UIUC Essays: Prompt 4

Welcome back to another edition of our UIUC college essays rundown. Today we shall cover prompt four! 

In the space below, describe how you have made a difference in your high school or community and what you hope to contribute to life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (100 words)

With a 100 words maximum, concision is going to be your friend. There’s not enough space for a full-blown introduction, so it’s best to just dive right in. You will likely want to structure this as two miniature paragraphs — one about your high school endeavors, the other about your plans for UIUC.

Regarding the specific word count breakdown, you will likely want to spend more time discussing your high school experience. This is perfectly fine, especially if you have a lot to touch on.

When you talk about making a difference in high school, don’t exclusively discuss organizations or officer positions, but instead focus on specific actions you engaged in. It’s okay to lead into it with something like “As class president, I…” but your specific duties are the primary focus of this section.

Here are some good examples:

• “I fundraised over Rs. 50,000 to end world hunger.”

• “I mentored special needs students after school.”

• “I organized a group to protest a school policy that would’ve cut arts funding.”

• “I tutored middle schoolers in math and science.”

• “I started an initiative dedicated to giving people anonymous compliments.”

You might need to offer a short explanation (no more than a sentence) for more obscure undertakings, but most of your actions should speak for themselves.

As for the section on contributing to life at UIUC, you might spend more time discussing this if you weren’t as heavily involved in community service during high school. If you plan on pursuing something similar at UIUC, now is a great opportunity to express that. For instance, if you started an initiative giving people anonymous compliments, you could briefly discuss your goal of alleviating stress on campus by simply spreading joy to your peers. Ideally, your past experiences relate to you future goals, which lends itself to a nice transition between the two sections.

This part of the response is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of UIUC-specific programs. Do some research on their website about the different types of initiatives and service groups on campus.

Some Final Words

It’s already been mentioned, but it’s important enough to mention again: These are the only essays UIUC will see. That means you have a huge responsibility to be personable and unique while also demonstrating competent writing style and academic focus.

While we at Edbrand sometimes encourage riskier supplemental essays, you should avoid that for UIUC. This is because you aren’t coupling these with your Common App essay, which tends to be more grounded and central to your identity.

Most importantly, make sure your essays are truly a reflection of you. Don’t try to use overly elevated language if that isn’t how you normally write. If you’re unsure whether your voice is coming across, ask a family member or friend to read over your essays; they often have invaluable advice.

UIUC Essays: Prompt 3

Welcome back to another edition of our UIUC college essays rundown. Today we shall cover prompt three! 

If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. (300-400 words)

This prompt is similar to the previous one, so you should approach it in largely the same manner. It might be tempting to focus less on this essay, but you shouldn’t neglect it just because it’s your second-choice major. Admission officers will be able to tell if you’ve gotten lazy.

Other than that, make sure you keep our suggestions from the previous section in mind. Remember to provide adequate insight into any examples you provide, and focus on being succinct, so you can add in as much content as possible.

These are some good things to get your creative motors running! We will continue this conversation with prompt on our next blog post. So keep checking this space! Like, comment, or come meet us if you’re in doubt

UIUC Essays: Prompt 2

Welcome back to another edition of our UIUC college essays rundown. Today we shall cover prompt two! 

Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. If you’re applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you’re currently considering. (300-400 words)

Since this is the most extensive essay UIUC will be receiving from you, it is also the most important! Your main objectives here should be conveying your passion for a certain subject and explaining how that relates to your future goals. Also focus on expressing your love for the school by touching on specific aspects of the school that you think will suit you well.

While you might be tempted to simply reference your extracurricular activities in this section, this is not enough. Admission officers can already see your activities, so mentioning them again without further elaboration would be redundant. Instead, you should hone in on something more personal, and then proceed to explain it in greater depth.

Although your essay should not just restate extracurriculars or relevant classes, it is okay to briefly mention them as long as they provide a transition into new, more meaningful information. This “something meaningful” can be anything from an entertaining moment during one of your activities/classes to a more serious discussion of how you arrived at that passion. Just make sure your response illuminates something unique about you.

Because this essay is the most complex for this school, we recommend tackling it in smaller chunks. You’ll find that focusing on the structure of these shorter essays often does wonders for the overall cohesion of the finished product.

Introduction (100 Words Or Less)

In this section of the response, your primary goal is to indicate your prospective major, but in a manner that the school would find compelling. Some of the most effective ways to hook the reader are by using figurative language or an anecdote, but there are a plethora of other ways as well — just be creative! Also, make sure your introduction allows for enough elaboration in the body section.

