Greetings Students and Families,

College Admissions Planning is a multi-year endeavor- setting goals, making plans and spending high school learning about your academic and personal strengths- and hopefully connecting the two!  Students should be joyous, motivated and eager to discover and explore.  I’d welcome the opportunity to be a part of your team- teachers, parents, guidance counselors, coaches– and maybe even a college advisor all serve unique roles in my student-centered practice.

Click to Connect with College Advisor Bonnie Rabin, PhD

I often meet young adults who seem to think they have already decided the field that they want to study as undergraduates and even as graduate students! Their enthusiasm is wonderful, but at times these early academic/career choices rest upon preconceived notions about their interests and misinformation about a given field of study.
As young adults, high school is the time to learn more about EVERYTHING and rule out nothing.
The essential process of discovery includes exploring a variety of academic disciplines many of which may yield a rewarding and joyful educational and career path.  Given my curriculum expertise at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I continue to encourage students to explore to find a unique path.
With a few hundred academic majors and nearly 4000 undergraduate colleges, it’s very unlikely that the high school curriculum and extracurricular experiences enjoyed thus far have put all of the available and amazing options on your student’s radar.
The college application process can be stressful for parents and students alike.

College Admissions Planning– Finding Your Passion:

There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.
As a university professor, I’ve designed and approved accredited curriculum programs for several universities. Having spent thirty years advising thousands of students, I invite your family to leverage my knowledge of curriculum requirements and discover an academic area your student will be truly passionate about.
The more you know about your interests and your strengths, the more likely you’ll embark upon a path that is joyful and rewarding.
How do parents and students select their “best-fit” colleges and decide where to apply and if accepted, where to enroll?
Great choices begin with student inspired research!
Establish Educational Goals: A student’s initial exploration of the 4000 potential colleges shouldn’t be driven by name recognition but through a guided and purposeful exploration of college majors, followed by a review of the “social” fit.
Whether you love or hate science, want to change the world, enjoy drawing, solving problems, singing or surfing the web, a student’s passions and interests should ALWAYS direct the college research process
  • What subjects do you really enjoy and do the concepts come naturally to you?
  • What are your personal strengths?
  • Are you a natural problem solver?
  • Are you creative?
  • Do you enjoy interactions with and helping others?
Is having a broad based education important to you or would you rather prepare yourself for a very specific occupation (or be honest- income level)?
  • What types of news stories on your twitter and Facebook feeds do you actually gravitate towards?
Answering these questions helps you to
navigate through the curriculum requirements for majors currently on your radar and those you haven’t yet considered.
The more you learn about potential areas of study, career paths and specific colleges, the easier it becomes to make informed decisions about where to apply and enroll.  By selecting universities that meet both your academic and social needs you’re more likely to be happy and successful in pursing educational goals.   Do your research!
Speak with your guidance counselor, admissions officers, alumni, current and former students.

How many colleges should I be applying to on my Common Application?

That’s the WRONG question!
WHICH COLLEGES should you apply to – that’s the question your college advisor should help you answer. I’m going to give you the short answer and most strategic stress-free response– :
Every student should apply to two “safety” colleges that the student would be thrilled to attend- fitting the student academically, socially and financially. Once we identify those choices, we can turn attention to selecting “Match” and “reach” colleges. Every year students learn of acceptances to their match and reach colleges– please don’t apply to 20 colleges- that’s simply too many!
I recommend 5 to 10 as the ideal number – this will vary but unique circumstances which relate to the major area of study, student demographics and a host of issues that defined YOUR balanced list.
With a solid Strategic Educational and College Admissions plan, implemented as early as middle school, each student will have goals and take steps towards achieving those goals. The selection of colleges will become clear.
“FIT” — you’ve heard me discuss this before – I’ll discuss “FIT” one more time–!
The “fit” between a student and a university is based upon three pillars:
The university you attend should provide an outstanding academic experience in your intended major/minor fields of study, along with appropriate internship and career placement opportunities. This is paramount to selecting where to attend.
There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.
Your evaluation of academics should move beyond published lists of college rankings. The most important steps include learning how to navigate through the “Academics” and the “Research” tabs to fully explore the curriculum maps, degree requirements and the research projects faculty are conducting. As a former university professor with 30+ years of experience on curriculum planning committees, I’m able to help your family assess “academic fit” and effectively explore your academic options to balance each student’s current and emerging interests and strengths.
Undecided? Consider that “flexible” and universities LOVE to hear about students with multi-disciplinary interests. All of your applications will in fact provide you with an opportunity to explain your choice of major(s) as being formed through classroom and other experiences. More about this below.
The social fit is important as each student is looking to find a “home-away-from-home” for their next four years. Is the campus inviting, inclusive and are there opportunities for ongoing social and emotional growth?
This is exactly why students visit university campuses before enrolling. Your Educational and College Admissions Assessment will help you hone in on the criteria that are important to you. Let me help you understand how to have an informative and meaningful campus visit – and yes, that may even be a virtual visit which is bolstered by connecting with students and campus representatives in your major, your potential clubs and other ways to feel the “vibe” beyond a webcam.
Every family faces unique financial circumstances and we factor those into the choices of where to apply and enroll. A. If you’re ineligible for financial aid, merit aid remains an important option to explore.
THERE ARE MANY CAMPUSES PROVIDING an EXCELLENT EDUCATION offering deep discounts on tuition given your “admissions profile”.
I truly want to reassure you that there are universities that don’t actually charge the “sticker price”. As you contemplate your balanced list, consider including some safety colleges– those include solid educational opportunities where your portfolio places you in the top 1% of the college’s typical student profile.
SO Let’s Talk about College Acceptance Rates Once More…
Parents and students should be unconcerned about the news on acceptance rates and instead keep perspective on how to prepare for and conduct research on universities.  Just because Cornell’s acceptance rate was 8.6% doesn’t mean that’s YOUR odds of admittance. Your odds may be much higher. I can also tell you that your odds are 0% if your GPA is a 2.2 unless you won the Google Science fair or are a national debate champ. Aggregate published acceptance rates vary across majors, gender, location and student profile.
All my juniors understand how to navigate the process to create a manageable list of match, reach and safety institutions. If you missed my earlier note on 2026 Acceptance Rates – click here
A Different Question from COLLEGE CHOICE
College Admissions Planning: HOW TO SELECT A COLLEGE and A MAJOR That "FITs" YOU!

