Friday, August 30, 2013

Who Gets Into Harvard, Princeton & Everywhere Else?

The publication of Lacy Crawford's new novel, EARLY DECISION, has been a public benefit to all who are applying to college this fall and to those of us who help the applicants. The novel is a vivid dramatization of the process, the passions, and the problems students, parents, and coaches encounter. Just as valuable (and almost as much fun to read!) are her many essays and blogs about her past life as a high-end college coach. In these posts, she's offering a wealth of great advice and insights based on years of experience -- at no charge.

Read the novel, read her essays and blogs here (with her media appearances), and check out her latest blog post, on the Girl Who Got in Everywhere - including Harvard, Princeton, and Amherst. Best of all, she includes the young woman's Common App and Princeton essays.

Monday, August 26, 2013

College App Essay Coach to the Super Rich - on College Admissions Madness

Former college tutor-to-the-rich Lacy Crawford has just published a novel inspired by her 15 years helping these children write their college application essays. Her novel, Early Decision, is being published this week by William Morrow. I can't wait to read it. Take a look at her terrific essay in the New York Post. Here's an excerpt: 
"You’ll know how this story ends. She got into Yale, of course, early decision. But her real success was in giving the admissions officers the kind of honesty that is harder and harder to find in these days of tiger parenting. And, I like to think, in clearing a path to her own life, she graduated and became an apprentice gardener with the city Parks Service. She’ll have to work her way up to Central Park, her own front lawn, but she is finally doing what she wants to do.
"This is the biggest secret to success in the college applications madness: It’s not about getting kids in. It’s about allowing them to grow up." READ MORE 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What an Essay Coach Can Do

My webmaster is unavailable, so I can't put this new testimonial on my official website, but I was thrilled yesterday to hear from the mother of a rising high school senior. We had just finished her son's essay (Topic #5: Describe an accomplishment or event ... which marked your transition from childhood to adulthood...) She wrote: "I am, frankly, stunned by how smoothly this went. I thought he might procrastinate more but he really had such a commitment to meet your expectations. You must have a real gift for connecting with teenagers! (in the summer, no less)."

I worked with her son on brainstorming an idea for his essay. We met in person for this, and the remainder of the work we did was via Skype, using Google Docs, to review his essay together. Once he wrote his 1st draft, getting the essay into great shape took 3 sessions. The 4th session was trimming it to 650 words. (I think we got it to 645 words.) In answer to critics and the curious: I DO NOT write essays for clients. I help them find a topic that will enable them to write their best essay, and then I give them a mini-course in writing essays, so that they LEARN how to write these essays as they refine and polish their own work. There are usually a few grammar lessons involved.

This summer, I've also worked with a good number of students strictly by phone or Skype, with no personal meetings.

Few if any students are versed in writing essays like these, since most of their school lives, they've had to write academic essays. These are personal essays. A whole different set of rules and expectations applies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Consider a Women's College, Even if You Hadn't Before...

I just came across this wonderful Huff Po piece by Diane Propsner about the ongoing value of attending a women's college. For those wanting a top-notch education, many fine women's colleges have much higher acceptance rates than the more selective co-ed schools. Keep these on your radar: Barnard College (part of Columbia University), Bryn Mawr (in alliances with Haverford and Swarthmore), Smith and Mount Holyoke (part of the 5-college consortium in Western MA). After reading a comment on Huff Po, I want to add Spelman College, in Atlanta, at which Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey have spoken in the last few years. READ MORE

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Is a parent, counselor, or teacher nagging you about writing your essay? Make them stop!"

Wellesley College has a wonderful page about the essay and what it means to them. Take a look, even if Wellesley isn't on your list. You might even put it on your list once you read this. 

"At Wellesley, typically three members of the Board of Admission read your application. The Board includes faculty members, administrators, admission professionals, and current students. We’re music lovers, artists, cyclists, baseball fans, professors, guitar heroes, runners, scientists, poets, beaders, computer techies, and more, thus bringing many perspectives to the admission process.
"For all of us, reading your essay is one of the most enjoyable parts of the admission process. Your goal should be to make members of the Board of Admission feel as though we’re sitting down at the table together to discuss your interests and aspirations. We’re keen to know your story." READ MORE 

Friday, August 9, 2013

I HEART the New Common Application Essay Prompts

My thoughts about the new essay questions on Huffington Post's College Page.

"When the new prompts were posted last spring, I liked them right away. They seemed more personal, more probing, and more direct -- capable of eliciting better stories, information, and insights from students. Having spent the last two months working with students on essays using the new prompts, I feel even more enthusiastic about them now." READ MORE ...

Application Bootcamp Helps Low-Income Students

A wonderful community effort from outside Chicago ... READ ABOUT IT

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Value of a College Education

If you're reading this blog, you or your child are probably in the midst of applying to college - so you don't need to be convinced of the value of education. But I just came across this article by the President of St. John's College in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and wanted to share it with you, as it makes the case in a particularly persuasive way. 

"But the value of a college education goes far beyond earning power and the contribution to the economy. It is more than a simple return on investment... College graduates have more stable families, volunteer at higher levels, and support charities and other philanthropic endeavors at greater rates and levels. They participate in public and community affairs and vote at a greater rate than those without a college degree. In short, a college education prepares graduates for citizenship, which requires a deeper and broader education than job training can, or means, to provide. The big ideas encountered and engaged at liberal arts colleges provide that depth and breadth." READ MORE

How to Make a College Application Stand Out

This article hits the main points and, I hope, might diminish the fear factor for some. Take a look.

“The good news is that most colleges accept the majority of applicants, and thus the well-publicized scare tactics apply only to a small handful of the most sought-after schools,” says Sally Rubenstone at College Confidential. “Even students who are disappointed in a quest for an Ivy League school can find well respected institutions where they will be happy and engaged.” READ MORE

Sunday, August 4, 2013

College Testing Anxiety Sends Kids to Therapy~

An article about the trend for high school students to take both the SAT and the ACT in today's New York Times has some disturbing news about what I call College Admissions Mania Syndrome. One New York City student ended up in therapy because her anxiety was so serious. The article fails to mention that there are 800 colleges that do not require standardized tests. The Washington Post has a 2012 article about that trend, which you can read here.