Spark Admissions Blog

Applications, Essays, Where to Apply, Strategy, and More

Top 10 Biggest College Visit Mistakes

March 15, 2016
Written by Taylor

Visiting colleges is a crucial part of the college search process. In fact, college visits are often considered the best way for students to understand what life is like at a particular university and how it would feel to spend four years there. After all, what students see online or in one of those massive books of college descriptions may not line up with their personal impressions of the college or university when they experience it firsthand. Thus, whenever possible, students should try to visit several schools on their lists, and when they do, here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid on those visits.

How to Handle Low ACT Essay Scores

March 03, 2016
Written by Taylor

The Situation
If you have noticed that your son or daughter received an unusually low score on his or her ACT writing section, you are not alone. There is a widely noted trend of lower-than-expected scores on the writing section of the ACT since the arrival of the new ACT essay format in September 2015. For instance, some students scoring in the 30's on all other test sections have received essay scores in the 20's. On average, scores on the new writing section have been 3.2 points lower than students' composite scores.

Why College Preparation is Not Limited to SAT/ACT Prep

January 15, 2016
Written by Rachel Blankstein

When most people think about college preparation, their first thought is SAT/ACT preparation.  While standardized test preparation is still part of the process, it is only one of many important aspects of college preparation.

Supreme Court to Address Affirmative Action in Fisher v. University of Texas

December 10, 2015
Written by Taylor

On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for the second time in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could have widespread repercussions for race-based admissions policies at U.S. colleges and universities. The circumstances behind the case revolve around Abigail Fisher's 2008 rejection by The University of Texas-Austin (UT), a determination that Ms. Fisher claims was reached only because she is Caucasian. This post examines potential outcomes of the case and what impact the Court's decision could have on college admissions in the future.

The New SAT vs the ACT

November 13, 2015
Written by Taylor

As you probably know, high school students can choose between two college admissions exams when applying to U.S. colleges and universities: the SAT and the ACT. With changes coming to the SAT in March 2016, it's a good time to revisit the main differences between the two tests.