Where can I review results or profiles of accepted students?

A virtual tunnel to the center of the earth for anxious parents and student awaits you at Talk.collegeconfidential.com
There are literally tens of thousands of discussion threads on this webpage – some threads are exceptionally informative, but like Wikipedia- lots of speculation from well-meaning people with too much time on their hands!
Nonetheless, you can see
“Official Results Threads” .
Google: Talk College Confidential Official Results Thread Class of 2026 INSERT: MY DREAM UNIVERSITY
In a given thread, you can see the profiles of students accepted, rejected and waitlisted. It is quite anecdotal but also informative.
Please don’t be that student that applies to Stanford thinking you may win the lottery and be accepted. It doesn’t work that way. It’s fine to have 2 to 3 reach schools -anyone can be accepted to a reach- but you still must meet the “hurdle” of GPA, test scores, and expected extracurricular activities to be a candidate.
The only statistics to focus upon are those that provide indications of the quality of education you’ll receive at a given university. Here are a few that can help you decide whether the investment is a good one.
Do graduates still find a connection to their chosen field and institution at age 30, 40, 50? Check out statistics on the percentage of alumni giving (also see my earlier newsletter on why this percentage is an indicator of financial aid success).
What’s the percentage of graduates who have a job offer/graduate school acceptance in their field upon graduation? What percentage of students have an offer of employment 6 months post-graduation?
What percentage of classes are taught by professors with a terminal degree vs. graduate students?
What percentage of students are guaranteed freshman dorm housing?
What’s the average class size for freshman introductory classes and upper level electives in my intended major?
What are the campus crime statistics?
What percentage of students are on financial aid?
As students continue to apply to more colleges and in record numbers, more applicants means lower acceptance rates. Unlike other organizations and businesses, colleges cannot continue to increase in size as they are limited by classroom and dorm space and the number of faculty members. Colleges are cautious not to overbuild as demographic trends don’t always sustain.
Universities aren’t competing to increase their market share of the available 18 to 24 year old students.
Universities are competing to attract the brightest and most interesting students.
Are you one of them?
Finding Your Niche?
For those of you who are regular readers of my newsletters and blogs, you understand that College Admissions is holistic.  I’ve written about the relevance of demonstrating “character” and your “uniqueness” in the admissions process. What really matters for all of us, students and parents alike, is knowing that we lead lives filled with joy and purpose. Admissions reps are also moved by the topic of “kindness” – this has been trending in college admissions for a few years – and in response, as noted above, the Common App 2021-22 has a new essay about “kindness”.
The core essay prompts for the Common Application — especially numbers 1, 4 and 6 address this very point!
My goal in the partnership I share with each family is to guide each young adult to becoming self-directed, inspired and ultimately to recognize their strengths and passions in ways that will enable each young adult to contribute to their communities.
A student’s GPA and transcript are a significant determinant of admissions and academic success. Yet with five to seven qualified applicants for every available space in the freshman class, admission committees seek to create a freshman class that is diverse in intended majors, geographic origin and personal interests.
Students who are successful not only in admissions but as actual undergraduate students, are those who have well defined interests, nurtured as early as middle school and further developed throughout high school.
Having an academic niche or a personal passion outside the classroom builds motivation, focus and academic success.
Parents, guidance counselors and your college advisor can help your student identify or deepen an academic and /or personal interest.
What sparks your student?
The most selective universities again realized phenonenal increases in application numbers.
I invite you to leverage my extensive knowledge of university curricula and my experience advising thousands of high school, undergraduate and graduate students navigating curriculum choices to set and realize educational and career goals. Based on your academic strengths and personal interests, I welcome the opportunity to work together to create your personalized strategic educational plan.
8th to 10th Grade families
It’s time for your strategic educational check-up/
Whether you’re ready to finish your core essay before summer and submit your safety-school applications before Labor Day or just beginning to research colleges and majors, or perhaps you want to create a customized learning plan to address study habits and time management, I invite you to CONTACT ME to schedule your Educational & College Admissions Assessment.
My clients include students across all academic levels in 8th to 12th grades and undergraduates. It’s never too early (Middle School) or too late (Seniors) to set educational goals, build solid time management and learning strategies and discover a hidden academic strength. I invite you to learn more about my role in helping to build your student’s Educational and College Admissions Plan!
Princeton, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, USC, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Bowdoin, Wellesley, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Brown, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF, and many more!
Whether you’re a senior planning to make a choice, or a 10th-11th grade student starting your college research- or just starting high school, please review my online reviews and reach out to Schedule an Educational and College Admissions Planning Assessment
It is never too early to begin taking steps to ensure your student has a long-term strategic educational plan fostering a love of learning, building solid time management skills and establishing a directed path towards the undergraduate experience. I personally guide students to discover their individual academic strengths and develop an intrinsically motivated passion for learning, ensuring a seamless transition to the undergraduate experience.😊

