College Admissions Interview Season!

College Admissions Interview Season!

For many students, college admissions interviews are fear-inducing. The good news is, you are already an expert on you, so all you need to learn is a little bit about the school and how to channel nerves into excitement.

Hear us out: You do not need to spend hours preparing answers to hundreds of questions to thoroughly prepare for alumni or any other college admissions interview. Canned responses sound terrible anyway. 

Remember, so much of college admissions (especially the interview) is about likeability—rehashing your resume word-for-word or sounding like a robot does not make you likable—but being able to hold a simple, genuine conversation does. 

Practice with a parent or friend, or practice for 30 minutes with us! Never go to an interview unprepared! Learning how to interview is a skill for life, not just for the college process. Email us if you are interested in a short mock interview session. 

Below, you will find some common interview questions.

High School Experience

  1. Tell me a little bit about your high school experience and the courses you are taking currently
  2. Which class has been your least favorite? Why?
  3. Tell me about your favorite class(s) you have taken. Why was it your favorite?
  4. Which classes have been the most difficult (or most challenging)?
  5. What subjects do you plan on studying at [school]?
  6. How have you pursued this interest in school and outside of school?

Extracurricular Activities

  1. What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
  2. When you’re not in class, studying, or doing homework, what do you do with your time (organized activities or things for fun)?
  3. How did you get involved/started with ____ activity?
  4. Which activity is the most meaningful to you, and which one is the most fun?
  5. What extracurricular activities do you hope to continue in college?
  6. If you could only continue taking part in one EC, which one would it be and why?

College Expectations

  1. What type of environment are you looking for in a college/university?
  2. Have you visited [insert college name]? What did you learn?
  3. What matters most to you in a college setting?

School Specific

  1. How did you become interested in [school]?
  2. What do you find appealing about [school]?
  3. Why do you think you [school] might be the right fit for you?
  4. Do you know any students at [school]? Have you reached out to them to learn more about [school]?
  5. If you had an opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee anything about yourself, what would it be? What would you want the Admissions Committee to know about you that may not come across on your application?
  6. What have you learned about [school] that seems unusual or surprising?

Miscellaneous

  1. How have you spent your high school summers?
  2. How would your best friend describe you?
  3. How would your teachers describe you?
  4. If you had a year to do anything you want, what would it be and why?
  5. What are you currently reading?
  6. Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you wanted to discuss?

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Juniors: What’s Your Story?

Juniors: What’s Your Story?

The start of junior year is the perfect time to determine your story for applying to college. What majors are you considering? What have you done to explore those majors? Where will you add value in college both inside and outside of the classroom? Is your value add clear on your resume? 

It might seem early since you won’t be submitting apps until this time next year, but those apps are much easier to write if you’ve done some work ahead of time. 

Juniors, right now you can:

  • Create a testing plan and learn about test-optional admissions
  • Develop relationships with admissions officers and regional reps (the people who make key decisions on your application) as well as current students and faculty (we can fill you in on why these connections are so important and set you up with a peer guide)
  • Open up a Common App account to get familiar with the system
  • Craft a preliminary college list so you understand the many application plans colleges now use, and why this is a critical component of a smart application strategy
  • Make the best of virtual campus visits 
  • And of course, determine your academic narrative and “story” for your apps, and learn how this plays into one of our favorite parts of the college app process: essays!

Speaking of essays now would be a great time for juniors to grab a copy of our book, The Complete College Essay Handbook

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Forté Fall Conferences

Forté Fall Conferences

Even in a pandemic, Forté’s mission of #MoreWomenLeading remains the same. Please join us in encouraging undergrad women to invest in their future selves by helping us spread the word about Forté’s upcoming virtual Fall College Conferences!

Forté Undergraduate Campus Leadership Summit
This is an opportunity for undergrad women to maximize their personal strengths and develop their unique leadership style. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are collegiate chapter student leaders, women in business club student leaders, and Forté Undergraduate Campus Ambassadors.

Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, 2021
Registration Deadline: Sept. 23

College Fast Track to Finance Conference
Open to sophomores and juniors of all majors interested in exploring the many career paths in finance. First-year students who are business majors or have previous experience and seniors that have not accepted full-time employment may also register.

