Doorway to College Blog

Julia Wasson

Recent Posts

Advanced Placement 101

Posted by Julia Wasson

Nov 17, 2016 12:36:30 AM


If you are considering advanced placement courses, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions. You don't want to set yourself up for failure if the challenge is too great, but you don't want to ignore invaluable learning opportunities, either.

Let us answer some of the questions that are likely plaguing you. We want to make the decision about whether to pursue advanced placement easier on you.

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Topics: study skills, college prep, AP classes, advanced placement,, AP exam

10 Tips for Seniors Preparing for College

Posted by Julia Wasson

Nov 2, 2016 3:02:00 PM

Shutterstock/Tyler Olson

It’s your senior year, and your career as a high school student is coming to a close. Your life is full of exciting and trying times: college visits, entrance exams, admissions applications, and graduation preparations, not to mention your usual coursework and extracurricular activities. You’ll also be experiencing a lot of “lasts” — last homecoming, last prom, last game — all of which remind you that there are emotional preparations to make before moving on to college. It is a good idea to take some time during these final few months of high school to prepare your mind for leaving the nest.

We've compiled a list of 10 ways to wisely get your affairs in order. Organizing and simplifying will make the whole process easier. Don't stress about doing them all at once — prioritize and do the ones that matter most, first.

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Topics: college transition,, college prep

Why Volunteering Matters for the College Admissions Process

Posted by Julia Wasson

Oct 26, 2016 3:56:47 PM


The competition for admission to many four-year colleges is fierce and getting tougher each year. High school students feel intense pressure to make their applications stand out among all the others on the desks of college admissions officers. 
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Topics: college admissions process, college admissions, volunteering

College Admissions Essays: Getting Started Is the Hardest Part

Posted by Julia Wasson

Oct 5, 2015 2:57:43 PM

If your student is planning to attend a four-year college next year, there's a lot of work ahead.

There's plenty of pressure on students to get great grades, be a leader in school and out, have a squeaky-clean online persona, and on top of that earn stellar test scores. The thing is, all prospective college students are striving for the same outstanding record. If your student wants a way to stand out among others with equal qualifications, the college admissions essay can be the vehicle to propel him or her to the top of the applicant list.

But the problem is, one of the most dreaded parts of the college application process (aside from filling out the FAFSA) is the college admissions essay.

If your scholar is charged up by the thought of sharing his or her personal take on life with anonymous readers, count your student — and yourself — among the lucky ones. But don't count on that being the case. Most teens resist writing and actually need help starting college admissions essays.

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Topics: college application essay

Creative, cost-saving options for prom

Posted by Julia Wasson

May 12, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Ah, prom. It’s the dance of the year. It’s the stuff of teenage dreams and parental nostalgia. But let’s face it: This rite of passage can be an incredible expense for both students and their parents.

Somehow, what used to be a special event that meant strobe lights and a punchbowl in the high school gym has become an extravagant affair featuring designer gowns, tuxedos, limousines, and increasingly grand locations. According to an ABC News report, the cost had risen to a nationwide average of $1,139 in 2013. While 2014 saw a modest drop to $978 per family, there is little doubt that this teenage dream still costs kids and their parents a nightmarish chunk of change.

With college looming, many teens and their parents are looking for ways to keep expenses low. So, what can you do to keep the cost of prom night down? Read on for some ideas on how to duck the massive expense of this important evening.

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Topics: college savings, prom, finances


Posted by Julia Wasson

Apr 8, 2015 1:38:00 PM

How to keep your application active and improve your chances of admission

’Tis the season when high school seniors are receiving acceptance and rejection letters from the colleges they’ve applied to. These letters are easy to understand — either you’re in or you’re out, right?

Actually, there’s another possibility: the “wait list.” If you receive notice that you’ve been “wait-listed,” what does this mean exactly, and what can you do about it?

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Topics: college admissions process, wait list

When Standardized Testing Meets Social Media

Posted by Julia Wasson

Mar 23, 2015 2:58:00 PM

Be careful what you share online about that test you just took.

You just finished taking your college entrance exam. After months, or even years, of preparation and hours of testing, you’re glad it’s over. Elated is more like it. You’re both exhausted and keyed up, your mind churning.

That one reading question about Stephen Hawking — I swear it had two answers. And the main idea question on the Vietnam passage didn’t seem to have any answer at all. How on earth do you work that math problem, #23? I know I spent too much time on it ...

You can hardly wait to hop on social media to chat up the experience with your friends. You reach for your cell phone ...


Don’t press “Send” just yet. Before you talk about any commercial standardized test on social media, there are a few things you need to know (starting with the fact that the cell phone in your hand is not even allowed in the testing center).

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Topics: ACT test, SAT test, social media

Improving Your Chances After the College Application Deadline

Posted by Julia Wasson

Feb 18, 2015 6:32:00 AM

What to Do While You Wait

Once all of your college applications are in, the waiting game begins. What should you do now, besides checking your mailbox every day? First, you can take a few simple steps to increase your chances of acceptance. Then, you can begin to ease your upcoming transition to college life. Here are a few suggestions for how to spend your time while you wait.

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Topics: college admissions process

College Completion Gap Between Rich and Poor Increases

Posted by Julia Wasson

Feb 10, 2015 8:35:00 PM

Access to information and support cited among contributing factors

A new report out last week shows a growing disparity between the numbers of rich and poor students who complete college in young adulthood. Released by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, the report finds that the college completion gap has risen significantly in the past two decades.

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Topics: preparing for college, college completion,, income gap, college success, college costs

Top 5 FAFSA Mistakes

Posted by Julia Wasson

Feb 3, 2015 3:37:53 PM

It's not too late for high school seniors to apply for financial aid for the 2015–16 academic year. To obtain the best financial aid package possible, students must complete all aid applications thoroughly and accurately. This is particularly important for The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is required to qualify for almost all college aid. Providing incorrect or incomplete information can slow down the application process, allowing others to sprint ahead in the race for a limited pot of aid dollars.

When a student completes the FAFSA, the information is assessed by the agencies and institutions from which aid is requested, so accuracy is important. Following are some of the most common mistakes that students and parents make regarding the FAFSA. 

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Topics: financial aid

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