Because the introduction is so crucial to the development of this essay, below are some examples of good and bad introductions with explanations.

Body (250 Words Or Less)

Your goal with the body of this essay is to further elaborate on your involvement with your respective major. It is okay to mention extracurriculars and classes in this section, but only if you couple them with explanations of how they impacted you. Consider implementing some additional discussion of your future career plans if you haven’t already done so in the introduction.

The body of your essay doesn’t have to be quite as flashy as the introduction, but it needs to be more purposeful. You might spend less time here on an extended metaphor, and instead opt to explain why your experience in a particular subject area inspired you to pursue it further.

Conclusion

No length is specified in the conclusion, because it varies depending on how many words you have already used, and to what extent your intro/body necessitates closure.

If you have a lot of space left, you might mention specific programs or clubs that fit with your major. You could also go into greater depth here regarding your long-term career goals. If you find a program at UIUC that incorporates your career aspirations — take, for example, a school-funded internship program — this is a great place to discuss it.

Otherwise, the conclusion should simply wrap up the main idea of your essay with a general discussion of your interests that you already set forth. Avoid being too repetitive; it’s better to keep your summary brief and to the point. If you began the essay with thematic material, it should resurface in the conclusion. The last sentence of the essay should be powerful enough to leave a lasting impression on the reader. This will ensure that admissions officers remember your essay

These are some good things to get your creative motors running! We will continue this conversation with prompt on our next blog post. So keep checking this space! Like, comment, or come meet us if you’re in doubt

UIUC Essays: Prompt 1

Located in the vast cornfields of east-central Illinois, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is widely renowned as one of the country’s most influential public research universities. In fact, it has ranked first in National Science Foundation award funding for six consecutive years. Many sources consider UIUC one of the top 50 universities in the world, and some have even ranked its engineering school in the top five worldwide.

When it comes to the student body, UIUC’s middle 50 ACT scores range from 27-33, while middle 50 SAT scores range from 1360-1480. With an acceptance rate of about 66%, UIUC is a fairly selective school.

One final thing to keep in mind is that UIUC is not a Common Application school. That means you’ll have to submit a separate application either on the school’s website or by mail.This also means UIUC won’t be reading your Common App essay, meaning that the school-specific essays count for even more. Read more to understand all our tips and tricks. So, lets dive into prompt 1! 

“Additional information that you believe should be included” (200 words) 

One big misconception about these sorts of “additional information” questions is that your application hinges on them. On the contrary, these questions best serve to provide more context for your high school situation if the rest of your application is inadequate in doing so. They should never be a mere restatement of information your admission officers can find in the main application.

Because extenuating circumstances range so widely, there’s no set structure to follow for this response. Instead, below we have listed a few examples of suitable topics: 

  • Perhaps you had a family emergency during class 10 that severel affected your mental health. As a result, your grades suffered
  • Maybe you have a special skill/hobby worth mentioning that doesn’t appear anywhere on your activities section. For instance, you can code robots and have been creating simple solutions around your house
  • Maybe you moved from a small town to a big city and found it hard to acclimatize.

These are some good things to get your creative motors running! We will continue this conversation with prompt on our next blog post. So keep checking this space! Like, comment, or come meet us if you’re in doubt! 

Georgia Tech Supplemental Essays Tips and Tricks

Situated in the bustling city of Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology (or Georgia Tech or GA Tech) is one of the best research and technological universities in the nation. Known for its engineering and computer science programs, Georgia Tech maintains a rigorous curriculum that helps prepare students for high-paying jobs in the STEM fields.

With an acceptance rate of only 25% and median ACT scores of 30-33, Georgia Tech’s admissions process is competitive. But beyond test scores and grades, the school also emphasizes essays.

Read along to learn more about the various tips and tricks 

‘Why Georgia Tech?’ Essay

Beyond rankings, location, and athletics, why are you interested in attending Georgia Tech? (max 150 words)

With this essay, Georgia Tech gauges if applicants are truly interested in the university’s offerings or are simply intrigued by its name value. The key here is to showcase to the admissions officers that you see yourself thriving at Georgia Tech. Don’t let the low word count lull you to sleep. This question is vital to demonstrating your interest in the university.

