Before you get your hopes up about finding the right school on your first try, cozy up to the fact that you’re not going to walk away from your first college tour knowing that you want to attend that college. And you shouldn’t! If you do feel that way, you haven’t done enough research and you haven’t gone on enough tours.
This post includes tips for both writing transfer essays and the intense prep work it requires to transfer. We’ve written a lot about the transferring process, and it’s important to keep in mind that transferring isn’t as easy as most people think. And you need a better reason than simply wanting to trade up. But if you’re reading this, you might already have your reasons for wanting to transfer. If you’re unsure but want more information and/or validation, read our “Should I Transfer” post.
Extracurricular activities are an important aspect of the college application process. But not in the way that many students think they are. Deciding which extracurriculars to pursue is an exercise in branding yourself, and it starts freshman year. Let’s compare two different activity lists and then discuss:
The “college prep” process usually starts with high school students asking themselves: “where should I go to college?” Or maybe someone asked you where you’re thinking about applying, and you realized that you have no idea. It’s the question that comes first, and it can be seriously overwhelming. If you’re beginning to think about the future, this blog post will tell you where to start.
Creative writing isn’t the most popular major, but those who pursue it are uniquely passionate. In a world where the written word seems to be declining in importance, the decision to commit four years to studying a craft that some feel to be an artifact takes commitment, drive, and a sense of purpose that is rare anywhere, let alone among teenagers.
If you’re reading this, you’re in a frustrating boat. It’s fair to feel confused, angry, annoyed, whatever. For a lot of students, deferral can be more confusing than straight-up rejection, because the definition of deferral means that the college’s decision has been pushed off to a later date. Then it can be hard not to feel like you’re being dragged along and, likewise, don’t know how to feel or what decision to make next. We’ve created this post to offer a few simple guidelines about how to proceed once you’ve heard back from your first choice ED school that you’ve been deferred.
There are several reasons you may need to email a professor or other instructor at a college or university you are considering applying to. The most common reason potential applicants need to email a professor is to request a class visit. Other reasons include having a question about a department, desiring more information about an academic program, or following up after meeting them during a visit, event, or through another connection.
We get a fair amount of questions about the activities section of the common app. Our first piece of advice is to start a running log (on a google document and a saved word file) of all of your extracurricular activities starting freshman year. If you’re reading this as a junior and missed the boat, it’s not too late. Think back and type out everything that you’ve done in order. This will be especially helpful when you start writing a resume.
Creating a resume is always a good idea. It’s a way to keep your accomplishments organized and most colleges allow students the option of uploading a resume with their application. It’s also great practice for the future.
It’s no secret that acceptance rates at competitive colleges are decreasing every year. And when colleges put out articles detailing their stats for their incoming class, they ensure that the takeaway is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get in, but YOU can probably get in so you should apply. More applicants than ever! Students from all over the globe!
Have you been working on your Common App essay for weeks or months now? Are you feeling stuck, like you’ve written everything you’ve wanted to say but there’s no way to wrap it all up, or are you freaking out because it’s 1000 words and you need to get it down to 650? Whatever boat you’re in, don’t fear. Below you’ll find our basic guide to helping you out of a writing and editing rut so that you can finish your essay and send it off feeling confident it is polished and finally done.
If you’re reading this in the fall, before you’ve heard back from your ED/EA school:
This is a great place to be in. It’s not too late for anything. Start your other supplements today and put just as much work into them as you have into your ED/EA school. Work equally on the array of schools on your list––safeties, targets, and reaches. To find guidance about how to write the supplements for your schools, poke around the blog. We have dozens of detailed blog posts for supplements (like this one, this one, or this one).
The trees are yellow. Leaves are falling. Temperatures are dropping. Winter is coming…
Okay, okay, depending on where you live, none of this may be true––and even if this is supposed to be true, it might not actually be (shout out to the hottest October 1st on record in NYC!). Our general point remains, however: it’s October, ED/EA deadlines are approaching rapidly, and even the once-far off regular decision January deadlines which seem like they’ll never come are coming up, too.
Based on conversations that we’ve had with our clients and email submissions from our blog readers, there seems to be some confusion about the intended use of the additional information section on the common app website. Let us start by saying that this blog post will give you guidelines as to what should and should not be included in this section, but we don’t know your life. You should use your best judgment, but before you start writing make sure you’re not just capitalizing on the extra space because you ran out of words elsewhere.
Early Action is an application option offered by some colleges and universities. Early Action (EA) application means that you apply early, typically on or around the Early Decision deadline in early November. You then receive a response of acceptance, rejection, or deferral in December. If you are deferred, your application will be considered during the Regular Decision cycle. If you are rejected, you cannot submit another application Regular Decision. You can apply EA even if you are applying Early Decision to another institution.
Stanford University is one of the best schools in the world. Located in central California between San Francisco and San Jose, the Stanford acceptance rate is so low that they stopped publishing it. With so low of an acceptance rate, how do you get in?
Carleton College is a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. It is a small school, with an undergraduate enrollment of only 2,078 students, but on a big campus. The Carleton campus includes an 880-acre arboretum, so if you’re interested in the natural sciences, it may be the perfect place for you. Carleton is also a great choice if you are looking to have an active on-campus community without sacrificing opportunities to study abroad. Over 95% of Carleton students live on campus, but 75% study off-campus at some point during their time there. Off-campus programs include study abroad and domestic opportunities such as the wilderness studies program in the Grand Canyon or the public health in practice program in Washington, D.C. The acceptance rate for Carleton is about 21%.
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university. As its name suggests, it’s in Boulder, Colorado and about 29,000 undergraduate students attend the school. It’s a big school in a city setting, and students at Boulder love the outdoors. The most popular majors are computer science, psychology, and integrative physiology. The acceptance rate is around 80%.
The University of California application is the California-specific application for the nine UC schools: UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego. The UC Application is similar to the Common Application, but it is an entirely different system, requires some different information, and has its own deadline: November 30th.
Washington and Lee is a liberal arts school in Lexington, VA with about 1,750 undergraduate students. Although Washington and Lee is small, the school is home to a few unique programs including Poverty studies and the Williams school, which is a business education within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum. The school also has an interesting schedule: there is a fall term, a winter term, and then a spring term. Spring term is only four weeks long, and during that time students take only one class and do a deep dive on a specific subject. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 18%.