Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » College Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:17:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » College Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://blog.accepted.com/category/college-admissions/ 10 Facts About International College Students http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/27/10-facts-about-international-college-students/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/27/10-facts-about-international-college-students/#respond Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:57:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=27051 ]]> Click here for must-know info and advice for students abroad!

Enrollment of international students at U.S. colleges has reached a record high.

In the last academic year (2013-2014), enrollment of international students at U.S. colleges increased 8% to a record high of 86,052. Here are some highlights from a recent article by The Chronicle of Higher Education:

1.  One-third of the foreign students in 2013-2014 came from China, accounting for nearly 60% of the growth of the foreign student population at American colleges.

2.  The Chinese student demographic in the U.S. has gotten younger. Ten years ago, more than 80% of Chinese students were in graduate school, whereas now the split is closer to 50-50 between undergrad and grad students.

3.  There has even been growth among Chinese high school students studying in the U.S. (about 23,500 students). This means that in the future, a) U.S. colleges will be able to recruit Chinese students from U.S. soil, and b) Chinese college students will have an easier time adjusting culturally and academically to college life in the U.S.

4.   Possible reason for increase in growth of Chinese student population: dissatisfaction with the Chinese school system.

5.   The second largest source of international college students in the U.S. is India, with foreign student volume up 6%.

6.  Possible reason for increase in growth of Indian student population: a stronger rupee, making overseas study more affordable. Many of the Indian students attending university in the U.S. were recruited from other countries where Indian families work or study.

7.   The countries with the largest percentage growth in foreign students were Kuwait (43%), Brazil (22%), and Saudi Arabia (21%), all three of which have large government-sponsored scholarship programs in place to send students abroad (and pay in full for their studies). This makes them very attractive to American universities.

8.   Most of the Saudi and Kuwaiti students who study abroad go to the U.S. (86% and 68% respectively), compared to just under 50% of Brazilians.

9.   More than 10% of student visa holders in the U.S. are on the Optional Practical Training program (OPT) which allows students in the STEM fields to stay and work in the U.S. for up to 29 months after completing their studies.

10.   In terms of American students studying abroad, those numbers are barely moving. In 2012-2013, the number of students who went abroad went up just 2%, with an increase in the number of non-white students and an increase in those students studying in STEM fields.

For more details, see The Chronicle of Higher Education article, as well as the Wall Street Journal article on the same subject.

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Related Resources:

College Admissions 101
5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application
• School-Specific Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips

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Top 5 Things I Learned From Business That I Wish I Would Have Known as a Premed http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/27/top-5-things-i-learned-from-business-that-i-wish-i-would-have-known-as-a-premed/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/27/top-5-things-i-learned-from-business-that-i-wish-i-would-have-known-as-a-premed/#respond Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:24:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26981 ]]> Trying to Navigate the Med School Application Process? Click here for your free medical school admissions guide!

Just focus on one step at a time.

I’ve been working at a company called Pinfinity for about two years. The field of business is one where guts matter just as much as brains and where the people that win in the end are the people who are willing to look far ahead into the future and be willing to ride it out through the bumps and loops that you have to go through.  You have to adapt and change on the go, and when things get tough, quitting is not an option. There is a lot more in common between medical school and business than I anticipated, and I have realized that there are some things that I learned from business that I would have benefited from during college, and even into medical school.

1.  Procrastination: Do not get into the habit!  It is bad in college, it is worse in medical school.  There at just days, I know, where getting started is the most difficult thing to do.  Looking at the huge task at hand makes it easy to get overwhelmed so try by just making one tiny move in the right direction such as writing one sentence down, then one paragraph, etc. Do not look at the end, just focus on one step at a time.

2.  Time management: This is of key importance to getting through medical school and those heavier courses in college. Pay attention to where you’re focusing your time.  Now pay attention to the number of hours in the day that you are spending watching TV, playing video games, or looking though Facebook. You’ll be surprised how much time is wasted, and if you were to restrict that wasted time, your productivity would skyrocket.

3.  Multitasking: Somebody told me once that multitasking is the best way to do multiple things wrong really quickly.  Try to focus on one thing at a time, be it studying, writing, or watching TV. This will allow you to get things done efficiently and with a better end result.

4.  Leadership: Medicine is leadership, no matter how you cut it.  The main goal of the career is to become an attending physician, the doctor who is making all of the big decisions, caring for patients and having the responsibility of keeping the sick from getting sicker. Commonly they are asked, “What do you want to do Doctor?” with everybody expecting the next step in care from them.  Developing this skill now is a great way to get ahead of the pack. Start and run groups at school, get high positions in current clubs, or excel in sports. Become a strong leader now, and it will help you greatly in your road to medicine.

5.  Research: Research, both in small and large scale is a must. Being good at efficiently figuring out answers on your own, be it via reading or searching on the net, is of extreme importance.  Any team will see you as a key part of it, other students will trust your judgment, and you will get respected in the wards and by your supervising physicians.  In the long term, a CV that shows your interest in research as a component will always be looked highly upon, both on your medical school application and beyond.

By keeping these things in mind, making that jump into medical school won’t be as daunting as it can be.

Have any of your other life experiences taught you something about excelling in your path to medicine? Tell us about it!

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Carlos Guzman is a 4th year medical student at UCLA and the VP of Content Management at Pinfinity, a company aimed at providing study materials for starting medical students and beyond.  Get published now! Contact him at Carlos@pinfinity.co

Related Resources:

Free Guide to Demonstrating Leadership in Admissions
Medical School Admissions 101
5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays

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The Test Prep Guru Speaks http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/26/the-test-prep-guru-speaks/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/26/the-test-prep-guru-speaks/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:11:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=27069 ]]> In honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve decided to repost one of the podcast episodes that our listeners have been most grateful for.

If you didn’t hear it the first time or you just want to review, now is the perfect time to listen to our highly informative (and super-popular) interview with Bhavin Parikh, CEO and founder of Magoosh, the leading online test prep company for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL. 

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Magoosh
• The Hansoo Lee Fellowship
• How to Put Your Best Foot Forward on Test Day
How to Get Accepted to B-School with a Low GMAT Score

Related Shows:

• The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes
• The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
• Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To? 

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/26/the-test-prep-guru-speaks/feed/ 0 GMAT,GRE,Magoosh,podcast,SAT,TOEFL In honor of Thanksgiving, we've decided to repost one of the podcast episodes that our listeners have been most grateful for. - If you didn't hear it the first time or you just want to review, now is the perfect time to listen to our highly informat... In honor of Thanksgiving, we've decided to repost one of the podcast episodes that our listeners have been most grateful for. If you didn't hear it the first time or you just want to review, now is the perfect time to listen to our highly informative (and super-popular) interview with Bhavin Parikh, CEO and founder of Magoosh, the leading online test prep company for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL.  *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • Magoosh • The Hansoo Lee Fellowship • How to Put Your Best Foot Forward on Test Day • How to Get Accepted to B-School with a Low GMAT Score Related Shows: • The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes • The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well • Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To?  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 32:47
What You Need to Know for SAT Writing http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/23/how-to-prepare-for-the-sat-writing-section/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/23/how-to-prepare-for-the-sat-writing-section/#respond Sun, 23 Nov 2014 18:47:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26962 ]]> Applying to college? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!

Get to know the SAT’s favorite grammar topics.

When the SAT was first changed to the format it’s in now, back in 2005, many schools didn’t pay any attention to the writing section; they only looked at students’ reading and math scores. Since then, there’s been a slow change, although not a universal one. It depends on what school you’re applying to, of course, but in general, gone are the days when you can just dismiss a third of the test completely.

Nowadays, it’s wise to brush up on your grammar before taking the test, because that’s what SAT writing is largely about. That’s not going to change with the 2016 redesign, either: a large chunk of the “reading and writing” section (a hybrid of today’s critical reading and writing sections) will be made up of the same types of questions that are on the SAT now. That means grammar, grammar, grammar.

Here are a few examples of the SAT’s favorite grammar topics:

1. Misplaced modifiers

2. Parallelism

3. Subject-verb agreement

4. Pronoun agreement

5. Verb tenses

6. Passive voice

That’s not exactly an ordered top six, but it’s roughly in order of importance—the test-makers love misplaced modifiers, for example—and it’s all stuff you should be familiar with before that fateful Saturday morning. If you don’t know what any one of those means, look it up!

But I’d be lying if I said grammar was the only important part. The SAT essay counts for nearly a third of your writing score, and grammar is only a piece of that puzzle. You can write an outstanding SAT essay with a number of grammar errors; it mostly just has to be long enough, include some high-level vocabulary, and have clear examples that relate back to the topic. What you learn when studying for the multiple choice part of the test can help, of course, but that knowledge alone won’t bring you to a perfect score. You’ve also got to be able to write like a madman—to put ideas down on paper fast, and work in some good examples while you’re at it. That takes practice and preparation outside the grammar. One of the most helpful things you can do is come up with a list of sources for your examples: stories from history, literature, or even pop culture that you know particularly well. Use old essay prompts to then practice coming up with examples from that pool of resources.

If you know the grammar rules, which are relatively easy to learn, given a bit of time, and you get yourself comfortable writing a 2-page, 25-minute essay with concrete examples, then you’re on your way to nailing SAT writing (time to focus on one of the other sections!).

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

magooshThis post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep. You can learn more about Magoosh on our SAT blog, and you can get $50 off 1 month of prep here!

Related Resources:

• Preparing for College in High School
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep (podcast)
• Writing an Interesting SAT Essay in 25 Minutes

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Tips for Answering the University of California Essay Questions http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/16/tips-for-answering-the-university-of-california-essay-questions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/16/tips-for-answering-the-university-of-california-essay-questions/#respond Sun, 16 Nov 2014 18:09:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26798 ]]> Need more college application essay tips?

The UC system is waiting to find out more about you!

The University of California undergraduate system is comprised of nine different campuses located throughout California– Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. These schools pride themselves on attracting the best and the brightest students and are consistently ranked among the best in the world. All the UC campuses use the same undergraduate application that requires two essay responses. These required essays help the admissions committee to gain a deeper understanding of each applicant. They are your chance to demonstrate to the admissions committee how you might fit into and contribute to the UC system. How will a UC education support your lifelong aspirations?

Although you will use a single application for all the UC schools, each campus is distinctive. Make sure to research each school to get a better idea of what each has to offer. Each campus has a particular character and provides different opportunities. Many have smaller college systems within the larger university structure. Consider general education requirements, majors, extracurricular activities, locations and overall fit of each campus.

Applications for admission to the UC system are accepted from November 1st to November 30th.

As you prepare your response to each essay prompt, think about your unique experiences and their relationship to your personal objectives and how attending a UC school will help you to achieve your objectives or support your interests. As you decide how to approach your essays, you should survey your entire application and consider what the admissions committee might want more information about. What can you tell them that will help provide a more comprehensive picture of you? Your responses to both essay prompts must be no more than 1,000 words in total. You can allocate the word distribution to meet your needs but the shorter response should be no less than 250 words.

Freshman applicant prompt:

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

This response allows you to tell your individual story. Think about significant factors in your life that influenced your identity (sense of who you are) and in turn what you hope to achieve in the future (who you hope to be). You can discuss your particular family history and how that collective experience impacted you. You can reflect on a specific community that is meaningful to you, then go on to discuss how your role in that group inspired your dreams for the future. The subjects of family, community and school are cited as examples but you can discuss anything that is meaningful about your life experience, including your culture. The key is to describe your world from your perspective and talk about how those experiences helped to shape your goals. Consider how you reacted in different situations. What might that reflect about you? How might what you learned from your world support your future success? These are general suggestions for reflection; you must present specific examples and discuss them clearly in terms of their impact on your ideas about the world and your hopes for the future.

Prompt for all applicants:

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

This is a great opportunity to highlight a particularly outstanding or unique talent or accomplishment and to discuss why it is important to you. Keep in mind what makes your example significant to you and what that might say about the sort of person you are. You might elaborate on an extracurricular activity that illustrates some of your personal characteristics. Or you may consider a quality that you value and what that suggests about the way you interact with the world around you. Think about something you did that reveals positive qualities about yourself. Is there a particular challenge you overcame? Did you push yourself outside of your comfort zone? What did you learn about yourself in the process?

It is no surprise that the applicant pool for admission to the UC system is competitive. This is especially true if you are not from California since only about 13% of undergraduates expected to enroll for 2014-2015 are from out-of-state. The overall admission rate and freshman profile for individual schools varies. The overall admission rate ranges from 17.3% at UC Berkeley to 64% at UC Merced. The percentage of students admitted from California range from 57.9% at UC Los Angeles to 92% at UC Merced. High school grade point averages range from 3.61 at Merced to above 4.0 at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Barbara. The average ACT scores range from 24/25 at UC Merced and UC Riverside to 30/31 at UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, and UC San Diego. Your essays responses help to make you more than just a number.

Do not be overwhelmed by the statistics. Remember your essays are your personal statement, meaning they should reveal more about the person behind the numbers. Dig deep and put your efforts into communicating what makes you the individual you are. Share your personal examples, stories and life experiences. Pay close attention to deadlines and designated word limits. Allow enough time to write to the best of your abilities and to present an application that reflects your finest self. The UC system is waiting to find out more about you!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

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An NYU Stern Grad and Strat Consultant Helping Vets Get Into School http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/13/an-nyu-stern-grad-and-strat-consultant-helping-vets-get-into-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/13/an-nyu-stern-grad-and-strat-consultant-helping-vets-get-into-school/#respond Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:58:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26757 ]]> GusGiacomanWest Point grad. Iraq war vet. NYU Stern MBA. Engagement Manager and Senior Associate at Strategy&. Co-founder of Service to School.

Gus Giacoman, our guest this week, is a fascinating individual, dedicated to helping vets get into school of all kinds – everything from community colleges to law school, business school and diverse graduate programs.

Tune in to our conversation with the highly accomplished and tireless Gus for the low-down on how he helps vets get into school, advice for vets and other MBA applicants, as well as tips for future management consultants. Oh, and he tells some great stories.

00:02:38 – Service to School: Networking and guidance for veterans headed to college and grad school.

00:05:55 – The revenue model (you can’t charge family, right?).

00:06:55 – A breakdown of where Service to School applicants are applying.

00:10:28 – What success looks like (How about 3 Wharton/HBS admits!).

00:12:29 – Business school as the path returning vets to civilian life.

00:17:33 – The advantages and challenges of being a veteran in b-school and consulting.

00:21:41 – Why NYU Stern? And why consulting?

00:25:49 – The best skills for a future consultant to cultivate.

00:27:30 – 3 things Gus looks for in choosing a consultant for his team.

00:28:57 – What a college grad should do pre-MBA to prepare for a career in consulting.

