Tag Archives: college list

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.

5 Blunders to Avoid During Your College Campus Tour

Visiting the campus or going on a guided college campus tour can provide insights into the institution and help you make an informed decision. To ensure you have a productive and meaningful visit, we want to share our insights into the top 5 don’ts to avoid during your college tour:


1. Dismissing the Surrounding Community

explore local community during your college campus tourWhile the campus itself is a vital aspect, understanding the local environment is equally crucial. The community surrounding the college will be your home away from home, so take the opportunity to explore it. Find a nice café or a restaurant near the campus. Take a stroll in the surrounding neighborhood. Maybe strike up a conversation or two with the locals. Learning about the city or the local area’s safety, amenities, and cultural offerings may impact your overall college experience.


2. Not Engaging with Current Students

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is not engaging with current students during your college tour. These individuals can provide valuable insights into campus life, academic rigor, extracurricular opportunities, and the overall student experience. By interacting with them, you can gain a more authentic understanding of the college’s culture and whether it aligns with your aspirations and goals. Maybe you will even make a few friends before you become part of the community!


3. Skipping Important Facilities and Resources

check out other parts of the campus during your campus tourAvoid the temptation to overlook essential facilities and resources on campus. While the tour guide may highlight some key locations, take the initiative to explore academic buildings, libraries, research facilities, and recreational spaces. By skipping these areas, you might miss out on crucial information regarding study environments, research or career resources, and overall campus support.



4. Asking Generic Questions during Campus Tour

Failing to ask insightful questions is a missed opportunity for gathering important information. Do your homework before a tour. Check out the college’s website. Prepare a few questions you’d like to learn more about. Asking questions allows you to delve deeper into specific aspects of the college and provides clarity on areas that may be crucial to your college experience. Sometimes, the most important question could be as simple as “Where can I get the best food?”


5. Relying Solely on the College Campus Tour Guide

While college tour guides are knowledgeable and helpful, it’s essential to avoid relying solely on their perspectives. They may provide a positive and enthusiastic portrayal of the college, but it’s important to seek a well-rounded understanding. If you have the opportunity, interact with staff members, faculty, admissions officers, students, or alumni to gain a broader range of experiences and opinions. This will enable you to form a more balanced and comprehensive view of the college.

To learn more about a college through its alumni, set up an informational interview!


A few final insights into a successful college campus tour

Being on the college campus is an invaluable opportunity to evaluate colleges and determine which one is the best fit for you. By avoiding these five common mistakes, you can ensure a more thorough and insightful visit. A bonus tip: make sure you, the student, do most of the work and planning. You (not your parents) will spend the next 4-5 years of your life on this college campus, so gather essential information, get a feel for the university, and make an informed decision. Use these guidelines to make the most of your campus visits and find the college that will provide the ideal environment for your educational journey.


Not sure how to build a balanced college list and maximize your admissions success? Schedule a 1-hour personalized college planning session today with an experienced admissions counselor!

Best Ways to Find Your Best Fit Colleges

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? Putting together a college list is important, but how do you know schools on your list are right for you? What are the most effective ways to find your best-fit colleges?


Join our webinar, “Best Ways to Find Your Best Fit Colleges,” where we will provide you with the best insights into conducting college research effectively. 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: June 15, 2023

Time: 4:00pm (Pacific) | 7:00pm (Eastern)

RSVP for your FREE tickets now


In this FREE community webinar, we will cover

  • What to consider when you conduct your college research
  • How to build and balance your college list
  • Criteria to consider in your college research
  • Demonstrated interest and ways you can stand out through college research
  • And much much more!

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 into Building a College List

There are so many college ranking systems – US News might be the most famous one in the USA, but there are also lists from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. Can’t you just copy/paste a college list from one of these and call it a day?


Because these lists often include hundreds and hundreds of schools, after seeing the common “name-brand” choices, they might just blend together so that you mentally check out – and overlook many excellent choices. Or maybe you decide against applying to certain schools because of the sheer intimidation factor. The rankings systems at best could be a place to start your research but you cannot substitute their judgment for yours!



knowing your priorities and asking universities the right questions can help you build a personalized college listYou will need to make a customized list for yourself for deciding where exactly you would like to apply. Yes, that means doing all kinds of research to get to know colleges to see what would be a great fit for you. It means attending in-person or virtual events to get to know the student body and personnel. It means really digging deep to understand what is most important to you as you emerge from high school. What is really going to help you grow? What do you really need? Reflecting on your wants, needs, and goals is essential for making a good college list. What if you have no idea what you are looking for? Then, start as soon as possible to take stock and identify what are the deal-breakers for you.

One of my students told me that she could not apply anywhere close to skiing sites because she would ditch school for skiing and not study at all. This was incredibly honest of her! Indeed, she ended up applying and ultimately attending *flat* locales (and was very happy).


College List Insight #2: SEE YOURSELF AT THE COLLEGE

As much care as you might put into choosing your next pair of shoes, you will want to put one thousand times that effort when you are looking at colleges. How much time do students spend on their classes? Do they connect with professors? Are you extremely independent about academics? Or is having a community of utmost importance? You can look at what majors are popular at a college, or one which is impacted (ones for which demand is greater than supply). What kinds of extracurricular activities, hands-on work or real-world experiences can you access through that college? How do you want to meet schoolmates? If you have loved music all your life as a performer, is there a way for you to continue channeling that joy where you land?

Summer Plans? Top 10 Summer Tasks for College Admissions


College List Insight #3: HOW DO YOU LOVE TO LEARN – AND LIVE?

For any college on your list, are you feeling like the college matches how you see learning – and does it meet you where you are at, right now in your learning journey? It won’t just be your brain going to college – it will be your entire personality. I heard from a senior who told me that she was so glad that she did not “live” for colleges – she lived her high school life with enjoyment and spent time doing what she loved – without regrets. She told me, “I put myself first.” That might seem obvious – who would not put themselves first – but that is not what everyone does in high school.

Building a college list is about best-fit for you not rankingI think this sentiment is important because so many students are scared about being authentic and allow colleges to dictate what they do. Choosing colleges that match who YOU are is so much more important than trying to fit into what you think they want from you. Keeping this in mind – that you are focusing on you – as you look for colleges that you want to consider for your college list – will help you stay centered and calm.



– Think about how you truly love to learn, and what you need to do that
– Lovingly research each college, allocating plenty of time to do so
– Try to imagine your life at the college – even if that seems very fuzzy right now
– Check for obvious deal-breakers
– Stay calm and centered by matching colleges which are going to be a great fit for YOU!


Read more:  Balance Your College List: Really Focus on What YOU Want


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.

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. Continue reading