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De-stress college essays with a Master List

When your student's college application list is finalized (late August/early September is best), it's time to see just how many essays s/he will be writing in total. Most schools will get the core "common app" personal statement essay, but many others will require one or more "supplemental" essays. A master list organizes the essays, and reduces stress when the student can see the work ahead of him/her, and how many of the essays can be reused or modified for schools. Here is a sample list, similar to a concept found in the book "The College Application Essay" by Sarah Myers McGinty. I changed the format to clearly identify the number of essays. Master Essay List for Jane Doe Schools I am ap

Tips to narrow down the college list

Well, It's almost September, and since most of you will be applying early action if not early decision, it's close to the time to finalize your college list. If you are like most students, then 8-12 schools is enough. Let's plan on 10, with 3 academic "reach" schools, 4 "target" schools, and 3 "safety" schools. Your list may still have 15 or 20 on it so it is time to make some hard decisions to whittle it down to 10. Tip 1: Pick your top 5. What are your must keeps as of today's information and visits? Keep them! Tip 2: Eliminate schools that are just too far or have too narrow an academic focus (business only, tech only) to be practical for you. You won't go there even if you get accepted.

Students: Tell your story for a compelling college application

As college application time nears, I remind cllients of one of my favorite tips, this one from Chisholm and Ivey's How To Prepare A Standout Application, regarding telling your story in the application. Telling a coherent and compelling story about your life, with those themes consistently weaved throughout the application, are what help admissions officers distinguish you from many other students who have similar grades and test scores. Your story is a very short summary that describes your demographics, characteristics as a student, extracurricular interests, personality traits, and career aspirations (think BIG!). If you are a home-schooled Israeli-american with ten siblings who loves po