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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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 Risks of Applying Early Decision

Many students as well as their parents believe that if they apply Early Decision they have an “advantage” given the higher admit rate over regular decision. However, given Early Decision is a binding choice, where students MUST enroll (legal but is it constitutional?) If admitted, considering the pros and cons therefore is prudent.  While the percentage of students admitted from…

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College Degrees Offer No Economic Guarantees

As executives at tech giants, like Facebook, Intel, Netflix, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, announce hiring freezes and layoffs, the technology sector may not be the stable and growing industry with ever-lasting employment opportunities that many students and their parents have been promoting. To add insult to injury, new computer science grads (aged 22-27 years old) already encounter competition for jobs,…

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Full Circle: Early Decision is Regular Decision Again and The College Admissions Rat Race Continues Unabated 

Tulane University admitted two-thirds of their Fall 2022 class, through Early Decision, essentially transforming early admissions into Regular Decision. If Tulane is setting a trend (our base case) or will remain an outlier in college admissions (not likely), depends on whether students and parents continue to apply early admissions believing in their worth as candidates or (more likely) gaming the…

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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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Quote: Steve Jobs

Freedom Comes From Within, Not By Attending College

Often, teens seek freedom, as a primary reason for attending college. To which, their parents nod knowingly, smiling slyly, complicit in their teen’s seeming act of rebellion, believing that a college education is a coming of age into the freedom of adulthood. However students and parents should reflect on what it means to be free, and free of or from…

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