It's not just your imagination -- applying for college is harder than ever! I didn't graduate that long ago... but it's already twice as hard to get into Stanford now than it was back then.
Which is why it doesn't surprise me when high school juniors and rising seniors often feel like they're "already behind" in April or May!
There's a popular misconception that seniors "shouldn't" write about study abroad, service trips, or teen travel tours on their college applications.
First of all, this is untrue. There are no bad essay topics, only bad essays, and you can absolutely write an original, unforgettable travel essay.
Even if you couldn't, I would still highly recommend a travel abroad experience for almost any teenager, as they can be some of the most enriching, educational, and fun things you will do in your whole life.
Of all the colleges I've visited, University of Wisconsin-Madison stands out in terms of beauty, opportunity, and politically active students. I'm 0% surprised you've decided to apply.
But when it comes to their "Why Us?" essay... they are definitely on the longer side, with a 650-word limit.
You're a teenager who has traveled to another country. Perhaps with your family. Perhaps with some kind of teen travel tour, volunteer, mission or service organization. Perhaps through a study abroad program like School Year Abroad, Island School, or Where There Be Dragons.
You had an incredible experience! You think this is one of the most interesting things you've done in your whole life.
And everyone's telling you not to write your college essays about it.
Lucky for you, those people are completely wrong.
So you're applying to USC -- home of the Trojans and birthplace of one of the most famous baseball diddies of all time:
True story! This fanfare was written by Tommy Walker while a junior at the University of Southern California in the fall of 1946.
And if Tommy Walker can express that much in six little notes... you can knock your USC supplemental essays and short answers out of the park!
So you thought that the fact that "most schools are on the Common App" meant you'd basically be done after finishing your 650-word essay. And now you've realized... you were wrong. Stanford is your dream school, and it has one of the most comprehensive supplemental essay sections ever.
Don't worry -- I've got you covered.
As you're surely aware, the Common Application announced new revisions and essay prompts on the 2017-2018 application. And one of them... is super fun and exciting!
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
In the digital age, we are plagued by "fake news", hypersensitivity, and the anti-science movement. Skepticism is more important than ever.
As a life coach, I help students develop curiosity, purpose, skills and interests that no one else has. After all, the road to success isn't paved with numbers (GPA, SAT, APs, etc.) -- it's paved with verbs!
Stanford is a dream school. With its huge endowment, symbiotic relationship to the Silicon Valley, and endless opportunities (you'll be taking introductory-level classes with bestselling authors and former world leaders), it's no wonder the 2016-2017 application season yielded record-low acceptance rates.
2017-2018 will probably only be more competitive.
Which is why it's more important than ever that your Common App and supplemental essays are authentic and unforgettable.
What do James Develin, Ted Turner, Julie Bowen, and Alison Stewart have in common? They all went to Brown -- and, with the right application essays, you might, too!
With record-low acceptance rates (the admit rate for Brown in 2016-2017 was 9.3% -- making it one of the less competitive Ivy League schools… but still, that’s pretty brutal), it’s important for you to spend time crafting outstanding supplemental essays -- ones that complement your Common App essay while reinforcing the “theme” of your application.
The question is, how? Let me walk you through it. If you need additional help, check out my Rates and Services page or Contact Me!
Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.