|Admissions Essays Blog|
|Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.|
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Is Your Admission Essay Really About You?
There is a multitude of literature with throw-away pieces of advice on how to write a better admission essay. The business of college admissions has spawned books, essays, websites and more, just bursting at the seams with tips. Most all of these tips are helpful. Our site aims to help students parse out the best of what they have to say in order to better sell themselves to the universities of their choice. This article, however, served as a reminder that most students already have it in them to write a superb admission essay.
Asking a seventeen-year-old student to explore the deep recesses of their soul is not a very realistic exercise. Our own blog has touted the importance of being introspective, but that isn't always easy, especially in the context of an admission essay . When reflection isn't working for you, try going with what feels natural. Write your admission essay about something you like, something you are good at, and something that excites you. Stick with one subject. You can't be everything to everyone, least of all an admissions officer.
This high school junior did just that, and taking the risk paid off. His admission essay was written from the heart. He didn't try to portray himself as the best or brightest of anything. He wrote about an accomplishment without sounding like he was boasting. This essay style may not be for everyone, but it is yet another reminder that when it comes to admissions essays, one size doesn't fit all.
To Be or Not To Be College Bound .
Labels: admission essay really about you
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Flexibility of a Business School Education Appealing to Women
They don't call it a man's world for no reason and in the white collar world of business, there's no doubt that the old boys' network is still solidly entrenched. There are just 15 female CEOs in Fortune 500's 2010 list (for those of you counting, that is 15 out of 500), and women still make somewhere around 78 cents to the man's dollar. There is however, a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel, and it is making its appearance in business school enrollment. According to a recent U.S. Department of Education report, there has been a 75% increase in female enrollment in business school over the past decade.
Specific schools are showing even more compelling numbers. Harvard Business School had a 38% female enrollment in 2010, compared with just 28% in 1995. Wharton's 2011 business school class boasted a 40% female enrollment- a jump from 32% in 2007, and NYU's Stern School of Business boasts the highest female enrollment in the country at 41%. A recent Forbes magazine article sited the failing economy and the flexibility of a business school education as the reason for the shift. (The U.S. Department of Education further reports that women receive 61% of all Master's Degrees but just 44% of Business School Degrees).
Because women bear the brunt of the juggling act of work and parenthood, business school can be a good option. It can serve as a platform for work in the corporate or non-profit world as wage earners or self-employed entrepreneurs. Though the gender gap in business school enrollment still needs to be bridged, this development is good news for women, and great news for a more diverse, well-rounded business marketplace.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Why Writing an Admission Essay is So Hard
For young high school students, the hardest part of the personal statement is coming up with material to include in it. Young people worry that they lack the life experience necessary to sell themselves in an admission essay. Not necessarily true. The personal statement does not need to be stuffed full of accomplishments. The best admission essay is simple but introspective. This piece of advice sounds self-evident, but it is exceedingly difficult. Here's why.
Students struggling with their admission essay know that they are competing against thousands of other students with the same goal. It follows that their admission essay has to stand out from the rest. In the mind of a nervous college applicant, standing out becomes synonymous with being the best/fastest/smartest/first/most unique and so on. So desperate are they to stand out, that they'll share their misfortunes-again hoping to be the most perseverant and so on. The fact is, in the race of life, there will always be some people ahead of us and some behind us. To an admissions officer, a self-congratulatory press release or a maudlin sob story starts to seem beside the point.
The admission essay prompt will essentially ask you what you want to do and why. Try turning this around on yourself, by saying, 'what will happen if I don't achieve this goal, and why?' Ask yourself questions like these: When was I last really sad? Scared? Angry? Confused? Excited? Hopeful? Think about who you are really setting your goals for and why. Then be honest. Maybe you want to make lots of money. Maybe you're trying to keep someone else happy. Maybe you're not sure.
Try giving up on the idea of handing the admissions officer the answer they are looking for. They aren't looking for you to figure them out. They're looking for you to figure yourself out. That is what makes an admission essay hard to write and the only way to start it is to take a hard look at the person staring back at you in the mirror.
Labels: admissions essay is so hard
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
High school juniors: How to make this summer count!
