College

Don't Freak Out: Ways Around, Over, and Through Common App Problems

Problems with the Common App have been big news, and applicants and parents all over the world are freaking out. We want to give you the same advice we're giving our clients: there is no reason to freak out.<!--break-->

The media are reporting that everyone (applicants, counselors, recommenders, and colleges) is encountering real and frustrating problems with the new Common App.

Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins on Your Personal Essay!

Working on your personal essay for the Common Application?  Want to avoid the critical mistakes that too many applicants make?  Then steer clear of what I call the 7 Deadly Sins! 

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Sin #1.  Your personal essay is not your work.

Your essay is expected to be your work, and if an admissions officer figures out that your essay is not your work, she will reject you.

3 Big Mistakes Parents Shouldn't Make: Lessons from TV

Did you catch Bones (a Fox TV crime solving drama) on November 18?  If you didn't, it is must-see TV for parents and students in the college admissions process and you can watch the full episode for free on Fox's website.  

Woven into the episode is a subplot in which Cam, one of the main characters, is wrestling with the question about how best to parent her adopted child, Michelle, as Michelle goes through the process of applying to colleges.

Application Stampede: Admission is Not a Horse Race

It all started with one senior in Texas, who submitted his Common Application within 3 hours of the Common Application going live - one little application that would have gone unnoticed except that the New York Times decided it would be a great feature story ("Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application").

Just like that we have a stampede — all the seniors applying to selective universities are suddenly in a frenzied rush to submit their Common Applications.

College Financial Aid: Were You Stymied by Computer Problems?

Some of you probably waited until the last minute to complete your CSS Financial Aid Profile on the College Board's site.  If you did, you may have found yourself caught in severe slowdowns and intermittent outages on Sunday, January 31st.  According to the College Board, the problems started at about 5.30p EST and were not resolved until midnight (in other words, right at the February 1st deadline).

If you were one of those students affected, you need to confirm with each college that your PROFILE application was processed and submitted by the deadline.

Do You Have Grit?

How much do things like determination and grit correlate with future success? It's a big question, and one that intrigues me as a former admissions officer. After all, the gatekeeping function of admissions is to scour all these imperfect proxies (some might say tea leaves) to try to predict the future success of all those wonderful applicants.

On that subject, a recent article by Amanda Ripley in the Atlantic Monthly caught my eye.

Architects Discover Generation Y (and What That Means for Generation Debt)

One of the really interesting things about Gen Y is how dramatically its preferences are driving changes in everything from workplace policies to luxury goods marketing to real estate development.

Last week, I headed over to the Boston Society of Architects to hear a talk by a woman named Persis Rickes about ways in which architects who design for universities need to be thinking about what Gen Y wants out of its academic and living spaces.