So, you say you’re done, ay?

In the academic meritocratic realm of teenage braggadocio, everyone’s been done with their college essays, except you. At least, that’s what nearly every college applicant believes about their friends, peers, frenemies, academic archrivals—only adding stress to an already complicated self-reflective, autobiographical writing process.  Yet, The Common Application’s own statistics about the daily record applicant submissions on November 1, the day…

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Coalition Application Website Technical Difficulties Resolved

Updated November 15, 2021 at 2:15 pm PST As of approximately 4:30 am PST on November 15, 2021, the Coalition Application announced the site was running once again. Many students reported persistent technical difficulties throughout the day and evening of Sunday, November 14, 2021. As a caveat to quell the nerves which are typical of a deadline day, college admisisons…

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When writing college essays: be yourself, not plagued by doubt

Every year, high school seniors doubt that characterizing their experiences with rigorous honesty, exposing their human flaws or even a critique of their educational experience in their college application essays will garner them the acceptance they seek. They, instead, seek to rationalize contorting themselves into some glimmer or reflection of themselves in order to game admissions.  One senior last Fall…

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Imagine

To Interview or Not That is The Question

Many private university admissions officers invite applicants to schedule an evaluative admissions interview before they apply. Typically, applicants need to complete interviews by December of any admissions cycle. However, students should check the deadlines for interviews on admissions websites. Admissions interviews are optional, meaning if a student cannot or does not schedule an interview, no penalties will be assessed nor…

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Sponge Bob comic

Supplemental Essays Matter: view from someone who matters, an admission officer

“A” students, who also happen to be college applicants, notoriously follow directions to the T. So, the lack of a rubric, standard, or other detailed set of directions for writing the college essays, beyond the confirmation bias of an acceptance letter is disconcerting to say the least.  Seeking to reduce confusion, the following is an analysis of Sam Prince’s, Bard…

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LET THE COLLEGE FAIRS BEGIN!

As the season of college fairs, whether virtual or in person, commences, families should pause to craft a plan before the event. Reviewing the list of college admissions officers in attendance, then discriminately choosing which college representatives with whom to connect is prudent to maximize the benefit of the speed dating-like conditions of a college fair.   Students generally have 60-90…

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For those applying to Yale for Fall 2022, Whether to Use the Coalition or Common Application Is Up to You

Fall 2022 Coalition Application applicants to Yale have the opportunity to submit a “Digital Upload”—an audio file, video, image, or document the student produced along with a short written description of the creation. However, Common Application applicants do not have a similar “Digital Upload” option.  Curious if the difference in the information submitted between the two applications may affect admissions…

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Dear Teachers Who Write Letters of Recommendation

Thank you for writing numerous letters every year, often an extra duty added to an already lengthy list of duties.  When teaching, it took me a while to figure out how to write a letter of recommendation, piecing together advice from more veteran colleagues. So, having asked many different admissions officers about useful letters of recommendation over the two decades…

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College Admissions Bragging Begins in Earnest

As the summer ends and the new school year dawns, the posturing in college admissions commences in earnest. We’ve officially reached The “ALL my friends are done with their essays, I’m behind” stage of the Fall college application process.  Is it possible that your teenage friends grinded out “essays” which meet the word limit and generally relate to the essay…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

The Responsibility of Freedom

Most teens eventually seek more independence from the watchful eyes of their parents, and many of them believe the freedom they so desire will be found attending college. Yet, just like Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolutionaries (or anyone seeking change), as so aptly advised:  Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and…

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Sponge Bob comic

Advice on How to Answer COVID-Related Questions on College Applications

In the increasing subjectivity of admissions, as grades are affected by the transition to virtual learning and many extracurricular activities have been canceled or suspended until further notice, college admissions officers are seeking information about what students had planned, yet did instead.  Thus, students should reflect on their COVID-interrupted educational experience, to add context for their academic and extracurricular resumes…

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Comedy: Being On Time

College Application Deadlines & Time Zones

Although college applications are technically due at 11:59 pm on the deadline day, “11:59 pm” might be hours earlier or later than the time zone where the applicant lives, depending on the admissions policies of the college. Thus, applicants should pay attention to the local time zone where a college is located. Although The Common Application promotes: The end of…

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Guest Post: The Declaration of a College Applicant

Ellie, a high school senior, wrote the following reflection for one of her college essays: In life, I have just been going through the motions, never stopping to pause and contemplate or observe anything. I chased happiness, but once I finally held contentment in my grasp, it quickly slipped through my fingers and the chase started all over again. Until…

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