March Madness and Story Time

Can your application tell a story?Is your bracket busted yet? (Probably.)

One of the things that draws even casual sports fans to March Madness is the storylines—the last-minute excitement, the players’ personal stories, the upsets, the Cinderella runs deep into the tournament.

And during the tournament, absolutely everything becomes a story. As I write, one of the top stories on Yahoo Sports is about the chair that GA State coach Ron Hunter fell out of in excitement when his son hit a game winning shot. Yes—the chair, which is now a treasured object of superstitious reverence. Of course! But another great story (and one of the enduring images of this year’s tournament, even after GA State was eliminated in the next round).

Stories make the game more exciting by giving us a personal connection to it. That’s how we tend to relate to the world around us. And I think it’s a useful thing to remember when you’re writing application essays: stories matter.

Your personal experiences add depth and interest to your application essays, helping you stand out and illustrating the qualities and goals you’re explaining. As you prepare to write, think about the stories you want to tell. It can be helpful to do some prewriting—think through some of the experiences you want to write about and what you learned from them, as well as how they relate to what you want to do in the future. This will give you some good material to draw on in your essay(s).

And…Go Bruins! (If they’re eliminated by the time you read this—better luck next year.)

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

 

Rebecca BlusteinBy Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources: 

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays
• Telling Your Story in Your Application Essay
• MBA Application Essays: All You Need is a Story

3 Tips for Parents of Grad School Applicants

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Make sure your child’s in the driver’s seat

I’ve been working in graduate admissions for almost 20 years so I have witnessed this trend firsthand: Parents are playing a much larger role in the application process these days than they used to.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – parents can provide a lot of much-needed support (financial, practical, emotional) for their kids during the admissions process; but I cringe when I see parents overstepping their bounds, attempting to control their children’s actions and outcomes.

How much involvement is TOO MUCH involvement for parents of applicants? Check out these 3 tips:

• Make Sure Your Child’s in the Driver’s Seat. – When you take the lead in the admissions process, you’re essentially telling your child: “I don’t think you have what it takes to manage this process yourself.” And what you’re telling the school is: “My kid isn’t competent or ambitious enough to apply to school himself.” You can help your child apply, surely, but make sure that’s what you’re doing – helping them, and not the other way around.

• Your Child’s Voice Should be the Sole Voice of this Operation. – All communication with the school should be between your child – not you, the parent – and the school. Likewise, the voice your child uses to write her application essays should be her voice – and not yours. And it should go without saying that this advice relates to interviews as well. Help, guide, coach, and edit, but please never speak for your child.

• Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment. – Be it a rejection or a poor score, a parent needs to understand the role they play here. First, your child is the one experiencing this distress, not you. By showing your disappointment, you will only make your child feel worse, not to mention potentially preventing your child from continuing to move forward. Instead, allow your child time to express disappointment, provide the appropriate amount of comfort (you know your child best), and then encourage your child to persevere.  Suggest that your applicant explore alternatives and examine the factors he or she can change to improve the outcome in the future. Play the role of the motivational coach; don’t play the blame game.

Not sure you can effectively guide your child through the grad school admissions process (in a balanced, non-pushy way of course)? Browse our catalog of services to access professional guidance today!

Get Your Game On: Free Special Report

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid on Your Grad School Statement of Purpose
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake
•  Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

Introducing Accepted!

The Accepted team is super excited to welcome all of our new blog readers!

For those of you who don’t know much about Accepted, here is a little bit about who we are and what we do best:

We look forward to getting to know you better too – so keep up the great conversations in the comments section.

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Already TakenAdmissions committee members across the board (college, grad school, med school, b-school and law school) want you to do ONE thing in your applications, and one thing only: Introduce yourself. This does NOT include:

• Talking about who you WISH you were.
• Exaggerating your volunteer achievements.
• Making up job titles to boost your employment profile.
Cracking jokes when you’re really not such a funny person.
• Using big words that you found in a thesaurus when you have no idea what they mean.

Instead, when introducing yourself to the adcom, follow these simple tips:

• Use your own, authentic voice in your writing.
• Talk about what’s important to YOU instead of what you think the adcom want to hear.
• Tell things as they are – you don’t want to get the boot because a fact checker shows that you were really an “Office Assistant” instead of an “Office Manager.”
• Use a dictionary/thesaurus to ensure you use words correctly, not to engage in communicative creativity…

In short, if you want to stand out among the throngs of applicants in your field, your goal shouldn’t be to introduce yourself as a superhuman, god-like overachiever; instead introduce yourself as you actually are, with your unique interests, passions, accomplishments, and voice. This will be the most extraordinary, stand-out, note-worthy introduction. Not the introduction that makes the adcom members roll their eyes and say “yeah right.”


Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy
Related Resources:

From Example to Exemplary – A Free Guide
6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays
The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes

Got Dinged? You Can Handle It!

Rejected from your top-choice school?It may or may not be fair, but many of you are going to get at least a few rejections. What are you going to do about them?

First and foremost—if you’ve gotten dinged at your top choice school, that doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get in. It doesn’t even mean that you won’t be going to school next year.

And so my first point is: DON’T GIVE UP.

However, you do need to respond constructively. For the Four Reasons for Rejection and tips on how to do exactly that, please see this video.

For more admissions-specific reapplication advice, check-out:

For all of you, if you don’t know why you were rejected or would you like expert advice on improving your next application, please consider an application review:

Subscribe to the Accepted Admissions Blog!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply