Spark Admissions Blog

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

5 Drivers of College Admissions Practices

January 07, 2015
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

We all know that the bottom line drives businesses. But what are the motivations of colleges and universities? Aside from educating students and academic research, the most important factors for most colleges and universities in the United States are their rankings and level of selectivity. College rankings have a lot to do with the number of students who apply, the percentage of students who are admitted, and the percentage of accepted students who ultimately matriculate (otherwise known as the yield rate).

Coming Soon: Significant Changes to the SAT

March 13, 2014
Written by Rachel B. Rubin

Substantial changes to the SAT are taking place in spring 2016. These changes were recently announced by David Coleman, the President of The College Board (the organization that creates and administers the SAT). What do these changes really mean for students? Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know:

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.