ALERT: College Application Deadlines for Class of 2021
(at selected colleges and universities)
(Do not rely entirely on this list, especially if you have a special application.  In all cases, please be sure to confirm dates with individual colleges.)

January 1, 2017

Boston College
Carnegie Mellon
Notre Dame
Wake Forest

Other January (date in parenthesis)

Bryn Mawr (15)
CalTech (3)
Carleton (15)
Colgate (15)
Cornell (2)
Davidson (5)
Duke (3)
Georgetown (10)
Harvey Mudd (5)
Haverford (15)
Johns Hopkins (2)
Stanford (3)
Tulane (15)
UNC (15)
Penn (5)
Washington, St. Louis (15)
Wellesley (15)

Yale (2)


More Funny Test Responses
(Not recommended as responses for College Admissions Interviews or Exams)

Test Responses - Wait...What...?

1. What battle did Hannibal die in? 
A: His last.

2. Where was the Magna Carta signed?
A: On the bottom.

3. If you cut a pear in half, what can you say about the pieces?
A: I'd want the bigger half.

4. If you had a coconut and 2 bananas in your left hand and 3 lemons and 2 plums in the right, what number comes to mind?
A: No number, but your left hand is bigger than your right if it can hold a coconut and 2 bananas.

5. What is the primary reason for failure?
A: Low grades.


While every applicant is unique and every application is unique and every college is unique, making it virtually impossible to predict with much confidence a "yes" or a "no" response to any particular application, it may be a worthwhile venture to explore - in general - the chances of getting a "yes" or "no" from a certain kind of college.

For example, what are your chances of getting admitted to the "most selective" colleges?  Let's say Stanford, Duke, Swarthmore, Northwestern, the Ivies or the like - that type, which often garner the "most selective" label from guide books.  One way to approach the question is to look at the recent Rate of Admission.

Stanford, for instance had nearly 44,000 applications in 2016.  They admitted at a rate of 4.7%.  In 2015, they admitted at a rate of 5.0%, indicating that the range seems fairly consistent from year to year. Indeed, they are "most selective".

A few other colleges also hovered around the 5% or 6% Admit Rate in 2016: Harvard at 5.2, Yale and Columbia at 6.

In the 7-9% range were Princeton 7, MIT 8, Brown and Penn 9.

Other examples of respected colleges ranged higher, such as, Dartmouth, Duke, and Northwestern at 11, Johns Hopkins at 12, Swarthmore at 13, Cornell at 14, Georgetown at 16, Williams at 17.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of "most Selective" colleges, and in most cases the Admit Rates are approximate and not broken down to decimal level. It does present, however, one statistical view of the relative degree of difficulty of admission.

Be reminded that these numbers do NOT predict who will get an "admit" and who will get a "reject" - each application stands on its own.  A prospective applicant is an "individual", who will present a unique and current profile and who should not be persuaded or dissuaded from applying based on the rates of past "groups".

Though stats are important, they should not be the decisive factor for applying or not applying to any particular college.  Your chances of getting in are unique to you and your application and the needs or wants of the college this year.  Though we may be able to predict an Admit Rate, there is no predicting who will get in.  You may have just what they are looking for,  If you like a college and want to attend, by all means you should apply, regardless of what the stats say.

Good luck.



Interested in knowing what books are required reading in college these days?  

The  "Open Syllabus Project"  is the place to go.

Working with more than one million syllabi from universities in the U.S., UK, and other countries, the Project has an enormous database of the most frequently assigned books.

Though the order may change at any time, here is a recent list of books and authors:

1.The Elements of Style – Strunk and White
2. The Republic – Plato
3. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
4. Biology – N. Campbell
5. Frankenstein – M. Shelley
6. Ethics – Aristotle
7. Leviathan – T. Hobbes
8. The Prince – N. Machiavelli
9. Oedipus – Sophocles
10. Hamlet – Shakespeare

Of course, required reading may vary widely from discipline to discipline or from university to university, and text searches may be filtered by field (e.g. History, English, Biology), institution (e.g. Cal-Berkeley, U. of Florida, Harvard), state or country.


There are still openings in numerous colleges for Fall 2016 -  public and private, big and small.

Click here to see the list


For a guide to college admission see Dr. Droge's book ...



Closing in on another year of high school completed.  That was quick.  Just like that, it will be time to apply to college.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Summer will be on top of us before we know it.  Time for fun and relaxation and a whole lot of doing nothing – right? 


