College Application Essay Coaching – Make The Most of Summer

College Application Essay Coaching – Make The Most of Summer

Having read thousands of college application essays over the course of our careers as counselors, teachers, writing coaches, and admissions officers, the easiest explanation is that we just “know” when we read an effective essay. For a glimpse into our process and to read some of these essays, check out The Complete College Essay Handbook.

In our 1:1 coaching…

  • We help students navigate the essay process efficiently and effectively. There’s no reason a student can’t go back to school in August/September with most of their essays completed.
  • We help students uncover their unique stories and then guide them on how to get those stories onto the page in a clear, concise, and engaging way. Every student has a story to tell.
  • We provide students with writing exercises, manageable deadlines, and encouragement as we guide them from points A to Z. You don’t need to be a “writer” to write winning application essays. 

Summer is THE time to write college application essays—reach out to learn more about our essay process!

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Supply Chain Summer Program for NJ High School Students

Supply Chain Summer Program for NJ High School Students

The Rutgers Business School’s first Supply Chain Education Partnership Program aims to give local high school students a sense of supply chain management as a career. 

As global economies become more connected, supply chain management (SCM) has grown in popularity as a business undergraduate major. SCM encompasses every step involved to get products made and into the hands of consumers, from finding quality suppliers of materials to making and moving products to marketing them.

Rutgers SCM professors and guest speakers from board member companies such as Schindler, Pfizer, Panasonic, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and PSE&G covered procurement, sustainability, inventory management, logistics and planning and forecasting. These companies “represent the ‘private’ component in the partnership of the public, private and community sectors”.

Get more info here! 

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High School Students: Use Your Summers Wisely

High School Students: Use Your Summers Wisely

Rising Seniors

Time flies, right? Hopefully, you’ve planned something interesting to explore your academic interests this summer. If not, there is still time! It might be too late for a formal summer program (a good thing, OK to skip these!) or linking up with a local faculty member to engage in research or work in their lab. Still, it is not too late to get a job and design an independent mini-project or community engagement activity. 

You will also want to spend time on your college application materials, so don’t feel like you need to fill your entire summer with a laundry list of activities. Instead, it is best to do one or two things that are well-thought-out and meaningful and leave time for app work and some relaxation before senior fall because it will be an insanely busy time for you! 

If you’ve finished or are nearly finished with the ACT/SAT, you might also want to consider starting your Common Application essay and completing the base data of your Common App this spring/early summer. If you are in need of essay guidance—shameless plug—grab a copy of The Complete College Essay Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Personal Statement and the Supplemental Essays. 

Rising Juniors

A big ticket item is preparing for and completing standardized testing. Take an ACT and SAT diagnostic and meet with a tutor to determine which test might be best for you, and then put a formal plan and timeline in place to prepare for that test. Junior year is no joke academically, and you’ll likely take the ACT or SAT more than once, so starting prep this summer is a good idea. 

Like rising seniors, hopefully, you’ve got something interesting planned to help you explore your academic interests. The same guidance above applies. Here’s why this is important: colleges aim to create diverse, well-balanced classes made up of students with a range of identities and academic interests. For this reason, most colleges will consider your major of interest when making admissions decisions—and you need to have coursework and extracurriculars that demonstrate your interest. For the most competitive majors (CompSci, business, engineering, pretty much anything STEM, to name a few), demonstrating a high level of understanding paired with experience gained outside of school is critical if you want to stand out as an application. This is, of course, on top of stellar grades and test scores.

If you don’t know what your academic narrative is, now’s the time to decide and work on developing it; if you’re lost on how, reach out

Rising Sophomores and Freshmen

Summers are for exploring! You could attend a pre-college program on a college campus, get a job, read, take free classes online, and volunteer. The key is to do something, or preferably, a few things! Get out there and get some experience and exposure—it’s how you figure things out. Make sure to write down everything you get involved. You’ll need a resume or activity sheet for college, and you can start it now. If you are fairly certain what you might want to study in college, pursue an opportunity this summer that helps tell that story. 

The school year can be a grind, and your “job” is getting the best grades you can while balancing the limited time you have to spend on extracurriculars with homework…and hopefully some sleep. No matter what year you are in high school, think of summer as a time to explore, recharge, and dip into (or dig deeper into!) what you might not have time for from September through May. 

