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College Essay

It’s still primetime for writing college application essays

While there is still time, it’s important for rising high school seniors and their parents to understand why the rest of summer – besides being a great time to hang out at the pool! — is a great opportunity to start writing that all-important college application essay. In this article, we’ll explore why tackling this Read More

When Have You Been Inspired by a Student?

During the summer, after a terrible thunderstorm throughout southeastern Michigan that triggered “take cover now” warnings, one of my college essay coaching students jumped through hoops to show up for a scheduled brainstorm appointment. That was so inspiring to me. His home had lost Internet and Wi-Fi service; he tried to use the hot spot Read More

Summer is Primetime for Writing College Application Essays

As the school year winds down, it’s important for incoming high school seniors and their parents to understand why summer – besides being a great time to hang out at the pool! — is a great opportunity to start writing that all-important college application essay.  Tackling this crucial task early on can lead to a Read More

Sample Essays – What to Consider

During a recent interview about college essays with College and Career Clarity podcast host Lisa Marker-Robbins, the topic of sample essays came up. We don’t like sample essays, even though a lot of people use them when coaching students on the college essay. To be clear, it’s not that the sample essays can’t be good examples. It’s Read More

Tell Your Students to Trust Themselves!

This time of year, we talk to a lot of high school counselors and other professionals about gearing up for another college application season. We’d like to share a favorite message we tell our own students at the beginning of every season. Trust yourself. This is your journey, so own the process. When you are Read More

The College Essay in 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Understand the Prompt Before choosing a topic, make sure you understand what the prompt is asking and how the essay fits into the application. Focus on what readers already know about you, as well as what they can’t find out from the rest of your application. Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas Consider several topics. Read More

How to Get a Great Story out of Your Students

I love having lunch with my friend, Ella, who recently retired after years of serving as a great high school counselor here in metro Detroit, where I live. When we last met in person, we had just started going out again post-lockdown. It felt like a million years had passed. We started talking about her previous job Read More

Best Tips for Managing Parent College Essay Expectations

Several years ago, a few days before an application deadline, a mom reached out to me in a panic. I had worked with her eldest child on his application essays; she didn’t like his Common App essay. I loved his story. Even better, he was happy with his essay, anchored around the moment he learned Read More

How to Talk to Parents about Imperfect Essays

At least once a week, someone asks Susan or me a variation on this question: How do you talk to parents about imperfect essays? We nod because we get it. Parents often have unrealistic expectations, not because they are unreasonable, but because they don’t really understand the role of the college essay in the application package. Read More

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