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College Application Challenge
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Why the Challenge?

Only 12% of college-bound seniors say they know how to apply.

90% of surveyed college applicants say the admissions process is "very stressful."

With so many different admissions deadlines and requirements, students often procrasinate. For example, 127,175 students waited until Dec 31 to submit the Common Application.

Take the Challenge

The College Application Challenge is an interactive online program that shows any student who wants to go to a four-year college how to successfully complete the essays and applications in a single week. (No, really.)

The Challenge is a great tool for helping high school students relieve their anxiety about the admissions process so they can submit their applications well before they are due. It also complements the essential work done by high school counselors, including those using Naviance.

More Details

So what does the Challenge offer exactly?

Seven steps

(These are designed to be completed in 7 days, but students can certainly take more time.)

Step 1

  • Research your schools
  • Send your test scores
  • Send your transcripts

Step 2

  • Research your schools part 2
  • Create your activities list

Step 3

  • Write your why essay 
  • Set up interviews
  • Make sure you are following your high school's policy for getting recommendations

Step 4

  • Complete The Common App
  • Complete The Univ of CA App
  • Complete The Cal State App
  • Complete other applications

Step 5

  • Get ideas for the personal statement

Step 6

  • Actually write that personal statement
  • Collect other essay questions
  • Continue on applications as needed

Step 7

  • Write the activity essay
  • Write other short answer essays
  • Submit extra materials


More Details

So what does the Challenge offer exactly?

An interactive player

Students and parents can rewind and pause the player as well as download attachments such as worksheets and templates.



More Details

So what does the Challenge offer exactly?

Real time demos

Students will be walked through how to complete each step of the applications, including the Common App, the UC and Cal State apps, and other State School applications. Students can work alongside the demos to actually get the work done.

Additional demos include such tasks as researching schools to learn why they are a great match, sending in test scores, signing up for interviews, and submitting extra materials.



More Details

So what does the Challenge offer exactly?

Help with the essays

Students will be walked through specific exercises designed to help them come up with unique personal stories to write their personal statement, the Common App. "activity" essay, the "why do you want to go to our college" essays, and other short answer essays.

The exercises have been taken from the successful essay workshops that Danny and his team have conducted for the last eight years at private and public high schools with great success.


Meet Danny

The College Application Challenge was created by nationally recognized college counselor and all around good guy, Danny Ruderman. After being invited to teach essay and application workshops at many top private high schools, Danny created the Challenge to provide the same resources to all students.

The Fontana Hgh School and Stanford grad is the author of The Ultimate College Acceptance System and creator of educational programs used by school districts and Fortune 500 companies. He is known for his huge forehead and getting the application monkey off of students' backs.


"I am so glad I had the chance to go through your program. I watched all the presentations, and I loved the fact that they kept me organized and working on things. I brought all the stuff I had prepared for applying to colleges to my guidance counselor and she was very impressed. You took something I was scared about and made it seem easy."
--P.H., Student

"The program seemed to really connect with my daughter. She told me she liked how he seemed to anticipate her questions, and she especially found the presentations on essay writing to be helpful. I know that by going through the program myself, I was able to keep my daughter focused and organized so she could get the work done early The best thing I found about the program was that it helped my daughter feel less overwhelmed and actually get excited about applying to college."
--C.H., Parent

"Danny Ruderman's program combines his years of experience working with college-bound students with a sharp wit and appealing "cool" tone that will make even the most reluctant college seeker settle into the routine. Students will come away from this program more empowered and with a better understanding of the active role they themselves can take in gaining admissions to college."
--M.B., High School College Counselor, Los Angeles

I am a college counselor in Atlanta, GA. I came across his program after I had read Danny's book. Now that I have spent some time with it, I am in love with it! It is the perfect resource for any student, but it is especially helpful for a family that has never sent a child to college. You have taken a very intimidating process and made it seem manageable. I also love the way you encourage students to pick a school that will allow them to thrive, rather than choosing a school because of its name. Since my students returned to school a couple of weeks ago, I can't tell you how many times I have referred to and recommended your program! The worksheets and lists alone are priceless. Thank you for creating this; it is exactly what I was looking for!
--R.W., High School College Counselor, Atlanta, Georgia

I am really happy (thrilled) that we used Danny’s program. I feel like my son has some colleges that are good matches for the kind of kid he is and that stretch across a spectrum of cost (from Cal Poly to Haverford) and types. I don't think that he would have had this choice if it had been done on his own.
--A.S., Parent


Thank you so much for your presentations. It's truly amazing how you are able to engage the kids and get them motivated. We appreciated your wit as well as being so frank and down to earth. Your clear guidelines make it so much easier to approach what seems to be such a daunting task.
--T.K., Parent


My daughter, Olivia, decided on Loyola Marymount University, and she is extremely excited. She was able to get into a school of her choice because we followed your presentations to the letter! Again, THANK YOU for everything. You are the best!
--R.D., Parent


Thanks for your wonderful program. I received a lot of positive feedback about the presentations-- great job!
--J.N., Manager, Employee Programs & Projects Fortune 500 Company

"I just wanted to tell you what a difference your program has made for our LVUSD 8th-12 grade students and their families. Your materials bring accurate, useful information to families, which makes navigating the difficult college application and admission process easier and helps our counselors do their jobs even better. The program has made a positive impact and helped our 4,000 high school students. I would strongly recommend your program to school districts, or any group wanting to offer a beneficial college application program to students/families."
--S.S., President of Educational Foundation

Try the Challenge

We are happy to show you the first part in Step 1 of the program, so you can really get an idea of what it's about.

The presentation runs about 20 minutes, but you can fast forward and skip around using the controls at the bottom of the player. If you want access to the entire program, please feel free to contact us.

Some of Our Fans

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