Sponge Bob comic

Don’t Pay Attention to the College Essay Prompt

It’s a mistake to start the process of drafting college essays by choosing a prompt, then brainstorming ideas based on an interpretation of said prompt. By focusing too narrowly on writing exactly to the prompt, students can contort their own voice and write an essay that isn’t authentic. The Common Application Writing Section‘s directions specifically…

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Uneven Pavement Ahead

The Reality of Starting College

4.0+ Plus High School GPA, CHECK Stellar Extracurricular Resume, CHECK Impeccable Letters of Recommendation, CHECK Brand-name college acceptance, CHECK, YAY! FREEDOM AND LIFELONG HAPPINESS, HERE I COME!!!! (Cue Record Scratch) Maybe. Well, at least not right away and not without effort… [Feigned shock 😳 then 😡] The transition to college can be challenging for first…

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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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A meditating frog

The First Writer’s Block in College Essay Writing: Getting Started

High school seniors and transfer students are often advised, “Start drafting your college essays early”, especially by students in the class ahead who recently completed their college applications. Yet, few will confess why they themselves did not start writing their essays early, nor the complexities of crafting one’s autobiography, which can include: Lack of experience…

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Anxiety Can Be a Friend during the College Admissions Process

It’s normal for rising seniors and transfer students to be anxious about the college application process. People typically are anxious when facing uncertainty, and when applying to college, students confront many unknowns: from unpredictable admissions results, to doubts about how they’ll transition to living away from family.  When parents, with good intentions, try to alleviate…

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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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HarderThanIThought.Spongebob

Why Engage an Educational Consultant in the Age of AI?

Educational consultants are valuable guides, offering personalized advice for both parents and students. By understanding each client’s unique educational goals, consultants distill the deluge of internet-available information and wide-ranging “advice” from other parents (both IRL and virtually) into practical recommendations. Then families can make informed choices that contribute to their children’s success. Moreover, life rarely…

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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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Uneven Pavement Ahead

A Parent’s Guide: Supporting A Rising Senior during the College Admissions Process

Amidst the stress of the college admissions process, parents may be inclined to dive into college applications and essays, while teenagers may display disinterest or hesitation, leading to conflicts. As a parent, it is important to pause and reflect on how your teenager reacts in stressful situations and what forms of support have been effective…

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to do list

Where do I start the process of applying to college?

While making a list of colleges is essential in the college application process, without knowing oneself and why one seeks a college experience, then generating a list may not be the most effective first step.  Instead, rising seniors and transfer applicants on the cusp of applying to college can:  1. Engage rigorous self-reflection: Preferably in…

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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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