As the school year shuffles to an end, the minds of most high school students start to wander to the lazy mornings and long afternoons of summer break. With college prep starting ever earlier in the lifetime of today's aspirant college student, it is easy to understand why high school students want to use the summer to "check out". Without grades and standardized testing to worry about for a few months, this is not such a bad idea. But what about the personal statement? How can a long summer help students better prepare for their college admissions essay?
The eased time restrictions of summer can give young students time to reflect. Free from deadlines, you can engage in the type of rewarding activities that will help flesh out your personal statement next year. Take a summer job. Volunteer. Travel. Travel some more. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, think about making a first draft of your personal statement. Starting is the hardest part, so giving yourself time to reflect and reconsider what is going into your personal statement is key. By the time you are out of time, you will wish that you had.
Remember too that giving yourself time to unwind is crucial. The college application process is stressful, especially when it is layered on top of a full-time class schedule, extracurricular activities, work and more. While you should enjoy the summer time, you should also see it as an opportunity to get ahead. Making the choice to set aside some time-while you have it-will be reflected in your personal statement. And you will still have some summer time left over.
Labels: how to make the summer count
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Are Law Schools in it for the Money?
Following a recent New York Times expose on law school merit scholarships, a universal push for transparency has emerged. The scholarships, many law students argue, are an elaborate money-making scheme for the law schools. Potential law students are lured through the doors with the promise of merit-based scholarships, so long as they can maintain grades above a pre-stated average. The law schools then make it virtually impossible for students to maintain the minimum GPA, causing many students to lose their scholarships after the first year of law school. By then, the student who has invested a full year in school is unlikely to drop out simply because their financial aid has lapsed. The law school then benefits to the tune of two full years of paid tuition from the failed scholarship recipient.
The law schools argue that the contract terms are clear. Keep pace academically, and the scholarship money will flow. The consequences of a drooping GPA are no surprise. But students complain that there are no objective markers for grading. More importantly, they'd like to see statistics. How many merit-based scholars are actually 'able' to maintain the minimum GPA? What financial incentive do the schools have for rewarding good academics? This issue might fade more easily into the background if it weren't for a simultaneous push for transparency in other aspects of law school data. Across the country, students, faculty and politicians are pushing law schools to be more candid with statistics on post-graduate jobs, debt to income ratio of law school graduates and so on.
No matter which side of the argument you choose, one thing is certain. A law degree is undoubtedly valuable, but placing a viable price tag upon it is no easy task.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
How to Make Your Law School Personal Statement Matter
A quick rummage around the web for information on law school admission will unearth volumes of opinions on how best to get in. On one thing, however, most of them seem to agree: law school admission is a numbers game, balanced delicately upon GPA and LSAT, LSAT, LSAT. Law school admission, it seems, kneels at the feet of the standardized test. For aspiring candidates, the law school admission process is all about statistics. The highest median LSAT scores are inextricably tied to the highest ranking schools, which in turn, churn out the highest percentage of graduates hired at the top-tier firms, with the highest average salaries. The hyperbole gets exhausting. Demoralizing, too, perhaps, for the well-rounded, experienced student without the grades and test scores to prove it. Or is it?
The University of California at Berkeley (ranked #9 by the 2011 U.S. News and World Report Rankings), recently posted suggested guidelines for personal statements for their law school candidates. UC Berkeley Law School
The instructions, written by a former admissions officer, range from common sense tips to candid admonitions about what NOT to (ever) include in a personal statement. The advice is refreshingly honest. Above all, it serves as a reminder that the personal statement does in fact matter. So much so that a poorly written statement can be irritating and distracting to the weary admissions officer.
A reminder, perhaps, that even in the rank-happy world of law school admission, there is a person behind the test-score, and the law school admissions officer wants to see who they really are.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Facebook and College Admission
It's no secret that social media is changing the way we communicate. Some argue that social media sites depersonalize our relationships by emphasizing quantity (of "friends") over quality (of actual relationships). While Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and their ilk have opened up a new world of social interaction at the click of a mouse, they bring with them plenty of drawbacks. In much the same way that employers have admitted to using Facebook pages to vet potential employees, so too are college admissions officers beginning to use such social media sites to check up on student applicants.
Recent studies have revealed that 80% of higher learning institutions utilize social media as part of the recruitment process. It's an ideal arena, given the love affair between youth and the internet. Many college admissions officers admit to taking a peak at candidate's social media profiles. Quantifying the effect of such profiles on the admissions process could be difficult, but common sense dictates that a salacious or offensive Facebook page may not sit well with a college admissions officer, who is on the fence about a candidate.