00:33:01 – A great piece of advice for b-school applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Service to School 
Service to School on Twitter 
Service To School: Helping Veterans Get Into Top Schools

Related Shows:

• Breaking Some HBS Stereotypes: An Interview with Ben Faw
• How to Become a Management Consultant
• Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/13/an-nyu-stern-grad-and-strat-consultant-helping-vets-get-into-school/feed/ 0 Management Consulting,military applicants,NYU Stern,podcast West Point grad. Iraq war vet. NYU Stern MBA. Engagement Manager and Senior Associate at Strategy&. Co-founder of Service to School. - Gus Giacoman, our guest this week, is a fascinating individual, dedicated to helping vets get into school of all kin... West Point grad. Iraq war vet. NYU Stern MBA. Engagement Manager and Senior Associate at Strategy&. Co-founder of Service to School. Gus Giacoman, our guest this week, is a fascinating individual, dedicated to helping vets get into school of all kinds – everything from community colleges to law school, business school and diverse graduate programs. Tune in to our conversation with the highly accomplished and tireless Gus for the low-down on how he helps vets get into school, advice for vets and other MBA applicants, as well as tips for future management consultants. Oh, and he tells some great stories. 00:02:38 – Service to School: Networking and guidance for veterans headed to college and grad school. 00:05:55 – The revenue model (you can’t charge family, right?). 00:06:55 – A breakdown of where Service to School applicants are applying. 00:10:28 – What success looks like (How about 3 Wharton/HBS admits!). 00:12:29 – Business school as the path returning vets to civilian life. 00:17:33 – The advantages and challenges of being a veteran in b-school and consulting. 00:21:41 – Why NYU Stern? And why consulting? 00:25:49 – The best skills for a future consultant to cultivate. 00:27:30 – 3 things Gus looks for in choosing a consultant for his team. 00:28:57 – What a college grad should do pre-MBA to prepare for a career in consulting. 00:33:01 – A great piece of advice for b-school applicants. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • Service to School  • Service to School on Twitter  • Service To School: Helping Veterans Get Into Top Schools Related Shows: • Breaking Some HBS Stereotypes: An Interview with Ben Faw • How to Become a Management Consultant • Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 36:55
Businessweek Rankings 2014 http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/12/businessweek-rankings-2014/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/12/businessweek-rankings-2014/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:24:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26730 ]]> Let’s see how full-time MBA programs in the U.S. fared this year on the BW rankings…

Check out our Zone Pages for more info about the top MBA programs!

There were some huge changes this year! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

• Newcomers to the top 20 this year are Yale SOM, which made a huge jump from 21st place to 10th place; Maryland Smith which went from 24th to 17th place; and Emory Goizueta which jumped from 22nd place to 18th place this year.

• There are three new schools in the top 10 this year – Yale SOM, as mentioned above; Columbia Business School (13th in 2012 and 5th this year); and CMU Tepper (which moved just one place from 11th place to 10th place).

• Beyond that, there was some major shifting in the rankings. The top 3 schools were all different this year (Wharton and Booth still there, but rearranged), with Harvard Business School falling from 2nd place to 8th place.

UVA Darden also fell significantly this year, from 10th place to 20th.

• Big jumpers further down the rankings include Rice University Jones (from 34th to 25th); UC Irvine Merage (43rd to 31st); and Rochester Simon (50th to 38th).

• The schools that fell the most in the rankings include Texas A&M Mays (26th to 42nd); University of Wisconsin-Madison (33rd to 44th); Boston University (39th to 57th); Babson Olin (from 42nd to 58th); Thunderbird (45th to 62nd); and Arizona Carey (49th to 67th).

And here’s the scoop on the best U.S. undergraduate business schools in 2014…

Do MBA rankings really matter? Click here for the 2-min answer.

Some highlights include:

• Newcomers to the top 20 are Northeastern (from 25th last year to 19th this year) and CMU Tepper (from 24th last year to 17th this year).

• The only new school in the top 10 this year is Indiana Kelley, which jumped from 13th place last year to 8th place this year.

Michigan Ross fell from the top 10, from 8th place to 12th place.

• Big jumpers include Southern Methodist Cox, which jumped from 30th to 21st place; Babson, which jumped from 36th place to 26th place; UM Amherst Isenberg, which jumped from 45th to 36th; Bryant, which jumped from 63rd to 49th; and Case Western Reserve Weatherhead which jumped from 69th to 50th.

• Big falls include Villanova, which fell from 15th place to 24th; U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which fell from 21st to 34th; and James Madison University which fell from 29th to 40th place.

For details on how ranking methodology see:

Best Business Schools 2014: How They Were Ranked

Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2014: How We Ranked Them

Analysis of the 2014 Businessweek Rankings

Businessweek made changes to its methodology (presented here and analyzed here by John Byrne, the founder of the BW rankings) this year.

The Basics of BW’s Rankings Remain Unchanged

This year, as in the past, BW surveyed recruiters and students. The recruiter satisfaction results comprise 45% of the ranking. The student satisfaction survey results comprise another 45% and the remaining 10% is determined by “expertise of each school’s faculty” as evidenced by faculty research published in prominent academic journals AKA intellectual capital.

What’s New in BW’s Rankings Methodology?

• The employer ranking reflects this year’s data only. Previous rankings used data from the last three surveys or six years of biannual rankings data while weighting the most recent year most heavily.

BW surveyed fifteen times the recruiters this year than it did in previous years. Previously, BW surveyed major recruiters who tended to recruit at multiple business schools. This year, BW attempted to survey as many MBA recruiters as possible, including “recruiters” who recruit primarily if not exclusively at their alma mater. The increased survey size is a major methodology change. The alumni recruiters may have a certain bias towards the school they attended. BW attempted statistically to reduce the impact of that bias, but it probably helped smaller schools like Duke, Tepper, and Yale, and hurt the traditional leaders, like Harvard, Wharton, and Chicago.

Impact of the Methodology Changes

• Surprise! The results will shock many applicants. Seven programs, including Duke and Yale, rank above HBS and MIT. Indiana Kelley and Maryland Smith rank above Haas, NYU Stern, and Darden. These are unexpected results.

• Reemphasizes the importance of understanding methodology. The changes highlight the need for anyone using the rankings as indications of “quality” or even reputation and brand value (a bad idea in my book) to look at the underlying data. Smith is ranked overall at 17. It was ranked #1 for student satisfaction and #51 in the employer survey ranking. Applicants to Smith should inquire about what is changing in its career management center. Clearly there is a satisfaction gap that has to be addressed.

• Increased volatility. Since BW has removed older rankings data from the ranking and has dramatically widened the survey pool while incorporating alumni recruiters, you are guaranteed to see more changes and more radical changes than with the previous methodology.

• Cognitive Dissonance. Either BW rankings will lose credibility because they don’t conform to expectations and will be more volatile, or people’s perception of the programs will change because of the BW rankings.

My money is on the former: loss of credibility. If BW’s results become less stable and predictable (like The Economist’s), they are more likely to lose credibility than to contribute to changes in school reputation.

As always my best advice to applicants reviewing the rankings is to:

• Use specialty rankings to get a sense of what schools excel in your areas of interest.

• Use the data that the ranking databases provide.

• If you have any thought of actually using the overall rankings, understand what they measure, and ask yourself if those qualities are of paramount importance to you. BW has been wonderfully transparent and even shared the questions actually asked in the survey.

• Layer in reputation and brand, i.e. ranking, after determining what schools best support your goals and are most likely to accept you.

Learn how to get accepted to Chicago Booth!

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

 

Related Resources:

• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

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Tips for Answering the University of Pennsylvania Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/07/tips-for-answering-the-university-of-pennsylvania-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/07/tips-for-answering-the-university-of-pennsylvania-supplemental-essay-prompts/#respond Fri, 07 Nov 2014 18:32:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26440 ]]> Want more school-specific common application supplemental essay tips?

“Ideal candidates are inspired to emulate our founder Benjamin Franklin”

This post about the Penn supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools. 

The prestigious University of Pennsylvania, or Penn, is among the elite Ivy League schools. Established in 1740, Penn is one of the oldest universities in America. It is know for its top-notch research as well as its undergraduate programs that focus on practical applications grounded in a strong liberal arts foundation. It accepts the Common Application and requires an additional Penn writing supplemental. Penn wants to know more about you in order to gain a more holistic view of you as a potential student. It states: “ideal candidates are inspired to emulate our founder Benjamin Franklin by applying their knowledge in ‘service to society.’” Through your Common Application, the admissions committee is aware of your grades and test scores, and understands the level of rigor in your curriculum within the context of your high school environment. Use the supplemental essay as an opportunity to demonstrate how you are an ideal match for Penn and how Penn will help you to accomplish your life goals. Illustrate how you engage with and think about the world around you. Tell them more about what is important to you.

Penn offers a binding early decision option with a November 1st deadline. Consider this option if Penn is your first choice because there is a higher rate of admission during early decision. In addition, if you have family alumni ties to Penn early decision may be the best approach. Alumni affiliation receives the most consideration during the early decision program. You are allowed to apply early decision to Penn and early action to other non-binding or non-restrictive early action programs. Always check with the specific schools for guidelines.

Before you sit down to begin your essay, get to know as much as possible about Penn’s approach to education. Familiarize yourself with the unique character of the school, go through the website, get a sense of the campus and academic atmosphere, if possible visit the campus, speak with current students, and imagine yourself as a student at Penn.

Located in the city of Philadelphia, Penn offers an exceptional education in a diverse urban setting on a primarily residential campus. Penn provides many opportunities for students to investigate assorted areas of interest. The numerous learning hubs are an example of how it fosters an active and dynamic exploration of ideas. Think about how you fit with this approach and the overall academic climate at Penn.

Penn is steeped in tradition. Although the curriculum at Penn is flexible, it is grounded in a high quality liberal arts and science foundation. The four undergraduate schools (College of Arts and Science, Penn Engineering, School of Nursing, and the Wharton school) pride themselves on providing an integrated and functional education. “Penn students combine theoretical and practical thinking while developing the tools they need to innovate and lead in a world that demands an increasingly broad perspective.”

Penn Writing Supplement on the Common Application: “The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals.”  400-650 words

This prompt allows you to discuss how much you actually understand about how the undergraduate school of your choice and how it will help you to flourish. Include examples of how your experiences make the programs at Penn a good fit for you. How will the opportunities at Penn expand, nurture, and support your interests and aspirations? How do you hope to contribute to the collegiate environment at Penn? Consider how you might positively impact the overall Penn campus community. You need to address why you are driven to attend Penn and how a Penn education will help you to affect change in the world.

Note that additional essays are required if you are applying to one of the Coordinated Dual Degree and Specialized Programs offered at Penn (Huntsman: The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, LSM: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, M&T: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, NHCM: Nursing and Healthcare Management, VIPER:  The Roy and Diana Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, NETS:  The Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering, and The Seven-Year Bio-Dental Program). These responses have limits that range from 400 to 650 words. Although these individual prompts are not addressed in detail here, keep in mind that each one asks you to share specific examples and experiences that demonstrate your potential for success along with your enthusiasm for and attraction to the particular program. These programs are a significant commitment and you need to convey your genuine dedication. The admissions committee uses your essays to determine whether you will be a good fit for the particular dual degree or specialized program to which you seek admission.

You are up against an extremely competitive group of applicants. Penn received 35,866 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 3,718, or 10%, were offered admission and over 90% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 720 in critical reading, 735 in math, 735 in writing and an average ACT score of 32. The best way to differentiate yourself from the crowd is by communicating the intangibles through your essays. Use your essay responses to discuss what is meaningful to you and how Penn is the ideal place for you to achieve your dreams for the future!

Try not to be intimidated by this process. Start early to allow yourself enough time to thoroughly research, prepare, and complete all aspects of your application. All these factors must come together in a compelling way to present you as a highly competitive applicant. Penn is interested in your personal stories, life experiences, hopes and dreams. It seeks to attract and foster great thinkers and future leaders who will play a constructive role in society. Take the time and invest the energy to put your best self forward!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

• New LinkedIn University Rankings
• School-Specific Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips
• 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

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PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/06/payscale-how-much-you-can-earn-and-how-to-earn-it/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/06/payscale-how-much-you-can-earn-and-how-to-earn-it/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:15:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26604 ]]> lydia-frank-payscaleTrying to figure out if grad school will pay off? How much you’ll earn with your career of choice? Which graduate program will position you to for the best payoff?

If so, tune in to our conversation with Lydia Frank of PayScale to find out how to get the stats and info that you need to make an informed financial decision.

00:03:11 – PayScale: who they are and what they do.

00:04:35 – The College Salary Report (and the recent inclusion of grad school data).

00:05:53 – How PayScale collects data (and why you should complete their survey, too!).

00:09:13 – Helpful resources for folks in the research stage.

00:12:47 – What surprises people about the PayScale survey results.

00:16:46 – Different uses for the (many!) resources at PayScale.

00:24:28 – New data we’ll be seeing in the future reports.

00:29:03 – Accounting for the opportunity cost of education in the salary report. (Yes, they do.)

00:30:28 – Advice from Lydia for balancing what you love with what pays.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Which Grad Schools Produce the Highest Earners?
• Lifetime Earnings by Degree & Major
Social Mobility Index

Related Shows:

• Career Direction: It’s Ok to Love Your Job!
• How to Become a Management Consultant
• The Facts About Financial Services
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
• Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/06/payscale-how-much-you-can-earn-and-how-to-earn-it/feed/ 1 career goals,MBA ROI,podcast,Rankings Trying to figure out if grad school will pay off? How much you’ll earn with your career of choice? Which graduate program will position you to for the best payoff? - If so, tune in to our conversation with Lydia Frank of PayScale to find out how to ... Trying to figure out if grad school will pay off? How much you’ll earn with your career of choice? Which graduate program will position you to for the best payoff? If so, tune in to our conversation with Lydia Frank of PayScale to find out how to get the stats and info that you need to make an informed financial decision. 00:03:11 – PayScale: who they are and what they do. 00:04:35 – The College Salary Report (and the recent inclusion of grad school data). 00:05:53 - How PayScale collects data (and why you should complete their survey, too!). 00:09:13 - Helpful resources for folks in the research stage. 00:12:47 – What surprises people about the PayScale survey results. 00:16:46 – Different uses for the (many!) resources at PayScale. 00:24:28 – New data we’ll be seeing in the future reports. 00:29:03 – Accounting for the opportunity cost of education in the salary report. (Yes, they do.) 00:30:28 – Advice from Lydia for balancing what you love with what pays. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • Which Grad Schools Produce the Highest Earners? • Lifetime Earnings by Degree & Major • Social Mobility Index Related Shows: • Career Direction: It’s Ok to Love Your Job! • How to Become a Management Consultant • The Facts About Financial Services • Is a PhD a Good Idea? • Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship • Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 40:27
Tips for Answering Yale University Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/03/tips-for-answering-yale-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/03/tips-for-answering-yale-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/#respond Mon, 03 Nov 2014 19:38:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26442 ]]> Click here for more school-specific supplemental essay tips!

Get excited about the prospect of attending Yale!

This post about the Yale supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools. 

