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Take me to your leaders: What college admission deans are looking for

June 12th, 2017

Leadership:  this word generates so much attention in the college admissions world.  It puts pressure on young people to believe they must hold a top officer position in order to be considered a leader prior to applying for college.  

But what exactly is leadership?  In the Huffington Post article we share with you today, it is defined in more ways than one and may have you thinking outside the box while completing the leadership section of your college application.  This article is full of direct quotes from admissions officers at several universities who give us perfect examples of what leadership means to them.  

Article published below by The Huffington Post on February 20, 2017

Written by:  Brennan Barnard

“The college invasion.” This is how my high school seniors describe the scene on our campus each fall. Admission visitors—like extraterrestrials—arrive in their rental cars with big smiles and stories of bright new worlds. Their message is always the same—“take me to your leaders.”

College admission officers spend weeks on end traveling the world, recruiting tomorrow’s leaders. But what exactly are they searching for? How do they define a leader? Who will they choose to take back with them? What qualities will these individuals embody? How will they be identified, wooed and culled? These are the questions silently percolating in young minds as they listen to these visitors describe fascinating futures filled with exploration and engagement.

Read more at Huffington Post >>

Common Application’s new and revised essay prompts

May 30th, 2017

The school year has ended for some and is near for others!  

While seniors have made college enrollment choices, juniors are just beginning to ramp up for the excitement of application season. For students still intent on final exams, it is most important to finish the year with a flourish.  But as the academic year finishes, juniors can begin letting essay ideas flow.

The new essay prompts from the Common Application have been revised and improved through the guidance of teachers, students and school counselors.  The goal of the edits is to give students more room to express themselves freely.  Along with two new prompts, three of the essay prompts have been revised to reflect the suggestions of members and constituents.

2017-2018 Common Application Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change]

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change]

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
 

We expect these topics will spark many ideas about great stories to tell and look forward to reading our rising seniors’ essays in the weeks and months ahead.

Read more at The Common Application >>

Do colleges look at your social media accounts?

May 15th, 2017

Social media can be used as a great tool to network and gain more information when determining whether a college is the right fit for you.  Be aware, though, that this can work in your favor or against you, as many colleges are also using social media to determine whether you are the right fit for them.  

Your social media presence may have a much greater impact than you think when applying to college.  This is why it is important to make sure that what you reveal about yourself on social media is a good representation of who you really are.

The US News article posted below is a helpful tool to gauge what might be a deterrent for some schools and, conversely, what might be viewed as beneficial for a prospective student.  

Written by:  Darian Somers (published by US News on February 10, 2017)

Your first impression on a college admissions officer involves more than just an essay, a transcript and some test scores.

According to new data, colleges and universities pay attention to what prospective students post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In a Kaplan Test Prep survey of more than 350 college admissions officers in the U.S., 35 percent of officers polled reported having looked at applicants’ social media accounts to learn more about them.

Read more at US News >>

Study: grit as an indicator of college success

May 1st, 2017

Have you ever heard the word “grit” used to describe a successful student?  I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t, but it has become a buzzword in the education community. The word encompasses three characteristics:  persistence, determination and resilience.  These traits are often more difficult to quantify than test scores and GPA, but college admissions offices are beginning to incorporate this into their process for determining college success.

The article posted today comes from the NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) website.  In this post, author Tara Nicola shares a study that was used to look into the predictive power of grit.  We’re excited to see more studies proving that it is important for colleges to incorporate more cognitive traits into their selection process.

Article below published on the NACAC website on February 14, 2017

Underlying the college admission process is the principle that colleges should strive to accept the most academically talented students. What are the factors that best predict academic success in college?

Historically, postsecondary institutions have relied on quantitative indicators such as high school GPA and standardized test scores to assess a student’s academic potential, and with good reason—there is strong evidence linking these factors with academic performance in college. Yet such measures are neither foolproof, nor do they capture key non-cognitive characteristics, like motivation, enthusiasm, and maturity, which also impact academic outcomes.

Read more at National Association for College Admission Counseling >>

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