Summer 2022 & Pre-College Programs

Summer 2022 & Pre-College Programs

Summer program apps are opening up for summer 2022! 

Did you know that Columbia’s largest high school program raked in $20 million during the pandemic? 

If you are targeting highly selective/highly rejective schools, we’ve noticed they’d rather see a rising senior undertake something a bit more self-directed. For underclassmen, sometimes paid programs are a good idea; it depends on the student and their goals. 

It can be hard to find summer programs, and CU’s programs—like Harvard, Georgetown, Penn, and Brown—always rank high in Google searches and have a vast array of curricular offerings, formats, and timelines. They simply just work for many families who can afford them because they are easy! But, easy is not always best…

Posting this article with the hope that folks will think beyond these programs, especially if they are rising seniors, or plan to target highly selective (top 30 or so) schools. There is more you can do, for less! 

But BMC, you’ve posted some of these programs in the past—what gives? Yes, we do post about paid summer programs but provide information on those that are free, low-cost, or those that offer substantial scholarships. For example (we will be updating these in the coming months, too!):

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Computer Science

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Leadership

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Sports/Sport Management

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Engineering

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Business

Summer Programs for Female Identifying High School Students

Annual Camp Pride Summer Leadership Academy

Always an option, always free: Pursue a passion or purpose project. Create an independent study with your favorite teachers. Cold call/mail profs until you find your way into a lab. Max out edX and Coursera

There’s also no need to wait until summer to engage in and explore your interests. Start now!

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

10 trends to watch as testing reopens (short version: ACT/SAT tests still matter).

Why January application deadlines are just a bad idea.

Advocates say a comprehensive approach is required to address mental health challenges on college campuses, but more information is needed about what does and doesn’t work. Bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress aims to find that information out.

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

New NCAA eligibility guidelines released! 

Admissions as a Game of Chance? New Research Says Lotteries Could Decrease Diversity.

High School Students and Counselors Are Burned Out. We feel this. 

One response: “Our kids are really burnt out. Their usual ability to persevere is significantly lower. They are needing schools to come to them not the other way around. Doing virtual events is NOT helpful as they don’t even want to look at a screen.”

Another response: “Students are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety with being back in person. Even the brightest students are struggling with completing homework and being present.”

And another: “Our students are markedly less mature this year, and moving through the college application process slowly. I don’t know that Ursinus can help, but the pandemic definitely hurt the students’ development and maturity.”

This article is definitely worth a read as we all need to keep mental health and wellness at the top of our to-do lists with our students. 

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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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Merit Money Deadlines for ’21-’22 App Cycle

Merit Money Deadlines for ’21-’22 App Cycle

College Kickstart helps you track those merits $$ deadlines. Students: yet another reason to get apps in EARLY! We suggest submitting as many RD apps as you can by 12/1. 

To help you stay on top of free money opportunities for your students, they’ve compiled a list of popular schools with hard merit deadlines for the 2021-22 cycle.  

For each school listed, they’ve included the stated deadline, as well as the percentage of students receiving merit aid, the average amount of aid awarded and a link back to the school’s merit scholarship page.

Get there now! 

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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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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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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

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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