Rising seniors – Writing the personal essay
During May, June and July, I offer one-on-one essay-writing sessions for rising seniors who want to complete their personal essay over the summer. The sessions include everything from creating an application strategy and brainstorming essay ideas to structuring an engaging piece and editing it. Completing this all-important essay over the summer is a great way to start out on the right foot and decrease the stress of senior year.
12th Grade – Applying to colleges and making choices
- Application strategy: how to present yourself
- Finalizing your college list
- Considering Early Action and Early Decision
- What to consider when applying for financial aid
- Planning your college visits
- Interviewing with confidence
- Getting the best possible recommendations
- Writing an effective personal essay
- Understanding what the application is really asking
Fall of senior year is usually the busiest time in a high school student’s life. Between September and January, students must finalize their college lists, visit schools, go for interviews, request letters of recommendation and file their college applications. At the same time, they need to keep up their grades and excel at extracurricular activities. Some students even take or retake the SAT tests. It’s enough to tax the nerves of even the most well-organized and calm teenager. That’s why the wise student has gotten a head start on the process during sophomore and junior years. But even a student who hasn’t can find ways to manage the process instead of being overwhelmed by it.
During the fall of senior year, I offer intensive counseling to students and their parents on every aspect of the college application process, from finalizing the college list to making the big decision.
Your application strategy: how to present yourself
A well thought-out application strategy is based on understanding the person you have become during four years of high school. It will highlight your strengths and consider why you are a good fit for each of the colleges you will apply to.
I take the time to get to know each student I counsel. That’s because it’s important to make sure your application strategy is right for you.
Finalizing your college list
Now is the time to look carefully—and honestly—at each school on your list. Would you and the school really be right for each other? Do you have what they are looking for? Do they really have what you need and want? We will consider each school with these questions in mind.
Considering Early Action and Early Decision
For many students today, applying for Early Action or Early Decision makes a lot of sense. But this approach isn’t right for everyone. We’ll discuss the pros and cons to figure out what’s right for you.
What to consider when applying for financial aid
Students who are applying for financial aid should consider each school’s financial picture before they decide whether to apply. Some schools offer excellent aid, while others don’t offer much at all. While you can’t know for sure how much aid you’ll be granted in advance, you can make some informed guesses…but only if you research the schools early on.
Planning your college visits
Planning college visits might seem easy. You just schedule a few hours for each school and swing by when you’re free, right? You can certainly visit colleges that way, but it won’t be an effective use of your time. There are many important reasons to visit colleges beyond the obvious opportunity to view their campuses. I can suggest important objectives for your visit and how you might maximize your time on campus by planning carefully in advance.
Interviewing with confidence
Succeeding at your college interviews is not simply a matter of smiling and being nice. It’s important to understand each school and what it’s all about. In the interview counseling I offer, we discuss schools individually and focus on content. No video practice sessions required—I promise!
Getting the best possible recommendations
I offer guidance on how to ask your teachers for recommendations and enable them to write the best possible letters on your behalf.
Writing a memorable and effective personal essay
Writing a great personal essay is about so much more than cute anecdotes, good grammar and correct punctuation. Your essay needs to sum you up in a way that lets your personality shine through. It should make you real and appealing. It should also make you seem like the perfect addition to the colleges you’ve chosen.
To work effectively, your essay should be a natural outgrowth of your life. It should be an integrated part your application strategy. Yet, it must speak with your unique voice. I can help you brainstorm ideas and develop a structure that works. But I’ll respect your voice, because it must always remain your essay.
Advice about the timing: Be sure to allow plenty of time to work on this piece. Good writing takes time and thought, and you’ll probably need to work through a number of revisions.
Understanding what the application is really asking
Have you read each application? I mean really read them? I can help you do a close reading of each one of your college applications. We’ll analyze the text and the subtext to figure out what each school really wants to know and why. Only when you understand what the admissions officers have on their minds will you be able to provide a helpful and cogent answer.