If college is in the future, the one thing teenagers should not be planning for the summer is doing nothing.  And this applies to all high schoolers, not just rising seniors.  Ninth graders, tenth graders, and eleventh graders should also be doing something productive this summer.

College admissions offices will look favorably at applications from students who spent their summers engaged in a meaningful activity.  And, in this context, sleeping until noon every day, going to the beach, playing video games, and watching cartoons would not be considered “meaningful”.

That is not to say that fun and relaxation should not be included in summer plans, but only that they should not be the primary focus. 

At this point, as summer gets closer, it's time to plan and get something going - a meaningful activity – like a great job or internship in a field related to a potential career.  And there are other choices as well.

Here are several activities that may be considered:

  1. Volunteer.  Choose an area that interests you and volunteer to help people or institutions in the field.  For example, hospitals and senior citizens homes are always appreciative of help.  Not only will you be contributing to a good cause, but you will be establishing an impressive entry for your resume.

  1. Research.  Choose a field that interests you, a field that may end up on your career path, and map out a plan to explore that field thoroughly during the summer.  Your goals might include finding out exactly what people in that field do on a day to day basis.  If, for example, you think you might like to be a lawyer, make it your business to find out what being a lawyer really means.  There are many kinds of law, and countless types of positions in the field.  Narrow it down for yourself.  What is required to be a lawyer?  How does one apply to law school?  What is required to be admitted?  How long does it take to get a degree?  What is law school like?  What is the bar exam like?  Build a list of contacts who might be willing to help you in your project – friends, relatives, friends of friends – anyone connected to the field itself or connected to someone else with pertinent information.  Call them and set up appointments to speak with them.  If possible, arrange to spend time with them on the job.  You might be surprised at how willing people are to share their experiences and their thoughts.  Be thorough.  Research online, visit the library, conduct interviews.  At summer’s end, you will want to have all your questions answered and establish yourself as an “expert”.  The benefits of this summer activity are practical: it will look good on your resume and you will be well prepared when it’s actually time to step on to your career path.

  1. Profit.  So, you can’t find a job that makes sense.  Okay, start your own business.  This summer, be an entrepreneur.  Think big or small – just make it the best business it can possibly be.  Again, this will make a good entry on your resume and it will impress college admissions officers.  At the same time, it can put some money in your pocket.

  1. Work.  If possible, find a great job or internship.  Check with the school's office.  Ask around. Ask everyone you know - teachers, counselors, family, friends, everybody.    If you don't want a formal, 9 to 5 type job, maybe an informal job is for you.  Could there be a  position locally? Try the grocery store, the schools, the shops at the mall.  Ask around and look at all the bulletin boards in town.  You may have to “piecemeal” here and there – like mowing lawns one day and delivering pizza the next – but, at this point, that’s okay.  Even if the job does not fit into your career plans, it will provide some “spending money” and will show colleges that you worked hard during the summer.

  1. Create.  Write an article or a story, compose a song or piece of music, create a piece of software, invent something.  Put your creative, inventive talent to work, and then, when you have produced something, try to get it before the public.  For example, publish the article or story, if possible.  Send it to a magazine or newspaper or journal.  This certainly could be viewed favorably by an admissions committee.

  1. Give.  Organize an event or start an activity or charity.  Select a cause that you believe in and plan a one-time event or a long-term activity that will advance the cause or raise funds for it.       For example, organize a fundraiser like a walk-a-thon or a music concert with local talent. Start now, but consider scheduling it for the summer or the opening month of school in order to gather as much support as possible and to give yourself the time needed to make it a smashing success.  Colleges will take note of an effort and achievement like this.

Any single, productive activity during the summer would be a big plus on the resume.  More than one would make quite an impression on college admissions officers. 


Apparently, exploring social media sites has become an important part of the college admissions process.  According to a report in the Chicago Tribune on a survey by Kaplan Test Prep, admissions folks are now checking Facebook, Instagram, and other popular online hangouts in record numbers to see what applicants are up to.

Forty percent of the nearly 400 college admissions officers surveyed by Kaplan reportedly said they use social media sites to flesh out the profiles of candidates, though they add that they are not searching for negatives.  Rather, they seek to verify or discover the varied facets of the students, as presented in their applications.

It would not be difficult to imagine that the portrait that emerges on social media could end up being the tip factor that determines if the student's file ends up in the "accept" or "reject" pile.

The caveat for applicants, of course, is using common sense when using social media.  Candidates might want to consider the effect that an unbecoming, inappropriate, or negative image - via pictures or comments, for example - might have on the chances to be admitted.