Oct. 14-15, 2021
Registration Deadline: Oct. 1

Partners: PIMCO, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Greystar, Guggenheim Partners, Hines, J.P. Morgan, PNC, and Vanguard

Candid Conversations for Black, Latinx, and Native American Undergraduate Women Conference
Open to college women from historically underrepresented groups in business and diverse academic backgrounds — with a focus on the experiences of Black, Latinx, and Native American women.

Oct. 28-29, 2021
Registration Deadline: Oct. 15

Partners: PIMCO, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, DaVita, Deloitte, The Dow Chemical Company, Evercore, Hines, Liberty Mutual, UBS, and PNC

If you know a woman who would benefit from attending our virtual conferences, please send her this link: http://bit.ly/fortecc. You can also post the following on your social channels to help spread the word:

The business world needs more women leaders. Registration is now open for undergrad women to build leadership skills, expand their network, and develop their personal brand at Forté College Conferences this fall. Let’s get #MoreWomenLeading! http://bit.ly/fortecc.

Thank you for spreading the word about these events and Forté’s mission to get #MoreWomenLeading!

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Harvard MCC Youth Advisory Board Opportunity

Harvard MCC Youth Advisory Board Opportunity

Making Caring Common’s Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of high school students from across the country who are committed to making schools more caring and respectful places through everyday interactions. Members guide our understanding of and help devise solutions to the most pressing moral issues and social challenges of their peer groups, such as bullying and exclusion. They provide feedback on our ideas, share their thoughts on current events, and make sure we’re on the right track when communicating information to young people.

We are looking for young people with the following characteristics:

  • Passion for making their school and community more kind and inclusive
  • Creativity about ways to connect with young people
  • Ability to inspire other youth and adults to action
  • Excellent communication and organization skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to the following values: caring, responsibility toward others, and justice

We are particularly interested in including young people who are not typically identified as leaders in their schools, those who may be socially marginalized, and those who represent minority groups within their school community.

The deadline to apply is October 4, and you can submit your application here.

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‘U.S. News’ Keeps ACT and SAT Scores in the Mix…for Now

‘U.S. News’ Keeps ACT and SAT Scores in the Mix…for Now

Though more and more colleges are dropping their ACT and SAT requirements, test scores still count in the closely watched college rankings many folks love to hate. But that might not hold true for much longer.

U.S. News & World Report, which published its latest Best Colleges guide on Monday, once again factored incoming students’ average test scores into its measure of “student excellence” at each ranked college despite recent calls for the publication to remove the ACT and SAT from its methodology. This year, standardized test scores were weighted at 5 percent of an institution’s overall ranking, the same as last year (down from 7.75 percent previously).

But U.S. News did change one part of its methodology in an acknowledgment of the growing number of test-optional colleges. It’s known as the 75-percent rule. Previously, the publication reduced the weight of the ACT and SAT by 15 percent for test-optional colleges with fewer than three-quarters of incoming students submitting scores. “The lack of data, for 25 percent of students or more, likely means the ACT or SAT score is not representative of the entire class,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, explained in a 2016 blog post. Some enrollment officials have said the policy — which can lower a college’s ranking — penalizes institutions that don’t require standardized tests.

This year, U.S. News lowered the threshold to 50 percent: Colleges received “full credit for their SAT/ACT performance” if at least half of their incoming students submitted a score. Just 4 percent of nearly 1,500 ranked colleges did not meet that 50-percent threshold. But “many” colleges, Morse wrote in an email, fell somewhere between 50 percent and 75 percent, though he and a U.S. News spokeswoman declined to say how many “many” was.

Read the full article here. [Source Th Chronicle of Higher Education]

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Class of 2026 (aka Fall ’22 College Start) Admission Plan Changes

Class of 2026 (aka Fall ’22 College Start) Admission Plan Changes

Carnegie Mellon officially offers ED 2 (they had that weird, kinda hidden offering last year!) as do a few other schools. Some new EA, EA2 offerings we well.

Get the full rundown on College Kickstart, our list go-to!

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The Purpose of & How to Tackle College Specific Essays (Supplemental Essays)

The Purpose of & How to Tackle College Specific Essays (Supplemental Essays)

The supplemental essays (or “supps” as we call them) are a chance for you to “supplement” your personal statement (aka the Common App essay) with more information about who you are and what makes you tick. Although many supps ask you to write about seemingly straightforward topics, like your extracurriculars or academics, they are not merely an opportunity to rehash your résumé or the activities section of the Common Application. They are, like the personal statement, an opportunity to tell another deeply personal story—not to brag about your brag-worthy accomplishments. Remember: it is stories, not accomplishments, that will make your application memorable.