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Calling All Creatives – Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose Coaching

Calling All Creatives – Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose Coaching

Meet Justin: Justin is a practicing New York-based painter who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a BA in Art and minors in Asian Humanities and Art History. Studying a wide variety of artistic mediums and histories, Justin has a comprehensive understanding of creative fields. He aims to help students better express themselves both creatively and critically and believes writing to be a fundamental backbone in expression – from one’s own artistic practice to the art of writing a college application essay. 

For students in grades 9-10:

Justin’s work with artists begins with a review of their interests and background in the arts and continues through personalized assignments. Included are routine progress check-ups, constructive critiques, and the provision of relevant historical materials. To develop a high-quality portfolio of approximately 10-15 artworks, students will embark on a course of 15 one-hour-long meetings focused on technical proficiency, experimentation with a variety of mediums and practices, and a continued focus or theme. 

For students in grade 11 (rising seniors) summer 2023:

Highly individualized program based on where the student is in the process and current portfolio development. Work is on an hourly basis. 

For a more detailed outline of the course or information regarding how we help students design portfolios and draft their artist statement of purpose and other essays, please email us or call 609-618-3584. 

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Writers and Photographers: Sign Up For a jGirls+ Teen Staff 2023-2024 Application Q&A Session

Writers and Photographers: Sign Up For a jGirls+ Teen Staff 2023-2024 Application Q&A Session

Serving as a teen staff editor or photographer is an exciting opportunity to contribute to jGirls+ Magazine and have a hands-on, creative position at a digital publication.  Help build a powerful online community and platform for young Jewish women and nonbinary teens to share their stories and art and get their voices heard.

Learn about the program, meet members of the teen staff, and get your questions answered!

Sunday, March 12th from 7-8 pm ET or NEXT Sunday, March 19th from 4-5 pm ET. 

Familiarize yourself with the application ahead of time here:

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Resumes as storytelling

Resumes as storytelling

There are many optional components of a college application: essays, interviews, video submissions, and what is treated as the most widely optional item, the resume. 

I encourage the submission of an optional resume because it is one of the best places for students to do what every single part of a college application should do: tell their story!

Application data tells a story, essays tell a story, letters of recommendation tell a story, and of course, interviews do, too—but some colleges might not offer the submission of these items. On applications with these items, a resume can help a student story-tell even more. Plus, some AdComs see the submission of optional items as an indication of additional effort or determination to help a school get to know them. That is never a bad look. 

For a resume to be additive, it needs to accomplish a few things: provide detailed information above and beyond what is presented in the activity section of the application, and importantly, help the reader glean something about the student, their academic interests, role in their community, etc. that’s worth communicating. The resume can be a wonderful place to help the reader “make sense” of the application and applicant. 

A typical activity description in the Common Application is only 150 characters! Here’s an example for a student we will call Jane:

Role and Organization: Vice President, Students for Service
Description: Lead weekly meetings w/50+ students, plan/run 8 service events yearly, and won regional award for raising over 12k for Hill Food House organization. 

On the resume, this same student would be able to dive into this role in far more detail, better highlighting their leadership and impact. Here’s an example:

Vice President, Students for Service

  • Lead weekly meetings for a student-run group of over 50+ students and coordinate 5-person leadership team meetings monthly
  • As VP, lead recruitment efforts for the club and helped drive membership from 25 to over 50 students in one year
  • Created new marketing materials in Canva and created an Instagram page for the group
  • Plan an execute 8 service events yearly, including a holiday toy drive, three food drives, a coat drive, dress for success closet, and a two 5k’s
  • Created community survey and learned how to use a survey system to determine needs in the community and what organization to support; collect and analyze all data for the club
  • Established partnerships with three new local organizations in 2021: Hill Food House, Habitat for Humanity, and Women’s Cooperative Center of Salem
  • Club won a regional award for raising over 12k for Hill Food House organization  in 2021

Jane has done a lot for this group! Her 150-character description is a nice, brief overview and is the max she can include in her Common App. However, this activity—and Jane’s role and impact!—really shines when explained in much more detail. 

In reading her app (putting my admissions officer hate on), if I also saw that she intended to major in marketing and wanted to work in the non-profit space (via an essay she submitted), this resume entry would add even more value to her application because it helps tell that aspect of her story. Through this role, we see her dedication to local non-profits and her exposure to marketing, communication, and recruitment efforts, which support her “foundation” for her intended course of study in college. In this way, the resume serves not only as a place to showcase how her time is spent when not in class, her leadership and impact, and her community-mindedness, but also her academic narrative

College is, first and foremost, an academic endeavor. Transcripts tend to tell that story, as well as standardized testing if a student submits it. I’m hopeful students see the resume as a place to tell a story around the foundation they have built for their intended major and even highlight the other ways they intend to make an impact in and on their new community in college.

