Staying up to date on the latest trends in college admissions is an important part of my job. Through conferences, industry groups, and news feeds, I constantly gain new insights from experts in the field, including admissions officers and college counselors across the country.
The Inside Scoop on Activities
A recent favorite comes from Tulane University. This Will Look Great on my Application, Right? by Jeff Schiffman, Director of Admissions at Tulane, is a breath of fresh air! I refer to this article often when speaking with student groups and parents because his wonderful advice applies to students everywhere, not just those applying to Tulane.
Mr. Schiffman reminds us that he is not looking for well-rounded students. He is looking to build a well-rounded class of students. Bottom line, admissions officers don’t want a laundry list of activities, and it’s okay to be doing an activity “just because.”
A Great Read for Students…and their Parents!
If you are a parent, this article will ease your mind about the college admissions process. If you are a student, this article will help you make thoughtful choices regarding extra curriculars and your high school experience in general.
I guarantee you’ll be breathing a sigh of relief when you are done reading. Enjoy!
Want to get your essays done in a month? Here’s a great incentive.
There are three basic steps to completing an essay. Step one, plan the essay. Step two, draft the essay. Step three, revise the essay. Pretty simple, right? There’s just one problem. Time.
This month, lots of students are working with me to plan their essays. We talk about their interests, we go over the prompts, we come up with great topic ideas. They go home super excited and ready to write. Then, guess what happens? They get busy.
Family vacations. Fun with friends. Summer jobs.
As a way to encourage students to get their essays done, I am offering a special incentive: a free resume review for any student who completes all three steps of the essay writing process with me in four weeks or less.
Why a resume review? Because this ONE document actually serves THREE very important purposes. Students need a resume to get jobs, get into colleges, and get scholarships.
Sadly, students don’t receive much training when it comes to crafting resumes. They don’t know how to organize their information, how to write about their experience, or how to properly format.
A resume is much more than a checklist of activities and achievements. It’s an opportunity to tell your story. That story can help you land an internship, get you into the college of your dreams, and get you money to pay for it. Let me help you get it right!
Here is a great college resume building opportunity for high school sophomores or juniors. One of my favorite nonprofits, 826LA, is looking for teen writers (ages 14 to 18) to submit essays on social media. Students are asked to write from personal experience and share what they learned.
Selected entries will be published (yes! you will be a published author!) in a book that will help educate middle schoolers about life online. Seriously, this is a genius idea. I would expect nothing less from the creative minds of an organization dedicated to supporting and inspiring young writers.
Even if your submission is not selected, the essay prompts are great practice for your future college application essays. Take a look at the submission guidelines here. And good luck!
“Alison worked with my son to edit his main Common App essay, as well as supplemental essays specific to a school. She was very thorough in her evaluation and suggestions for how he could improve and adjust what he had written. I highly recommend Alison for any writing assistance your student may have.”
2016 Yelp Review from parent of Common App applicant
What is the Common App?
The Common Application is used by over 700 private colleges. It offers five essay prompt questions. Students select one and write a single 650-word essay on that topic. This essay is submitted with the application to every private college on the student’s list.
Many schools require their own supplemental essays in addition to the Common App essay. Lengths for these range from 150 to 350 to 650 word responses on a variety of topics relating to the student’s interests and reasons for applying.
The Common App is available August 1st and deadlines for college can range from December through February.
“And you think to yourself, ‘this will never get done!’ But with the coaching and editing from Alison, it does! She is able to magically pull the ideas while creating excitement with the kids to get them motivated to write and complete their essays. Best college prep money spent. Thank you, Alison, for ‘getting this done!'”
2017 Yelp Review from parent of UC applicant
The University of California no longer requires an essay. Instead, there are 8 personal insight questions. Students select four and write a short response (max 350 words) for each.
While these responses may not look like an essay, they serve the exact same purpose. Admissions officers use them to learn who you are, how you think, and what matters to you.
Because students generally have very little experience writing about themselves in this way, an essay coach provides the structure and support they need to write with ease and confidence.
The filing period for all UC applications is November 1 to 30.
Need help crafting a personal story for the UC Personal Insight Questions or a private college Common Application essay? It’s as easy as one, two, three!
If you haven’t started yet, go to step one. If you already have a draft, go to step two. If you don’t know where to begin, let’s talk.
Step One: Planning Meeting
For students who need ideas and inspiration. Find out what admissions officers are looking for, discover which UC question or Common App prompt best fits your background, and learn how to turn your personal experience into great stories!
Step Two: Initial Draft Review
For students who completed a draft at school or on their own (rate reduced for students who worked with me to complete step one above). Email me your draft and get detailed feedback in just a few days.
Step Three: Follow-Up Draft Review
For students who worked with me to complete step two above. Email me your revised draft for feedback on your progress. The process is the same as above and may be repeated as many times as needed.
Understanding the UC Personal Insight Questions
Applying to the University of California? This one-day workshop helps students understand the writing portion of the application. We will discuss the Personal Insight Questions and brainstorm topic ideas. Seniors and transfer students will learn what makes a great story and where to find one. Sophomores and juniors will learn the key role their activities play in the application process, and be inspired to seek out opportunities for leadership and personal growth.
Location: Los Alamitos Community Center, 10911 Oak Street, Los Alamitos
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Date Choices: Tuesday (8/21), Wednesday (9/12), or Thursday (10/11)