For more information, see the story from The Chicago Tribune - here


COLLEGE ADMISSION: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice (See inside)


A new ranking of colleges has put Stanford at the head of the class.

MIT, Yale and Harvard round out the Top Four.

No surprises in those spots.

But the ranking, generated by the education site Niche, formerly College-Prowler, does contain a few unexpected twists.

Somewhat of a newcomer to the penthouse level, Rice ranks fifth.

Penn, Duke, Brown, and Cal Tech draw the 6 through 9 slots, while the University of Southern California takes Number Ten.

Princeton could not crack the Top Ten this year, coming in at Number Eleven.

For a look at the full list, and to see how the rankings were determined, click here


 College admissions officers, deans, presidents, and other top brass from 50 or more high-profile institutions like Yale, Harvard, Michigan, and MIT have endorsed a report proposing new standards and criteria for admissions – simply put, the new approach would place less emphasis on standardized test scores, such as SAT and AP exams, and more emphasis on demonstration of community service and caring for others.

The report, springing from a project at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and announced at a press conference in New York by representatives from several major universities, makes recommendations and suggestions rooted in the belief that applicants to college have too much pressure placed on them by the current structure. Changes would aim to relieve stress.

At the moment, this announcement simply outlines a proposal. It is unclear how the recommendations will fare in the practical world of admissions, whether or not the majority of colleges, students, parents, teachers, and other participants in the process will get on board.

What is clear, however, is that good academic and extra-curricular credentials will not be going away as a prerequisite for admission to selective universities.

Concrete, meaningful changes in the admissions process will be easy to identify, should colleges shift gears on requirements to ease the stress for candidates.

Stay tuned.

For more information about the report, see the article in the Wall Street Journal here

For more information about the college admission process, see Dr. Droge's book, College Admission: A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide To Getting Into The College Of Your Choice here


So, it is the middle of your Junior year and you are getting a bit nervous about college admissions.  You have done practically nothing to date.  Many of your classmates seem to have their acts together, and you feel lost.  What do you do?

First, take a deep breath.  You have enough time to do all that is necessary.  Going into shock certainly isn't going to help. 

Next, review the list below, and schedule time to work on each item.  The best way to approach the college admission process is to see it as made up of individual parts.  The big picture may seem overwhelming, but when you look at each part, you can easily see how manageable it is.  Engage one part at a time, and remember that some parts need not be complete before you engage other parts. 

Also – and this is important – see the fun in some of this.  You really will enjoy reading about some colleges and imagining yourself there on campus.  That’s all a part of the process – researching colleges and determining which ones appeal to you. 

So, knowing that there is enough time to accomplish everything, that the process is really very manageable when broken down into individual parts, and that some of this may even be fun, begin with the list that follows:

1. Research colleges online, in school, and in the library, and build a list of those that appeal to you.  At this point, it doesn't really matter if it is a long list.  You will refine it eventually.
2. Register for the SAT or ACT and take it in the spring.  And if the colleges you are interested in require SAT Subject Tests for courses you are taking currently, register for those tests as well. TIP - take the Subject Tests scheduled at the end of the academic year and at the end of your courses - in May or June.  (Try not to wait until the fall to take these tests - you might forget the material.) ( or )
3. Have regularly scheduled  conversations with your college counselor. 
4. Visit a few colleges on weekends or on break
5. Stay active at school – sports, clubs, other extra-curricular activities
6. Plan for summer activities or employment – intern, travel, job, enrichment course, etc.  This is your last summer before beginning the applications.  Give yourself something great to report to the colleges.
7. Obtain a Common Application and other specific applications of interest to survey exactly what will be required.  ( )

Build a List of Colleges:  These are the colleges you may apply to eventually.  Begin to think about what you may enjoy learning about in college.  Also, think about your preferences in terms of geography, size, and type (e.g. public or private).  You are not locking yourself in here;  you are simply trying to figure out what kind of college will make you happy. 

Begin to research colleges to see which ones appeal to you.  Of each college, ask yourself if it offers what you are interested in?  Does it have the majors and programs that you want to take?  Will it prepare you for the next stage of your life after graduation – such as going to graduate school or getting a job?

For a more complete look at the college admission process, with insights and strategies, see Dr. Droge's book, COLLEGE ADMISSION

Click here


College Admission : A Simple, No-Nonsense Guide by Dr. Droge

College Admission - click

College Admission