Yale University is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. It requires the Common Application essay plus additional Yale-specific short answers and a Yale writing supplement. For applicants interested in engineering, there is a third optional essay. This prestigious Ivy League school prides itself on providing undergraduates with an exceptional foundation in liberal arts education that focuses on cultivating knowledge and leadership skills. “Yale’s commitment to each student – to challenge, expand, and ultimately better understand the life of one’s own mind through undergraduate study.” The supplemental writing response is a chance for you to convey how the Yale experience augments your passions and perspectives in terms of learning, living, and your future.

If Yale is your first choice, it offers a single-choice early action program for freshman applicants (November 1st deadline). If you choose to use this option, you may not apply to early decision or early action programs at other schools. There are a few exceptions to this rule, check the Yale admissions website for details. Under this program, Yale will notify you of its admission decision by December 15th. The deadline for submission of applications for regular action is December 1st.

Before you begin writing your essay(s), thoroughly research all that Yale has to offer and consider how those opportunities bolster your objectives. This is a time to get excited about the prospect of attending Yale! Visit the website, speak with current students and alumni; envision yourself as a part of its exceptional learning community. The curriculum at Yale is designed to provide both breadth and depth of study as the foundation for students to pursue inspired lives and careers. It strives to foster independent critical thinking. Yale is one of the only universities that allow you to try-out your classes before you finalize your schedule. The first ten days of each semester are an opportunity to visit a number of classes to determine which are most interesting to you!

Located in the small town of New Haven, in an urban setting that is primarily a residential campus, Yale offers a supportive community-feel through its system of twelve residential colleges. This configuration, complete with its own residential deans and masters, creates a sense of intimacy within the larger university. Residential deans serve as primary personal and academic advisors. Masters work with students to shape the residential community. This is a powerfully dynamic way of bringing together students and faculty. Think about how this structure can support your intellectual growth.

Yale’s essay question are required for all freshman applicants:

In this second essay, please reflect on something you would like us to know about you that we might not learn from the rest of your application, or on something about which you would like to say more. You may write about anything—from personal experiences or interests to intellectual pursuits (500 word limit).

This is a completely open-ended prompt! Consider your overall application, what sort of picture does it paint? Do you feel there is something significant missing? This is an invitation to present a more complete image. Is there something essential that you feel compelled to discuss further? Are there elements of your culture or life experience that are meaningful to your identity? What really matters to you? Your response to this question reveals your character and values. It also touches upon how you make sense of the world around you and how you see yourself within that world. Think about your goals for the future. How do your personal experiences, interests, or intellectual pursuits relate to your potential as a student at Yale?

Optional essay for prospective engineering majors:

If you selected one of the engineering majors, please write a brief third essay telling us what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in engineering, and what it is about Yale’s engineering program that appeals to you.

This is your chance to share your excitement about engineering and Yale. What sparked your interest in the field? How did you nurture that drive to expand your exposure to engineering? Elaborate on extracurricular activities that support your intellectual curiosity. Can you demonstrate leadership in your pursuits? How did you invest yourself in engineering-related experiences? How will an education in Yale’s engineering program support your aspirations? Think about this question in both broad and specific terms. Connect your discussion to specific aspects of the engineering program at Yale. What sort of Yale engineering student might you be?

The tone of your essays should reflect your drive and enthusiasm for learning in general and at Yale in particular. Convey your perspectives in your own voice. Be thoughtful and reflective.

In addition to the supplemental essay(s), Yale also requires five short answer responses with limits ranging from 40 to 100 words. These are another a way to help the admissions committee to get a better idea of who you are as an individual. These responses reveal aspects of your personality, interests, character, and ways of thinking about the world around you.

What in particular about Yale has influenced your decision to apply? (100 words or less)

This is a direct question, so answer it directly. Why do you want to attend Yale? Write clearly and honestly. Articulate your motivation for applying to Yale with gusto. How will an education at Yale make your life more meaningful?

Please respond in 250 characters (roughly 40 words) or fewer to each of the questions below:

 • What excites you intellectually, really?

• Think about a disappointment you have experienced. What was your response?

• Suite-style living – four to six students sharing a set of rooms – may be an integral part of your Yale College experience. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite?

• What do you wish you were better at being or doing?

Yale is looking for the best and brightest students with diverse interests and life experiences. The admissions committee wants to evaluate “qualities such as motivation, curiosity, energy, leadership ability, and distinctive talents.” Consider how your responses to the above questions express your personality, resilience, and disposition. What do your answers indicate about how you engage with your others?

Applicants to Yale have an exceedingly competitive profile. Yale received 30,932 undergraduate applications (single choice early action: 4,750; regular decision: 26,182) for the class of 2018. Only 7% of applicants were offered admission, the freshman class was comprised of 1,361students and 95% of them ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. In addition, consider average SAT scores of 755 in critical reading, 750 in math, 760 in writing and an average ACT score of 33 and you get a sense of your cohort.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers. At this point, it is heartening to bear in mind that Yale is dedicated to a holistic application evaluation process for admission. Your short responses and supplemental essay(s) facilitate a more comprehensive review of you as a prospective student at Yale. The admissions committee takes the time to read your responses carefully. Make sure you allow yourself appropriate time for thoughtful reflection and effective writing. Use your writing supplement to set you apart from your peers. The best approach is to be true to you and communicate your thoughts, experiences, hopes, and dreams in a way that highlights your genuine enthusiasm for the extraordinary educational journey at Yale!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

School-Specific Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips
Leadership in Admissions
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

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What’s an MBA Really Worth? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/02/whats-an-mba-really-worth/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/11/02/whats-an-mba-really-worth/#respond Sun, 02 Nov 2014 18:17:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26383 ]]> Applying to top MBA programs? Download your free copy of Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One

How much do MBAs really earn?

This is the question tackled in a recent Poets & Quants article in which John Byrne presents PayScale data provided exclusively for P&Q. In the analysis, PayScale calculates the estimated median pay and bonuses (not including stock-based compensation, retirement benefits, or non-cash benefits like healthcare) of graduates from the top 50 U.S. MBA programs from 2004 to 2014. Here are some of the highlights from the article:

Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton earn the most over a 20-year period (at $3,233,000, $3,011,000 and $2,989,000 respectively), with average income at the former nearly doubling the average income of graduates from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School (at $1,781,820.)

• Some schools “punched above their weight class” like Boston University, whose graduates earned an average of $2,329,000, making the school rank in 19th place on this list, while ranked overall (in the regular MBA full-time rankings) by P&Q in 40th.

• Another high roller from lower down on the list is UC-Irvine Merage, where MBAs earn $2,319,932 over 20 years, putting them in 21st place, though generally ranked in 47th.

• More food for thought: At HBS, the average age of graduation is 29 years old. Our 20-year payout here brings these MBAs up to 49 years old, giving them another 16 years until retirement at 65. Based on their 20-year earnings, they may earn another $3.2 million, which combined with their 20-year earnings, brings their total up to $6.5 million. (Remember, this is a conservative estimate as it doesn’t include stock and non-cash compensation.)

• Compare the above HBS figures to the $2.5 million estimated lifetime earnings (age 24 to 64) of people with a master’s degree (non-MBA). (Data from the U.S. Census Bureau.) Someone with an MBA from Harvard will earn nearly three times as much as someone with a master’s degree. And someone with an MBA from Texas A&M will still earn about $1 million more than the average MA/MS holder.

• More comparisons (based on U.S. Census Bureau data): The average high school graduate can expect to earn $1.2 million in a lifetime, compared to the $2.1 million of someone with a bachelor’s degree. PhDs earn $3.4 million on average during their working lifetime. Doctors and lawyers can expect lifetime earnings of about $4.4 million – still less than the lifetime earnings of MBAs from at least 28 business schools.

• According to PayScale data, graduates from BA programs earn a median $1,301,000 20 years post-graduation. All MBAs, on average, earned $1,771,000, with those in the top 50 earning a median $2,266,000. An MBA in general will earn you about half a million more than a BA; an MBA from a top 50 school will get you yet another half a million more.

Looking for admissions advice?
Source: PayScale for Poets&Quants

For MBA admissions tips, check out our MBA Admissions 101 Pages!
Source: Payscale Inc. for 20-year estimate, business schools reporting to U.S. News for 2013 starting pay and bonus.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
• B-Schools with the Highest ROIs
• Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To?

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New LinkedIn University Rankings http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/31/new-linkedin-university-rankings/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/31/new-linkedin-university-rankings/#respond Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:46:52 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26176 ]]> Need college admissions advice? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!

LinkedIn Joins the Rankings Scene.

Exciting news! LinkedIn just launched new rankings that connect prospective students to universities based on career outcomes. Here’s how they did it (in their words) using software developers as an example:

1. First, we identified the top companies where software developers are choosing to work.

2. Next, we found people on LinkedIn who work as software developers and saw where they went to school.

3. Finally, for each school, we found the percentage of these alumni who’ve landed software development jobs at these top companies, then compared the percentages to come up with the list.

You can look up your prospective career, and then view the top universities with the most graduates in top companies in that prospective career. LI defines the most desirable companies as those “that are the best at attracting and retaining talent in that profession.”

For example, let’s take a look at finance professionals. The following schools were ranked based on how successful recent graduates were at landing desirable finance jobs.

Finance Professionals

1. University of Pennsylvania

2. Yale

3. Georgetown

4. Princeton

5. Columbia

6. NYU

7. Duke

8. Harvard

9. Cornell

10. Dartmouth

For marketing professionals, the list goes as follows.

Marketers

1. University of Pennsylvania

2. University of Michigan

3. Harvard

4. NYU

5. Cornell

6. Georgetown

7. Stanford

8. UC Berkeley

9. Northwestern

10. University of Texas at Austin

One quick flaw that I see here is that you don’t know the difference or magnitude of difference between the schools. Also some of the categories are very broad, like “media professionals.” That could include writers, actors, musicians, business people – these are all people involved in media.

But the concept of ranking which schools send the most grads to specific fields, or even better yet, to desirable employers in those fields is a good one IMO.

You can read more about their methodology here.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges
College Admissions 101

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Tips for Answering Princeton University Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/30/tips-for-answering-princeton-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/30/tips-for-answering-princeton-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/#respond Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:18:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26446 ]]> Check out the rest of our school-specific Common App supplemental essay tips!

Show your engagement with the world.

This post about the Princeton supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools. 

Princeton University is among the top schools in the nation and is recognized globally for academic excellence. This Ivy League school is renowned as a major research university as well as an outstanding liberal arts college. Princeton requires supplemental essays in addition to the Common Application or the Universal College Application essay. These additional essays help the admissions committee to get a more comprehensive understanding of your particular strengths and how you might contribute to the Princeton community. Princeton prides itself on the diversity of talents, achievements, perspectives, and interests of its student body. It is looking for a freshman class that shares the following qualities: “integrity, a deep interest in learning and a devotion to both academic and non-academic pursuits.” Think about how you can contribute to Princeton as well as how Princeton can support your aspirations.

Princeton offers a nonbinding, single-choice early action program, listed on the Common Application as restrictive early action. Under this program, you may not apply to any other early program at a private college or university however; you may apply to any non-binding early program at a public institution. This is a good option if Princeton is your first choice. The early action deadline is Nov. 1. Students admitted early may defer their admission decision to May 1st, which is the deadline to accept Princeton’s offer for regular decision. The deadline to submit regular decision applications is January 1st.

Begin by doing your research. Adhere to deadlines and word-limits. Spend time looking over the Princeton website, get to know what current undergraduates are saying about the school, familiarize yourself with the various majors, imagine yourself there, if possible visit the campus, allow yourself to get excited about this opportunity, and make every effort to gain a sense of why Princeton is the ideal academic environment for you!

Located suburban setting, Princeton is primarily a residential campus with a strong liberal arts focus. Its residential college structure, freshman seminars, and preceptorial system support the tight-knit student community. These are hallmarks of an education at Princeton and demonstrate the university’s commitment to student centered learning within the context of a diverse student body, faculty, and staff.

As you address the following Princeton supplemental questions, consider how your responses reveal your intellectual curiosity, passion for learning, and engagement with the world.

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (About 150 words)

Use this opportunity to discuss an interesting aspect of an extracurricular activity or work experience that imparts something significant about your character. For example, if you were involved with the Boy Scouts, many students talk about leadership in general terms instead; focus on a particular event in Boy Scouts where you took on a leadership role and why that was meaningful to you. Or perhaps there was a specific incident in your job that required you to take on additional responsibility, showcase what that reveals about your values. Consider what makes this activity or work experience distinctive and what it demonstrates about your character.

Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (About 150 words)

This prompt asks you to share what you do when you are not in school. This may include just about anything you do outside of school. Don’t panic if your summer experiences were not exotic. The key here is to express your interests and perspectives about how you spent that time. What did you learn? This response provides insight about your life experience and background.

Your favorite book and its author

Your favorite movie

Your favorite website

Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you

Your favorite recording

Your favorite keepsake or memento

Your favorite source of inspiration

Your favorite word

Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title

As you consider how to answer the questions above, remember that Princeton is looking for independent thinkers with creative minds who are engaged with the world around them. Make sure to consider what your answers might indicate to the admissions committee. These responses provide clues about the kind of person you are and the kind of prospective Princeton student you might be. They also reflect the way you think and what you find interesting, fun, and motivating. Be truthful but also try not to mention anything that might be considered offensive.

In addition to the Common Application essay and Princeton-specific short answer responses, a themed essay of 250 to 650 words is also required. Be aware that you should not reiterate any portion of the essay you used for the Common Application.

Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event, or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application.

Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.

Discuss a person who has made a difference in your way of thinking that subsequently influenced your actions and/or behavior. This is someone who has inspired you, convinced you, and/or challenged you in some way. As you choose a person who has influenced you, also consider what you value about that person and what that might reflect about the sort of person you are. This response tells the admissions committee the kind of person you aspire to be and what characteristics you hold dear. It is okay to compare yourself directly with this person. Just be sure to avoid being boastful- focus on how they inspired you to define your values and the way you approach the world.

“One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.” Omar Wasow, Assistant Professor, Politics; Founder, Blackplanet.com This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.

This prompt lends itself to a discussion of civil liberties and civil rights. Your response can tie to local or global issues. Begin by considering a broad range of inequalities, but focus on something specific and significant to you. Consider the current state of inequalities– racial, sexual, political, economic, gender. Consider old approaches and new solutions. Think about the complexity of solutions in day-to-day interactions/business as well as the bigger picture (actively promoting equality). This response illustrates to how you think through complex issues and how you interpret varied sources of information. How do you make sense of the world around you? How does this impact your personal values? What sort of solutions do you have in mind to address the disparities? What issues or aspects of these topics will you explore further at Princeton?

“Princeton in the Nation’s Service” was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded for the University’s 250th anniversary to “Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.” Woodrow Wilson, Princeton Class of 1879, served on the faculty and was Princeton’s president from 1902–1910.

A response to this prompt will likely address leadership, service to your community, and/or service on an international level. What will a Princeton education allow you to do as a leader in your field? How do your previous leadership roles create a foundation for the sorts of leadership roles you will pursue at Princeton? What does service to others mean to you? This is a great place to discuss your involvement with community service projects. You can tie your response to local and international concerns. Focus on how the experience influenced your values or approach to the world. What are your visions for the future and how does Princeton support those plans?

“Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.

This prompt illustrates the sort of things you find valuable– traditions, family, religion, etc. This is about how you appreciate/perpetuated/embrace culture in day-to-day routines as well as lager patterns of thoughts and behaviors. It is also about where you come from and what impact that has on you. This is a good place to discuss your family’s history and culture. How do you see yourself within a specific world context? Discuss your culture and what is meaningful to you. Remember to relate this back to how culture defines your values and the way you approach the world. Also discuss how a Princeton education fits into the picture.

Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.

This prompt sets the stage to discuss just about any topic! As you select your favorite quotation, consider what it reveals about your values and how you look at the world. This response hones in on the process of critical thinking and evaluation. It allows you to discuss your identity and perspectives and asks you to articulate how you approach the world around you. It tells the admissions committee more about who you are and what is important to you. Remember to discuss how your values and world perspective make Princeton a place where you will flourish.

Each of these essay prompts ask you to share something personal about yourself, discuss how the experience impacted you, and how you make sense of your world. They ask you to articulate your values and provide insight into your thinking process. They also reveal how you evaluate information and make decisions. Select the themed essay topic that strikes a cord with you. Make sure to convey your enthusiasm for that subject and for Princeton.

It is no surprise that Princeton has a highly competitive and impressive applicant pool. It received 26,641 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 1,983, or 7.4%, were offered admission and 96% ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. Add to that, average SAT scores of 745 in critical reading, 755 in math, 750 in writing and an average ACT score of 33 and you get an better sense of the level of competition. However, keep in mind that Princeton is committed to a holistic approach to the admissions process. This means they use your essay responses to round out the picture of you as a prospective student. The supplemental essays are your chance to share critical information about yourself. There is no magic formula to gain admission to this prestigious Ivy League school. As you survey the numbers, it is clear that you must use your essays as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your peers and to demonstrate that you belong at Princeton!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

• School-Specific Common App Supplemental Essay Tips
• Common App Supplemental Essay Tips
• From Example to Exemplary, a free special report.

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Magoosh’s New eBook: Lightening the SAT Math Load http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/28/magooshs-new-ebook-lightening-the-sat-math-load/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/28/magooshs-new-ebook-lightening-the-sat-math-load/#respond Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:39:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26399 ]]> Magoosh_SAT MathFor some high school students, SAT math is the bane of their existence. You need to learn all these foreign strings of numbers and letters, and then magically recall them once you’re sitting in a hot room for hours with your entire future weighing down on your tired shoulders. Yeah – SAT math…not the funnest thing in the world.

Our friends at Magoosh SAT have released a new ebook, Magoosh’s SAT Formula eBook, loaded with all you need to know to lighten the load and ace the math section on the SATs. The book is free with interactive elements, and comes complete with all the math formulas, study strategies, time-saving tips, and practice problems you’ll need for the SAT.

Here’s an excerpt from the intro of the book:

While formulas can be really helpful on the SAT, there are very, very few that you absolutely need to have memorized to score well. That might come as a surprise, but it’s true, and it leads us to an important thought: understanding how and why a formula works is as useful as rote memorization. In fact, it’s much better. You’ll have a better sense of when to use a formula and be more accurate in executing it if you understand the math behind it. Let’s look at a concrete case to illustrate. The distance formula is a prime example. It’s ugly…

MagooshSAT_DistanceFormula

…but it actually represents a pretty simple idea. If you have any two points on a graph (on the coordinate plane), you can make a right triangle that connects those two points as the ends of the hypotenuse. That is, you draw a diagonal line between the two points, then a straight horizontal line and a straight vertical line going through each point to make the legs of the triangle.

MagooshSAT_Triangle

Then, since you’re trying to find the length of the hypotenuse, you just use the Pythagorean theorem:

MagooshSAT_PythagoreanTheorem

(Notice that a couple very basic formulas like this one do need to be memorized.) The lengths of those legs are a and b, and the length of the hypotenuse is c.

So let’s find the length of c:

MagooshSAT_LengthofC

And if you’re trying to find the length of the legs (the shorter sides), you just need to know the horizontal distance between the two points, [more math], and the vertical distance between the two points, [more math]. If you replace a and b with those values, voilà: you have the distance formula.

Check out the Book!

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Introducing NEW Consulting CEO Rankings http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/introducing-new-consulting-ceo-rankings/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/introducing-new-consulting-ceo-rankings/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:54:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26115 ]]> FirmsconsultingCEORankingsFirmsconsulting just released new rankings that compare the performance of CEOs from six top consulting firms, McKinsey & Co., BCG, Bain & Co., Deloitte S&O, PwC Strategy& and Roland Berger. Each Sunday, the rankings will be republished based on new performance findings.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

1. How a CEO fares does not correlate to the prestige of the firm.

2. Feedback is collected directly from firm partners.

3. The real-time ranking updates allow Firmsconsulting to track weekly changes. For consulting firms, a yearly ranking would simply be outdated by the time it was published, taking into account data from a bygone era.

4. Based on a CEO’s past performance, Firmsconsulting believes one can infer from these ranking the likely future performance of a CEO.

You can view the real-time rankings and check out CEO profiles here.

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• How to Become a Management Consultant
• Consulting at Top MBA Programs
• MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting

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Princeton Approves Grading Policy Changes http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/19/princeton-approves-grading-policy-changes/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/19/princeton-approves-grading-policy-changes/#respond Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:32:30 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26117 ]]> Looking for college admissions tips?

Will Princeton’s application volume go up?

Last week Princeton faculty approved changes to their undergraduate grading policy, including the removal of “numerical targets and replacing them with grading standards developed and articulated by each department.” The committee concluded that the previous system (adopted in 2004) is a large contributor to psychological stress, making students “feel as though they are competing for a limited resource of A grades.”

New policies will emphasis “quality of feedback” rather than numerical grades. The previous faculty committee on grading will be dissolved, and a new committee – the Council on Teaching and Learning – will advance this new focus. The committee believes that these changes won’t negatively impact competitiveness of Princeton students when it comes to post-college education.

The recommendation proposes that at the beginning of each year, the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will “review the grading history for each department and program, and the dean of the college would continue to report to the faculty on the grading record of the previous academic year.”

(Source: “Princeton faculty approves changes to grading policy” by Princeton Office of Communications)

My Prediction

The grading policy adopted in 2004 reflected concern among Princeton faculty about grade inflation. I predict that the new policy will exacerbate grade inflation at Princeton while reducing student “stress.” It may just also increase Princeton’s application volume and yield by removing the perception that Princeton students suffer from a more rigorous grading scale and are at a “disadvantage” when applying to graduate schools because their grades may be a tad lower.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, 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 in Your College Application Essays
• Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

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Why Your Resume Deserves Your Attention http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/why-your-resume-deserves-your-attention/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/why-your-resume-deserves-your-attention/#respond Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:52:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26113 ]]> Many adcom readers will begin their review of an application by going over an applicant’s resume. That’s right – your resume isn’t just some quick document that’s there for show! It’s really your unique one-page introduction to the admissions board. This is not something you want to put on the back burner!

Download your copy of The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes!

In our newest special report, The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes, you’ll learn important tips and tricks for crafting an admissions resume that’s interesting, clear, and highly readable. A messy resume equals a messy applicant – not the first impression you want to make!

Download your free copy of The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes now and get started with the resume that will determine your future: acceptance to your top choice program!

Click here to download your guide!

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Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/07/top-10-colleges-with-the-highest-paid-grads-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/07/top-10-colleges-with-the-highest-paid-grads-2/#respond Tue, 07 Oct 2014 16:47:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25909 ]]> Forbes just released some rankings on the colleges whose graduates earn the most money. We’ll provide two charts below – one of colleges with high earning grads with bachelor’s degrees only, and one of colleges with high earning grads who went on to complete additional degrees.

Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads (BA Only):

Looking for college admissions advice? Check out our College Admissions 101 pages!

Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads (BA and Higher Degrees):

Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages for great tips!

Click here to view the Forbes article.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

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Related Resources:

• The Most Economically Diverse Colleges in the U.S.
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges
Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

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Big SAT Changes Favored More by Adcom than by Students http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/05/big-sat-changes-favored-more-by-adcom-than-by-students/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/05/big-sat-changes-favored-more-by-adcom-than-by-students/#respond Sun, 05 Oct 2014 17:03:53 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25968 ]]> Looking for more college admissions resources? Check out College Admissions 101!

71% of admissions officers, but only 41% of students support the inclusion of calculator-forbidden math questions. 

Kaplan asked 403 admissions officers from top schools and 684 high school students their opinions on the new SAT. Survey results show that the admissions officers are more supportive of the changes than the college applicants. 79% of officers support the changes, up from 72% last year. Big changes include reverting back to the 1600 point scale; adding historical reading passages; making math sections more difficult; shifting the essay from required to optional; getting rid of wrong answer penalties; eliminating fill-in-the-blank vocabulary questions; and adding a computer-based test taking option.

Here are some highlights from the results:

 • 87% of admissions officers and 67% of students support the inclusion of history-related reading passage.

 • 71% of admissions officers support the inclusion of calculator-forbidden math questions, compared to the support of only 47% of students. (On the new exam, calculators won’t be allowed for 20 of the 57 math questions – currently calculators are permitted for the entire exam.)

 • 67% of admissions officers support shifting the essay from required to optional, compared to 51% of students. Additionally, 73% of admissions officers say they don’t plan to require applicants to submit the essay.

 • 70% of admissions officers and 73% of students support getting rid of the wrong answer penalty.

 • 88% of admissions officers and 85% of students support the elimination of fill-in-the-blank vocabulary questions. Instead of these question, the SAT will include more contextual vocab questions, as well as editing write-in sections.

 • 82% of admissions members support the option of taking the SAT on a computer. This is compared to only 36% of students surveyed. Students report concern about staring at a computer screen for four hours, encountering technical difficulties, and not having space for “scratch work” for math questions.

See the Kaplan press release for more details.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

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Related Resources:

• Writing an Interesting SAT Essay in 25 Minutes
• SAT Myths Debunked
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

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5 Tips to Find a Satisfying Career http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/03/5-tips-to-find-a-satisfying-career/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/03/5-tips-to-find-a-satisfying-career/#respond Fri, 03 Oct 2014 16:44:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25955 ]]> Get the details about "How to Ditch Your Dead End Job and Find a Career You Love!"

Don’t get stuck in a career you really don’t like!

Work becomes such a big part of your life after college that it is really important to find a career you will be happy in. Don’t just jump into the first job that comes your way after graduation. No matter what anyone else says, you really have to look within yourself and decide what is going to make you happy and what you are going to enjoy doing for the rest of your life.

The truth is that you will be more successful when you are happy at work. So here are five tips to find a satisfying career:

1) Do what you want to do instead of what you feel like you should do.

It’s so easy to just go along that path of what you should do. You can save yourself so much time and trouble if you just start with what you want to do. The career you started in doesn’t necessarily have to be the career you end with. There is freedom in your career and you don’t have to stick with one career. You can be so many things. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

2) Do one small task daily that helps you get closer to your big goal.

If you do something daily on your way to your big goal, totally amazing things will start happening. Wake up earlier or schedule 30 minutes every evening to work on your passion. And don’t forget that the best investment you can make is always in yourself. Take a course or find a coach. It’s always worth it.

3) Learn more about yourself.

Once you recognize what your personal values are, it will feel like everything just comes into place so much more quickly as far as choosing a career that magnifies who you are. As you start to know your personality, motivations and interests more, you will learn what is important to you in the career that you pick. Then you can start searching for a career that will meet your personal and professional needs.

4)  Get clear about what you want.

If you don’t know what you want, you will probably just take the first job that comes your way. This can have bad consequences leading to becoming stuck in a career that you don’t really like. Instead, get clear on what it is you want so that you can job search more effectively. Dream up your ideal workday and create a vision board that you look at everyday to remind you of your career goals and dreams.

5) Ask for help.

It’s OK to ask for help. One of the best and easiest ways to gain experience is by asking others. There are so many people out there in the world who are simply waiting to help you, and all you have to do is ask.  It’s OK to seek out mentors, and it’s OK to boldly ask people for career guidance and insights. You have to be grabby. Don’t wait for opportunities to happen to you.

Take this opportunity now to decide what you want to achieve and start taking action to make your ideal career happen.

Anna Runyan is the creator of the “Love Your Career Formula.” She has an upcoming free online workshop on October 9th, 2014 called, “How to Ditch Your Dead End Job and Find a Career You Love.” If you want Anna’s proven step-by-step system to find a fulfilling career, grab your spot here!

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Tips for Answering Dartmouth College Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/01/tips-for-answering-dartmouth-college-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/01/tips-for-answering-dartmouth-college-supplemental-essay-prompts/#respond Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:08:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25847 ]]> Click here for more School-Specific Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips!

“Challenge yourself. Be yourself.”

This post about the Dartmouth supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools. 

Dartmouth College, like the other Ivy League schools, accepts the Common Application essay. It also requires a supplemental essay response. The extra essay helps the admission committee round out the overall picture of the applicant. Don’t approach this as just another essay you have to write. Look at this as a wonderful opportunity for you to make a convincing statement about why Dartmouth is the ideal school for you to achieve your aspirations!

As you prepare to address one of the essay prompts, think about Dartmouth’s comprehensive character. Consider its location in Hanover, New Hampshire; if possible visit the campus and imagine yourself there as an undergraduate. Research the different ways that Dartmouth’s curriculum and approach to education are a good fit for your goals. Think about the specific activities, programs, or organizations that attract you to Dartmouth.

Beyond the information contained in the Common Application, the admission committee strives to gain a deeper understanding about the applicant through the supplemental essay response and its peer review requirement. You must include a letter of recommendation from a friend, classmate, family member, or someone else you regard as your peer. This requirement provides insight into how you might fit in at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth prides itself on learning with no boundaries. The year round quarter system offers flexibility for you to design your own calendar. You can enter any major without a need for institutional approval (this includes Engineering). It encourages students to: “Challenge yourself. Be yourself.” Don’t worry about choosing a common topic. Instead, focus on discussing that topic from your point of view. Your essay responses should express your individual story.

Your response should be between one paragraph and a page in length. Select from one of the prompts below.

Every name tells a story: Tell us about your name–any name: first, middle, last, nickname–and its origin.

This is your chance to tell your unique story. Your discussion can relate to a specific family history or set of assumptions. How is the origin of your name significant to you? Does your name hold strong family ties to other countries/movements/beliefs? Are you named after a relative or famous person? Spend a good portion of your essay discussing how this story relates to your sense of identity. What does the story of your name reflect about you? How do you feel about what your name represents?

Tell us about an intellectual experience, either directly related to your schoolwork or not, that you found particularly meaningful.

Your response to this prompt helps shed light on your thinking process and what is important to you. Your discussion should illustrate how you approach learning new things. You can select to share any intellectual experience. Why is this experience significant? Did this experience cause you to move out of your comfort zone? What did you learn about yourself?

