The CollegeVine Blog

The CollegeVine (formerly Admissions Hero) Blog is your go-to source for all things academics, applications, and extracurriculars, straight from our team of top-tier admissions experts.

  • Whom Should I Ask for Help with My College Essay?

    Writing your college essay may seem daunting, but it is important to remember that you are not alone in the process. There are many people who are likely willing to help you, and sometimes all you need to do to is ask for it. So whom should you approach for help with your essay? There […]

  • Which Colleges Accept the Coalition Application (AKA CAAS)?

    Chances are, if you’re a high school senior applying to college this fall, you’ve heard about the Coalition Application, also known by its acronym, CAAS (the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success). The Coalition is a group of over 90 member schools committed to making college accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of all schools accepting CAAS this year.

  • UChicago Goes ED: What This Means for Your Application

    The University of Chicago, which was recently ranked the #3 school in the United States by the renowned US News and World Report college rankings, has for the first time implemented Early Decision I and Early Decision II application plans for the 2016-2017 applications cycle. In this post, we’ll cover what exactly ED I and ED II are, Early Decision vs Early Action and their differences, and what this new development means for your chances at being admitted to UChicago.

  • Will Getting a Letter from an Alumnus, Famous Person, or Government Official Boost my Chances?

    If you know someone with special standing or status, it might be tempting to ask them for an additional letter of recommendation to add to your application. Taken at face value, getting a letter of recommendation from someone like an alumnus, famous person, or government official may seem like an easy way to add credibility and boost your chances of being admitted. However, you have to think carefully before soliciting a letter of recommendation from this sort of figure, because letters of recommendations are about you – who you are, and how that has affected someone else – and not about your recommender, regardless of whether or not they’re famous or an alumnus.

  • What If My School Doesn’t Offer AP or IB Courses?

    If you are a high school student hoping to attend an elite college, you probably know how important it is to take a rigorous course load. This shows colleges that you are willing to take on challenges and capable of meeting demands of a top-tier academic environment. That means taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes—admissions committees expect to see that you are taking a challenging course load with plenty of advanced classes. But what if your school doesn’t offer AP or IB courses?

    First, it is important to keep in mind that admissions committees will be evaluating you in the context of your environment. They will have a school report, generally provided by your guidance counselor, detailing what courses are offered at your high school and whether or not you took the most challenging classes available. They will also see how you performed in relation to your classmates, so if you took the highest-level classes available and performed well compared to your peers, colleges will understand that you challenged yourself as much as you could with the options available and still succeeded. Of course, this means you will need to strive to take as challenging a curriculum as your high school allows. You should take plenty of honors courses if they are available and go up to the highest level in core subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies/History, and Foreign Language). You should also take electives that emphasize your interests if your school offers them.

  • How to Deal with Disciplinary Problems on your College Application

    So you’ve found yourself in serious trouble at school. If you’re in that situation, you’re probably in the midst of facing some significant immediate consequences. If you’re also someone who’s in the midst of applying to colleges, you’re likely also trying to figure out how getting into trouble might have longer-term consequences for your future plans and ambitions.

    Having a significant disciplinary problem in your history doesn’t mean you’re out of the running as an applicant, but it does mean you’ll have some extra work to do in convincing colleges that you’re a mature and responsible applicant who will be a positive addition to their school. How you account for your disciplinary record on your college applications can go a long way in mitigating the consequences of your past mistakes.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Vanderbilt University

    Located in Nashville, Vanderbilt University is a private research university that has boasted numerous proud alumni, including Stanley Cohen, Al Gore Jr., and Muhammad Yunus. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as 15th for National Universities and 8th for Best Undergraduate Teaching, Vanderbilt is a formidable school and has an acceptance rate of just 11.7%. Interested in applying? Read on!

  • The Ultimate Guide to Applying to the University of Chicago

    The University of Chicago, known for being highly intellectual and eclectic (“the life of the mind” is a common phrase for many students), is one of the best places to get a liberal arts undergraduate education at a university in the world. Recently, Chicago was named the #3 school in the nation by the US News and World Report. Interested in learning more about applying to UChicago? Read on!

  • How to Decide Where to Apply Early

    Imagine knowing exactly where you’ll be attending college before some of your peers have even submitted their applications. Sounds great, right? That’s the draw of applying early to college: if everything goes according to plan, you have a chance to be accepted to your chosen school a good six months before you graduate from high school. Applying early can benefit you in other ways as well.

    The question remains: where should you apply early? There are a few major factors you should keep in mind when making a decision as to where to submit an early application. Read on for more information about the important distinctions between Early Action and Early Decision programs, the benefits of applying early, and how to choose the best early application school for your situation.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Applying to UVA

    The University of Virginia, originally founded in 1819, is a large public research university with deep historical roots. Nicknamed “Mr. Jefferson’s University,” the university continues to pay tribute to its founding father, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s legacy is visible everywhere, from the layout of the campus buildings to the close relationships the university fosters between students and faculty.

    This venerable institution, which will soon celebrate its 200th birthday, also offers a highly competitive and well-regarded undergraduate education that’s in tune with the modern era; for example, the popular website Reddit was introduced by two UVA alums. If you’re a resident of Virginia, UVA even sweetens the deal with greatly reduced in-state tuition.

    Interested in UVA? Read on to learn more about this exceptional public university, the opportunities it offers its students, and how to navigate its application procedures.