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More Universities Embrace Online Learning

More Universities Embrace Online Learning

The online education movement gathered more steam this week, as Caltech, Duke, Rice, Johns Hopkins, and other global universities announced that they will join Stanford and Princeton in offering free online courses through Coursera. Upping the ante even further, Caltech and the University of Pennsylvania will invest a combined $3.7 million in the online learning provider, which only launched last year and has already partnered with 16 universities.

While these moves aren’t strictly in the graduate education space (which we mostly cover), it’s important to note how quickly schools are adopting online learning as a legitimate alternative (or, in many cases, a complement) to traditional classroom-based teaching. Between Coursera and other initiatives such as MIT’s and Harvard’s EdX joint venture, it seems that there will be no shortage of innovation in this space in the coming decade.

The Five Most Common Mistakes Grad School Applicants Make

The Five Most Common Mistakes Grad School Applicants Make

As different as applicants are from one another, it’s amazing how often we see them make the same mistakes over and over. We recently asked our team of admissions consultants, “What mistakes do you see applicants make most often?” and we frequently heard the same themes: not highlighting extracurricular activities in the right way, using the same applications for multiple schools, and not answering honestly when asked for a personal weakness.

Admissions officers want to get to know applicants and gain an insight into their goals, motivations, values and other personal attributes — what makes them tick and how they might fit into the program. Unfortunately, many applicants lack the self-awareness to give admissions officers what they want.

Admissions 101: The Less You Need Them, the More They Want You

Admissions 101: The Less You Need Them, the More They Want You

When perusing the data and seeing the average starting salaries at the top-ranked MBA programs and law schools, it’s easy to get the impression that getting into a top graduate school can turn you from an 80-pound weakling into a money-making, world-beating dynamo. But don’t be fooled. Yes, these schools can significantly improve your earnings power, but to get in you have to demonstrate that you’re already a rockstar.

“Wait a minute,” you might be saying, “If I’m already a rockstar, then why do I need the school?” That’s a good question, but in your question already lies the answer.

Five Things to Think About as You Consider Financing Your Degree

Five Things to Think About as You Consider Financing Your Degree

When it comes to getting into the world’s most competitive graduate schools, many applicants have a “I’ll worry about it later” mentality. If they’re fortunate enough to get into a school like Harvard, the thinking goes, then they’ll gladly deal with the question of how to pay for it. While this is somewhat understandable (Why worry about how you’ll pay for a yacht if you won’t ever set foot on one to begin with?), applicants owe it to themselves to consider the true cost and the true reward of the educational opportunity before them.

Many will tell you that borrowing money to pay for school is an investment and not debt, but try telling that to the loan services when they send out the monthly bill. Not only that, but the analysis is rarely about going back to school or not going, but rather about making the best possible choice. It may very well be the case that attending your dream school without the aid of scholarships or grants is the best decision, but it might also be true that a secondary opportunity starts to look a lot better when the calculator comes out.

50 IAVA Member Veterans Receive Veritas Prep Scholarships!

50 IAVA Member Veterans Receive Veritas Prep Scholarships!

We are excited to announce today, along with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), that Veritas Prep has awarded American Heroes Scholarships to 50 IAVA Member Veterans. These test preparation and admissions consulting scholarships will allow U.S. Military Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to pursue a wide variety of interests including business, environmental science, history, law, medicine, museum studies, nutrition, psychology and public administration.

Of the 50 scholarships awarded, 31 IAVA Member Veterans will receive a free Veritas Prep GMAT prep course, either in-person or online, and Veritas Prep’s full suite of 15 GMAT course books and extensive resources; 19 will receive six hours of graduate school admissions consulting with a Veritas Prep admissions expert related to the graduate program of their choice. In addition to the scholarships announced today, Veritas Prep is extending discounts to all qualified IAVA Member Veterans; offering 50 percent off Veritas Prep GMAT courses and 25 percent off admissions consulting services.

Six Predictions for 2012

Six Predictions for 2012

What do you know… Another year has already gone by. We’re so full of opinion and points of view here at Veritas Prep that we thought we should commit ourselves to another round of prognosticating about what the coming year will bring in the worlds of standardized tests and grad school admissions. It will be fun to check in at the end of the year to see how we did.

Without further ado, here are six things that we predict will happen in 2012:

Our 2011 Predictions: How'd We Do?

Our 2011 Predictions: How'd We Do?

Happy New Year! Hard to believe a whole year has already gone by again. At this time last year we laid out six predictions for 2011. We exhibited restraint by avoiding predictions about flying cars and holographic teachers, but we did stick out our collective neck on a few matters. Now it’s time to see how we did.

