News and Events
I have begun individual and small group essay coaching as of June, and as I write this on July 28th, 2020, the Common Application has just gone offline to prepare for its official opening for the 2020-2021 application cycle. If all goes well, they will start accepting your application information for this year on August 1st, 2020.
My Approach to College Counseling and Editing
My job is to help you navigate the complex world of applications, and my goal is to help you create a great strategy and end up with superb essays that help you gain admissions to the colleges you most want–but my deeper goal is to help you grow personally and as a writer through this process.
My approach to college advising and editing is designed for efficiency and affordability–you choose the level of services you need, whether you want coaching and editing on one or two essays, or you are looking for a full advising and application package that takes you from thinking about life goals through college target selection and application essay coaching, choosing an admissions offer, and scholarship essays. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all package, you define what you need and we proceed a step at a time.
The Application Scene for 2020-2021
If you are just starting out, you might want to scan the terminology on the basic kinds of early and regular season applications here: Application Terms
I also suggest that you take a look at how college applications are evaluated here: The Secret to College Admissions.
When it comes to college applications, it is indeed the best and the worst of times. It is true that the most well-known universities, those in the Ivies and Stanford coming first to mind, are ferociously competitive, but in terms of overall opportunity, higher education is really the top industry in the United States–there are literally thousands of good to great colleges, universities and a specialized schools of advanced education in North America. When you add Canadian universities to those in the United States, with several that can compete with the top schools in the U.S., and which do so at a discount, then expand your view to Great Britain and Ireland, which are also relative bargains compared to many out-of-state opportunities in the U.S., the opportunities are astonishing–even for students who have a relatively mediocre academic record.
There are, of course, some unusual wild card factors this year. In just one domestic example, we know that an unusually large number of students admitted from last year’s applications will be deferring to wait out some of the impacts of the pandemic (like paying full tuition for an online experience), which means that some of the more competitive applications will be even more so this year. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s university system has been waiting for the fallout from Brexit, the impacts of which are not at all clear for an applicant who might be entering school in 2021. And returning to the scene in the U.S., it’s also true that many of our solid, small, liberal-arts colleges are going to have trouble surviving the economic situation created by the pandemic.
These are some things that you may need to factor in to your plan, as well as some recent changes, like the decision by Princeton to drop early applications–across the Ivy League, early applicants are granted admission at a rate that is two to close to three times that of regular admissions, but now that is off the table, at least for Princeton. And we’ll see very soon if any other Ivy league schools follow suit.
So flexibility and staying informed are going to be key this year.
For more information on my services, please Contact Me.
Freshman and Sophomore Students: Get Started Now
For freshman and sophomore students, now is the time to start assessment and planning. Getting a good look at how you stack up and evaluating your strengths, weaknesses and interests should all be done before the crunch time of Junior year, if possible. Grades and classes accumulate slowly; it’s like trying to guide a raft down a river–steady effort and a clear idea of where you want to be are the best way. A lot of last-minute, desperate paddling is not much fun and may not do the job in time.
In the end, the question for most people is much whether you will get into college as it is how you feel about your results. You can get into a good school if you have a good strategy and B-/C+ grades with decent SAT scores. I had several clients last year with C-range GPA’s who were each offered admission to multiple good public and private schools after they widened their search and applied to multiple states. These students were very happy with their results. On the other hand, I encounter some who set the bar high but don’t provide enough alternatives in their application list, or don’t do the necessary preliminary work needed for a realistic chance at a super-selective school. I want to ensure that you have all the opportunities possible and none of the regret that comes with feeling you could have done more to prepare or could have had a better strategy.
For juniors, the application process formally begins in the spring the year before applications. While I do have clients come in “over the transom” for essay and application advising help in the last month or two of the process, after they encounter my CollegeAppJungle blog (see below), it’s far better to work with me from at least the spring of the junior year. Summer is a great opportunity to build on what you’d done or try something new, and while the colleges have released their essay prompts much later in recent years–most in August, if not later–the Common App beta prompts are up and some of the old standard prompts remain in place.
The Most Important Things
Above all, whether a student or parent, I hope you look at the whole application process as a time to grow and to have fun. I find working with today’s students a tremendous experience. Like any great undertaking, the application process will teach you an enormous amount about yourself and about the world. There are an amazing number of fine schools located in beautiful spots around this country and the world and I always encourage clients to research and visit a wide variety, in person if possible, in the virtual world if not. So let’s get started.
You can learn more about me using the menu bar, above, or contact me at my contact page, above, for more information on my services, as well as start learning more about colleges via links to my CollegeAppJungle website and mulitple pages on the menu bar, above. You’ll find both the basics and very specific insights into the process and what you need to plan and do by using the links and information I have written and posted over the last fifteen years as well as what I will be providing in the coming months.