Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grieve, Grumble & Get Up~And Start Writing More College App Essays

This is a big week - a gigantic week - for tens of thousands of early action and early decision applicants from around the globe. Whether it's you or your child who is about to hear Yes, No, or Maybe from a first-choice school, please take a look at my advice on my latest Huff Po piece, "Grieve, Grumble and Get Up: Time for More College App Essays."  Here are a few excerpts and links to the whole piece. 

"Those clever folks at MIT have made something of a numbers joke about when early action admissions decisions will be announced: this coming Saturday, at 3:16 P.M. What? When you write it in numerals, it looks like this: 12/13/14 15:16. But the news will not be fun or funny for the great majority of those who receive it, since MIT's early action admit rate is a bit under 10 percent -- and overall, it's 7.9 percent. (For those who want a thorough, MIT-style breakdown of numbers for the class entering in 2014, click here.)

"The next few days -- with many schools announcing on Dec. 15 and Yale, to my knowledge, on December 16 -- will be exciting, fraught, gleeful, and agonizing for tens of thousands of young men and women across the globe, from Alaska to Zanzibar. As the news comes in, dreams will feel realized and disappointments will pile up.

"What to do with all of this high emotion? Here are some thoughts for parents, students, and family members.

"If the answer is YES from a first-choice school, parents and children should talk about when and how to announce it to others, either personally or on social media. Understand that most people will be happy for you, and that some might well feel more envy than shared joy. Be prepared. In your announcements, consider expressing an attitude of gratitude, not entitlement or triumph.
"If the answer is YES from a first-choice school, think long and hard about whether you need to make further applications to other schools. If financial aid is a major consideration, and you can anticipate a better offer, that's important, but if you're merely applying elsewhere to see how you do, take a moment to decide whether that's necessary, given that other students might really want that additional school, or those additional schools, as their first-choice. Of course, there are wait-lists, but they push decision-making to the limits for everyone involved. Short version: Celebrate your success and let others have theirs." READ MORE

Friday, December 5, 2014

45 Ways to Avoid "Very" in Your Common App & College App Essays

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As you put finishing touches on your college application essays - the Common Application and the supplements - comb them for uses of the word "very" and then study this terrific list.

Very? What's wrong with the word "very"? Doesn't it strengthen the word it modifies? Well, actually, no. Today on, I stumbled upon a wonderful list of words to replace the word "very." Instead of saying "very tired," substitute "exhausted." Instead of "very big," "immense," instead of "very bright," "dazzling," and instead of "very thin," try "gaunt."

Read your essays one more time to make sure the language is as colorful, precise, and powerful as it can be. This list might well help you when it comes to "very" and every other word. 

Here's a chart with the whole list, and here's the rationale from the Stumbled Upon Introduction: 

"Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." ~Mark Twain
"'Very' is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen." ~Florence King
"So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays." ~N.H. Kleinbaum

 Click here to see the full list of 45 words.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Truthiness Behind College Admit Rates~Don't Panic!

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My last four posts have been about the mad rush to apply to too many schools. Today's New York Times tracks the trend with some actual numbers in "For Accomplished Students, Reaching a Good College Isn't as Hard as it Seems." Kevin Carey's piece tries to assure applicants - and their parents! - that the dire figures lodged in our brains do not tell the whole story. 

Here's an excerpt, but it's worth reading the entire article:

"Earlier this year, Harvard announced that it had accepted 5.9 percent of the nearly 35,000 students who applied for admission to the class of 2018. The next day, Stanford announced an even more exacting 5.07 percent admission rate, the lowest in the university’s history.

"Statistics like these have come to dominate the national narrative of elite college admissions, with each new batch of ever-more-minuscule success rates fueling a collective sense that getting into a good college has become a brutal, “Hunger Games"-style tournament that only the fittest survive.

"That story is wrong. For well-qualified students, getting into a good college isn’t difficult. It probably isn’t that much harder than it was generations ago. The fact that everyone believes otherwise shows how reliance on a single set of data — in this case, institutional admission rates — can create a false sense of what’s really going on.

