Posts tagged with "Common App Essay"

Read On… and On and On

BoWbookpileThis particular article in Arlington Magazine is near to my heart. I’m a huge reader and think the world would be a kinder, calmer place if everyone read more. And research shows that regular readers live longer, are less stressed, and earn more money than those who rarely read. Wow! (Read my article below for the details. Here’s the link to the research on living longer, which came out after my article went to press.)

In addition, instilling a habit of reading into your children is THE BEST way to prepare them for the testing culture of SATs, ACTs, SAT II’s, and many Advanced Placement tests.

So how do you encourage your child to become a reader? Read on, dear reader.

College Essay Time

CoachSkills_400With some high schools out already and others finishing up soon, it’s the ideal time to start thinking about your college essay and schedule a meeting with me. A strong college essay requires introspection and excellent writing tools. Most high school students I’ve worked with don’t have a lot of experience writing personal essays and are intimidated by the prospect.

No worries! My coaching is designed to SHOW you how to write the best personal essays you can. I use model essays from college websites and from my own former students who have been accepted by great schools*. We’ll talk about how to write an irresistible hook and what writing tools work best in personal essays. My students leave our first meeting feeling confident and relieved that I’m on their side. Not only will they use their new writing toolbox for these essays, but they’ll also take it with them to college and beyond. And — the best part — I get back to my students within 48 hours when they send me anything, whether it’s a sample hook or a complete draft.

My schedule is already full during a few weeks over the summer, and I did have to turn away students last year. Please contact me ASAP if you’re interested in a reflective and less stressful college application process. I look forward to coaching you!

* Incidentally, a great school is the one that matches you well, whether it’s Harvard or Christopher Newport, Johns Hopkins or Warren Wilson. I had students who were accepted by and then chose all of these schools last year. (See “Testimonials” on the side panel for a complete list of which schools have accepted my students. It’s pretty impressive, if I do say so. I’m proud of my students who work diligently and creatively to convey who they are and thereby connect with the admissions officers at their chosen schools.)

De-Stress with My Free College Essays Talk!

admission imageMy annual free talk on How to Write YOUR College Essays will be on 5/22 at 7:30 pm at Arlington Central Library in Arlington, Virginia. Last year I had 114 people come, so please come early if you want a seat! My talk is ideal for rising juniors and their parents, and you’re guaranteed to leave less stressed and more excited about the process.

I will cover what college admission officers are looking for in the essays and how the essays fit into your overall application. I’ll also stress the importance of hooks in any personal essay and share tips on how to make your essay shine. We’ll unpack several examples of strong hooks from both my students and essays shared by colleges or new organizations.

Hope to see you there!

Interested in pursuing a STEM career?

The blog, Collegewise ,which is written by professional college consultants, can be a great source of information and sanity for students approaching college and their parents. I haven’t read the whole guide (here) — my kids haven’t leaned toward STEM careers so far — but it looks very thorough and helpful.

Also, I will be coaching rising seniors over the summer on their college essays. Getting the largest one — the 650 word Common App essay — done over the summer is a fabulous idea and will significantly reduce your first semester stress.  Email me or send me a message to find out more or reserve a date.  I promise it won’t hurt.

Happy writing!

Socrates and the College App Essay

True Confession:  I was a Great Books major; ergo, one of my favorite quotes is from Socrates.  “The unexamined life is not worth living,” he said at his own trial.  I frequently share this quotation with my students in essay coaching sessions.

Why?  Because I want my students to see that self-examination is a major point of the college essay.  While college admissions officers certainly look at scores and grades and recommendations, they ultimately want to know that the applicant is someone who has experiences and learns from those experiences.  You might be the youngest person to have climbed Mount Everest, or you may have tutored lepers in India, but if you didn’t learn anything about yourself and the world, those experiences are meaningless.  If you can’t articulate who you are and who you want to be, your essay won’t be meaningful or convincing to a college admissions officer.

Applicants to college aren’t expected to have all the answers, but they should be able to pose important questions they’re not afraid to ask, such as why is my life worth living?  What do I value?  What valuable skills or attitude or aptitude will I bring to this college?

Writing an excellent college application essay is a truly introspective process.  Not only do the applicants have to choose a significant story, accomplishment, or place, they also have to share how that experience reverberates through their lives.  They need to examine their lives past, present, and future.  I am always happy to share the timeless wisdom of Socrates.