But remember, this question is still about you. Ensure that you discuss topics such as how you will fit into the campus community or how you will improve the university. There are three foundational steps to taking on this essay: researchpinpoint, and personalize.

Research

For this step, find out as much about Georgia Tech as you possibly can. The more that you know about the university, the more easily you will be able to express why you want to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. Georgia Tech rewards applicants who demonstrate thoughtfulness in expressing why they want to attend the university.

Helpful resources for this include:

• Family or friends who are either alumni or current undergraduates

• Information Sessions and interviews 

• Their website http://www.gatech.edu

• Follow Georgia Tech Admissions on social media

Remember, the essential aspect here is to learn how you can take advantage of Georgia Tech’s opportunities and unique characteristics.

Pinpoint

Since this essay is only 150 words, there is no space to waste. This means that you should focus on one aspect (at most two) of Georgia Tech that resonates with you. Your essay shouldn’t read like a list, but rather should give admissions officers a compelling idea of what you will bring to Georgia Tech. This strategy is most impactful if you choose something distinctive about the school.

The aspect of Georgia Tech you choose to hone in on does not need to be academic. For example, Georgia Tech is known for its school spirit. A powerful essay could describe how an applicant who planned and promoted school events during high school strives to cultivate a school identity similar to that of Georgia Tech.

If you’re looking to highlight a strength of Georgia Tech’s engineering culture without sounding cliché, you could bring up the Invention Studio, describing how much you’re looking forward to tinkering around with new gadgets. Connecting this to your desire to create and innovate new technological masterpieces would be a great way to add a personal element. In this way, you can showcase that your personality blends perfectly with Georgia Tech’s school atmosphere and values.

Personalize

Now that you have an idea of what to write about, you should express something about yourself.

One way to do so is to discuss an extracurricular activity you participated in during high school and how you plan to delve deeper at Georgia Tech. For instance, an applicant interested in the environment might discuss her summer internship researching solar energy and how she plans to continue innovative research through Georgia Tech’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Georgia Tech seeks students who are passionate and authentic. To demonstrate these qualities in your writing, strive to show, not tell. If writing about your interest in Georgia Tech’s study-abroad program, don’t tell the admissions officers that you like traveling and going to art exhibits. Rather, share an anecdote about how visiting the Louvre in France changed your perspective on the importance of art in society.

‘Your Choice’ Essay

With Georgia Tech’s second supplementary essay, you choose one of three diverse options. Keep in mind that there is no “best option.” Simply choose the question that jumps out at you or that you feel most comfortable answering.

With each of these three essay options, Georgia Tech wants to assess how you will mesh with the university’s core values and interests. Don’t be afraid to use this essay to highlight something unique about yourself that will help your application come to life.

Option One

Tech’s motto is Progress and Service.  We find students who ultimately have a broad impact first had a significant one at home.  What is your role in your immediate or extended family? And how have you seen evidence of your impact on them? (max 150 words)

This prompt invites you to get personal and is ideal for someone who has taken care of his elderly grandmother, encouraged a family member to complete her education, or worked a part-time job to support a family. With this essay, Georgia Tech wants to identify individuals who have made an effort to improve the lives of those around them and will continue to do so at their university.

However, your impact doesn’t need to be something massive to be significant. For instance, you could write about how helping a younger sibling with his math homework has helped him to improve his multiplication skills. No matter the situation, don’t forget to discuss the impact that you have had on your family. In many cases, it’s also helpful to reflect upon what you learned from this experience.

Since this prompt is specific, it may not be the one for you if you can’t identify a significant influence you’ve had on your family.

Option Two

Georgia Tech is always looking for innovative undergraduates. Have you had any experience as an entrepreneur? What would you like Georgia Tech to provide to further your entrepreneurial interests?

As a university interested in providing its students with a variety of opportunities to gain work experience and innovate freely, Georgia Tech actively seeks students who can take advantage of its entrepreneurial offerings.

Don’t be afraid to answer this prompt if you haven’t had any direct business experience. An entrepreneurial approach to an existing problem comes in many different forms. For instance, you could explain how your experiences in Virtual Enterprise, FFA, or software development have led to a desire to launch new programs in these areas.

You can also answer this question by discussing an innovative approach you have taken to solve a problem. A school magazine editor could describe a creative approach she pioneered to use social media to promote publicity for the yearbook.

