Satisfaction

As the legendary Mick Jagger belted, “I ain’t got no…sa-tis-fac-tion.”  Mick’s words of wisdom can apply to many high school seniors and their families as the college decision making season descends.   Robert Barkley via Rick Clark, seasoned Director of Admissions at Georgia Tech, is confronting the possibility for dissatisfaction regarding outcomes in the expectation laden college admissions process.  For many…

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Emotions + Expectations + Misguided Direction (can) = Malinvestment in College

Spring of senior year is a critical time in the college admissions process, in some sense, more pivotal than the application period, for a strategic blunder can be costly: misallocating 17 years of preparation for higher education, malinvestment of tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, and economic malaise that could last a lifetime.  Seniors and their families are selecting—carefully…

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Failure (in college admissions) is not supposed to be an option

Students applying to college worry about being denied admissions, a seeming failure at the end of a twelve year long competition in the modern academic meritocracy. They’re frustrated that no guarantees exist, despite being taught that everyone has equal opportunity to compete in the modern academic meritocracy.  As Michael J. Sandel, Harvard professor, argues in his most recent book, The…

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College Admissions Storytelling Time is Upon Us

Applying to college is complicated. Many believe their past laurels will merit an acceptance letter, yet often fret about distinguishing themselves from other similarly qualified candidates. Thus, when all the boxes of biographical information are completed, the heavy lifting of answering, “Who am I?” in 500 words or less begins. Yet, for many teens, self-reflection is a muscle they may…

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Common App

Can I change my 650 word Common Application Essay After Submitting It Once? Take Two

Yes, students can edit/update/revise/rewrite the 650 word Common Application essay after submitting an application to one (or more) colleges, as was discussed last Fall 2020.  Yet, once a 650 word Common Application essay is submitted, the copy is final for that college. A revised 650 word Common Application essay will only be reviewed by college admissions officers who receive the…

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Surprise! Hidden essays on the Common Application

Sometimes, on The Common Application, additional essay prompts will appear, depending on students’ answers to the campus specific questions. However, students are not forewarned about potential essay prompts. And, for many students, who complete the application, in the last days (or hours) before the application deadline, students can panic, when such “hidden” questions are revealed.  Two examples of “hidden” questions: …

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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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Comic: Phineas & Ferb

College Admissions Essay Writing, A Difficult but Rewarding Journey of Self Discovery

“You should definitely start writing your essays early” is common advice college students give to their high school senior friends. Yet, typically, the peer advisor shares little insight to why they started their essays “later” or how writer’s blocks stymied their own efforts in the beginning writing stages.  Thus, the college applicant simply stresses about being “behind” in completing applications,…

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Applying to College is Often A Long and Winding Road

Writing college essays is an intricate dance, often not a project that’s completed according to scheduled benchmarks and not without conflicts along the way. Often, applicants work in fits and starts, and typically, not in accordance with a parent’s expectations.  Seventeen years of expectations, emotions and experiences can obstruct the effort to draft autobiographical essays. Furthermore, teens are reflecting on…

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Common App

How to Best Answer the New 650 Word Common Application Essay Prompt for Fall 2022

The 2021-22 Common Application includes a new 650 word personal statement prompt, one of seven choices:  Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? Bold emphasis added by CMC After analyzing the new prompt, a few tips for students to…

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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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A University of Washington Freshman reflects on the college admission essay writing process.

Cara, an incoming first year University of Washington student and newly published college essay writer, recently shared the following advice for high school seniors about the college essay writing process.  Cara’s Advice: Step away from the prompt. Remember: college essays are all about helping admissions learn more about you, beyond just being a student. Before you get stuck trying to…

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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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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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GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

College applicants take note: life’s a journey not a destination

College essays are not an assignment to “get done.”   College essays are not defined by the word count or format. College essays are not a resume-like listing of a young person’s achievements, hoping the admissions evaluator intuits their potential thus grants admissions. College essays are not bounded by the (mis)interpretation of a prompt.  College essays are not prose-like panderings to…

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