"To start, it’s worth noting that the headline-inducing single-digit rates reported by Harvard and Stanford are unusual even for elite institutions. Washington University in St. Louis, ranked 14th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, admitted 17 percent of applicants this year. Notre Dame admitted 21 percent, Wellesley 28 percent, and the University of Michigan 32 percent. Still, those numbers are low and have been declining in each case." READ MORE 

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Shrinking Your List of College App Essays & Supplements

Got the college app essay blues? The best way to shrink the list of essays you need to write between now and January 1st is to shrink your list of colleges. There's no magic solution as to how to do it. Without question - sorry, guys - It involves some work. In the end, though, it could save you time, money, and stress. 

As I said in my recent Huffington Post piece, "How Many College Apps (and College App Essays) are Too Many?" the first rule is to apply to schools that you actually want to attend, or that you have some reason for wanting to attend. 

Have you visited the school? Does it have an atmosphere or programs that interest you and suit your needs? Is there something about the curriculum - the courses required of you to graduate - that is either hugely appealing - or might be a real turn-off? Do you even know what's offered and required at these many schools to which you're applying?

How will you know any of these things? Each school's website is a place to start, but websites are sources of information as well as advertisements. They will not give you the low-down on what it's really like to be a student in these places. These three resources will give you another perspective: 1. College Prowler - tons of statistics and up-to-date student comments about every aspect of the institution. 2. The Insider's Guide to the Collegesedited by the Yale Daily News - a sassy, student's-eye view of some 350 colleges and universities, arranged by state. 3. The Best 378 Colleges, full of great stats and quotes from students and administrations about what each school offers.

There is a reason for the idea that you should choose schools in three categories: reach, target, safety. If you choose well, you do not need 10 in each category. If you have done your homework and are choosing schools that are suitable for you - and your family's budget - the list should be much smaller than that. 

If you need help with the process or the essays, please visit my website, Don't Sweat the Essay, or drop me a line: Or pick up the phone: 1-855-99-ESSAY.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

College App Essays--Trimming Your College List

If you haven't finished your college application essays and you have a long list of colleges, this weekend might be a good time to finish the essays for the schools you are most interested in - and trim your list down to the colleges you actually want to go to.

As Frank Bruni explains, in his recent Times op-ed, "Promiscuous College Come-ons," colleges are marketing to entice students to apply, merely to increase their applicant pool so they appear to be more selective. Bruni's piece expands on the piece I penned for Huffington Post last week, "How Many College Apps Are Too Many?" which includes one website and two great books you can use to learn more about colleges and limit your list to the schools that are appropriate and of real interest to you. The website is College Prowler.

Take a read. If you have questions about the process, and the essays in particular, drop me a line:

"BETWEEN the last application season and the current one, Swarthmore College, a school nationally renowned for its academic rigor, changed the requirements for students vying to be admitted into its next freshman class

"It made filling out the proper forms easier.

"A year ago, applicants were asked to write two 500-word essays as supplements to the standard one that’s part of the Common Application, an electronic form that Swarthmore and hundreds of small colleges and big universities accept. This was slightly more material than Swarthmore had previously requested, and it was more than many other highly selective schools demanded.

"Not coincidentally, the number of applicants to the college dropped, and its acceptance rate in turn climbed, to 17 from 14 percent, making Swarthmore seem less selective." READ MORE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Many College Apps Are Too Many!?!?

There is no magic number, but I'd say that 20 and 30 are too darn many. Consider the costs, the time, the stress, and all those essays that need to be written. Here are my latest thoughts on this trend from Huffington Post:
"A recent piece in The New York Times"What is the Perfect Number of College Applications to Send?" has tapped into a disturbing trend in college applications that I've seen in my business: students applying to dozens - and dozens - of colleges. Last year, I worked with two families whose children applied to 18 colleges each, despite my encouraging them to narrow the list and conserve their resources. Resources include time, money, and emotional health.
"Each application costs money, and so does sending SAT/ACT results to each college. And many schools these days require supplementary essays. It's not just a matter of pressing SEND along with your credit card information.
"One issue that the article does not address is the application essays that accompany these dozens of applications. Because schools now receive such a flood of applications, they need more ways to distinguish between students - and ways to read between the lines to see how serious students are about attending their school. Enter the supplementary essays. Some schools ask for just one; other schools, including Tufts, Brown, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Wake Forest, ask for upwards of three, four and sometimes six additional pieces of writing." READ MORE
Thanks for reading. To read more about my work, please visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay or send me an email: 

