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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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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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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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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Support Those Living True

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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