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The Common Application Essays Are Out!

About a month ahead of schedule, the Common Application has released its new crop of essay options. As I mentioned previously, the Common Application has been working on an entire revamp of its site, including these new essays. Also included in the redesign plans are the further restriction of words/characters, the elimination of the “Additional Information” upload, and other areas that …

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Deferral or Postponement: It’s Not the End of the World.

Being “deferred” or “postponed” after applying to college can be gruesome. It is almost a purgatory of sorts: “you are not in, but you are not out, either.” And the fact that these students will have to wait longer for that letter is maddening. Some students want to forget about this school, but they need to remember that deferment or …

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Selecting High School Courses

This is the time when students need to think about courses for the next academic year. Registration at your school will likely take place at the end of January (or early February). Course selection is more important than you may expect: Strength in curriculum has consistently been the #2 consideration for college admissions officers (with #1 being grades in college …

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Summer Opportunities for Boosting that Application

As the official start to winter nears, high school students should already start to look towards summer. That’s right – although it is almost six months away, now is the time to begin researching and applying for summer opportunities.   The number one piece of advice, from a college-focused perspective, is that students should not be idle. They need to …

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Obtaining Teacher Recommendations: Do Not Wait

A vital part of the admissions application is the teacher recommendation. Many schools require one and some even ask for two or three. There are some generally accepted guidelines as to who should write recommendations, how many you should submit and the process for requesting them. Some of the recommendations you’ll see below suggest letters should come from teachers in …

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The Social Media Effect on College Admissions

A student’s internet presence has begun to play an increasingly more important role in his/her college application. With the popularity of tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, colleges (not unlike many employers nowadays) have begun reviewing applicants’ online presence as part of the admissions process. In a study released last month, Kaplan Test Prep found the following statistics: Google: 27% …

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The Importance of High-Impact Extracurriculars

Today I had the opportunity to sit with admissions officers at a large public institution. They reaffirmed my dedication to helping students find their voice and shine through their essays. As we evaluated applications together, I learned how they view different activities. While I’ve said for years that students need to become very engaged in extracurriculars they are passionate about, …

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Be Proactive: Plan for the Rest of the Year

As we head into November, it is time for parents to regroup from back-to-school season and start helping their students plan through June. Now is the time to review grades, standardized test timelines and extracurricular involvement. Grades The first quarter has either finished or is close to complete. This is a perfect time for an academic check-in with students. Really …