Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Penn Admissions has shared four great informative guides to help students with their college application process—and they are NOT Penn specific (although the samples they provide are)! 

Narrowing Down Your List

Fill out a worksheet for each school on your list while visiting school websites, exploring virtual tours, and attending information sessions. Compare worksheets and see which schools match your must-haves. Download Guide 1

Curriculum & Majors

This second guide will help you narrow down which colleges will be the best fit for you based on academics offered. Use this worksheet to learn more about a school’s curriculum, majors, and learning opportunities. Download Guide 2

Tracking Application Requirements & Deadlines

There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re applying to multiple colleges. Use this worksheet to stay organized and take some of the stress out of the application process. Download Guide 3

Highlighting Your Extracurriculars & Activities

This worksheet will prepare you for the activities section of your college applications. Think of this guide as a way to brainstorm what you’ve been involved in through high school, what your commitment looked like, and how things may have changed in the past year. Download Guide 4

Bonus: Watch this video for even more tips on activities!

Thanks, Penn! Pair this advice with The Complete College Essay Handbook and get ready to apply! 

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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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Common Application Essay Fall Bootcamp

Common Application Essay Fall Bootcamp

Complete Your Common Application Essay in One Week! 

Want to get the most important piece of writing in your college application completed efficiently, effectively, and early? 

In one week of focused 1:1 work, you will be able to check a very important college application item off your list: the Common Application essay.  

In this bootcamp you will: 

  • Attend a live session to learn what makes a successful Common Application essay.
  • Complete our specialized brainstorming process, working with an essay expert 1:1 to decide on the most unique approach to your essay. 
  • Draft your essay and receive detailed, targeted feedback to take it from a rough draft to a polished final essay.

You’ll also get access to sample personal statements by students we’ve worked with (and who have gained admission to selective colleges and universities!).

When is this program offered?

  • This bootcamp is offered on-demand in September and October! Let us know your preferred week, and we will reach out to you with our availability. If we are not available for your preferred week, we will work with you to find another time that fits both of our schedules. 

Who should sign up for this program?

  • High school seniors who are ready to write their Common App essay (aka the personal statement) and who have one hour daily to dedicate to it over the course of one week. 

How do I get more information and pricing?

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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing The Common Application Essay

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing The Common Application Essay

Our essay experts know best!

Check out these 10 tips from Emma, co-author of The Complete College Essay Handbook, that will help you write the most effective personal statement.

If you are a senior, the time to write is NOW!

  • Don’t worry about the prompts. It’s helpful to read through the prompts to see if doing so sparks any ideas; however, there is no need to stress about writing an essay that exactly “answers” a prompt. Your goal is to write the best essay you can about whatever you decide is best to write about. Working with students 1:1, we totally disregard the prompts and usually find that their essay still easily fits under one of the questions. And, if not, there is often an open-ended prompt such as: “Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.”
  • Do open with a scene. A strong opening scene draws the reader into your essay. Admissions officers and their first-round readers have hundreds of applications to get through—make yours stand out from the first sentence. Intrigue them or scare them or make them laugh. Make them want to keep reading.
  • Do focus on a single story. You only have 650 words. Perhaps that sounds like a lot to you: it’s not. There is no reason you should worry about filling it up. Through our process, you will find out how to generate enough detail to write an essay about any story. Nor should you worry about cramming as much as possible into the personal statement. Remember that colleges have all of your application data and that trying to do too much in the essay will only end up making your essay feel rushed and scattered.
  • Do make sure that your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. You can tell your story out of order—for instance, opening with a scene from a stressful moment in order to build suspense before jumping back into chronology—but you always want to make sure your story has each of these elements. Skipping any single one will confuse your reader and make your story feel incomplete (because it is!).
  • And yet don’t get bogged down in detail. We usually find students have trouble generating enough detail. But sometimes we get a student who is unable to summarize effectively, too. Having too much detail can make your story confusing and also mean that your reader will have trouble understanding what the most significant elements are. It usually also means you don’t have room for reflection—the most important element in the essay!
  • Do present yourself in a positive light. We actively encourage you to tell a story that showcases your vulnerabilities, failures, weaknesses, and mistakes. However, either your narrative or your reflection (or some combination of the two), needs to ultimately redeem you so that your essay, in the end, shows you to be someone who is actively working to improve—to rectify mistakes, move past failures, or strengthen weakness. Your essay should be honest, but its main purpose is to make you seem like someone admissions officers want to see at their colleges! Make sure you come off well.
  • Don’t use huge thesaurus words. Again: you aren’t trying to impress the admissions officers! You are trying to show them who you are—and you are trying to make them like you. Using big words can mean using words you don’t quite know how to use, and that will show. Even if you do know how to use them, unless your essay is about how much you love long words or languages, using the big, 25-cent words can make you sound pretentious and overly formal. The language should sound like you and be relatively casual—not curse-word, talking-with-friends casual, but maybe talking-with-your-grandmother casual.
  • Do use vivid, interesting words and varied sentence structure. Being casual doesn’t mean the writing shouldn’t be good or interesting! Do push yourself to use words you might not use in your everyday speech, and do mix up the sentence structure to keep the writing varied and exciting. Do feel free to include words from your personal vocabulary—words from the language you speak at home or from a regional dialect or words you’ve made up. That can add a lot of texture and personality to an essay. Just make sure you define the words for your reader if the meaning isn’t clear from the context.
  • But don’t use emotional language: I was happy; I was sad. Instead, let an action depict the emotional state. That is, instead of saying “I was happy,” you might write, “I couldn’t help skipping a few steps down the street after hearing the news.” And, instead of saying “She was sad,” you might write, “Her shoulders slumped, and she cradled her head in her hands.” You can’t see an emotion, and you always want to give the reader something to see.
  • And don’t use cliche—i.e. common, predictable, overused—language. Cliche language includes (but is definitely not limited to!) phrases like:
    • I need to be true to myself.
    • Time heals all wounds.
    • Every cloud has a silver lining.
    • Good things come to those who wait.
    • I learned more from them than they did from me.
    • Every rose has its thorn.
    • You win some, you lose some.
    • Little did I know.