Monday, September 22, 2014

College App Essays Run Amok: A Coach's Advice & a Word About Spiders

My latest thoughts on Huffington Post - some practical advice, a little history, and a little kvetching - about where we are in college application essay land this fall: 
"I know, I'm a coach. I'm supposed to do the coach thing: cheerlead, encourage, help high school students brainstorm, find great essay topics and figure out what about their interests, experiences and passions would work best on the page. In other words, help them stand out in the piles of dazzling applicants to the highly competitive University of Fill in the Blank.
"This is what I do 99 percent of the time. But there are some days and weeks when I encounter articles and trends that make me cynical about what's expected of students, what's expected of parents and where we as a country are headed. Last week was one of those weeks.
"While most of my time was spent answering questions about which prompt might work best to discuss a life-changing experience living in the woods for three months, or how to do the research to tell a college why it's your first choice, I encountered a number of disturbing news items that gave me pause about the extreme nature of the game that college admissions has become. READ MORE 
For a consultation, please contact me: or 1-855-99-ESSAY. Visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay. And please repost this if you wish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Missing Supplements-Yes, There ARE Essays!

Thanks to consultant Jeannie Borin for her very useful information about this year's Common Application.  Among her two most salient pieces of information are these: 

When you look for the essay supplements for many schools on the Common App, you may not easily find them, but they are often there under the drop down menu under the "questions" tab.  And: you may only submit three different versions of your Common App essay. In order to make changes, you must "unlock" your application. As she says, "You cannot make any changes to an essay once it is submitted."  Here's more! 

• "The most confusing change this year is that although many colleges look like they don't have a writing supplement on the College Tab, they do! That writing supplement can now be found under that college's drop down menu under the questions tab. It is essential to comb the application thoroughly and look at every drop down menu, as some essay prompts may be more difficult to find. This could be overlooked if students are not aware."

• "The essay can be revised twice for no more than three revisions. This is a crucial point and one that often gets missed by students. In order to make changes to an essay after you submit an application to a college, students will need to unlock their applications. Students cannot make any changes to an essay once it is submitted to a college. You can unlock again up to a maximum of three revisions. Any remaining colleges would receive your last essay version." READ MORE

Need help with your college application essays? Common App, supplements, state university personal statements. Please send me an email or call me:  or 1-855-99-ESSAY.  And visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Step 1- Common App - Let the Popcorn Fly

When you start writing your college application essays, don't censor yourself. Choose a topic that really interests you, make a loose outline (a 4 or 5 paragraph essay), and then just write, so you can find out what your material is without inhibition. Think of it as making popcorn without a lid. Once the material is down on the screen/page, look for the best stuff - the smartest points, the best writing, the most revealing insights - and start to edit - AKA cleaning up the popcorn. Expect to do three or four drafts. Check back later this week for more tips. UPDATE: Here's a revised post about the Common App prompts that I promised. Hope it's useful.

Which colleges have done most to support low-income students?

A breakdown of which colleges have made the most serious efforts to make admission possible for low and lower-income students .... Worth reading this Times article and studying the numbers...

"Over the last decade, dozens of colleges have proclaimed that recruiting a more economically diverse student body was a top priority. Many of those colleges have not matched their words with actions. But some have.

"These colleges have changed policies and made compromises elsewhere to recruit the kind of talented poor students who have traditionally excelled in high school but not gone to top colleges. A surprising number of such students never graduate from any college.

