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. 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

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!
 
*Stay in the know! Subscribe*
Colleges Do Not Want Well-Rounded Applicants

Colleges Do Not Want Well-Rounded Applicants

We talk about the myth of well-roundedness a lot around here, so glad to see it talked about in this recent Forbes article!

Being a well-rounded individual is certainly admirable. What’s not to like about someone who is widely curious and has balance in their interests? When it comes to selective college admission, however, increasingly “being” well-rounded has been replaced by “doing” well-rounded. Applicants approach the experience feeling like they have to do it all. Gil Villanueva, associate vice president and dean of admission at the University of Richmond says, “the incessant belief that colleges want well-rounded students needs to just end. We want to build orchestras and we can’t have them if everyone plays the cello.” He tells students, “the reality is we want well-rounded classes. So it’s perfectly fine, if not great, that you don’t do everything at your schools. Ultimately, we simply want to see a positive impact in whatever co-curricular activity(s) you do because we can predict that you will contribute to our campuses outside of academics.”

The whole article is worth a read!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Do Your Best

Do Your Best

In a recent Inside Higher Ed article, W. Kent Barnds reflects on what he should have told his daughter and thousands of other high school students: just do your best. 

As we approach the time of year when it can be easy to lose sight of what matters (regarding college admissions!) it is worth a read!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Procrastinate Much? Manage Your Emotions, Not Your Time.

Procrastinate Much? Manage Your Emotions, Not Your Time.

Procrastination. It’s frustrating, often maddening, but this article helped.

Procrastination isn’t about avoiding work; it’s about avoiding negative emotions. We procrastinate when a task stirs up feelings like anxiety, confusion or boredom. And although it makes us feel better today, we end up feeling worse — and falling behind — tomorrow. This means that if you want to procrastinate less, you don’t have to increase your work ethic or improve your time management. You can instead focus on changing your habits around emotion management.

Applying to college can be confusing, definitely boring at times, and almost always, for everyone involved, anxiety-provoking. Read the full article here!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Rejection and Lack of Fit

Rejection and Lack of Fit

With the amount I post on how to deal with failure, rejection, and disappointment, you’d think all of your students rack up a long list of denials! That’s not the case, and since this blog is widely read outside of our client base, I post what’s on my mind around this process broadly. I know this time of year is tough on families with high hopes in this process, so I post about the tough parts.

A want to share a wonderful article by Adam Grant.  As someone who has been rejected an appropriate amount, How to Bounce Back From Rejection is something I believe I know well. However, it is not something you can really teach or prepare a student for when it comes to the college process. There will be some disappointment and it hurts. Sometimes it comes before you submit apps, for example, hearing that you don’t have a competitive profile for a certain school. But often it comes later, once that sentiment is cemented by a deferral or rejection.

What Grants points out that I hope all students can keep in mind is rejection often happens because of a lack of fit. In college admissions, you don’t control what a school decides is the fit they need at any given moment in the process. It is not entirely personal or a reflection of your whole self as a student, person, friend, classmate, son, daughter, etc. Students, please remember:

We are more than the bullet points on our resumes. We are better than the sentences we string together into a word salad under the magnifying glass of an interview. No one is rejecting us. They are rejecting a sample of our work, sometimes only after seeing it through a foggy lens.

And I hope parents also do not take a college rejection personally. I know many of you who were/are deep in the process; where your student goes to college has nothing to do with and says nothing about your success as a parent.

“When someone rejects you, it helps to remember that there’s another you.” Hang in there!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

After a College Applicant Hits ‘Send’

After a College Applicant Hits ‘Send’

“Something beautiful is being formed in the dumpster fire that is senior fall.” 

Kelly Corrigan’s 2019 New York Times article, After a College Applicant Hits ‘Send’, has tons of these great tidbits. You’ll laugh, and cringe, and hopefully think about how small this moment is in the grand scheme of things. But in all seriousness, it’s an article about the growth that can come from just surviving the process that is applying to college today (it was SO much easier way back when). It can be about something more than — or other than — where a student gets in. 

