It has started. Last week I saw the first flood of excited Tweets from students who had received early acceptance decisions and were offered a spot in this year’s incoming class. The excitement was palpable, and it brought a smile to my face to (virtually) hear their joy and be a part of their big moment.
It also reminded me that for the majority of students who are still anxiously waiting for their own big moment to occur, watching friends receive good news can be difficult. The college admissions process can feel like a competition amongst peers, and nowhere is this more apparent than during the release of decisions.
My advice for anyone in this situation is simple: jump in and celebrate with them. Do not let the anxiety of the unknown stop you from whole-heartedly congratulating others. Even if you don’t buy into the good-karma philosophy, I can promise you that you will feel better, physically and emotionally.
For more thoughts on this, I recommend a Huntington Post article that I read recently. Now go forth and find someone to celebrate!
I am guessing that I am not the first person to lecture about the importance of editing an essay thoroughly before final submission. I’m also confident that this advice is even more urgent when it applies to a college application essay. This week, I heard an example that validates everything I believe in as an editor.
Several years ago, a good friend serves as an admissions reader for a large, selective university. This friend was in the process of reading an admissions essay that started off heartfelt, compelling, and well written. The student shared experiences of being bullied, followed by the desire to help others who had endured the same type of abuse in school. As my friend was finishing the essay, the very last sentence practically knocked this reader over. The sentence was an insult towards a specific person, someone the writer must have known—first and last name were included—and an extremely vulgar curse word.
The reader’s best guess is that the applicant probably sent the essay to a friend (perhaps for editing or feedback), the friend inserted this line as a “joke,” and the applicant failed to notice it during the cut-and-paste process. Unfortunately, this applicant did not abide by the always-do-a-final-read-before-clicking-submit rule, and the extremely distasteful last line made its way into the final college application. To make matters worse, this was on a common application that was read by every university to which the applicant applied.
In the end, a final edit is not just about catching an absent comma or misspelled word. It is about ensuring that a mistake like this does not happen to you.
Tip of the Day: Read your drafts out loud. Studies show that when we read the same material silently, we are less likely to see obvious mistakes. Check out this article by Lifehack for more editing tips that improve writing.
Happy New Year! While everyone is focusing on resolutions and breaking bad habits, I have a challenge for all the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors out there (Seniors, I know you are recovering from application fatigue, so I’m granting you rest for now).
There are still five months, give or take, between you and blissful summer. Make the most of this time by doing some organizing and evaluating of your high school involvement, in preparation for the college application journey to come. Here are a few New Year tips to consider:
- Keep a running résumé. Trust me, trying to remember all of the clubs and leadership opportunities and school awards you’ve racked up, while frantically trying to complete your online application on time, will result in things getting missed. Start putting all of these details down on paper now. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You will thank me for this.
- Start practicing time management now. The number one lesson college freshmen learn the hard way is time management. Imagine the distractions you experience now, and triple them; this makes proactively managing your schedule a top priority. Some easy ways to start doing this include keeping a day planner, scheduling your study time (and sticking to it), and tracking the amount of time you put into an involvement and the outcome that results (for example: does your club meeting take up two hours of time, and in the end there are no decisions made or projects accomplished? You might want to reconsider how you are benefiting from that involvement).
- Take the time to develop your top talents and strengths. Research has shown that the most successful individuals focus on their innate strengths, rather than dwelling on the need to improve their weaknesses. One tool for doing this is through a Student to Scholar’s Strengths-based coaching session. Interested in learning more? Contact us about attending one of the sessions that we offer for high school students.