"This education gap is a problem not only for the teenagers on the wrong end of it. It’s a problem for the American economy. The economic differences between college graduates and everyone else have reached record levels. Yet for many low-income children – even many who get A’s in high school and do well on the SAT – college remains out of reach. No wonder that upward mobility is less common in the United States than in many other rich countries.  READ MORE

Need help with your college application essays? Common App, supplements, state university personal statements. Please send me an email or call me:  or 1-855-99-ESSAY.  And visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Live Q/A College Applications & Essays~Wed. Aug. 20~Cambridge, MA

Rising seniors. Frantic parents. 'Tis the season.... I'm excited to speak on Wed. Aug. 20 - 7PM - at one of my favorite bookstores, Porter Square Books at Porter Square, Cambridge, MA, about how to approach applying to college in 2014, with a few favorite books to help out. Bring a parent, bring a son or daughter, a notebook (or phone or iPad), and your questions. Please join me for this free event. For details, CLICK HERE

From the bookstore's description of the event: 

"Everyone says so: Back in the day, applying to college was so much easier. These days, it can be like mounting a presidential campaign. Many factors have contributed to the madness, but once families understand the different components of the process, it is more manageable. Noted author Elizabeth Benedict and her company Don't Sweat the Essay specialize in helping students create application essays that work, whether students need help only with the Common Application essay or a dozen or more that are sometimes required, depending on each school's requirements. 

"Elizabeth will share her wisdom in a lively 45-minute discussion, with plenty of time for questions and answers. She will offer books to consult and practical tips for parents and students. She writes about these issues frequently for Huffington Post. Please visit her website for more information:"

Need help with your college application essays? Common App, supplements, state university personal statements. Please send me an email or call me:  or 1-855-99-ESSAY.  And visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay

Sunday, July 27, 2014

College App Essay Makes Doonesbury

I've been saying for some time that the college application essay genre is becoming the most popular in the country. Today, it's the subject of a Doonesbury cartoon. The issue - what happens when Mom helps write the essay for her daughter.... What could possibly go wrong? Have a look here. And enjoy. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Correct Info About College App Essays on Universal Application

The Universal Application is a newcomer to the electronic college application field that got an unexpected boost last year, when the Common Application introduced a new system that had "issues" for many months. Because all the application eggs had been put into that one basket, thousands of students and universities were scrambling for alternatives, and the Universal App provided them with a different application. It was not identical to the Common App, and one way it was different was that it required a 500-word essay - instead of the 650-word essay that many students had prepared, intending to use it for the Common App.

This year, The Universal Application has upped their game with a 650-word essay on any topic - so the Common App essay can also be used here too. This will make it all the easier to use for those applying to any of the 50 +/- schools in this list, including Harvard, Princeton, University of Chicago, Brandeis, Johns Hopkins, and many others - click here for the list. 

Yet in recent days and weeks, I have been surprised by several websites and tweeters who should know better who are passing on incorrect information about the essay component of the Universal Application. As I read the Universal Application - and you can read it here too - an essay of up to 650 words is indeed required. 

For help with your essay at any stage of the process, please shoot me an email or call me:  1-855-99-ESSAY.

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Don't Sweat The Essay
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

UPDATE! 10 Tips 4 Staying Sane While Applying to College & Writing College App Essays

For those who couldn't make it to my talk at the Oak Bluff's public library in Massachusetts, here's the hand-out I distributed at the talk.

1. Bear in mind: It's normal to feel like you are going crazy. The process creates that, and the current atmosphere contributes. You have lots of company. It's not you, it's today's system. 

2.  Bear in mind: There is an end date to the crazy. It won't go on forever, even though it feels like it will. 

3.  Don't Pull an All-Nighter the Night Before - AKA: Start Early
Whether it's your search for the right college, your contacting teachers for letters of recommendation or writing your application essays (yes, often it's more than one essay), give yourself plenty of time. What's the right timetable? It's ideal to have your list of colleges by summer before application, with all the requirements and required essays spelled out; to have a good draft of the Common App essay by the time you return to school in the fall. If you're applying to schools with many supplementary essays, be sure to understand that early and plan accordingly. If you have a very busy school-year schedule and many essays, use your time in the summer to do them.

4. Submit Your Applications Some Time Before the Due Dates. 
Last year, the Common Application organization had massive computer problems, and many thousands of students, teachers, and colleges had to work around them, under tremendous stress. This is a useful lesson: If you wait until the last days, you will be pressing SEND with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of other students. Website crashes happen. 

Make a Chart. Share it with Your Parents. Keep it visible. 
As soon as you can, make a chart on paper (print it out) of all your schools, application due dates, requirements (recommendations, SAT subject tests, etc.), ESSAY REQUIREMENTS (with topics and word counts), and share it with your parents, so you can work to block out time to do everything in a timely way.

