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How will you measure success this year?

January 17th, 2023

2023 is here, and with the new year comes the promise of a fresh start and a new beginning. Most people begin the year with resolutions in hopes to bring about success, health and happiness. Take a moment to ponder these questions for self-reflection.

Image via College LIfe Made Easy

How do you measure success? Is it by the grades you receive in your coursework? This is often the most straightforward way to look at your level of achievement, but is it meaningful?

What if you challenged yourself with a simple willingness to learn? Author Jonathon Malesic believes this is the key to success in college and I believe in all parts of our lives: career, relationships, high school, college, etc. If we can be open to the possibility of truly learning in all aspects of life, we will see success across the board. Set your sights higher in 2023; focus on increasing your curiosity and coming away with more knowledge to make the most out every day.

Article referenced below from The New York Times, written by Jonathon Malesic, published on January 3, 2023

The Key to Success in College Is So Simple, It’s Almost Never Mentioned

For Emily Zurek Small, college did what it’s supposed to do. Growing up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, she had career and intellectual ambitions for which college is the clearest pathway. “I just kind of always wanted to learn,” she told me recently. “I wanted to be able to have intelligent conversations with people and know about the world.”

She enrolled at a small nearby Catholic college, majored in neuroscience and in 2016 became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree — and later, a master’s. She now works as a school psychologist in Virginia.

Read more at The New York Times>>

Early application decisions roll in

December 13th, 2022

The holiday season brings much excitement and anticipation, especially for high school seniors who applied early. We’re in the midst of decision notification season for Early Action and Early Decision applicants, which means that students across the country will be filled with joy, disappointment or possibly even confusion as they digest a variety of different outcomes.

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Accepted: Gaining acceptance into your top-choice school can be one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of your life. This certainly calls for a celebration, and what a perfect time to do so. However, don’t lose track of what’s important. Keep your eyes on the prize and finish the year strong.

Denied: Often adversity brings us new light, and we just have to open our eyes to see it. What will your news bring you? Maybe the discovery that what you once planned for yourself isn’t your sole path to happiness. What will you learn from this experience and how will it change you? Keep this question in mind as you pivot and make new plans for your future. You will look back one day and understand this is the road you were meant to travel on, trust me.

Deferred: This is a tough decision to receive because it brings about so much uncertainty. Instead of agonizing over the “why,” channel your energy into what you can do with this information. Each college offers FAQs for deferred applicants, and it’s important to follow up as recommended if you’re genuinely interested in remaining under consideration. You’ll find it equally important to redouble efforts to engage with other colleges to which you’ve applied.

There are infinite roads to happiness, and your road may be exactly as you planned or, instead, look nothing like you imagined. Just know you will find your way. The article linked below from Charter helps us all understand that there can be merit to not getting in to your top-choice school. Hard to believe there’s a silver lining, I know, yet I hope this article helps ease your mind and redirect your energy into a constructive plan. Always remember that you remain the same remarkable individual the day after receiving an admission decision as you were the day before it arrived. Nothing can take that away!

Article referenced below from Charter, published April 5, 2022 written by Mitra Kalita

College Admissions Experts Explain the Merits of Not Getting In

In the spring of 1994, I cried over being denied admission at Northwestern and Columbia … and three other elite universities. A close friend, trying to comfort me, only made me sob harder by saying: “Rejection builds character.”

She was right, though. Nearly three decades later, I trace so much of who I am, and the career I’ve built, to that awful week, when thin envelope after thin envelope kept arriving in our family’s mailbox in suburban New Jersey.

Read more at Charter>>

Deepen your impact during high school

November 15th, 2022

High school students often wonder how much extracurricular activities matter in the college application process. While nothing eclipses the importance of academic accomplishments, getting a glimpse of the activities you take part in or lead over the course of your high school career helps colleges get to know you better. Admission committees want to understand who you truly are beyond courses, grades and test scores.

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Being intentional with your time outside the classroom can have a big impact on your own life and the lives of those around you. Try first to identify your interests. What are you passionate about? What are your talents? What have you found especially rewarding to do? Then consider how you can utilize that information to engage in extracurriculars and community service more meaningfully. This reflection is especially beneficial for students in ninth, tenth and eleventh grades, who have time to deepen their footprint in both school and community, yet it’s good advice for students of all ages.

Engaging outside of the classroom leads to better time management, real-world skills like teamwork and leadership, and often new friendships. Is there benefit for college admission? Certainly, especially if you’re bringing positive change to the world around you. But your growth and development are paramount. Make meaningful choices, and good things will follow!

The US News article linked below gives a breakdown on how colleges view extracurricular activities.

Article referenced below from US News, written by Tiffany Sorensen, published on May 2, 2022.

How Colleges Weigh High School Extracurriculars

As every college applicant knows, admissions offices look at extracurricular activities as one of the many factors that go into admissions decisions.

But just how those extracurriculars are considered is much less understood. Is it better to be involved in as many activities as possible to show that you’re a well-rounded applicant, or do schools want to see commitment, focus and leadership? Which activities are more prestigious? Are school-based activities more valuable than those in the community?

Let’s break down how colleges look at extracurricular activities on applications.

Read more at US News>>

Early application deadlines loom

October 26th, 2022

November 1 and 15, the most common Early Action and Early Decision deadlines, are quickly approaching! Many students are on the cusp of hitting submit, and today we want to emphasize that one last mindful review is truly a must.

Image via Niche

Make sure your application tells your story fully and well, giving colleges a compelling picture of who you are. Proofreading is a vital part of the college application process, too, as small typos can detract from the overall quality and convey carelessness. Have someone you trust read each application over before you hit “submit.”

Another tip: aim to submit applications before published deadlines when possible, as computer servers can become overloaded on deadline day.

Once you’ve reviewed and put the final touches on your work, and you feel that your application reflects the highest quality you can muster, there’s no reason to feel uneasy. To quote Nike’s age-old ad campaign, “Just do it.”

For more helpful tips, read this article below from Niche, written by Jason Patel and originally published on November 30, 2018. The advice remains timely.

Good luck!

The Often Overlooked But Completely Essential Last Step to Your College Applications

Before clicking “submit” on your college essays and applications, there’s one essential final step: proofreading.

After spending hours or even days working on college applications, it can be tempting to skip this part. Don’t! You want your applications and essays to represent your absolute best work and make a positive impression on admissions officers.

In this article, we’ll share five methods along with helpful tips for proofreading your college essays and applications. Follow this advice and you’ll be sure to put your best foot forward.

Read more at Niche>>