Applying to College

Calvin & Hobbes, Gary Clark Jr., and the Authentic Narrative of Your College Essay

It's that time of year... Sam Bigelow, Associate Director of College Counselor at Middlesex School, joins us today to talk college essays.

This is a piece about some things that are very important to me—music, Calvin and Hobbes and your college essays.

Taking my dog for a post-lunch, afternoon walk through Estabrook Woods behind the Middlesex School campus recently, I was listening to the new Gary Clark Jr. live album and appreciating the wonderful authenticity of this young Texas blues hero’s singing and guitar playing. He’s taken on the mantle of today's “it” blues guy, and I think I know why. When he sings, you believe every word and note he let’s leave his body. When he rips into a guitar solo midway through a song, there’s intensity, there’s insistence, and there’s soul. He is, as we like to say, “the real deal.” There are plenty of guitarists out there that can play faster, plenty of singers that have more impressive vocal range, but if you can’t sing or play with real feeling like he does, you likely won’t resonate with an audience in the same way. I always tried with my own music to dial back the fireworks and play piano and sing more simply and more authentically in my own voice. I am certainly not saying I was successful in that venture, but I always tried to do that.

It's Decision Time for Early Applicants

We're pleased today to host Ingrid Hayes, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk about applying early! Read on for Hayes' advice about what students should consider in applying early and her thoughts about whether or not applying early creates an advantage for students.


Attention seniors:  Early admission deadlines are fast-approaching, and it’s time for you to make one of the first major decisions in the admissions process.


Applying early is a great option if you’re sure about which college you want to attend, but it’s critical for you to do your due diligence in researching colleges and visiting campuses before deciding to apply early. 


Does applying early increase my chances of getting accepted?


In my 20 years of experience in admissions, I’ve noticed a lot of students assume an early plan will give them an advantage, especially if they feel that they’re closer to the lower end of the competitive profile for a school. Many national statistics show higher early acceptance rates and that may pique your interest to apply early. The question of “does applying early increase my chances of getting accepted?” is one that I get often, and the answer is yes and no depending on the school. Students should ask the school directly what might be the benefits of applying early.


Keep Calm and Carry On Applying to College

Colleges aren't asking 17-year-olds to do anything 17-year-olds are not 
capable of doing. College Admission is on the Siena College blog talking maintaining calm in the face of college admission -- Quick Tips for Staying Calm During the College Application Process. Check it out for more advice, support, and quick tips! 

De-stress the College Application Process!

You know how you don’t really remember the pain of childbirth? You won’t remember the stress of the college application process once it’s over, either. Honestly. Though just as we continue to share the blow-by-blow of our delivery room action as we bond with other mothers, we find ourselves trading stories of the trials and triumphs of the college application process, too.

Christine VanDeVelde is guest blogging at UniversityParent with advice about how you can find yourself a year from now with fewer trials and more triumph in the telling. It’s easier than you think. Check out De-Stress The College Application Process and learn more about the "college diet," broccoli talk, and how to win by expecting the best.

What's really important junior year?

Get the lowdown on grades, extracurriculars and more in our conversation with Teen Life, Dealing with Junior Year StressJunior year is important but, more significantly, it feels important because there is so much going on. Students are juggling a lot -- testing, extracurriculars, campus visits, researching colleges.  But, despite what you hear, applying to college is not rocket science. There is no secret. It doesn't require an advanced degree. Colleges aren't asking 17-year-olds to do anything that 17-year-olds aren't capable of doing.  Applying to college is like any large project, you just need to break it down into smaller manageable parts. Keep that in mind as you start this process.

Available now! A Completely Revised and Updated College Admission

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step has been completely revised and updated for changes to the Common Application, testing, the essay, financial aid and more, including information for transfer students and  undocumented students, and timelines for the college application process. Look for the red banner! You can find it here.

College Admission in the Washington Post

College Admission is featured in "A Summer Reading List from College Admission Counselors" in Valerie Strauss' Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Thank you to Kenyon College Dean Jennifer Delahunty for recommending our book! This is a great list overall, assembled by Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling of The Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire with suggestions for parents and students, as well as some all-around fun summer reading such as Claude Steele's “Whistling Vivaldi," recommended by: Susan Weingartner, Director of College Counseling at Chicago's Francis W.

Writing Your High School Story: College Admission Advice for 9th and 10th Graders

Speak up in class, learn a system of note-taking, be kind, don't worry about testing until 11th grade, and read, read, read... Mark Moody, Co-Director of College Counseling at Colorado Academy, joins us again with advice for 9th and 10th graders about how to write a high school story that will have a happy ending. 


You’ve made it to the end of another school year! Before you totally shift out of school mode and into your summer adventures, it’s a good time to take a minute to reflect on your school journey as it’s shaping up. Do you feel confident, not so great, or indifferent to your academic record and extracurricular life so far? Now that you have the lay of the high school landscape, you have the tools to directly shape your response to that question for next year and the years after.