Spark Admissions Blog

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

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!

Beware of Rankings

March 11, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

Depending on where you are in the college admission process, you may have already scoured U.S. News & World Report dozens of times to see where each institution you are contemplating ranks in comparison to its peers. Having that information at your fingertips is priceless. Or at least it would be if we were confident U.S. News was ranking the right variables and properly comparing them to one another.

Important Perspective for Chinese Students Applying to Top U.S. Colleges and Universities

March 07, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

As an increasing number of highly-accomplished Chinese students are applying to U.S. colleges and universities—particularly the Ivy League—it is important to understand the differences between Chinese and American educational systems, as well as some ways that Chinese students may improve their chances of getting admitted to U.S. universities.

Differences between Chinese and American Education Systems

In general, the Chinese education system emphasizes strict discipline, strong work ethic, repetition, recitation, and drilling. Rote learning and memorization are common. Chinese schools also follow strict standardized, national exams, which dictate the elementary, high school, and university that a student can attend. Thus, students work for countless hours memorizing information to prove themselves on these exams. 

Where Can I Find Help Filling Out the FAFSA?

March 07, 2013
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

The first step for nearly all students applying for financial aid is completing the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the federal government’s application for federal financial aid, and it is also used by state governments and many colleges and universities as they determine how much money to give you to help pay for college.