If you think about it, applying to college or graduate school is not unlike creating a profile on a social media site; both processes involve the packaging and marketing of the self to a wider audience. There might not be a problem if those two audiences didn't intersect. Hopeful candidates should simply be more mindful that they do. BostInnovation
Labels: facebook and college admission
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Job Market Improving for Business School Graduates
With all of the bad news about the economy, it is comforting that prospects are improving for at least one group of people-business school graduates. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, this year's crop of business school graduates are more likely to already have a job offer before graduating than 2010's graduating class. Salaries are also on the rise. Graduate Management Admission Council
For prospective applicants, this means that there is no time like the present to forge ahead into a post-graduate, business-school education. With hiring slumps prevalent across the board for graduates with other professional degrees, this positive change for business school graduates should serve as inspiration for anyone who has ever had a serious interest in getting their MBA. If this upturn is good for hopeful students, it will probably also mean an increase in competition for slots at prominent business schools. This is where the personal statement can be so compelling. Most people seeking entry into an MBA program can boast impressive credentials. Yet in a competitive market and a world where personal interviews are increasingly less common, the personal statement may be the best chance for a student to set themselves apart.
Writing a personal statement is always a good intellectual exercise. It forces the candidate to hone in on their writing skills, but, more importantly, teaches them how to sell themselves. Learning how to spin and put a positive shine on one's capabilities is nowhere more important than the business arena. So for business school hopefuls, now is the time and place to make a move. Using a well-crafted personal statement and a willingness to take a leap could offer a big payout, especially now.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
UC's Changing College Admission Policies
Good news for out of state residents and foreign students looking for college admission at a University of California. The UC's have just announced their intent to increase non-resident enrollment this year; nearly one-third of the existing student body is comprised of out-of-state students. Though the UC's primary reason for changing their college admission policy is generating additional revenue, this is a change that will ultimately create a multitude of ancillary benefits.
More out-of-state students mean a more diverse learning environment. This is particularly true when it comes to students from other countries. College admission will still be competitive, but the landscape of the student demographic will be transforming. Foreign students, who already face an uphill battle in the college admission process because of language and cultural barriers, may find the new policy a reason for renewed optimism.
The personal statement can be a real challenge for foreign students who often excel in many academic areas but struggle with formal writing. College admission depends upon a solid personal statement. Fortunately, the UC's transition will open up opportunities for foreign students to draw attention to their backgrounds; the personal statement is an ideal venue to let themselves shine.
Post-graduate programs at other universities are also shifting their college admission policy to attract students from around the globe. This will help graduates to keep pace with the increase in international continuity within the workforce. Given the import of the University of California in trend-setting, one can only hope that this new approach to college admission will begin to diversify and enrich many generations of students to come. See the full story here: Mercury News
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Top 5 Myths About College Admission
The university application process is not for the faint of heart. Any student of the journey can tell you that the universal emotion of the prospective candidate is not ambition, or enthusiasm, as much as it is, well, panic. This is particularly true in the drafting of the admission essay. The ratio of applicants to available spaces is lopsided enough to discourage even the heartiest optimist. Each year, the pool of applicants proliferates, and the scramble for those coveted spots intensifies. The admission essay begins to take on an ever more important significance.
The admission essay is the wildcard. All students want to submit an admission essay that is muscular and eye-catching. For those who feel lacking in grade and test scores, the admission essay seems like their only chance. The stress of putting all their eggs into a single, two-paged, double-spaced basket causes people to become paralyzed in anxiety. One of the hardest concepts to get across to university applicants writing their admission essay is that of the bigger picture. The college admissions process, and with it, the admission essay, should be the beginning, not the end of a student's ambitions. Time magazine
Especially for young students, dreams, goals and interests change. What you put in your admission essay may not map out where your future truly takes you.
Stepping back and getting perspective on the college admissions process may be the most valuable tool to usher students through the panic. Bear this in mind when working on an admission essay. You DO have something to contribute. It is okay to be creative with your ambitions and your admission essay. Keep an open mind. The fact that you have your feet in the waters of this process says more about your ambition than you might think.
Labels: myths college admissions essay
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