Author: AL

Why US universities are changing what they look for in students, and how Asians are affected

Changwook Shim displays formidable academic credentials. The Hong Kong International School (HKIS) student has a grade point average of 3.9 (out of a possible 4), scored 2,320 out of a possible 2,400 on his SAT, and earned 35 out of a possible 36 in the ACT college admissions test. He is just as impressive outside the classroom. Now 18, Shim has led the HKIS volleyball and debating teams, and play...

College Applications – “Early” Is The New “Regular”

It is said that “the early bird catches the worm.” However, more often than not, the second mouse gets the cheese!” [Think about it…] As college-bound high school seniors seriously begin work on their college applications, two questions invariably arise: “What is the difference between ‘Early Decision’ and ‘Early Action,’ and should I apply to schools using one or the other or both?” EARLY DECISIO...

The Black Box Of College Admissions Cracked Open?

What goes on behind the closed doors of admissions offices has mystified students, parents, school counselors, and the media for years. The holistic process of college admissions is like a black box where applications go in and decisions come out, but many times there’s no rhyme or reason to the results. According to an article from The New York Times, a group of students at Stanford think they’ve...

How to Parse the New Common App Essay Prompts

This is a guest blog entry by Kim Lifton, President and Co-Founder of Wow Writing Workshop.Kim is president of Wow Writing Workshop, which teaches students how to write compelling college admissions essays using a proprietary 10-step Wow Method. Check out Wow Online – College Essay to learn more about the first comprehensive and self-guided tutorial for college application writing. Wow also teache...

Use the Secrets of Screenwriting to Write Your College Essay 1apply, Essays

Summer is the perfect time for students to start writing college essays. It may sound like a broken record, but encouraging students to start early will give them time to reflect on their essays and time for revisions (which there will be many). We asked Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy, to share his approach to helping students find their best story and tell it well. Ethan applies the techniqu...

The 13 Most Haunting College Admissions Errors

If you don’t have a senior applying early to college, Halloween may still feel like a fun, family holiday. But for those families dealing with early decision/early action applications, Halloween can feel like a nightmare. So if you’re in the former group, have sympathy for those students skipping Halloween to do last minute revisions and making sure nothing has been overlooked before pressing the ...

Common College Essay Mistakes To Avoid Before Hitting Submit

Time is running out for students to finalize their college application essays. With the January 1 deadline looming, students are feeling the stress. And as a professional essay editor, I’m in crunch mode too, helping students avoid the common mistakes I see over and over again. These mistakes prevent essays from delivering powerful and impactful personal statements that can sometimes help tip deci...

Early Decision: Deferred But Not Deterred

Preparing college applications is an arduous and stressful process. Taking tests, writing essays and seeking letters of recommendation require months of preparation. Some students choose to apply early (early decision and/or early action) and may be rewarded with a decision of early admittance to a school of their top choice. If your student applied early that news is being delivered any day now. ...

Need Help Organizing Your College Essays?

From time to time we highlight apps and websites that can help students and families with college funding and the application process. We came across Zoomita and reached out to its founder, Alex Thaler, to help explain how Zoomita can help students keep themselves organized while writing college essays for applications.   Zoomita is a free site that collects all of the application essay promp...

What’s The Single Best Piece Of Essay Writing Advice?

It’s that time of year when everything seems to come crashing down on high school seniors applying to college – writing college essays, filling out applications, asking for teacher recommendations, requesting transcripts and maybe even retaking ACTs/SATs. And on top of that, there’s keeping up with school work for 1st semester grades that will be sent to colleges. We can’t eliminate all the stress...

10 Essay Topics That Don’t Work

A college essay can fail for a number of reasons. The writing can be atrocious, the theme can be predictable, the execution of the essay can simply flop, or the student’s personality doesn’t shine through. We’ve compiled a list of 10 essays topics that don’t work so try to avoid them. 1. The grandparent essay Why it doesn’t work: Everyone looks up to their grandparents, but unless your grandma is ...

43 Phrases You Should Never Use In a College Admission Essay

When most students are writing their college admission essay, they aren’t thinking about the Essay Readers at colleges whose entire job is to sort students’ essays into NO, MAYBE, and YES piles. As hard as you’ve worked on your essay, you may get exactly two minutes of a Reader’s time if he or she feels your writing is boring or unoriginal. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of essays fall into this...

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