The wonderful people over at Vocab Videos have dropped a number of unexpected holiday treats on us - a free list of SAT Vocab words, as well as a holiday discount for their test prep services. Feel free to head over there and check out their site if you haven't already. We discussed them a few posts back and their great, memorable videos for those individual vocabulary bits no one can ever seem to keep straight.
So much of what we do here at CEO is about making organization and optimization easier and simpler for you that we're always inclined to spread the word about other tools that make your life easier during this long and complicated process.
For those of you just starting this process in preparation for next year, start thinking about your Spring SATs sooner rather than later. There's always another word to learn or another technique to get under your belt. Vocab Videos and A-List Education can help you out with that test prep quickly, easily, and at all pricing levels.
Georgetown is a special school that draws attention from all around the country for many reasons - its integration of faith into the curriculum and student life, its stellar academics, and also its prime location for international studies - Washington D.C.
The school asks for a two-paragraph statement on your most significant summer experience, a one-page personal statement, and then, a statement on why you've applied to the particular undergraduate school you've selected - the college, the nursing school, the foreign service school, or the business school.
This probably seems like a lot of additional work, but it's not. If you've already done your work for the Common App, you might be practically done before you even begin.
Your long essay for the Common App can be repurposed as your personal statement, and your short essay, if it's not already about a summer experience, can be fleshed out to describe a part of you that will gel nicely with the undergraduate college you're applying to. Make sure to refer to our earlier entry about The Deal when you're writing the department-specific piece. Remember that you ought to be addressing what makes you a desirable candidate, not what makes the school desirable to you, so even if the topic you chose for your short response has little to do with the field you're heading into, remember, it's not always about what you have done, but the way you do things.
We can see that you'll be a great nurse from an essay about your days working at a record store if it tells the reader you're an energetic, caring, and dynamic person. It doesn't have to be about medical care in general.
We can understand what a great businessperson you'll become just by reading about your baseball card collecting if the insight you are able to give is from a marketing standpoint rather than just how much you like cards. Try to think differently, and you might be surprised how much you stand out.
Georgetown's deadline is just around the corner, but don't panic if you haven't started the application yet. It's more than manageable given what you've already done. Head to our QuickFinder page to learn more if you haven't already.
A happy holidays to all our readers and best wishes for all your college apps in the new year. If you've got a fat envelope sitting at home with you this holiday season, then a hearty congratulations to you. You're about to begin what we in the business call the nine month vacation.
But if not, don't fret. The whole thing is more manageable than you might think. Take a look at our post from earlier this week and take a deep breath. You can get this thing done with a little help from your friends.
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about – there’s always the potential you won’t get into your top choice. If you find the thin envelope in the mailbox this holiday season, regroup quickly, because there’s a lot of work to be done in what is probably a very short period of time.
1. Itemize Your Workload
There’s going to be a lot to do – probably somewhere between six and ten applications in two weeks’ or a month’s time. So before you begin, list all of your work and make sure you have a single source to work from, instead of ten different applications in a pile. Handling such a workload is all about managing your time appropriately.
2. Find other options that are comparable to your first choice
Your first choice is gone. Let it go. But the good news is that there are other options out there that are actually very similar to your top choice in many important ways. In many respects, you’ll even find that they’re better. So do your research if you haven’t already, and find out what else is out there. If you were aiming for Amherst, consider Williams and Brown. If you were aiming for Chapel Hill, think of Ann Arbor and Berkeley. Any one of these places might surprise you if you look a bit further into their many nooks and crannies.
3. Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose
You’ve got a lot of prompts, but remember that those essays can be handled with fewer essays than you think. After you’ve itemized your workload, consolidate it. Find an efficient way to get things under control, and you may be surprised at how quickly and accurately you can knock these essays out without over-exerting yourself or spreading your interests too thin.
Now if only there were an easy-to-use site that could help…
Besides the college essay, the SAT is the other big unknown when it comes to college admissions. Most of your grades, extra curriculars, and even parts of your recommendations are beyond your control by the time your senior year rolls around. But the SAT is always there, able to be improved upon each time you sit down to take it.
The most intimidating part of the SAT that's got to be learned a bit too quickly for most people's tastes is the vocabulary. Words like hegemony, perquisite, arboreal... Any of these ring a bell? Not for us really. This blog post got spell checked about thirteen times already and we're only a paragraph and a half in. Paragraph and a half. Hey. Made a rhyme.
Vocab Videos is a site that can help get the vocab down very, very easily thanks to their humorous images of what can be tedious words. And the short (thirty second) scenes help make the words much more memorable.
Yes, we all like to complain about the SAT, but the reality is that it's here to stay, or at the very least, is here to stay in the college admissions game for as long as you are, so it's better to take the bull by the horns before those horns get turned on you. The SAT help at Vocab Videos is much more fun and entertaining than the rest of the test-taking process, and lucky for you it deals with the parts you like the least. So get over there and make it happen.