Every component of the college application can tell a story, and every student has a story to tell.

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Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt – Free Virtual Python Bootcamp

Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt – Free Virtual Python Bootcamp

The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University is offering a free, 10-week virtual bootcamp in Python coding, starting in June. 

This online course was created by and for autistic and neurodivergent folks who want to learn the basics of coding in the programming language Python, with an emphasis on how autistic and neurodivergent learning differs from standard ways of instruction.

The bootcamp will begin the first week of June and run for 10 weeks. Classes will be online, led by an autistic instructor, typically with two one-hour sessions per week.

This resource is free to anyone who identifies as neurodivergent and is interested in learning the basics of Python. The only materials needed are a computer and an internet connection. You can view the application here

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Real Estate

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Real Estate

Summer is the perfect time to explore your academic and career interests, and real estate is becoming a popular one.

The following are some of our favorites for students interested in real estate.

The Fordham Real Estate Institute

This summer, get a behind-the-scenes look at the many facets of the New York City real estate industry and learn what it takes to succeed in this fast-paced, high-income field. The Fordham Real Estate Institute offers high school students the opportunity to learn how real estate—the built environment in which we all live, work, and play—is designed, constructed, and developed. Through a mix of live lectures, hands-on exercises, and examinations of prominent New York City properties, students gain a unique perspective into the numerous college study and career options that the field of real estate offers. All courses are taught by experienced industry professionals from Fordham’s Real Estate Institute.

Real Estate NYC: From Design to Development Class (NYU)

Over one-third of the world’s wealth is invested in real estate, and more than nine million people in the United States work in the real estate industry. What goes on behind the scenes? What makes New York City among the most expensive real estate markets in the world? How does one get started in the field? Learn from top industry professionals during this one-week course offered by the NYU School of Professional Studies Schack Institute of Real Estate, one of the largest and most prestigious educational entities dedicated to the real estate and construction industries in the United States. Delve into all aspects of the real estate development process, and gain an understanding of the procedures, issues, and complexities that come into play in the development of real estate. Explore how real estate projects are conceived, designed, valued, financed, constructed, and managed. By week’s end, you will have gained an in-depth understanding of the phases of real estate development and the role that each sector of the industry plays in the process. Topics to be covered include the history of real estate design and development, the varying roles of members of the development team (architect, engineer, builder/CM, attorney), real estate underwriting metrics, valuation, project feasibility, design phase/construction phase considerations, sustainability measurements, and property and asset management.

NAIOP Commercial Real Estate High School Internship Program

The path to increased diversity in the commercial real estate industry begins with introducing teens to CRE prior to entering college. Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of careers in real estate, such as architecture, development, investment, construction, brokerage and urban planning, through the lens of a case study and real estate–focused activities. Students gain a deeper understanding of key concepts in real estate by exploring these topics with Drexel University professors, industry mentors and high-level corporate executives. The NAIOP-Drexel Summer Real Estate program features several team building, college readiness and enrichment events on Drexel’s campus and throughout the city, including site visits to high-profile locations such as FMC and Comcast.

Online courses

Real Estate Finance (For Beginners)

Basic Real Estate Finance Course

Introduction To Real Estate Finance & Investing

Shadowing someone who works in real estate is also a great option; reach out about internships via LinkedIn. (yes, you can and should be on LinkedIn in high school!)

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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Leadership

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Leadership

As part of your college application, extracurricular activities—including those over the summer— help demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and commitment to an area of study (ideally, the one you might pursue in college). Some programs, however, are not purely academic, like those geared toward leadership development.

Please keep in mind that “programs” are not the only way to explore academic interests. In fact, many colleges like to see students go beyond canned programming. You can join clubs at your school or locally, take free online classes via edX and Coursera, shadow, or intern (aka volunteer for most students)—there are tons of options ranging from super formal (and pricey) to those as simple as what you do in your free time.

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in developing their leadership skills (and so much more!).