With decisions from some of our nation’s most selective colleges and universities coming out, I like to post some articles on the process that provide a little bit of perspective. My guess is, for the most part, parents will be reading them (but we hope students do, too!). Parents of seniors: you’ve got this! Congratulate your student for making it through what has been an insane year to apply to college. 

Parents of juniors: you’re up next! So here’s something important for that group to consider:

Deciding where you belong in the process has a lot to do with how you answer these questions: What will happen if you let them lead, and what will happen if you don’t? Another worthwhile thought experiment goes like this: If we decide they’ll find their way one way or another, if we agree that any one acceptance letter is not the prize, what could the reward be? Developing comfort with uncertainty? Expanding self-knowledge? Building new capacities and a sense of agency? Because that kind of personal growth is not too much to ask of this process. And what a grand outcome that would be.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Social Media Break, Graduation & Summer Reading/Listening

Social Media Break, Graduation & Summer Reading/Listening

From June 1-8 we took a break from posting on social media. During that time, we continued to think about and act on ways to support our community.

This is the time of year that we are sending congratulations to our high school grads, the class of 2020. In lieu of graduation gifts, we’ve made a donation in their honor to Rock The Vote. Rock the Vote aims to register and educate millions of young voters, be a trusted source of information, and ultimately empower young people to use their voices and create the political and social change that they believe in. We support their dynamic programming, including high school civic education, voter protection work, and election efforts. We have also supported Mutual Aid NYC, a community of volunteers supporting mutual aid organizing across the city, including the Brooklyn Bail Fund.

June is also Pride Month, and this year is the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Our friends at the podcast Footnoting History put together a wonderful list of resources. I welcome you to listen to their episodes on Black HistoryUS History, and LGBT History. You might also want to check out:

One of the most powerful ways to speak is to amplify the voices of those with deeper understanding and broader data; accordingly, Adam Grant suggests the following books:

When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. Let’s all be part of the change.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

4 ‘Must Follow’ College Admissions Office Blogs

I read a lot about college admissions and what I love reading most are the blogs run by actual college admissions offices. Here’s why:

  • They provide insightful from-the-source information that you often can’t get elsewhere
  • They tend to tell it like it is; not a lot of BS
  • Many posts provide much-needed perspective, and some are even inspiring, not fear-inducing
  • Surprisingly many are funny and give a sense of the school’s character (or at least the admissions office’s)

They also provide insights into the culture of each of these schools. Although college is a business at its core, I believe the writers of these blogs are educators at heart, and their writings are not at all marketing efforts. By reading them, you will get not only pertinent application information but also a glimpse into the types of people that attend these schools. A school’s culture or vibe is a factor that I feel strongly should be evaluated in all students college searches.

So here they are in no particular order:

  • Rick Clark and the rest of the Georgia Tech team: http://pwp.gatech.edu/admission-blog/
  • Dean J’s Notes from Peabody: http://uvaapplication.blogspot.com/
  • Jeff Schiffman, Tulane admissions: http://tuadmissionjeff.blogspot.com/
  • The entire team at MIT: https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do—happy reading!

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

 

Reading for the Win

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” So with this in mind, Brennan Bernard (director of college counseling at the Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H.) asks his colleagues in high school counseling and college admission to recommend their favorite books from the year, and every year, the recommendations are amazing.

Right now I am reading:

“iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, and What That Means for the Rest of Us” by Jean M. Twenge

There are some older ones here that I can personally recommend, for example:

“Colleges That Change Lives” by Loren Pope, revised by Hilary Masell Oswald

And a few I just read recently that I really liked:

“Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

“The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis

“How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Read the full list here.  I have already put these on hold at my local library:

“Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives”by Rachel Simmons

“At What Cost?: Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools” by David L. Gleason

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*