When you meet someone for the first time, what do you want them to know about you, but generally don’t tell them?

This is an interesting question that asks you to share something fundamental about yourself. Something, that is central to your being that you want others to honor. This is an opportunity to talk about your identity and perspectives about the world. Do you feel pressure based on a set of outward characteristics? Do you feel judged or liberated in some way? What is important to you? What is your reaction to these feelings and why is it significant for others to know this secret about you?

Describe the influence your hero has had on your life.

As you select your hero, think about what this person reflects about you. What are his ideals? Why do you see her as a hero? The bulk of your discussion should focus on what impact your hero has had on you. How has he motivated you? How do you try to emulate her approach, commitment, passion, or way of being? Your response to this prompt, provides insight for the admissions committee about your values and aspirations.

We believe it is critical that your candidacy reflect the interests, experiences and pursuits that are most important to you. To this end, is there anything else you would like us to know?

This prompt is an open-ended question. The admissions committee doesn’t want to overlook something you hold dear. You can choose to discuss just about anything! Remember, they already have your letters of recommendations (counselor, teachers and peer), grades, SAT/ACT/AP/IB scores, curriculum, and list of extracurricular involvement. Tell them something important that is not included elsewhere in your application or highlight something significant to your identity/goals/life. Remember to relate this discussion to how Dartmouth is a good match for you and vise versa.

Note, if you have unusual curricular patterns, your counselor can mention this in the Secondary Education Report or you can discuss your circumstances in the “Additional Information” section of the Common Application.

The context of your academic success is a significant factor in determining your overall competitiveness as an applicant. The top applicants take the most rigorous curriculum available at their high schools. Furthermore, by achieving high grades, they demonstrate their ability to thrive in Dartmouth’s challenging academic environment. Dartmouth embraces a holistic approach to the admission process and is committed to reviewing all aspects of your application. However, keep in mind, it received 19,296 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 2,220 or 11.5% were offered admission and 93% were ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class with an average SAT score of 2,190 and ACT score of 32. Your essays are your opportunity to pull away from this extremely competitive applicant pool.

Throughout the application process, it is crucial to stay focused on your goals. Allow yourself enough time to reflect on your experiences in a unique way. Meet all deadlines and word limits. Be sure that your overall application clearly reflects your interests and motivations and enthusiastically demonstrates why Dartmouth is the best school to help you achieve your objectives!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

• Common App Supplemental Essay Tips
• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
Admissions Tip: Be Yourself!

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Tips for Answering Cornell University Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/tips-for-answering-cornell-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/tips-for-answering-cornell-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/#respond Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:52:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25808 ]]> Want more essay tips? Download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays!

The Goal: Demonstrate that Cornell is the right school for you and that you are the right student for Cornell!

This post about the Cornell supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools. 

Although the Ivy League schools review the Common Application essay, they also require supplemental essay responses. These help you to convey in greater detail how the specific school is a good fit for you and how you can contribute to the collegiate environment. The additional essays prompts are geared to help these elite schools gain a better understanding of you as a potential student. Think about your future goals and how attending Cornell will help you achieve them!

It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific character of the school before sitting down to write your essays. You can begin by visiting the school website. Whenever possible, a campus visit is also helpful to get a feel for the school and gain a sense of how it supports your interests.

Cornell’s curriculum focuses on the collaborative nature of liberal education and fundamental knowledge through a practical educational approach to impact societal and world problems. As you respond to each prompt, think about your personal objectives, the mission of the school, and why Cornell is the best place for you.

Cornell boasts 14 undergraduate colleges and schools with over 80 majors. Through the broad scope of majors and the individual course of study options, it prides itself on being “a place where any person can find instruction in any study.” It fosters creative collaborations with a bottom-up approach. If you are unsure of which major is right for you, the Courses of Study catalog provides degree requirements for each college.

The Common Application Writing Supplement is based on the undergraduate college(s) or school(s) to which you are applying. Each essay response should be between 250-650 words. These questions are fairly straightforward and the content is somewhat similar between colleges/schools.

Note, if you are utilizing the Primary/Alternate admission option, you must complete an essay for both colleges/schools that correspond to your primary and alternate selections.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: How have your interests and related experiences influenced the major you have selected in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: Why are you excited to pursue your chosen major in AAP? What specifically about AAP and Cornell University will help you fulfill your academic and creative interests and long-term goals?

College of Arts and Sciences: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?

College of Engineering: Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by—and linked to—specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish.

School of Hotel Administration: Hospitality is the largest industry in the world and includes sectors such as hotel operations, food and beverage management, real estate, finance, marketing, and law. Considering the breadth of our industry, please describe what work and non-work experiences, academic interests, and career goals influenced your decision to study hospitality management? How will these contribute to your success at the School of Hotel Administration?

College of Human Ecology: What do you value about the College of Human Ecology’s perspective, and the majors that interest you, as you consider your academic goals and plans for the future?

School of Industrial and Labor Relations: Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how these interests may be realized and linked to the ILR curriculum.

These essay prompts ask you to discuss specific examples from your life experience (academic and otherwise) that support your interest in a particular school/college. In addition, they ask you to look toward your future and how your educational experience at Cornell supports your goals. They also want to know how you can enrich the collegiate environment at the school. These questions allow you to focus on what excites you about certain subjects and how studying at Cornell makes sense for you. Consider academics, campus atmosphere, location in Ithaca, and your long-term objectives. This is your opportunity to convey your passion for Cornell!

Cornell has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 43,037 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 6,105 were offered admission and 87% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 690 in critical reading, 730 in math, and an average ACT score of 32. The best way to distinguish yourself from your peers is through your essays.

Applying to an Ivey League school can seem like a daunting process. It is reassuring to keep in mind that these supplemental essays are a chance for you to share your personal stories and real-life experiences. Pay attention to deadlines and word limits as you craft each response to represent your unique perspectives. Start early to allow time for reflection and revision. Your goal is to demonstrate that Cornell is the right school for you and that you are the right student for Cornell!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

Common App Supplemental Essay Tips
What is Passion in Admissions?
• College Application Essays: Writing Tips from the Pros

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I Stink At SAT Math: What Next? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/28/i-stink-at-sat-math-what-next/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/28/i-stink-at-sat-math-what-next/#respond Sun, 28 Sep 2014 16:56:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25854 ]]> Looking for more SAT tips? Check out our SAT blog posts.

Help! I Stink at SAT Math!

It’s pretty much inevitable that at some point during your SAT, you’re going to look at a problem and think, “Nope. Not happening.”

Or maybe it will be a few moments after, which can be even more frustrating—you work through what seems like the best way to attack a problem, but then after a good minute or so of work you’re still nowhere near an answer and don’t know what you’re even trying to do anymore.

What you do at that point is key, because the SAT is timed, after all. Every moment you spend looking blankly at a question is a moment gone to waste.

That’s part of why SAT math isn’t really like the rest of the math you do in school. One of the most important skills in the math section is knowing when to guess. That’s one thing you don’t really get from math class.

The principle is pretty simple: if you’re just starting to answer a question and you don’t know what to do, spend ~15 seconds exploring (don’t worry too much about the exact time, but realize this step has to be quick). Rework any equations you have. Label any measurements of a figure that you can infer. Write out the first elements in a series or look for other patterns.

And if, after exploring, you don’t know what to do next, don’t go back to square one and re-live your frustration. Instead, look first at whether there are any answer choices you can definitely rule out. Then circle the question in your test book, select a your best guess the answer sheet (this is why ruling out any answer choices you can is so important), and move on to the next question. Remember that every question in a section is worth the same, so it’s key that you give yourself enough time to get right every question that you can get right. Only after you’ve done that should you resume chewing your pencil and loathing that roadblock question.

As a side note, though, if you find yourself getting stuck on SAT math questions often but, at the same time, really think you know all the material that you need to for the test, then you might want to take a stab at the ACT instead. There’s a huge overlap between the tests, but there’s also a pretty subtle difference in SAT vs ACT math: the ACT tends to be a little bit more straightforward, so knowing the material is enough to answer most questions—it’s less often that you need to figure out subtle twists like what the SAT might throw at you.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

MagooshThis post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep. For more SAT resources, check out Magoosh SAT vocabulary flashcards and the Magoosh SAT Blog!

Related Resources:

• Writing an Interesting SAT Essay in 25 Minutes
• Getting Ready to Apply to College Series
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep

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Writing About Your Experiences Abroad http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/writing-about-your-experiences-abroad/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/writing-about-your-experiences-abroad/#respond Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:25:17 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25755 ]]>
Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own! [Free Downloadable Guide]

Ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role other than window-dressing.

You’ve done it – you studied, worked, or volunteered abroad and now you want to include part of this in your personal statement. Maybe you want to show that you’ve experienced a different culture or that you’ve managed to go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve had interesting experiences – met people, climbed mountains, or lived without air-conditioning. Or maybe you had the opportunity to help people who genuinely needed it.

But, at this point, you’ve also realized that many other applicants have similar experiences, and you are right. While the experience may have been transformative for you, requiring you to learn how to operate without your usual safety net in a foreign environment, you need to ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role in your essay as something other than window-dressing.

There’s an Onion article which jokes that someone’s short work experience in Africa allowed her to post a better Facebook photo, and, without the proper analysis, descriptions of abroad experiences can feel the same way in an admissions essay. Often, I read essays with lush descriptions of exotic scenery and people who speak different languages, yet you the writer – the most important person – stays the same. Without showing admissions committees why a study abroad experience was transformative, these types of stories simply blend together and give the impression that you were there simply to add another notch to your resume.

So, what should you do? Studying abroad can be a pivotal moment in your personal journey, but a personal statement needs to explain exactly why. If, indeed, gaining experience with other cultures was important to you at that stage, what exactly did you learn? It can’t be enough to just give a story about someone you met while traveling, you have to explain why that person changed you. An admissions committee member once told me that it mattered less what an applicant’s experience was, what mattered was how she talked about it. Even the most seemingly dull experience can be transformative to someone who is really paying attention.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own! Click here to download our free report!

Jessica PishkoCheck out Jessica Pishko's bio! graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.

 

Related Resources:

• Two Ways to Reveal Leadership in Your Applications
What is Passion in Admissions?
7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

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The Most Economically Diverse Colleges in the U.S. http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/the-most-economically-diverse-colleges-in-the-u-s/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/the-most-economically-diverse-colleges-in-the-u-s/#respond Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:13:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25706 ]]> Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!According to the New York Times recent diversity rankings, the following colleges and universities have made the greatest efforts to admit students from economically diverse backgrounds, meaning, a larger share of low-income families. The schools were chosen based on the number of students receiving Pell Grants (students must be in the bottom 40% of the income distribution to be eligible) and the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families.

Top 20 Economically Diverse Colleges

1. Vassar

2. Grinnell

3. UNC – Chapel Hill

4. Smith

5. Amherst

6. Harvard

7. St. Mary’s (Indiana)

8. Pomona

9. Susquehanna

10. Columbia

11. Rice

12. Kalamazoo

13. Wesleyan

14. Denison

15. Barnard

16. Brown

17. Williams

18. Stanford

19. MIT

20. Haverford

The New York Times lead article on these rankings states the importance of the efforts made by these schools:

“This education gap is a problem not only for the teenagers on the wrong end of it. It’s a problem for the American economy. The economic differences between college graduates and everyone else have reached record levels. Yet for many low-income children – even many who get A’s in high school and do well on the SAT – college remains out of reach. No wonder that upward mobility is less common in the United States than in many other rich countries.”

A few more highlights:

 • 23% of students at Vassar’s freshmen received federal Pell grants. In 2007, that number was only at 12%. Lower income students pay roughly $6,000 per year for tuition, much of which is earned through loans and campus jobs.

 • Only 8% of students at Washington University in St. Louis receive Pell grants (compared to 6% and 5% in the last few years), even though this school is ranked as one of the top 25 riches colleges in the U.S. The point: Just because a school has a high endowment, that doesn’t mean that it is more likely to open its doors to lower-income students. In fact, Susquehanna (who has the highest number of Pell-eligible students at 25%) and Wesleyan (at 18%) have relatively small endowments and students from lower-income families make up a rather large part of the student body.

 • In 2008, only one out of three high achieving (top 4%) low-income high school seniors attended a selective college.

An Inside Higher Ed article on the subject offers the following points:

 • To make the list, schools had to have a four-year graduation rate of 75% or higher; therefore, some schools with high Pell-eligible student populations weren’t ranked, in particular, UC Berkeley which has more than 27% of students on Pell Grants. (But only a 71% four year graduation rate.)

 • 46% of students at CUNY Baruch receive Pell Grants, but they too were under the 75% limit (by far, at 39%).

 • The article points out that only three public institutions made it to the list – University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary (also in Virginia), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• Preparing for College in High School
College Admissions 101

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Hints for Admission to Combined BS/MD Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/hints-for-admission-to-combined-bsmd-programs-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/hints-for-admission-to-combined-bsmd-programs-2/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:27:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25411 ]]> Click here to download your full copy of Are You Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Outstanding grades are a must.

“Hints for Admission to Combined BS/MD Programs” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here

If you are planning to apply to combined BS/MD programs, early planning is essential. These programs vary in their admission requirements and developing the extracurricular resume that will make you a competitive candidate will take advance planning.

• Consider your math and science curriculum. Outstanding grades are a must, as is a commitment to maintaining them in college. Your grades, however should come from many of the more challenging course offerings in your high school. Many BS/MD programs will look carefully at your entire curriculum, but also pay extra attention to your math and science preparation.

• Plan for Standardized Testing. The test requirements for these programs also vary. Some will require SAT II exams, and might specify which ones. As you consider your long-range plans, it is best to take the SAT II exams while the material is fresh in your mind. Are you taking chemistry in school this year? If so, think about taking the chemistry SAT II next spring. For the most selective of the combined programs, successful applicants are presenting excellent test scores as well as grades. If you need time to prepare for the SAT or ACT, then allow for it and research your test prep options.

• Focus on research or health related experiences. Your exposure to the health care field is paramount in confirming your commitment to the field of medicine. Volunteer experience and physician shadowing are two ways that you can gain experience in a health care setting. Scientific research will give you the tools you need as a medical student to understand the changes in the field of medicine. While many science fair projects will guide you through the scientific method, a more complex, longer term project under the mentorship of a local college professor will offer more exposure to the type of scientific study you will undertake in medical school.

