From the beginnings of a promising film career, Surya consistently honors and hones his talents as a storyteller, cultural commentarist, filmmaker, director, producer, writer, cinematographer. He embodies the prosperity of living one's life purposefully—only gaining strength with each challenge.

The Wealth of Living True

BRANDED from Surya Sundararajan on Vimeo. From the beginnings of a promising film career, Surya consistently honors and hones his talents as a storyteller, cultural commentarist, filmmaker, director, producer, writer, cinematographer. He embodies the prosperity of living one’s life purposefully—only gaining strength with each challenge. Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students…

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Summer Strategies for Stressed-Out Rising Seniors: Relax, Recharge, and Rock Your College Apps

The Summer Squeeze: Balancing Fun and Future Most students are planning to unwind during summer break. But with college applications looming in the fall, reminded by seemingly every adult, many sense pressure to be “productive.” Yet, truthfully, a strategic retreat to reflect on your abilities and aspirations creates a foundation for the nitty-gritty work of…

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Student struggling to balance her options

The Fallacy of Reach, Target, and Backup

Families often simplify the college selection process when categorizing campuses as “Reach,” “Target,” and “Backup” based on perceived chances of admission. Appliants and their families overlook the complex matchmaking between what a student needs and the unique opportunities of a particular college: However, separating colleges by admissions chances, students fail to understand that college admissions…

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Inhumanity of Waitlists

Being waitlisted for college admissions prolongs hope, colleges banking on applicants’ desire to be admitted. And, students offered an “extended” waitlist option weeks after the enrollment deadline, which can seem like a further complication in an already opaque admissions process, can be particularly frustrated.  “Extended” waitlists can further dispel the pretense that the admissions process…

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HarderThanIThought.Spongebob

Navigating the Junior Year: The College Frenzy Unveiled

In spring of junior year, families can discuss college with more urgency and anxiety, now that  what was once a distant goal is suddenly taking shape on the horizon. SATs, ACTs, campus tours, assessing one’s qualifications especially in light of the latest Fall 2024 admissions decisions—parents and students find themselves immersed in the whirlwind of…

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Quote: Doing the little things means everything

Conditions of College Acceptances

In Spring, High School Seniors can be conflicted, experiencing “Senioritis”, needing more effort to complete everyday homework, but also coping with the anxiety of waiting for college responses. In some cases, such a lack of motivation can lead to strategic missteps, from which the consequences can be destructive, especially for college admissions. All college acceptances…

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Is the “College Degree = Good Paying Job” a Myth?

With over 50% of all recent college graduates underemployed, working in jobs not requiring their college degree, high school students seeking to attend college should reconsider the expectation that a college diploma alone guarantees lifetime wealth and prosperity. Starting careers underemployed, individuals often earn less over their lifetimes. The Burning Glass Institute study showed, that…

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Know Thyself

The quest for college admissions can be likened to a matchmaking process—seeking a college that resonates with one’s character and abilities, which requires understanding oneself. Oscar Wilde’s poem “Hélas!” provides a template for self-reflection, particularly apt for soon-to-be college applicants. Although Wilde speaks of love and its loss, college applicants can heed the lesson inherent…

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Select-ting College Not Being Select-ted

The typical understanding of the college admissons process is backwards. Many families approach the college admissions process as “How can I help my kid be worthy of being select-ted?”—a misguided understanding at best and moreso an anxiety-provoking, potentially moral-compromising “Arms Race“-like reality for too many families. Yet, the college admissions process is ultimately a process…

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Sponge Bob comic

Pronoun Beware

Pronouns serve as replacements for other words and often refer back to information mentioned earlier in a text. However, when composing autobiographical college essays, teenagers who often use pronouns can unintentionally hinder their goal: conveying their experiences clearly to admissions officers.  Using pronouns, teenagers assume: Yet, admissions officers are human and, like anyone, their attention…

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Passive vs. Active Voice

College Essay Writing 101: Passive vs. Active Tense

High schoolers tend to write passive constructions in academic writing, often needing to fulfill assigned word counts requirements in order to earn the highest grade. Students can often dilute their intended meaning with verbosity.  Yet, for college essays, students need to write in an active tense, self-assured and self-aware, as they are essentially writing their…

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Advice about Letters of Recommendation

Students are advised to request the letters 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline, ideally from two academic teachers: history, English, language other than English, math, or science, plus their high school counselor. Students should select teachers with whom they built a trusting relationship, regardless if a teacher’s academic expertise is related to their potential…

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Advice about Optional Admissions Interviews

Some private university admissions officers invite prospective applicants to schedule evaluative admissions interviews before applying. Students have a dual opportunity: develop more understanding of the university, and present more insights about themselves. Applicants should note the deadlines for requesting and completing the optional interviews. Notably, some admissions officers, especially at Ivy League institutions, arrange alumni…

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