It’s Time for Reflections:


I also invite all students to reflect upon goals set in August. Which of your goals were easily attainable? Why? What have you learned about yourself and how you approach learning and your time that works well and what will you change for the next academic year?
Parents, how have you changed as your student continues to develop their strengths further preparing each young adult for a smooth transition to the undergraduate experience? How can you assist your student to continue to be self-motivated and directed?
At your end-of-year conference, we’ll review your accomplishments both within and outside the classroom as well as identify opportunities for growth to realize personalized educational goals.
First and foremost- be yourself because everyone else is taken! That’s not cliché-it is truly the most important piece of advice I can provide.
Discover an area that you are truly passionate about and dive in!
Applicants must clearly demonstrate “informed interest”!
Your application must leave no shadow of a doubt that you are prepared to succeed in your demanding academic major.
 Demonstrating you understand the challenges ahead is essential.
“Informed interest” can be demonstrated through:
  • In addition to completion of AP/IB/AICE coursework, engage in sustained formal or informal extracurricular activities and independent projects (we have plenty of ideas for an independent project)
  • Research: participation in local, regional and national competitions working with our competition educator. An AP class often includes a project or paper that can be the springboard for a larger project and a competitive venue.
  • Thoughtful college specific supplemental essays showcasing maturity and self-directed exploration of a potential narrow area of interest (i.e. stochastic processes in Financial Modeling, Genomics, Artificial Intelligence applications to bio-diversity modelling, pharmaceutical development or language processing and interpretation.)
I can guarantee you that there’s no magic formula for being accepted into a selective university, and any college advisor two tells you otherwise is being less than authentic with you. I can guarantee you that building an Educational & College Admissions Plan as early as eighth grade will greatly increase the likelihood of a student who is intrinsically motivated and prepared for academic success.  Students with goals and dreams are better students and live their high school years with greater ease than those who haven’t set some objectives.
Success begins with a student-led Strategic Educational & College Admissions Plan with actionable items!
If you come prepared daily and finish assigned tasks- you will finish your Common App core essay before summer!
Rising Seniors- Please reach out join our June Writers Block and Fall Sunday Series Writers. A dedicated time free of distraction to work on college applications and essays in a small-group and supportive setting. Space is limited!
Have an awesome day!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational and College Admissions Consultant
South Florida 561.509.0021    Click to View our Boca Raton Location
Boulder and Metro Denver Colorado 720.737.9944    Click to view Our Boulderand Metro Denver Locations
Nationwide  833.MY.ESSAY
Is Your High School Student on Target- Curious, Independent?


Discover and Explore College Advisor

Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Guiding her clients to define and realize educational and career goals.
With over thirty years experience as a university professor and admissions committee member, you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities.
Be inspired!
Pre-College Academic Advising!
Congrats!!!  A SAMPLE of our Recent College Acceptances Include:
Congrats!!! A SAMPLE of our recent College Acceptances Include:
UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, Princeton, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Barnard, Columbia, Smith, Stanford, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Brown, Bowdoin, Wellesley, USC, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, London School of Economics, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, and many more!…