized and balanced college list
  • Criteria to consider in your college research
  • And much much more!


Our Speaker:

Meilin Obinata – Senior College Admissions Counselor

Building a personalized and balanced college list to maximize your chance by Meilin ObinataAs a Bay Area native, Meilin graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Mathematics and later obtained her J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. Her diverse professional background in tech, social justice, and non-profit helps her to guide her students to connect current interests with potential career paths. Meilin believes that education is a creative endeavor and works with many students who are makers, engineers, programmers, artists, and creators.


Can’t wait until the event to meet with us? Contact us today and schedule your 1-hour personalized college planning session!


We are looking forward to meeting you! 

Team Insight

Insights to the New Digital SAT (dSAT)

In early 2022, College Board announced their plan to launch a new, digital SAT. To many, the timing of this announcement does not come as a shock. During the Covid pandemic, millions of students lost access to testing centers for both the SAT and ACT, and many colleges have moved to test-optional in response to that. In this article, we will walk you through the changes and timeline of the new digital SAT, as well as the best ways to prepare!

Not sure whether to take the SAT or ACT? Check out our insights into ACT vs. SAT: Which Test Should You Take?


Who does this change affect?

If you are currently in the Class of 2025, you will most likely be taking the new digital SAT. It will be administered internationally on March 11th, 2023. For U.S. students, the digital SAT will be administered effectively Spring of 2024.

Want to know how this affects your testing and college admissions strategy? Schedule a 1-hour, personalized college planning session with an experienced admissions expert today!


Why the Change?

the paper and pencil SAT will soon be replaced by the new digital SATAccording to College Board, the move to a new digital SAT offers a few benefits:

1. Shorter test experience for students

Compared to the current pencil and paper SAT, the digital SAT is 45 minutes shorter. You no longer need to devote most of your Saturday morning to taking the SAT. The new digital SAT is a 2-hour-and-15-minute exam with shorter reading passages and fewer sections.


2. Faster score report

No longer will you need to be at the edge of your seat, wondering if you did well or not. In June 2021, the College Board eliminated the SAT essay component, and that expedited the SAT score reports being released in two weeks. Now without having manually scanned each student’s answer booklet, College Board expects to be able to release the scores reports in days rather than weeks.


3. Fewer test cancellations due to security issues

Have you ever wondered how your SAT arrived on your desk at the testing center? From the distribution center, the tests were sealed and shipped to each testing center. The testing centers then have the latest SAT under lock and key until it is the big test date. Each step proposes a security risk, and historically, some students could not take their tests because their SAT tests fell out of a UPS truck. With the new digital SAT, you will use College Board’s software to take the test on an approved personal device or a school device at the test center. At the beginning of the digital SAT, your device will load the test module, and you will be on your way to taking the test.


Our admissions counselors and test prep experts suspect there may be a few other reasons for College Board to make the change now. Here are our insights:

4. Availability of personal devices

Previously, administering a digital exam would be challenging because not many schools or testing centers have access to the number of computers needed. In one way, time solves the problem for College Board, and Covid did the final push. Now, it is common for students to have access to a laptop or a tablet, so schools or testing centers will only need to provide some devices to accommodate those who need a device on testing day.


5. Ease of offering the digital SAT

This can be seen as an extension of the previous insight. Since schools won’t need big computer labs to offer the digital SAT and the test will only take up two periods of class time, it’s easy for more schools to offer the exam. During Covid, we are already seeing some schools having an SAT day during school time, so we expect more schools may be on board to offer the digital test on a school day.


What do students need to know about the new digital SAT?

We’ve already mentioned the shorter testing time and fewer sections. Another good news for students is that the new digital SAT eliminates the no-calculator math section! However, before you throw your study materials away and scream ‘hooray,’ just know that – “a shorter exam does not mean an easier exam.” If you rely on using the calculator for every math question, you may very easily run out of time.

insights into new digital SAT comparison to the paper and pencil SAT

In addition, the new digital SAT is an adaptive test. For the parents reading this, some of you may have heard of adaptive testing if you have taken the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The digital SAT will be more like the GMAT than the GRE in the sense that it is a “Section Adaptive Test,” not a question-by-question adaptive test.


Understanding the Multistage Adaptive Test

By now, you may be wondering or worried about Internet connectivity. What if you have a bad connection during the exam and your answers weren’t submitted? You’d be right to be concerned. That’s why the digital SAT is a sectional, multistage test, meaning your questions for each stage are downloaded at the beginning of the exam and your answers are uploaded at the end of each section. This means smaller chunks of information go through the internet, and you won’t suddenly lose your test halfway through. For students, this means that the new digital SAT will still resemble the paper and pencil SAT because you can skip a question or go back to review your answers (as long as you are in the same stage or module).


Let’s get to the adaptive part. This means that stages of the new digital SAT will act as the Sorting Hat. On the new digital SAT, there are two sections: the Evidence-Based Reading/Writing (EBRW) Section and the Mathematics Section. These two sections are further divided into two modules each. The first module will have an equal mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Based on how you did in the first module, your next module will either be a level up or down. What does this mean for students? Doing well on the first module is important! While we do not have insights into how College Board will weigh each question based on difficulties, you want to get to the more advanced questions to ensure a higher score.

