Answering More Questions From Independent Consultants

This week we're featuring answers to fifteen frequently asked questions from Independent Counselors and other academic consultants about College Essay Organizer. Here's the last of the fifteen. If you have more questions, please let us know.

13. Is there anything that I can do to improve the format when printing the RoadMap results?

We have added functionality to remove any questions, which will reduce the length of your printed document as much as you choose. If you are copying and pasting into a Word document, you can reduce the amount of space between lines by making sure the document is single-spaced with zero paragraph spacing before and after each line (look for this setting in the Alignment and Spacing section of the formatting palette). If you have further questions about formatting your RoadMap for your students and their families, please just send us an email and we'll be happy to help you out.

You may want to consider giving your clients access to their CEO accounts, rather than printing out reports, as many consultants have found that sharing CEO with their clients serves two key purposes: first, it validates the need for your services, as CEO demonstrates the sheer magnitude of the essay process; second, it delivers a clear plan that parents can follow if they wish and empowers students to work more efficiently and proactively on their own.


14. Will you be adding essay questions for transfer students?

We don't have enough demand for transfer applicants at this point in time. Most students who want to transfer typically apply to only one or two specific colleges, making CEO less useful to them.


15. Do you value customer service?

We place great value on our customers, and provide quick and accurate responses to all inquiries. We are always available by email and phone to further discuss how we can improve your experience if you feel anything is in need of improvement.

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Today Is A Great Day To Get The Process Rolling

Lee Bierer

Lee Bierer of College Admissions Strategies

Today's blog post comes from Lee Bierer, independent counselor and principal of College Admissions Strategies in Charlotte, North Carolina. Additionally, Lee has been writing the weekly “Countdown to College” column for The Charlotte Observer, that is syndicated nationally by McClatchy Newspapers, for over four years. Lee specializes in three areas of college admissions counseling: college identification and selection, application strategy and scholarship search. You can learn more about her and her services at www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com.

Now is the right time for high school juniors and their parents to be thinking about colleges and the admissions process. It's not too early, and, thankfully, not too late.

Many families find the most important first step is to discuss options and expectations.

You don't want your child poring over catalogs from colleges in the Northeast if you really want him within driving distance. With private schools costing $20,000 to $50,000 per year, you owe it to yourself and your child to have a frank discussion regarding finances. He needs to know how much has been saved and your expectations for his financial commitment toward college, typically student loans.

Parents and students should independently make a list of a dozen or so colleges that would be a good fit for the student.

Before you begin, have your son or daughter compile PSAT or SAT scores, high school grades, and rank in class or estimated grade point average. These stats will guide you, but understand that only half of students fall within SAT ranges listed in the guidebooks. While grades, rigor of curriculum and SATs are typically the most important criteria, factors such as extracurricular activities, college essays and letters of recommendation  make a difference.

Borrow or buy a current guidebook, and spend some time reading about a range of colleges and universities. Try to reduce your biases and think about what kind of college or university will best serve your child.

Basic areas to consider: size, location, academic offerings, retention rate (how many freshmen return for their sophomore year), cost and availability of financial aid. Depending on your student's interests, you may want to include sports teams and Greek life. (How important are fraternities and sororities to the college?) Some guidebooks offer a quality-of-life rating that provides a peek into campus culture and the surrounding community.

Listen to your student - Once you've done your homework, compare notes and listen to your student's wants and needs. Take a look at the schools that you have in common and discuss why each of you listed them. Encourage everyone to participate in brainstorming and try to minimize judgments. Then hone both of your lists into one with 15 to 25 colleges to explore in more detail. As you narrow the list, keep two things in mind:

  • Academic factors: Where will your student be challenged, but not shoved or overshadowed? Where is the learning environment that matches your student's personal learning style?
  • Social factors: Where will your student be comfortable? Where will he fit in?

Make sure your child "owns" his role in the admissions process. This first exercise often sets the tone for what can be a wonderful collaboration.

3 Tips for Picking a College

  • Don't focus too much on prestige or rankings.
  • Don't assume that schools that cost more are of higher quality.
  • Don't believe there is only one perfect college.
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Answering More Questions From Independent Consultants

This week we're featuring answers to fifteen frequently asked questions from Independent Counselors and other academic consultants about College Essay Organizer. Here's the next bunch, and if you have more questions, please let us know.

11. Is there always a word or character count listed for every essay?

We always include the listed word or character limit for each question if it is provided on the application. Instances in which essay lengths are listed as "Short space provided" (or something similar) refer to physical limits on a paper application. When there are discrepancies between the stated lengths of questions in the online and paper applications, CEO lists the questions for the online application.


