The Ups & Downs of Being Well-Rounded

As freshmen and sophomores in high school, college admissions is focused on being eligible for application.  The academic classes that need completing (also known as A-G requirements for the UC & CSU systems), as well as extracurricular activities that are included in any college application means that most applicants are going to start looking the same–well-rounded individuals with the same…

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“My Student is Average. Where Can She/He Get In?”

First, “average” doesn’t mean “not admissible to any college, anywhere.”  What is  important for an “average” (and I use “average” loosely) student and their family is the college selection process–just as important as for EVERY student wanting to go to college.    The selection process for the “average” student may include a different scrutiny of themselves and colleges. Let’s define…

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“OMG! I Have to Write a Common App Supplement Essay, Too?!? How?”

Essays can be one way for applicants to distinguish themselves and present their case for why s/he should be admitted.  But, they require some effort. Often, the Common Application Supplements–which are a series of questions specific to the individual college submitting in addition to the general Common Application–provides the applicant the opportunity to tell more about WHY they chose and…

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Guest Post: Where to Start on the College Essay

Rohan is a current Freshman at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  He offers the following essay drafting suggestions, after his experiences last fall writing several dozen college application essays from October through January. ______________________ The best advice I could give is just to start writing, whether that be in the form of a list of main points, one…

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How Common is the Common Application Essay?

In this podcast, Art Baird and Jill Yoshikawa, our company’s educational experts, generously share their 10-years of experience to help students write competitive college admissions essays within the context of the Common Application.  They define an effective outline for drafting this complex autobiography. For more helpful information, please also read: Storytelling Season is Around the Corner You Can Dish It.…

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Guest Post: Advice about the College Essay from a Graduated Senior to The Class of 2013

About the Author: In a few weeks, Hunter will be a Freshman at UC Berkeley, considering a major in Physics.  He applied to 10 colleges and wrote 18 short answer and full length college application essays in Fall 2011.  _________________________ Tips for writing college essays (from someone who wrote quite a few): Don’t sacrifice your voice to achieve an orthodox…

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Guest Post: Parent to Parent Advice about College Applications

Norman’s daughter will be starting her Freshman year at the University of Washington in Fall 2012.    He offers the following perspective, having just completing the college application process: _________________________ Applying for college is an exciting time for every family.  It represents all the hopes and dreams that your student has had since he or she brought home her first report…

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You Can Dish It. Can You Take It?

Opening up to outside review of one’s work, including college essays, can create a wincing-eyes-jaw-clenching-fidgeting reaction to the surely unfounded criticism anticipated to be unleashed.  While the ultimate reward of such perspective can be a sharper argument and greater understanding, the human tendency to prevent humiliation can get the best of us.  (Incidentally, as humans we tend to confuse humility…

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Summer and the College Essay

Every summer, several parents of soon-to-be seniors contact Creative Marbles to ask about finishing college application essays before the next school year starts.  In parents’ minds, the thinking goes, “Summer’s a totally unstructured time.  Less distractions with school work and after-school activities.   The college essay is essential to a competitive application, and I want my son/daughter to be accepted to…

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