Thursday, March 17, 2016

Insider Advice: What College Admissions Officers Tell Their Own Kids

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Insider info is ours! The New York Times has interviewed about ten college admissions officers - at MIT, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Kenyon and elsewhere - to find out what advice they give their own children about applying the college. The article - about college applications essays and much else - is well worth reading. Here's the opening or click here for the whole article.

"While most parents find the college process stressful and bewildering, we interviewed some who have a unique perspective: admissions officers who are also the parents of teenagers and college students themselves. They know that while parents can’t control where their child is admitted, they can influence whether their teenager views the college process as stressful and frustrating or as an exciting time filled with opportunity.
"These admissions officers tell their own children that high school is far more than just a pathway to college — it’s a time for maturation, self-discovery, learning and fun. They encourage their teens to embrace activities and courses that reflect who they genuinely are, not who they think colleges want them to be.
"We interviewed admissions officers at Allegheny College, Georgia Tech, Kenyon College, M.I.T., Penn State, Vanderbilt, U.C.L.A., U.N.C.-Chapel Hill and the University of Richmond. Every one of them emphasized the importance of their child finding a college that fits, not the other way around. READ MORE
For more about my college application essay and selection services, visit my website: Don't Sweat the Essay. Send me an email or call me:  1-855-99-ESSAY.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

College Application Essays and The Teenage Brain

I'm excited to be moderating a panel on The Teenage Brain: Planning for High School, College and Beyond, this week in Charlottesville, VA, at the Virginia Festival of the Book with two distinguished scholars. The date is Wednesday, March 16, at 6pm, in Charlottesville. Click here for details. 

If you're at the University of Virginia or you're anywhere nearby, please come hear this panel, ask a question, and introduce yourself. 

I'll be leading a conversation with a prominent neuroscientist, Dr. Frances Jensen, Professor and Chair of UPenn's Department of Neurology, and the author of The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide and Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (Harper Collins), as well as Dr. Granville Sawyer Jr., author of College in Four Years: Making Every Semester Count (Creative Cache). 

Hope to see you there!

If you can't make it and want to talk about college or graduate application essays, please visit my website, email me, or call me.  1-855-99-ESSAY.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Good News: No Change in Common Application Essays Prompts!

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One less thing to worry about for high school juniors who are applying to college this summer and fall. The personal statement essay prompts will be the same as last year's. I'm thrilled, as I think the prompts are excellent and offer students many ways to convey who they are and what they want colleges to know about themselves.

According to the Common App website:
Among the more than 800,000 unique applicants who have submitted a Common App so far during the 2015-2016 application cycle, 47 percent have chosen to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent - making it the most frequently selected prompt; 22 percent have chosen to write about an accomplishment, 17 percent about a lesson or failure, 10 percent about a problem solved, and four percent about an idea challenged.  
2016-2017 Essay Prompts 
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
 2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
For more about my services, click here.  For questions: Send me an email or call: 1-855-99-ESSAY.