myUsearch blog

Honest college information — choose, apply, get into and pay for college.

You Did What On Your College Application?

January 26, 2009 By: David Petersam Category: Admissions insider, Get into College

As the application season begins to pick up for the majority of high school seniors, there’s always a few stories that fall directly into the “they did WHAT?” category of failed applications. So as the cold of January rolls on, let me share a few of the more humorous moments our consultants have heard about from admissions offices. Don’t try these yourself, because it’s a guarantee you won’t get in.

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 79 - f o c u s’ courtesy of ‘margolove’

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Choosing a College: The Best Tips

January 23, 2009 By: Andy Burns Category: Best College Tips, Choosing a College

Ever felt overwhelmed when you come home from school only to find yet another college brochure in your mailbox?  By the end of your senior year, you’ll probably have a stack of college brochures tall enough to poke through the stratosphere.  Let’s be honest-choosing a college is no easy task, and some of these brochures only complicate matters. Right now you might still be trying to figure out:  How will I pay for school?  Do schools have my major?  What do I want to study?  Do I want a small school or a large university?  Concerns like these are valid, and with over 4,000 colleges and universities to chose from, how will you ever decide?  And you thought some of the SAT questions were hard!  Relax-this month’s post will help point you in the right direction.  In no time, you’ll know how to select the college that’s right for you.  Here are my ABCs for choosing a college. Read the rest of this entry →

Obama’s Agenda for Higher Education

January 21, 2009 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Top Stories

I always dreamed of college as a place where your ideas are questioned every day and where social change just bubbles to the surface. When we hit campus this fall, many of my friends and I organized, rallied, or voted for the first time, and finally in November we witnessed the historic election of Barack Obama. Although so many other topics were at the forefront of the campaign, the new President will have to face a number of issues that affect college and college-bound students. As we look forward on the day after the inauguration, here’s a look at a few of the new administration’s ideas and goals for improving higher education.


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Minority Access to Higher Education

January 19, 2009 By: Kate Scozzaro Category: Top Stories

Martin Luther King Day: Monday, January 19, 2009.  It is one of only three federal holidays in which the United States celebrates an individual person. In the past, minority access to higher education has been a controversial, or rather taboo, topic, but not today. I’d like to share the contents of this post to praise the advancements that the US has made in raising minority numbers in colleges and universities around the country and to look back and see how far we’ve come from the days of MLK.


 Photo by Nelson Piedra 

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College Admissions: 10 Reasons to Not Panic

January 16, 2009 By: Brady Norvall Category: Get into College

As the time draws near and the decisions of whether you will or will not get into x, y, or z school are imminent, I think it’s best to give all high school seniors good reason to settle down, take a breath and start thinking about other, more important things (that’s right, I said MORE important things).


Photo by Jim Linwood

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Tips for Avoiding Senioritis

January 14, 2009 By: Laura Kruse Category: Get into College

It’s not too late to add one more New Year’s resolution to your list — to avoid senioritis. Like many other high school seniors, you probably feel like you’ve earned a semester to take it easy, save your homework for the last minute, and spend a little more time in front of the television. Wrong. The fact is, you’re still a student. You should take advantage of your last semester by continuing to challenge yourself and staying active in extracurriculars. You owe it to yourself to finish high school with a bang. And a case of senioritis can have significant consequences. Read on to find out how to avoid senioritis and why it’s important.


Photo by Darkumber

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Online Dating: The Virtual Campus Tour

January 12, 2009 By: Alexandra Demos Category: Choosing a College

Everyone says you have to see it to believe it. Yet…how can I picture myself at a school if I don’t have the opportunity to take a campus tour to really get the “feel” of the campus?


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How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

January 09, 2009 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Best College Tips, College Tips, Get into College

The time has come. As we reach the final days before application deadlines, you may be looking at your to-do stack unsure why all this is necessary. Why can’t I just throw out these forms and become a wise mountain hermit? you wonder. Those of you who can answer that question and choose to continue pursuing a college education, you may instead be asking, Just how many of these applications should I really be doing? I offer you a few considerations:

photo by telsky

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Taking the SAT / ACT Stress Free

January 07, 2009 By: David Petersam Category: Admissions insider, Get into College

One of the more anxiety-inducing and stressful parts of the college application process is standardized testing, namely the SAT or the ACT. Getting a good score is a crucial part of a successful application packet, which only adds to a student’s stress. However, with proper preparation and a focused approach to studying, the tests become much less of a roadblock and more of a step upwards to a successful admit. Today I’ll share with you some common tips that our consultants pass on to our college application clients.

Photo courtesy of hyperscholar
Test takers, courtesy of hyperscholar

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Facebook: Protect Your Privacy During Your College Search

January 05, 2009 By: Jessica Krywosa Category: Admissions insider, Choosing a College, Get into College

Today we have a guest post from social networking guru and higher ed professional Jessica A. Krywosa:

Facebook: It’s an obvious place to connect with friends but it’s no secret that many college admissions offices – and employers! - use it to check out applicants. The flip side is that it’s also a great tool to research colleges by talking with admission counselors, keeping up on deadlines and events, and connecting with other potential or current students.

So, how can you keep your information private and avoid pictures or comments from coming back to haunt you? Below are five tips to keep your information private on facebook.