If you think these combined and/or accelerated programs interest you, begin planning as early as possible and keep an open mind regarding all of your undergraduate and graduate school options.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• How to Select Extracurriculars that will Set Your Medical School App Apart
How to Get the Most out of Shadowing a Doctor
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep

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U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/19/u-s-news-2015-best-colleges/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/19/u-s-news-2015-best-colleges/#respond Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:22:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25762 ]]> Applying to College? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!Last week U.S. News released the 30th edition of its college rankings. New information found on school profile pages (but not taken into consideration for rankings) include data on campus crime and security and a summary of three-year federal loan default rates. Interesting categories for ranking include Economic Diversity, Campus Ethnic Diversity, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

Here are some highlights:

Top 10 Best U.S. Universities

1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Columbia University (NY)
4. Stanford University (CA)
4. University of Chicago (IL)
7. Massachusetts Institute of technology (MA)
8. Duke University (NC)
8. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
10. California Institute of Technology (CA)

Top 5 Best Value Universities

1. Harvard University (MA)
2. Princeton University (NJ)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Stanford University (CA)
5. MIT (MA)

Top 5 Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Amherst College (MA)
2. Williams College (MA)
3. Pomona College (CA)
4. Wellesley College (MA)
5. Soka University of America (CA)

Top 10 Best Undergraduate Business Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
2. MIT (MA)
2. University of California – Berkeley (CA)
4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (MI)
5. New York University (NY)
6. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
6. University of Virginia (VA)
8. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
8. Indiana University – Bloomington (IN)
8. University of Texas – Austin

John Byrne from Poets & Quants provides an analysis of these rankings (the undergraduate business ones) and shares additional highlights from the top 50, including the following:

• Within the top 10 and certainly within the top 5, there was little change from last year – just a little switching around here and there, including Cornell and Notre Dame which both fell from the top 10, from 10th place last year to 11th this year.

• Big jumpers in the top 25 include the University of Georgia and Michigan State which both climbed six spots to 21st place (they share this position with six other programs, including University of Maryland, which fell three places this year). In the top 50, University of Pittsburgh took the largest leap, from 49th place last year to 39th this year. Babson jumped five places from 34th to 29th.

• Ohio State University fell four places, finishing in 20th this year; Southern Methodist University dropped seven spots from 38th last year to 45th this year.

• Wharton received the highest score (4.8 out of 5) on the index scale (1 being “marginal” and 5 being “distinguished”).

See the U.S. News Ranking Methodology and the P&Q article for details on how these schools were ranked.

For a critique of the U.S. News rankings (and how the rankings actually hurt students and applicants), see this Vox article.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• 3 Mistakes Successful College Applicants Don’t Make
• Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors

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Tips for Answering Columbia University Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/18/tips-for-answering-columbia-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/18/tips-for-answering-columbia-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:13:41 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25720 ]]> New York CityThis post about the Columbia supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools.  

In addition to the basic Common Application essay, the Ivy League schools require supplemental essay responses. These extra essays help these elite schools gain a deeper understanding of the applicant. They are your opportunity to explain how the school is a good match for you and vise versa. These schools want to know what is important to you and how they fit into your future goals!

Note that you can apply via the Common Application or the Columbia First-Year Application. The school has no preference; however, applicants can only submit ONE of the applications.

When addressing each prompt, consider the overall character and focus of the school in relationship to your personal objectives. Visit the school website, read about their educational mission, and think about how the school supports your interests. Columbia takes pride in the synergy created between its diverse residential student population and its location in the heart of bustling New York City. It also embraces a rich educational tradition in its interdepartmental Core Curriculum that encourages creative critical thinking by encompassing writing, science, philosophy, literature, art, music, and history.

What single activity listed in the activity section of your Common Application are you most proud of and why? (150 words or less)

This is an opportunity to highlight one of the activities you listed on your Common Application. Select an activity that reveals something important to you. This may be something you have been involved with for years or an experience that exposed you to something novel. Whichever activity you select, make sure to convey your enthusiasm and what it reflects about you. If appropriate, tie your interests to opportunities available at Columbia and in NYC.

Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)

This is a very important question. You need to convince the admissions committee that Columbia is the best school to help you meet your goals. You also have to show them how you can enrich the dynamic educational environment at Columbia. Discuss what excites you most about the Columbia experience. They want to know what kind of student you might be at Columbia.

Columbia University requires additional essay responses for students applying to Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science:

If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time. (300 words or less)

If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less)

Both of these prompts ask you to consider your interests and experiences that helped you determine your specific career path. If you are truly undecided, in the Columbia College response, focus on the areas you are currently interested in, what excites you about those topics, and your hopes for the future. These prompts ask you to think broadly about your life experience as well as provide specific examples of how these experiences affected your interests and propelled you toward a particular area of study. Your discussion should reveal your passion for the subject. Remember to include why the program at Columbia is the best match to help you achieve your goals.

In addition to essay responses, Columbia requests the following lists. As you select required readings, books, and other forms of media, think about the breadth and depth of your interests. Consider how your selections represent your identity, reflect your intellect and curiosity, relate to Columbia’s Core Curriculum requirements, and make you a good match for the overall educational experience at Columbia.

List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

This is an opportunity to showcase a particular area of interest to you. Consider classes, which you discovered something new and exciting, allowed you to explore a previous area of interest in more depth, or covered a topic that helped you see the world in a different way.

List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

The admissions committee wants to know the sorts of topics that you find interesting. What better way than to share your recent favorite books? They are trying to gain a deeper sense of who you are and how you might fit in at Columbia. This list sheds some light on how you spend your spare time.

List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly. (150-words or less)

The sources of information and media you engage with routinely provide insights into how you perceive the world. This list to some degree demonstrates what topics are important to you. It also indicates the modes of information exchange you find most comfortable.

List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

This list is allows you to tell the admissions committee the sorts of activities you do for fun! Your responses suggest the kinds of activities that may appeal to you at Columbia and provide insight about how you engage the world around you.

The admissions website clearly states Columbia’s commitment to a holistic approach to the admission process: “every single application is given a thorough review, and there is positively no minimum grade point average, class rank, or SAT/ACT score one must obtain in order to secure admission to Columbia.” That said Columbia has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 32,964 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 2,291 or 7% were offered admission and over 90% of students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 2245 and an average ACT score of 33. Your essays make you more than a number.

In this environment it is essential to remain calm and focused. Keep in mind, while adhering to the designated word limits and deadlines, your goal is to distinguish yourself from your peers by sharing your personal examples, anecdotes, and perspectives. In short, by providing sincere insight into what makes you, you! And why you are a good match for Columbia! Be sure to allow yourself appropriate time to reflect on your educational goals and to convey your best self to the admissions committee through your essay responses.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

•  Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
•  Tips for Answering Brown University Supplemental Essay Prompts
•  7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

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How to Deal with Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/how-to-deal-with-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/how-to-deal-with-deadlines/#respond Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:07:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25510 ]]> Dealing with Deadlines

You don’t want to feel rushed and you don’t want to miss your deadline.

You don’t want to feel rushed (stress can lead to mistakes) and you don’t want to miss your deadline. So what can you do to stay on top of your game and submit your applications before the buzzer?

1. Set yourself a schedule and work backwards from your deadlines. Allow time for holidays, sleep, exercise, and of course work.

2. Focus first on the applications with the earliest deadlines. It wouldn’t make sense to work on the application with the further deadline first when you have a looming deadline for another application right around the corner!

3. Work on applications one at a time. Adapt essays from your first application, when possible, to later applications. However never merely paste in an essay because the question is similar. Customize it for this application and this program. Trying to write more than one application at once will only lead to confusion, not to mention unintentional overlapping of material – forgetting to change just one Harvard to Stanford shows a level of sloppiness that Stanford just won’t stand for!

4. If you fall behind, consider dropping/postponing an application to maintain quality overall. Pushing off an application to a subsequent round or the following year is better than submitting a subpar application.

Good luck!

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own! Click here to download our free report!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay & Personal Statements
Resourceful Essay Recycling
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video]

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-combined-bsmd-programs-3/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-combined-bsmd-programs-3/#respond Sun, 14 Sep 2014 16:23:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25409 ]]> Click here to download your copy of Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Admissions to many BS/MD programs is more competitive than even the most selective colleges.

“Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here

If you are fully committed to the idea of pursuing a medical career, a combined program may seem like the best of both worlds. In one application process, you can assure yourself of your future medical career, eliminate uncertainty and stress during your undergraduate years, and, without completing a full medical school application process, potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in application costs.

With so many benefits, it is easy to see why the several dozen combined programs are so highly sought after. Admission to many of them is more competitive than even the most selective colleges, easily in the low single digits with extremely talented applicant pools. These programs also do not obligate you to attend medical school, but with such competitive applicant pools, it is easy to understand why universities do not want to waste resources on students who are not committed to a career in medicine.

If you have top notch high school credentials, including GPA, test scores, challenging curriculum, and a demonstrated interest (through volunteer service, research, and clinical shadowing), some of these programs might be a good fit for you.

However, for many other applicants, following the traditional route of pursuing a bachelor’s degree and completing your pre-medical requirements before applying to medical school makes more sense than attending a combined BS/MD program. Consider the following:

The additional few years of undergraduate education and life perspective can truly help you to determine which educational environment is best for you. Is there an area of the country that you prefer? Are you interested in serving a specific population? Some medical schools emphasize family practice while others focus more on scientific research and academic career preparation.

If you choose to pursue a combined program, be certain that you are doing so in an environment that suits you for its undergraduate experience. There is a chance you will find that medicine is not your calling. In some cases, the undergraduate requirements to maintain your medical school space are extremely tough. You are most likely to thrive in an environment that makes you happy.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

College Admissions 101
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
Interviews with Medical School Applicants

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Tips for Answering Brown University Supplemental Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/10/tips-for-answering-brown-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/10/tips-for-answering-brown-university-supplemental-essay-prompts/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:27:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25570 ]]> Get tips for answering the Common Application prompts. This post about the Brown supplement to the Common Application is the first in a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools.  

In addition to the basic Common Application essay, the Ivy League schools require supplemental essay responses. These extra essays help these elite schools gain a deeper understanding of you, the applicant. They are your opportunity to explain how the school is a good match for you and vice versa. These schools want to know what is important to you and how they fit into your future goals!

When addressing each prompt, consider the overall character and focus of the school in relationship to your personal objectives. Visit the school website, read about their educational mission, and think about how the school supports your interests. Brown University is committed to undergraduate freedom and the process of free inquiry. For students this means that while you are guided by specific departmental concentration requirements, you must take responsibility as an “architect of your courses of study.” Take a close look at the distinctive Brown Curriculum on the school’s website.

Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated in our Member Section, earlier in this application? If you are “undecided” or not sure which Brown concentrations match your interests, consider describing more generally the academic topics or modes of thought that engage you currently. (150-word limit)

Begin by discussing the subject areas you are interested in studying. Then discuss what specifically attracts your interest. You can include examples from previous coursework, volunteer experience, personal research, or any other factors that influence your interests. How you respond to this question demonstrates your potential to succeed in Brown’s independent academic framework. Don’t panic if you are truly undecided. This is a great opportunity to reflect on how you approach learning and discuss which subjects engage you. You are providing insight into how you navigate the academic world.

Tell us where you have lived – and for how long – since you were born; whether you’ve always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. (100-word limit)

Your response to this question provides context regarding your life experience. You can also include your impressions about where you lived. Were there specific cultural ties? Was it a diverse or homogeneous community? Did you feel comfortable there? Did your family move for job opportunities?

We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you. (150-word limit)

Briefly describe your selected community/group and your place within it. Then focus your discussion on how the group affects you. This is about how you view yourself in relation to others. This prompt touches on the impact of groups on individual thinking and vise versa. What does your membership within this community reveal about you? Discuss how you are similar or different from the larger group.

Why Brown? (200-word limit)

This is a direct and powerful question. This is your opportunity to communicate how the college fits with you now and potentially in the future. It also allows you to discuss how you can contribute to the intellectual and social environment at the school. What specifically draws you to Brown that you cannot find anywhere else? What does Brown offer that you are passionate about? What are your thoughts about its educational approach? You might want to consider how the Brown Curriculum meshes with your learning style. Think about why you are attending college and how Brown supports your goals.

Note: If you are interested in Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics or Physics, you must complete additional Science/Engineering statements. Likewise, if you are applying to the 8-year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) or the 5-year Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program (BRDD), you must also complete additional special programs statements.

Brown has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 28,919 undergraduate applications for the class of 2017. Only 2,654 or 9.2% were offered admission and 94% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class. Your essays make you more than a number.

In this environment it is essential to remain calm and focused. Keep in mind, while adhering to the designated word limits, your goal is to distinguish yourself from your peers by sharing your personal examples, anecdotes, and perspectives. In short, by providing sincere insight into what makes you, you! And why you are a good match for Brown! Be sure to allow yourself appropriate time to reflect on your educational goals and to convey your best self to the admissions committee through your essay responses.

The 5 Fatal Flaws of College Application Essays

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• Beyond Tests Scores and GPA: How to Wow College Application Readers
7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

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So You Think You’d Like to Become a Doctor http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/07/so-you-think-youd-like-to-become-a-doctor-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/07/so-you-think-youd-like-to-become-a-doctor-2/#respond Sun, 07 Sep 2014 17:10:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25385 ]]> Download your complete copy of Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? “So You Think You’d Like to Become a Doctor” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here.

If you’d like to become a doctor, you are like thousands of high school students as they begin their college search each year. Medicine is one of the relatively few careers that high school students have direct exposure to. For some students, this exposure comes from a parent or sibling who practices medicine; but for almost all students applying to college, they themselves have been to the doctor.

If you are a student who has met with academic success, has an interest in science, and has a desire to help others, then medicine probably seems like a natural fit for you. As you talk about it with others, the path seems more and more appropriate. It’s an easy answer to one of the tough questions that adults ask during this process: “What are you going to major in?” Your reply is simple and met with satisfaction: “I’m going to be pre-med.”

At many colleges, however, pre-med is not a major. It is a series of courses that students must take in order to sit for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) and apply to medical school. Many of these classes dovetail with university requirements for a biology-related major, but at this point, you need not major in science to be a successful applicant to medical school.

If you are considering a pre-med path through college, your opportunities to explore start in high school. Spend time shadowing a physician. Gain bench research experience. Enroll in demanding science courses in your high school. Participate in health-related volunteer work. Each of these activities will further enhance your profile in the future and help you to understand and articulate your own desire to become a physician.

Coming up next in this series: Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Identity, Community, and the World of Med School Admissions
Navigating the Med School Maze
How to Shadow a Doctor

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Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:17:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25295 ]]> Listen to the interview!If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you.

00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students.

00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus.

00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad.

00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States.

00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school.

00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance.

00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn.

00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad?

00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

•  International Student Loan
•  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA
•  International Financial Aid Resources
•  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search
•  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right)
•  US School Insurance Requirements
•  International Student Insurance Explained
•  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center
• International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA
• The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories

Related Shows:

• Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet
• Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/feed/ 1 Financial Aid,international student,podcast If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you. 00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students. 00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus. 00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad. 00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States. 00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school. 00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance. 00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn. 00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad? 00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: •  International Student Loan •  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA •  International Financial Aid Resources •  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search •  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right) •  US School Insurance Requirements •  International Student Insurance Explained •  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center • International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA • The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories Related Shows: • Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers • CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans • Is a PhD a Good Idea? • An Inside Look at INSEAD • Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet • Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 34:11
Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/25/tips-for-answering-common-application-essay-prompts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/25/tips-for-answering-common-application-essay-prompts/#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:02:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25076 ]]> For more college admissions tips, check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!

