For many folks, the college admissions interview is the first big interview you go through on your way to adulthood and the idea of selling yourself to the interviewer can be nervewracking. Still, for some top colleges, the admissions interview is an important part of the application process and you can’t avoid it if you’re hoping to land a spot in the incoming class.Read More
Well, you’ve submitted your college applications and now you’re sitting around wondering what to do while waiting for decisions to come out. Truth to be told, there’s a lot you can do after submitting your applications ranging from starting a financial aid application to sending thank you notes to your letters of recommendation writers.Read More
As a professional admissions coach and on-again, off-again application reader for a large university, I often get asked the question: what are colleges looking for? Meaning, what kind of traits do colleges look for in the students they admit? Well, the answer is long, but not really that complicated.
While the most popular college admissions application is the Common Application, over a 100 colleges are now using the Coalition Application, a competitor to the Common App first announced back in 2015.Read More
The statement of purpose, or what I like to call the cover letter essay because of its similar structure, is generally used for graduate school applications and focuses much more on describing the skills, experiences and education that has prepared you for the program you’re applying to than a personal statement would. Its main purpose concentrates less on telling your story and more on communicating the qualities that make you a perfect candidate. Ideally, the statement of purpose should convey your genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the program of study you’re pursuing, and what you have done in the past to nurture that passion.
Here are 4 steps for writing a statement of purpose:Read More
As a college admissions coach, I am constantly surprised by how many of the people I work with misunderstand why diversity matters in the college admissions process and how its factored in to an applicant’s “score”. During a recent coaching session, I was explaining to a client that most universities specifically consider socioeconomic factors when evaluating candidates to which his response was, “Oh, is this the affirmative action thing?” No, was my response to him, but he wasn’t exactly wrong.Read More
We all know that to get into top colleges, students need to start preparing early in high school to stay competitive. That means, participating in extracurriculars and taking a rigorous course load as early as sophomore year. Starting a club or building houses in your free time is more common than you think, so to truly stand out among hundreds of undergraduate applications, you really have to go the extra step in pursuing and participating in opportunities that aren’t run of the mill. Here’s what I suggest for freshman and sophomores to get a leg up in the race:Read More
For one of the schools I’m applying to, the word limit for the personal statement is 3,250 words. I called the school’s admissions office to ask if 3,000 approximate words was correct, to which they confirmed on the basis of it being a “transfer essay”. I’m wondering if lengthier essays for transfers aren’t uncommon, especially for selective schools.Read More
There are some clichés in personal statements that seem to happen over and over again. While having one or two clichés won’t prevent you from getting into a good college, it is nice to avoid them as don’t add depth to your writing, nor do they particularly work to help your application stand out. There are also a number of common occurrences I’ve seen when reading personal statements that are just annoying and don’t add any value to the application.
To help you out, here’s a short list of clichés and topics/ideas to avoid when writing your personal statement:Read More
What should I wear to a college interview?
I’m struggling with figuring out what to wear for a college admissions interview I have scheduled for next week. I know that people say not to go too over the top, but my interview is going to be inside at a medical office during the business day. Should I wear a full suit?Read More
When you’re writing a narrative or telling a story in your personal statement, using sensory details is one of the most effective ways to captivate the reader which makes your essay more likely to stand out. Sensory details help the reader figuratively see, hear, feel, smell, and taste your words.Read More
Am I first generation?
My mom didn’t go to college, but my dad did and graduated with an Associate Degree. Both of my siblings have graduated from college with engineering degrees. Does this mean I’m not first-generation?Read More
Before you start writing your college admissions essay, it’s important to understand the essay prompt. As simple as it seems, this can be difficult if you can’t figure out exactly what the prompt is asking. Here are some points to consider after reading the prompt and before you begin writing:Read More
A couple weeks ago, I put together this quick list of resources about writing personal statements and thought it’d be helpful to share on my blog. Enjoy.Read More
It’s important to consider grammar, style, and organization when writing your application essays because bad writing is the absolute first thing any admissions committee member notices when reading admissions essays. Most college applicants, however, don’t have issues with the grammar and so it rarely has a major impact on a candidate’s score.
With this in mind, I tell writers to instead focus on the content, clarity, and composition of their college application essays by examining the following questionsRead More
In honor of the start of college admissions season, I’m offering some tips I learned during my time as an admissions application reader and writing consultant tailored to help veterans write college application essays that actually stand out.Read More