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College Essay Mistakes: Too Many Schools

College Essay Mistakes: Too Many Schools

Earlier this week a student came in with a list of 40 schools he wanted to apply to. That's a good way to start! But the Common App will only let you submit to 20 schools at most. There are others that don't use the Common App (like the UC schools, the University of...

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College Application Mistakes: Not Proofreading

College Application Mistakes: Not Proofreading

Oh, man. Talk about an easy one to fix. Bless the students who come to me and say, "my essay is done! I'm ready to turn it in!" I read it over, and while the ideas may be good, there are spelling errors and grammatical mistakes all over the place. Colleges care about...

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What My Teachers Did for Me

What My Teachers Did for Me

Mr. Hogan taught me that reading wasn’t enough: I needed to internalize and take good notes. Mrs. Mac let me cry on her shoulder in the hallway. She made choir and orchestra a safe place to be myself. Mrs. Anastacio gave me my first B. She looked me square in the eye...

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What Do You Know About Rejection?

What Do You Know About Rejection?

When I was a sophomore at Yale, my acting professor Toni Dorfman looked at the class over the top of her Hogwarts-level spectacles and said, “every director should be forced to act in a play at least once a year. That way they will remember what it feels like to be...

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For Unmotivated Students

For Unmotivated Students

Even the brightest kids go through periods of boredom and lack of motivation. Burnout is becoming more common, and it’s not the student’s fault: high expectations, overscheduling, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep can all contribute. Here are some of the most...

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The Points-Captured System

The Points-Captured System

One of the most effective ways to measure performance on the ACT or SAT is with the points-captured system. It works like this. Say a student takes a diagnostic ACT and scores a 20 out of 36. That means there are 16 more points that the student could potentially...

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Tips for Taping

Tips for Taping

Some high schools and colleges now require or encourage a video submission with your application. Anyone can film a short video about themselves, but if you incorporate these professional acting tips you’ll eliminate many of the mistakes that make admissions teams...

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A Yale Admissions Story

A Yale Admissions Story

by Nathaniel Dolquist, Yale University Class of 2014 When I was in the fifth grade, I asked my cousin what colleges were the most difficult to get into. “Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford,” she replied, “but nobody actually gets in there.” The goal was set. I...

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How to Choose Colleges

How to Choose Colleges

We recommend students apply to around 15 schools, divided into the following categories: Five Safety or “High Odds” Schools These are schools with high odds of admission and frequently include community colleges, state universities, and other large public schools....

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Should I Take the SAT/ACT?

Should I Take the SAT/ACT?

No. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools reevaluated the utility of including standardized testing in their admissions process. If testing is not your strong suit, you may be able to skip the tests if the school(s) you want to attend don’t require them. For more...

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The Ivy League Sparkle

The Ivy League Sparkle

I recently helped a high school sophomore with his application to Cornell's Precollege Studies program. As he wrote and I edited, I had a gut feeling that his application had what I call the “Ivy League Sparkle”. There was something special about it, something that...

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