While writing the college essays may be a stressful experience, the process of reflecting on your life experiences – gaining greater awareness of what you’ve accomplished and where you’re headed – will serve you long after any acceptances return in the Spring.
From challenging the myths about writing college essays to dealing with the stress of applying to college, Creative Marbles Consultancy’s three-part video series gives an overview of the college application process. Take a look:
Part 1: The College Application
Part 2: How to Write A College Admissions Essay
Part 3: A Few College Essay Myths
From the News:
- Student Exchanges Between U.S. and Other Countries Rise to Record, New York Times November 17, 2013
- College On The House, New York Times November 29, 2013
- SF [San Francisco] Seeks Injunction to Stop CCSF [City College of San Francisco] Closure, San Francisco Chronicle November 25, 2013
From Our Clients:
- College Applications & Stuffing: just as the last bites of Thanksgiving stuffing were chewed, college applicants around the country were turning back to their college essays and finishing applications by the 11:59 pm deadlines on November 30th and December 1. The last minute finishes can provoke a round of “I told you so’s” from knowing parents, especially when the online servers backed up for the University of Washington – causing UW to extend the deadline to December 2. However, the dark circles under many teenagers eyes may tell enough of the story, making more certain the next round of deadlines won’t be a repeated experience.
- “World-wide Senior Teacher Conspiracy” Theory: The mental effort required by writing college essays and completing college applications can create additional pressures, alongside the everyday management of schoolwork. In the effort to relieve the pressure, parents and students alike look for targets to blame – senior teachers being one such mark. Usually, in a complaint such as, “I don’t understand why the teachers can’t be a little understanding that I have all THIS other work for college applications,” and sometimes a few choice adjectives to add emphasis to their frustrations. Without assigning or denying “blame”, I would argue that the challenge in completing college applications is actually the first test of an applicant’s worthiness to be accepted to a college. Further, the ability of the applicant to function under pressure is actually helpful for exposing areas that need strengthening, a test of character if you will – albeit, not a fun experience to endure.
- How Do I Pay for College?: As we’ve posted previously, college affordability is a dependent on college selection, as well as family budgets. The sometimes hard choices of equating price with college is not an easy or simple conversation for many families. Regardless, determining the value of a college education is fundamentally intertwined with the question of “how do I pay for college” – since with understanding value, than bearing the costs of borrowing student loans or other efforts to earn scholarships is plainly worthwhile.
Turkey day is once again upon us, and here’s what we at Creative Marbles Consultancy give thanks for:
1. All opportunities to learn, hence undermining ignorance
2.. The struggle to live a purposeful life
3. All of the supportive people in our lives, without whom, would make living much more difficult
4. Both the curse and blessings of change, for it gives us a new canvas to create something new
5. Our enemies whom teach us both patience and compassion
6. Our faith, because it is the compass that helps us navigate the great sea of consciousness
7. Family (whatever family looks like for you) that helps guide, support, and challenge you daily
8. The wonderment in each and every breath
9. The change in seasons
10. Possibility, as it manifests in all forms
(So much more to be grateful for, but we will leave it at ten today)
Take time between the three F’s: family, friends and food – contemplate what you are grateful for today.
All of us at Creative Marbles Consultancy wish you a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and may blessings rain down on all beings.
Photo Credit: http://coolrain44.wordpress.com/
College essay writing is difficult enough already without believing the myths about what makes a strong college essay. Creative Marbles latest video dispels two urban legends about college essays: one, that a dramatic event is THE ONLY topic that creates a compelling college essay, and two, that a personal statement drafted with sophisticated written language will more likely sway the college admissions officer to admit an applicant.
Anxiety can cause anyone to make otherwise irrational decisions. “People are constantly spoiling a project when it lacks only a step to completion”, declared Lao-Tzu in the 6th Century BC. Lao-Tzu’s observation might give today’s college applicants some perspective about why they’re wanting to impetuously click the “submit” button in the days before the application deadlines. One mouse click can seemingly relieve the stress of balancing the work of college applications alongside homework, as well as the pressure of concisely and precisely explaining their lives in college essays. At the same time, that one mouse click can possibly undermine these same efforts, as the essay is not quite clear yet, or a typo changes the applicant’s name from Joan to Juan. No one wants these mistakes to be included in their college application, yet we’re human, subject to human emotions, and the temptation to be rid of anxiety can loom large. read more…
With the new Google Translate feature on creativemarbles.com, you can read the latest education and college admissions news in hundreds of languages – including Icelandic, Yiddish and Latin. Try it and impress your foreign language teacher with your command of a new language, while helping yourself be competitive for college admissions or prepare for study abroad in Portugal. Alternately, family and friends in other countries can learn about American college admissions processes to spend a year “abroad” here in the U.S. You may also find yourself brushing up on a childhood language, like Hmong, while learning about the latest financial aid tips, so you can avoid taking large student loans to finance a college degree.
“Procrastinator” can be synonymous with “college application essay writer” at this time of year…
Photo Credit: 20px
From the News:
- They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets, New York Times November 9, 2013
- Federal Student Loans Surpass $1 Trillion; Delinquency Rate Soars To All Time High, Zero Hedge blog November 14, 2013
- Janet Napolitano Says UC Freezing Tuition Next Year, San Francisco Chronicle November 13, 2013
From our Clients:
- Lessons Learned: Juniors take note of Seniors’ plight right about now. Watch the bags under their eyes grow, listen to their complaints about college essays, and notice their absence from school in the days immediately before and the day of college application deadlines. Beware this may be you in a year.