No matter the situation, ensure that you also emphasize how Georgia Tech will help you to bring your ideas into the real world. One of the many ways Georgia Tech fosters innovation is through its Capstone Design course, in which undergraduates work as a team to design, create, and test prototypes that will have real-world applications. A student interested in creating a device that more reliably detects liver cancer could express their interest in the Capstone Design course as a vehicle to help them bring their product into production. 

Option Three

We challenge our students to ‘be comfortable being uncomfortable.’ Tell us about a time in high school that you felt outside of your comfort zone and the resolution.

As this prompt is vague, it provides a perfect opportunity for you to write about any number of topics. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and discuss something that is out of the ordinary or uncommon.

An essay for this prompt excels when it highlights an aspect of your identity you didn’t discuss in your other essays. For example, a basketball player could write about her experience as a supporting actress in her school’s production of the Wizard of Oz.  In the same way, an introverted applicant could describe getting outside of his comfort zone by taking the initiative to organize a team for Relay for Life.

When writing this essay, remember to discuss both the situation and the outcome of being outside of your comfort zone. Reflection also plays an essential role. Answer questions such as why you decided to get outside of your comfort zone, what you learned about yourself by doing so, and how this decision has impacted you. By answering these types of questions, you will write both an informative and compelling essay.

Learn more about how to master college essays with our expert writing program. Go to our contact us page! 

 

 

Common App Activity Page: Writing a Description

You are limited to 150 characters for details, accomplishments, honors won, and accomplishments within each activity, so you will need to be concise and offer only the most pertinent details. If you absolutely need more room to thoroughly explain truly important details about the activity, use the additional information section to expand, or describe it in more detail in your essay if it relates to the topic you choose.

Remember that this section is not there for you to prove your eloquence as a writer; you have the essay to do that. Rather, this serves to inform the admissions committee about your life outside school as succinctly as possible. Use active verbs and limit the use of adjectives and adverbs. You don’t need to use complete sentences. Be as specific as you can be in the space available. If you hold a leadership position, emphasize that role in your description.

Try to focus on quantitative descriptions over qualitative ones. Adding numerical values offers concrete proof of your success, and can show colleges how you were involved specifically. If you are a leader in the activity, mention how many members the group has, how many people you serve (if applicable), how many people your work affected, and so on.

Try not to be redundant, especially considering the limited space. For instance, if you are the president of the tutoring club at your school, you don’t need to list “tutoring” in the description, since colleges are likely to consider that a given; instead, emphasize your duties as president, how you manage and distribute tasks and how you work with club members. If you want to talk about the actual tutoring in more detail, discuss your approach — e.g., “Meet with students one-on-one, develop study aids, and create practice examples.”

Example:

Position/Leadership description and organization name, if applicable: Editor, The Daily (school newspaper)

Please describe this activity, including what you accomplished and any recognition you received, etc.: Run weekly meetings, brainstorm ideas, assign and revise 10 articles/week, collaborate with printer to distribute 500 copies to students and faculty.

How to Choose Extracurriculars for the Common App

When you’re finally finished with a long and stressful school day, it can be great to go to one of your extracurricular activities and spend time with students whose interests are similar to yours. Whether you’re on the MUN Exec board, on a sports team, or even editor of the school magazine, extracurriculars (ECs) are a meaningful way to spend your time — not to mention, demonstrating a commitment to your ECs and taking on leadership roles within them can help you differentiate yourself to colleges.

As you go through the college application process, you may find that you’ll need to select one or two activities you’re involved in that stand out as especially meaningful to you. For active, engaged students, narrowing down their involvement in this way can be tricky. Here are some of our insights for such students! HOWEVER, if you haven't already, go check out post on the activity page of the Common App first! If have read that already, then go right ahead!

Why do I need to determine my most meaningful EC?

You might be wondering why you would need to determine which of your extracurriculars is the most important. After all, aren’t all extracurricular activities relevant in different ways? While it is true that every activity is meaningful in its own way, there are many reasons why you might be asked to rank extracurriculars or select one as the most important. First of all, if you end up applying to any schools that take the Common Application, you will be required to rank your different extracurricular activities in order. Some schools might even ask you which of your activities is the most important to you as a supplemental question. You might find yourself needing to rank your activities on scholarship applications as well.

Aside from the various applications that might require you to determine a “most important” activity, on both a personal and a professional level, it is a good idea to understand one’s own priorities and interests in a larger sense. After all, the better that you understand yourself, the more you can try to pursue opportunities within the fields that are most important to you.

How do I determine which extracurricular is most important?

