It’s Monday and you know what that means: only 5 more days until the weekend! It’s also Halloween week, so hopefully most of you have some fun stuff planned involving costumes, scary movies, fun with friends/family, and most importantly of all, epic quantities of candy that would give a dentist nightmares for years.

To get you through the next couple days before ghosts, goblins, and witches take to the streets in search of as much sugar as possible, here’s this week’s edition of our weekly link roundup. Lots of good and interesting material in this installment covering a variety of topics, from the Common App and an alternative application service to need-blind admissions and expert tips for college essay writers. Check it out below and let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

  • Are in-person college tours becoming a thing of the past? TIME reports on the growing trend of online interviews and virtual tours, largely available thanks to Google.
  • US News provides some helpful tips for students who realize early on that they enrolled in a school that’s not a great fit for them and want to try transferring to a new one for the semester starting in January.
  • Former UN staff member Katrin Park levies some harsh criticisms against standardized testing in this opinion piece from USA Today.  You can also check out some of the letter-to-the-editor responses to that opinion piece here.
  • Could simply filling out a FAFSA form to seek help paying for college ultimately hurt your ability to earn financial aid or even your overall chance of admission at some schools? Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed  reports on a disturbing trend at some schools that could make the U.S. Department of Education rethink how it gathers and shares information on the FAFSA.
  • Following up on last week’s revelation that George Washington University’s “need blind” admissions policy wasn’t as blind as it was made to seem, UNC’s newspaper The Daily Tar Heel  takes a look at the same policy at its institution and whether it’s sustainable in the long run. The Washington Post also wades into this complicated subject.
  • Speaking of GWU, The GW Hatchet  provides an illuminating glimpse into the world of college admissions from the school’s perspective, posing the question, “What does it take to get picked by GW?”
  • Chuck Cohn busts 6 common college admissions myths over at The Huffington Post.
  • Given the heavily publicized problems faced by the Common App over the past weeks, some schools are looking for alternatives and back-up plans. To that end, three new colleges have recently signed up with the Universal College Application, a relatively young one-stop-shop for college applications that is already used by popular and selective schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins, among others.
  • Speaking of the Common App and its widespread glitches, many schools have extended their early application deadlines due as a result. Check out this Washington Post piece for a partial list of schools that have pushed early app deadlines back and be sure to check with your own target schools to see how they’re handling this issue.
  • John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions at Boston College, Gail Berson, dean of admissions at Wheaton College, and Jennifer Desjarlais, dean of admission at Wellseley college team up to provide 15 tips for writing great college essays in this illuminating article.