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.
As graduating seniors head off to college this fall, they will receive all kinds of advice from well-meaning loved ones. Who should the new college freshman listen to? One of the best pieces of advice is offered from perfect strangers at the New York Times in an article entitled 7 Things Graduating Seniors Should Know About College, written by Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman.
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.
All SAT scores for May 2013 test taken in South Korea have been cancelled in response to widespread cheating. This is a first for the CollegeBoard. “The cancellation has thrown college-entrance preparations for thousands of students into disarray. Some students now plan to travel to other countries in the region to ensure they are able to take the next test in the summer.” Read more in the Wall Street Journal.
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.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy of MoneyWatch CBS, posts some very valuable advice regarding the financial aid letter. Remember that decisions must be made by May 1 for students planning to attend most colleges and universities. [read more]
Claire Vaye Watkins authors an op-ed piece in the New York Times discussing her experience that far too many top students from rural as well as inner city schools can relate to in the college application process. She strongly suggests that the answer is to follow the model of the military – walking the family methodically through the process. [read more]
David Bergeron, Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Education, outlines the impact of sequestration on federal student assistance programs intended to defray some of the costs of higher education. [read more]
Who says that you have to be a high school senior or a college student to enter a scholarship competition? It is never too early to start searching. Check out the earlier blog, SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH ENGINES AND DATABASES, to find some great search resources. The following are a few scholarships to get you started.
Nicholas A Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition – Submit up to three original, unpublished haikus. Deadline: March 25, 2013
Don’t Mess With Texas – Any high school senior planning to attend a Texas college or university next year. Deadline: April 12, 2013
Foot Locker – UNCF – Any high school senior or current college student attending a UNCF member institution in the fall or 2013. Deadline: April 24, 2013
Everyone Deserves A Second Chance At Life – Write a crime prevention essay using APA format. Deadline: June 30, 2013