Tag Archives: college admissions assistance

A Diamond of Many Facets

Artistic brightly coloured cut diamond with shadow and reflectioThe college application season is upon us with a vengeance! Students are straining to get their applications in shape for the early deadlines. Those who have completed their early applications are gearing up for the marathon required to complete the other 6-7 schools on their list. In their haste to get it done, many kids make the common mistake of presenting themselves as one-dimensional.

It is true that the best applications will build a theme, selecting a few highlights that we want admission officers to remember. However it is easy to go overboard and show only the most important activity in a child’s life. For example, a violinist who has four music related entries in the activity section, talks about her music in the main essay, and highlights her teaching studio in the extracurricular short essay misses a golden opportunity.

Pick the place to build your theme in the Common Application (or any application): activity section, main essay, or extracurricular short essay found in the college supplements. Then use the remaining essay or other opportunities to show something new. Many schools give you short essays or quick response questions that help a student demonstration their depth.

I love it when I discover that the violinist’s most prized possession is the antique crochet hook that her great grandmother used to teach her to crochet, that the dedicated STEM kid wishes he were better at playing bluegrass on his mandolin, that the heavy hitting science researcher goes ballroom dancing every Thursday night, that the winner of national piano titles produces original movies for film festivals, that the athlete taught himself to program in Python, or that the exceptional math student has his own sports radio program.

These little facts pull these kids out of the stereotype and present a new and very interesting aspect. It forces reviewers to stop and think about the student. It causes delight and conjecture. Remember, the goal is to show your student as a gem with many sparkling facets, not a diamond in the rough whose potential is hidden.

 

Are you on our VIP List? If you would like to receive our newsletter, be the first to be notified of sales and new classes, and get special updates, click here!

Related Posts:

Diluted!

Dilute: make (something) weaker in force, content, or value by modifying it or adding other elements to it. When our children were younger, we lived in a tiny town perched on the side of a breathtaking Colorado mountain. There were few cultural opportunities in this rural mountain area and my daughter, an accomplished violinist, openedContinue Reading

Connect the Dots

As families begin the arduous process of college applications, the tendency is to view each piece as a separate entity that stands alone. It is easy to get tunnel vision and hyper focus on a single thing: the transcript or the essay or the counselor letter or the interview. Families think that if they justContinue Reading

Guiding Letters of Recommendation

If your seniors haven’t already done so, they need to contact the teachers they want to write their letters of recommendation now to allow them plenty of time. You want teachers that know your child well, hopefully in and out of the classroom. You want them to be your child’s biggest cheerleader. To find theContinue Reading

The Extracurricular Essay

Students will write a number of essays during the college application process. Last time we talked about the personal statement for the Common Application. Now let’s look at various prompts students are given to discuss their activities outside of school. Colleges want to know what is important to the student as well as how theyContinue Reading

Explain Your Homeschool Choices Carefully

Homeschoolers have come a long way. We’ve gone from misunderstood to mainstream. We’ve progressed from a minimalist high school education to the rigors of AP classes and research. We’ve earned our place at respected universities. The reason for much of our success has been that we’ve learned how to explain our choices. This becomes particularlyContinue Reading

ROI

For generations Americans have seen college as an investment to a better future. The whole family would scrape together the funds and make huge sacrifices to send a smart, hardworking son. He, in turn, would earn higher wages, help the younger siblings, and pull the rest of the family into a different socio-economic level. BackContinue Reading

Finding a Good College Fit

  Summer vacations and extracurricular activities offer the perfect opportunity to visit area colleges. With more than 3,000 institutions across this country, you are always a stone’s throw away from an institution of higher education. As your family takes campus tours, visits with students, think about what would make a good fit for your studentContinue Reading

Alone. Again.

These last few weeks have been exciting as my clients have been notified of college and scholarship decisions. After 18 years of dedicated parenting, months of college applications, the stress of thousands of details, the final announcement in print can bring a range of emotion – thankfulness, tears, wonder. Then begins the serious work ofContinue Reading

College Visit Weekends

 In just a few weeks, the agony of waiting will be over for students who applied Regular Decision to selective colleges. April becomes a frantic month as seniors rush to visit weekends at various campuses to make their final decision. Colleges put their best foot forward, roll out the red carpet, provide great food, scheduleContinue Reading

The Junior Gauntlet

The spring semester means different things depending on where your student is in the high school progression. Freshmen are still exploring activities and learning to hold their own in difficult high school classes. Sophomores are rolling along in their AP class(es) and settling into their extracurricular focus. Seniors are breathing easier after completing the collegeContinue Reading

Secrets to Successful College Apps

   I’m pleased to announce my new eBook series, The Thinking Mother’s Guides to Homeschooling. Right now there are two Kindle releases on Amazon, with seven more in the planning stages. They are short, very inexpensive books, but jam-packed with useful information for homeschooling families.   Just in time for the college application season, SecretsContinue Reading

The Counselor Letter

It is the time of year that homeschool parents are frantically polishing their homeschool documents that will appear in the School Report section of college applications. One of those documents will be the Counselor Letter – one of the most difficult things I did as my child’s high school guidance counselor. Not physically hard, butContinue Reading

Overcoming the Asian Bias

The college admissions game has gotten brutal and, as the competition mounts for entrance into elite colleges, hardworking Asian students often find themselves overlooked and underrepresented. Much of this is due to unfavorable stereotyping. Before you get too upset, you need to realize that there are all kinds of stereotypes associated with students applying toContinue Reading