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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 plays the viola for his school orchestra and the Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra. And as president of the North Korean Refugee Club, he recruited fellow students to make videos to teach English to refugees living in South Korea. A maths whiz, he represented Hong Kong and his school in prestigious maths competitions, completed a University of Hong Kong undergraduate linear algebra course with distin...

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 DECISION = BINDING DECISION “Early Decision,” simply put, is binding. You will go to no other college. If they accept you, you must go. You can only apply “Early Decision” to ONE school. And if you do –  you, your parents, your high school and, in all likelihood, your pet iguana, must sign-on, agreeing that, should this one college accept you, all other applications will be withdrawn, all bets are off, a...

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 cracked the code. Through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have the right to access their educational records. An activist group, The Fountain Hopper, is encouraging Stanford students to request their files. Students making this request received many pages of records related to their courses and student life at Stanford, along with their admissions applications and ...

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 teaches ACT/SAT writing prep courses. Kim will parse each of the five new Common App prompts for the 2013-14 college admission cycle so you can better understand what you need to do to stand out from the crowd. Before you begin the application essay writing process, ask yourself, “What do I want the college to know about me beyond grades, activities and test scores?”  (This post focuses on Common App pr...

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 techniques and strategies of screenwriting to writing college essays. Below is a summary of his very thorough video – Using the Secrets of Screenwriting to Write Your College Essay. In addition to reading Ethan’s comments below, view his video to get an even more thorough understanding of how to approach college essay writing from an expert’s perspective. What Do Screenwriting and College Essays Have In C...

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 submit button. For everyone else not dealing with early college admissions, the following list highlights application mistakes nightmares are made of, but boo-ti-filly, they are all avoidable. 1. Waiting until the deadline: Unseen spirits wreak havoc, computers and websites go down. Many students who wait for the last minute to submit their applications find that all their hard work is not receive...

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