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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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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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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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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Common App

Discipline question on the Common App disappearing for Fall 2022 Admissions

First year college applicants using The Common Application will no longer be prompted to report any high school disciplinary infractions, starting with the Fall 2022 admissions cycle. Similarly, counselors will not be specifically prompted to report disciplinary actions in their letters of recommendation or School Report.  The Common Application CEO Jenny Rickard reasons: Requiring students to disclose disciplinary actions has…

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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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More About Test-Optional Admissions

We’ve abruptly and unequivocally changed the rules of college admissions for all expected-to-attend-college Gen Z’ers and, by extension, their parents, precipitating wide-ranging reactions. But, all reactions are underpinned by what one university administrator recently shared in a Maguire Associates survey:  “Students are confused by the various test requirements and second guess what we are really doing behind the curtain. There…

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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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College Admissions: complexity and emotion in a time of increasing demand

Every Spring, students and parents confront the subjectivity of the college admissions process, where “No’s”, “Yes’s” or “Maybe’s”, are all equally unexplainable, given the complexity inherent to the admissions evaluation process.  Thousands upon thousands of applicants are evaluated in under five months, read multiple times by at least two different individuals, who are all susceptible to bias, as well as…

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