Why Do You Want To Attend This College?

The most frequently-asked-about piece of advice at College Essay Organizer revolves around how to tell a school that you want to attend. Surely they're not just looking for you to write about what makes them great, right? They already wrote their own guidebooks. They should know what makes them great.

And you're right. The purpose of these essays is not to talk about them but to talk about you. Your job in all of your college essay writing is to convince the reader that you're an interesting person who belongs in their highly-selective class. You're trying to get them to choose you instead of someone else.

Easier said than done, indeed. So today we direct you to a post written last year that has gotten a lot of traffic: How to tell a college that you're interested.

Always keep in mind that your job is to express what you have that they want. It's already implied that they have what you want - a great education and a raft of opportunities for your future, whatever that may be. Do this by identifying your own intellectual interests and developing them from a personal standpoint.

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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Don't Rely on Early Decision. Plan Your Other Essays Now!

Many of you early applicants will be hearing back from your top choices this week, and just in case you find that thin envelope, CEO is extending a new offer to help you get the rest of your applications in order quickly.

50% off all Essay QuickFinder and Essay RoadMap

accounts for individuals during the month of December!

Simply enter the promo code senior9 when you purchase your account.

While you're at it, here are our top 3 tips on what to do if you've been rejected from your top choice:

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.

That's where CEO comes in! We'll make sure to save you time and stress, enabling you to focus on writing your best quality essays instead of spreading yourself too thin. Good luck moving forward!

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College Admissions Counselors Are Overwhelmed

The Fall 2010 Journal of College Admission features an insightful editorial by Robert Bardwell describing the difficulties guidance counselors face today. As the number of college applications balloons nationwide, guidance counselors are able to budget less and less time to students in one-on-one environments. Mandated testing and paperwork, in conjunction with insufficient training and education, make the job more complicated and time-consuming than ever.

Another often-overlooked element of the job cited in Bardwell's article is that for many low-income and first-generation students, guidance counselors are the only source of college admissions counseling. For these students especially, one-on-one time is vital.

We at CEO see our website as an essential part of making the college admissions process more efficient, not only for students, but for counselors as well. CEO's new master account service makes it easy for guidance counselors to keep all of their students' requirements accessible from within a single account, and makes it possible to continually update that information when students' plans change.

One of the most pressing concerns for guidance counselors as their responsibilities grow (but their time available does not) is that statistics have proven that very high student-to-counselor ratios negatively affect the access students have to college advising, which can only hurt their chances at finding a school that optimally suits them. We at CEO aim to be a driving force in creating more time for counselors to do what they do best - serve students.

Get Admitted To Your Top College

“Where do you really want to go?”

We’ve definitely all heard that one, and high school seniors are getting driven especially crazy by it this time of year. When you’ve got your heart set on your top choice school, having everyone bugging you about which one it is can make you feel like you’re about to jinx your college application every single day.

The main reason why you can just relax is that you’re more qualified than you think you are.  You picked your top school because it fits you as a person, and because it offers classes and programs that people like you are made for.

What’s better, there are a lot of resources available to help you through the college admissions process and guide you as you show what kind of applicant you are. Sites like CEO can help you understand what's expected of you as you focus your writing to make sure your nature comes through in your essays as clearly as possible.

Seek out advice on how to write, structure, and deliver your college admissions essay in a way that makes who you are clear and understandable, while remaining unique, which, trust us, is a big priority.

Can you picture a pile of essays as high as your dining room table? Now picture ten more of those stacks and you know what most big universities are up against. But lucky for you, finding a way to make your writing stand out from the pack has never been easier, and that makes your work on your most important application simpler and more effective.

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CollegeApp From Avery Educational Resources

CollegeApp, a new app available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Independent Consultant and CEO user Erin Avery has developed a new application for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad called CollegeApp.  CollegeApp uses a colorful and fun interface to help students find the universities that fit them best, allowing them to choose from among 600 of the most selective colleges in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

From Erin:

"My biggest leap into the current trends in social media and technology is the creation of CollegeApp, which by now, you may know, if the college search application I developed for iPhone and iPod Touch and iPad. It was an astounding process to conceive of an idea, and through the utilization of current technology, have it spring to life as a useful interactive tool for students, parents and counselors alike!"

With CollegeApp, users build a version of their ideal college characteristics using an avatar with rotating body parts that correspond to attributes such as size, location, cost, Greek life and selectivity. After the selections have been made, a list of colleges appears that match these chosen characteristics. The results page includes the most updated specifics self-reported by each college so that the information is accurate, current and pertinent.  A map even appears to show location with a direct link to each college's website.

The application also offers a search feature geared toward guidance counselors, educational consultants, and parents alike.  In a moment, users can isolate every college with Greek life, or every college located in a small town or city, or every college in a hot climate, or any number of combinations of the above.

Oh. And it's free. Click here to learn more!

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Free Webinar About How To Write Winning Admission Essays

How do you write college essays that help you stand out from thousands of other applicants? How can you manage all your different essays without going totally insane?

Organizing and writing your college essays is the most time-consuming and stressful part of the application process. This entertaining and informative webinar run by two of the nation's leading college essay experts will show you how to handle the entire process with greater ease and success.

Parents and students will explore good and bad essay topics, essay do's and don'ts, and even comical essay blunders. You'll also have the opportunity to inquire about your own essays and get immediate feedback.

