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Traversing Today’s College Admissions Landscape

More students are applying to more colleges than ever before. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy shares tips on how to maximize your chance for success.

There’s a lot that’s challenging about today’s college admissions landscape, but having a realistic understanding of how the land lies, and choosing the institutions where you have the best chances of admission, will go a long way toward a successful outcome.

Having What it Takes

More students are applying to more colleges than ever before. Admissions professionals at the most selective schools are seeing thousands of students with eye-popping academic credentials, compelling stories, and genuine leadership. While they want to admit deserving students, even if they don’t have the flashiest academic profiles, ultimately, even the most empathetic admissions officer may need to lean on metrics (GPAs, test scores) to help make these difficult decisions. The reality is, if you apply to a highly selective school and don’t meet or exceed its academic metrics, chances are good you will not be admitted.

Money Matters

College choices are about fit but also about affordability. It’s critical that students include some colleges on their list that are “financially likely” as well as desirable. Families need to ask themselves hard questions about what they can afford and how big a loan burden they can take on. Having a few colleges on your list that are likely in terms of admissions means nothing if these institutions are not financially realistic for your family.

Do You Really Want to Go There?

Admissions offices are scrutinizing an applicant’s “fit” for their institution now more than ever. In addition to having the desired academic profile and flashing some sort of non-academic “punch,” successful applicants must also be able to answer institution-specific essays with authenticity if they have any chance for admission. “Copy-and-paste” and “throw the mud against the wall” strategies do not work in 2018.


My best advice is to work with your college counselor to identify those schools you have a realistic chance of getting into, that they’re ones your family can afford, and that they’re places you’d want to be. In the end, it’s not about the name; it’s about the best match for you.


Photographs provided by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.


Has your child found the right fit at Springside Chestnut Hill or do you have questions for SCH parents?

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Join the conversation in the comments and visit Springside Chestnut Hill:


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  • Fall Open House on November 4 at 2 pm

Click here to register for an open house.


Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) is an independent school offering a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum to over 1,000 students from over 90 regional zip codes and international origins. SCH’s unique educational model of single-sex programs in Pre-K through 8th grade followed by a coed 9th-12th grade experience empowers its students to thrive independently and collectively. SCH is distinguished by signature programs in entrepreneurial leadership, global travel, robotics and engineering, new media, outdoor education, and the principles of sustainability. SCH Academy is the product of a 2010 merger between Springside School and Chestnut Hill Academy and combines nearly 300 years of academic excellence. Situated on a 62-acre campus in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, the school prides itself on preparing students to lead lives characterized by thoughtfulness, integrity, and a passion to effect positive change. Learn more at www.sch.org.