The Common Application will open on August 1 for the new cycle of 2014 college applications. Many students are trying to get a head start on the application essays prior that date. It is a great idea to at least start the brainstorming portion of the essay writing process; however, students should not feel as though they need to have everything completed before the start of the senior year. But where to start? What is the college looking for? Ted Spencer, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director at The University of Michigan, Undergraduate Admissions, says that “the most important thing is to hear the student’s voice. We’re looking for a story.” In interview after interview with college admissions directors, the idea is the same. They want to know who you are, what will you bring to their community. They are not interested in a typical English class essay; they want a story — your story.
The National Association of College Admissions Counseling [NACAC] keeps a running list of colleges and universities with spaces available for admission, for financial aid, and for housing for both freshmen and for transfer students. This sight will be active through June 28 on the NACAC website. This list, composed of approximately 72% private and 28% public institutions, is significantly lower that the number available last year and the lowest in the history of the survey.
Members of the high school class of 2014 would do well devoting time this summer crafting essays that are specifically written to speak to each university to which they will apply, especially if they plan to apply to highly competitive colleges. Paul Levy of the Star Tribune posts an article illustrating the importance of the essay. The bottom line – resist the temptation to write a one-size fits all essay. When writing the “Why I am a good fit for XYZ University” be sure that you could not simply replace the name of the school to have a brand new essay. Take the opportunity to reveal who you are, what you bring to that specific community, as well as specifics about why you would thrive in that environment.
Tamar Lewin of the New York Times with the following announcement. “We are moving to a computer-based version, but for the foreseeable future, we will also have the paper and pencil test as an option for schools that don’t have the technological capability,” said Jon Erickson, the president of ACT’s Education Division. “We will probably have the option for students to choose paper and pencil, as well. But all the anecdotal evidence is that students prefer the computer.” [read more]
The Wall Street Journal posts an article today addressing the tuition rates for many private colleges across the country and the move to adjust the financial aid packages in such a way as to help make their college more affordable. “‘It’s a buyer’s market’ for all but the most select private colleges and flagship public universities, said Jim Scannell, president of Scannell & Kurz, a consulting firm in Pittsford, N.Y., that works with colleges on pricing and financial-aid strategies.” [read more]
Estrela Consulting posts on the company blog a list of helpful apps that range in cost from $0-4.99 that are worth checking out. They help the students find out the essay requirements to more than 600 schools as well as supply a college packing list, and more. These apps are for high school juniors and seniors. [read-more]
The Choice edition of the New York Times posts the acceptance rates of many of the top institutions in the country. Applications to many of these schools continue to rise, enrollment remains level, acceptance rates fall to many of the most selective colleges. [read more]
Onlinedegrees.org posts an article with good timely advice about submitting a college essay using modern technologies such as video, social media, blogs, crowdsourcing, and mobile devices. Most of the advice is practical: be genuine, keep it professional, and use proper grammar – not text lingo. [read more]