Insights into new digital SAT adaptive test module


What content will you be tested on?

Earlier we mentioned that the new digital SAT is broken down into two main sections: Reading/Writing and Mathematics. In each section, there are two modules. Within each module, questions are grouped together either by question type (Reading and Writing) or difficulty (Math). Let’s take a closer look at what each section entails.


Digital SAT – Reading and Writing Section:

The new SAT Reading and Writing Section will be similar to the pencil and paper SAT. Students will need to show their mastery of English in four areas: Craft and Structure (reading comprehension), Information and Ideas (interpretation, inference, and analysis), Standard English Conventions (grammar), and Expression of Ideas (revision and sentence improvement). The digital SAT Reading and Writing section will contain questions from all four areas IN ORDER. In other words, questions that test similar knowledge and skills are grouped together and arranged from easiest to hardest.


Instead of four long 500- to 700-word reading passages, you are dealing with 54 short passages. On the digital SAT, each question will have its own passage (or passage pair) consisting of three to five sentences. These passages will come from a wide range of topic that represents the college-level content you are preparing for.


Reading 54 short passages may sound jarring and tiring. However, the good news is that if you are stuck on a challenging passage, you may only miss that one question. You may also worry about how to discern between a grammar question and a reading comprehension problem. According to Insight’s SAT experts, the phrasing of the question will give you the best clue about the type of problem you are dealing with.


Digital SAT – Math Section:

Other than answering questions on a computer, the new SAT math section is essentially like the old SAT you may already be familiar with. You will be tested on Algebra, Polynomial, Exponential, Nonlinear Equations, Data Analysis, Geometry, and Trigonometry. The questions in the digital SAT math sections will appear in order from easiest to hardest.


Calculators will be allowed throughout the math section, and a graphing DESMO calculator is built into the digital SAT testing portal. You can also use an approved calculator on the test day, too.


Another good news is for those who dread word problems; the average length of those questions is reduced. If English is your second language or you struggle with word problems in general, the shorter in-context questions will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of math without making you jump through hoops on reading comprehension at the same time.


The following table breaks down all the sectional content, timing, and question distribution.


 Time / Number of Questions Breakdown

  What is being tested on?

SAT Reading and Writing
  • Total 64 minutes and 54 questions (approx. 1.2 minutes per question)
  • The total time and number of questions are broken down evenly into two modules
  • In each module, you will have 32 minutes to answer 27 questions

In each module, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of these content or skills. The questions will be closely grouped in the order listed below:

  1. Words in context, text structure and purpose, cross-text connections (28% of the questions)
  2. Main ideas and details, textual and quantitative supporting evidence, inference (26% of the questions)
  3. Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation (26% of the questions)
  4. Rhetorical synthesis, written expression, transitions (20% of the questions)
Break  You will have a 10-minute break between the two sections of the digital SAT
SAT Math
  • Total 70 minutes and 44 questions (approx. 1.6 minutes per question)
  • The total time and number of questions are broken down evenly into two modules
  • In each module, you will have 35 minutes to answer 22 questions

In each module, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of these content or skills. The questions will be ordered by difficulty level.

  1. Linear equations in one or two variables, linear functions, system of linear equations, linear inequality (35% of the questions)
  2. Equivalent expressions, nonlinear equations in one variable, system of nonlinear equations in two variables, nonlinear functions (35% of the questions)
  3. Ratios, rates, percentages, proportional relationships and units; one-variable data distribution and measure of the center and the spread; two-variable data models and scatter plot; probabilities; statistical inference and margin of error; evaluation of statistical claims (15% of the questions)
  4. Area and volume; lines, angles, and triangles; right triangles and trigonometry; circles (15% of the questions)



Will the new digital SAT have a different scoring system?

No, at the current stage, the College Board states that the scoring system will remain similar to the pencil and paper test. Within days of taking the digital SAT, you will receive three scores: Reading and Writing score, Math score, and the total score. The scoring scale also remains the same, your total score is between 400-1600 in 10-point intervals and the section score scale is between 200-800 (also in 10-point intervals).


How should you prepare for the new digital SAT?

Here are our top insights into how you can prepare for the digital SAT:

studying for the pencil and paper SAT can help you on the digital SATLearn the content and master each question type through pencil and paper SAT

Although you will be taking your SAT on a tablet or a computer, the knowledge and content for the digital SAT are still similar to the pencil and paper SAT. It’s not likely that CollegeBoard will abandon its many years of SAT question bank to create a brand new set of questions to evaluate your college readiness. Take advantage of all the available resources out there to learn the test on paper.


Drill down your mental math

While the digital SAT allows calculators for the entire math section, you have approximately 1.6 minutes per question. If you need to punch out the answer to every question, you will run out of time. In addition, time management is very important. You want to fly by the easier questions in the beginning with accuracy and confidence, so you have time to focus on the harder questions later. Just like sports, practice with intention. Build your mental math muscle.


