Best Practices Webinar for IECs Using College Essay Organizer

It's almost the November deadline for early applications, which means it's time to start turning to all those other apps and essays so that if any client doesn't get accepted in December, you can mobilize quickly.

Many consultants find that College Essay Organizer is most valuable when they're managing multiple colleges with multiple essays. So attend Tuesday's webinar in order to:

  • Discover advanced tips on using all features (eg, uploading drafts, sending notes, and using the alert system)
  • Learn how to best interpret each student's RoadMap
  • Get answers to all your specific questions, no matter how big or small

This one-hour webinar is Tuesday, October 23, at 1 pm EST.

                           Click here to register now - space is limited



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More Answers to More Educational Consultant Questions

The Q & A Series continues with more common questions that educational consultants frequently ask. Please let us know if you have any other questions that you would like to see listed here.

 

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, College Essay Organizer 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.

 

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 College Essay Organizer accounts, rather than printing out reports, as many consultants have found that sharing College Essay Organizer with their clients serves two key purposes: first, it validates the need for your services, as College Essay Organizer 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.

More Answers to More Educational Consultant Questions

For educational consultants who want to figure out how best to integrate College Essay Organizer into their practice, we are posting more commonly asked questions and answers. If you happen to have a question that you do not see, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help you.

 

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. This season, we have greatly simplified the layout of the RoadMap, and have added note-taking and essay uploading features to make College Essay Organizer 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 College Essay Organizer, 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 College Essay Organizer 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 College Essay Organizer and that cover various essay topics. We will also include materials you can share with clients that allow them to optimize their College Essay Organizer experience. Though these additions aren't required to use College Essay Organizer or understand its benefits, they can help improve the experience for all.

 

9. Is it possible to use 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, College Essay Organizer 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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More Answers to More Educational Consultant Questions

Yesterday, we posted the first part of our Q&A series addressing common questions asked by educational consultants who want to learn more about College Essay Organizer. We will continue to post additional questions in the days to come, but if you happen to have a question that you do not see, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help you.

 

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?

Each account allows a maximum of 25 college selections. The Essay 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?

College Essay Organizer 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 College Essay Organizer, 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 College Essay Organizer 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 question 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 continue to work hard 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, College Essay Organizer 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 further increasing speed and accuracy.

 

 

College Essay Organizer at the IECA Conference in Dallas

We had a great time at the IECA Fall Conference in Dallas, TX! It was exciting to see so many of you face to face, and to encounter new members interested in learning more about College Essay Organizer. As promised, we also gave away a free CEO master account valued at $195 during the IECA raffle. Good times all around.

For those of you who weren't on hand for an in-person demo, you can email us at [email protected] anytime, and we can set up a time to walk you through it. IECA members are also entitled to one free student account per season, so please contact us if you have not already done so, so we can get you set up.

Thanks again to all of you who came by to introduce yourselves in person. Talking with our members enables us to keep making improvements, and lets us know that we are meeting your needs.

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More Thoughts on Your Essays

Today's blog post is from Kathryn Miller, an independent educational consultant based in Englewood , CO,  who specializes in the college search and application process. A graduate of Northwestern University, Miller also received  a certificate in Educational Consulting from the University of California. You can learn more about Kathryn and her services at www.millereduconsulting.com
Kathryn Miller

Kathryn Miller

Colleges want to get to know you as a person, in addition to your grades, test scores and activities. Essay writing, along with the entire college search process, is a time for self-discovery and reflection. It isn’t always easy to think about yourself in this way, but it can help you define what you are looking for in a school and what you will bring to a college community. Your essay is your opportunity to tell YOUR STORY. It lets them understand who you are, what you care about, and what is truly unique about YOU. Here are 10 more essay tips to keep in mind:

1. Write about what you know. Your topic may not be unique, but your approach and understanding of it is all your own.

2. Write about what you love. What motivates you? You are not just your resume. You have chosen to participate in activities or to learn new things for a reason.

3. Begin with the end in mind. Steven Covey coined this phrase in his popular book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Why are you telling this story? When someone reads your essay, what will they have learned about you?

4. Get their attention. Admissions people read hundreds, even thousands, of essays every year. They may be reading yours late at night after a long day of traveling. Grab the reader’s attention right away so that they want to know more about you.

5. Be honest. You may feel vulnerable by disclosing a characteristic or situation that was uncomfortable or you may want to embellish the truth. You need to be admitted to a college for who you are, so don’t be tempted to change that.

6. Answer the question. The Common Application’s Personal Essay gives you six choices, including “topic of your choice” to write about. The Short Answer gives you the opportunity to elaborate on your activities or work. The individual college supplements may challenge you with different questions, so read them thoughtfully before you write.

7. Read your essay out loud. Your essay should demonstrate your Own Voice. Does it really sound like you and who you really are? If you are funny, does that come across? If you aren’t funny, are you trying too hard?

8. Write.  Read.  Edit.  Repeat. If you are reading this, you are starting your essay in plenty of time to find the best topic and write about it in a way that really stands out. Don’t rush the process. It will take time, but you will be happier with the results!

9. Get help when you need it. Early in the process, you may want to ask your family and friends for stories about you or observations they may have. After you have worked on writing what you know is a good essay, ask your parent or teacher to read it for feedback only if you are willing to accept constructive criticism.

10. And, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to…. Keep word or character limits under control (more is not better); spell check; grammar check; quote check; fact check; college name check; and don’t use too many semi-colons!

College Essay Organizer's New Alert System Is Live

College Essay Organizer has created a new alert system to allow students and counselors to communicate with each other directly. This system simplifies the collaboration process between student and counselor, and instantly tells each user when new essay drafts or notes are ready to be reviewed.

With this easy-to-use alert system, College Essay Organizer functions as a comprehensive tool for the entire college essay process. Members are already telling us how much easier this makes everything. And that's what we're all about: making applying to college simple, stress-free and successful. Now go enjoy your last weekend of July before the Common App goes live on Monday!

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