college applications

On the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, guest host Ian Fisher digs into the nitty gritty details of completing college applications, talking with his guests about the hazards of “over-packaging” yourself in the application and the role of extracurricular activities in supplemental essays. He wraps up the program with a detailed look at the requirements that students must meet in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid.

The Dangers of Over-Packaging

Ian’s first guest, College Coach admissions expert Kennon Dick, offers some great insights about the dangers of submitting an overly polished college admission application. While he acknowledges this affects only a very small portion of students, he warns against students losing their authentic voice by trying too hard to tailor their application to a particular school or program. He reminds parents to not be overly-involved in the process, and suggests that students spend more time trying to find a school that fits them well, rather than trying to make themselves fit what they perceive a particular school wants. Tune in to learn more!

Essays on Extracurricular Activities

Next on the program is College Coach admission expert Lauren Randle with some fantastic advice on how to highlight extracurricular activities in your supplemental essays. While the list of activities on the college application provides the college with “what” you have done, Lauren encourages students to use application essays to explain “why” you do what you do. Whether you are writing a personal statement or a supplemental essay about one of your activities, you’ll want to check out this segment.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Finally, Ian’s last guest, college finance expert Tara Piantanida-Kelly, enlightens us about SAP, or Satisfactory Academic Progress. Essentially, she explains, colleges are required to monitor federal aid recipients to make sure they are making timely progress toward completing their certificate or degree. Colleges will also have requirements students must meet in order to have institutional scholarships and grants renewed. Tara offers some advice about what to watch for—colleges will be monitoring both the quality of your academic work (G.P.A.) and the quantity (the percentage of attempted credits that are completed). She provides important insights about how to research and understand your college’s policy.

Don’t miss our next show, when Elizabeth Heaton will return to welcome a guest from the college planning website She also will talk with College Coach experts about how to help new college students facing interpersonal challenges in their first semester and how students can manage their financial aid refund checks.


Written by College Coach
College Coach® is the nation’s leading provider of educational advising, offering expert guidance from the best college admissions consultants on the college admissions and finance process. Our goal is to help each student maximize his or her chances of success through services focused on their personal desires, goals, individual strengths, and accomplishments.