So, it's official. You've decided it's time to start working on your Common App. Good for you! Great even. You're not procrastinating! That is, until you looked at the prompts and thought, "I have absolutely NO IDEA what to say, let alone guess what the colleges are even looking for." This thought perhaps made you panicked, sick, ill, malaised (i.e. good SAT word, write it down), and forced you to have visions of working at a donut shop for the rest of your life, (not that there's anything wrong with that). Perhaps you had plans though of potentially setting off for Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or some other picturesque U.S. school to watch football games, meet great life-long friends, STUDY and get an excellent education, and just do something incredibly solid and interesting with your life...but then messed it all up with the Common App and destroyed the dream. Done. OVER. Donut? Well, stop worrying. We're going to go through the prompts one by one, and if you take away my key points from each of the questions, you're going to do more than fine. Prompt #1: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they
The Common App Essay How to Write a Great College Application! The season is upon us: college applications, and right now is a good time to start working on your Common App. You're a month into the new school year, you've settled in, and now the Common App essay is staring you in the face. Where do you begin? You know you have to start writing it...but HOW? You try to forget about it, but you can't. How can you write the absolutely best college admission essays possible when you have no idea what to write about or where to begin?? Similarly, neither do you know what the college admission committee is even looking for, nor what will make a really strong college essay and application. This holds true for all colleges and universities, but ESPECIALLY if you're applying to the Ivy League. Oh yeah, and did I mention your entire future appears to depend on this? Don't worry though, because I am going to walk you through the process. I'm a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and I know how to do this well. I'm going to tell you how you can master the Common App essay
How Important Are Extracurriculars for Your College Application? Do schools really care what clubs you joined, what sports you played, what charity you may have volunteered for, or what musical instrument you possibly tried to master? What exactly are colleges looking for when they ask you for all the activities, clubs, positions, events and charities you have (perhaps) participated in during your high school career? I would like to answer this question today, based on my own experience as a former Harvard University interviewer (and as a Harvard graduate, myself). In terms of extracurricular activities, admissions officers are looking for a point-of-entry into your personality. They want to find something they can focus on, that's interesting, that will differentiate you from the many other applicants in the pile. Admissions committees use your extracurricular activities to paint a picture of who you are, as a student and as a person -- to develop a fuller understanding of how you spend your time when you are not studying or at school, and to access your level of intellectual and cultural interest, background and depth. In other words, your extracurricular activities are like the paint a painter paints with while creating a portrait of YOU.
It's that time of year again, when high school seniors hoping to get into an Ivy League college stare desperately at the Common App and supplemental college admission essay questions and ask themselves: 1. What are the Ivy League colleges really looking for? 2. How can I make my Ivy League application stand out? 3. Do I even have a chance of getting in to the Ivy League? Let's address these questions one-by-one, but first of all, for those of you who don't know (or maybe aren't sure) the Ivy League is made up of 8 colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale and Princeton (which are considered the "Top 3") and then Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. One shouldn't forget though, that there are also a handful of other extremely competitive schools that are considered to be on par with the Ivy League, such as Stanford, MIT and Duke University, just to name a few. So... What is it that the schools are really looking for (especially when talking about Ivy League colleges)? I believe that the answer can be found in two words: confidence and individuality. In other words, yes, your grades are important, yes,