Tell the adcom something that is not already conveyed in your app.

If you are beginning your senior year of high school, this is the prime time to write your Common Application essay. The sooner you get started, the better. There are over 500 Common Application members in 47 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. All these institutions have in common a commitment to a holistic approach to the admissions process. This commitment means they will look at more than just your test scores and GPA. They give significant weight to your essay responses.

Keep in mind that your essays help round out the picture of who you are and what is important to you. Regardless of which essay prompt you address, it is essential to give yourself time to think about the information you are conveying and what specifically it reveals about you. It is also important to invest the energy to revise your responses. Each rendition of your essay should work to clarify your intentions while projecting something meaningful about yourself. You want to tell the admission committees something that is not already conveyed elsewhere in your application.

In addition to the main Common Application essay, many of these schools require additional supplemental essay responses. But they will be the subject of other blog posts.

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Describe your unique background or story and explain in detail what it reveals about your sense of identity. Then discuss how this information/revelation/reflection/experience plays out in who you are and the way you look at the world. In short, why is the background or story you shared significant and how is it central to the way you view yourself?

Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

How do you deal with adversity and what does that say about you? Clearly describe the specific failure you experienced. Discuss what you learned from the experience and how it affects you in your day-to-day life. Don’t focus on the setback itself but rather emphasize what you learned about yourself and how that changed your perspective or behavior. Maybe you learned that hard work pays off? Or that balance is important in your life? Or that you want to make different decisions in the future? You want to demonstrate resilience.

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Recount a time when you stood up for something. Discuss what created the conflict that motivated you to take action. What do your actions reveal about you? Then think about whether or not you would make the same decision again and why. Make sure you clearly communicate your values and beliefs.

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

Briefly describe the place or environment where you are perfectly content. Then focus on your experiences there and why they are significant to you. How do you feel? What are you thinking? What do these emotions/reactions reveal about your character/values/perceptions/assumptions? And can you apply this self-knowledge to your life?

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

This prompt asks how you gained independence and became more self-aware. Provide a rich context as you detail your selected accomplishment or event and then focus on how it demonstrates a significant transition in your life. Take it a step further and discuss how this new phase or different status can serve as a foundation in the future.

If none of the essay prompts immediately jump out at you, give yourself some time to reflect on your life experiences. Talk with your parents and teachers about your ideas. Eventually you will discover a topic that excites you and reveals something significant about yourself. The subject of your essay doesn’t have to be completely novel. However, it should reflect your unique perspective while clearly communicating your best self. Think about what is important to you and why. Remember, all the Common Application member schools are interested in learning more about you through your essays!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By  who served for over 20 years in higher education as an Instructor, Mentor, Academic Advisor and Undergraduate Admissions Specialist at top universities including the University of Michigan. At Michigan, she reviewed over 5000 applications. She would be happy to help you with your or your child’s college application.

Related Resources:

Ivy League and Common Application Tips: How to Get Accepted
Important Admissions Tip: Be Yourself
• School-Specific Common App Supplemental Essay Tips

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6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/6-tips-for-getting-started-on-your-application-essays-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/6-tips-for-getting-started-on-your-application-essays-2/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 16:35:11 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24494 ]]> Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a personal statement or application essay for college or grad school is finding the discipline to sit down and focus. Often, once you accomplish that, the ideas begin to form and the words begin to flow. The following 6 tips will help motivate you to start writing, and then to continue writing until you’ve got some solid material for a compelling essay.

1. Words beget more words. Here’s an important concept to think about when it comes to getting started – one word leads to another. Once you BEGIN writing, your brain will begin to generate ideas that will inspire you to CONTINUE writing. So even if you don’t think you have anything to say, just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer dings. I guarantee that when the buzzer goes off, SOME idea will have surfaced.

2. Write now, edit later. Do NOT get bogged down in the editorial details of your essay during the early writing stages. Now is the time to simply get your ideas out on paper (or computer screen). Write as you think – in fragments, in run-on sentences, or in vivid descriptions of images as they pass before your mind’s eye. Work on making them sound good later on.

3. Use details. During the brainstorming phase of your writing, as well as later on when you’re clarifying your work, you’re going to want to include details that will engage your reader. Think about what attracts someone to a good book – is it boring summaries and abstractions, or a few descriptions of people and places or specific dialog?

4. Include meaning. Description is key, but if you don’t internalize (and then show that you’ve internalized) the MEANING of the scene you’ve described, then the adcoms won’t care much about it. What do your experiences say about YOU?

5. Prove impact. Now that you’ve expressed what your experiences say about your qualifications or characteristics, it’s time to explain how those traits and strengths will contribute to your class. You’ve proven that you are a leader; how do you plan on using those skills?

6. Have faith.
 Maybe you’ve hit a wall and feel like you’ll never spin your ideas into a coherent essay. Have faith – the writing process takes time. Take a break and then return to your computer with a clear mind and a positive attitude to begin the brainstorming process from scratch.

Now, sit down, think, and start writing! Good luck!

5ffgeneric

Accepted.com

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18 SAT Lifehacks [An Awesome Infographic] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/08/18-sat-lifehacks-an-awesome-infographic/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/08/18-sat-lifehacks-an-awesome-infographic/#respond Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:04:00 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24598 ]]> Thanks to our friends at Magoosh SAT for putting together this SAT lifehack infographic to make sure you safely avoid any test-day nightmares. Take some time to browse this list of SAT prep lifehacks and master the 18 unexpected tips you’ll need for a higher SAT score!

SAT Lifehacks: 18 Unexpected Tips for a Higher SAT Score

Good luck!

 

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Career Direction: It’s Ok to Love Your Job! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:12:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24502 ]]> Click here to listen to the show!Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career?

Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, for essential advice on choosing a career path and laying the foundations for long-term fulfillment and success at work.

00:02:27 – Akiba’s journey from brand management to career coaching.

00:04:34 – The anatomy of bad advice (and some good advice to counter it).

00:16:53 – Tips for finding meaningful and enjoyable work.

00:22:57 – I want to follow my passion… but it has no market value. What should I do?

00:25:45 – How to get off the treadmill – even if you’ve been running since pre-school.

00:30:49 – Good networking: what it is and how to do it.

00:36:02 – Are all graduate school leadership development programs created equal?

00:39:51 – Advice for a young person figuring out a career path.
Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Services Section
• Akiba Smith-Francis on LinkedIn 
• 
Stepping Off the Path

Related Shows:

The Consortium: Diversifying B-School and Corporate Management
• Forte Helps Women in Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster 
• Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl 
• Goal Setting, Job Searching, and Sweet Careers 
• From Luxury Marketing to Entrepreneurship: A Talk with Daria Burke
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers 

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

How can you show the adcom that you will be a leader in the future? Click here to find out!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/feed/ 0 career changers,career goals,podcast Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career? - Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career? Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, for essential advice on choosing a career path and laying the foundations for long-term fulfillment and success at work. 00:02:27 – Akiba’s journey from brand management to career coaching. 00:04:34 – The anatomy of bad advice (and some good advice to counter it). 00:16:53 – Tips for finding meaningful and enjoyable work. 00:22:57 – I want to follow my passion… but it has no market value. What should I do? 00:25:45 – How to get off the treadmill – even if you’ve been running since pre-school. 00:30:49 – Good networking: what it is and how to do it. 00:36:02 – Are all graduate school leadership development programs created equal? 00:39:51 – Advice for a young person figuring out a career path. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • Services Section • Akiba Smith-Francis on LinkedIn  • Stepping Off the Path Related Shows: • The Consortium: Diversifying B-School and Corporate Management • Forte Helps Women in Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster  • Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl  • Goal Setting, Job Searching, and Sweet Careers  • From Luxury Marketing to Entrepreneurship: A Talk with Daria Burke • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 45:23
What Score Do You Need on the TOEFL? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/what-score-do-you-need-on-the-toefl/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/what-score-do-you-need-on-the-toefl/#respond Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:58:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24479 ]]> If you’re an international student applying to the U.S., you’ve probably asked yourself this question: what TOEFL score do I need to get in? You might have heard that making it to the 100’s will guarantee you admission, but you’ve also had friends who reached that score and were turned down from schools. Confused yet? We’d be too!

But before you give up hope, our friends at Magoosh TOEFL have good news for you! They’ve just released a new infographic that shows what TOEFL sores you’ll need to get into top graduate schools in the U.S. It’s based off their research on the minimum scores required at top schools as well as what other students at those schools score on average. That means you now have a place to start and a goal to aim for when you decide to take the TOEFL. Cue sigh of relief!

TOEFL Scores Infographic

 

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Meet the Guy Who Passed 60 out of 61 Case Interviews (You Can Too!) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:07:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24405 ]]> No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time!

If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, former consultant and interviewer at McKinsey and author of Case Interview Secrets.

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting, Accepted’s free guide to b-schools for management consultant wannabes. 
• Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng
• 
Case Interview.com 
• Which B-Schools Send Grads Into Consulting?

Related Shows:

• How to Become a Management Consultant
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• The Facts about Financial Services

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Are you a future management consultant? Learn how to research & identify the best MBA programs to apply to!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/feed/ 0 Management Consulting,podcast No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time! - If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time! If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, former consultant and interviewer at McKinsey and author of Case Interview Secrets. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting, Accepted’s free guide to b-schools for management consultant wannabes.  • Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng • Case Interview.com  • Which B-Schools Send Grads Into Consulting? Related Shows: • How to Become a Management Consultant • An Inside Look at INSEAD • The Facts about Financial Services Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 34:26
The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/the-biggest-application-essay-mistake-video/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/the-biggest-application-essay-mistake-video/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:54:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24261 ]]> What is the very worst thing you could possibly do in your application essays? Watch Linda’s answer and add your own comments below:

Accepted.com

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USC Lets Students Fast Track to Law School http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/14/usc-lets-students-fast-track-to-law-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/14/usc-lets-students-fast-track-to-law-school/#respond Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:07:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24196 ]]> Need law school admissions advice?

The country’s second-largest legal market.

Last week USC announced the launch of its new 3+3 program which will allow select USC students to begin law school (at USC’s Gould School of Law) during their senior year. The program lasts a total of six years – three years of undergraduate studies and three years of law school. Students apply to the program during their junior year; if accepted they’ll enroll in law school the following year and then receive their bachelor’s degree upon completion of that year. Then, two years later, they’ll receive their law degree.

To apply to the program, students must have:

 • A minimum GPA of 3.8.
 • Completed the coursework for their majors by junior year.
 • Strong faculty recommendations, writing samples, and a personal statement.
 • An interview.

The LSAT is not required for admission to the program.

“The 3+3 program will enable the best USC undergraduates to stay at USC for law school and take advantage of being in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest legal market,” says USC Gould’s associate dean for admissions and financial aid, Chloe Reid. “It is a highly selective program for those students who can tackle the rigors of academic life at one of the country’s leading law schools. Students who are set on the legal profession will find these aspects very appealing.”

See the USC press release for more details.

View our catalog of law school admissions consulting and editing services for more information on how we can help YOU get accepted!

8_Tips_for_Law_School_Admissions_CTA
Accepted.com

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6 Ways to Save More Money Once School Starts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/11/6-ways-to-save-more-money-once-school-starts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/11/6-ways-to-save-more-money-once-school-starts/#respond Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:34:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24165 ]]> Check out our College 101 Tips!

If you don’t have a university debit card, don’t sign up for one.

If you’ve opted to attend an in-state school or get your core courses knocked out at a community college, you’re well on your way to cutting the cost of your education. Once the semester begins, however, expenses can really add up, and it’s easy to stray from a frugal mindset. Thankfully, there are plenty of money-saving opportunities at your disposal and taking advantage of all of them is in your best short- and long-term interest. To learn how to cut your costs after you crack open that first textbook, read on.

1. Resell Textbooks
If you bought your textbooks online from eBay or Amazon to save money, congrats. Once the semester is done, or even a few days before, be sure to list those textbooks for sale to get some of your money back. Check out eBay and Amazon for details on pricing, and if you don’t like what you see check a local storefront in your area where you may be able to get a better deal. Competition is high, so the sooner you get your textbooks listed the better off you’re going to be.

2. Make Full Use of Your Student ID Card
Your student ID card is good for free sporting events, lectures, and even concerts and discounts at local eateries and shops – so be sure to make full use of it. If you take in a hockey game for free one Friday night instead of bar-hopping with your friends, you could save yourself $50 or more. Anytime you reach for your wallet off-campus, be sure to ask if there’s a student discount for the purchase you’re about to make. Often, there is.

3. Get a Job
Most students don’t consider working during school because of the time commitment required for studies. If you manage your schedule well, though, you can certainly find the room to take on a part-time job. For all those hours you’re working, you won’t be out spending money. Check in with your campus employment office or do a targeted search on a career website like SimplyHired. Search using the keyword “part-time,” and include your location. There should be plenty of positions available either on or near campus, and you might be able to walk to work.

4. Get Stuff for Free
Did you know that there are plenty of computer software titles available for free download at the website CNET? You also don’t need to pay for antivirus software because the programs Avast and AVG give you all the protection you need. If you’re looking for a couch to round out your dorm room, skip the local furniture outlet and check out Freecycle or Craigslist. You can get countless items for free – you just have to know where to look.

5. Find Low-Cost Entertainment
Instead of heading to the movie theater where you might drop $30 or more, invite some friends over for Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, or another classic board game like Pictionary. You can find them at a local retailer like Target for about $15, or at thrift stores for just $1 or $2 – just make sure all the game cards and pieces are still in the box. Also, think about joining an intramural sports league where your out-of-pocket costs are low and you can improve your health at the same time.

6. Cut Up the University Debit Card
If you don’t have a university debit card, don’t sign up for one. If you do, cut it up. The pros are far outweighed by the cons. It typically comes with hefty withdrawal and transfer fees. Also, since these cards are often linked to your financial aid, it can be far too easy to blow that money on unimportant purchases. Avoid temptation entirely and rely on cash for your time in school.

Final Thoughts
College is typically a four-year stretch, and the money decisions you make during that time go a long way toward shaping your finances post-graduation. If you enter the workforce with a boatload of student loan debt, it becomes that much harder to start setting aside for other important financial considerations, like retirement savings, a down payment for a home, and an emergency fund. Do your best to shave costs during school and you’re going to thank yourself once that first paycheck comes in.

What are your plans for saving money during school?

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

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 Tom Bailey writes about money saving strategies, including ways to cut college expenses and survive as a student.

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3 Mistakes Successful College Applicants Don’t Make http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/10/3-mistakes-successful-college-applicants-dont-make/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/10/3-mistakes-successful-college-applicants-dont-make/#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:42:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24019 ]]> Successful college applicants don't blow off senior year!

Successful college applicants don’t blow off senior year!

