Schools Recently Updated for the 2016/2017 Application Season

Below is a list of schools that have been updated so far in College Essay Organizer for the 2016-2017 application season.

  1. Amherst College
  2. Babson College
  3. Bates College
  4. Bowdoin College
  5. Colgate University
  6. Dartmouth College
  7. Duke University
  8. Franklin and Marshall College
  9. George Washington University
  10. Georgetown University
  11. Georgia Institute of Technology
  12. Hamilton College
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. Middlebury College
  15. Molloy College
  16. Northeastern University
  17. Northwestern University
  18. Oklahoma State University
  19. Pepperdine University
  20. Pomona College
  21. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  22. Stanford University
  23. Trinity College (CT)
  24. Tufts University
  25. University of California-Berkeley
  26. University of California-Davis
  27. University of California-Irvine
  28. University of California-Los Angeles
  29. University of California-Merced
  30. University of California-Riverside
  31. University of California-San Diego
  32. University of California-Santa Barbara
  33. University of California-Santa Cruz
  34. University of Chicago
  35. University of Florida
  36. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  37. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  38. University of Pennsylvania
  39. University of Texas-Austin
  40. University of Victoria
  41. University of Virginia
  42. University of Washington-Seattle
  43. Villanova University
  44. Warren Wilson College
  45. Williams College

Only a few colleges post their new questions this early. Most colleges will update in July/August, and we'll be right on top of them all for you. We will also be updating many colleges before the Common App goes live Aug 1.

Make sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to get our daily  updates and special posts.
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Five Ways You Can Improve Your ACT Writing Score

5 Ways You Can Improve Your ACT Writing ScoreIt is easy to think that the ACT Writing Test is about grammar, grammar, and grammar. And while knowing grammar fundamentals is an important first step, the ACT writing test involves a lot more than making sure your phrases are parallel. To really do well, you’ll need to understand how sentence, paragraphs, and entire essays logically fit together. Of course, there is also the grammar. Below are ACT writing tips that cover which grammar to study to how to make sure you get questions relating to sentence placement correct.

1. Know the grammar the ACT is testing
Grammar is a pretty vast subject. The ACT, however, doesn’t test it all. What you need to know—what comes up in almost every passage—is the following: breaking up nouns and phrases with commas, possessives, verb tense, pronoun agreement, and word choice (picking the best word given the context). Knowing that these topics are the most common will help you hone your studying. For instance, if you struggle with comma use—whether those commas are meant to break up dependent and independent clauses or a list of things—you should spend some time brushing up on your commas. I’d recommend studying commas over the course of a week, in little 30-minute sessions. As you learn the fundamentals, make sure you do practice passages so that you can apply these concepts, whether the concept be commas, verb tense, or any other area you struggle in.

2. Always pay attention to context
As I mentioned in the intro, you’ll need to know more than just raw grammar. To correctly answer many questions, you’ll have to look at the surrounding text. Is that pronoun singular or plural case? Well, you’ll likely have to read the sentence beforehand. Some questions ask you to pick the phrase that makes the most sense. To do this, you’ll sometimes have to read a couple of sentences before the underlined part to pick the best answer.

3. Don’t be afraid to read an entire paragraph before doing the question
A good strategy is to read through the paragraph doing only the questions that relate to punctuation and in-sentence grammar. For questions that ask you whether a general idea should be placed at the end of the sentence or questions that ask you to determine the best position for a sentence, you should read the entire paragraph first. That way you have a sense of the big picture. Once you get to the end of the paragraph, you can return to those questions that require this big picture thinking.

4. Take practice ACTs under timed conditions
The truth is the ACT writing is difficult because you get so little time. With 45 minutes to do a whopping 75 questions (that’s about 36 seconds per question), you’ll find yourself struggling to finish, especially without sacrificing accuracy. The best way to improve is to make sure you are carefully doing the first three tips in this post. Then, and only then, should you attempt to take full-length practice tests, because otherwise you’ll rush too much and base your answer less on context and grammar than on the way the answer sounds. By doing practice tests, you’ll get faster.

5. Read
The ACT Writing test is essentially a massive reading section, but instead of comprehension you are mainly being tested on grammar and style. To become adept at sifting through all of these words, you should make it a daily habit to read from
newspapers (The New York Times and The Washington Post are good) and magazines (Time for the easy side, The Atlantic Monthly for the more challenging reads). Find something that interests you and spend about 15-20 a day reading. Do that for three straight weeks and you’ll be surprised at how your reading brain improves.

Takeaway
To successfully all these tips, make sure to not only take practice tests but to make sure you are improving. To see how you perform on a section, make sure you have this ACT raw score conversion chart handy.

About Chris Lele
For the last ten years, Chris has been helping students excel on the SAT and the GRE. In this time, he’s coached 5 students to a perfect SAT score. Some of his GRE students have raised their scores by nearly 400 points. He has taken many GMAT students from the doldrums of the 600s to the coveted land of the 700+. Rumor has it he does a secret happy dance when his students get a perfect score. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh High School Blog, and study with his lessons using Magoosh SAT Prep.

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Your FREE Ticket to a New College Admissions Telesummit

There's an upcoming free series featuring interviews with 21 of our nation's leading education experts (including Dan Stern, founder and president of College Essay Organizer, talking about college essays!).

We'd love to pass on a complimentary ticket to our members to join the telesummit from July 7-28, "Your Child's Best Future: How to get your child into a top college."

