Spark Admissions Blog

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

How Important Are My SAT or ACT Scores?

July 16, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

Students often ask me how important their SAT or ACT scores are for colleges. Many students also want to know whether they can still get into a highly competitive school if they have low SAT or ACT scores, or whether they are guaranteed admission if they have top scores. These are all good questions.

How Many AP or IB Classes Should I Take to Get into College?

June 28, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

Have you ever wondered if there is a certain number of AP/IB classes that colleges want you to take in order to get in? There's not. Each college is different. But more importantly, each high school is different. Since all high schools do not offer the same number of AP/IB courses, it wouldn't be fair for college admissions offices to require a set number of AP/IB courses. Instead, colleges want you to take the most rigorous courses that are offered. In other words, they will look at how many AP/IB courses and honors courses you took in comparison to how many you had the option of taking. If you think of it as a ratio with the number of AP/IB courses you took as the nominator, and the number of AP/IB courses offered at your high school as the denominator, you want your ratio to be as high as possible. That's much more important to colleges than the actual number of AP/IB courses you took.

Thinking of Studying STEM?

April 22, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

Ever since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, there’s been a push to increase the number of college students in the United States studying STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math. Now, more than 55 years later, colleges and universities across the United States continue to offer incentives for students to enroll in these programs.

A Quick Note about College Application Essays

April 12, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

When do college application essays matter? When you are on the cusp of being admitted. Other than that, at many schools, your essays simply aren’t read. 

Upcoming Changes to the Common Application

April 10, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

The Common Application, a free online undergraduate application used by over 400 colleges and universities, has recently been revised!