12. How useful are College Essay Organizer's essay samples?

We post what we deem to be "very strong" essays. We have found that posting truly exceptional essays intimidates students who are poor writers or are uncomfortable writing about themselves. We'll be adding more samples this year, which should give your students a broader range of essay topics to review.

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We Welcome All IECA Members to College Essay Organizer

Through our strategic partnership with IECA, we are excited to announce that all IECA members will receive FREE College Essay Organizer accounts each application season. Even current users will receive FREE accounts.

Join the hundreds of independent consultants who are saving hours of time and working smarter with our easy-to-use web tool. New users will discover in less than a minute the tremendous benefits of our technology, and existing users can experience our new upgrades based on member feedback.

Each member will receive 1 free student account, and any member purchasing 9 or more student accounts will get an additional free account.


If you do NOT yet have a College Essay Organizer master account

  1. Click here and create your Independent Consultant account. It takes just a few seconds.
  2. Enter "1" for the number of student accounts, and then enter promo code iecafree (all lowercase letters) and press the tab key. Do not enter any credit card information.
  3. You can purchase additional student accounts from within your account later if you choose.


If you already have a College Essay Organizer master account

  1. Simply email us at info@CollegeEssayOrganizer.com to request your freebie.
  2. We'll add 1 student account to your existing master account. If you ultimately purchase 9 or more student accounts (or already have), simply let us know and we'll add a total of 2 freebies.


If you have any doubts as to whether or not College Essay Organizer is for you, click here to learn more.

If you have any questions, call 646-448-4927, or email info@CollegeEssayOrganizer.com.







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Special Discounts for HECA Members

What is College Essay Organizer?

College Essay Organizer is the only one-stop source for the college essay process, instantly providing all the essay questions for any selected colleges and delivering a personalized essay writing plan so your clients can work smarter. All essay questions for the 2011/2012 season are updated as soon as applications are released. Accuracy is guaranteed.

Discounts for HECA MembersWhy is College Essay Organizer right for HECA members?

College Essay Organizer is ideal for both large and small independent consulting practices, streamlining the college essay process, ensuring greater efficiency, and saving time and money.

  • Save hours per client researching essay questions and seeing how the topics overlap
  • Avoid overlooking any essay questions, especially for specific departments, programs, and scholarships, and never again leave this confusing task to your clients
  • Get the 2011/2012 essay questions as soon as they are posted with our email notification system
  • Focus on your primary responsibilities without wasting hours getting students organized
  • Empower students and parents with a clear essay writing plan that optimizes everyone’s time

What’s new?

  • Select up to 20 colleges for each client
  • Remove essay questions that are not relevant to a client
  • Experience our new easy-to-read Essay RoadMap layout
  • Upload, edit, and track status of essay drafts within each client’s account instead of emailing back and forth
  • Attend our weekly webinars on topics related to the essay process

Pricing

HECA Pricing

How to get started

Use Promo Code heca831 to receive an additional 10% off your purchase! Simply create your Independent Consultant account today and enter the code at the point of checkout.

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Answering More Questions From Independent Consultants

This week we're featuring answers to fifteen frequently asked questions from Independent Counselors and other academic consultants about College Essay Organizer. Here's the next bunch, and if you have more questions, please let us know.

7. I found that I did not use the RoadMap as much as I could have. Do you have any suggestions to help me make better use of it?

The RoadMap provides a suggested plan for organizing your essay questions and shows the overlapping themes among your essays. But one of its best features is that it provides as many topic options as possible for each essay that the student needs to write. Take advantage of this flexibility! It is ultimately up to the independent consultant and the student to relate the student's life to the broad themes addressed by the essay questions. But choose your topics carefully and specifically. It will make the writing process quicker and simpler, and increase the quality of the essays.

We are always improving the RoadMap's functionality and ease of use. We have greatly simplified the layout of the RoadMap, and have added note-taking and essay uploading features to make CEO your one-stop source for guiding students through the essay writing process.

If you would like to go over these upgrades individually, or find out how to optimize your clients' experience using CEO, please let us know and we'll arrange a private demo with Dan Stern, our president. We're confident you'll find that the new and improved CEO will guide students more clearly and successfully.


8. Will you be adding any additional tutorials for independent consultants?

We will be including additional resources to help new users this coming season, including live webinars that explain how to best use CEO and that cover various essay topics. We will also include materials you can share with clients that allow them to optimize their CEO experience. Though these additions aren't required to use CEO or understand its benefits, they can help improve the experience for all.


9. Is it possible to buy only the QuickFinder for my clients?

We do not currently offer QuickFinder-only accounts through the Master Account platform.