- Online College Applications: Although submitting college applications at 11:59 pm on the deadline date can still qualify as “on-time”, unforeseen technical issues, internet connection problems, a credit card payment that can’t be processed, and the something-could-go-wrong list goes on and on, applicants would be wise to NOT wait until (literally) the 11th hour. Not to be overlooked, online application servers can slow considerably in the hours leading up to a deadline, as MANY other applicants have shared the same idea to wait until the end, creating additional frustrations.
- Choosing a High School: As students experience high schools through shadow days and high school applications become due, parents can wonder how their high school choice will affect a college admissions in 5 years. The pressure to pick the right high school starts building, and all of a sudden a 13-year old tween is suddenly destitute for not having gone to the right college. First, take a deep breath. Second, all the information a parent needs to make a high school choice is sitting literally across the dinner table. Take stock of the personality and budding interests of the ‘tween-ager, then match the high school to the kid – not the other way around.
The college admissions essay can be one of those “coming of age” events that tests the writer’s (i.e. teenage applicant), as well as her/his parents’, patience and fortitude. The complexity of writing a statement that not only tells the experience of the writer, but also provides insights to the writer’s character, is not easy.
Watch our second video in our College Admissions series for insights about working with the stress and complexity of writing college essays, as well as the influence of English teachers:
A Travel Guide
The pressure is on to do what is right, not wrong.
“It comes down to odds,” the pundits say.
The law of averages will have their way.
Much to our dismay, we give into everyone else’s sway.
But, what exit should we take on life’s multi-exit highway?
The vision becomes blurred, words slurred, purpose demurred.
It’s all been said or heard.
Let go. Have faith in your experience today.
Make deciding what to do next, the easiest test you ever take.
Live life for life’s sake.
By Arthur Baird
Changes to repayment rules for Federal student loans offers borrowers flexibility to manage their debts, as outlined in a recent New York Times article. However, not only do the recent changes provide assistance for current borrowers, potential student loan borrowers can plan ahead. Our recommendations are outlined, alongside excerpts of the article in italics.
Rising default rates are a warning for potential borrowers to understand the risks of borrowing and explore all possible repayment plans, before assuming loans.
More than 600,000 federal student loan borrowers who began repaying their debts in 2010 defaulted on their loans by 2012, according to federal data. read more…
While college costs have continued rising, median incomes over the same period have not increased at corresponding rates, as we first posted here. The failure of income to rise at the same pace as college costs increases can place greater pressure on family budgets, potentially restraining college choices. Thus, families may spend more effort in investigating potential colleges before application than past generations of college bound students. Knowing what a student values about a future college experience and being reasonably assured a college will match that expectation can help determine if the expense will be affordable.
Chart Source: The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2013
From the News:
- Black and White and in the Red: Student Newspapers Scurry to Make Ends Meet, New York Times October 31, 2013
- Why Teach English? The New Yorker August 27, 2013
- UC Classes Too Big, Teacher Aides Too Few, Report Says, San Francisco Chronicle November 6, 2013 [Note: UC refers to the University of California]
From CMC Clients:
- Parent Conversations with High School Teachers: At the quarter/mid-semester break, I start receiving more phone calls from parents of high schoolers concerned about the possible ramifications of talking with their son/daughter’s high school teachers, yet wanting information because a grade is lower than expected. While throughout the semester, parents may have encouraged their child to talk with the teacher, no immediate impact to a grade may have been noticed.
- Common App Time Stamp: The Common Application time stamps submitted applications either in Eastern Standard Time (EST) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Not to worry if a time stamp says the day AFTER a deadline; generally, college admissions offices honor the time zone of the applicant. If you’re concerned about pushing a deadline, knowing you tend to procrastinate, contact the college admissions office days in advance to ask what time zone will be considered an “on time” submission.
- Extra-curricular Activities and Academic Majors: Extra-curricular activities can help students explore possible majors, before having to declare one in applications. Summers can provide concentrated time to attend a camp or other program to indulge an academic interest.
Completing college applications challenges the patience and confidence of any applicant. However, given a lack of experience, many applicants don’t expect to be tested. Applying seems simple–fill in a few boxes, write an essay quickly and painlessly, then click “submit.” Unfortunately, the actual experience is more complicated. Writing an autobiography, which summarizes seventeen years of life within 500 words or less, requires focused reflection to determine the essence of an applicant’s experience – not a simple undertaking. Meanwhile, applicants are trying to keep up with everyday extracurricular activities and AP homework, which don’t seem to be slowing down. Applicants’ responses to the pressures vary from meeting the challenge head on to impatiently clicking “Submit” wanting to be rid of the stress as soon as possible. I don’t recommend the latter response.
Not all SAT tests are created the same. There’s the SAT Subject Tests and the SAT Reasoning Test. Generally, people know the SAT Reasoning Test, as those scores are the ones published over and over in the newspaper and on college admissions offices webpages – simply referred to as the SAT. However, SAT Subject Tests are also offered to students, prompting uncertainty amongst college bound students whether to take or not take the tests. read more…