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College Advice

Neurotic Parent’s Guide to College Admissions

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How do you get the upper hand in the college admission process? JD Rothaman, Parent blogger and author of the “Neurotic Parent’s Guide to College Admissions”, shares tips on getting into a good college.

Don’t lose sight of the BIG picture

Get answers by clicking on the video links:

1:46 What is the BIG picture about getting into college that we neglect to see?
2:24 What great colleges did not make the list of top 25 prestigious schools?
3:26 What does it mean when your kid didn’t get into a selective school?
4:58 What is the BIG picture about getting into a prestigious school?

Which schools should I apply to?

6:02 Why is it important to have a good list of safety schools?
6:59 How much should you guide your child through the process?

How to groom my kids for a selective school (grade, test scores, extracurricular)?

9:18 What does JD advise about extracurriculars?
10:50 How do colleges know when a “helicopter parent” has been involved in the admissions process?
12:20 Do jobs count as valid extracurriculars?
14:15 What do we need to know about GPA?
16:23 What happens when your child does poorly in a class?
21:24 What is a mean SAT number? Which colleges don’t focus on scores (
22:35 What are some tips on how to prep for the SAT or ACT? (20 min/day and check your answers)
28:10 What are some tips on essay writing?

45:49 Why are international students crowding out students in the US?
46:52 What are some tips for soon to be empty nesters?
48:34 What is the fallacy about STEM?

What is the marketing game colleges are playing?

29:21 How does the US News and Report rankings work? Why are all the test scores so high?
30:35 How does Superscore work?
31:18 How often do you take the test?
32:10 How many times should you take standard tests? Can you cancel a testing if you are having a bad day?
36:09 How many schools should you apply to? Average number is 20 schools.
37:47 How some schools are no longer “safety” schools? What is a strategy for finding a safety school?
39:06 What is the marketing game that colleges play to look more attractive?
40:11 What is the TUFT’s syndrome and yield protection? Why demonstrated interest is so important?
42:05 Why are really good schools ranked so low in US News Reports?

Early Admissions, Legacy Status, Getting off the Wait List

Other Resources

What is the marketing game colleges are playing?

  • College Admissions: Robin Mamlet, former dean of admission at Stanford, Swarthmore, and Sarah Lawrence, and journalist and parent Christine VanDeVelde provide expert, comprehensive and compassionate guidance for every student and parent at each step of the college application process in their best-selling book “College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step”.  Join CJ and Christine VanDeVelde to learn the advice and input of over 100 additional experts, and 50 deans of admission on the college admissions process. Also, check out: Getting into highly selective schools.

– See more at:

  • How you can improve your chances of getting into college? CJ interviews Elizabeth Wisnner-Gross, the author of “What High Schools Don’t Tell you: 300+ Secrets to Make your Child Irresistible to Colleges by Senior year”. Get the inside scoop on what college admissions are looking for and why? Also, learn about the College Admissions Process. – See more at:



About LA Times Bestselling Author,Emmy-Winning TV Writer, College Whisperer

Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions by J.D. Rothman

In 2008, I went on a relaxing, stress-free eight-state spring break college tour with my older son. During that trip, I discovered that my child was in deep trouble because he would be competing against kids who had been padding their resumés since third grade, and he had not yet invented an antibiotic. This inspired my blog about the insanity of the college process, blog was soon discovered by the director of admissions at Kenyon College, who published an excerpt in her book, I’m Going to College, Not You. (St. Martins Press, 2010). Now, after surviving a nine-state tour with my younger son, I am ready to reveal all…from when to start your preschooler in Kumon to whether to ask the Dalai Lama for a letter of recommendation.