More Schools Will Adopt Video and Other Less Traditional “Essay” Questions
We were at least partly correct here. While at least one school actually backed away from utilizing video response (UCLA Anderson, we’re looking in your direction), other programs embraced Twitter and experimented with ultra-short essay responses. In other cases, schools made iPads an official part of the application review process, paving the way to allowing them to view multimedia responses in coming years. We expect this trend will only continue in the coming year.

Three Things to Consider Before Applying to Medical School

Three Things to Consider Before Applying to Medical School

You probably already know that the application process can be lengthy, time-consuming, and expensive, with no ironclad guarantee of admission — even with a stellar GPA and MCAT score. And, no matter how much work you put into the process, there are no guarantees about the outcome.

So, before you start, what should you be thinking about before you apply?

Admissions 101: It's Not You, It's Me

Admissions 101: It's Not You, It's Me

Getting rejected is hard stuff. What makes it even more painful is that few MBA programs (or law schools or medical schools) give rejected applicants specific feedback on why they didn’t get in. Applicants just want to know what they “did wrong” to not get in, but, even when schools do provide feedback, the applicants normally end up confused and still guessing about what to do next.

What’s the deal? Are admissions officers trying to obfuscate the process, keeping you in the dark so that you can’t “game” the system? Are they just cold hearted, not caring about you, especially once they’ve decided they don’t want you? No and no. The truth is that, when someone gets rejected, it’s often because the school just couldn’t find any great reason to admit them over thousands of other applicants.

Admissions 101: What Admissions Essays and Wedding Speeches Have in Common

Admissions 101: What Admissions Essays and Wedding Speeches Have in Common

Who's the lucky guy?

Next week yours truly will deliver a speech at a wedding. I have known the groom for nearly two decades, and I consider him to be one of my closest friends, even though distance unfortunately keeps us apart most of the time (I live in California and he lives in Beijing). While I don’t consider myself to be an expert toastmaster, I’m not too worried, since I know that what makes for a great admissions essay or personal statement also makes for a terrific wedding speech.

Think back for a minute and consider the last few weddings you’ve been to. If you’re lucky, you only have witnessed great wedding speeches and toasts, but odds are that you’ve sat through at least one or two bombs. What accounts for the difference?
Six Predictions for 2011

Six Predictions for 2011

It wouldn’t be right to start off the new year without some predictions about what will happen with the GMAT and in graduate school admissions in 2011. While last year’s predictions of 3D GMAT classes and a free solar-powered Kindle for every HBS student never quite materialized (we’ve still got our fingers crossed), we’re feeling bold enough to issues some new predictions for the coming year.

Without further ado, here are six things that we expect will happen in the GMAT and admissions spaces in the year ahead:

The Worrisome World of Essay-Writing Services

The Worrisome World of Essay-Writing Services

We think we once saw a guy selling essays in this alley.

Recently the Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece written by an anonymous “hired gun” who writes admissions essays, term papers, and even doctoral theses for paying students, who in turn pass these off as their own. Not long after that, Bloomberg Businessweek ran a similar article that profiled a couple of similar services that write essays for business school applicants. (Veritas Prep was actually mentioned as an ethical alternative to these services in the latter article.)

Two things really bother us about the existence of these services. Is one of them the fact that they’re unethical and shady? Well, yes, we do think that, but that’s so obvious that we won’t devote any more words to it here. (If you’re the type to consider buying your essays from someone, then maybe becoming a business leader or a lawyer or a doctor isn’t the best path for you.)
Writer's Block? Try These Three Cures

Writer's Block? Try These Three Cures

"What matters most to me? Why? WHY??"

If you’re applying to graduate school this year, there’s a good chance that right now you’re surfing the Internet while procrastinating on writing your admissions essays or personal statement. The Internet is the ultimate procrastination tool, after all, but hopefully finding this article will be the best thing that could have happened to your essays.

The term “writer’s block” means different things to different people, but here we’ll use it to describe any situation where you know what’s on paper (or on your computer screen) is far from being a finished product that you’ll be happy to submit as part of your finished application. Maybe you just can’t think about what to start writing about (this is what most people think of when they hear “writer’s block”), but an even tougher case can be when you’re staring at a nearly-finished essay and you just know that it’s not working. In either case, try these three things to clear your mind and start fresh
What We're Thankful for at Veritas Prep

What We're Thankful for at Veritas Prep

We wonder how this turkey did on the GMAT.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

While we all can get caught up in the stress of trying to get ahead at work or (if you’re reading this blog) trying to get into a top-ranked grad school, it’s healthy to stop for a few moments and realize just how good most of us have it. No matter where you are or what you’re doing right now, you probably have something in your life that makes you want to give thanks. Do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes to think about it before you enter a tryptophan-induced coma today.