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Best College Advice of 2008

January 03, 2009 By: Elizabeth Kraus Category: Best College Tips

In honor of the new year, I’ve decided to put together a list of the best myUsearch articles with important advice for choosing, applying to and getting into college. Here are my favorites:


Photo by Tyla’75

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College: How Can You Afford It?

December 31, 2008 By: Kate Scozzaro Category: Aid for College

It’s no secret that the cost of college tuition is sky-rocketing. Add the price of books, food, and other personal expenses, and you’ve pretty much dug yourself into a deep dark hole of debt. In the past 2 and half years at the University of Rhode Island, I’ve found some ways to lessen the load of college costs and break the typical “broke college kid” stereotype. Here’s my top 5 tips for saving money at school:


Photo by Material Boy 

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College Life: Myth vs. Reality

December 29, 2008 By: Pauline Diaz Category: College Tips

I can’t count how many times my high school teachers told me, “We’re doing this to prepare you for college!” Of course, this phrase usually came after assigning a twelve-page paper, passing out an impossibly long test, or telling us another terrifying tale of frat parties gone awry. Although I’m honestly more than grateful for the help, I’m happy to say my first quarter at Seattle University has been a bit different from some of those expectations.

photo by Katie Weilbacher

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Calling All Seniors: A Holiday College Preparation Checklist

December 26, 2008 By: Laura Kruse Category: Get into College

Happy Holidays. And Merry finishing-up-college-applications-season. Let me guess — your family unwraps presents with joy, sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace while you nervously sit at your computer, biting your nails and reading over your college essays for the ninety-eighth time. If this sounds like you, congratulations, you have entered the Twelve (final) Days of the College App Frenzy. Many deadlines are approaching with the New Year and it’s time to give those applications a last minute glance and then hit the send button. Read on to see what you should be doing over your winter break to prepare for college.

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College Admissions: ‘Tis the Season to Not Panic’

December 22, 2008 By: David Petersam Category: Admissions insider, Get into College

It is that time of year, when holiday decorations go up, the temperature drops, snow starts to blanket the outside world in a white wonderland and holiday panic ensues. It is also the time of year for the majority of high school seniors to start burrowing into dens and bedrooms, huddling over laptops as they prepare college applications. Ah! The admissions season is getting underway and news stories abound with dire warnings of the slim chances applicants face in getting into their desired colleges.

Photo courtesy of hyperbolic pants explosion
104/365: 1985-1986, courtesy of hyperbolic pants explosion

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Best Sites For College Videos

December 19, 2008 By: Jillianne Hamilton Category: Choosing a College

Some students strive to attend college far from home. Sometimes it’s because you want to see other places, meet new people… and sometimes it’s just because you want to get as faraway from your parents as possible. Either way, it can be difficult to get a feel for a college campus if you don’t get the opportunity to visit the school before starting classes. There are some great college video sites that let students learn more about a campus and its degree programs without actually visiting the campus. 


Photo by

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Community College or Straight to a 4-Year University?

December 17, 2008 By: Andy Burns Category: Best College Tips, Choosing a College

Not unlike a winding trail, the pathway to college can take a variety of twists and turns.  Somewhere along the path, students reach a fork in the road:  should I attend a community college and then transfer to a four-year college or should I start at a four-year college?  Historically, community colleges have been viewed primarily for low income students or students with less academic potential.  But over the past twenty years, a growing number of students have started down the higher education pathway at a community college.  With famous individuals such as Robin Williams, Walt Disney and Clint Eastwood who attended community colleges, the stigma associated with community colleges is starting to fade. 


Photo by Randy Levine 

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7 Important College Application Essay Tips

December 15, 2008 By: Brady Norvall Category: College application essays, Get into College

You have consulted everyone, right? You have asked your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, classmates, teachers, siblings, coaches and confidants to find out what you can do to make your college application essay(s) stand out. You don’t know where to start, how to narrow your options, whether you should try to make it funny or academic- or both? First of all, stop talking to everybody else. They will only plant seeds in your mind that may lead to an eventual writer’s block. I see it every year. This is a personal essay. It’s you. However, the essay is the most important aspect of any college application, so you must execute it well. If there are a few basic pointers that I could give any high school senior they would be:


Photo by Bright Meadow

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The College Party Scene: The Truth

December 12, 2008 By: Kate Scozzaro Category: Campus Life, Campus parties

College parties. When you hear those words, you probably think of a huge party thrown by a fraternity house with hundreds of kids and lots of alcohol. You envision squeezing your way through crowds of people while music blares in the background. But the college party stereotype that you often see in movies like “Old School” and “American Pie,” isn’t necessarily all there is to do on a Friday or Saturday night.


Photo by mcclave

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Holiday Gifts for College-Bound Seniors

December 08, 2008 By: Pauline Diaz Category: Campus Life

As seniors finish up regular decision college applications this month, they’re likely to be frazzled, irritable, and very, very needy. Fortunately for them, the holidays are right around the corner: a perfect opportunity to beg for this and that at the mercy of their loved ones’ pity. Unfortunately for their friends and family, the holidays are right around the corner: a perfect…well, you know. Here are a few gift ideas for the disgruntled college-bound student you love:

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