Sunday, July 31, 2016

College Consultant Application Essays & STEM Panel - Martha's Vineyard Augus 2016

Wednesday August 3, I’m giving a talk with Q/A at the Edgartown Library – the new building – at 6.30pm. Here’s the library’s write up from their website. Please join us! 26 West Tisbury Road, Edgartown, MA 02539.

College Admissions Tips:  Free Program on Wednesday, August 3

“Author and former Princeton professor Elizabeth Benedict started her company, Don’t Sweat the Essay, to help high school students with their college application essays. Now she advises families on the entire process.
“She’ll answer your questions — and calm some of your fears — in her free lecture/Q&A, 10 Tips for Staying Sane While Applying to College, here at the library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3.”
Thursday August 4th is a very different sort of event at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs – a panel discussion, “Impact of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) in the 21st Century.” With Dr. John Wilson, Morehouse College; Freada Klein, Kabor Center for Social Impact; Winston Henderson of Nano Terra, Inc.; and Rick Fredkin, Eduporium. 55 Narragansett Ave. Oak Bluffs.
Contact me for information about college applications and application essays. or 1-855-99-ESSAY.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

45 Ways to Avoid Saying "Very" in Your College Application Essay or Personal Statement (Robin Williams Helps)

What's wrong with the word "very"?

Such an emphatic little word.

It makes what comes next much more than it is on its own. Right? No. Not really.

This is a short blog post. Or: This is a very short blog post?

I walk fast to the bank. I walk very fast to the bank?  What's so wrong with that?

I run to the bank. I sprint to the bank. I gallop to the bank. I race to the bank.

Which is more vivid, more descriptive, more memorable? Which suggests that there might be a serious reason for why you're sprinting to the bank?

Once you click on this website and read the full list, you'll know more. And Robin Williams - in the Dead Poets Society - is there to help. Funny. Very funny. Sometimes it's OK to say very. But rarely. You might even say, very rarely, but it would be wrong. (And sorry about the ads and junk on the link; it's hard to get a clear list of the words in readable form, which is why I don't have one on this page.)

Which is better: Please visit my new website. Or: Please visit my very new website? You decide. Click here for more information about college application essays. Or send me an email:  ~~  And thanks. Thanks very much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Admissions News from Yale College from College Application Essay Tutor

Please visit the new improved Don't Sweat the Essay website.

In the meantime, in this season of college application essay frenzy, some news out of Yale puts a more hopeful spin on this coming year's admissions prospects. it's rare - all right, unheard of - for Ivy League universities to increase the incoming class size, but that's exactly what's going to happen this coming year at Yale College. 

College Application
Consultant Liz Benedict 

While you absorb that news, spend some time studying what Yale is looking for essay-wise, by starting at the University's own website. Here's my latest post on Huffington Post, "Apply Wisely: Not All About The Application Essays~Yale College to Admit More Students In Class Of 2021," with all the news that's fit to print, and more:

"Applying to college isn’t all about the application essays, even though it can sometimes feel that it is. The essays are one of your chances to stand out from the pile, but without the grades, scores, rigorous high school record, and teacher recommendations, admission to the uppermost most selective colleges is generally out-of-reach.
"Part of being a successful applicant is choosing wisely where you’ll apply. With our mania for applying to a dozen or even two dozen colleges, the idea of targeting your choices has lost out to strafing the landscape with applications.
"How will you know where to apply? Here’s the homework. Study the college’s website and its writing supplements for clues about the kind of students they’re looking for. Read the entries in The Best 380 Colleges and in The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges - and look honestly at your own record. Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and the other top universities don’t make decisions based exclusively on top grades and top SAT/ACT scores. Keep in mind these words from the Yale admissions website:
'“We estimate that over three quarters of the students who apply for admission to Yale are qualified to do the work here. Between two and three hundred students in any year are so strong academically that their admission is scarcely ever in doubt. But here is the thing to know: the great majority of students who are admitted stand out from the rest because a lot of little things, when added up, tip the scale in their favor. So what matters most in your application? Ultimately, everything matters. The good news in that is that when so many little things figure into an admissions decision, it is fruitless to worry too much about any one of them." READ IT ALL.  1-855-99-ESSAY  Don't Sweat The Essay 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Common Application College Essay Coach Tutor Martha's Vineyard August 2016