6.  Diversify, diversity, diversify. 
Pick schools smartly and pick a range. Just as financial counselors tell people to diversify their investments to spread the risk of losing money, make sure your list includes reaches, targets and safeties. It's not wise to have, say, 8 reaches and 1 safety. Research the schools and make sure your grades, scores and interests match up. Some students apply to many Ivy League and other top schools without understanding the differences between them in terms of curriculum, expectations, and atmosphere, and without understanding what the schools are looking for. Find out whether Top Dog University is the right school for you by reading about it in the resource books below and on College Prowler (  

7.  Consult resource books:
~ The Insider's Guide to the Colleges (published every year), edited by the Yale Daily News (student takes on their colleges, written by students, for students, in a lively voice).  
~ The Best 378 Colleges by the Princeton Review, new edition every year
~ K& +W Guide to College Programs & Services for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD

8.  If you need financial aid, make sure you apply to schools where it would be available to you. 
Many colleges have a “Calculator” you can plug in your numbers to and learn how much aid you might qualify for. State universities, including Michigan and U California, do not generally offer scholarships to out of state students, though you may be eligible for loans.

8. Whether you're a Parent or a Student, it's Not Necessary to Share Details with Friends. 
Applying to college is a touchy subject. Who's applying where, who gets in where, and who is upset about not getting in - all add to the ordinary stresses. It may be less stressful not to share. It’s fine to say: “I think I’d rather not talk about all of this yet.” Or: “Son/daughter doesn’t want me to talk about this.”
9.  Visit the schools. Ideally, visit when school is in session.
If you are applying Early Decision (BINDING), visit the school so you can report you have visited on the application AND you can include reflections of your visit in your essay if you have to write about why you want to attend that school.

10.  Consider applying Early Decision and/or Early Action (binding vs. non-binding), so that your worries might be over by mid-December, instead of March or April. Consult each school's website to find out if they do ED or EA. 
Upside: You might have decisions by mid-December.  Downside: If you're rejected or deferred in mid-December, you have to submit applications afterwards, usually with Jan. 1 or Jan. 15 deadlines.  It's wise to do as much work as you can before mid-December.  1-855-99-ESSAY

If you can't make it to the library, please email or phone for individual support, on-island or anywhere around the world (I have worked with clients in Hong Kong, Cairo, Alaska, and Chagrin Falls, Ohio).

Monday, June 30, 2014

5 Pieces of Good News From a College Admissions Application Essay Counselor

Quick, think of five pieces of good news about college application essays. Here's my list of five from my latest Huffington Post blog, "5 Pieces of Good News from a College Admissions Application Essay Counselor." Here's #1: 

1. The good news is that there's plenty of time, but -- as Albert Einstein taught us (see "Theory of Relativity"), there are many definitions of time, depending on where you are and where you want to end up. If you have a summer crammed with work or adventure, with sports camp, math camp, internships on Capitol Hill, and/or a job scooping ice cream at the beach, you may not be able to devote many days or weeks to getting a head start on the essays -- but you can and should put your downtime to good use.
"If you're not going to tackle any of the essays, make a chart of the schools you plan to apply to and the essay prompts required at each, with the number of words and the due dates.
"Will you have to write three essays beyond the Common App essay? Will you have closer to thirteen? Can you use the same material for some essays? Are all the schools you're applying to on the Common App? To date, a few schools have revealed their supplementary essays; most should be available by August 1, when the Common Application goes live. The university synonymous with quirky essays, the University of Chicago, has posted its upcoming essays. You might enjoy the prompts even if you have no plans to apply. (Prompt #1: "What's so odd about odd numbers?")
"Once you have your preliminary list, you might see that you have less time than you imagined you did." READ MORE 
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Get the Common App Essay Over with on Martha's Vineyard in July

I'm back on the Vineyard this summer- 2016! Click here:

Why not get the essay over with early in the summer? There's so much anxiety around the Common Application essay that getting it over with earlier rather than later can be a huge relief. And a learning experience. If you're applying to schools that require supplementary essays too, and many do, working with me on the Common App essay is a great way to get your writing muscles into shape and get the hang of these often challenging essays.  If you sign up with me to do your essays, I will give you a free copy of "the hippest grammar book ever written," Sin and Syntax, by Constance Hale.  She's funny, smart, and breaks down the elements of good writing with uncommon wisdom and insight. And did I mention that she's funny?