Bank of America Student Leaders Program

Student Leaders participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization where you learn first-hand about the needs of the community and the critical role nonprofits play. In addition, you will learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where you will learn how government, business and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs. Note: in-person events will be in line with local and national guidelines around gatherings and travel and may be subject to change.

The LEAP Young Adult Leadership Program

LEAP Week is a highly-immersive week-long leadership program for high school and college students held annually at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, California. Each year, 400 students from around the globe travel to attend LEAP Week, a full week dedicated to helping young adults uncover the “real-life” skills needed to achieve great success. Another major focus of LEAPweek is developing young adults’ networking skills. Especially in this modern age of social media, most teens already have strong networking capabilities, they just need some guidance to maximize these abilities. Networking will be tremendously important when you begin your career, and it also helps develop lasting friendships in every phase of life.

Notre Dame Leadership Seminars

Leadership Seminars are for current high school juniors who are academically gifted leaders in their school, church, local community, or other social organizations. Students participate in one of three seminars (sample topic: Global Issues: Violence and Peace in the Modern Age). Around 90 students are admitted each year—usually ranking in the top 10 percent of their class—and are eligible to receive one college credit.

Annual Camp Pride Summer Leadership Academy

Camp Pride is the premiere national training program for social justice and grassroots activism for LGBTQ and ally young adults on college campuses.



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Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Social Justice & Activism

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Social Justice & Activism

As part of your college application, extracurricular activities—including those over the summer—help demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and commitment to an area of study (ideally, the one you might pursue in college).

But “programs” are not the only way to explore academic interests. You can join clubs at your school or locally, take free online classes via edX and Coursera, shadow, or intern (aka volunteer for most students)—there are tons of options ranging from super formal (and pricey) to those as simple as reading in your free time. Ultimately, students need to choose what works best for them.

Below are some of our favorites for students interested in exploring social justice and activism.

PEN America’s spring 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute

Spring and usually offered in the summer. PEN America’s spring 2023 Free Expression Advocacy Institute is an intensive, online, eight-week educational and training program where high school and college students can learn the theories, laws, histories, and methodologies behind free expression advocacy. Our program includes presentations led by expert legal and policy practitioners from PEN America, interactive workshops designed to teach tangible skills, and TA-facilitated discussion sessions and activities to dive deeper into the issues with their peers. Participants cap their experiences by simulating advocacy campaign projects over the course of the Institute to present in the final closing session of the program. Students who successfully complete the program and attend all sessions will be granted a certificate of professional achievement in free expression advocacy from PEN America. This program is FREE and available to all high school and college students. Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

The ACLU National Advocacy Institute’s High School Program

Virtual gathering of high school students (ages 15-18) from across the United States to participate in a week-long learning experience for the next generation of social justice advocates. Students will engage directly with ACLU lawyers, lobbyists, community activists, and other experts working to defend the civil rights and civil liberties that are critical to a free and open society. Through classroom sessions, lectures, site visits, and policy discussions, students will explore the complex nature of issue advocacy, legal strategy, and real-world political decision making in Washington, D.C. as well as return home with advocacy tools to make change in their community.

NYCLU – Multiple Projects

prioritized youth activism for more than 20 years. They work with youth organizers across New York State to ensure that young people know their rights, know how to access those rights and learn how to effectively organize around civil rights and civil liberties in their schools and communities. They are eager to organize alongside youth activists, educators and parents alike to effect change in New York. Check out these projects: Teen Activist Project & Student Ambassadors.

FFAC National High School Mentorship

Are you a high school student interested in working to create a more just and sustainable food system? Are you looking for a deeper understanding of social issues and your place as an advocate in the movement? Would you like to be part of a supportive community of like-minded changemakers? If so, consider applying to Factory Farming Awareness Coalition’s Student Advocates program.

Religious Action Center Teen Justice Fellowship

RAC teen fellowship programs are learning intensives in community organizing, designed to equip our youth leaders with the skills to create change in their home communities. Through fellowships, high schoolers connect with other social justice leaders from across the country and learn lifelong skills applicable to any issue they are passionate about. The fellowships value experiential learning, moving beyond theory and Zoom trainings into action. Each fellowship culminates in teens designing and implementing a project in their home communities. As a fellow, you’ll learn community organizing skills, explore your own identity and what your sources of privilege and oppression are, the roots of voter suppression in America, skills to register voters, and complete a civic engagement project in your home community. You get to learn, decide how you want to make an impact, and be the leader that makes it happen.

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