Sunday, June 23, 2013

Stanford posts 10 First Lines of College Essays That Worked

10 Opening Lines from Stanford Admission Essays

  1. -- I change my name each time I place an order at Starbucks.
  2. -- When I was in the eighth grade I couldn't read.
  3. -- While traveling through the daily path of life, have you ever stumbled upon a hidden pocket of the universe?
  4. -- I have old hands.
  5. -- I was paralyzed from the waist down. I would try to move my leg or even shift an ankle but I never got a response. This was the first time thoughts of death ever cross my mind.
  6. -- I almost didn't live through September 11th, 2001.
  7. -- The spaghetti burbled and slushed around the pan, and as I stirred it, the noises it gave off began to sound increasingly like bodily functions.
  8. -- I have been surfing Lake Michigan since I was 3 years old.
  9. -- I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy -instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm.
  10. -- I had never seen anyone get so excited about mitochondria.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Two Words: Essays Matter

This isn't news to anyone reading this blog, but this article from the Fort-Worth Star Telegram paints a vivid and not always encouraging picture of top students vying for a limited number of places at top schools. Take away? Essays matter. 

Common App Essay Changes Inspire New Questions from UVa

When the Common Application (CA) announced several months ago that it had dramatically changed the essay prompts for the 2013-14 applicants, of course I wondered if those changes would ripple throughout the supplementary applications, inspiring a raft of new prompts at schools around the country. Most schools won't post their 2013-14 applications until late summer, but the University of Virginia just announced big changes in their additional essays, brought about by the new CA prompts.

Here's some straight talk from the source at UVa. I think there are some terrific new questions here, just waiting for your thoughtful answers. What do you think?  

2013-2014 UVa Supplement Essay Questions for First Year Applicants

1.  We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.  Answer the question that corresponds to the school you selected.  Limit your answer to a half page or roughly 250 words.  
  • College of Arts & Sciences:  What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • Engineering:  If you were given funding for a small engineering project, what would you do? 
  •  Architecture:  Students in the school of architecture study the physical design of the environment in which we live, including cities, landscapes, and buildings. That environment has a profound effect on the way that people and societies interact and develop. Describe how a particular physical place has influenced your growth as a person.
  • Nursing:  Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  •  Kinesiology: Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.                                                                        
2.  Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words:
  • What is your favorite word and why?
  •  The Honor Code at U.Va. states that students will not lie, cheat, or steal. This strengthens our Community of Trust. What would you add to the Honor Code and why?
  • In 2006, graduate student Robert Stilling discovered an unpublished poem by Robert Frost while doing research in U.Va.’s Small Collections Library. Where will your Stilling moment be in college?
  •  We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • To tweet or not to tweet?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Law School Personal Statements and "Diversity" - Some Tips from a Pro

If you're looking at writing your law school essays this summer or fall and you're uncertain about what to say or not say on the "diversity" matter, this new article from US News is an excellent discussion of the issues and the possibilities. If you need help pulling together your thoughts or your essay, let me know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Summer Vacation the Time to Write College Application Essays?

Check out my latest piece on Huffington Post's College Page, "Writing College Application Essays on Summer Vacay? Yes." And here's some news: I've just begun an SAT prep partnership with Capital District Consulting. They do SAT prep with special emphasis on helping students strategize and lower anxiety as they take the tests, and they offer private tutoring in the NYC-NJ-Albany-Boston region.

Thanks for checking in here. We look forward to hearing from you~