It’s October in the US, and all around the country many a high school senior is logging into the Common Application, reading the supplemental essay prompts required of their prospective universities, rubbing their exhausted eyes in disbelief, and collectively uttering a simple, yet disquieted, “Wha…???”
Yes, we’ve all come across them: those “nefariously” written college essay prompts, so challenging in nature even Einstein might not know what to make of them. So to help prevent you from getting “lost in translation,” the expert college admissions consultants at College Coach have banded together to conduct an “exhaustive search” for The Most Challenging College Essay Prompts of 2013 and decrypt them for you—the writing’s up to you.
Applying to grad school these days entails much more than simply matching up one’s interests to a set of prospective schools. It’s oftentimes done with an eye towards landing a job soon after graduation. We decided to ask two graduate school alums, Priya Menon of Babson and Nadia Ibrahim of Suffolk University, what they wished they had known about graduate school before they applied. Could they offer any advice to prospective grad school applicants about finding the right fit? Here’s what they had to say:
College applications can be fraught with stress for both parents and students. So how do parents avoid turning “help” with admission essays into “too much help”? To guide us through this parental conundrum, we’ve turned to Jacob Palmer, student blogger and junior at American University, for some parent / student advice. Jake relates to us his essay writing experiences and the impact his mother’s help had on the process.
How would you describe your relationship with your mom when it came to writing your essays?
I’d say it was strained, but in a good way. Students are encouraged to be creative and take risks with their application essays, and conflict inevitably rises from that risk taking. And while creative essays can work, oftentimes a student requires some guidance to make sure their essay doesn’t sacrifice message for originality. I used my mom as a resource to bounce off ideas.
In an effort to beat back the demographic headwinds now working against them, some colleges and universities are coming up with ever more clever ways to maintain their “uber-selective” titles. They’re using every weapon within their recruitment and selectivity arsenal — from demographics to yield to just plain making it easy to apply — to improve their relative rank.
As colleges and universities conspire against one another for prestige, how do students avoid becoming collateral damage, victims of the college application arms race? If you want to dodge the proverbial thin envelope, consider these three simple rules of engagement:
Can students be blamed for thinking they have to apply to 100 colleges just to get admitted somewhere? Think about it. The population of high school graduates was supposed to have peaked in 2008, but colleges and universities are still finding creative ways to round up new applicants. As a result, admit rates are being driven down to staggering levels. A few examples:
Welcome to The Insider: Your Expert Guide to College Admissions.
As former admission officers from some of the nation’s most selective colleges and universities, we aim to provide students and parents with a comprehensive overview of the college admissions process: strategies for high school and application success, paying for college, and news of the day. It’s our goal to help bring some clarity and sense to a process that can feel mysterious and overwhelming. Because we’ve actually been on the other side of the door evaluating applications and making thousands of admission decisions, we bring an insider perspective to a process many find baffling. College Coach graduates, as a matter of fact, have been accepted to over 560 different colleges and universities — we tackle all kinds of admission queries!