Click on my website and the Martha's Vineyard link to my July workshops. Sign up for a workshop or for private sessions - on the island and around the world via Skype and Google Docs.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

JFK, Kwasi Enin and the College Admissions Application Essays

I've been thinking hard about Kwasi Enin, JFK, and the evolution of the college application essay - and what selective schools really want to know about applicants - for the last few months. Here's a snippet of my latest Huffington Post College blog - just out.

"Students applying to selective schools in 2014 face a barrage of essays that would challenge the literary chops of Mark Twain. The Common Application essay -- most famous, most feared -- has become a genre of its own, with a contest that started this May, and a $5000 prize, inviting students to enter the essays they submitted for admission earlier in the year. And scores of schools require additional essays of every imaginable variety, asking students to design a course (Colorado College), comment on a quotation (Princeton), write a letter to a prospective roommate (Stanford), and to say what makes them happy (Tufts).

"Welcome to the boutiqueification of higher education. In other countries, college applicants may have to take entrance exams that last up to three days, and judgments are based only the results of those tests. Here we judge kids on their grades, tests scores, extra curricular activities, and through a raft of essays that probe their feelings, their writing skills and, to some extent, their intellects. The exotic essay questions enchant, amuse (a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down), distinguish schools and students from one another, and perhaps keep some students from making frivolous applications to colleges that they have no interest in attending, now that the Common Application has made applying easier than live streaming a season of Breaking Bad." READ MORE

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rape Charge in College Application Admissions Essay?

This New York Times piece is probably the most disturbing story I've ever read about the abuse of the college application essay. It will no doubt get a lot more attention in the coming days. Without knowing anymore than is in this story, I would have to say that a college application essay is not the place to disclose to your mother that you were the victim of a crime. It is tragic if this young woman felt this was the only way she could convey this information to her mother - especially almost a decade after the events were said to occur. 

There may be no simple takeaway from this sad story. Let's call it a reminder to parents to find a way to look at their children's college application essays if possible, at the very least to make sure they are appropriate, and a reminder to students to use their essays to convey relevant information about who they are as students, college applicants, and young adults. 

"NEW YORK — A jury on Wednesday deliberated the fate of a New York man on trial for rape after his stepdaughter wrote in her college application essay about being sexually abused by him as a child.

"Albert Tarrats, 62, of Brooklyn faces a 25-year prison sentence if he is convicted by the jury in State Supreme Court in the borough, court officials said.

"Tarrats was arrested on rape charges in 2012, soon after his stepdaughter, now 18, wrote to college admission officers that Tarrats sexually abused her repeatedly over several months when she was 8 years old, according to prosecutors.

"Her mother read the essay and contacted a rape hot line, which put her in touch with police," Kings County District Attorney spokeswoman Helen Peterson said." READ MORE

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tutor on the Dangers of Oversharing on the College App Essay

All the news that's fit to print? The New York Times' Frank Bruni has a disturbing and fascinating article on oversharing on the college application essay. Did this applicant get into Yale? You'll have to read the entire article to find out, but I think you'll find it worthwhile. P.S. Oversharing isn't an issue with the students I work with. I encourage them to find other topics that are more appropriate.

"THE Yale applicant had terrific test scores. She had fantastic grades. As one of Yale’s admissions officers, Michael Motto, leafed through her application, he found himself more and more impressed.

"Then he got to her essay. As he remembers it, she mentioned a French teacher she greatly admired. She described their one-on-one conversation at the end of a school day. And then, this detail: During their talk, when an urge to go to the bathroom could no longer be denied, she decided not to interrupt the teacher or exit the room. She simply urinated on herself.

"'Her point was that she was not going to pull herself away from an intellectually stimulating conversation just to meet a physical need,' said Motto, who later left Yale and founded Apply High, a firm that guides students through the admissions process. READ MORE

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