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How to conquer the admissions essay

August 7th, 2017

We’ve shared several articles in the past weeks relating to essay questions, and many of our rising seniors have made good progress.  With the first day of school right around the corner, now’s the time to get serious about this part of your application if you haven’t yet done so.  In the article shared below, creative writer Rachel Toor gives great insight into what really goes on behind closed doors during admissions reviews.  

Toor gives specific examples of topics that work and some that don’t, with a great list of of things students should avoid.  The most significant piece of advice throughout this article is to make your essay personal and help the readers understand who you are through your writing.  

Many students have heard me reminisce about my years on admission committees at Tufts, Brandeis and Washington universities.  The best essays that I read during that time made me feel the student was right across the desk from me, ready to talk and answer questions.  Let your personality and voice shine through!

Article published below by New York Times

Picture this before you plop yourself down in front of your computer to compose your college application essay: A winter-lit room is crammed with admissions professionals and harried faculty members who sit around a big table covered with files. The admissions people, often young and underpaid, buzz with enthusiasm; the professors frequently pause to take off their glasses and rub their eyes.

These exhausted folks, hopped up from eating too many cookies and brownies, have been sitting in committee meetings for days after spending a couple of months reading applications, most of which look pretty similar: baseball = life, or debate = life, or “I went to a developing country and discovered poor people can be happy.”

Read more at New York Times >>

Developing Personal Insight

July 24th, 2017

This week I want to share a link to a series of personal insight questions from the University of California’s college admission application.  I especially appreciate these questions for their scope and direction.  Whether you are applying to the UC system or not, you’ll find that the questions comprise a valuable exercise in shaping choices and reflection on what is important to you personally.  The personal insight questions are also beneficial for younger high school and middle school students and their parents to consider as they look ahead to searching for a boarding school and/or college.

Personal development is something we all continue to work on each day of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not.  The series of questions provided by UC is a great way to get us to dig a little deeper and gain a better understanding of ourselves.

Intrigued?  Please read the article provided below.

Article published below by University of California’s Admissions website

What do you want UC to know about you? Here’s your chance to tell us in your own words.

Directions

  • You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions.
  • Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
  • Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you: But you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.
Read more at University of California Admissions >>

Make the most of summer

July 10th, 2017

Summer is in full swing and for many of you, July and August are packed full of events.  However, there may be some wiggle room left to add purposeful activities to the calendar.  We want to share a classic list of summer do’s and don’ts for prospective college students from US News.  This article is a good reminder that college admission officers like to see students using their time and energy constructively.  If you follow your passions and invest yourself in things that you love, that commitment will help you grow and develop personally and have the added benefit of shining through on your college applications.

Article published by US News on June 6, 2011

Written by:  Peter Van Buskirk

In the coming weeks, thousands of young people will find their daily routines changing as the academic year comes to a close. Some will go to the beach. Many will sleep until noon. Others will jet off to parts unknown for new, exotic adventures. And, at some point in the weeks that follow, most will find themselves on a college campus or two.

The choices students make as they embrace the summer months can impact their personal growth while providing important clues to college admissions officers about the character and convictions of the candidates they are considering. If you are a rising high school senior, how will you spend your summer months? The following do’s and don’ts provide guidance in making good and productive choices.

Read more at US News >>

Harvard withdraws 10 acceptances for ‘offensive’ memes in private group chat

June 27th, 2017

Harvard University revoked admission offers to ten incoming first-year students in mid-April, after University officials were notified of admitted students posting offensive memes in a private group chat on Facebook.  The images posted in this group were highly inappropriate, mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, child abuse and jokes related to race and ethnicity.  You may have read about this in the national press already.

In the past we’ve posted about colleges and universities using social media as an additional way to evaluate applicants.  Not only is it important to maintain a positive social media presence but it is a good reminder that even things discussed in “private” on the internet can become public.  We hope our students do not need this reminder because they live lives that respect others as well as themselves.  The students whose acceptances to Harvard were revoked have learned a difficult lesson:  poor judgment and thoughtless actions have real consequences.

Let’s all live each day as an embodiment of the person we aspire to be and the person we hope to share with others.  

Article published below by The Washington Post on June 5, 2017

Written by:  Samantha Schmidt

The Facebook messaging group was at one point titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.”

It began when about 100 members of Harvard College’s incoming freshman class contacted each other through the university’s official Class of 2021 Facebook group. They created a messaging group where students could share memes about popular culture — a growing trend on the Internet among students at elite colleges.

But then, the exchanges took a dark turn, according to an article published in the Harvard Crimson on Sunday. Some of the group’s members decided to form an offshoot group in which students could share obscene, “R-rated” memes, a student told the Crimson. The founders of the messaging group demanded that students post provocative memes in the main group chat to gain admittance to the smaller group.

Read more at Washington Post >>

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