For your essay to count as a story, it needs to tell a narrative that charts personal progress and change. Maybe your résumé is full of community service, and though you love it now, when you started, it felt like a chore. Tell that story. Maybe you played piano for ten years only to quit in tenth grade so you could devote more time to your real passion—computer science. Tell that story. Maybe you founded a club, and no one came to the first meeting, but you decided to keep going, and now you have a small but devoted core group. Tell. That. Story. In other words: Tell the unvarnished true story, even if that story isn’t neat or pretty. Those are the best stories!

Although supps present a valuable opportunity to make yourself even more memorable to your favorite schools, they also present a daunting amount of work: the majority of schools require at least one supplemental essay, and some, like MIT and Wake Forest, ask you to complete five or more. Many students we work with end up having to complete, on average, ten to fifteen sets of supps, or anywhere from eight to twenty additional essays. This is an insane amount of writing, and it can seem especially challenging because the prompts for these essays appear to vary greatly from school to school.

Don’t be daunted. You don’t have to write twenty unique essays!

Over the years, we have identified four types of essays that admissions officers most commonly look for. The students we work with write, on average, these four essays that they are then able to adapt and repurpose for different word counts and prompts.  They are:

  • Academic and Intellectual Interests
  • Community and Identity
  • Creativity
  • Impact and Influence

And following our method, you can do this too! In The Complete College Essay Handbook, we provide:

  • An overview of the type, with writing advice
  • Sample essays to show you how it’s done at different word limits
  • Both obvious and less-obvious prompts, so you can get a sense of the ways colleges phrase each question
  • A brief brainstorming questionnaire targeted to that type

We also show you how to adapt your essays for higher or lower word limits and how to repurpose your essays for the few prompts that fall outside of the four types. Using our methods, you’ll be able to maximize your time by writing fewer, but more effective and widely applicable, supplemental essays.

Get a copy today (paperback or ebook option), or if you are interested in working with us 1:1, reach out via email!

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Out Now on Amazon: The Complete College Essay Handbook!

Out Now on Amazon: The Complete College Essay Handbook!

Hi. If this were a podcast, this would be the part where we’d say, in our distinct voices: “I’m Brittany.” And then: “I’m Emma.” We’ve been working together to guide students through their college applications since 2016. After a few years, we realized our process was not reflected in any of the essay materials we found elsewhere, so we decided to write it down. What started as internal documents for our students eventually turned into a book and we are writing to announce that…

[drumroll]

The Complete College Essay Handbook is now available on Amazon

It’s a no-frills, practical guide that will give students the confidence and know-how they need to craft the best essays for every single school on their list—in less time and with less stress. The Complete College Essay Handbook walks students through:

  • What makes an essay stand out, drawing on sample essays by real students to illustrate main points
  • Brainstorming activities to find the best topics for the personal statement and supplemental essays
  • How to write the two central components of every application essay: scene and reflection
  • Editing and revision—including techniques to cut down or expand an essay to hit the word limit
  • The four types of supplemental essays and how to decode the different essay prompts, using actual essay questions
  • The strategy behind a well-rounded set of application essays

We are excited to get our expertise and years of experience into the hands of as many students as possible—especially now that it’s college application season!

We’d be so grateful if you shared a link to The Complete College Essay Handbook with friends and family, and if you decide to purchase it—thank you, and also consider leaving a review (verified Amazon reviews are huge for increasing exposure). If you have feedback—or just want to say hi—email us at brittemmaessays@gmail.com

Thank you for your support!

Brittany & Emma

Advice for Artists Whose Parents Want Them to Be Engineers

Advice for Artists Whose Parents Want Them to Be Engineers

I’ve been slacking on article suggestions and reposts, so here we go! 

Doctors, lawyers and engineers make great societal contributions, too. Still, we will always need our poets and artists, our teachers and storytellers, our misfits and dreamers, contrarians and risk-takers.

A great read for parents, students, and college counselors. 

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Common Application Refresh (Offline) – July 28

Common Application Refresh (Offline) – July 28

Each year, the Common App goes offline to prepare for the launch of the new application. In order to help you prepare, we want to share information on this year’s application refresh period. 

The first-year application will close to students and recommenders at 5 p.m. ET on July 28. 

The 2021-2022 application will launch on August 1. You can roll over your old app to the “refreshed app” on this date — and begin to apply! 

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