Of course, your essay might have one of these messages at its heart. Maybe you did learn more from the kid you tutored than they learned from you. Maybe you did find the “silver lining” in a terrible situation. Both of these could make for great essays. But you want to verbalize that realization in your own unique and surprising way.

Interested in working with Emma? Contact us 

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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

The Complete College Essay Handbook

The Complete College Essay Handbook

Big news! Our essay book hits Amazon in July!
 
The Complete College Essay Handbook demystifies the entire college essay writing process with easy-to-follow directions and hands-on activities that have worked for hundreds of students.
 
Maschal, a former admissions officer, and Wood, a professional writer and writing teacher, draw on their combined expertise to help students craft a successful set of application essays for every school on their list. Supplemental essays in particular can seem overwhelming—some schools ask students to write as many as six essays in addition to the personal statement. Maschal and Wood identify four types of supplemental essays, walking students through how to write each one and then how to recycle these essays for other schools.
 
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
The Complete College Essay Handbook is 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.
 
We hope you grab a copy next month and let us know what you think!
 
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Free Personal Finance Workshops for High School Girls

Free Personal Finance Workshops for High School Girls

Invest in Girls, a program of the Council for Economic Education, is offering a series of virtual workshops for high school girls to learn all about personal finance and get smart(er!) about money.
With IIG’s Summer Session, students can learn how to be the CFOs of their own lives.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Creating a budget
  • Using credit cards
  • Understanding interest rates
  • Paying income tax
  • Careers in finance
Daytime and evening groups for the summer session are being formed now and will be meeting 3x a week in July 2021.
  • Groups will meet online on: 7/13, 7/14, 7/15, 7/20, 7/21, and 7/22
  • Students can choose the 11:00 a.m. (EDT) or the 6:00 p.m. (EDT) group

We believe every girl should feel confident about money matters. At IIG’s Summer Session 2021, students will meet like-minded girls and get to hear from inspiring women working in finance so they can start building their own networks and invest in themselves.

Know a teen girl or two who you think would want to know about IIG‘s Summer Session?

Please share the link to our online interest form and tell them it’s because you believe in them—and want them to be confident and feel financially empowered.
Summer Programs for Female Identifying High School Students

Summer Programs for Female Identifying High School Students

The best summer programs are the ones that help you explore your academic interests. As part of your college application, they help demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and commitment to an area of study (typically, the one you might pursue in college).

Below are some great options for female-identifying students!

CMU Computer Science Scholars

Participants will attend lectures by Carnegie Mellon faculty with expertise in various aspects of computing. They will also attend two academic seminars focused on programming and higher level mathematics. Project-based learning will supplement classroom experiences and offer students an opportunity to apply learned concepts to real-world challenges. Outside of the academic experience students will engage virtually with industry leaders to learn about the vast opportunities in the field of computing. Students will have an opportunity to be mentored by industry leaders throughout the country. At the conclusion of the program students will receive a comprehensive evaluation which can be integrated into their academic portfolios for college admission purposes.

Women’s Technology Program – MIT

The MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is a rigorous four-week summer academic experience to introduce high school students to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the summer after 11th grade. WTP is designed for students who are excited about learning, have demonstrated their ability to excel at math and science in their high school classes, and who have no prior background (or very little) in engineering or computer science, with few opportunities to explore these fields. WTP is a women-focused, collaborative community aimed at empowering students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in engineering. We especially encourage students to apply who will be the first family member to attend college, who come from high schools with limited access to STEM classes and activities, or who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American.

Barnard Pre-College

Experience Summer in New York City at Barnard. With distinct programs to choose from, ranging from entrepreneurship to STEM, you have the unique opportunity to explore an area of interest on a deeper level through both in-class discussions and city exploration. As part of the learning experience at Barnard, you will get a taste of both college life and the city that never sleeps!

Inspiring Girls Expeditions

Leadership adventure programming! Tuition-free multi-day expeditions for high school girls that interweave science, art, and backcountry travel. Expeditions are led by professional women scientists, artists, and wilderness guides. Throughout each expedition, the team engages in scientific and artistic inquiry about the environment around them. In small groups, participants design and conduct scientific projects, which they present to the public on the last full day of their expeditions.

Smith Summer Science & Engineering

The Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP) is designed for exceptional high school students with strong interests in science and engineering. Engage in hands-on research with Smith faculty in life and physical sciences and in engineering. Established in 1990, the program annually serves more than 100 students. Since its inception, nearly 1,800 students have participated, representing 46 states and 53 countries. After the program, participants return to high school better prepared to tackle tough science courses and understand what to expect in college.

Girls Who Code

Clubs, summer immersion programs, and college loops!

Girls Teaching Girls to Code

Events and programs vary from year to year. Check their site for more information.

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