2018 was a breakthrough year in the college admissions space. If you have met me or followed any of my content, I am a firm believer that the collegiate landscape has severely tilted in favor of the applicants and have been on record calling it a “buyers market.”

With retention rates continuing to decrease and the average time it is taking students to graduate increasing, colleges are now scrambling to find applicants who will not hurt their statistics or rankings on US News & World Report, Collegeboard, and other college search engines. Let me make this next point perfectly clear:


Last year was by far our most successful application process at The College Confidence Coach. We had a 92% acceptance rate and received a cumulative 3.2 million dollars offered to our graduating class and their families in merit-based aid. 

In addition to those outstanding numbers, we were also proud to gain acceptances for students to schools which they would never have dreamed possible. Humbly, we have perfected our craft and are now paving the way for students to find and attend their right-fit colleges while saving them and their parent's lots of money in the long run. 

Our soon to be seniors are almost entirely finished with their 2019 applications, essays, and supplemental questions. They are prepared and ready to be amongst the first applicants to submit applications to their carefully selected schools. We expect nothing but even more significant results for them and are proud to be on their collegiate planning teams. 

This year we have made a firm commitment to growing and scaling our process by putting a cap on the number of students each of our coaches can work with on a month to month basis. As such, we have narrowed our selection and invitation process to only grant access to the program to students and their families who are committed to a bigger, better future, who are coachable and willing to take our expert advice to heart, and most importantly, follow that advice firmly. 

If you are entering your senior year and have not yet completed your collegiate selection process, we highly encourage you to ramp up the intensity and offer you the following tips to make your own collegiate planning journeys more successful. If you feel that you are in danger of making mistakes, please, do not hesitate to reach out. Though are quota’s for August are already full our waiting list is open, and September families will begin being chosen within the next two weeks. 

TIP #1: MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THE COMMON APP ESSAY DIRECTIONS: It is great to have a diverse vocabulary and showcase it within the body of your college essays, however, too often we see drafts done by students that try too hard to sound exquisite and miss the very first direction in the instructions. “Write clearly and concisely to answer the prompt that you have selected.” It is much more important to college admissions advisors to understand the prompt you are working towards explaining than it is for them to hear you use fancy words and phrases. 

TIP #2: DO NOT WAIT UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS TO ASK FOR YOUR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: We are firm believers in submitting applications early to schools that may seem like a reach quantitatively (GPA, SAT/ACT, etc.), Though you may submit your applications without your letters of recommendation attached, colleges find it annoying when they review your application and have to wait for those letters to come in later in order to finalize their decisions. Contact the teachers, coaches, and counselors you plan to ask for LOR’s now and tell them you are committed to submitting your applications early and that you would appreciate their help in having those applications be complete with their kind sentiments. 

TIP #3: DIVERSIFY YOUR ACTIVITY TYPES: The qualitative components of your applications (Essay, Questions, and Activities), have never been more critical than now. How do you think schools are deciding which of the potential candidates won’t hurt the statistics mentioned earlier? By seeking well-rounded people who have a diverse mix of activities on their applications. The common application has a long list of activity types for a reason - get creative and diversify the types of activities that you are telling them you have been involved with. 

With these simple tips, you will be on your way to acceptance packets in the mail and in your inbox sooner than later. If you are reading this as a high school junior or younger (or the parent of a student in that age group), now is the time to get started on planning out your own collegiate journey - it is indeed never too early to begin. 

Good luck class of 2019, and remember, we are only one quick call away from helping you navigate the first steps, of the rest of your life. 

Nothing is Free: Including Tuition

Nothing in this World is Free: Including Tuition

By, Evan G. Founder of The College Confidence Coach.

The Excelsior Scholarship, recently implemented by Governor Cuomo and New York State, has students and parents throughout the state in hysteria waiting on more details and qualifying standards. The concept of the scholarship is indeed a noble and well warranted thought, however, as we get closer to its official unveiling, many details are now being revealed that may turn the Excelsior Scholarship’s outstanding public advocacy, to one far less hopeful.

The most widely known consequence to accepting the Excelsior Scholarship is the commitment from the student to work within New York State for as many years as they were the beneficiary of the free tuition. This in itself is a concerning component for students, given the mindset of most 16-17 year olds is to venture out of their home towns; whether it be for college or thereafter. What should be as concerning for parents, is that many students who will accept the scholarship will be asked to have a parent cosign for the term that if the student decides to leave the state anyway, the scholarship will automatically convert into a loan (with interest), that the student and parent are now on the hook for.

