Stay Organized When Applying for Scholarships

The more organized you are, the less chance you'll have of looking like this later.

As seniors decide where to focus their time in these stressful weeks leading up to college decisions, some are seeking out scholarships, and finding plenty of them. According to Leobardo Espinoza Jr., a senior blogging for the The New York Times Choice about his college application experience, there are too many scholarships available to successfully apply to them all:

"When there are more scholarships due either the same day or within the same time frame, it gets harder and harder to personalize each scholarship packet. The time constraints are too demanding."

He also found that different scholarships had different requirements, and he realized that he needed to play to his strengths as he narrowed down his list:

"Some scholarships ask applicants to write an essay, create a movie or develop some sort of visual representation. While it is important to understand the requirements of each scholarship, it is even more important to understand how good I am at doing each of those tasks."

His main piece of advice when tackling scholarship essays is to organize yourself before you start:

"I created a spreadsheet and wrote down the required essay topics of each scholarship. After identifying the topics I felt catered to my writing strengths, I chose to apply to those scholarships and not the rest."

As we know well here at College Essay Organizer, organizing your essays before you start writing will save you lots of time in the long-run, and help you write winning essays. 

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Guidelines for Early Applicants

This is probably not the best place to open your decision letter.

As early applicants mentally prepare themselves to receive a response from their top-choice schools, it's necessary to review a few guidelines for how to handle the news that will be received. The New York Times Choice Blog posted a great article here about (virtual) envelope etiquette. A few highlights include:

  • Even if you receive the news in a public place via your mobile device, wait till you are at home to open it. While you may feel prepared whatever the outcome, it's always better to give yourself some personal space to digest the news.
  • Sometimes parents feel like it's their process rather than their child's. Be sure to step back during this moment and let your child let you know what/if anything he or she needs from you.
  • Don't rush to tell the world. While it may be tempting to broadcast your positive or not-so-positive news on Facebook, think twice before posting anything, especially if it's something you will regret saying later.
  • If you do get the news that you are hoping for, remember that not everyone is as fortunate, so be respectful of others' feelings.

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The College Essay is Your Chance to Tell a Story

Need some advice on the daunting college essay? The College Life Fair, held in Chicago on May 31, featured a Pulitzer Prize winner, an admissions officer at a highly prestigious college, and many other prominent individuals to do just that.

Jed Hoyer, a former admissions officer at Wesleyan University, stated the remark in the title. He also claimed: "Just make sure your story doesn’t have typos. Errors can give admissions officers a reason not to like you." Since the college essay is completely controlled by you before it reaches the hands of an admissions officer, always remember to perfect your grammar by double and triple checking your essay. And remember, a peer review always helps.

The prompt for the Common Application essay is entitled "Personal Statement." A personal statement can easily equate to a personal story. Everyone has a story to tell, whether uplifting or tragic, and each individual has a life story or experience to offer to the intellectual community of a college. So sit back, relax, and approach the college essay as a chance to tell a great story about yourself.

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Early Admission Application Rates for 2012

Harvard reinstated its early admission program this year.

As many of you know, the early admission deadlines for schools recently passed. For those of you anxiously waiting till December 15th when most results are posted, you can check out this chart of early admission application counts for top schools as well as last year’s early admission rates, published by The New York Times Choice Blog. You may notice a decrease in a few of the most selective schools due to this year's reinstatement of Early Admission programs at Harvard and Princeton.

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