Advice for Completing the University of California Activities & Awards Section

For those of you applying to the University of California (UC), completing the Activities & Awards section can require several hours of brainstorming, drafting and editing, over multiple drafts.  Thus, many teens will postpone drafting the detailed descriptions or conversely they may focus on drafting the descriptions, postponing their essay writing.  To balance the work of both drafting the PIQ…

Continue Reading

Do’s & Don’ts of Answering UC Personal Insight Question #7

Serving others, suppressing our innate self-centered human tendency, can be a valuable lesson in generosity, the equanimity of humanity, and even in reverse, a confidence in oneself as a valuable member of society.  In the race for the most elite college admissions, often many students have added (or been compelled by assignment and the chase for grades) volunteer work to…

Continue Reading

GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

The Patience of a Writer

Teenagers must write their autobiography as a requirement for college applications, which is a complicated task. Writing one’s life story requires reflecting on intricate, existential questions, like “Who am I?” and “What’s my purpose in life?” And, most teens quickly recognize they have little self-awareness, just the first in a series of writer’s blocks.  However, as Tim O’Brien in The…

Continue Reading

Twas Days Before The Early Admissions Deadline…

Twas days before the first Early Admissions deadline Students are furiously typing, their parents fretting Online applications half completed Teenagers rationalizing the form “won’t take that long to complete” Yet, their parents hover, murmuring about “crashed servers”, Admonishing not to submit at the “last minute”, literally 11:59 pm On the deadline day Still visions of acceptance letters danced in their…

Continue Reading

Metaphorically Speaking

Teenagers are often inexperienced in self-reflection, thus lacking awareness about the meaning of their young lives, as well as confidence to assert what they do know about themselves. Thus, in college essays, many obscure awareness in metaphor, which not only exposes their lack of confidence, but also forces the admissions evaluator to infer (at best), and guess (at worst) what…

Continue Reading

Comic: I'm more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles

Reason #450,897,354 Why Writing College Essays Is Complicated

Every year, especially in mid-October, college and transfer applicants share some version of the following:  “I can’t get all my thoughts to focus on one idea.”  “I’ve written several different paragraphs, but they don’t connect with each other.”  “I have too much to say, how can I incorporate every idea into one essay?!?” Students often attempt to write their autobiography,…

Continue Reading

Requesting Letters of Recommendation Isn’t Simple

Asking for any help requires confidence. And, when asking for letters of recommendation, students must trust that the teachers and counselor will add dimension to their carefully curated application, including a resume of activities developed over years and autobiographical essays drafted over many hours.  Thus, when students are required to fill out multi-page packets detailing their experience, attaching rough drafts…

Continue Reading

Early Admissions Explained

Applying to college is confusing enough, as a teenager pauses to reflect on their young life to date in order to enter adulthood with an understanding of themselves. Then, in determining when to apply, applicants can only add confusion. So, to dispel urban legend about Early Admissions, I’ll explain Early Action, Early Decision and differences between Early Decision 1 and…

Continue Reading

Stop Guessing About Test Optional Admissions

With continued, widespread test optional admissions policies, where students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their college applications, inevitably, students, under the misconception that an acceptance letter is THE objective of college admissions, worry about unwittingly harming their admissions evaluation by either adding or excluding test scores from their application.  With test-optional admissions, students…

Continue Reading

JorenWater.CMC2018

Mr. Kipling’s Advice for College Applicants

Prior to the senior year of high school or transfer admissions, students simply matriculate in a pack, taking the same classes, striving for the same grades, clustering in similar out-of-school enrichment activities. Yet, at the moment of applying to college, students need to make their own decision—relate the process, to what Mr. Kipling shares the benefits, yet complexity of walking…

Continue Reading

College Selection: Making College Admissions a Game, a Common Mistake

Selection is defined as “serious attention and vigilant consideration”. Therefore the effective selection of colleges is essential to reduce risks of mis-allocating $150,000 to $200,000. Yet, parents and teens compromise their ability to reason, as they’re often also attempting to counter emotion and expectation, with misconceptions when seeking value in college, only adding complexity to selecting colleges.   Families often mis-perceive…

Continue Reading

A meditating frog

Why Advice for Parents of Kindergarteners Also Helps Parents of New College Students

Parents of college students experience the bittersweet rewards of a job well-done, their “babies” are capable of caring for themselves, but doing so without seemingly “needing” a parent. So, a Kindergarten’s teacher’s advice can be helpful:  ….they [one’s kid] will probably have a hard time separating from you. It’s normal, and it may last a few days, but it gets…

Continue Reading

Adverb Abuse

Teenage authors often punctuate their sentences with “very” and “really”, exaggerating the experience being described, which actually dilutes the meaning of their experience. For example, I really enjoy reading books. Does “really” add value to the student’s enjoyment? Or do you, as the reader, become suspect (even subconsciously) of the writer’s enjoyment of reading, exaggerate the value of reading?  Any…

Continue Reading

The Most Essential Interview

To effectively brainstorm topics for college essays, students must be interviewed by an experienced advisor, who not only knows the college admissions process, but applies their experience within the context of an anxious teenager seeking to define their life’s vision.  When teens query themselves in some me-talking-with-me, thinking exercise, they will unwittingly dismiss ideas, not connect one event to the…

Continue Reading