10. Why not?

We have developed the RoadMap around the QuickFinder format, allowing the RoadMap to function as a flexible, modifiable QuickFinder. Now that we've added an essay-sharing platform to make communication between you and your students even easier, CEO has become a one-stop shop for the college essay writing process. We see the RoadMap as the core of that experience. The overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the RoadMap, as well as the upgrades that make the RoadMap even easier to interpret now, makes clear that this is the best approach for our users.

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Student at Penn Claims That Racism is Rampant

Are you considering diversity when selecting a college?

When making a decision to attend a particular college, students generally weigh factors such as academics, location, and cost. We usually don’t think of racism as a deciding factor. However, that might all change after a student at Penn was published last week in The Daily Pennsylvanian discouraging minority students from attending Penn because of his encounters with racism on campus.

In this article, Christopher Abreu recounts his humiliating experience in which he was taunted by other students based on the color of his skin. While the story is appalling, many disagree with Abreu’s solution. Discouraging other minority students from attending the university can only exacerbate a problem. Further, students have stepped forward to say that they have not felt racism to be as extensive as Abreu has indicated.

According to an article in The Daily Pennsylvanian, not everyone’s decision will be affected by Abreu’s advice. Black student Daniel McCord stated, “I’ve never gotten any negative feelings about [the University] in that way…If racism was a prevalent enough problem at Penn, I think I would’ve heard about it.” While your comfort level on campus is incredibly important in your decision-making process, make sure to get feedback from a variety of students, faculty and alumni before forming your opinion.

Answering More Questions From Independent Consultants

This week we're featuring answers to fifteen frequently asked questions from Independent Counselors and other academic consultants about College Essay Organizer. Here's the next bunch, and if you have more questions, please let us know.

4. Students often choose not to apply to schools on their original lists. Will it be possible to make changes to the list of schools for each student?

We have added 5 additional college selections per student account to grant even more flexibility. Each account now allows a maximum of 20 college selections. The RoadMap allows for colleges to be selected and de-selected, and will automatically provide an updated essay writing plan based on the student's most current list.


5. How can College Essay Organizer enhance independent consultants who pride themselves on their 'high-touch' services?

CEO is designed to increase the quality of 'high-touch' services. Researching and organizing essay questions on your own (or having your clients do it) wastes valuable time and opens up the possibility of overlooking program-specific, optional, and scholarship questions, which are usually not included on schools' regular applications or the Common App.

With CEO, speed and accuracy are taken care of, and you can focus your energies on high-level essay responsibilities like brainstorming the best topics and editing drafts. This optimizes the real value you bring as a consultant and eliminates the tedious, time-consuming work involved in looking up essay questions and designing a personalized essay plan.

Our new note-taking and essay uploading features will make this process even easier, allowing you to use CEO as your one-stop source for the college essay process.


6. How can I be sure that College Essay Organizer's data will be updated quickly and accurately?

We consider accuracy our top priority. Occasionally there will be a slight delay between the time an essay questions is made available by a college and when it appears on our site, but we closely monitor all the universities in our database and upload their essay questions as soon as they have been released publicly and verified by our staff.

Our stellar track record for speed and accuracy speaks for itself, and this season we will work even harder to ensure that new essay questions are uploaded as early as possible.

Unfortunately, university admissions departments do not always post accurate information. In 2010, many colleges posted essay questions that contradicted different versions of their own applications. Ultimately, CEO helped to resolve these issues for its users, and for the colleges who were unaware of their discrepancies. We plan to have even more researchers this year to ensure greater speed and accuracy.

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Finding Your Authentic Voice (With Some Help From Your Fan Club)

Avery Educational Resources

Today's post comes courtesy
Erin Avery at Avery Educational Resources


Today's blog post is from Erin Avery, an independent educational consultant based in Fair Haven, New Jersey, who specializes in the college and boarding school search and application process. A graduate of Oxford and Yale, Avery is a Certified Educational Planner and creator of CollegeApp, available on the App Store. You can learn more about her and her services at averyeducation.com.

Ed. Consultant Erin Avery: “So, where geographically are you considering attending college?”
Son: “I don’t know…I was thinking of maybe an island.”
Father: “Yeah, Long Island.”

Yesterday, I sat beside a father and son duo, not unlike many cradled in the inner sanctum of my office’s worn leather armchairs. Often, as depicted above, parent and child come with divergent perspectives: rightfully so based on their respective worldviews and life experiences.

