Category: High school

In a move opposite of trends on most other state school campuses, this year Washington State University will have 1,100 more in-state freshmen at its Pullman campus than last year, with an emphasis on bringing in Washington students.

Because of budget cuts, universities like UW have cut down on the number of in-state freshmen and increased tuition, but WSU is bucking the trend by actively recruiting within Washington high schools. There will be consequences, though–for the first time, some double dorm rooms will become triples, for example. The school is also hiring more tenure-track and part-time professors to accommodate the increased student population

The New York Times reports that although the percentage of high school students completing a rigorous curriculum rose from 5 percent in 1990 to 13 percent in 2009, test scores have remained about the same from year to year.

What does this suggest? Probably that many of those advanced courses are not as advanced as they claim. There is no evidence that students are mastering more content than previously. One of the main culprits, unsurprisingly? The College Board’s Advanced Placement program, in which more students than ever before now participate, and in which more students than ever before fail the A.P. test.



You’ve got a few months off which means, yes, more work. But trust us, you want to do it now before the chaos of senior year takes over your life.

Here are six tips from the NYT’s Choice blog for working on your college essay over the summer:

1. Clear your head. Find some solitude and have a good think.

2. Ask yourself exploratory questions in order to find your essay topic. E.g. What has been the hardest thing I have ever had to face? What is the reason I wake up in the morning? etc.

3. Write it down. Wherever you go, carry a pen and paper in case inspiration strikes.

4. Learn how to tell a story. Your essay should be a story rather than a dry explanation–you want to keep those admissions counselors engaged.

5. Chill. This is summer, remember, so put down the laptop and go outside for a few hours.

6. Own your essay. Don’t let anyone else write it for you; colleges want to hear yourvoice. If you think of your essay as a means of self-expression, you might even have some fun.

And the best piece of college essay-related advice your faithful blogger has: Don’t start by trying to answer their question, whatever it is. Start by figuring out what you want to tell colleges about yourself–then, adapt it to the specific prompt. Good luck, and happy writing! (If you’re in the Seattle area and need help, check us out!)


One answer is simpler than you might think: demonstrate your love of learning. Colleges are, after all, academic institutions, and want students who will engage intellectually with the resources at hand.

The key to this is the key to most things in life: passion. Colleges don’t want to see that you’ve joined every club and organization your high school offers; they want to see evidence of your passion for a couple of things. Colleges want to enrich you, but they also want you to enrich them, and people with passion are driven to include others in the pursuit of that passion.

In essence: Find something you love to do, and do it.