You can register now using this link:  yourchildsbestfuture.com/danielstern

The interviews are real, short, and to-the-point conversations with experts who have helped thousands of high school students achieve success:

  • College counselors
  • Financial aid experts
  • Tutoring companies
  • College essay experts
  • Creativity experts
  • Time management experts

Make sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to get our daily  updates and special offers like this.

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University of Chicago Changed its 2016-2017 Essay Questions

UchicagoUniversity of Chicago recently released its new essay prompts for the 2016-2017 season. It's always a boon to have the essay questions released early in the season, except in cases like this where the prompts get revised after their initial release. If you're diving into the writing process, make sure to recheck the essay prompts, as the 5th option just changed! You can find the new prompt below:

Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence.

This prompt (or, for that matter, the one that this one replaced) will probably not be the most popular pick, but it's always good to know your options!

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Schools Recently Updated for the 2016/2017 Application Season

Below is a list of all the schools that have been updated so far in College Essay Organizer for the 2016-2017 application season.

  1. Colgate University
  2. Georgetown University
  3. Georgia Institute of Technology
  4. University of California-Berkeley
  5. University of California-Davis
  6. University of California-Irvine
  7. University of California-Los Angeles
  8. University of California-Merced
  9. University of California-Riverside
  10. University of California-San Diego
  11. University of California-Santa Barbara
  12. University of California-Santa Cruz
  13. University of Chicago
  14. University of Florida
  15. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  16. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Only a few colleges post their new questions this early. Most colleges will update in July/August, and we'll be right on top of them all for you. We will also be updating many colleges before the Common App goes live Aug 1.

Make sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to get our daily  updates and special posts.
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Join Our Webinar To Kick Off The 2016/2017 Season

This webinar is for both newcomers who can learn all about the longest-running and most popular college essay web tool on the market and veterans who can discover all the newest upgrades in response to IEC feedback.

For members using us directly through College Essay Organizer:
Monday, June 13 @ 1pm ET -- Click here to register now

For members using us through College Planner Pro:
Tuesday, June 14 @ 1pm ET -- Click here to register now

(Recordings can be emailed to you upon request if you can't tune in live)

Bonus: All attendees will be eligible for our free accounts giveaway!

What's new this season?

Use our new master account interface (now available through CPP, too) so you can access all your clients' essay reports and alerts on one page, getting a quick snapshot of everyone's status
Set up alerts to be emailed to any counselor you want so students can edit drafts with whomever
Track alerts more easily with student and counselor names visible in email subject lines
Customize each student's RoadMap with more essay topic options so that you control everyone's writing plans
Remove schools on your own from a student's RoadMap so you don't need to look at dropped colleges anymore
Keep track of tasks and notes for each student with our new To Do List and Scratchpad features
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Get started now

Most IECs have already started using College Essay Organizer for this year so get organized now before summer begins:

Existing members using us directly -- start here

New members using us directly -- start here

CollegePlannerPro members can email us directly to order in bulk -- you'll save money this way! (simply tell us how many student accounts you want)

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Gap Years are Increasing in Popularity

gap yearAs high school seniors get ready to head off to college next year, there is another option that is slowly growing in popularity. Parents aren't always on board with the idea, worrying if college will be put off forever, but for some grads, a year off from school is a good idea.

According to Kevin Doran, "Gap years can involve meaningful work, community service, specialized study or travel. Students can plan it themselves or be part of an organized program; some even pay expenses." There are definitely lots of opportunities for growth, with a growing number of resources available. Visit the below websites for more information, as well as this article:

AFS Intercultural Programs

City Year

Dynamy

Nacel

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End of Year Tip for Seniors

calmAs the school year winds down, it's tempting for students to become less focused, especially seniors who have already been accepted to college. However, every year, colleges revoke a small percentage of acceptances to admitted students whose grades have noticeably slipped or who have experienced disciplinary actions.

According to Paul Seegert, admissions director at the University of Washington, 10 to 20 acceptance letters are revoked each year, and although a student can appeal the decision, the results are almost always the same.

To read more about how senior missteps can result in the loss of an acceptance, click here.

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Swing by our IECA booth to see our newest upgrades!

Boston-logo-2016We are looking forward to seeing all of you at the IECA conference in Boston this week. Please visit our table and say hello. One lucky member will win 5 FREE student accounts just for stopping by!

As always, we'll be answering any questions, providing private demos, and showcasing new upgrades like the following:

  • Use our new master account interface through CollegePlannerPro so you can access all your clients' essay reports and alerts on one page, getting a snapshot of everyone's status
  • Set up alerts to be emailed to any counselor you want so students can edit drafts with whomever
  • Track alerts more easily with student and counselor names visible in email subject lines
  • Customize each student's RoadMap with more essay topic options so that you control all writing plans
  • Remove schools on your own from a student's RoadMap so you don't need to look at dropped colleges anymore
  • Keep track of tasks and notes for each student with our new To Do List and Scratchpad features

If you won't be in Boston, just look for our emails inviting you to our webinars starting in late May and running all summer.

Our team of dedicated researchers is extremely proud to have provided you with a 100% error-free college essay experience last season, and we look forward to delivering even faster, better service this season.

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Coalition Essay Question Released for 2016-2017 Season

coalitionThe Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is set to launch its application in July, but the recommended essay prompts for the 2016-2017 season have already been released, though colleges can choose to not require an essay or offer alternate options. So far, a word limit has not been announced.

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Although the questions have been released, many other details, including which schools will be using the application, are still up in the air. Of its 93 members, 60 are saying that they are not planning to use the application this season, and it remains to be seen how dependable the technology will be when presented. For more details, click here.

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