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Surya, a former student, seeking to live authentically, is developing his latest film. View this post on Instagram A post shared by branded (@branded_film) Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students (re)discover their aptitude, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please…

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Tips When Attending A College Fair

To most effectively gain needed information at college fairs—often described as “speed dating” for college admissions—it’s crucial to prepare in advance.  First, scrutinize the list of attending college admissions officers for campuses of interest. Being focused, students and families can save time aimlessly roaming the event space. Second, reflect on one’s ideal college experience. With…

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The Myth of the College List

Most families believe the college admissions process starts with picking colleges, then filling out applications, which includes writing college essays, then submit applications, then, wait for responses, then choose one college. However, the actual process of choosing and applying to college is much more intricate.  Often, parents are puzzled when their teenager seems overwhelmed or…

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Advice for High School Freshmen

Starting high school can be an adjustment filled with uncertainties and anxieties: learning to navigate a new campus, understanding the academic expectations of unfamiliar teachers, meeting new friends, all with allusions to “how will this affect my college admissions?”   Acknowledge the complexity Starting high school can be complicated, and it’s natural to be anxious in…

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Quote: Ferris Bueller

Summertime: A Lesson in Life Balance

For a high school student, there’s no single “right” way to spend a summer vacation. Yet, many students and their families are concerned that without a “productive” summer vacation, then a student diminishes opportunities for college admissions. However, this is not necessarily true. Selection for college admissions is becoming increasingly subjective, thus no one summer…

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"Who Am" I illustration by Creative Marbles Consultancy

Choosing College, Not Being Chosen

Students often wonder, “How will college admissions officers’ view this?” in reference to a grade, an extracurricular activity, or topics for college essays. In other words, teens worry about impressing admissions officers, or risk not being accepted to college. Amidst the competitiveness in education, students often search for the “right” combination of factors including: GPA,…

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Student struggling to balance her options

“The (Omnipresent) College Admissions Filter”

High school students often develop a seeming “college admissions filter”, assessing any experience (or potential experience) through “How will this help me with being admitted to college?” Many may be frustrated at such consideration, yet in my experience, such a mindset seems pervasive amongst teens.  Today’s high school students have heard messages like, “When you…

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Immigrant Parents from around the world

Challenges of Immigrant Parents in the American School System

Immigrant parents can be challenged to balance their native cultural traditions while assimilating, especially when guiding their American-born children’s education. Parents may need to learn the American perspectives of teachers as well as be aware of filtering their children’s experiences through their own cultural context. If parents are not fluent in English, effective collaboration with…

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“Not Enough” Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions?

Most aspiring college applicants (and their families) are aware that they’ll report extracurricular activities in their applications, yet few may understand the significance of their efforts. With their extracurricular commitments, students can showcase their interests, while also contributing to their communities. Since college admissions officers don’t set specific requirements about the number or type of…

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See, Speak, Hear no evil monkeys

What’s the value of an Ivy League education?

Is an Ivy League education worth the nearly $90,000 per year cost of attendance, which includes tuition, room & board, fees, average estimates for books, personal expenses + transportation?  The following is the current estimated cost of attendance at all eight Ivy League institutions:  As inflation erodes the average middle class standard of living, while…

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Should I take the SAT or ACT more than three times? 

While college admissions officers don’t diminish a student’s evaluation for having taken the SAT or ACT multiple times, students would be prudent to pause and reflect before taking either test more than three times each.  To make a more informed choice, students can:  Also, if students have purchased the score reporting services, like “Requesting a…

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Quote: Steve Jobs

A Contrarian View of “Reach”, “Target”, and “Safety” Colleges

Sorting a potential college list into “Reach”, “Target”, and “Safety”, as an indicator of the likeliness of an acceptance, sets a dangerous precedent.  The applicant essentially imagines themselves at the whims of the admissions officer, devoid of agency, a poverty-like mindset, begging for the charity of an acceptance letter. Applicants seek seeming validation of their…

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