Archive for the ‘college prep’ Category

Common App Essay Tips

Friday, May 29th, 2015

App Essay Prompts

What does it mean to “share your story?” The pool of topics for common application essays is vast, but with this freedom comes the terrifying sense of getting the topic wrong or not communicating that urgent aspect of yourself that you meant to. College supplements often asks applicants to write about their strengths, their weaknesses, their suitability to college life and so forth. It all gets a bit hoop-jumpy, but that’s not to say you can’t write something meaningful or important to you, even when the prompts begin to blur and it feels like you’re having to write the same essay over and over.


The New SAT

Friday, March 20th, 2015


Coming to you in the spring of 2016: it’s new, it’s live, it’s terrifying… SAT returns in a whole new format! Bolt down the doors and stock up on cans of beans. Or don’t. You could probably do neither of those things and be fine taking the new SAT. Something tells me they haven’t gone power mad and decided to create the unattainable exam. What they’re actually doing is making a new model of testing that is more relevant than its predecessors. The new SAT will be an updated, improved version of its ancestors which can only mean good things for college applicants. (more…)

Driving Home for Christmas

Thursday, December 4th, 2014



Getting home for various holidays is not easy for everyone. Within your class, there will probably be the fortunate few who can visit home every couple of weeks; a simple 10 minute bus ride away where ‘Tony’ can pretend he came home because he missed their faces whilst dumping a bag of dirty laundry on the kitchen table. But for most it is not that easy. The laundry piles up because there is nobody to tell me to start sorting out my life anymore. I may have digressed slightly, but the point is that choosing whether to travel home for the holidays or to stay on campus can be difficult for many. (more…)

Planning for the Year Ahead

Sunday, June 9th, 2013
College Calendar

Yearly Calendar

June is here, and another academic year approaches the all-too-familiar frenzied climax.  Whether student or teacher, expert or novice, STOP.  BREATHE…ONE FULL BREATH.  Turn around on your timeline to face the past.  You made it.  Congratulate yourself, knowing there’s always more to come.

Snap back to now.  On deck we have: any and all finals, APs, SAT Subject Tests, potential SAT and/or ACT retakes.

Let’s start with seniors and work earlier chronologically:

SENIORS!  Those finals won’t get good marks by themselves.  No compromise to diligence here; see your final game through.  The victory lap will be that much sweeter.  As you do so, please remember those who helped you get here.  Celebrate the success together. (more…)

What Not to Write About in your College Essay, Part III

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Essay paper

Essay paper via Flickr: mrsdkrebs

Many college applicants write about someone who has influenced them, perhaps a relative, or a teacher, or someone they met through a community service program and built a friendship with. On the face of it, there’s no problem here. I mean, one of the essay choices on the Common App is “Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.” So why is this on the “What Not to Write About” list? The reason it’s on here is that all too often, these essays end up being am amazing story about…someone else. Your great-grandmother started her own successful farm during the dust bowl, and ended up adopting twenty children and becoming a well-known landscape painter? Fabulous. I would love to hear that story. Unfortunately, however, your grandmother isn’t applying to college, so unless that essay is more about you than it is about her, it’s not much good to you. This isn’t so much a “don’t” as a warning—if you choose to write about someone who has had a significant influence on you, don’t forget the second half of the essay prompt—the “describe that influence” part. Make sure that the essay is about how knowing that person shaped you into the person you are today. (more…)