1. Something That Relates To Your Interests/Career Path

In thinking about which of your extracurriculars is the most important to you, one of the first things you might want to consider is what you want your career to look like when you are older. That being said, it is totally okay if you don’t know what field you want to go into as an adult. It might help you to think about what you might want to major in once you get to college. If you’re unsure about what that might be, you could also think about the academic subjects you have been interested in throughout your high school career.

If your lifelong goal is to become a doctor, and you’re president of the medical volunteerism student society at your high school, chances are that this is your most meaningful activity. If you plan on majoring in comparative literature and your ultimate goal is to become a writer, talking about your experience as editor of your school’s yearly magazine is probably a good idea.

Colleges want to see students who are dedicated to the things that they are passionate about, and if you’ve taken concrete steps towards activities that relate to your interests and future goals, then you should definitely be sure to highlight this on your applications. That being said, it’s totally okay if you don’t know or if you are undecided — plenty of high school students are, and even more of them change their minds once they get to college!

2. Showcase Things You’re Passionate About

Just as activities that relate to your career goals are important, so too are activities that are personally meaningful to you. These activities may not necessarily be something that you’ll end up doing for a living, but perhaps they’ve been important to you for the majority of your life or perhaps you find yourself dedicating a particularly large amount of time to them. 

If community service is important to you and you’ve been volunteering at a local soup kitchen for all four years of high school, then this is probably worth mentioning. If you play on the school team for a sport or if you have been horse riding since you were seven years old, then this also is probably something you should consider talking about. Again, colleges want students who are passionate and motivated, so backing up your passions with concrete actions is an effective way to convince admissions counsellors that you’d be a great addition to their school.

3. Something That Has Required A Major Time Commitment

If you choose to list something as your most important extracurricular, then it is important for you to have demonstrated a long-term commitment to this activity.  There needs to be heart in the work you do. While passion can show in a week long volunteering trip, if you convert that into a term doing commitment, it shows how you wanted to work for a sustained amount of time. Additionally, having a leadership position or taking on a lot of responsibility within this role will look even better, since colleges are looking for students who are responsible and have strong leadership skills.  

Overall, the EC that you choose to list as most important should be something that is meaningful to you, something that you are passionate about, and something that has taken up a significant amount of your time throughout your high school years. If a particular activity came to mind when reading this post, then chances are this is probably the activity that you should list! We hope this blog entry is of use to you. The activities page is one tricky beast to work with. Good thing that we 17 years of experience in this field! Come have a chat with us! Stay tuned for a new entry on how to write a description for your activity entries. 

How to fill the Activities Page on the Common App

The activities section is one of the most important parts of your application, particularly if you are applying to very selective colleges. Many students who apply to these schools have top GPAs and test scores, so extracurricular activities are one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool and make yourself stand out as an exceptional candidate.

Colleges want to know what your life is like outside of the classroom. Have you developed strong interests over time? Are you a leader? They are looking for students who are potential pioneers in their future fields. While college is certainly a place to explore new interests, admissions committees want to see that you have an idea of the kinds of activities about which you are curious and at which might excel, so that college will nurture these talents and push you to succeed further.

You should spend some time considering what to include in the activities section of the Common Application. There are certain limits, so it is essential to be selective and concise. Unlike your education and testing, you have control over what to include and how to describe your activities, so you should put some thought into it.

The Common Application offers a drop-down menu with the following activities from which to select:

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 9.52.05 AM.png

For each activity you include on your application, choose the appropriate category. If you find that a particular extracurricular activity fits into multiple categories, choose the more specific one (e.g. “Math Club” would go into “Science/Math as opposed to Academic”). If the activity fits into two equally specific categories, choose the more relevant one. You will have the opportunity to expand in the description if you need to do so.

Since the list is fairly broad, you will probably find that your activity fits into at least one of the sections available. If not, select “Other Club/Activity” and identify it in the “Position/Leadership” description and organization name section. In this case, unless the position and organization names are fairly self-explanatory or very recognizable, you will need to be a bit more specific in your description. 

Colleges do want to see that you are specialized, but you probably don’t want to choose the same category for every activity. If it seems like you are choosing one category for everything, try to diversify a bit and think about how activities can be related without being exactly the same thing.