This August on Martha’s Vineyard … Work with me privately on college application essays and/or attend my public Q&A at the Edgartown Library Aug. 3.
I will be giving a free information session with a Q&A period about college admissions at the Edgartown Public Library. Or call or email me to discuss your son’s or daughter’s needs.
with Elizabeth Benedict at Don’t Sweat The Essay
Brings your kids, your questions, and your concerns.
  • Wednesday August 3, 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
    Edgartown Public Library, 26 West Tisbury Road, Edgartown.
My clients regularly get into their first choice schools early and regular decision, including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, MIT, NYU, Cornell, Vassar, UMass, UMich, UPenn, Washington University, Skidmore, medical and laws schools, and dozens of other colleges and universities.
Recommendations from Vineyard families, including this Edgartown parent: “I cannot imagine having lived through the essay writing aspect of college applications without Elizabeth Benedict. Liz worked with my daughter during the summer between her junior and senior years. By getting a head start, Liz was able to encourage my daughter to revisit her essays multiple times. The end product was outstanding and really conveyed a sense of her individuality and strengths." For more information, visits my TESTIMONIALS from students admitted to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UVa, Barnard, Smith, and other first choice colleges and universities. 
See my website for additional recommendations from students and parents.
Private sessions at your Vineyard home or mine – from July 31st to August 12th. Skype sessions available too. If you’re on the Cape, we can meet in Wood’s Hole or Falmouth.
My cottage is in West Tisbury, centrally located.
Email or call me:

Yale Admissions Video: The Application Essay

If you're interested in applying to Yale, take a look at this useful video by an admissions officer about what they're interested in. It might surprise you!

For more on applying to Yale, visit my Don't Sweat The Essay website.

To email me:

Phone: 1-855-99-ESSAY.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Please Visit the New Improved College Common Application Essay Tutor Coach Consultant Website

If you're here, you're probably looking for advice, guidance, inspiration and/or HELP with your own or your child's college or grad school application essays. You might even want help on where to apply to college. I know a few things about that too.

Please click here for my new website - under the same company name, Don't Sweat the Essay - where I'll be posting frequently on these topics, and offering as much information as I can.

And if you want to contact me directly, email or phone.  1-855-99-ESSAY.

Thanks for stopping by.

College Consultant Liz Benedict

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Help! Myths & Mysteries: Q & A with College Application Essay Tutor

From my latest Huff Po piece, just published on the College Page.
“I recently had the pleasure of talking to a group of high school students in a summer writing program about college application essays.
“Instead of asking me to give a talk, the director of the program invited the students to ask me whatever was on their minds. We had a lively conversation, covered the most pressing issues around the Common App essay, the personal statement, and the supplements, and I was reminded of how many myths and mysteries there are for applicants every year. Here’s a handful of their questions.
1. What essay topics will hurt my application?
“The key to a terrific essay is finding a topic that makes you feel energized and ready to write – the one that feels natural, and will therefore make the essay fun to tackle, and something of a personal exploration. But if the topic you hit on is on this taboo list, well, time to do some more soul-searching and brainstorming. You’ve probably heard some of these prohibitions, but there may be a few here you haven’t heard:
“Avoid mentioning sex and drugs. (Oldest advice there is.)
“Avoid writing about the books that every high school student has to read or probably has read, includingHarry Potter in all his incarnations, TwilightTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Great GatsbyGame of Thrones, or whatever new sensation has gripped the imagination of millions. It’s not at all that colleges frown on these books or frown on your enthusiasm for them. Don’t stop reading! It’s that calling attention to these blockbuster books – or books on every high school syllabus – won’t make your essay stand out. You’re looking for material that’s uniquely yours.
“Skip speeches and academic papers. The essays are personal statements about what matters to you. If you’re crazy about ancient history or mitochondria, it can be great to write about your enthusiasm for the topic and why it makes you feel like dancing – but that’s quite different from a piece called “Babylonian Religious Artifacts” or “The First Amendment and the Origins of Democracy.” Remember, make in personal.  READ THE REST
Shoot me an email if you have questions:

Drop in, Pop Up College Common App Essay Help Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, MA

