Inspiring Commencement Speeches 2012

Year after year, commencement speakers face crowds of graduates and offer words of wisdom, reassurance, and reminders of the difficult challenges ahead, and this year was no different. Speakers ranged from Barack Obama and Condoleeza Rice to Andy Samburg and Aaron Sorkin. College graduates were given a final speech of encouragement before heading out into "the real world."

As you begin the process of applying to college, it is easy to lose sight of the end of the journey. Applications involve lots of work and often times an unnecessary amount of stress, but the light at the end of the tunnel – college – makes it all worthwhile. Starting a new chapter can also be scary – something that almost every college commencement speaker acknowledges. As high school comes to a close, here are some noteworthy quotes to think about as you start exploring where your path may take you after high school:

Wendy Kopp, Dartmouth College: "We have to check ourselves every day and ask 'Is the net force of what I'm doing building up or tearing down?'"

Aaron Sorkin, Syracuse University: "Every once in a while you'll succeed. Most of the time you'll fail, and most of the time the circumstances will be well beyond your control."

Michael Lewis, Princeton University: "Recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck, and with luck comes obligation."

Ira Glass, Goucher College: "We don't know. We lurch forward in our lives, we try this, we try that, we make the best guesses that we can, based on what we believe at the time."

Barney Frank, Harvard College: "What good are a set of ideals that are unrealized? Make sure that you are pragmatic in the service of your idealism."

Corey A. Booker, Bard College: "I believe in my heart of hearts that it is better to have your ship sunk at sea than to have it rot in the harbor."  

Click here to hear their inspiring speeches.

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How to Jumpstart Your College Search

Don't delay your college search

It may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Making that initial move to start the college search process is the most crucial. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that.

For people who love going to new places:

Imagine where you want to live for four years. Imagine the city, the town, the surroundings, the neighborhood parks, the types of culture and people, and the scenery. Where would you see yourself happiest for four years? Is it somewhere you are familiar and comfortable with? Or maybe it’s somewhere altogether different. Traveling somewhere new is always exciting. Write down your ideal locations, and search for colleges in those places.

For people who are athletes, school activists and love extracurricular clubs:

Where can you continue doing the things you love? Many of us during high school find ourselves in some sort of niche, a comfortable environment to do the things we feel most passionate about. Whether it is a sports team, student government, community service groups, honor societies, math and science teams, school play and theater production, robotics team, religious gatherings, Model UN, speech and debate teams, or any other groups, many of us are defined by way more than academics. How would you like to continue doing these activities in college? You may be thrilled at opportunities to keep doing what you love and what you do best. You may also be itching to try something new. In any case, you have a horizon of opportunities in front of you, and the right college will allow you to continue to follow your passions.

For people who are uncertain or a bit scared:

Don’t be. College is exciting. What people say about college being the best four years of your life is true! There is so much to look forward to.

Check out our partner to jumpstart your college search today.


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HECA Conference a Success

College Essay Organizer was at the Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA) yesterday located at the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in New Jersey (Dan's home state). We made the commute from Manhattan (wondering how some people make that drive each day), and thoroughly enjoyed the company of both new and familiar consultants and fellow vendors.

The morning flew by, and we were looking forward to typical drab hotel-food lunch, yet we were pleasantly surprised to find that the cuisine was truly exceptional. Dan is still talking about the salmon. Seriously. After filling up, we returned to our table, enjoying the rest of the afternoon.

The college/vendor fair hosted by Drew University was the highlight of our day, and the time passed quickly as we chatted with dozens upon dozens of consultants eager to learn more about College Essay Organizer. Unfortunately, we had to dash before the wine and cheese reception, but we heard that those HECA members sure know how to have fun! Looking forward to the next conference.

HECA members can enter the promo code heca2012 and receive an additional 10% off of their purchase.

Essay Algorithms Growing in Accuracy

Do computers and people think alike?

It seems essay algorithms are quite in style these days. This NY Times article highlights new programs that evaluate a student's writing skills:

"This spring, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation sponsored a competition to see how well algorithms submitted by professional data scientists and amateur statistics wizards could predict the scores assigned by human graders. The winners were announced last month — and the predictive algorithms were eerily accurate."

Even Educational Testing Service, which develops and administers the SAT, created e-Rater, a software that can grade 16,000 essays in 20 seconds, according to this article.

We at College Essay Organizer designed an advanced algorithm a few years ago showing how all your colleges' different essay questions overlap, allowing you to write the fewest essays possible. Our easy-to-use website now benefits thousands of college applicants and independent consultants looking to gain the competitive edge and work smarter. Why rush through writing 20 mediocre essays when you can instantly see how to write, say, just 4 exceptional ones?

Don't think you have that many essays to write? See for yourself here -- it's FREE.

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College Essay Organizer Co-Branding Feature Now Live

You can now add your logo to your College Essay Organizer account

We've implemented a number of exciting upgrades this year for educational consultants. Please read the newly updated Master Account User's Manual visible in your Master Account. You can view the manual without logging in here. It highlights the new RoadMap enhancements and the co-branding feature so students can see your company logo when logged into their accounts.  As always, we're here to help, so please don't hesitate to email us at if you have questions about the new feature or if you would like us to walk you through it.

If you are accessing College Essay Organizer through one of our partner sites, please find the manual below: User's Manual

CollegePlannerPro User's Manual


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