The preparation for successful college application does not happen overnight. In fact, it is the culmination of years of work throughout high school. The most successful college applicants take a number of components into consideration as they approach the application process. Here are three mistakes they don’t make:

1. Blow off essay responses. They know a strong GPA and test scores are not enough. They invest time and thought in their essay responses and they don’t wait until the last minute to submit their applications. They keep deadlines in mind. They request letters of recommendation in a timely manner to allow a teacher/counselor time to reflect before writing a recommendation. They use their essays as an opportunity to demonstrate their specific interests, life experience, and aspirations not just to repeat information found elsewhere in their application. They share something that helps fill in the overall picture of who they are and how they can contribute to the overall college environment.

2. Neglect to consider appropriate college fit. Their initial list might begin with colleges that family members or friends recommend but it doesn’t stop there. They apply to a range of schools that are a good fit for them- they include fallback and dream school options. They invest time to research which schools are the best fits for them on many levels (consider: size of student population, distance from home, financial obligations, academic interests, special programs, alumni ties). They use on-line resources to provide information and insight into the sorts of programs and activities available at a college. They schedule campus tours and reach out to college counselors whenever possible. They speak with current students and recent graduates. They ask their tour guides/hosts questions about how they selected a specific college and about experiences at the college that matched their expectations, as well as, what they might do anything differently in hindsight. Successful applicants can articulate why each school they apply to is a good fit for them.

3. Take it easy in senior year. They take a rigorous curriculum throughout high school, demonstrate an upward trend in academic demands, and maintain extracurricular involvement with increasing leadership responsibility. They don’t blow off senior year. Yes, of course they have fun but they keep future goals in mind as well. They make sure to stay on top of assignments and prepare well for exams.

Although this discussion seems logical, nonetheless, these are common oversights. Successful college applicants don’t make these mistakes.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.
Marie Todd By Accepted college admissions consultant who has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology; School of Nursing; and Taubman College of Architecture. She is available to assist your child with his or her applications.

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What if I Need to Retake the SAT? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/07/what-if-i-need-to-retake-the-sat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/07/what-if-i-need-to-retake-the-sat/#respond Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:02:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24032 ]]> Need College Admissions Tips?

SAT: Take 2 (or 3 or 4)

Some treat taking the SAT over again as though it were the same thing as walking down the aisle to take one’s marriage vows for the second time. If stigma should be attached anywhere, it should be on not re-taking the SAT—a second time, third time, and a fourth time. I’m not saying become an SAT test-taking junkie. Rather, you should feel utterly at ease with retaking the SAT. Here’s why!

1. Colleges only see the scores you decide to send them

The colleges aren’t like Big Brother (the all-knowing presence from Orwell’s 1984). That is, they won’t know your scores unless you submit them. You have the option of doing so, for free, during the test. However, you can also send them any time after the test (for a small fee). Unless, you send a specific college your score report, it will never know what you got.

2. You can send your best score in any one section

You can pick and choose your best performance, section-wise, from any test. So your total score can come from as many as three different tests.

Let’s say you scored 750 in math and were surprised at how well you did. However, you bombed the verbal because you didn’t study vocab. For the next test, you go into agro vocab mode and you end up with an amazing 680 on verbal (but you end up doing not so well on math and writing). On a third take you could just focus on the writing section and essay so as to get your best score. If you don’t do so well on the third test, take it again.

3. Knowing that you can retake the SAT multiple times should make it less stressful

All of this is good news because it makes taking the SAT much less stressful. So even if you think taking the test four times is ludicrous, because, hey, you have better things to do with your Saturday, that’s fine. Knowing that you can retake the test will, if nothing else, make the experience a little less stressful.

4. Just because you take the SAT again doesn’t mean you’ll do better

It’s important to note that taking the SAT again doesn’t mean you’re going to score better. Only retake the test if you feel you’ve prepped more than before and are going into the test with more knowledge and better strategies. You might also want to use different prep materials than you did the first time around. For suggestions, check out the Magoosh book reviews in our SAT eBook.

5. There is more to life than taking the SAT

For those of you at the very other end of the spectrum—those who know you can and should retake the test—don’t keep doing so just for those extra few points. There are other things that colleges look at—things you could be doing instead of learning more esoteric SAT vocabulary (do you really need to know the difference between the words “venal” and “venial”?). Volunteering at a hospital, working on that special talent, or studying for one of the SAT subject tests (I know—it’s hard to truly get away from the SAT) might make you seem a little more well-rounded.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Magoosh SAT This post was written by Chris Lele, resident SAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on SAT prep, check out Magoosh’s SAT blog.

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Happy July 4th! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/04/happy-july-4th/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/04/happy-july-4th/#respond Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:34:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24047 ]]> Happy July 4th from Linda Abraham and the Accetped Team!

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New Consultant Spotlight: Marie Todd http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/02/new-consultant-spotlight-marie-todd/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/02/new-consultant-spotlight-marie-todd/#respond Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:09:09 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24008 ]]> Marie ToddClick here to check out Marie's bio or to get in touch!, one of Accepted’s new admissions consultants, has worn many hats in her career in higher education: She’s worked as an instructor, an academic advisor, and an undergraduate admissions specialist. She has evaluated over 5000 applications as an application reader for various undergraduate programs at the University of Michigan. She has a deep understanding of the way admissions readers make their decisions, along with the mentoring skills to help your high school student present him or herself through the college application.

Marie can help your child choose the most appropriate schools to apply to and then mentor your child through the application process. With Marie’s exceptional higher ed experience, she is well equipped to guide your son or daughter on the journey to higher education.

BONUS: Marie brings her unique training in communications and technology to the Accepted.com table. She’s done extensive research on the use of digital portfolios to showcase the work of students and applicants.

Want to get to know Marie better? Check out her full profile here.

CheckOutMarie'sProfile

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Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: Senior Year http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/01/getting-ready-to-apply-to-top-tier-colleges-and-universities-senior-year/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/01/getting-ready-to-apply-to-top-tier-colleges-and-universities-senior-year/#respond Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:57:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23590 ]]> Check out the rest of the Getting Ready to Apply to College Series!

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application.

In this final segment of our new series Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, I offer tips to high school seniors.

Accepted.com can help bring out your best in your applications and my colleagues and I are here to help.

Tips for High School Seniors

1. Create a spreadsheet that includes all of your school choices and your “to do” list like writing essays, supplements, gathering transcripts (many schools use a service like parchment.com and I have found this service to provide an easy and high quality solution needed to expedite transcripts).  Note all the deadlines and to which schools you are applying for Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision.

2. Use the summer to complete the more tedious parts of the Common Application. It will reopen the summer before you begin your senior year.   Narrow down your school choices if you haven’t done so already.

3. Calendar time to apply to the UC system schools, if those schools are on your short-list. The University of California Application will open on October 1 and they give you a very small window to apply to the schools (November 1-November 30) but you can apply to many schools with the one application.  Each school also has its own supplements, so build the time you need to complete the applications.

4. Prepare and schedule time to apply to schools outside the UC system and schools that do not use the Common App. Note the schools that don’t subscribe to the common app and make certain that you are prepared to apply to these schools directly.

5. Build in 3-4 hours a week to work on your applications.  Most of my clients begin with their common application essay.  Remember that this essay will be read by all the common app schools to which you apply, and you won’t be able to reuse its contents in your supplemental essays.

6. Brainstorm essay concepts with someone whose judgment you trust: a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a consultant, or a family friend whose writing you admire.  I don’t suggest using your peers for this exercise.  If you pushed your boundaries in prior years, you will have good material to write about.  You need to believe that you are an interesting person and that the admissions director would want to have a 5-course meal with you, not just a 5-minute conversation.

7. Outline your essays and begin to write.  Ask for feedback.  Have someone look at your application and essays for editing, typos, grammar, and sentence structure.  When you are satisfied with the outcome, make sure you upload clean copies of your essays into the application.  Continue this process until you have completed all your applications.  Early applications are due in September or October and Regular Decisions are due in January.  Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application.

8. Make certain everything on the application is complete before you submit.

9. Check and recheck with your recommenders to make certain they have submitted their reference.
Retake the SAT or ACT, if necessary, before you submit your application.

10. Continue your good study habits and your leadership at school.  Universities will ask for a mid-term report before rendering a final decision.

Your decisions will begin to roll in and you will be on your way to a new journey that will likely be the best four years of your life.

Good luck!

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

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Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/26/top-10-colleges-with-the-highest-paid-grads/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/26/top-10-colleges-with-the-highest-paid-grads/#respond Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:32:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23840 ]]> Think you need a grad degree to rake in the big bucks? Not if you’re lucky enough to land a job after graduating from one of the schools on the list below! A recent Forbes article pooled data from a survey released by NerdScholar.

Looking for college admissions advice? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!

Note: The list here only includes schools that released their salary data to NerdScholar. This is why schools like Yale, Harvard, and Brown are missing from the list. Also, to put things in perspective, there are more than 4,500 degree-granting colleges in the U.S., and NerdScholar only received data for 184 schools within 57 different institutions.

For those schools that didn’t provide salary info, NerdScholar still tracks their graduates using other data – for example, what percent of the class is employed, what percent goes on to grad school, and what sorts of careers students are choosing.

You can use this tool (here) to compare these sorts of stats at different programs. It’s a lot of fun to sift and compare results, and NerdScholar argues that this school-provided data is more reliable than the self-reported data presented by the students to salary sites like PayScale.

See the Forbes article for the full list of 50 schools, as well as an explanation on the methodology used in this ranking.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

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Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: Junior Year http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/24/getting-ready-to-apply-to-top-tier-colleges-and-universities-junior-year/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/24/getting-ready-to-apply-to-top-tier-colleges-and-universities-junior-year/#respond Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:47:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23585 ]]> Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders - click here for your free copy!

Schools use the junior year as a cornerstone for your academic achievement. Now is the time to excel.

In the third post of our new series Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, I offer tips to high school juniors.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to gain admission into the country’s elite schools, knowing how to navigate the system should become important for you.

Tips for High School Juniors

1. Continue to take AP courses and tests.  Schools use the junior year as a cornerstone for your academic achievement.  Now is the time to excel.

2. Decide whether to take the SAT (and for some schools, SAT subject tests) or the ACT with writing and get assistance in preparing for these tests.  You will take them in your junior year, but you will have another opportunity to take the test in the summer.  You must be diligent in practicing for these exams outside of preparation classes or tutoring sessions.  Work with your peers or faculty through problems you don’t understand.  Practice tests will show you your weaknesses and it will be up to you to find the appropriate means to strengthen those weaknesses.  Most universities accept both the ACT and the SAT, but consider your top schools and make sure that the test you choose is a test they evaluate.

3. Ask 2-4 teachers if they can write you an outstanding recommendation.  Most schools require two teachers, but if you plan to apply to 20 schools, you are putting a lot of burden on those teachers.  Split it up and give them less of a work load.

4. Take on more leadership or get involved in something you care deeply about.  Schools are looking to see that you can push your own boundaries and always strive to achieve your best.

5. Begin to think about your place in the world and what you hope to achieve.

6. Use your winter and spring breaks to visit schools.  Attend school visits to your city.  Talk with alumni, current students (most schools have ambassadors that live in your city).  Get to know your regional admissions officer and make sure you are top of mind as an intelligent leader and team player.  Let them know your passions.  Follow up with all correspondence to everyone connected with the schools of your choice.

7. Narrow down your school list.  You should have some stretch schools 2-3, some match schools 5-7 and some safety schools 2-3.  If you are not sure how to narrow down your search, Accepted.com can assist you with this task.

8. Clean up all potentially negative social media. If it doesn’t reflect well on you, it could hurt your chances of acceptance.

9. Look for summer work that will not only give you extra spending money, but also opportunities to learn more about a field that interests you.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders
Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

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ACT, SAT, PSAT…What’s the Difference? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/22/act-sat-psatwhats-the-difference/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/22/act-sat-psatwhats-the-difference/#respond Sun, 22 Jun 2014 15:05:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23677 ]]> Applying to college? Make sure your application essays don't contain any of the 5 fatal flaws!

One of the most important elements of every standardized test you’ll ever take is the time pressure.

When we compare standardized tests to each other, there are usually two points of view that people take: either they’re all the same, or you have to prepare for each one separately. The truth—surprise, surprise—is actually somewhere between those two ideas. But that’s boring to write about (who actually likes compromising, anyway?), so I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to argue a point that might be a bit surprising coming from a test prep tutor. It’s one that I don’t wholly believe, to be fair, but it’s worth consideration.

All Standardized Tests Are Basically the Same

That’s right. You can talk about the SAT vs. ACT or the PSAT vs. SAT all you want—how the ACT math involves harder topics, how the SAT cares more about rare vocabulary words, etc.—and decide to take one or the other based on your preferences, but you’d really be talking about small differences and ignoring the enormous similarities between the two. Nobody ever lists the ways the two tests are similar, but maybe they should.

The Content Is the Same

No matter which test you’re looking at, it includes math, reading comprehension, grammar, and an essay. Every test includes at least something more than those four subject, and if you start looking outside of the high-school level tests, some don’t include all four, but still, they’re are at the heart of the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Come to think of it, reading comprehension is actually on every single test I know of, including the dental school admissions test (there’s a test for everything, you know).

But those are pretty broad terms, right? After all, “math” can mean addition or it can mean integral calculus. So you might think that the specifics of each test can be pretty drastically different, but they aren’t. For example, most tests’ math sections, including the SAT and ACT, focus pretty heavily on number properties, algebra, basic geometry, and data analysis. Even if there’s a sprinkling of trigonometry or a dash of combinatorics, the real meat of a math section will based on the fundamentals. And the other broad subjects, such as reading comprehension, are also built on common sets of underlying skills.

The Format Is the Same

Because every standardized test is taken by many, many people, they can’t all be graded by hand. And computer grading means, pretty much without fail, multiple choice questions.

So it’s not only the content of the tests, but also the format. There are only so many ways you can ask a grammar question in multiple choice form. One of the easiest is to highlight a section of text with an error, then give some possible ways to correct that error. The PSAT, SAT, and ACT all have that type of question.

The fact is that most types of questions on either test are also on the other test. There aren’t that many ways to get creative when testing the same basic knowledge and skills with multiple choice questions.

The Timing Is the Same

I really can’t emphasize this one enough. One of the most important elements of every standardized test you’ll ever take is the time pressure. You know how many people say “I’m just not a great test-taker” or something similar? Well, that’s mostly about the clock. The way you react to the feeling of taking a test can hugely affect your scores. All tests bring this up in pretty much the same way. It’s not just about how good you are at math, but also about how confident you are, how calm you are, your breathing, your posture, and your focus.

Whether you score in the 50th percentile (higher than 50% of test-takers) or the 70th might be largely about based on how comfortable you are taking the test.

Back to Reality

Like I said at the start of this, they’re not really identical. There are some notable differences between the tests, sure. Don’t study only the PSAT if you’re going to take the ACT soon, of course. But on the other hand, they’re so similar in so many ways, it’d be wrong to treat them as entirely separate creatures. Most of the features of any one standardized test you take will be the same as another test you have taken or will take one day. And that’s a good thing, actually, because we get better at taking them with experience.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Magoosh SAT This post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on SAT prep, check out Magoosh’s SAT blog.

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