Get familiar with the digital SAT testing app

The best way to do that right now is to sign up to take the PSAT in Fall 2023 and utilize the sample testing app available on College Board’s website. Getting familiar with the software with help ease the angst on your real test, but don’t focus solely on practicing on your device. Learn and review the content that will appear on the digital SAT. Hone your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Build a good study routine and devote time to study for the SAT. These will help you prepare for both the digital SAT and college life!


This would be the third revamp for the SAT since Insight Education was established, and our instructors have been working tirelessly to update our SAT curriculum since the announcement. In the meantime, check out our SAT Test Prep Courses or ACT Boot Camps! If you would like a more personalized approach (like 1:1 tutoring) or have questions about test scores in college admissions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us (info@insight-education.net)!

Parenting During College Admissions – Our Top Insights!

College admissions is a stressful time for the entire family. Seniors are anxious about starting a new chapter of their lives and leaving the comforts of home behind. Parents are equally worried about sending their children off into the world, hoping that they have prepared them well over the past 17 years.


(Parents, for tips on supporting your child as college decisions are being released, check out this video from Insight’s Co-Founder and Head of Admissions Counseling Purvi Mody). 


But before families can see their children off, they must first get through the admissions process. Increasingly, parents are taking a much deeper role in the process — some for better and some for worse. Below are some insights into what the parents’ role should and should not be during the college admissions process.


1 – Guide your child in choosing colleges that would be a great fit, but don’t force your child to only apply to schools that you like. This is the perfect opportunity to have an open conversation with your child. Emphasizing rank and brand might cause your child to react negatively to the pressure.


2- Check if your child is ok with this before reading over your child’s essays and giving advice. Do not write or rewrite the essays for them. A teenager’s voice is distinctly different from a parent’s voice. Colleges want to hear from the students about what is important to them, and admissions officers are very savvy about distinguishing essays written by parents and those written by students.


3 – Drive your child to an interview or college visit, but let them take control once you arrive. If your child is interviewing with a local alumnus or admissions officer, refrain from introducing yourself or even going into the interview location. When visiting colleges as they come to your school or town, encourage your child to talk to the presenters.


4 – If you have questions that can only be answered by an admissions office, have your child call. It helps the student to develop the ability to speak to adults and to take control of the admissions process. Do not call the admissions office frequently with questions that can be answered by perusing the website.


5 – Students will need to ask their teachers for letters of recommendation. It’s not appropriate for parents to ask on their behalf.


6 – Remind your children about due dates and help them manage the process, but don’t micromanage them. Doing so will cause undue stress for everyone.


7 – Do not request letters of recommendation from family friends because of their connections if they genuinely have not had significant interaction with your child.


8 – Be ambitious yet realistic in expectations. Support your children in applying to schools they really love, even though they may be a little (or much) harder to get into. Make sure, though, the list is balanced so that there are options in April.


9 – Don’t compare your students to others. Rising seniors and seniors are as stressed as they can be right now, and comparisons to other children can only make them feel inferior.


10 – Celebrate all successes. Every acceptance is cause for celebration, even if it is a safety school. This will give your child confidence as the other decisions come.


While applying to college is a means to an end, it is a learning process nonetheless. Your children are learning to be an adult and you are learning to let them be more independent. Your support and words of encouragement can make all the difference.


In a few months, essays, applications, interviews, and supplements will be a distant memory, but the relationship you build and the bounds you establish now can last a lifetime.



Written by Purvi Mody

This article was written by 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.

Applying Early – Insights to Optimize Your College Admissions Strategy

In the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, University of Southern California (USC) offered the Early Action option for the first time. Earlier in 2023, USC admitted 2,400 students from a pool of 40,600 applicants. That’s a 6% acceptance rate! You may wonder if early action and early decision can still be your best options to get into your top choice schools.


We designed this webinar just for you, rising seniors and families! Our college admissions expert will analyze the early admissions trends, processes, and limitations. Whether you’re planning to apply early decision, early action, or regular admission, this event is a must for anyone looking to maximize their chances in college admissions.


Date/Time: Tuesday, March 21 from 4:00pm – 5:00pm (Pacific)

Location: Online via Zoom

RSVP for your FREE tickets now


In this free online event, we will cover:

    • The latest trends and driving forces in the admission landscapes
    • What to do if you want to apply early
    • Do’s and Don’ts if you are applying Early
    • and much much more!


Our Speaker:

Zach Pava – Senior College Admissions Counselor

Academic planning and GPA in College Admissions by Zach PavaZach is the lead counselor and head of Insight’s Boston office. He also works with students from other parts of the US remotely. He graduated from Trinity College in Hartford with a B.S. in Psychology.  Zach’s background in psychology and managerial experience has allowed him to assess the specific needs of other people. No two students are exactly alike, as each brings his or her own unique personality, talents, and goals to the admissions process.


Can’t wait until the event to meet with us? Contact us today and schedule your 1-hour personalized college planning session!


We are looking forward to meeting you! 

Team Insight