Today marks the launch of our new redesign here at CEO. And it's a very attractive redesign if we do say so ourselves. Please have a look at the homepage today and poke around. There's a brand new feature called the Essay RoadMap Preview, which shows you right up front - and for free - how many essays you might have to write, and how few you could satisfy them all with by using CEO.
The new site looks great but more than anything, it emphasizes the basic tools that make CEO quick and easy to use while saving you time and money, no matter who you are. As you can see from the new splash screen, we've broken down the importance of CEO for all involved in the college admissions process.
Students: We take loads of work off your back and handle it instantly.
Parents: We help to motivate your children, letting them avoid the procrastination involved in starting and easing them into the creative parts of their work.
Guidance Counselors: We help you bridge the gap between parent and student by showing all how quickly and efficiently these piles of applications can be dealt with.
Independent Counselors: We automate what can be a drawn-out, tedious, and often very repetitive task, especially for those of you dealing with large numbers of students.
But of course you fans of the blog will be most happy with the royal treatment the headline feed is getting on the homepage. Oh yeah. Notice that fancy RSS icon, too. It can put the blog right in your mailbox each morning.
That title is not true, of course. No day is funday for College Admissions. Except maybe the acceptance day. Yeah, that day is definitely funday. And all the days that follow, until college graduation. So in fact, it's either no day is funday, or every day is a day of fun and glee. I'm just going to say I didn't think this paragraph out as well as I could have.
Today we're here to brag about how fun our own services are, not to mention our videos about how fun our own services are. Check them out! Lots of good times to be had here. Or at the very least, about two and a half minutes' worth. See them all at vimeo.com/college - or just enjoy this:
from CEO on Vimeo.
Good times at the Cardinal this year, with Stanford requiring the long Common App essay, the short Common App essay, three other 250+ word pieces of writing, and a series of short answers. Stanford, you are truly a world-class academic institution. One of the best, if not the best in the country. But we're looking at over 1500 words where our favorite stand-by Dartmouth got 'er done with less than a third of that.
And the questions? They're a bit odd. Let's take a look and see if we can't give you a few ideas on how to crack 'em.
Besides the one-liners they require (which films and newspapers do you like, how do you best describe yourself, what's up with your summer vacation, etc.), Stanford asks what you find intellectually engaging, what you'd like your future roommate to know about you, and what makes Stanford a good place for you. They want about 250-300 words on each of those.
What makes this tricky is that at first they all seem like the same essay. What are you interested in and what makes you interesting can seem pretty similar. But if you remember that the goal of these pieces of writing is to emphasize what you do rather than who you are, you'll have no trouble banging these out.
Your intellectual interests should be straightforward enough - again, emphasize how you've applied them and what the results of those interests are. Your roommate might not want to know your intellectual interests, but rather your social or community interests. (See our blog post below on what not to do when talking about how awesome you are and you'll be fine here.)
Now for the kicker - why is Stanford a good place for you?
Well, why is it?
Again, think not about what the school has, or what it already knows about itself (this is definitely not a place to repeat what's in the guide book), but talk about what you're going to bring to the school and how it's going to affect the community there. This is part of The Deal we've written about before. You're not talking about what you like, but what you can do. Why are you going to be a vital part of this community? If you can identify that clearly, it will be evident why Stanford is a good match for you.
The New York Times refers here to an official study showing that one in five schools these days is using an unpublicized SAT cut-off point for applicants, and one in four of those schools that require the ACT does the same. Sounds bad, right? Well, I’d argue not entirely. We ought to see this as the glass being a lot more than half full.
This study's flip side shows that the overwhelming majority of schools are keeping their analysis holistic, and are willing to look at the application in full rather than in strictly numerical terms. (Remember that many of the larger schools, for whom the essay is irrelevant or nonexistent, are likely to be the ones using these cutoffs.) This also means that the schools are giving each application time, which is what we as applicants should be most grateful for. It’s the thing that takes the most effort and the most money on the part of the schools, so their doing that kind of legwork is beneficial for us.
It also means that all that time-consuming work that they’re throwing at you actually does matter! These essays are given quality reads and given their fair due in the evaluation process. So remember that even though they are not a quick-fix solution to elevating your application from dud to stud, they most certainly can be a quick-fix solution to making your application rise to the top. Make your work stand out, and as we at CEO like to put it, you will let your life speak.
Things are moving along well in the CEO world. We're expanding each week with more users, more readers, and a lot more content. Glad to have you with us. We'll continue to update here with regular posts on the details of the essay writing and college application processes. If you have questions, or even topics you'd like to see discussed in greater detail, just say so and drop an email.
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