Along with the “leaving-NYS-state clause”, there are many other standards within the Excelsior contract that can quickly turn “free tuition” into a loaded loan.


Though the final number has not yet been affirmed, the scholarship will come with a GPA requirement that will be at the very least, ambitious, for most college freshman to obtain. The early speculation is that Excelsior students will need to obtain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout their time “succored” by the scholarship. Though most parents would expect grades of this caliber from their children, and students may see this as an easy goal, the statistics prove otherwise. A college student’s freshman year, especially those living on-campus, away from home for the first time, is almost always the lowest that they will academically achieve throughout their academic life. If at any point, a student fails to maintain the GPA requirement of the scholarship, the excelsior automatically converts into a loan, and is not applicable again throughout the student’s collegiate journey. The chart below shows the average GRADUATING GPA of a variety of common majors (meaning they've had time to recover from commonly disastrous starts).


In conjunction with the GPA requirements, recipients of the scholarship must also maintain a 30 credit per year course load to stay eligible for the reward. Throughout the United States, the 6-year graduation rate has become the norm, with many students and parents expecting that it will take that amount of time. As quoted by the National Center for Educational Statistics, “The 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2008 was 60 percent. That is, 60 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2008 completed the degree at that institution by 2014. The 6-year graduation rate was 58 percent at public institutions, 65 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 27 percent at private for-profit institutions.” That number has steadily increased in the years since. Again, if at any point, a student drops a course, changes major, or makes any type of plan variation that drops them out of the 30 credit per year course term, the Scholarship automatically converts into a loan and is not applicable again throughout the collegiate journey of the student.


The focus of reform in higher education should have never been on the cost of school, but rather the crippling fact that it is taking our students too long to graduate, and even when they do, the more harmful pain that they have absolutely no idea what to do with the degree that they have just invested tuition, sweat, blood, and tears to obtain. There is simply no direction.

New York State knows that the requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship will be a reach for more than 90% of those who will apply for it. Still, they seem very little to care about the impact that it will have for those who do not qualify for the financial portion of the Scholarship from the outset.

The University of Buffalo, already known for its tremendous ROI, for the low investment it costs in-state residents, is expecting an increase of up to 25% more applicants now that the Scholarship has been announced. The concern is that with so many applicants already, the University, for the first time in its existence, will have to implement a wait-list for many majors that qualifying students previously bargain for getting into and receive a more than quality education for a price that would not break the bank.  With many SUNY schools expecting similar increases in applications, we could see the most competitive application process in the history of higher education because so many students who may not have considered colleges as options due to tuition, now will apply for the heck of it. With the expectation set that the financial household income baseline to meet the requirements could increase up to $225,000 over the next few years, this will only become an even greater obstacle for students who desire to attend SUNY colleges.


The solution? Internal Self-Validation™. With graduation rates increasing and retention rates continuing to decline, ALL colleges, not just SUNY programs, are longing for applicants who are confident in their reasoning for applying to the school with conviction in their major and plans.

Imagine for a moment that you are a college admissions counselor at a SUNY school. You have an influx of applications to get through like you’ve never seen before and your mindlessly scanning GPA’s, SAT Scores, and attempting to get through thousands of personal essays, from students writing about “how great they are”.

You’ve been through about two thousand cloned applications when you come across one that reads:

I know I am a crowning candidate for ABC university because I am self-aware enough to have researched many different programs and know that I need a program that is qualitatively (or quantitatively), based and taught in a way that is applicable for me to obtain my dream of becoming a “insert career interest”. I feel that the course structure and core-root of the “insert major”, degree are a perfect match for my conative instincts and affective motivation and that I would be proud to be an alumnus of ABC in four years, or even, less.”

With the academic achievement to back up a statement like this, you would be hard pressed to not send a candidate like that to the top of the list, bypassing new candidates and placing this student in a strong consideration for high merit scholarships, that may replace the desire to even contemplate applying for the Excelsior Scholarship at all.

In certain cases, the Excelsior Scholarship will be a tremendous asset and give students and families opportunities they may have once never thought possible. There is no denying the fact that free tuition will be an illustrious achievement for Governor Cuomo and the State of New York. However, until we solve the core problems that surely undermine the reasoning of many students’ pursuit of higher education, I believe that this will initially add to the overwhelming majority’s frustration.