The Importance of August

Shereem Herndon-Brown is the Founder and President of Strategic Admissions Advice, LLC. He is a former Admissions Officer from Georgetown University, college counselor at three private schools and Director of Middle and Upper School Admission. An Associate Member of IECA, he has clients around the country particularly in New York City, Atlanta and Dallas. http://www.strategicadmissionsadvice.com

Although there is no immediate application deadline looming, August is an intense month in our industry. With the Common Application becoming available and colleges releasing supplements, we are bombarded with “start now!!” The anxiety surrounding the college application process is upon us and, rightfully and respectively so, many of us want our kids to start early. Waiting until when school starts is dangerous and should be avoided. Too often we allow our kids to wait, and with the possibility of fall standardized testing, the inevitability of quizzes or papers on summer reading and, naturally, the emotional ups and downs of leaving home in twelve short months, the school year becomes hectic and unnecessary stress ensues.

For me, August marks the time that kids have to get serious. Whether or not they drafted a personal essay last spring or in July, there is no denying that they must do it now. Couple that with Early Decision, Early Action and Rolling deadlines a mere ten to fourteen weeks away, and I want them to be proactive and gearing up for the ride.

Having clients in New York City means 16-hour workdays for the next three months. Almost all of my students will have an early-something deadline. From August through October, I meet with students, review applications and writings online and have daily “calming” phone calls to soothe parental nerves.

Admittedly though, I am excited for this time of year. I desperately want my enthusiasm and energy to be contagious. I encourage my students to use this month, this last glimmer of late sleeping and long evenings, to create application accounts and enter in basic data while watching an evening baseball game. Once they do that I suggest that they can leave a printed copy of the CEO-produced supplemental essays on their kitchen tables and let their parents suggest ideas for questions like “Tell us about an experience in which you left your comfort zone. How did this experience change you?” (University of Richmond). And finally, I implore them to brainstorm, outline and write multiple drafts of the all-important personal essay without the hovering thought of a Physics Lab or TS Eliot paper.

I want my students to flourish within this process and learn more about who they are and which schools can help them to achieve their goals. I think August and not procrastinating can foster this. Will they produce final drafts of essays? Probably not, but starting now versus on October 10th with a November 15th deadline is preferable any day of the week.

Tips For The Georgetown University Essay And Application

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.

There are many reasons to attend Georgetown. Football is not a good one.

There are many reasons to attend Georgetown. Football is not a good one.

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.

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