We here at Veritas Prep HQ are thankful for the hundreds of amazing GMAT instructors and admissions consultants that we have all over the world. While we don’t get to see most of them very often, we know that they care about helping our GMAT students and admissions consulting clients as much as we do. We’re thankful that they’re there to get the job done, all day, every day.

Enjoy your turkey! And while you’re nibbling on leftovers, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
Check Out Our Brand New Blog!

Check Out Our Brand New Blog!

Today we’re pleased to officially roll out a sweet new look to the Veritas Prep blog. For several years now we have brought you the best new and analysis in GMAT prep and grad school admissions, and now it’s all delivered in a much better looking wrapper!

Big kudos to Jeremy Dempster and the rest of the team here at Veritas Prep HQ for making our new blog a reality. Please, let us know what you think!

How to Put the "I" in Application

How to Put the "I" in Application

An application tip for the graduate school candidate.

Most of our time writing on this blog is spent diving into the nuance and nitty gritty of GMAT prep and the MBA admissions process. Every once in a while, it helps to take a step back and look at things from a very fundamental, building-block level.

Defending Admissions Officers Everywhere

Defending Admissions Officers Everywhere

Last week, Michael Kinsley, the editor-at-large for the Atlantic Wire, wrote an op-ed piece on the admissions process that highlighted some of the reasons why things have become so competitive and cutthroat over the years. The piece focused primarily on college admissions, but there are multiple mentions of graduate school and examples of HBS, so it seems fair to consider Kinsley’s words from the perspective of graduate school admissions.

Three Hints for Maximizing Campus Visits

Three Hints for Maximizing Campus Visits

Last week, we talked about using the month of May to jump start your fall applications to MBA programs, and one of the best ways to do that is to take advantage of the opportunity to visit campuses while school is still in session. Waiting to tour a business school (or any grad school) during the summer months is almost a complete waste of time, because there are no classes in session and all you are seeing is a bunch of empty buildings.

The Medical School Boom

The Medical School Boom


Over the weekend, The New York Times ran an interesting article about an expected boom in the number of medical degrees that will be awarded in a given year … the most dramatic increase in years. The article focused on the two dozen new medical schools opening their doors, the 18 percent increase in total number of seats, and the ability to educate more doctors in American medical schools. It all sounds pretty great.

Filed in: Medical School
Online Behavior in Medical School Admissions

Online Behavior in Medical School Admissions


Considering the impact of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook on the admissions process has quickly become a pretty tired story. Yes, students should take care to manage their online presence, but no, admissions officers are unlikely to search every nook and cranny of the Web to “bust” applicants. As it relates to MBA and law school admissions, there’s not much to discuss in this area.

How Veritas Prep Started in Admissions Consulting

How Veritas Prep Started in Admissions Consulting

We’ve been helping business school applicants for a long time now, so long that it’s easy to forget that we didn’t start out in that business. After Veritas Prep co-founders Markus Moberg and Chad Troutwine launched our GMAT prep service in 2002, it quickly became apparent that our students not only needed GMAT help, but they also needed help in pulling together their entire business school applications. How did we know? Because they came back to us time and time again, asking us to help them with their applications just as we helped them with their GMAT prep.

How to Make the Most of Medical School Secondaries

How to Make the Most of Medical School Secondaries

The medical school application process is a marathon, not a sprint, as it features an AMCAS application (featuring most of the admin work, a slew of short answer questions, and the always-difficult personal statement), secondary applications for individual schools, and then interview days at select programs. The whole thing lasts for nearly a year and the time spent tends to dwarf the application processes for other types of graduate programs.

Should Medical School Admissions Requirements Change?

Should Medical School Admissions Requirements Change?

Anyone with even a basic interest in medical school knows that the requirements for pursuing an MD are substantial. Pre-med courses, the MCAT, multiple stages of the application process, interview days — there are a ton of pieces to the puzzle and it all adds up to a tremendous amount of work. Everyone knows it is a grind. But is it the right grind? This is a question that is rarely posed, but that was both asked and answered recently in an important report called Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians, which was described in detail today on the Stanford News Service. This report makes a series of recommendations that call for subtle-yet-important changes in the way medical school candidates prepare for their graduate work.

The report was produced by a 22-person committee, which was tasked jointly by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2007. The committee was headed by Sharon Long, a Stanford biology professor and a former dean at the university, and calls for the following changes to the existing medical school requirements:

Announcing Veritas Prep's Medical School Admissions Consulting

Announcing Veritas Prep's Medical School Admissions Consulting


We are pleased to announce the latest offering to Veritas Prep’s many admissions consulting options: Medical School Admissions Consulting.