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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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A meditating frog

Living With Roommates

Many first year college students are sharing a room with another person for the first time, as well as deliberately establishing their own living space. While intellectually, many understand that they’ll need to find common ground with their new roommates, many are underprepared for the work of negotiating ground rules.  One, now second year college student, Colin, who chose to…

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College essay writing often requires an (re)education in the art of Autobiographical writing

Every year, I remediate high school seniors’ and transfer applicants’ writing process. After elementary school, few teachers explicitly teach the writing process. Instead, teachers assign scripted “Essays”, hemming students into following a rubric (or risk a lower grade), based on a narrow prompt, replete with requirements of specific numbers of quotes or citations, and strict word limits.  Students make few…

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The College Admissions Guessing Game

The subjectivity of college admissions, combined with the unpredictability of the future, parents and graduating high school seniors, are making (sometimes) educated guesses about college often imbued with expectation and clouded by emotion regarding the value—often complex to define—of a college education. To value a college education, families must be as candid as possible. Additionally, each family member must willingly…

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WARNING: Common Application Rollover Imminent for Fall 2023 Admissions Cycle

Each year, on August 1, the Common Application updates their database with any changes to college specific questions and supplemental essays, as well as the Common Application itself.  However, since students can create a first year applicant account before August 1 to begin completing the application, beware the following information will not be saved or “rolled over” when the Fall…

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calvin.hobbes

Do You

The title should be the guiding principle of every college applicant. The college admissions process is inherently student-centric, driven by the student’s quest to identify the one institution of higher education where each person discovers more about their unique aptitude.  Yet, today, students and parents perceive the admissions process as college-centric, forced to contort into The Ideal Applicant to even…

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Maybe…Letters of Continued Interest

There are three college admissions decisions: admit, deny, and the most confusing of all, Waitlist. Yet, students, choosing to remain on a waitlist by “opting-in” before the deadline posted in the admissions letter, should be sure they understand what the choice entails.  First, understand there is no guarantee that any students will be considered for admissions from the waitlist. But,…

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The Stages of College Admissions Grieving

“I’ve been rejected” is typically how students translate being denied admissions to a college. (Although, in reality, such a view is not true, many students, who have been trained to seek outward validation from teachers, parents, coaches, club sponsors, tutors etc as the arbiter of being “right”, “smart”, or “capable” thus worthy, lump admissions officers in the same category, thus…

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GoodNews.Creative Marbles 2013

Colleges Are Still Accepting Applications for Fall 2022

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” For any student who wants to attend four year college this Fall 2022, there’s openings still available, contrary to popular belief. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling recently released their annual College Openings Update, a listing of colleges still accepting applications for Fall 2022.  So, students who are still looking for a…

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Advice about Test Optional/Test Free/Test Blind Admissions Policies

With test optional/test free/test blind admissions policies, applicants (and their families) are empowered with choice how to present a student’s unique qualifications for admissions. Yet, like with any choice, being informed to choose responsibly is essential.  First, as previously posted in What’s the difference between Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free College Admissions Policies?, students must understand the difference between test optional,…

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All Ivy League Colleges Extend Test Optional Admissions for Fall 2023…and for a few, beyond 2023

For at least one more application cycle, all Ivy League applicants will once again consider if they can demonstrate their aptitude with a standardized test score. Yale and Princeton admissions officers recently announced maintaining test optional admissions policies through Fall 2023, joining the rest of the Ivy League colleges, although with varying timeframes for the extensions.  Admissions officers at Brown,…

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Reason #45,693 Why College Applicant Portals Are Important

The applicant portal is an online dashboard assigned to students by each college’s admissions officers to track their application, be notified of any missing information, possibly alerted to scholarships as well as likely most important to students: receive admissions decisions.  Typically, admissions decisions are sent through the applicant portals or email, fewer admissions officers send responses using US Postal Mail.…

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