For example, if you are the secretary in student government and participated in a leadership program over the summer, select “Student Government/Politics” for the secretary position, and “Career-Oriented” for the leadership program. Both categories indicate that you are a driven leader, but they present different facets of your personality. Things like Model UN would be considered “Debate/ Speech” and if you hold a position on the executive board, also select the “other” option and list it as a position of leadership. 

This is it for this edition of filling out the common app activities. Keep a lot out on other entries on selecting what activities to include and how to write the description for each activity! Can’t wait for the blogs? Come meet us for coffee! 

How Many College Apps are Enough?

Once you have a college list and are ready toembark on the applications process, stop and think: how many colleges do you plan to apply to? Its an important question that we sometimes forget to answer in the rush to write essays and finish making college lists. There is no straight answer to this, but one that needs qualitative reasoning. Can you afford all the colleges you are applying to; does your list have a dream, reach, safety names; do you have the time to apply to all the college (most have supplemental essays and requirements other than the common app); and lastly, do you see yourself in the colleges on your list? 

The last one is an important point to focus on. Apply to schools that you actually want to attend, or that you have some reason for wanting to attend. Have you visited the school? Does it have an atmosphere or programs that interest you and suit your needs? Is there something about the curriculum - the courses required of you to graduate - that is either hugely appealing - or might be a real turn-off? Do you even know what’s offered and required at these many schools to which you’re applying?

How will you know any of these things? Each website is a place to start, but websites are sources of information as well as advertisements. They will not give you the low-down on what it’s really like to be a student in these places. These three resources will give you another perspective: 1. College Prowler - tons of statistics and up-to-date student comments about every aspect of the institution. 2. The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, edited by the Yale Daily News - a sassy, student’s-eye view of some 350 colleges and universities, arranged by state. 3. The Best 378 Colleges, full of great stats and quotes from students and administrations about what each school offers. It’s not up to applicants to make the college admissions officers’ lives easier, but it is important for applicants, and their families, to understand the big picture. And it might make sense for high school counseling offices to set limits on how many applications a student can send in. The high schools, after all, have to send transcripts and letters to every college, and teachers are enlisted to write letters of recommendation. There are already limits at some schools.

The mania to apply to more and more and more colleges will either continue and skew the process even more than it’s already skewed, or enough families and administrators will put the brakes on at different points in the process. Here’s hoping that its the latter. 

 

 

Making a College List

Let’s start by breaking one misconception. A college list cannot be made in a day. It takes time, research, and most importantly conversation. Unlike how you choose a burger off a menu item at a restaurant, choosing a college has a lot of variables that once analyzed leads to more confusion and why wouldn't it? A burger lasts for thirty minutes, an education lasts for your lifetime. So then how do you begin ideating on a college list? Well, you start with the generic search: find the countries that fascinate you, look at top colleges, and start reading. Reading and research gets you a long way into understanding the kind of education an institution offers and where you might fit in. Reading also allows you to understand your likes or dislikes. You may love the major but hate the location, or love the weather but the political situation in the area might be in conflict with your beliefs. These are all things that make decisions and no one opinion is small. Remember, that even the smartest kids choose not to go to Harvard because its not made for everyone. A college is an acquired taste and research can help you understand what might be the closest to what you want. 

Willard Cox, a well known admissions counsellor describes college search like finding the perfect house. You begin with an image of what you would like and then go out shopping. You see what the market has to offer and while there may not be the exact perfect house, you find that you can make accommodations with what the market has to offer, or better yet find things in a house (like a fireplace or a sunroom) that you absolutely love and didn't even account for. I love this analogy because of how close it is to the college search process. Once you are versed with what a college can/ should have (i.e. understand the basic structure of a “house") you can create a list of must have expectations and go out shopping. 

This is how we work with our students. We give them the basic building blocks through links and books, and then take them on a virtual sale by talking to them, sexting up interviews, and most importantly by having the experience of seeing more than 200 colleges, a majority of which we take notes about and blog as we go along. Conversations about college expectations can change the colleges and even complete career goals. We have had many students who just wanted to apply to the top US News ranked schools but through ideating realized that their wants and desires were a complete mismatch and that perhaps a smaller liberal arts school was the way forward for them. 

Students that are just starting out on their college list, here are three things that you should do: 

  1. Research so that you can come up with a set of expectations what you need in a college
  2. Talk to as many people as possible. Don't be swayed by only one opinion and try to construct of your own 
  3. Be open to change.  The list you start with will not be the one you will end with. 

Of course, if you still have questions, have a chat with us. We are always happy to help!