Facebook Live Q&A 4/24 at 9:30 pm ET • Your college admissions questions—answered!  JOIN ME LIVE

Facebook LIVE Recap and Bonus Questions: The May 1st Deadline

In Case You Missed It, Here's A Recap Of My Recent Facebook LIVE Q&A: The May 1st Deadline—Plus Bonus Questions I Didn't Get To Answer Live!

Getting into college comes with a whole slew of new questions. How do I choose the right college? How do I get off the waitlist? Can admissions decisions be reversed? The list goes on and on. Watch the video to see me answer your important questions surrounding the May 1st deadline (plus a BONUS section below):

  • How do I get admitted off the waitlist at my first choice school?
  • Are waitlists ranked?
  • Which option is better: enrolling at a public/state university or a private university?
  • What's the best place to go if you want to be pre-med?
  • How do I get my son to enroll at the college with a better academic reputation?
  • Will my grant money (need based financial aid) go down after freshman year?
  • How many students are on a waitlist?
  • Is getting admitted off the waitlist realistic?
  • How are outside scholarships applied by the college where the student enrolls?
  • What if acceptance to a college has stipulations to it— like being accepted after a year of community college, starting in the summer, or waiting until spring semester?
  • Is it too late to appeal my financial aid award?
  • Why are waitlists used by colleges?
  • How do you decide if and which SAT2 tests you should take? Can you offer a good score to schools even if they are not required? Is it worth the prep time?
  • How do you know if a one year merit scholarship will continue?
  • How do you recommend maximizing a student's chances of getting off of waitlists?
  • How do colleges look at top grades in difficult high school classes with inconsistent ACT test scores given some kids do not score as well on standardized tests as they perform in classes?


1. If a student gets denied enrollment, is there a way to find out the reason for denial? Especially if the student has been accepted at every other college they've applied?

Years ago at Penn, we were expected to take every phone call from a student or parent. Many times they would ask the reasons why the student wasn't admitted. We were instructed not to get specific. We had to talk in generalities - the size of the applicant pool, admit rate, etc. Nowadays, Penn admissions officers won't speak directly to students and families after a decision. But even if they did, the legal ramifications of an admissions officer being honest are too high. That's a big reason why I do what I do. I can be honest. And families can get the information they need without it being filtered.

2. How much weight does valedictorian, salutatorian, and top 10% carry with admissions? What if the high school is not highly ranked?

At elite colleges they might admit a few more students from a high performing high school who are way at the top of the class, but there are no guarantees anymore. They understand the high schools very well and how the opportunities are different depending on where the student attends. However, they also want to diversify the high schools being represented in their admitted pool of students. It used to be that the elite colleges generally admitted most of their students from the highly competitive private and public high schools. Now, they want a wider representation. If the #2 student at the low performing school represents something they want, they might admit them even if their test scores are lower (especially if they are coming from a family background where college is not the norm). They understand that many students at lower performing high schools don't have the same resources/support/preparation as students at a high performing high school. In fact, the bar is raised for a student coming from a high performing school. There are higher expectations for test scores, the quality of the letters of recommendation and essays, etc.