This is why I always welcome parents, guardians or other loving stakeholders to participate in the all-important Essay Brainstorming Session. The results are phenomenal. The invited “guests” act as time capsules, jogging the student’s memory of past notable examples of characteristics demonstrated, or character embodied. They may recall that precise anecdote that illustrates the quintessence of the student. Ultimately, if it is conducted properly, the essay brainstorming session is akin to a love-fest wherein the student hears and has mirrored back to him or her a chorus of voices affirming his or her unique gifts to the world.

In my role as an educational consultant, I have to admit, I am always scanning my conversations with you, my client, for “essay-worthy” content. I simply can’t help it. I have met myriad teens in my near decade of private practice. By employing my strength-based methodology, I passionately echo back to each student how incredible I find him or her. High school students never cease to astound me! While peers and society attempt to smother teens with the gag order of conformity, I bathe you in affirmation for your daily courage to choose to be yourself.

I have seen my share of Eagle Scouts, Congressional Medalists, National Merit Finalists, Point and Figure Charting experts, even oyster gardeners, and the accolades continue. Yet be mindful that the most profound essay topics need not be the most cataclysmic. At a symposium last spring, the New Jersey reader from GW shared, as she welled up with tears, that her favorite essay amid her applicant pool was written by a student portraying the profound impact on him of his parents’ 25-year marriage. (Her second favorite essay topic was on the sneaker-odor of the applicant’s car.) Your story can (and often must) be drawn from the quotidian, everyday seventeen year-old lived experience. Do not grant one instant to counterproductive feelings of inadequacy if you have not yet discovered a cure for cancer (but get on that, would you?). Rather, own who you are and where you are. If you are presently staring at a blank screen, go grab a decaf frappuccino with someone who loves you and if you are too embarrassed to ask them blatantly to sing your praises, ask him or her what s/he would say at your funeral (morbid, yes, but effective!). Still stumped? Google and read “The Desiderata”. Works like a charm.

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We Answer Questions From Independent Consultants

This week we'll be featuring answers to fifteen frequently asked questions from Independent Counselors and other academic consultants about College Essay Organizer. Here's the first bunch, and if you have more questions, please let us know.

1. Is College Essay Organizer appropriate for all students?

CEO is a time-saving tool regardless of where a student is applying. It instantly delivers all of the questions for any student's selected schools -- and for students applying to schools with few or no essay questions, CEO helps them confidently know that a certain college does not have any essay questions, as sometimes it takes hours of looking to determine this.

Moreover, many colleges that don't have required supplemental essay questions for traditional applicants do have required questions for students applying to specific programs or departments. Most students are not aware of this, find out too late, and end up rushing to write mediocre essays in order to make their deadlines.

Finally, an increasing number of universities, especially state schools, offer a multitude of scholarship essay questions that appeal to all demographics, even those who do not require financial aid. CEO now features hundreds of such questions, and the list is growing.


2. Can you help me place a value on College Essay Organizer?

Based on our research, the value of CEO far exceeds our current price point. With CEO, consultants save several hours per student, which means much less work required for the same number of billable hours. During the busy application season, this means your efficiency in setting up new clients skyrockets.

In fact, many consultants have found that if they share a sample CEO report with potential clients, it often convinces clients that they could not possibly manage this process on their own without enduring excessive stress and confusion.

CEO also finds program-specific essays that aren't included in schools' applications or on the Common App -- these questions tend to get overlooked or are discovered late in the game. Rather than spending hours seeking these out or losing your credibility when clients recognize that you've failed to address them, you can have them all delivered instantly through CEO.

CEO also provides a multitude of scholarship essays that can mean thousands of dollars in additional money for applicants.

With our new feature that allows you and your clients to upload and edit essay drafts within the CEO platform, you won't have to email multiple drafts back and forth for multiple students.

The alternative to using CEO is researching all the questions on your own or assigning this task to your clients, which may lead to incomplete and inaccurate results, not to mention frustrated students and parents. It also means resorting to the cumbersome process of emailing drafts back and forth dozens, even hundreds of times.

We offer various promotional discounts via our partner sites throughout the year and post new discount codes on our blog regularly, giving you many opportunities to make CEO an even more valuable part of your business.


3. What new features have been added to College Essay Organizer?

Our recent upgrades include making the RoadMap so much easier to interpret, adding note-taking and essay uploading features, and providing a checkbox that allows you to know whether or not an essay has been completed. We have also enhanced site speed overall.

We will also be holding weekly webinars for members, covering various essay topics, guidance on how to make the most of CEO accounts, and Q&A for answers to specific questions.

Finally, all independent consultants who are CEO members will be able to guest blog on our heavily trafficked site, expanding their reach to potential new clients.

If there is ever anything that you would like to see added to CEO, please let us know. Your feedback drives us to be better!


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