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Deepen your impact this school year

August 20th, 2019

Now that school is in full swing for much of the midwest, college application season is right around the corner. When applying to college, students always want to know how they can “stand out” and differentiate themselves from other applicants. A great way to do that is by not only performing well academically but also making an impact in your school and/or community.

Colleges want to know how you will make your mark in and out of the classroom. In order to determine this answer, it is important to look deep inside yourself. What are your interests? What are your passions? What are your talents? Colleges want to see that you’ve devoted time and energy to an activity or project that you are fully committed to, and that you’re working to bring about positive change. The article shared below from Forbes.com provides great content on this topic. Invest yourself fully in all that you do, and you’ll be successful in your everyday life and in the college application world.

Article linked below from Forbes.com, published September 12, 2015 by Chris Teare

Colleges Ask: What’s Your Impact?

Last month I posted How Colleges Judge Your High School Courseload, prompted by an encounter with a prospective student at Drew University. The first document in every application is indeed the transcript: What courses has a student selected; how has he or she performed? The second document that can be a deal-maker or –breaker is the resume, one which takes a different form in the context of the Common Application. The first question college admissions officers ask is, “Can and will this student do our academic work and go on to graduate?” The second is, “What impact will this student have outside the classroom?” If you want to be successful in the college process, you need a good answer to both questions.

The best way to build a record that will result in a compelling resume is to pursue your interest—or interests—as fully and passionately as you can. I consciously wrote a singular at first, because you may be zealously devoted to only one thing. If so, be great at it, and your accomplishment may be enough. I worked with a young man who is now a junior at Yale whose only significant extracurricular commitment was—and is—sailing; however, as a Youth Olympics Gold Medalist, that one thing, based upon great talent and untold hours on the water, made him someone every college coach in the nation wanted to recruit. He can, and has, done the academic work, and he can make a sailboat go faster than anyone else. He wins.

Read more at Forbes.com>>

Start the school year with GREAT habits

August 6th, 2019

For many students in our area, school will begin in just a matter of days. The beginning of school is a great time to hit the reset button and have a fresh start. With enough organization, determination and preparation, this year will be the best one yet!

Do you want to know how successful students are making it happen? In the article we share below, 8 Habits of Highly Successful Students, having healthy habits inside and outside of the classroom is key. This particular article, although written for college students, is applicable to each and every one of us as we strive to keep a balanced life while setting goals for the future.

Article linked below from College Info Geek, published August 14, 2017 by Thomas Frank

We have talked a lot about how to do well academically here at CIG.  That includes:

But of course, successful students don’t just do well academically; they usually do well all around.

So, the question is:

What separates truly successful students who have it together and do well in all areas of their lives, from the ones who just do well on the academic side of things?

This question could be answered many ways, but one clear answer is that successful students cultivate habits that set them up for success.

Read more at College Info Geek>>

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Summer is the right time to tackle the Common Application and main essay

July 9th, 2019

We have officially entered into the “dog days of summer,” typically the most sweltering stretch of this season. For high school seniors, this is the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours in air conditioning and get a head start on college applications.

Don’t wait until school starts, when you’ll be overwhelmed with new classes and activities. Follow the steps below to get a jump start on college applications now.

  • If you haven’t yet done so, set up your account(s) at www.commonapp.org and/or http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/
    • Be generous with details as you list and describe activities, work experiences and academic honors.
    • If space in Activities and Honors sections seems insufficient to explain fully, the “Additional Information” portion of the writing section is a great place for supporting details.
    • Everything you’ve put time and energy into during your high school years, summers included, is worth describing.
  • Your main essay should provide insight into who you are and complement the balance of your application
    • Think of yourself as a Hollywood screenwriter telling a story packed with vivid details!  The story should help readers understand how you think, and what makes you tick.
    • Brainstorm topics and make notes about how best to develop ideas before beginning to draft prose.
  • Caution:  supplements currently showing up in Common App are for the admission cycle just completed, so should not be tackled; after the Common App refreshes August 1, new supplements for your application cycle will begin to appear
    • In the meantime, some college admission websites will feature their essay and short answer questions for the upcoming cycle’s supplement, so you may have a chance to begin work on these.
    • When responding to supplement questions asking, “Why this college?” respond with concrete details demonstrating your depth of knowledge and understanding about the institution.  Discuss areas of study, down to course names and faculty research interests.  Mention extracurricular organizations by name.  Show colleges where you’ll plug in, where you’ll make a difference.  One more tip: avoid references to reputation, beauty of campus, special shops nearby since these are widely understood as mere space-fillers.

Rising seniors will start the academic year right if their Common Application (and/or others they’re submitting) are largely complete by the start of fall term.  Use the summer to move application and essay work forward, and we promise you’ll be glad you did.

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A summer job or internship can change your life

June 25th, 2019

Summer break lends the perfect opportunity to gain real world experience through an internship or summer job.  Teenagers who take on this responsibility can foster skills in organization, time management, and self-confidence.  And sometimes these opportunities can lead to a better understanding of their field of interest.  

In today’s blog post we share an article written for graduate students working on summer internships.  Why? 

Believe it or not, it’s equally relevant to high school and college students.  The most important thing you can do this summer is make the most of your time.  Use each opportunity as a learning experience whether it’s an internship, or paid or volunteer work.  This will lead to a proactive approach and can help you not only determine your future goals … but reach them!

Article linked below from Inside HigherEd, published June 12, 2019 by Andrew Bishop

For many grad students, summer is a chance to leave the classroom and have a new experience outside of the university environment. Some programs (like mine) require students to participate in a summer internship within their respective disciplines so that they can practice newly acquired skills, explore potential career paths, and build their resume. Internships can provide you with a new lens through which you can contextualize your work and see where you fit in the broader field. 

The problem with internships is that they can often be hit-or-miss. While some organizations have a robust program that allows interns to dive into engaging projects and receive mentorship, others are ill-equipped and barely have enough work to fill one’s time. As an undergraduate, I had internships across this spectrum. I remember the excitement of digging into research on education policy that came with one internship, but also the boredom that came with another.

Read more at Inside HigherEd>>

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