I work with students all over the country and the world on Skype. So far this summer, I’ve got clients in the Midwest, Hong Kong, New York City, Saratoga Springs, and Martha’s Vineyard. You can usually find me in New York City, but when summer comes, I roam and rove, usually around New England.
From now until the end of July, I’m on the border of Cambridge and Somerville, MA. If you’re in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville – or anywhere in the vicinity – I’m holding a drop-in essay clinic five days this July. Just call or email me the day before, come for a minimum of an hour, and bring your questions and essay drafts. I’m also available other days and nights for private sessions. We'll schedule a time the day before.
If you’re interested, these dates are open: July 15, 18, 20, 25, 27. I’ll meet you at Porter Square Books, in the Porter Square Shopping Center, and we’ll find a quiet place to work nearby. You'll have 110% of my attention.
If you’re interested, please email me or call for prices. I have flexible fees and a sliding scale. 1-855-99-ESSAY. Please check out my TESTIMONIALS on Don't Sweat the Essay to find out more about how I work. And thanks for stopping by.

Backstage at the Amherst College Admissions Committee-How Much Do the Essays Matter & Other Mysteries

Please visit my new website for the latest in college application essay news by clicking right here:
Don't Sweat the Essay.

You can always read my latest blog by clicking here.
Calling all Amherst College applicants and seekers.
How important is your Common Application essay in the context of your entire application?
It matters, for sure, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle that admissions officers judge. This fascinating video – a behind-the- scenes peek at how Amherst College makes decisions about whom to admit and whom to put on the waiting list – has been online for a while, but every time I look at it, I learn something new.
Keep in mind as you watch that the students being considered in this room are those who have made the penultimate cut: they’re the top candidates left standing near the end of the process, so their academic credentials have already been noticed.
The message here is not that hardship = admissions to Amherst but that the committee values success despite impediments. A top student who has faced considerable hardship is one who impresses. But many others students do too.
Keep in mind that the video does not report every moment of these intense meetings.
What did you learn from watching the video?
Please visit my new website and shoot me an email if you're sweating the essay.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Road2College ~ Tutor 's 10 Tips for Staying Sane While Writing College Application Essays

The terrific website, Road2College, invited me to share some tips about writing - and getting ready to write - the college application essays, including taking on the Common App prompts. Here are the first four. Click here to read the rest and get acquainted with this very helpful site, especially as it relates to financial aid. 

1. Note the Bad News and the Good News
Sorry to tell you this: The essays are a slog, and if you’re applying to schools with many supplements or several schools not on the Common Application, they can add up to a lot of work. The good news is that doing the work can be a terrific way to focus your experience, your perceptions, your goals, and your sense of yourself as a soon-to-be college student. Finding your voice and your story will help you make that transition. Writing the essays can help you learn how to present yourself, talk about your interests, talents and accomplishments – without sounding as though you’re bragging.
 2. Get Personal
I advise students applying to Common Application colleges and universities or to a majority of them to do the Common App essay first. And when you do, find a topic that makes your heart beat a little faster than usual – a topic with some energy and even tension: A piece of your personal story that’s essential to who you are and not reflected in your activities list, a talent, a hardship, a moment you took a risk and spoke out to defend a position, or a problem you solved, even if it was putting together a trampoline in your backyard. Students have not been encouraged to write from a personal perspective for much of high school, and having to do that suddenly for the Common App essay and for many of the supplements can be a real challenge. These are personal essays, not academic papers or speeches.
 3. There are no right answers
Students often ask me: What does the school want me to write? It is often a surprise for them to hear that the school wants to know what you think and what your experience is. The essay is a kind of interview. Reveal yourself. Make sure your essays tell what it is you want colleges to know about you: Your passions, your talents, your ambitions, the qualities that make you who you are. No right answers – but do remember to answer the questions/prompts you are asked, whether it’s the Common App prompts or the other possibilities.
 4. Make a Master List
Once you are done with your Common App essay, make a master list of what supplementary essays are required for each college: 1. The topic. 2. The length. 3. The due dates. See where you can recycle material. Have a sense in advance how many essays you might have to do – whether it’s 3 or 15 or even 20. Some colleges have 2, 3, 4, or even more essays. Though the essays may only be 100, 250 or 500 words, they must be written with well-considered words. Some of the essays are creative (“What makes you happy?” “What’s the sweetest sound you’ve ever heard?”), others are more straightforward (why this college/why your major). READ THE REST
Please visit my website, Don't Sweat the Essay, send me an email or call me for more information about my services.  1-855-99-ESSAY.