School counselors: Please feel free to tell your seniors and their parents all about this webinar!

Dan Stern and Scott Farber run College Essay Organizer, a groundbreaking website that instantly streamlines the college essay process. They have led college essay workshops for more than a decade, helping thousands of students write their way into the colleges of their dreams.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 27, 9-10pm EST

PARENTS AND STUDENTS, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER - IT'S FREE!


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3 Ways To Get Started On Your College Admissions Essays

It is very important that you let the experts help you. Do not ask kittens for help.

College admissions is a competitive game these days, as we are surely not the first to tell you. But more often than not it's the getting started that poses the greatest challenge for students. If you are feeling overwhelmed or have simply been procrastinating when you know you shouldn't be, read on.

1. Talk to your parents

Your parents have advice to offer that might surprise you. They've seen parts of the country you've never been to, and have likely studied all kinds of things you know nothing about. Some of these things are even interesting, and taking an intro course in one of those fields might not be a bad idea. One of the great things about American universities is that they don't expect you to declare your major before you arrive. Most schools will give you up to two years to do so. As a result, you're going to have the opportunity to study things you never knew existed. Your parents might be able to talk to you about what you're interested in and point out new academic opportunities where you least expect them.

At the very least, get a college tour or three under your belts. Your parents do the driving, they pay for the gas, you see exotic lands... It could be worse.

All this information will help get you on the ball when you talk to your counselor.

2. Meet with your guidance counselor.

You have a guidance counselor. Let that person do some guiding. He or she is going to have access to plenty of information about schools you're not familiar with. Ask for info on schools that offer the kind of scholastic programs, academic environment, and location you're after. Don't shy away from a school just because you haven't heard of it. Now is a good time to uncover those kinds of new experiences, viewpoints, and even parts of the country.

3. Get started with CEO

Your parents and your guidance counselor are probably going to give you more information than you know what to do with. That's where we come in. CEO is the only one stop shop for streamlining and optimizing the admissions essay experience. We show you how to write the fewest essays that work for all your applications. We make sure you don't miss any requirements, and even show you essays for special departments and scholarships that schools don't include on their primary applications.

So take the bull by the horns with these simple steps. And let us do the heavy lifting - get started today with some college admissions essay help.

CEO Now Used By Stuyvesant High School in New York

Stuyvesant High School in New York has set up CEO accounts for its entire senior class.

Stuyvesant High School, the prestigious public high school in Manhattan, has adopted College Essay Organizer for use by all of its seniors - 786 of them to be exact.

While many state and small local colleges have numerous essay requirements, the top colleges in the country typically require the greatest number of essays - after all, applicants to top schools typically have very similar GPA and SAT numbers and thus need something to distinguish themselves from the masses. The essays accomplish this goal.

We've seen again and again that students seeking this kind of competitive edge use CEO to make the most of their valuable time, especially when they're trying to balance their SAT or ACT prep, college application forms, teacher recs, extracurricular activities, and homework ... oh, and be a happy teenager who can hang out with friends, too.

Students are often surprised to learn that even if they use the Common App, there is typically a multitude of supplemental, program-specific, and scholarship essay questions, many of which are NOT found on the Common App. Only CEO can provide them for you in one place -- instantly!

Here are a couple of recent testimonials from Stuyvesant folk who've experienced the power of CEO's technology:

"I felt it was really important that I devote my time and energy to actually writing my essays as opposed to just trying to find and organize all the different questions and figure out which essays overlapped. The huge number of essays seemed overwhelming, but CEO whittled down the topics and gave me a clear plan. Planning in advance has always been so important to me. Without this amazing site, the time needed to complete the application process would have doubled or tripled."

- Robert Hess
Graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 2010; Accepted to Yale University
Chess Grandmaster, Ranked #1 in the US (21 and under)

"Applying to selective colleges can be a formidable undertaking for even the best students, and I know well the importance of strong essays in gaining admission. CEO simplifies the essay process by allowing students to navigate the requirements for each college more efficiently, thus providing more time to focus on writing the best essays possible. I highly recommend CEO for all college-bound students."

- Florri Levy
Chair of the College Committee of the Stuyvesant High School Parents' Association,
2006-2009 (New York, NY)

Have a look for yourself to see why the best and the brightest are taking advantage of CEO. Click here to check for FREE how many essays your colleges require and how CEO can deliver them all to you instantly.

The Bergen Record Features CEO's President Daniel Stern

Daniel Stern, President of College Essay Organizer

Our President and CEO Daniel Stern was featured in the Bergen Record (in New Jersey) yesterday talking about the Common App and the many misconceptions students and counselors have about it.

Dan spoke about the surprising number of essays students face after they've completed their required Common App essays - namely the many supplemental, department-specific, and scholarship questions that pop up for any student applying to multiple colleges.

On top of that, he spoke about the importance of understanding the prompt. When a college asks you why you're interested, remember that it's not advisable to just repeat the guidebook back to them. They know you want to be there - that's why you're applying. What they really want to learn about is you and what you're going to bring to the campus.

Above all, Dan talked about what we're all about here at CEO - simplifying the essay and application process in easy and inexpensive ways so that you can focus your time on your best writing without spreading yourself too thin.

Make sure that you know ahead of time how many essays your colleges require so you don't have any rude surprises in the fall. Getting out ahead of things now will make the rest of the way smooth sailing for sure.