As a beginning painter struggling to learn the impressionistic style, I often find it difficult to portray the generalization instead of the detail. When I look at a scene, I have to determine only the most important elements to capture with my brush and forget the rest. I only want the bare outlines so the viewer is captivated and pauses to interact with my art.
The funny thing is that my job as a college consultant uses the same skill set, although I confess that I find it much easier wielding the editing pencil than a brush loaded with oil paint.
The constraints of college applications are tight – a couple of essays ranging from 150 to 650 words, 200 characters to explain an all-consuming activity that has been pursued for 12 years, a short question here and there. Families get frustrated with the lack of space and the seemingly impersonal process that forces them to distill the bare essence of their student. Not everything will fit and I find that most people don’t understand what is important and what is not. So I work daily to help students recognize what is most impressive in their resume, what is unusual, what breaks their personal stereotype, what is most representative about who they are.
The best college applications are honestly only an impression, a few richly rendered details about a young person. There is not much room and thus we must pick only the highlights and paint them well so the admissions officer is captivated and pauses to interact with our student.
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!